Go

Marshall Baptist Church

Dropping Rehab for Rebirth

Dropping Rehab for Rebirth

Ephesians 2:1-10

 

Intro: This past February in Lexington, MS a coroner was about to start the embalming process of 78 year old Walter Williams.  Williams was lying in a body bag in front of the coroner when suddenly a leg started kicking from inside.  Williams was alive.  They only thought he was dead.  Taken to hospital and treated.

What can you do for a dead man? 

The Princess Bride: Miracle Max: It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do. 
Inigo Montoya: What's that? 
Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change. 

Proposition: We are not sick men and women in need of cures or rehab.  Before Jesus comes into our lives we are hopelessly and completely dead.  We don’t need rehab, we need rebirth.  And those of us who have been reborn have to live like it.  We can’t live acting like we’re just being good people.  We aren’t being good.  We’ve been saved from death by a great God.  So how do you stop living like you’re in rehab and start experiencing life reborn?  3 ways:

 I. Recognize you were dead not simply bad. (1-3)

If you are going to understand what God has done for you if you are saved, then you first have to understand what you were before salvation.  And if you’ve never been saved, you need to understand how much you need Jesus.  The gospel is not truly good news until you first understand how bad the bad news is.

Ex. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail… There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.”

 

What was your situation before Jesus?  Were you just a bad person?  Were you just a good person who made bad choices some times?  Were you okay and could be much worse?  Were you good deep down and believing in God just needed to be a bit better?  No!  You were dead.  We all were.  We all were dead to God in our sins and our wrong doings.

 

What is sin and trespasses?  Here’s the wrong definition: not doing what society or your parents say is wrong.  It is going against the standard God has set.  Who goes against God’s standards?  All of us.  And we’re all the Walking Dead before Christ.  We are self-seeking, life stealing zombies.  We’ve all fallen short of God’s standard and the wages due us for our sin is death.

 

Paul says, before Christ, we all walked according to the ways of the world and the ways of Satan.  Think about how messed up this world is.  Think how broken and evil it is.  Think how horrid Satan.  Think how all he does is in direct rebellion against the God of the universe.  Now, before Christ, you and I and everybody else – we walked according to the ways of this evil world and we walked with Satan. 

 

1 John 1:19 points out that before we knew Christ that we were “under the control of the evil one.”  Before being made alive in Christ, you weren’t just living for yourself and having fun – you were ruled by Satan – the adversary of God.  Colossians 1:13 says that Christ rescues “us from the dominion of darkness.”

 

If you don’t live for Christ you think you are living for yourself – doing things your way.  You’re not.  In reality you’re in bondage and you don’t even know it.  You’re a slave who thinks you are running free.  Satan has blinded you and is using you just as he did all of us.

Ex. Sell soul to the devil.  He’s already got it until you give your life to Jesus.

 

Paul says, before Christ you simply lived out your fleshly desires.  Before Christ all we do is live for 3 enemies of Jesus: the world, Satan, and your selfish desires. Before Christ, you made yourself an enemy to God and are by your sinful nature – a child of His wrath.  And that’s true for all of us.

God’s wrath hangs over all without Christ.  It is hanging by a strand with no idea when it will break.  And to reject the grace of Christ is to accept God’s wrath.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him. John 3:36

What a helpless state we are in when left to our own devices.  We need a savior.  I am so thankful that our story doesn’t end with verses 1-3 but moves on to verse 4.

 II. Give God all the glory for your rebirth. (4-7)

Verses 1-3 show the utter hopeless of humanity without a savior.  It reveals how we cannot simply rehab ourselves out of our position or pull ourselves up out of our sin.  We are dead and need someone to make us alive.  Enter these verses.   These verses have to be one of the greatest passages in Scripture!  It is the gospel – the good news!

 

We were dead.  Totally dead in our sin.  We did not need rehab.  We needed rebirth.  And so God made us alive. He raised us up and seated us with Christ.  If you are saved you weren’t simply made a little better.  You were reborn.  You didn’t get saved by deciding to try harder.  Real salvation is when God gives life and breath to your dead Spirit and sets you free from bondage to slavery.

Romans 4:17 says we are saved by “the God who gives life to the dead.”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3-4

Your salvation was not about you being better but about the old you being dead and there being a new you, a new creation living for Jesus.

Compare a rehabilitation center to a morgue.  Very different places.  People trying to be good enough is like filling a rehab center with the dead.  It won’t work.  They are dead and without new life they are without hope. 

 

Who gets the glory for your salvation?  100% God.  You don’t make yourself better.  You don’t clean yourself up.  God has made you alive through His Son Jesus.  And not only that, He’s raised you up with Him and seated you in the heavenly places with Him.  What does that mean?

You don’t just barely get into the Kingdom.  You don’t get put in the nosebleeds – you get to sit with Christ and reign!  

Ex. WWE VIP vs. nosebleeds. 

We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Rom.8:37

 

God did all that for you and me.  We didn’t deserve it.  Why would He do it?  Paul says in verse 7 that God simply wanted to show His grace and kindness in the ages to come.  And verse 4 tells us that God did it out of His great love toward us.  He had no reason to love us or be kind to us or show grace to us.  But He did.  So He gets all the glory.  This great love He has for us should fuel our worship and compel us to live for Him which leads us to our response in point 3.

 III. Respond with faith and good works. (8-10)

We’ve heard about what we were before Christ.  We’ve heard about what God did for us that we couldn’t do for ourselves.  Now we learn what our response must be.  It’s twofold: Paul says even though salvation is all of God’s doing, it’s all of grace – you must respond with faith.  You must believe the gospel.  Faith is a gift from God, but He doesn’t do the believing for you.  You must believe.  You must hear the gospel and truly believe it and give your life over to it.

Jesus made Lazarus alive, had the stone removed, commanded Lazarus to come forth – but Lazarus had to come forth.  Faith is coming forth.

 

Secondly, Paul says to recognize that you aren’t saved to boast.  You are saved to serve.  You are saved to do good works.  We are saved by grace through faith unto works.  Works don’t save us but we are saved to do good works.  The book of James makes this point strongly: real faith shows itself in good works.

 

True faith is one that works.  Why?  Faith unites us with Christ – we take on Christ.  And so it is impossible for real faith to be lifeless.  In the life of every believer there should be signs that they are attached to Christ – a vine bearing fruit.

Ex. Jumping onto monkey bars – impact was so strong it left a mark.  Jesus impact when He comes into your life should leave marks for the rest of your life.

 

Here is a phrase to remember: Justification is by faith alone, but justifying faith can never be alone.

 

Paul says we are God’s “workmanship”.  Poiema – poem.  We are a poem or masterpiece of Jesus.  We reflect, represent, and show Him to the world through our lives. 


And when you reflect on what you were before Christ, and what God has done for you – how can you not give your life to His service? Let me share a passage that I love, but I’m going to change the pronouns some to make it more personal.

14 For Christ's love compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: …He died for (us) so that (we) should no longer live for (our)selves, but for the One who died for (us) and was raised. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

 

Our lives are meant to be an offering to God – an act of worship for giving us life.  So are you acting like the dead you of the past or are you living for Christ as a new creation?  Are you living for self or compelled to live for Jesus?

 

Conclusion: Remember our 78 year old pal Walter Williams from MS?  Last month Mr. Williams finally died for real.  There’s no coming back this time.  He is gone.

None of us know the time we have.  If you have not been reborn then believe today.  If you have, then commit to truly display it starting today.

Read More