The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 19 : The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the EPHESIANS

[Chapter 2-3] (Ephesians 2:1-7) What Kind of People Were We in God’s Sight?

(Ephesians 2:1-7)
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
 
 
Were We Dead in Trespasses and Sins?
 
The Apostle Paul said that our salvation was prepared in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world. God the Father said that He has made us His own people through His Son Jesus Christ with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we were able to receive the remission of sins once and for all. But today, I would like us to examine how our condition was before receiving the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
It’s written in Ephesians 2:1, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Many Christians nowadays tend to categorize their sins into two types, thinking that the sins they commit while living in this world are personal sins, while the fundamental sin they inherited from their parents is original sin. In contrast, God lumps all these sins together and calls them collectively as the sin of the world (John 1:29). And here in today’s Scripture passage, God is saying to us that our souls, which had been dead for the sins and trespasses that we committed before God, have now been saved through Christ.
Before encountering the righteousness of the Lord, all of us were ruled by Satan in our lives, and as we feared death, we were enslaved by it. Just as the Apostle Paul said here in today’s Scripture passage, before we found the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we were under the spirit who worked in the sons of disobedience. Even today, we still see this evil spirit working in every sinner’s soul to stand against God, inciting people to rebel against God.
Strictly speaking, every religion of the world is ruled by this evil spirit. There are many people in this world who believe in various false religions and live their entire lifetime as slaves to Satan, buried in their own religious beliefs. Right now our country Korea is hosting an international folklore festival. This folklore festival is showcasing various religious rituals from around the world that are performed to appease evil spirits. Although participants in this international folklore festival come from many different countries, one thing common to them all is that they obey and worship the evil spirits that actually torment them. When we look at the idols that such people believe in, we can see that these idols have a tight grip over countless people. So it’s quite obvious that all these people are held captive by such evil spirits. These people offer sacrifices to the idols that they believe in to appease them because they are afraid of their own idols. Like this, countless people are sinning against God because they do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Too many people are going about their everyday lives without even realizing that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the Truth of salvation.
I am sure that by now, you know very well that you had also stood against God in your heart before encountering and believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even if you did not know about God and His Word, you probably knew subconsciously that you were standing against God. When Paul wrote to the saints in Ephesus that they had followed “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), he was actually speaking about all of us. In other words, Paul is teaching us that by working in the course of this world, Satan had made us disobey God and stand against Him in our past. Even now, countless people all over the world are standing against God and seized by the evil spirit. These people are opposing God and His Word even though this is not what they actually want. They are seized by the evil spirit because they do not know the God-given Truth of the water and the Spirit. This is why they stand against God unknowingly. So as their hearts are incited to stand against God even without realizing it themselves, they are sinning against God.
These people are also standing against those who have become God’s children by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, all such people must examine themselves and see if their hearts are standing against God and His Word, and if this is true, then they must admit it, return to the Lord, and believe in His righteousness. Once they admit that they are in fact unrighteous, they must all return to the Lord and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the gospel through which the Lord has remitted away all their sins. Otherwise their wretched souls will continue to stand against God seized by the evil spirit.
As countless people do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they are now being ruled by the evil spirit. The Apostle Paul therefore said that we must be delivered from all our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that constitutes the righteousness of God, for we were predestined before the foundation of the world to be saved in Jesus Christ. That’s because the Lord has saved us from all our sins through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. We have become God’s children by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
However, before we found the righteousness of the Lord, our souls had always followed our fleshly desires. That’s why the Apostle Paul says that by nature, all of us were the children of wrath in God’s sight. But thanks to the mercy of Christ we were able to receive these spiritual blessings from Heaven by faith. Moreover, it is written in today’s Scripture passage that God “raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Now that we have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we can enjoy the glory and splendor of Heaven together with Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul is teaching us here that we have been saved from all our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and he is also teaching us about our condition prior to reaching salvation.
Both Testaments of the Bible speak about how great are the blessings of Heaven that we will receive. That’s because we have received the salvation of the great mercy of God by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit while living on this earth. God said that He wants to reveal His great grace to every generation to come. That is why we the born-again believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are working so hard to testify God’s gospel. God has seated us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit in Heaven, and He has made us preach this gospel of the water and the Spirit on this earth. Like this, He has revealed His great love and mercy to us.
Every Word of God was spoken to bring true salvation and everlasting life to all of us. Therefore, we know from Scripture that before being washed from all our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we were all under the wrath of God. By nature, we were the children of wrath in God’s sight, and we were seized by the evil spirit. Because we could not help but live our entire lifetime according to our fleshly desires, God’s wrath was awaiting us all.
However, through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, our Lord has saved such people like us once and for all and blessed us to be seated in the Kingdom of Heaven. As this blessing has come by the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that our Lord has given to us, it can never be denied. The gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit is the actual Truth of salvation existing in this world. Therefore, we have no other choice but to bow before the Word of God, be saved from all our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and give all our thanks to God.
How was our natural condition when reflected upon the Word of God? Fundamentally speaking, we could not help but commit sin against God all the time, and that is precisely why our Lord has saved us through the perfect gospel of the water and the Spirit. This came about by the mercy of God. It is by God’s mercy that we have been saved from all our sins and God’s judgment. Every Word that God has spoken to us is true. The gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit that the Apostle Paul is speaking to us is God’s Word of salvation and its real Truth.
 
