Summary: The work of the Holy Spirit in sealing us for salvation
Sealed ¡V Eph. 1:13-14
Steve Simala Grant ¡V July 29, 2001
I want to ask you a question to begin. Do you believe God speaks today? Do you believe that He still desires to communicate with us, that He still longs to talk with and to us? I do ¡V with all my heart. Today as we turn to Eph. 1:13-14, we are going to look at the Holy Spirit, through whom God speaks today. Most often through God¡¦s Word, the Bible, but sometimes in other ways as well.
These two verses appear at the end of a long section of praise to God, first to God the Father, who chose us and adopted us into His family, second to God the Son, who redeems, forgives, and who is in control and will bring everything together at the end of time, and the two verses we are going to look at today focus on praise to God the Spirit.
Because this is all one thought, I¡¦m going to begin reading at verse 3 and continue to verse 14.
overview main points for today.
1. Included in Christ:
Verse 13 begins ¡§And you also¡¨, so to understand what Paul is talking about here we need to look back to verses 11 and 12, where Paul talks about WE, and later qualifies that with the phrase ¡§who were the first to hope in Christ.¡¨ He is talking about Jesus¡¦ disciples, himself, and the other Jewish believers. And the themes in verse 11 are of God¡¦s choosing and predestining ¡V so really the point Paul is making is the familiar one of the election of God¡¦s people the Jews. And that is why those first five words of verse 13 are so revolutionary: ¡§And you also were included¡¨.
Can you remember a time when you were included? When a group opened up, invited you in, welcomed you into their midst? seminary lunch story¡K
The idea of Jews and gentiles together being the people of God may not be a big stretch for us today, after 2000 years of knowing that gentiles are included. But this was a revolutionary truth in Paul¡¦s day, and as we¡¦ll see later in Ephesians is significant for what it means to be the people of God. We have been included. And it is the cross of Jesus that invites us into God¡¦s family ¡V to be in a covenant relationship with God through Christ ¡V that is why it says we were included in Christ.. It is only through Jesus that we can become part of God¡¦s family, included as His people.
If this section is supposed to be focussed on the Holy Spirit, why are we still talking about Jesus? We¡¦ll talk more about this in a moment, but for now let me just plant the thought that this is because the Holy Spirit¡¦s role is always to point us to Jesus. (repeat).
2. When you heard:
Inclusion comes from hearing. (read rest of verse). As I thought about this verse, my mind went immediately to Romans 10:14. Though Paul is talking there specifically about the Jewish people, the principle applies to everyone. ¡§How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?¡¨ See the flow of thought: people can¡¦t rely on Jesus if they don¡¦t believe, they can¡¦t believe if they¡¦ve never heard, they can¡¦t hear unless someone tells them, no one will tell them unless someone sends them.
This same thing is true today. The people around us who don¡¦t know Christ can¡¦t believe until they hear. They can¡¦t hear unless someone tells them. In order for someone to tell them, they must be sent. Let me start at the end and work my way back ¡V the sending part. This one is easy ¡V we have already been sent. Jesus sent us ¡V Acts 1:8. Matt. 28:19-20. In addition to Jesus sending us, you are sent by the church. Pastor Dave was here for 23 years, and at the end of a service he almost always said what? ¡§Go, live like Christians in your world.¡¨ There is a sign on the back window. God has called the church to be a witness through our worship, but it is individual Christians living in a lost world that He has called to ¡§preach¡¨ to those who have not yet heard. (repeat?).
So you and I are sent. That takes care of that one. The next step is for the ¡§sent¡¨ to ¡§preach¡¨. This is a stumbling block word for us, because we associate ¡§preaching¡¨ with what I am doing now to a group of mostly Christians. That is not the idea behind the word in Rom. 10:14 ¡V there it is the idea of being a herald, or a proclaimer. A herald would sound the trumpet, letting everyone know of some important message. The essence of the word means to communicate effectively. In our culture, how do we do that?