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September 23, 2022 4:00 am
Bible confronts us with a diagnosis. All of us are dead in our sins. The good news is, God has provided the perfect remedy. So what exactly has he done and what does it mean for us will find out today on Truth for Life as Alister Ben continues our study in the book of Ephesians are Scripture reading this morning is from Ephesians chapter 2 reading from the first verse and I encourage you to follow along as I read Ephesians chapter 2 verse one and you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind, but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you've been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Thanks be to God for his word gracious God, we thank you for the Bible, we thank you for the work of the Holy Spirit who illumines its pages to us. We thank you for that divine dialogue that you conduct, whereby your spirit in and through and beyond human instrumentation speaks into the very core of our life's calling is out of our deadness to life out of our enslavement to freedom of our condemnation to the joy of your presence. Accomplish your purposes gracious God, we pray for Jesus sake. Amen. Well, we come to verse four. Now in our studies in our previous study, we were confronted by what we refer to as the divine diagnosis of the spiritual condition of all men and women outside of the Lord Jesus Christ. We saw the diagnosis. To be clear, to be comprehensive. There are no exceptions, no excuses, and it was also a diagnosis that was manifestly grave. Some of us have had occasion to be confronted in physical terms by a diagnosis that was quite inescapable and our immediate reaction was to ask, is there any way to fix this, perhaps, to address the physician himself or herself and to say is there any way that you are able to fix this. And of course the saddest of all is when the have to say there is. I'm sorry that there is nothing that can be done at least nothing that we know about. Of course humanity has an confronts the predicament of the human condition has all kinds of suggestions as to how it can be fixed, but that is in large measure because contemporary notions of the state of man are frankly unprepared to give any credence or tall to this diagnosis, which is not only here in Ephesians, but runs throughout the Bible whereby the Bible tells us that outside of Christ, we are dead we are enslaved and we are condemned. It doesn't sound very good, and it isn't good and find it is dreadful and it speaks to the issues of our state. Every day that we live our lives every newspaper that unfolds before us. Every broadcast that comes across our screen confirms the reality of what GK Chesterton observed that whatever else may be endowed man is not what God intended for him to be and so the explanations that are given are fairly routine. The trouble is that man is simply sad. Or perhaps he is dysfunctional or we may be prepared to acknowledge that he is sick. That's why he does these dreadful things why he kills and names and rapes and turns in upon himself.
This is explained in terms of sickness. The one thing that is almost wholesale. He rejected is the diagnosis that the Bible gives here, namely, that man is sinful and the reason that this is so crucial is because a superficial view of the human condition. Results inevitably in attendance to fix the condition and similarly superficial fascia so that, for example, we may try. If man is simply misguided to cure the predicament by increasing the level of education. If he is sick.
By increasing the amount of medication if he's just rebellious than perhaps by legislation or even by indoctrination or domination and the story of social and political history throughout our world this morning can be understood in terms of all these different categories.
Different ways in which society as a whole and towns and cities, and families, and sports teams and businesses and academic institutions try and do something about the fact that man is messed up now.
That's why it's such a wonderful thing to have a Bible and to read it and to read it and to ask God to speak to us through because the Bible declares that we are spiritually dead on account of our trespasses and our sins, and that only God is able to raise the dead ball then goes on to say and that of course is good news because that is exactly what God has done and beginning here in verse four. He is going to explain to his readers and we are his readers now what God has done and then fly he has done it. Now let me remind you that what we are by nature in our fallenness in our sin magnifies what we are then by grace and if we have a trivial and superficial view of what we were before we turn to Christ than probably are expressions will bear testimony to that. There are three things in particular that we should note under this heading port has God done, and there there in the text and I can point them out to first of all, God has made as alive with Christ, made us alive together with Christ.
I don't worry about verse four will come back to that later but for now, notice that little phrase, made us alive together with Christ.
The testimony of the believer is not that God has helped us to feel better about ourselves or somehow or another has improved our circumstances or our living conditions because in actual fact, some of us having professed faith in Jesus Christ.
I found that our circumstances have actually got worse.
Some of us would testify that the fight that it is ever since we began to take seriously the story of the Bible that we we we just have not enjoyed many of the benefits that we once knew some of the friendships that we've enjoyed so much of going away used to be an absolute harmony within our home, but we have no become followers of Jesus and our spouse doesn't follow Jesus and we wish that he or she did and it is always there all day every day as an underlying issue. So the idea that somehow or another.
