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Sealed

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(1/31) Ten Inches of Water - A boy was sitting in a park bench with one hand resting on an open Bible. He was loudly exclaiming his praise to God. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God is great! he yelled without worrying whether anyone heard him or not.

Shortly after, along came a man who had recently completed some studies at a local University. Feeling himself very enlightened in the ways of truth and very eager to show this enlightenment, he asked the boy about the source of his Joy.

Hey, asked the boy in return with a bright laugh, Donít you have any idea what God is able to do? I just read that God opened up the waves of the Red Sea and led the whole nation of Israel right through the middle.

The enlightened man laughed lightly, sat down next to the boy and began to try to open his eyes to the realities of the miracles of the Bible. That can all be very easily explained. Modern scholarship has shown that the Red Sea in that area was only 10 inches deep at that time. It was no problem for the Israelites to wade across.

The boy was stumped. His eyes wandered from the man back to the Bible lying open in his lap. The man, content that he had enlightened a poor naive young person to the finer points of scientific insight turned to leave.

Scarcely had he taken two steps when the boy began to rejoice and praise louder than before. The man turned to ask the reason for this resumed jubilation.

Wow! Exclaimed the boy happily, God is greater than I thought! Not only did He lead the whole nation of Israel through the Red Sea, He topped it off by drowning the whole Egyptian army in 10 inches of water!

This is the kind of result Paul is shooting for in 1:3. A Hallelujah, Praise God, Amen, response for what God has given us in Christ. The point of the first 3 chapters of Ephesians is verse 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." Letís practice this. Letís review responsively. Iíll remind you of what God did in verses 4-14, and you say, "Praise the Lord."

ē He Chose us in Him before the foundation of the world Ė Praise the Lord

ē He Conferred on us His Holiness and Blameless-ness Ė Praise the Lord

ē In Love, He predestined us to adoption as sons Ė Praise the Lord

ē He Accepted us in the Beloved- Praise the Lord

ē He Redeemed us through His blood Ė Praise the Lord

ē He Forgave us of sins according to the riches of His grace- Praise the Lord

ē He Gave us wisdom and insight according to His grace -Praise the Lord

ē He Gave us an inheritance Ė Praise the Lord

ē He Sealed us with the Holy Spirit of Promise Ė Praise the Lord

This is awesome stuff. The God who created the universe and all that is in it, cares about specks of dust like us. He not only cares, He loves us greatly, and with great grace has brought us into His family. I feel like the scene we saw from Les Miserables, when Jean Valjean asked the Bishop, who he had beaten and robbed, but now was setting him free with silver, "Why? Why are you doing this?" And Paul tells us that Godís answer is, because it gives Him great pleasure, and He loves the honor you give Him when you realize the wonder of His Great Grace.

John MacArthur writes, "Ö verse 3 through 14 is one long sentence. And it is a sentence designed to tell us what it is that God has done for us in Christ. In other words, what we possess in Christ. Ö. In the past God elected us, (in the present) He redeems us and in the future gives us an inheritance."

This morning I want to go back and look at verses 8-14.

I. v.8 (according to the riches of His grace) which He made to abound

toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,

With Godís gift of grace comes the ability to understand and apply spiritual truths to your life. You are given (prudence) insight into what God has done and why and what God is doing. This is stuff that you did not know before you were a Christ-Follower. Look back at 1 Cor. 2:9-16 again, 9 But as it is written:

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man

The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which manís wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For "who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

Ephesians 1:18 reminds us that One of the things the Holy Spirit does in

us is open the eyes of our understanding concerning Spiritual truths. He teaches us through this book (the Bible) the wisdom we need to live by, and insights into what God has done or is doing or will do. For example, without spending a lot of time, there are at least 10 areas that you have been given wisdom and insight into that the non-Christian does not understand. This is stuff that you did not know before Jesus.

1. God- I know what God is like and its not what I had imagined or made Him out to be. He is Holy, Righteous, Just, Omnipresent, Omniscient, and Omnipotent. Yet, He is Love, full of Grace, Truth, and Mercy. He is not all love nor is He all law. He is not just a man upstairs. He is not removed and unconcerned for His creation. He is awesome, magnificent, and beyond comprehension, but not beyond knowing and He wants us to know Him personally, experientially.

2. Your Identity and Purpose Ė Philosophers as well as a lot of people spend their lives trying to figure out who they are and why they are here. Why do we exist? What is our purpose? The answer is; I am a child of God, His unique creation who was made to glorify Him and to make Him known to others.