 
What Should Be the Proper Disposition of Our Faith before God Then?
 
Our lives must be guided by a willing disposition to preach to all the generations to come this exceedingly abundant grace of God, that is, the God-given gospel of the water and the Spirit. It’s absolutely imperative for all of us to accept that the reason for our existence on this earth is to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. As we carry on with our lives, spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit should be our first priority, and all our decisions must be made according to this purpose. All of us ought to believe that we have this duty to spread the gospel to everyone all over the world. Preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit should be our constant goal in God’s sight, and we must all live by faith always.
I am so thankful that we have been saved from all the sins of the world, and I am also grateful that we have been delivered from the punishment of hell to enjoy everlasting life. Moreover, God has also allowed us to live with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven, and words cannot express just how grateful I am. God has blessed us even more by entrusting us with the work of spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Had God not entrusted this wonderful work to us, our lives of faith on this earth would have been too boring. But God has made us preach His abundant love and mercy to every generation to come, and so how could we not thank God? I give all my thanks to Him for using us as His workers to preach the gospel of Truth. Indeed, all of us should be even more thankful to God for entrusting us with the work of proclaiming the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
 
 
We Are Compelled to Thank God for Giving Us Such Wonderful Blessings
 
Despite all our shortcomings, we have received the God-given salvation of the remission of sins to live with this Holy God. When we look at how God has seated us in the Kingdom of Heaven to put on its glory, we cannot help but thank Him. There is no doubt whatsoever that we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have received all these spiritual blessings of Heaven. This is all according to the providence of salvation that God purported for us, and it is His abundant blessing. I believe that all these blessings are the spiritual blessings of Heaven that God has bestowed on us out of His mercy. As those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we have no other way to express our joy but to give all our thanks to God for His blessings. Words cannot express just how rejoiced we are.
Our lives are now filled with God’s love, His grace of salvation, and His blessings. That’s why we thank God and praise Him for His love. Having thus received this grace of salvation by faith, we cannot doubt the faithfulness of God’s plan, nor can we ever object to God’s Word with our own thoughts. We can only thank God for fulfilling His plan for us. That’s because every aspect of His plan was flawless. So we cannot bring ourselves to doubt the perfect prescience of God’s plan even slightly. Now that we have been saved through the gospel of the water and the Spirit by believing in the love of God, all of us should devote the rest of our lives to God’s work.
As we know very well, it’s impossible for us to completely appreciate God’s blessings because our bodies have not been transformed yet. However, in our hearts we can still appreciate how wonderful it is that God has “made us sit together in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:6), for we believe in this Word of God. We give all thanks to God as we look at the abundance of His blessings, both the visible blessings that we can see with our naked eyes and experience right now and the future blessing sitting in Heaven that we can foresee by faith. What we yearn from God with our faith is to sit in Heaven together with Jesus Christ. Through faith, we can glimpse into this glorious life even if it’s only partially. If you imagine yourself living in a presidential palace, you can at least get some idea of what it means when the Bible says that God has seated us in Heaven. How would you feel if you were now living in a presidential palace? How would your life be if you were living in such a palace and enjoying all the presidential privileges? As ordinary people, we can’t even begin to imagine it.
Let me give you another example. A while ago, I had a chance to meet a colonel and preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to him. According to him, the rank of colonel is considered quite high in the military. But most civilians don’t think that colonels or even generals are that high. In the military, however, when someone is promoted to general, there are dozens of privileges that accompany this promotion. These privileges are so great that it would make you envious. To most civilians, a general may look like just another military man, since they don’t really know the importance of his position and the extent of his power. But those who know this hold generals in high regard. When one is promoted from colonel to general, practically everything is changed for him, from his status to his house, his car, his driver, and myriad of other things. That is why so many military officers try so hard to get promoted to general.
Our blessings are far greater than any generals or even presidents. When the Bible says here that God has “made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6), it is speaking of the blessings that you yourself have received as a saint and God’s worker. In other words, God is speaking of all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
As another way to appreciate what the Lord meant when He said to us that God has “made us sit in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:6), let’s think about the universe. According to scientists, the universe is so great that there are many, many more galaxies that lie beyond what we can ever observe with our eyes. Astronomers continue to discover new galaxies that have planetary systems that are very similar to our solar system. When we think of the universe, we usually think that the sun is in the center of the universe and all the stars and planets are circling around this sun. But scientists say that there are many more solar systems apart from our system even in our own galaxy, not to mention the other galaxies. Like this, just as the universe is beyond our comprehension, so is the dominion of Heaven beyond our imagination. As an everlasting realm that belongs to God, it’s impossible for us to comprehend this dominion of Heaven with our present knowledge.
If God has made His dominion in Heaven to seat us there, we should think about how glorious this place really is. And we should believe in its existence. When we look at the Milky Way in pictures or films, we are captivated by its mysterious and expansive beauty. If we imagine another galaxy prepared just for us, then we can appreciate just how glorious and amazing it is that God has seated us in Heaven. Since God said that He has seated us in Heaven together with Jesus Christ, it’s absolutely true that we will enjoy unimaginable glory and splendor. Of course, we can’t appreciate this fully yet, but that does not mean that it’s not real. It’s an undeniable fact that we can only appreciate it by faith.
 