Jesus comes simply to add to the sum of our total happiness to clean everything up to make everything absolutely better we can testify that were not supposed to testify to that know the story of the believer is I was dead and Jesus has made me a life we say about it. Last Sunday night I once was lost in the darkest night, but thought I knew the way so lost that we didn't know we were lost that we needed to be shown that we were lost before ever we were found because you don't need to be found.
If you're not lost. So you come to talk like this and you listen to music and using light on who theirs refers to what he certainly doesn't refer to me until you understand that it does refer to you and then you say I once was lost in darkest night and I thought I knew the way. But of course I didn't see at that point in our experience.
Christian things actually seem pretty foolish and the reason for that.
The Bible tells us in Romans chapter 8, Paul explains the condition of life. He uses a contrast between the natural man of the spiritual man or the flash of the spirit. You can read it for yourself and he says in verse six of Romans eight. Incidentally, that's what you brothers Bible so that you can look up and see whether what I'm telling is in the Bible for to set the mind on the flesh is death to set the mind of the Spirit is life and peace.
That's the contrast that life, death and life for the mind that is set on the flash which is the mind by nature the mind that emerges from the womb, it is it is a free program sat on the flash to please itself in the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God and it does not submit to God's law.
Indeed, it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God is what it says in first Corinthians, Paul is making very much the same point and illustrating the way in which we find ourselves outside of Christ. First Corinthians 2 verse 14 the natural person and by nature does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are folly to them to him and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned statement is not now the word spiritual things. The thing that we read in the Bible the story of Jesus and particularly this notion that in his death there is life, and that in him exclusively and solely there is life and peace. And that is freedom from our enslavement and there is triumph over all that holds us in its grip and someone says no I'm sorry that just seems absolutely foolish to me. Why would it seem foolish, because by nature it is foolishness to us the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing or they everybody but to those who are being saved. Who are they, those who have been raised up to life.
It is the power of God.
So in other words, when the Bible is proclaimed with the gospel is proclaimed, it inevitably divides, it inevitably causes us to see on which side do I find myself as my mind is enmity with God, hostile to these things. Do I naturally turn away from them.
Do I believe this will if you're in Christ, then you do because this is what God is done. He has raised us up prior to that we were both death and we were dead until God called us to our senses is it you again is a nice diagnosis but it is the biblical diagnosis using Luke 15, you have a lost coin, you're the lost sheep.
Your long-lost son invite you to lost sons one is lost in his self-righteousness and the other one is Larson's abandonment. One is it one is sleeping in his father's house when he should be enjoying the benefits of the provision on the element is run away from his father's. I was thinking that if he could only get out from underneath that then he would find everything that you long for. Then he would be free.
Then he can do what he wanted that he could be with anyone he wanted. He could sleep with everyone he wanted.
He could do what you want and then it says that after he had he had spent all of his stuff. He began to be in want and nobody gave him anything not of his friends marries boss and he went and joined himself to a citizen of the country who send them into his fields to feed pigs and he would certainly have just eaten the pig slop if if if if if he could and then he set when I came to my senses when I came to my senses. I said to myself I I will arise and I will go to my father and I will say to him. Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight is, is not like I'm in a pigsty and that things are not going as well as I'd hoped, could you please advance me a little more cash.
My circumstances have taken a downturn, but I'm sure I'll be out of the before too long now I've sinned against heaven and in your sight are no longer worthy to be called your son. I be happy if you give me a position as a servant in your household or you know the rest of the story. If you don't, you should read it in Luke 15 is quite fantastic. It is a wonder of the call of God into his life. In that situation here. There's a wonderful illustration of it as well. In a story that many of you will know the story of Lazarus. People who don't know much about the Bible know there was somebody called Lazarus and of course Lazarus had a couple of sisters, Martha and Mary Lazarus wasn't well the sister sent for Jesus. Jesus from the sisters perspective delayed in his arrival as a result of his delay at Lazarus had died and had already been buried.
He is then chided Lord if you'd be near my brother would've died and Jesus said all right, Jesus himself cried this scene, and then we read in verse 38 of John 11 then Jesus deeply moved again came to the tomb. It was a cave and a stone lay against. And Jesus said, take away the stone marker, the sister of the dead man said to him, Lord, by this time there will be an older 40 has been dead for days in the King James version it says Lord he stink if that's very graphic is also very honest decomposition has already said it what possibility is there for anything other than the resealing of that cave Jesus said or did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God. And so they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said father I thank you that you've heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing here that they may believe you sent me, and when he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, Lazarus, come out and the man who it died came out. He speaks and listening to his voice new life.