3. The Reality of Evil Ė Satan and the demonic world is a reality. Man is not basically good. Man is self-centered and selfish. That is what 2:1-3 reminds us of. The evil and destruction in the world is because there is one bent on destroying Godís creation; including you and I. Itís not poverty, or lack of education. Itís that there is an evil one. His name is Satan.

4. Salvation Ė 8:46 PMhe cross- 1 Cor. 1:21 "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." Now I know why there had to be a substitute Savior to die for me. I understand the depth of sin, my un-holiness, and my destiny without a savior. I know why Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:1-6; Acts 4:12-13).

5. Eternity- I now understand why Hell is reasonable and necessary if there is no salvation. I know Heaven may be beyond my imagination, but I know itís my destiny and my hope, because of Jesus.

6. Origin of Life Ė Creation. I see why Evolution is not possible. I see why life is sacred. It was created by God and mankind was created in Godís image. Creation itself screams that there is a Creator. God is the 1st cause.

7. The Church Ė We see this unique organism called the body of Christ where God brings, all who receive Him, together in one body, regardless of gender, race, nationality, language, etc., into one big family. His church is His plan to show and tell people all over the world of His love and grace.

8. Righteous living- We see that God has a blueprint for living right. Itís here in this book-the Bible. Life is not about me, itís about honoring God and loving others and there is a right way to do it. I see that now. I also see how to live by faith as I obey God because I trust Him regardless of the circumstances or consequences. I know how to trust Him as I pray.

9. Godís plan for my life - I see that God is totally committed to taking my life and changing it to be more like Jesus (Rom. 8:28-29; Heb. 12:1-17). C.S. Lewis called it, Mere Christianity. Everything that happens to me, whether God brings it or allows it, is designed to change a stony heart into a fleshly heart like Jesus.

10. The Future. I have been given insight into the future. I have Prophecy, The Revelation, and many other parts of the Bible, that tell me things will constantly be getting worse and not better in the world; that one day and maybe soon, there will be one man who will unite the world and become its leader offering peace and harmony in the world, but will turn and proclaim himself to be god and savior. He will turn against Jews and Christ-Followers demanding their deaths. Sometime prior to that God will catch away His Church and begin to purge the world until finally Jesus will return and destroy evil and establish His kingdom for 1000 years before time ends and eternity for all begins.

Now there may be other areas, but these and more we get because God has graciously given us His Holy Spirit and His Book. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to understand His book. Did you know this stuff before Jesus? Why did He give us this gift? V. 9 says, it is according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself. It gives Him pleasure to share truth and life with you. Simple as that.

II. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according

to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

What is interesting is that some translate this as we are Christís inheritance (ASV). This is true. Jesus said that all that the Father gives Him will come to Him (John 6; cp. 17:6-12). We are Godís gift to His Son. Is that awesome? Listen!

Psalm 33:12, Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

Psalm 94:14; For the Lord will not cast off His people, Nor will He forsake His inheritance. You are Godís gift to Jesus. Wow!

But I believe this is referring to what God our Father has desired to give us as an inheritance. When you were chosen to be adopted by the predetermined plan of God, you were included in Godís will. You say, "That doesnít make sense, God isnít going to die, so how can I receive an inheritance?" Thatís a good question. The author of Hebrews tries to give us an answer. Look at Hebrews 9:15ff., "And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.

The wordís Covenant and Testament are the same and refers to promises and in this case, a will. A will is often referred to as a Last Will and Testament. Children, Grandchildren, relatives, friends, charities, etc., are named as beneficiaries to receive part of the inheritance after the person making the will dies. God said, I want all my children to share all my stuff forever. The death of Jesus on the cross became the means of not only our forgiveness and redemption but our right to claim our inheritance. Do you understand that? Listen to some other verses.

ē Romans 8:15-17 "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirsóheirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

ē 1 Peter 1:3-4, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.

So, what do we inherit? Well, among other things,

A. We inherit a home inside the Fatherís house that our Lord Himself has prepared for us (John 14:1-3), and Peter says has been reserved for you (1 Peter 1:4).

B. You inherit His glory. You will glow with the glory of the Lord as Moses did. Listen to Daniel 12:2-3, "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever." Paul says it like this, in Romans 8:17-18, "And if children, then heirsóheirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

C. You inherit the earth. But it will be made brand new (Matt. 5:5) Psalm 37:9-11 says, "For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

D. You inherit every promise of God has made. God can not lie. His eternal love, joy and peace are yours to enjoy forever. Wow! Can you say, "Praise the Lord?" This honors God when we receive His grace and His inheritance.

