11 December 2006
Once Dead Now Alive Sermon Notes
Our Condition: dead
Romans 6:16 (NASB95)
16Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
Romans 6:21 (NASB95)
21Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.
Romans 6:23 (NASB95)
23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 7:5 (NASB95)
5For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.
The verse that best sums up what it means to be spiritually dead is this:
‘the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned’ (1 Cor 2:14).
They are dead to God and insensitive to Him, but full of life toward everything contrary to the law or the holiness of God.
We were dead, all of us; and yet we were not all like on another. Death may be universal over a certain number of bodies, and yet those bodies may look very different. The dead that lie on the battle-field, torn of dogs or kites, rotting, corrupting in the sun, what a horrible sight! The corpse looks like life still; yet is your beloved one in the coffin as dead as the mangled bodies on the battle-field. Corruption has not yet done its work, and tender care has guarded the body as yet from what will surely come to it; yet is there death, sure, complete death, in the one case as well as in the other.
So we have many who are lovely, amiable, morally admirably, like him whom the Savior looked upon and loved; yet they are dead for all that. We have others who are drunken, profane, unchaste; they are dead, not more dead than the others; but their death has left its terrible traces more plainly visible.
But dead we were, most certainly. Even though trained by godly parents, though well instructed in the gospel scheme, though saturated with the piety that surrounded us, we were dead, as dead as the harlot of the street, as dead as the thief in the jail.
Our Conduct: under sway of world, flesh and devil
Those who are spiritually dead are under the sway of the world, the Devil, and the flesh:
Regarding their domination by the world, he says in the first part of verse 2, “in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world.” The word translated “world” (kosmos) is used 186 times in the Greek New Testament, and virtually every instance has an evil connotation.
DEFINITION: To be of the world is life lived apart from God, in attitude and action. It is an attitude towards everything, towards God, towards ourselves, and towards life in this world; to be of the world is to view all these things apart from God.
To be of the world—and this is repeated by the apostles—means that we are governed by the mind and the outlook and the way of this world in which we live.
Paul describes the Devil as “the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (v. 2). Satan is described in Scripture as “the prince of this world” (John 12:31), “the prince of demons” (Matthew 9:34), and, a sobering title, “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4). This Devil dominates and energizes the spiritually dead.
“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature [the flesh] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath” (v. 3). The dead are corrupted from within too.
. The general description is ‘the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life’ (1 Jn 2:16), and that is a perfect analysis.
Bunyan described it all in his picture of Vanity Fair:
Then I saw in my dream, that when they were got out of the wilderness, they presently saw a town before them, and the name of that town is Vanity; and at the town there is a fair kept, called Vanity Fair: it is kept all the year long; it beareth the name of Vanity Fair, because the town where it is kept is lighter than vanity; and also because all that is there sold, or that cometh thither, is vanity. As is the saying of the wise, “All that cometh is vanity” (Eccl. 1; 2:11, 17; 11:8; Isa. 40:17).
This fair is no new-erected business, but a thing of ancient standing; I will show you the original of it.
Almost 5,000 years agone, there were pilgrims walking to the Celestial City as these two honest persons are: and Beelzebub, Apollyon, and Legion, with their companions, perceiving by the path that the pilgrims made, that their way to the city lay through this town of Vanity, they contrived here to set up a fair; a fair wherein should be sold all sorts of vanity, and that it should last all the year long: therefore at this fair are all such merchandise sold, as houses, lands, trades, places, honours, preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms, lusts, pleasures, and delights of all sorts, as whores, bawds, wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones, and what not. And, moreover, at this fair there is at all times, to be seen juggling, cheats, games, plays, fools, apes, knaves, and rogues, and that of every kind.