The dead receive when you get to chapter 12 there is a dinner party at the house in Bethany, where Lazarus lived whom Jesus had raised from the dead, and so they gave a dinner for him there and Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining within the table. What what a dinner party ever thought about what I must to be like you get invited and you gonna have you been out of the area for a while and you come back and you sit down and everybody is introducing themselves hello yes I'm Simon hello and your name is Lazarus okay so how's it going with you. Lazarus was been happening lately. I'm in the usual Canada dinnertime conversation enemy going on zero.
I don't if you believe this, but I was a dead man. I was dead and buried. You gotta be kidding me at what you talking about know Jesus here. Jesus recently. He came and called my name. In fact, if he hadn't called my name. If he had just made a generic call. Who knows how many people would've come out of the grave. He simply called out Lazarus and I came out and the to call my club awfully and here I am tonight and I'm having dinner with you. This is a wonderful illustration loved ones of what happened when you were converted, if you were converted. If you are, you were dead.
I was dead physically alive. I was part of the walking dead. I heard his voice. He called me into life is the amazing wonder of the transforming power of Jesus and Paul says this is what you will, by nature and look at what has happened to you now.
God has called when you think about the idea of God calling to us. There is a call-in creationism in all of this beauty in all of this grandeur in all of the blending of these flowers and so on. There's the it speaks to us of glory beyond here in your scientific work in your lab work in the intricacy of the universe in the joy of wonderful music. There is a call from creation. There is a call also in our consciences. Each of us by conscience is aware of God. God has made us with an innate sense of right and wrong.
That is why when we go wrong. We know insight of eyes we are wrong that is why we want either to try and cover up the fight that were wrong to figure out a way to be put in the right order to justify ourselves. The call of God making is aware of the fact that is also a call that comes in the preaching of the Bible when the Bible is proclaimed, it is as safe. There is a knocking on the door of our hearts, but the real effectual call of God. The inner call of God is that which unlocks and opens the door of our hearts is why we often say.
The only thing I probably said it last week I said to redundancy that my voice can unlock nothing can unlock no heart. I can say to yours I'm saying to you now. You know, creation, speech, your conscience speaks. The Bible speaks, you can still sit there and I don't think so. No, until God speaks to God takes up his word and calls you by name speaks into your life says to you, I'm talking about you this generic description of humanity actually finds its focus in you, you know this to be true that something God does.
That's what he did in the life of Lazarus.
He called them by name.
He was deputy Herod and he was dead but he was alive, that is the transforming power of Jesus and all of this is accomplished on account of the fact that Christ rose from the dead and sat down at the right hand of God and you say I was dead. Jesus made me alive. That's the story of every believer, listing the truth for like Alistair Begg with a message titled what God truly join us on Monday for the conclusion each day here truthful I we bring the truth of the gospel to people all around the world and were particularly grateful to be able to make Alister's entire library of online teaching free to everyone. It's our true partners who are largely to thank for this. Their faithful giving each month covers the cost of distributing Truth for Life to a global audience. So on behalf of all of the listeners who have been changed by God's word through this program, a sincere thank you to our true partners and if you been listening to truthful.
I for a while but haven't joined this amazing team make today the day, it's easy to sign up. You can do it quickly go to Truth for Life.org/true partner or call us at 888-588-7884 entry partners are able to receive both of the books we offer each month for no additional donation today were recommending a book titled seven reasons to reconsider Christianity. This is a book that brings up many of the most common arguments against the Bible and gives well reasoned, but simple responses to each one requester copy of the seven reasons to reconsider Christianity. When you sign up to be a true partner or you can request the book with a one time donation for life.org/donate now.
If you're starting to look ahead for vacation planning for next year. Let me encourage you to consider the deeper faith 2023 Mediterranean cruise.
Alister will be the guest speaker and the voyage takes place aboard the newest ship in the Norwegian Cruise line, it will set sail from Rome, Italy, August 26 at 2023 each day on this voyage will begin in the Newport will include fascinating locations such as Greece, Malta, Venice and sure evenings with Alister as he teaches from the Bible for further details or to book your cabin visit deeper faith cruise.com about the pain. Hope you enjoy your weekend and I hope you can join us on Monday and will consider why it's ultimately impossible for believers to die Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life learning is