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Sunday, May 18, 2014                Ephesians index

 

STUDIES IN EPHESIANS
Blessings In Christ 4
Ephesians 1:11-14

 

Tonight we continue our study of the book of Ephesians and the blessings in Christ.  This is our 4th and final lesson dealing with these blessings.   Paul lists a number of spiritual blessings we enjoy in Him.  We are blessed with every spiritual blessing, chosen and predestined to adoption as sons (not that He randomly chose us, but predetermined a “mold” that one must conform to to be saved), we are made accepted in Him, having redemption through His blood (forgiveness).  All of this has been revealed to us so that we might all be gathered together in Him (unity). 

Tonight, we consider more “blessings in Him.” 

 I.                    Our Inheritance in Him (11-12)

a.        Up to this point, the blessings we have observed describe what has happened to us.  We no observe that there is a reward awaiting us who have been “predestined.”

b.       An inheritance indicates we will be receiving our portion of that which God has promised. 
Often scriptures speak of our “inheritance” as His children -
Matt. 19:29, those who leave the things of this world will “inherit eternal life”
Matt. 25:34 – those on “the right hand” will “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
Acts 20:32 – Paul commended the Ephesians elders , “to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among those who are sanctified.”
Colossians 3:23-24, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
Heb. 1:14, angels are sent forth  to minister to those “who will inherit salvation.”
Heb. 9:15 speaks of Christ being mediator for the new covenant so that those called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
1 Peter 1:4 speaks of our “inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”

c.        WE will receive this inheritance because we are His children (recall Eph. 1:5 which notes that we were “predestined us to adoption as sons…”) In vs. 11 this inheritance is again associated with those “being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.  The idea of “predestined” remains the same here – God’s pattern predetermined even before the world began.   NOTE: The word “counsel” is a word that means a thought out plan.

d.       Vs. 12 notes that this inheritance belongs to those who “first trusted in Christ.”
Trust is associated with our faith.  It portrays the idea of not merely believing in God, but believing Him.  Putting our trust in God is so important.
NOTE: It is this trust that leads to our obeying the Gospel – 1 Tim. 4:10, 6:17
Prov. 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

Prov. 29:25“The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
NOTE 2: In this phrase, it is believed that Paul primarily has the Jews who were obedient in mind (they were the first to obey – cf. Acts 1:8, etc.)  That does fit the context when you consider that in vs. 10 we read, “that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.” (Ephesians 1:10)   Paul will emphasize that in Christ, the wall of separation is broken down.
And that leads into vs. 13

 II.                  Sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise (13-14)

a.        “In Him you also trusted” – Paul now addresses his audience of Gentiles.  Just as “we” trusted, so “they” trusted.

b.       The heard the word of truth – the gospel – and believed.
Let it be said here that these terms are inclusive of all they did based upon their trust and belief. 
ALL the spiritual blessings we have been discussing in this text are based upon hearing the word of truth, “the gospel of your salvation.”   This alone indicates that WE have a part in securing our salvation.  Paul will deal with this in chapter 2.

c.        You were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise – what exactly is this sealing with the Holy Spirit?

                                                   i.      A seal is a word that means to make something secure with a seal.

                                                  ii.      The word “seal” has many different meanings today –

1.       It can indicate completion as in an envelope where a completed letter is placed (cf. “sign, sealed and delivered”)

2.       It can indicate authentication – (cf. a notary will authenticate a signature with a seal or signature)

3.       It can be for security – (cf. a seal of safety)

                                                iii.      The seal of the Holy Spirit – the Bible mentions this seal in several passages:

1.       2 Tim. 2:19 - “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”” Our “seal” is that the Lord knows who we are – we belong to Him“

2.       2 Corinthians 1:20-22, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” The Holy Spirit rules in our hearts – He influences us.

3.       Ephesians 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  In this text we are again reminded that we were sealed by Him.  This is followed up by instructions with which we avoid grieving the Holy Spirit  (32-33 – remove bitterness and other bad attitudes, be kind and forgiving, etc.)

4.       We know that He does not work miraculously today, so His seal must be His influence in our lives (however He works within us).
1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
Romans 8:1, 5-6, 13-14, etc. He influences our conduct – and this happens through His word.
 The “seal of the Holy Spirit” is received when we obey the gospel (Acts 2:38 – the “gift of the Holy Spirit”) and is demonstrated by our CHANGED LIVES (cf. Gal. 5:22-24)
He will be our “seal” until “the redemption of the purchased possession” – until we are finally redeemed. 

                                                iv.      Who is the guarantee of our inheritance

1.       The idea of a “guarantee” is similar to a deposit or a down payment with which one secures something. 

2.       The Holy Spirit is a guarantee is mentioned in 3 verses including our text and:

a.        2 Cor. 1:22, “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 1:21–22)

b.       “Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 5:5)

3.       God has assured us of the certainty of our salvation by giving us the Holy Spirit.  This does NOT need to be a miraculous indwelling, but in whatever way He influences us is that guarantee. 
The WORD of God is a product of the Holy Spirit (cf. John 14:26, 16:13, 1 Cor. 2:10-16, 2 Peter 1:21, etc.)  What it declares IS enough!  WE have discussed in times past in great detail WHY what we have IS the Word of God. 
His word reveals the righteousness of God, etc. (Rom. 1:16,17)
As such it gives us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3) and is able to make us wise unto salvation and complete. (2 Tim. 3:15-17)

4.       Again, this will last “until the redemption of the purchased possession” – as long as this world stands.

5.       Perhaps a good illustration of this passage would be when a woman receives an engagement ring.  That ring is the promise of marriage.  With it – plans are made, announcements are sent out, etc.  The ring is the pledge UNTIL the wedding. 
We have the Holy Spirit as our guarantee until our marriage to Christ – (2 Cor. 11:2,  Rev. 21:2, 9, etc.)

 

And thus we have the blessings in Christ.  NOTICE how it comprises the “Godhead” with blessings from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  These blessings give us hope and they will be the springboard for Paul’s discussion to these brethren – AND US!  Are you blessed in Him?