THE SEAL OF THE SPIRIT
Text: John 1:29-34
Once we have been baptized, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit. That is one of the things that the Bible tells us concerning Baptism. What does it mean to be sealed by the Holy Spirit? That is what we are going to focus on this morning.
There are a lot of documents that are of no value without a seal. A diploma, a deed, a will, a title and other documents are useless unless they have a seal. A notary uses his or her seal to validate documents. When I was in college, I had to have a student ID card made. It had my signature and my picture on it. However, until validated, meaning that my tuition was paid, it was useless. When it was validated, it would have a sticker attached that said, "validated." That is what our baptism is and does, it is God’s stamp. What does this seal mean, concerning Baptism?
GOD HAD PLACED HIS SEAL ON JESUS.
One of the roles that John the Baptizer had was to be the forerunner of the Messiah. John was to lead people to repentance. "John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins" (Mark 1:4 NKJV). John the Baptizer said that he baptized with water. He was pointing out that his baptizing was a baptism of repentance. It (baptism by water) was usually thought of as an act of cleansing for people who were proselytes. If you were a Jew, according to the interpretation of the Pharisees, then you did not need baptism. Jews were already God’s people. John the Baptizer came baptizing Jew and Gentile alike. (Lloyd J. Ogilvie. Ed. The Communicator’s Commentary: John. Volume 4. Roger L. Frederickson. "The Beginnings". Dallas: Word Publishing, 1985, p. 52). John was truly preparing the way for the Lord’s coming (Malachi 3: 1), in the spirit and the power of Elijah (Luke 1:17).
A second role that John the Baptizer had was to reveal who the Messiah is (John 1:34). That is exactly what John the Baptizer does when testified that Jesus is the Son of God (John 1:34). When John baptized Jesus, he saw the Spirit descend and remain on Jesus. John the Baptizer had said that the Lord who sent him to baptize with water. He also said that the Lord had told him that "Upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit" (John 1:33 NKJV). That is why John the Baptizer says of Jesus, "I indeed baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit" (Mark 1:8 NKJV).
Being baptized with the Holy Spirit is to be sealed with the Holy Spirit! To be baptized by the Holy Spirit means that we have been born again.
TO BE SEALED BY GOD’S SPIRIT MEANS THAT WE ARE SECURE.
"The Greek word for seal means to confirm or impress". (Billy Graham. The Holy Spirit. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1988, p. 74). The same Spirit that sealed Christ (John 6:27) also seals us. To be sealed by God in the Holy Spirit is a powerful thing!
When the prodigal son came back home, his father reinstated him as a son (Luke 15:11-33, 22). He had a robe, a ring and sandals brought by his servants to given to this son. All three are symbols of grace (Luke 15:22). Before you and I were baptized, we were prodigal sons and daughters.
The robe is a symbol of rank. In the case of the prodigal son, the robe could also be thought of as a symbol of grace. When Adam and Eve sinned, they realized that they were naked. The robe could then be thought of as clothing of grace. It was not until the prodigal son came home that he was clothed in a robe. When the prodigal son came home, he was truly repentant and the robe symbolized that he was a son, a person of rank. If you are one of God’s children, then there can be no question that you are a person of rank.
The ring was also a symbol of rank. The ring was a symbol of rank because on it was a seal. When the father gave the prodigal son a ring it was a symbol of his dignity being restored. (Zondervan Pictoral Encyclopedia Of The Bible).
Baptism is a lot like a wedding ring. Baptism is symbolic of the washing away of our sins. It is also symbolic of a new way of life. It has been said that Baptism is to the Christian faith what the wedding ring is to a marriage. It is a symbol. "Like the wedding ring, baptism draws a mark on the ground between the past and the future. Like the wedding ring, it says, "From this day forward, I stand with God." (Herb Miller. Actions Speak Louder Than Verbs. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989, p. 100).
Like marriage, Baptism involves a relationship. Baptism marks the point at which we began to follow Christ. Baptism also marks the point at which we say to God, "From this day forward, I stand with you". Just as in marriage, two become one flesh, in baptism, we become united with God’s Spirit. Baptism is God’s way of saying that He has not given up on us.
The sandals were also a symbol of rank. Slaves did not normally were shoes. Why did the father of the prodigal son give him a robe, a ring and sandals? He gave the prodigal son all of these things to confirm and to impress that he was indeed a son. That is exactly what God does through His Holy Spirit in our baptism. God confirms and impresses upon us that we are his sons and daughters, who have been given our spiritual dignity, because we have been baptized into the likeness of His only begotten son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-11). The father of the prodigal son gave him all that he needed so that he could feel secure that he was truly a son. That is what God does in our baptism, He gives us a robe, a ring and sandals so that we too, can have the security that we are His adopted sons and daughters. To be one of God’s sons or daughters is to have rank!
TO BE SEALED BY GOD’S SPIRIT MEANS THAT WE ARE GOD’S PROPERTY.
To be God’s property mean that we are owned by God. There is a powerful story about an English missionary whose house was being looted. "An English missionary died in the early part of this century [the 20th century]. Immediately after his death his former neighbors broke into his house and started carrying away his possessions. The English Consul was notified, and since there was no lock on the door of the missionary’s house, he pasted a piece of paper across it and affixed the seal of England on it. The looter did not dare break the seal because the world’s most powerful nation stood behind it". (Billy Graham. The Holy Spirit. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1988, p. 74). To be sealed means that we are God’s property!
To be sealed as God’s property means that nothing can touch you. "Now it is God who makes us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come" (Second Corinthians 1:21 - 22 NIV). "Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you---guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us" (Second Timothy 1:14). May we live our lives in such a way that we fan the flame of God’s gift (Second Timothy 1:6) of the Holy Spirit, who dwells is us, and seals us till the day He comes to invest that deposit for His glory in Heaven! AMEN.