Transition: chapter division.
Ch 1: 19f ‘His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.’
Transformations. DIY SOS, Changing Rooms, What Not to Wear, Extreme Makeover, Life Laundry, How Clean Is Your House?, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Restoration, Trinny & Susannah Undress, Brat Camp, Ladette to Lady, Supernanny, Extreme Celebrity Detox
Home, body, diet, wardrobe, child, pet
1. Before, 1-3
The world – ‘You followed the ways of this world,’ v2. ‘Those places, persons, pleasures and pursuits where God is left out.’ Those without Christ are slaves to peer pressure, religious fads, and the dubious role models of celebrities.
The devil – ‘You followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient,’ v2
The flesh – ‘Gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts,’ v3. No excuse. We can never say, “The devil made me do it.” The devil may advise, but he cannot compel.
Condemned. ‘We were by nature objects of wrath.’ This is God’s settled opposition to anything that is contrary to his holy nature.
Dead. ‘Dead in your transgressions and sins,’ v1. Absolute. You can’t be more or less dead. Helpless – no use shouting at a dead person to get up and live. Irreversible. We are not simply the walking wounded; we are the walking dead.
Me, dead? A person may have the body of an athlete, the mind of a scholar, or the personality of a stand-up comedian. But in the sphere which matters supremely (which is neither the body, nor the mind, nor the personality, but the soul) they are dead. ‘They are blind to the glory of Jesus Christ, and deaf to the voice of the Holy Spirit. They have no love for God, no sensitive awareness of his personal reality, no leaping of their spirit towards him in the cry, ‘Abba, Father’, no longing for fellowship with his people. They are as unresponsive to him as a corpse.’ (Stott)
Radically inclusive – you, v1f…we, v3…everyone, v3.
Unbelievers don’t always look very dead. It’s about what we are deep down.
Gandhi: ‘I hope to acquaint the reader fully with all my faults and errors…Measuring myself by [the standard of truth] I must exclaim: ‘Where is there a wretch so wicked and loathsome as I? I have forsaken my Maker, so faithless have I been.’
‘Lord of the Flies’ (William Golding). What happens when a group of well-educated children are left to fend for themselves on an island paradise. They descend into savagery.
An impossibly bleak scene.
2. After, 4-10
The great reversal – ‘but God…’
‘God has made us alive with Christ, v5, raised us up with Christ, v6, seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ, v6.
Raised us up with him. Ship/dinghies.
Why he did it – V4His great love for us…rich in mercy…v7 kindness…grace.
‘I love you because’. Deut 7:7f. ‘The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you…’
Not because of anything worthy in ourselves. ‘Not because of works’.
God did it in order that we might be ‘exhibit A’ of his power and goodness, just as a portrait witnesses to the skill of the artist, or a patient to the skill of a surgeon.
Once again, it doesn’t always look that way. Just as unbelievers don’t always look very dead, believers don’t always look very alive. Pastor’s wife.
Remember. Some say, ‘Yes, yes, we know all about sin and grace and the cross and forgiveness. There’s no need to keep banging on about all of that. What we need to do is to go and put all of that into practice.’
Remember that it’s through grace. The feeling that we must make a contribution runs very deep. For the Galatians, it was the works of the law. Here, it’s any kind of works. Surely there is something I must contribute? This runs deep in us.
Julie Andrews: ‘…I must have done something good.’
Glastonbury: ‘If you prefer to spend an evening in heaven, where the sofas are trimmed with fur, and the bars have working fountains, you must first convince an “admin angel” that you are worthy of the honour.’
As soon as we try to add to grace, we take away from it. It is to say that what Jesus did isn’t enough. ‘I try to be’.
If it’s ‘grace plus’, then I can never be sure that I have done enough. But since it’s ‘grace alone’, I can know that I am saved.
Remember with gratitude. ‘Good works’ have no place as grounds for our acceptance with God. But as the expression of gratitude towards God, nothing could be more natural. There should be a rich harvest of the fruit of the Spirit.
‘Let agreed – another happy ending.’
‘There has been a complete change in my life. Now my whole life and aims and ambitions are changed. I feel now that I want to serve God in any way that he can use me.’
Eph 4:1 ‘I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.’