Sermon outline: This is an abbreviated outline with the complete sermon downloadable at the bottom of the post.
Introduction: Paul warns the Ephesians about something that brings death.
Of all the truth expressed in Scripture, the truth found at the beginning of Ephesians 2 is the hardest for human beings to hear, believe, and accept. Here, in these first three verses of Ephesians 2, is the revelation of a truth so difficult for us to receive that the world immediately tends to discount it and water it down.
A. In trespasses
B. In sins
II. The Children of Disobedience
A. According to the course of this world
B. According to the Prince of the Power of the Air
III. The Children of Wrath
A. Lust of the flesh
B. Desires of the flesh
C. Desires of the mind
Conclusion: We are children of wrath, objects of God’s judgment—and with good reason. There is no amount of education, legislation, or remediation that can save us from this condition. We can rearrange the pattern but can’t change the basic problem. That is why humanity struggles endlessly to correct and redeem itself but never succeeds. We are born into this condition, and there is no way out except for trusting Christ as our personal Saviour.
Illustration: There is an old story about a lady who went to a photographer to have her picture taken. She was apprehensive about the picture wanting her best side facing the camera and everything just right. She said to the photographer, “Now, do me justice!”
The photographer took a look at her face and said, “Ma’am, pardon me for saying this, but you don’t need justice, you need mercy!”
The human condition is universal. No one escapes. It isn’t a matter of race or gender, political persuasion, or economic status. There is no escape whatsoever—except two little words: “But God.”
That is the sudden glimmer of hope that breaks in upon us in the next verse, Ephesians 2:4. I didn’t want to close this study without giving you a peek into the next verse to see that while, in our natural state, we are dead and without hope, we have good news that begins with two words: “But God.”
Paul knows it is important that we first understand the depths from which we have come, the condition of death from which we need to be released. That condition is still present in our Christian lives whenever we choose not to act upon the available resources of Jesus Christ within us. But the unsaved literally have no hope without God. This knowledge should motivate us to share Christ with those who are not just dying, but are dead apart from Him.
Those two words, “But God,” echo in our ears and bring us hope of a wonderful life beyond this condition of death into which we were born. Yes, we all were the children of death, the children of wrath, and the children of disobedience. Yes, we are dead in our transgressions and sins. But God . . .!