 
God Has Blessed Us Despite Our Carnal Shortcomings
 
The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the gift that God has given to us out of His mercy. If we have been saved from all our sins by believing in this gospel of the water and the Spirit that constitutes the righteousness of Jesus Christ, then we will never fall into despair no matter what kind of hardship we face on this earth. That’s because beyond the God-given salvation, there are many great blessings awaiting us. So, even if the hardship that you face in this world makes you wonder why your life is so miserable, why you are so weak, and why you can’t be happy like everyone else, you should think about the Word of God saying that He has seated you in Heaven in Jesus Christ, remember the glory that God has given to you, and live with the unwavering assurance that the suffering you face on this earth cannot even be compared to the glory that you will enjoy in the future. It is only fitting for all of us to live by this kind of faith. It’s wonderful and blessed enough that we have been saved from all our sins by grace, that we are no longer ruled by the evil spirit, that we have escaped from our fundamental condition as the children of wrath, and that we have become God’s own people. But on top all these blessings; God has also seated us in Heaven to enjoy all its glory and splendor with Jesus Christ. So how could we not thank God? Indeed, it’s only a matter of course that we should all thank God and show our gratitude to Him by trusting in His Word.
Looking by faith towards the glory of Heaven that we will enjoy, all of us ought to thank God every day and every moment. How about you then? Are you also grateful to God for saving you from the sins of the world and bestowing you with His heavenly blessings? It’s a truly amazing blessing of God that we have been saved from the sins of the world. The salvation that you and I have received is so great because it has freed us from the evil spirit. Moreover, we have been moved from our accursed place that had destined us to be destroyed for our sins to the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. This is the evidence proving that we have received amazing blessings from God.
A few days ago, I saw a medical doctor holding a revival meeting in a certain church which was televised on a Christian channel. I am sure that most of you know him quite well, as he is rather famous in Korea and you are likely to have seen him many times. This doctor is an elder, considered by many as a good Christian. But his thoughts and faith are all confused.
In his testimony, this doctor spoke about a certain elder from another church who came to see him to seek treatment for cancer. So the doctor ran a few tests, and the diagnosis showed that the elder had no hope for survival as his cancer was already in its terminal stage. When the elder was informed that surgery was his only option, and that even this option was highly unlikely to succeed, he decided to forego the surgery and instead went to a prayer center to pray. What do you think this elder prayed about? It’s said that he prayed to God to allow him to enter Heaven, as he himself did not think he had enough faith or confidence to enter Heaven. Since he knew that he was going to die anyways, he prayed to God to allow him to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, rather than asking Him to heal him. This elder prayed like this because he knew himself that he had sin in his heart, and therefore there was no way he could enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Tormented by the fact that his heart was sinful, this elder prayed for many days, and in one of those days, he heard a certain voice. Apparently, he heard the voice of God telling Him to go to sleep and rest. When the elder heard God telling him to rest, he thought to himself, “I guess God is telling me that my time is up.” So the elder returned home with many conflicting emotions. After this, he went to see his doctor one day. Thinking that the elder’s cancer was getting worse, the doctor asked him how he was feeling, but the elder said to him that he had been to Heaven while praying.
