April 2, 2017 – Ephesians 2:1-3

Lesson Date: April 2, 2017

Focal Scripture Passage: Ephesians 2:1-3

AIM: To lead students to discover and describe the spiritual characteristics of lost people, and to respond to these truths by either (1) thanking God for their salvation, (2) asking Jesus Christ to save them, or (3) planning to take the gospel to a lost friend.


Before class: Read the notes on Ephesians 2:1-3 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the following scripture references on index cards or small pieces of paper: John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11; Romans 4:17; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 2:13; 1 John 3:14. Enlist some volunteers who are comfortable reading aloud to look up the verses and be prepared to read them when called upon.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Read the following to the class:

“One day a young boy came up and pounded on my office door. When I opened the door, I saw he was breathless and crying. He said, ‘Are you the Reverend? Are you the Reverend?’ When I answered yes, he said, ‘Come on. Please hurry.’ I ran after him for a block or two, and we went into a house. A young woman was standing inside, weeping uncontrollably. She said, ‘My baby is dead! My baby is dead!’ Lying on a bed was the limp body of her three-month old infant. She had tried to revive him, and nothing I could do proved to be of help. He showed no sign of life. The mother caressed the baby, kissed it, spoke to it, and cried tears over its little head. But the child made no response. When the ambulance crew arrived they tried desperately to get the child breathing, but to no avail. He was dead, and nothing anyone could do had an effect or could bring any response. There was no life there to respond, not even to the powerful love of a mother.”

“That is the way of spiritual death as well. A person who is spiritually dead has no life by which he can respond to spiritual things, much less live a spiritual life. No amount of love, care, and words of affection … can draw a response. A spiritually dead person is alienated from God and therefore alienated from life. He has no capacity to respond. As the great Scottish commentator John Eadie said, ‘It is a case of death walking.’ Men apart from God are spiritual zombies, the walking dead who do not know they are dead. They go through the motions of life, but they do not possess it.”[1]

Tell the students today’s lesson is about the spiritual characteristics of lost people. Write the words “Spiritual Characteristics of Lost People” across the top of the marker board or chalkboard. Number from 1-4 below that heading.



  1. Review.
    • Remind the class that Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesian believers while he was a prisoner in Rome (locate Rome and Ephesus on the map).
    • In Ephesians 1 we learned that if we are saved God the Father Planned our salvation, God the Son Purchased our salvation, and God the Holy Spirit Protects our salvation.
    • Ask students to tell any ways God’s resurrection power enabled them to handle their struggles this week.
  2. Lost People are Spiritually Dead.
    • Remind the class that the Apostle Paul was writing to saved people. In these verses he reminded them what their lives were like before they were saved.
    • Read Ephesians 2:1.
    • Ask: “What does this verse say they were?” (dead in trespasses and sins).
    • Ask everyone to recall for a moment what their lives were like before they were saved.
    • Read Ephesians 2:5.
    • Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read Romans 4:17; 2:5; Colossians 2:13; and 1 John 3:14.
    • Ask: “What do these verses tell us about the spiritual condition of lost people?” (they are spiritually dead).
    • Beside the number 1 on the board write “Lost People are Spiritually Dead.”
    • Explain that spiritually dead people – like physically dead people – cannot understand spiritual truth (see 1 Cor. 2:14), exercise faith (see 2:8), or do anything to save themselves (see Eph. 2:9).
  3. Lost People are Controlled and Empowered by the Devil.
    • Read Ephesians 2:2.
    • Ask: “According to this verse, who controls and empowers lost people?” (the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who works in the children of disobedience).
    • Ask: “Who do you think these descriptions refer to?” (the devil).
    • To prove this point, ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11; and 2 Corinthians 4:4.
    • Explain that the descriptions “prince of this world,” “god of this world,” and “prince of the power of the air” all refer to Satan – the devil.
    • Beside the number 2 on the board write: “Lost People are Controlled and Empowered by the Devil.”
    • Ask everyone to look back at Ephesians 2:2.
    • Explain that the word worketh literally means “energizes.” Just as the Energizer Bunny is energized and powered by the battery in his back, lost people are energized and powered by Satan.
    • Tell the class that unsaved people live like the world and the devil because the devil inspires and energizes their actions.
  4. Lost People are Motivated by the Lusts of Their Flesh.
    • Read Ephesians 2:3.
    • This letter was written to saved people, but Paul reminded them that they were all once lost. Everyone who is saved was previously lost – no one was born a Christian.
    • Explain that the word conversation refers to one’s lifestyle or behavior.
    • Ask: “According to this verse, what was our lifestyle motivated or driven by before we were saved?” (the lusts of our flesh and the desires of our flesh and of our mind).
    • Beside the number 3 on the board write: “Lost People are Motivated by the Lusts of Their Flesh.”
    • Stress the fact that no matter how cultured, polite, self-disciplined, or proper a lost person may appear, his greatest motivation in life is to please himself.
  5. Lost People are by Nature the Children of Wrath.
    • Read Ephesians 2:3 again.
    • Direct everyone’s attention to the last phrase of the verse (following the semicolon).
    • Ask: “What was our nature before we were saved?” (we were children of wrath – in other words, objects of God’s wrath).
    • Beside the number 4 on the board write: “Lost People are by Nature the Children of Wrath.”
    • Tell the class that unless a lost person repents of his or her sin and receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, he or she will remain under God’s wrath forever.
    • The Bible makes it clear, however, that saved people are no longer objects of God’s wrath (see 1 Thess. 1:10 and 5:9).


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Say: One of the first indications of physical death is the body’s inability to respond to stimulus, no matter what it might be. A dead person cannot react. He no longer responds to light, sound, smell, taste, pain, or anything else. He is totally insensitive.[2]

Use the list on the board to review what we have learned today about the spiritual characteristics of lost people. Your list should look like this:

  1. Lost People are Spiritually Dead
  2. Lost People are Controlled and Empowered by the Devil
  3. Lost People are Motivated by the Lusts of Their Flesh
  4. Lost People are by Nature the Children of Wrath

Ask: “How should we respond to these truths?” Allow time for responses, and then tell the class there are three main responses:

  • If you are saved, you should thank the Lord for saving you.
  • If you are lost and want to be saved, you should confess your sins to God and ask Him to save you right now.
  • If you are saved and know someone else who is lost, you should pray for that person and tell him or her how to be saved.

NOTE: This fits perfectly with our “Big Invite” emphasis and our “5 for 5” prayer sheet. We want unsaved persons to come to Easter services so we can encourage them to “Start Your New Beginning.”


Encourage everyone to respond as they should. Make yourself available to talk to anyone about salvation after class or later in the day. Lead a closing prayer of thanksgiving and commitment.


CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Ephesians 2:1. Encourage the students to pray specifically for lost people they know.

[1] MacArthur’s New Testament Commentary: Ephesians, Copyright © 1986 by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc.

[2] MacArthur’s New Testament Commentary: Ephesians

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