God's Amazing Grace: I once was dead
God's Amazing Grace
1) The Dead Man’s Diagnosis: Dead (v. 1)
2) The Dead Man’s Deeds (vv. 2–3)
a. Lives for this World (v. 2)
b. Lives for the Devil (v. 2)
c. Lives for Himself (v. 3)
3) The Dead Man’s Destruction: Wrath (v. 3)
Ephesians was written by the Apostle Paul whilst he was imprisoned in Rome sometime between AD60–62 (cf. (Phil 1:12, 24-25; Col 1:10; Philemon 23–24). During that same time, Paul wrote Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon. Ephesians and Colossians bear many similarities: Both are prison epistles (Eph 4:1; Col 4:10); both are sent by Tychicus (Eph 6:21–22; Col 4:7) with general encouragement; both contain extensive prayers (Eph 1:15–23; Col 1:9–14); both have a similar encouraging tone and structure—doctrinal foundation followed by practical exhortations. The two letters are somewhat different in that Paul never met the Colossian church (Col 1:7, 2:1), whereas he had a longstanding relationship with the church at Ephesus—3 years, cf. Acts 19:10; and Colossians focuses on the preeminence of Christ where Ephesians focuses on the preeminence of Christ’s body, the Church.
Ephesus was a major city in Asia Minor and was considered a commercial powerhouse, ranking with Antioch and Alexandria as the three largest trading centres in the eastern Mediterranean. The main form of religion was the city’s cult worship of Artemis. Thus, this important city received much attention in the NT (Acts 19–20, Ephesians, Revelation 2:1-7; and indirectly 1 and 2 Timothy since Timothy ministered in Ephesus).
The purpose of Ephesians is to proclaim the high calling of the church (Eph 1–3) and to exhort believers to holy conduct in light of that calling (Eph 4–6). In the first three chapters—Paul reminds the church in Ephesus who they are in Christ (doctrine); and then in the final three chapters— he explains how they ought to live—in light of who they are in Christ (practice). Paul also desires to give them an update—supply them with some news and vital encouragement (Eph 6:22).
Ephesians 2:1–10 falls into the doctrinal section of the letter and specifically focuses on God’s gracious work resurrecting those who were spiritually dead and making them alive together with Christ. In the preceding chapter, Ephesians 1, Paul praising God for all that He has done for the believer (1:3–14) and then prays that the believers might understand all that God has done (1:15–23). The verses that follow, Ephesians 2:11–22 explains the believer’s corporate union—one in Christ.
The main assertion of Ephesians 2:1–7 is that God has made sinners alive, raised them up, and seated them with Christ (cf. Eph 2:4–6). All other clauses including the preceding clauses in Ephesians 2:1–3 which are the focus of this sermon are subordinate to this main assertion. In order to understand the main assertion in all its glory, it is crucial to understand the contrast, contained in Ephesians 2:1–3. The next sermon will therefore be the climax and include an exposition of Ephesians 2:4–7. This sermon, Ephesians 2:1–3 describes who we were before God saved us. In order to know who, we are in Christ, Paul wants us to remember who we were before He saved us.