There is more to this story, but what is important here is that most Christians’ faith is confused like this elder. How can any sinner go to Heaven, far less go there and return? A while ago, someone named Percy Collett published a book titled I Walked in Heaven with Jesus for 5 1/2 Days; this book caused a great deal of commotion in Christian communities. The author of this book claimed to have been to Heaven, and he also claimed that Jesus told him about the date of His Second Coming. As a result, many gullible people around the world were fooled by this man and waited for Jesus to return on the day he specified, but the Lord did not return on that day.
When we look at the faith of most Christians nowadays, we see that many of them believe in Jesus blindly like a hypnotized person. Yet these Christians do not even know that they are hypnotized. Just as some women can succumb to imaginary pregnancy, so many Christians nowadays have also succumbed to imaginary salvation from their own convictions. If a woman is desperate enough to get pregnant, it’s possible for her to show various signs of actual pregnancy including an enlarged abdomen and morning sickness, even though the woman is not really pregnant. Such symptoms of pregnancy appear because the woman is self-hypnotized by her intense desire to have a child. Like this, many Christians in this age and time show symptoms of imaginary salvation, indicating that they are spiritually confused and seized by evil spirits. Even though they all profess to believe in Jesus, because they are seized by these evil spirits, they can’t help but obey Satan and his deception and trickery. This is how Satan works on the sons of disobedience, and it is absolutely imperative that you defeat all such work of Satan by placing your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Paul said that a few intelligible words are better than thousands of words spoken in tongues that no one can understand (1 Corinthians 14:19). But today’s revivalists are leading their followers into madness by training them to speak in fake tongues. The false miracles of the flesh arise in those who do not believe in the righteousness of God. These things are completely useless as far as our deliverance from sin is concerned.
That is why it’s such a wonderful blessing of God that we have been saved from all our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even though we were the children of wrath by nature, thanks to the abundant love of God, we have all reached our salvation. This faith is most precious to us. The very fact that we have been saved by God’s mercy even though we were the children of wrath is in itself an amazing blessing, and we have received this blessing for free from God.
A popular song in Korea titled “Life” goes along the following line: “Life is ephemeral, with so little time on this earth.” Life on this earth is indeed insignificant. But everyone is still looking for something precious and eternal even today. It’s because we are everlasting creatures that we long for God’s love and search for eternal things; and it’s because we are in the likeness of the image of God that we yearn for the love of the everlasting remission of sins coming from God.
Yet because so many people in this world do not know the Truth, they can’t help but lament over the emptiness of their lives. However, all of them can solve away every problem of their lives when they encounter the gospel of the water and the Spirit and are born again by believing in this Truth of salvation. That we have found the righteousness of God through the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the evidence showing that we have met our everlasting Savior and received the blessing of everlasting life to sit on the place of God’s glory and forever enjoy all His riches and splendor. What an amazing and wonderful blessing is this God-given blessing? In our finite minds, we cannot even imagine the full extent of this love of God.
What is it that we long from God? It is the dominion of glory that we will all enjoy in the future. Sitting at the right hand of God the Father, Jesus Christ wants us to live with Him and enjoy His glory and splendor together with Him. That is why God our Father has blessed all of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, so that we would also be able to live such a glorious life. This is the blessing that God has given to us freely.
