Hidden Secrets of The Walking Dead

If you’re into zombie apocalypses, then you’re in for a twist. We will be talking about the dead in this week’s Ephesians study, but probably not in the way Frank Darabont developed it in the television series, The Walking Dead. {For the record, I haven’t watched this show. In the Philippians study, I referenced Orange is the New Black and I’ve not seen that show either…which I transparently admitted. Thanks to a little Google in my life, I can write semi-intelligently about entertainment. I will say, if I ever write a Marvel super hero Bible study…look out. I will put Google to shame and you’ll be peanut butter and jealous of my useless knowledge.}

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 

-        Chapter 2 starts out with a reality check: don’t forget you were dead once. You had a dark ruler over your dead life (Satan) and you were a “walker” wandering around gratifying for yourself and saying “yes” to every craving of your flesh. In case you hadn’t figure it out: your soul kinda resembled a spiritual zombie.  

-        If you’ve walked with God for some time now, then you know how easily amnesia sets in. We can quickly forget what our life was like pre-Jesus. God knew we’d need a spiritual ginkgo biloba to help improve the love flow to the heart. He demonstrated this act of remembrance for us in Luke 22:19 during the Last Supper with His disciples: “…And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’”

-        F.B. Meyer wrote this in the early 1900s (long before Season 1 premier): “Evidently dead men may walk; that is, they may be dead to the eternal world but alive to this world, which is moving past like the films of a moving picture. The death of the spirit is compatible with much active interest in the course of this world. Behind the shifting scenes of the material is the great enemy of souls. As the Spirit of God works in the obedient, so does the evil spirit work in the disobedient. Note this trinity of evil-the course of this world, the lusts of our flesh, and the prince of the power of the air. If we desire to save men, we must be in living union with the all-conquering Spirit of Christ.

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

-        While we were nudged by Paul to call up our dark and deathly past, that dark thought shouldn’t haunt us because verse four begins with a critical conjunction: but. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Don’t fail to recall that you were once dead; but, don’t fall in the pit of the past either! Look up and fix your eyes on the Sacrifice. You were made alive!

-        If you ever want to dip your toe back into legalism and try to work for your salvation, verse eight should keep you out of that swift undercurrent: “For it is by grace you have been saved…this is not from yourselves…not by works…” #notyou

-        The word handiwork in verse 10 speaks of something made. Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” These words tell us that God literally made you – and you were designed for a purpose. That very purpose is spelled out in the latter part of verse 10: to do good works, which God prepared in advance for you to do. Last week we learned that it is God’s will for you to be sanctified (holy and set apart). So, now you know that you were (1) created by Him; (2) set apart for a special purpose; (3) a purpose which He prepared for you to do long ago. When we read it like this, it’s easier to see how God just requires a willing vessel. He can deal with the rest.

11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

-        Our human nature is to add the element of humanity to every imaginable situation. We like to throw a little dash of self-righteous performance in there, just for flavoring, ya know. But, we’re told plainly in these verses that we were once separate from Christ – completely excluded – and through the blood of Jesus Christ, we were brought near. I love that idea of nearness. I want to be in close proximity to God. We’re invited to be close to Him. James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Go near Him – you’re not too far away.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

-        In these days, there were Jews (God’s chosen Israelite people) and Gentiles (the rest of us). The Jews thought the Gentiles were dirty, and the Gentiles most likely felt the Jews were pompous with all of their rules and regulations. In reality, both the straight-laced Jews and the wild and crazy Gentiles shared a common need: redemption. God, in His brilliance, made the unimaginable play – He died for both sides and gave them a common pathway of full access.

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

-        Because of Christ’s redemptive action, you are no longer seen as a foreigner or outsider. You have been granted the same heavenly rights and blessings as the Israelites. That’s pretty stellar news.

-        Paul constructs in our minds this picture of the holy temple, which is the body of Christ. He goes on to explain that first and foremost, Christ is the cornerstone. Jesus establishes the base and is the ultimate and perfect reference to align our lives against. This cornerstone (Christ) determines the position of the entire structure and is completely sacred. As Christians, we must constantly evaluate and straighten ourselves in relation to the Cornerstone. This realignment process takes time, so we shouldn’t get discouraged because “being built together” doesn’t happen overnight. Rome wasn't built in a day, folks. We can find rest in 2 Corinthians 3:18, which assures us of this: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” From glory to glory, friends. You’re being changed from glory to glory. Amen.