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Ephesians 2:1-3

“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil — the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.”

Behind the Scenes

This week in our Everyday Evangelism series, we’re looking at what it means to be separated from God and how we can use that to help our unbelieving friends and family see what that means to them in this world.

Because we live in a fallen world, we all fall under the original sin by Adam and Eve in the garden — we are all born sinful. Ok, I know that sounds pretty harsh. When you look at a new-born babe, I’m sure you’re not thinking that they are sinful (although by the time they’re two, you may be convinced), but it is just the world we live in. The good news is that God had a plan right from the start — a plan of redemption for all who would choose Him.

We see in Genesis 3 that as soon as Adam and Eve sinned, they saw they were naked, and they hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God. In that moment, they were separated from God —- hiding themselves in their shame. And so we, falling under the guilt of this original sin, are separated from God (Romans 5:12).

Our verse today says we were dead because of our disobedience. The Greek word for dead is nekros, which means destitute of force or power, inactive, inoperative. Hmm, interesting. The Greek word for disobedience is paraptoma, which means a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness. So, when we stray outside of, or deviate from truth and uprightness (God), we are powerless, inoperative. Before we surrendered to Jesus, we were “following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature.”

One of the craziest things about this is that without God, we would never even know we were separated from Him. Wait, what? Say that again…without God calling and wooing us to Him, we would never even know that we were living outside of His right way. So really, He could just shake the dust of us off of Himself and move on — leave us powerless and destitute. But the truth is, He loves us too much for that. He has placed a void and a longing inside every person for Him. But God is also a gentleman — He will not force Himself on any of us. While He places the empty space in us and calls us to Him, He lets us decide if we will enter into relationship with Him.

Make it Real

One of the saddest things to me is when people say, “I need to fix some things before I can accept Jesus. I need to get better.” If we were all to wait until we were “good enough,” none of us — NOT ONE — would ever be saved. There is nothing any of us has done, can do, or will do that could ever qualify us to be in the presence of God. Thank You, Jesus, that it has nothing to do with what I have done, am doing, or will do and everything to do with what YOU did! You defeated the enemy and the victory is already ours for the taking. We just need to take it. We need to say “Yes” to Your offer of grace and mercy.

And friends, here’s the hard part — unless we accept His free gift with open hands, we will be forever separated from the One who loves us most — destitute, powerless, imprisoned by our own fleshly desires, stuck in never-ending cycles of striving only to fall short. But how do we express that to our friends, families, and acquaintances? How do we, in all our own weaknesses, show them how very tragic eternal separation from God would be?

That’s a great question, and I’m not sure I have the answer. But what I do have, as a believer in the One True God, is His power. In 2 Peter 1:3 we see, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.” And we also know that from 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

Trusting in Him. Resting in Him. Turning to Him. That is what we can do for our unbelieving friends and families — give them to God. And then, instead of speaking and preaching, just show them what it looks like to be in relationship with Him. Love them like He loves them.

End in Prayer

Father God, I have no power apart from You. In fact, I have nothing and am nothing apart from You. Give us the right words and actions to show those around us what life in freedom with You is like. Help us to plant the seeds that You will water. Help us to love like You love. For Your honor and Your glory in the precious name of Jesus! AMEN!

Written by

Colleen McGeorge

ACF Groups Coordinator