III. How can I be sure? I am glad you asked. Verses 13-14 tell us:

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." Itís interesting that earlier we are told that we were chosen and adopted before the foundation of the world and in verse 13 we are reminded of our responsibility in hearing the gospel because Faith comes by hearing. When you heard you believed and trusted Godís Word. Thatís what believing really is, its trusting my life to the promise and person of God.

Then when God redeems and forgives you and adopts you, He seals you with the Holy Spirit, who is the earnest, or the down payment, the guarantee that He is going to complete the deal.

I know there are branches of Christianity that believe that you can lose your salvation and can be lost or have to be born again and again. But that simply cannot be. He chose you, He adopted you, He may discipline you but He will never disown you. And He sealed you with His Own Presence in your life. This is awesome. He takes up residence inside of us and has promised to never under any circumstances to leave us (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus said, I will be with you always even to the very end. (Matt. 28:20), and the Holy Spirit will be in you forever (John 14:16).

1. A seal as it is used here is a mark of ownership, 2 Tim. 2:19 says, "Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," Kind of like a brand on a steer or cattle.

2. A seal also is a mark of authenticity. I had to get a birth certificate with a raised seal of the state of Pa. in order to get a passport. This seal of the state authenticated that I am who I say I am. The Holy Spirit in you is your authentication. Paul says that if you donít have Him in you than you are none of His (Romans 8:9)

3. A seal is also a mark of authority. When Jesusí tomb was sealed Pilateís ring was stamped into hot wax as a sign that He had this tomb sealed off and no one could break that seal without forfeiting his or her life. No one can snatch you from God, Jesus told us in John 10:28-30.

4. A seal is also a mark of a finished transaction. It is the signature of a judge, or attorney, or legal representative, the adoption is complete, the marriage is complete, the land has been purchased, the deal is done. (Jeremiahís land, Jeremiah 32) Your salvation, adoption, and inheritance is a done deal, a finished transaction.

The Holy Spirit who came into our lives to give us new life and to teach us Godís word, and empower us to do Godís will and to dream Godís dreams, is also our guarantee that all God has promised us is ours. And to assure us, He has promised to reside in us and be with us until these bodies are fully redeemed. That is, when they are raptured or resurrected and changed to be like Jesusí own glorious body. Ephesians 4:30 says, "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.".

5. One more thing; the word earnest or guarantee, is the Greek word arrabon, and itís the word used for engagement ring. What is the pledge of a promise to marry? Itís the engagement ring. When a man wants to marry a woman he usually spends a small fortune for a rock to put on the finger of his intended as a pledge of his desire and intent to marry her. The Holy Spirit in you is Godís pledge of a wedding that is coming when we, referred to as the bride of Christ, will share all that the groom has forever. Paul makes a reference to this in 2 Cor. 11:2, "For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Paul preached the Gospel and these Corinthians believed and as all believers, became engaged, or betrothed to Christ. The Holy Spirit is your engagement ring.

Is this awesome or what? Why? Why would He do this for us? Simple. He gets great pleasure and we give Him Great Glory and Praise. Notice 3 times in these first 14 verses, we are told that the basis of Godís plan of saving and adopting us is, "Öthe Praise of His Glory."

ē to the praise of His glory (v. 14)

ē to the praise of His glory (v.12)

ē to the praise of the glory of His grace, (v. 6)

Verse 3 says, God is to be blessed or praised for what He has done for us. He stepped into time, to rescue those who robbed Him, insulted him, ignored Him, hated Him, opposed Him, and committed crimes against Him and His creation; in order to rescue, adopt, accept, redeem, forgive, and give great grace and an inheritance, with wisdom and insight into His plan, and then to seal the deal by makeing His residence with us. How awesome? God is with us. God is in the house. God is in us and will be forever! Isaiah 43:21 reminds us, "This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise." How Great is our God?

Letís take a moment and everyone either close your eyes or lift them and your hands up to heaven and:

Praise God for His grace in your life in rescuing you.

Praise Him for adopting you and allowing you to call Him Abba-Father

Praise Him for giving you this book and the wisdom and insight to know His plan

Praise Him for what He wants you to have for all eternity-an inheritance that Jesus died to give you.

Praise Him for securing you to Himself; that your salvation is not for you to lose, it is His to keep forever. (Jude 24)

Praise Him for the Holy Spirit who is with you as your guarantee of glory and your inheritance. For empowering you to obey Him and to understand His word.

Now, letís ask Him to cleanse our hearts of pride, and any Un-Christ-like attitude or action for which we need to confess and forsake.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman