James J. Barker

Lesson 6

Text: EPHESIANS 2:1-10


  1. The words “quicken” and “quickened” occur 20 times in the Bible.  It means, “to make alive” (cf. Eph. 2:1, 5).
  2. Psalm 119:50 says, “For thy word hath quickened me.”
  3. Psalm 119:193 says, “I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.”
  4. In fact, out of the 20 times the word “quicken” (or “quickened”) is found in the Bible, 12 are in Psalm 119.
  5. As a pastor, it is evident to me that the vast majority of people in this community are spiritually dead.
  6. Therefore, my emphasis has always been on getting people saved.  Dead sinners need to be quickened by the Spirit of God.  I realize that there are other things to preach about and I try to preach from all the books of the Bible.
  7. However, the most important thing is getting people converted.  After they are converted, they should be baptized and they should be discipled.
  8. 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.
  9. Our text tonight 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:

    A.  They are separated from God – death means separation.

    B.  They are unable to understand or appreciate spiritual things.  They may not feel dead, but according to the Bible they are spiritually dead.

  3. 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?”
  4. Even our fundamental churches are filled with dead people.
  5. 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.”
  6. 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).
  7. “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.
  8. To them, the Lord Jesus Christ is not the Lord of lords and King of kings – they are!
  9. 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!
  10. 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.
  11. 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. 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.”
  3. God “is rich in mercy” (2:4) and we are saved “according to His mercy” (Titus 3:5).  “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5).
  4. God loved us enough to enough to send Jesus to die for us (John 3:16).
  5. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
  6. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us” (I John 3:16).
  7. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (I John 4:9, 10).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.”
  10. This is God’s grace – “the exceeding riches of His grace” (Eph. 2:7).
  11. We “are saved” (2:5, 9), not “may be saved,” or “might be saved,” or “trying to be saved,” or “hope to be saved.”
  12. Second Timothy 1:19 says God “hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace.”
  13. We are saved by grace “through faith” (2:8).
  14. The RCC teaches one is saved by faith plus works.  This is a false teaching which has led countless millions of souls to hell.
  15. “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. (Rom. 11:6).
  16. According to the Bible, if it were possible to be saved by works, then Christ died in vain.  “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead 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.
  6. There are some churches which actually teach you can live like a devil and still go to heaven!  A deacon in a church in Pittsburgh, PA recently said a deranged murderer, who went into a gym and killed three women, and then turned the gun on himself, went to heaven.

DOES ETERNAL SECURITY MEAN “BELIEVING” MASS MURDERERS ARE SAVED (David Cloud, Friday Church News Notes, August 14, 2009, In his blogs, mass murderer George Sodini claimed that he was taught in church that “you can commit mass murder then still go to heaven” (“LA Fitness shooter once attended Plum’s Tetelestai church,” Tarentum Valley News Dispatch, Pittsburgh, August 6, 2009). On August 4 Sodini opened fire on women in a fitness center, killing three and wounding nine before turning the gun on himself. He claimed to have attended Tetelestai Christian Church in Pittsburgh for 13 years. The senior pastor of this church, Alan Rick Knapp, was ordained by R.B. Thieme, Jr., retired pastor of Berachah Church of Houston, Texas. Thieme taught many unique heretical doctrines, including that believers cannot understand the Bible on their own and that it is a waste of time to study the Bible without a teacher. Thieme does not emphasize properly the fact that genuine salvation is a life-changing event and that those who do not give biblical evidence thereof are not true believers. One of Thieme’s doctrines is “Rebound.” A former member of his church observes, “Rebound, at its core, is a completely false notion. ‘Rebound and keep moving’ gave thousands of Berachans free reign to have affairs, take the Lord’s name in vain, and sin with wild abandon. Confess it in the morning, get back in the club, and move on...” (“Interesting Former Thiemite Testimony, July 23, 2008,…Jack Rickard, a deacon at Tetelestai church, told the press that Sodini is in heaven because “professing a faith in Jesus as Saviour means you will have complete eternal salvation” (“Once Saved, Always Saved,” Valley News Dispatch, Aug. 8, 2009). Rickard is wrong. While the Bible does teach that the true believer in Christ has eternal life, it also warns frequently that many who profess Christ are not genuinely saved. There is a serious difference between profession and possession. “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16). That is a fitting epitaph for George Sodini, whose blog was filled with cursing, moral filthiness, bitter rage, and murderous hatred.


  1. We are not only saved from the penalty of sin, but the power of sin.
  2. The book of Ephesians teaches us that God has a plan for Christians, and this plan involves “good works” (2:10).
  3. We need to get busy “walking in them.”

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