To know and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the most important thing for you and me alike. And after serving the gospel in this world for a short while, we will all go the Kingdom of God. So let us serve this gospel of Truth and preach it to every nation and generation until that day. Although we are joyful and happy to serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it’s also true that we face many struggles. Spiritually speaking, our greatest frustration is the fact that so many people do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I sometimes wish I could have been born a generation ago and begun my ministry earlier, as this present world would then have been filled with the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. However, it’s still very fortunate that we are preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit even now. All who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit preached by us now are receiving the remission of their sins. So even though we feel physically exhausted, we are still truly joyous. If the Lord gives us just a little bit more time, everyone in this world will be able to experience the gospel power of the water and the Spirit. Although most Christians nowadays still remain sinful as they believe only in Jesus’ blood on the Cross, all who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have received the remission of sins into their hearts from God, and they will also be glorified in His Kingdom. Soon, even more people will come to believe in this genuine gospel and confess, “The Lord has saved me from all my sins once and for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.”
God said in the Bible that when the end times come, He will pour the Holy Spirit on all His servants, both men and women alike. When we turn to the Word of God, we see Him saying that in the end times, He will grant the remission of sins to countless people through you and me with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And God said that by giving us the Holy Spirit, He has made us declare His Truth. My fellow believers, the Lord has made us preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit all over the world; and none other than this is the will of God for us.
It is absolutely imperative for all of us to serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit at all times. It’s fortunate enough that we are able to serve the Lord on this earth, but it is an even greater blessing that we will enjoy His glory in the future. We should therefore live out our faith in hope, looking forward to the Kingdom of Heaven that we will inherit. That we have such a wonderful hope while living in this world is a tremendous blessing. If we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit had no such a hope, then we would easily fall into despair discouraged by the harsh reality facing us. It is therefore very important for all of us to place our hope in God and to live with this hope.
We should remember here that before encountering the gospel of the water and the Spirit and reaching our salvation by the great love of God, we had all been the children of wrath by nature. Do you admit that you had been destined to hell? It’s extremely important for us to admit in our hearts that we had been the children of wrath by nature, and to ruminate or meditate on the gospel of Truth. Admit this in your heart. Admit that even though you were destined to hell, the Lord has saved you out of His great love. And recognize the fact that God has blessed us all to live in His Kingdom and enjoy all its glory and splendor.
Just as God revealed the Truth of salvation to the Apostle Paul so that he would spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the ages to come, so has God manifested this Truth of salvation to us so that we would also preach this genuine gospel to every nation and generation of this age. It’s for this purpose that God has revealed the real Truth of salvation to us through His Word. Thanks to the Word of God, we have come to know the real Truth of salvation. Having thus become God’s workers, we are now living for His righteousness. I believe that God has given us such a wonderful life to bless us, and all of us ought to share this faith.
My fellow believers, the gospel of the water and the Spirit has enabled us to have the power of the Son of God on this earth and receive His glory in the future, and we all believe in this true gospel with all our hearts. Do you realize what a wonderful blessing it is that we are living by the love of the Lord and His grace, that we know and believe in the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, and that we are preaching this precious gospel in our lives? All of us ought to realize this. As we believe in God’s grace and love, we give all our thanks to Him.
Hallelujah!