Without a relationship with Jesus, we are the walking dead — dead on the inside, emotionally and spiritually — in sin.
• Death is more universal than life. Everyone dies, BUT! not everyone lives.
Ephesians 2:1-5 MSG
It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ.
John 10:10 ESV
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
When you encounter Jesus and realize that He’s the Way, the Truth, and the Life, everything changes.
• You don’t become dead IN sin but dead TO sin.
Romans 6:11 NIV
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
• Dead to sin means you’re dead to the love for and pervasive power of sin.
• Sin doesn’t hold us back.
Colossians 2:13-14 NLT
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.
• Paul knew what it meant to be dead in sin. In Acts 9 he had his conversion. In Acts 7, he stoned an apostle named Stephen.
Acts 8:3 NLT
But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.
• When you encounter Jesus, your plans, passions, and priorities change.
TWO THINGS THAT SHIFT WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER JESUS:
1) YOUR PURPOSE
• Paul’s purpose went from destroying the church and people’s lives to building the church and people’s lives.
• Nothing might change on the outside at first BUT! how you react to things changes.
Ephesians 2:10 NLT
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
• There’s purpose in your job, friendships, personality, et cetera. You were created on purpose, for a purpose.
2 Corinthians 11:23-29 MSG
Are they servants of Christ? I can go them one better. (I can’t believe I’m saying these things. It’s crazy to talk this way! But I started, and I’m going to finish.) I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time. I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. And that’s not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches. When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones. When someone is duped into sin, an angry fire burns in my gut.
• Paul became passionate about his purpose.
2) YOUR PERSPECTIVE
• Paul’s purpose shifted because his perspective shifted. Your purpose is shaped by your perspective.
• Some people have a warped perception of who Jesus is. Jesus isn’t angry or disappointed in you. He’s not just a good man or some ancient magician.
Ephesians 3:18-19 TNIV
…may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
• When you see Jesus for who He really is, He begins to ignite your purpose.
Philippians 3:8 NIV
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ…
• Nothing compares — not money, success, fame, or relationships