Summary: When we trusted in Christ for salvation, God sealed us with the Holy Spirit gave us the Holy Spirit as a down payment on all the blessings of our inheritance. This message explains what this means to us who are saved.
Signed, Sealed and Delivered
Ephesians - Live Like You Really Are
April 15, 2012
TEXT: Ephesians 1:13-14 – “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Who is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
Illus. – Pastor Jeff Strite tells of a 4-year old boy who was visiting his aunt’s home. She was pregnant with her first child and she allowed him to place his hand on her belly and feel the baby kick. His little face scrunched and he said, “How does the baby get out of there?” Well, she wanted to keep it simple so she said, “The doctor will help.” His eyes widened in amazement as he said, “You’ve got a doctor in there, too?”
Of course, she didn’t have a doctor inside. To get that kind of help she needed to get into her car; drive down to the hospital; wait in the ER; and THEN her doctor would be there to help. It would be so much easier for pregnant mothers if the doctor WERE inside helping out. The Bible teaches God the Holy Spirit is inside the person who has believed and been saved.
In verse 13 Paul begins our text by reminding the Ephesians that they heard the Gospel of salvation and believed the message of the Gospel, and what happened when they did that is the topic of our sermon today.
We’ve been looking at the spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ that Paul speaks of in verse 3 that are reserved for those who are “in Christ.”
• In God THE FATHER, verses 4-6, we have the blessings of chosenness in verse 4; a predetermination that we will receive all the blessings of sonship in verse 5 and in verse 6 acceptance in Christ, who is God’s beloved Chosen One.
• In God THE SON, we receive the blessings of redemption from Satan’s control and forgiveness of sins in verse 7 and an eternal inheritance in verses 11-12.
Now let’s turn our attention to the blessings of God the Holy Spirit in our text, verses 13-14:
I. FIRST, PAUL TELLS US THAT BELIEVERS ARE SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT – Verse 13 – “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”
Now it’s important to understand that Paul doesn’t say that the Holy Spirit seals us, but that we are sealed WITH the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit Himself is God’s seal.
He is referred to as the “holy Spirit of promise” here because He was promised in both the Old Testament and by Jesus in His earthly ministry. The Holy Spirit had never been given quite this way before. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came UPON people for special guidance, strengthening or empowerment, but He didn’t permanently dwell IN people.
But Ezekiel promised in Ezekiel 36:26-27 – “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
Why would God give His spirit to dwell in us?—To cause us to walk in God’s word and to do His will. All of man’s religion is based on outward obedience to external rules and regulation. Christianity is based on God Himself, in the form of God the Holy Spirit, coming inside of us and changing us from the inside out, working from within to help us and empower us, like the doctor in the mommy’s tummy.
Jesus promised on several occasions that He would send the Holy Spirit as a comforter and guide, and in John 4:14, He said referred to the Holy Spirit as “living water” that would be INSIDE of us. These promises for the indwelling Holy Spirit were fulfilled when Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. From that day on, the Holy Spirit indwelt believers.
Now what does Paul mean by saying that believers are “sealed” with the Holy Spirit? A seal in Bible days was an official mark of identification placed on a letter, contract or other important document. It was usually made from hot wax, which was placed on the document and then impressed with a signet ring. It essentially served the same function a signature does today.