Pastor James J. Barker

Text: EPHESIANS 2:1-10


  1. As a pastor, my emphasis has always been on getting people saved. I realize that there are other things to preach about and I try to preach from all the books of the Bible.
  2. However, the most important thing is getting people converted. After they are converted, they should be baptized and they should be discipled.
  3. And then they should be going out and getting other people saved. I think our church has failed to a great extant in this regard. Our text today deals with Bible conversion. I emphasize Bible conversion, i.e. genuine conversion because a lot of what is going on today is not real Bible salvation. It is fake; it is a counterfeit.



    1. Paul starts off by saying that before we were quickened we were "dead in trespasses and sins" (2:1). According to the Bible all unsaved people are "dead in trespasses and sins."
    2. This means that:
      1. They are separated from God – death means separation.
      2. They are unable to understand or appreciate spiritual things. They may not feel dead, but according to the Bible they are spiritually dead.
    1. A preacher once preached a strong message on the heavy burden of sin and after the service a young man started teasing him. The young man said: "How heavy is sin? I don’t feel it!" The preacher replied: "The other day I preached a funeral. If I were to walk over to the casket and place a heavy weight on the dead man’s chest, do you think he would feel it?"
    2. Even our fundamental churches are filled with dead people. Bro. McCoy said to our people: "Some of you are DOA" – He was right!
    3. Back in 1920, the head of the JW cult, Judge Rutherford, traveled across the country giving a lecture entitled, "Millions Now Living Will Never Die." A fundamental evangelist responded to his errors by preaching a message entitled, "Millions Now Living Are Already Dead."
    4. Being quickened (2:1,5) means being born again, being regenerated. The unsaved man needs to be born again because he is walking "according to the course of this world…" (2:2).
    5. "Children of disobedience" (2:2) means people who just won’t do right. They refuse to obey God. They attend church whenever they feel like it; they do not tithe; they do not read the Bible; they live only for themselves.
    6. To them, the Lord Jesus Christ is not the Lord of lords and King of kings – they are!
    7. The great evangelist, George Whitefield, caused a big stir in his day when he said that the unconverted man is half-beast and half-devil. I think he was being kind. The unconverted man is about 90% devil!
    8. Notice in 2:3, Paul switches from "ye" (meaning "ye Gentiles" – cf. 2:11-14) to "we," meaning that "we all had our conversation (lifestyle, behaviour) in times past in the lusts of our flesh and of the mind…" The great apostle Paul, who was a "Pharisee of the Pharisees" was a wicked child of wrath just like these pagan Gentiles.
    9. He was "by nature" a child of wrath, led astray by man’s three great enemies – the world (2:2), the flesh (2:3), and the devil (2:2).



    1. In verses 4 and 5 we see God’s mercy, love and grace. We are not saved by our good works (2:8,9). Yet most people (even many who claim to be Christians) think they can get to heaven by baptism, keeping the ten commandments, joining a church, or some other good works.
    2. God "is rich in mercy" (2:4) and we are saved "according to His mercy" (Titus 3:5).
    3. God loved us enough to enough to send Jesus to die for us (John 3:16; Rom.5:8; I John 3:16; 4:9,10). It is not God’s love that saves us, but His grace (Eph.2:8). God’s "great love" (2:4) was demonstrated at Calvary.
    4. A benevolent person gave Rowland Hill, an English pastor, a hundred pounds to dispense to a poor preacher a bit at a time, thinking it was too much to send all at once. Rowland Hill forwarded five pounds in an envelope, with only these three words in the note, "More to follow." In a few days, the man received another letter with five pounds and the same message, "more to follow." A day or two later came a third, then a fourth, then the fifth – all with the same note: "more to follow." Finally, the entire sum had been received and the encouraged preacher was made familiar with these wonderful words, "more to follow."
    5. This is God’s grace – "the exceeding riches of His grace" (Eph.2:7).
    6. We "are saved" (2:5,9), not "may be saved" or "might be saved" or "trying to be saved" or "hope to be saved" or even "will be saved."
    7. And how are we saved? "Through faith" (2:8). C.H. Spurgeon said, "It is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee; it is Christ. It is not thy hope in Christ that saves thee; it is Christ. It is not even thy faith in Christ, though that be the instrument; it is Christ’s blood that saves thee."
    8. The RCC teaches one is saved by faith plus works. This is a false teaching which has led countless millions of souls to hell (cf. Rom.11:6).
    9. According to the Bible, if it were possible to be saved by works, then Christ died in vain (Gal.2:21).



    1. Sometimes in our preaching and teaching, we strongly emphasize salvation by grace, and some people misinterpret this to mean that works are unimportant.
    2. On the contrary, we should be "zealous of good works" (Titus 2:11-14).
    3. Good works are part of God’s plan – they are not the root of salvation, but the fruit of salvation; not the price of salvation, but the proof of salvation.
    4. Good works are evidence that a person has been genuinely converted (cf. James 2:14-20,26).
    5. Peter said that our Lord "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38). His followers ought to do the same.


  1. The book of Ephesians teaches us that God has a plan for Christians, and this plan involves "good works" (2:10).
  2. We need to get busy "walking in them."
  3. I am certain that God’s plan for us is to do whatever it takes to get this building and fix it up. Let’s get busy.

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