Summary: Fifth in a series from Ephesians. This message focuses on the role of the Holy Spirit in securing our spiritual inheritance.
Still living at home, bored, and expecting to inherit a fortune when his sickly widower father died, Robert decided he needed a woman to keep him company.
So he went to a singles bar, and he searched until he spotted a woman whose beauty took his breath away. "Right now, I’m just an ordinary man," he said as he walked up to her, "but within a month or two, my father will pass away and I’ll inherit over 20 million dollars." The woman went home with Robert that night.
And four days later she became his…stepmother.
No wonder they say that some men never learn...
It’s amazing what lengths some people will go to for an earthly inheritance, often to only be disappointed when they don’t actually receive what they think they are going to get. But there is a spiritual inheritance that is far more valuable and lasting than any inheritance than any we could ever receive here on this earth. And the good news is that for those of us who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, that inheritance is guaranteed by God Himself.
At the beginning of the year we began our spiritual basic training by going verse by verse through our training manual – Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. After the introduction in the first two verses, Paul writes one long sentence that describes the spiritual riches that God has given to us. This morning we’ll wrap up our look at that sentence which we find in our Bibles in verses 3-14. We began by looking at the work of God the Father as He chose us before the beginning of the world and predestined us to be part of His family. And he accomplished all that by pouring out his grace into our lives.
Then we’ve seen the work of God the Son. Jesus, through His death and resurrection purchased our redemption. He has freed us from a life that is characterized by slavery to sin. And one day, all of God’s creation will once again be centered, focused and brought together in Him.
And this morning we’ll wrap up this section by looking at the work of God the Holy Spirit in blessing us with the spiritual riches of God. Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with your Scripture memory, so let’s see how well we can remember our passage for this week before Dave puts it up on the screen:
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession - to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:13, 14 (NIV)
This whole section of Ephesians, and indeed much of Paul’s letter, focuses on this idea of an inheritance. But the great thing about this inheritance is that we don’t have to wait to enjoy it. In fact, our inheritance has a past, present and future aspect to it:
Deals with my past sins
When Jesus redeems us, he deals with all of our past sins. Since there is absolutely nothing that I can do to deal with the guilt and the penalty for my sins, Jesus paid the penalty for me on the cross. And that frees me from the guilt associated with my past sins.
Allows me to live an abundant life in the in the present
You’ve’ all seen the bumper stickers, usually on the back of a large, slow moving RV, that read “I’m spending my children’s inheritance.” In fact, I’ve experienced that myself. A couple of years ago, Mary and I were in Sam Levitz, looking at some furniture. And while we were there, we happened to run into my Mom and sister, who were also shopping for furniture. Their salesman had just let them look around for a while without bugging them, a luxury that we hadn’t been afforded ourselves. But after a while he came back to see if he could help them. By then they had picked out a few pieces of furniture, but my Mom wanted to go look at a recliner chair. I think I kind of caught the salesman off guard when I remarked something like, “Don’t let her buy anything else. After all, she’s spending my inheritance.”
But the great thing about our inheritance in Christ is that even though I get to spend it now, it doesn’t reduce by one iota what I’ll still get in the future. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way when it comes to our earthy inheritance.
I read this week about a woman whose husband had died. He had $20,000 to his name. After everything was done at the funeral home and cemetery, she told her closest friend that there was no money left. The friend asked, "How can that be? You told me he had $20,000 a few days before he died. How could you be broke?" The widow replied, "Well, the funeral cost me $6,500. And of course, I had to make the obligatory donation for the church and the organist and all. That was $500, and I spent another $500 for the wake, food and drinks, you know. The rest went for the memorial stone." The friend asked, "$12,500 for the memorial stone? My stars, how big was it?" The widow said, "Three carats!"