On November 17th this past year, Zach Dunlap was riding his ATV with his friends. While popping a wheelie at a very high speed, his ATV raced up behind one of his friends. As he lowered the front of his machine he realized it was too late – he was about to crash into his friend. He swerved to avoid his pal, but the ATV flipped over, and his head and face went smashing into the ground. 911 was called, he was rushed to the hospital, and to the horror of his parents, 21-year-old Zach was pronounced brain-dead. His parents were faced with the decision of when to pull the plug. This is where the story takes a sharp turn. Mike Celizic from the Todayshow.com writes, “Zack Dunlap doesn’t remember much from the day he died, but he does remember hearing a doctor declare him brain-dead. And he remembers being incredibly ticked off. “I’m glad I couldn’t get up and do what I wanted to do,” the strapping Oklahoman said in a soft drawl in an exclusive appearance on Monday on TODAY in New York.1
Wow! Could you imagine hearing yourself being pronounced dead?
Last week we discussed that one of the things it means to be LOST is that you are DEAD in sin. This week we will discuss a further aspect in that a LOST person is a follower of evil. Those who are dead are evil. It sounds too simplistic and quite judgmental but it comes straight from the text. Paul’s point is not to chastise the unbeliever but to emphasize the work God does to those who do believe – God makes alive the dead and to those who are evil God raises up to sit together with Christ. In other words, God completely transforms your destiny
The LOST walk away from God (Ephesians 2:2-3)
At the heart of what it means to be LOST is that the person “walks” [lives] in the opposite direction of God. Paul says they walk according to the course of the world, which is under Satan’s power. Rather than finding fulfillment and identity “in Christ” they find fulfillment in the ways of the world.
The way of the world is lust of flesh. Lust is an insatiable desire for something or someone that controls one’s thinking and actions. Its goal is to conquer, yet ironically once attain it never truly fulfills. Listen to what another person says regarding lust:
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17 Notice that love of the world and lust is fleeting, it passes away while finding fulfillment in God abides forever.
Illustration: If you have been to Washington D.C. before you know it is an extraordinary city with lots to see and do. The monuments and museums are pretty awe inspiring. There is one place in particular that is interesting… it’s the Washington Monument. It stands 555′ 5 1/8″ tall, an enormous feature along the national mall. However, as giant of a statue this is there is a place you can stand 20′ away from the monument and not even see it. Yep, that’s right just twenty feet away and you’ll completely miss it. It’s with your back turned away from it! Likewise, you can completely miss God, His unconditional love in Christ and the purpose of your life because you are walking away from Him with your back turned. Christ is calling you to turn around.
Illustration: When two or more persons get in a disagreement if they are unwilling to work it out what typically happens is one of the parties walks away. Likewise, a person who is an unbeliever is walking away from God in their life because they are not in agreement. The key to restoring the relationship is turning around to reconcile. This is called repentance.
The FOUND walk with God (Ephesians 2:4-6).
As mentioned in the last session, being in Christ is relational. Christianity is an invitation to live for AND more importantly, live WITH Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Paul says, God raised us up and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ. A believer is inseparably linked to Jesus, what happens to Him happens to the believer.
Colossians 2:6-7 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
John 14:17-18 “The world cannot accept [the Spirit of truth], because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
Illus: One of the most favorite things friends do is taking walks. Sometimes there is a destination while other times there is none. The point is walking together symbolizes a close relationship. Do you walk with God?
· Could you imagine hearing yourself being pronounced dead? How would you respond? What spiritual significance does this have?
· Why is walking away from God equated with walking with Satan?
· What lust do you struggle with? Why is lust equated with love of the world?
· How can you tell when a person is walking with God?
1 Story from an email devotional written by a friend, Jacques Rancourt