Our sermon notes from this morning:
Theme: Rooted in the Spirit of Promise
Text: Ephesians 1:12-14
How do we know we’re not only saved but safe? We’re secure, sealed. Salvation is of the Lord – it’s a gift. Eph. 2:8-9. We cannot be saved by grace yet kept by works – God keeps us, we don’t keep ourselves. God has a very specific vocabulary He uses when He discusses our eternal security.
In ancient times, the word seal meant a very specific thing to believers in Ephesus. We might think of a sea-lion, the lid of a jar, a gasket in a car. However, there are three Biblical implications of the word seal:
- An official notarisation of a transaction – it’s officially finished. Like a business transaction: God took all of the sins on your account (lust, gossip, greed, habit etc) and placed it all on His Christ’s account. He paid it for us, in full. There’s no balance owing. Not only that, God takes the righteousness of Jesus Christ and places that on our account.What describes the entrance requirements to get into heaven? Perfection. Nothing imperfect can enter heaven, so we need to be made perfect if we’re to have a hope of getting in. Being “a good person” is not the same as being perfect, righteous. Since we can’t hope to achieve perfection by ourselves, we need to get it somewhere else. Only one person has it, and only He can afford it. His death is the price, and He paid it. His life is the perfection we need – He gave His own perfection so that we could have it. We don’t deserve His gift, but He gives us freely.
It’s simple enough for a child to believe and receive, yet so deep that we can never fully grasp the extent of it. God no longer sees us as a wicked, filthy sinner. He sees us clothed in the righteousness of Christ. When God sees us as perfect, that doesn’t mean we are perfect here on earth. It refers to our legal standing before God. We count as righteous because of this transaction, despite our lack of personal righteousness. We receive Christ’s righteousness – both as a garment and a heart’s change. He seals the transaction with His Holy Spirit in our lives, changing and leading us into perfection.
- A signification of ownership – a seal on goods or livestock that shows who it belongs to. This allows the goods to be told apart from others, recognised as belonging to its owner. It allows disputes over ownership to be settled easily. In the same way, we are sealed – branded – marked as belonging to Him, not the devil. Job 1:8 – Satan asked God for permission to afflict Job. Job belonged to God and was surrounded by a “hedge” of God’s protection. Nothing could happen to Job without God’s permission.The Holy Spirit is the seal: He has a number of roles – comforter, corrector etc; He marks us as belonging to God.
- A seal on a letter, box, grave – something to be kept shut until the appointed time – Eph. 4:30 – we are sealed unto the day of redemption. Protected from prying eyes, kept safe.One of these days, God’s going to redeem our bodies by taking us to heaven. He’s already redeemed our souls at salvation. We see an example in Rev. 7:4 – 144000 Jewish evangelists to spread the gospel to the lost. Later in Revelation we see how God seals (protects) them and makes them safe until the appointed time, to do their job.Eph. 1:14 “Earnest of our inheritance”: “there’s more to come” – it’s a down payment. This down payment promises us:
- A new home in heaven
- A new body – fixed, healthy and perfect
- A new city – no crime, no taxes, no locks on the doors
- Glad reunions with friends and loved ones
- Eternal joy Rev. 21 – no more tears, sorrow, crying, dying, sighing, sickness, pain, bills, debt, hatred, fear in heaven
- Eternal fellowship with Christ
1 John 5:13 “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life”
The Holy Spirit lets us know that we have a future in heaven waiting for us, and allows us to be sure of that.