Condemnation—under wrath and liable to judgment
Colossians 3:6-7 (NASB95)
6For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote:
Let us make no mistake about this. If you and I go out of this life belonging to the world, and of the world, we have nothing to look forward to but wrath. I do not know if you can tell me of a sadder statement in Scripture than John 17:9: ‘I pray not for the world.’ Those who are of the world are under the wrath of God until they come out of that position, until they believe in Christ and until they are saved and reconciled to God. He does not pray for them, they are just left, and it is an appalling thing to think that people who go out like that go to nothing but the wrath of God. Oh the folly of being of the world! For, as John tells us, the world passes away and the lust thereof. Is it not astounding that everybody does not realize that? Let us pay heed to the warning of things that happen. The world is passing away. Your pride in your appearance, in your life and position, all you have and what you are, my friend, is decaying and rotting even as you are boasting of it. And a day will come when it will be useless and your naked soul will be there alone. ‘The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever’ (1 Jn 2:17).
Saved by Grace: BUT GOD (Divine Initiative and Intervention)
God has called us
out of death and into life (John 5:24-25),
out of darkness and into light (1 Pet. 2:9),
out of Satan’s kingdom and into the kingdom of his Son (Col. 1:13),
out of shame and into his wonderful glory (1 Pet. 5:10).
Salvation is initiated by God:
For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:3–5)
Jesus: He is full of grace.
Phil and Darlene Johnson joined Royale and me on a visit to Hampton Court. There we saw among this grand place, the King’s Chambers. The entrance to these chambers brought us into a large gathering room with a grand staircase, rising up to meet the king. The walls were lined with huge murals meant to impose and astound. The top of the stairs opened into a large guards quarters, surrounded by weapons. One could feel the strength of these images of grandeur, wealth, prestige and power.
Are you dressed properly? Do you carry the right credentials? Is your business pertinent? Do you deserve to demand the king’s presence?
But think of the Lord in his exalted place. Higher and higher we go, until all human ability to connect departs and we are left speechless, with no mental capacity to take in the vastness of God’s glory. Awe, wonder, are all we can say of that grandeur.
Dare we go in? Are we dressed correctly? No, all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags in His sight. Are we positioned well enough? No, we are a son of Adam, who disobeyed at the first and ran from His presence when invited back. Are we powerful enough? Only a fool would think that possible. And so here we are, outside. Outside where we deserve.
But wait, what is this? A message from the king….In its first statement, it calls “Sinner, Come In!” O, that is a hopeful sound! A sinner can come in. But what about me?
Then, by the mercy, here the words change---Chris, Dave, Sheila, Sue, Bob—we are called by name. “Come in.”
How did this entrance happen—through the death of Christ, bearing your punishment. Through His blood which stands as the basis for your forgiveness.
He is set forth as betrayed, apprehended, condemned, spit on, scourged, buffeted, mocked, crowned with thorns, crucified, pierced with nails and a spear,
to save the soul from being betrayed by the devil and sin;
to save it from being apprehended by justice, and condemned by the law;
to save it from being spit on, in a way of contempt, by holiness; to save it from being scourged with guilt of sins, as with scorpions;
to save it from being continually buffeted by its own conscience;
to save it from being mocked at by God;
to save it from being crowned with ignominy and shame for ever;
to save it from dying the second death;
to save it from wounds and grief for ever.
Do you understand? He wrestled with justice, that you might have rest; He wept and mourned, that you might laugh and rejoice; He was betrayed, that you might go free; was apprehended, that you might escape; He was condemned, that you might be justified; and was killed, that you might live; He wore a crown of thorns, that you might wear a crown of glory; and was nailed to the cross, with His arms wide open, to show with what freeness all His merits shall be bestowed on the coming soul; and how heartily He will receive it into His bosom?
(3) Salvation brings a new orientation. We now enjoy the things of God, rejoicing in his glory, preferring his people, affirming his laws, and seeking his counsel.
We should in our conversation adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
It is a great word of the apostle, “Only let your daily living be as it becomes the gospel of Christ,” which is the gospel of the grace of God (Phil 1:27). God expects that there should in our whole life be a fragrance of the gospel, or that in our life among men there should be preached to them the grace of the gospel of God.