Marked With A Seal
Sunday, September 4, 2016
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
You all know what a down payment is, don't you? When you are thinking of buying a car or a house, you put down a deposit, a gaurantee that you will do you best to complete the transaction and pay the full price for the property. The other party agrees not to sell it to someone else. Depending on the agreement you make, you may or may not get your down payment back if you fail to follow through on the deal.
How would you like to have a down payment from God on your eternal relationship with Him? Our Bible passage today tells us that God will give us a down payment on the inheritance that God wants to give us. Listen carefully to Ephesians 1:11-14.
Eph. 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 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, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession — to the praise of his glory. NIV
Did you hear how Paul said you can receive this guarantee of our inheritance? He told the people of Ephesus they were included in Christ when they heard the word of truth, the gospel of their salvation. When they believed the truth they were marked in Him with a seal. Hear and believe the truth. Accept the truth, put your faith in what God says and you will receive the promised Holy Spirit. Claim the truth of the good news that Jesus died that you might have everlasting life and you will be sealed, marked with God's stamp of ownership.
Here is how Paul put it in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
2 Cor 1:21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. NIV
It is God who makes us stand firm in Christ. He set His seal of ownership on us. That seal of ownership is the Holy Spirit. When we put our faith in God to save us we are given a portion of God Himself to seal the deal.
God, through the Holy Spirit, speaks to our hearts, our inner being, and convinces us of the truth that God sent Jesus to die and in dying He purchased for all time and for all eternity, our souls. He purchased us back from the slavery of sin. He proves to us that we are the chosen of God by sealing the deal with His very presence. God comes to reside in our hearts. New life comes to reside in us. We are reconnected to the Creator and Sustainer of life so that we will never die.
Have you put your faith in the truth of God? Have you accepted the truth that we rebelled against God and pushed Him aside and now we need to be restored to the relationship with Him that we were created to enjoy?
Why does God do this? What possible reason could God have for wanting such miserable wretches?
It is actually very simple. He loves us. He created us for a purpose and He has not given up on us. We are here for one purpose. In our passage in Ephesians today... In these few verses, Paul repeated that purpose two times. Look at verse 12 and verse 14. He uses the phrase “the praise of His glory”!
Why does God wait patiently for each one of us to accept the truth of His love? For the praise of His glory?
Why did God pay the redemption price for our lost souls? For the praise of His glory!
Why does God mark us with the seal of His ownership when we hear and believe? For the praise of His glory!
Why should we come to church? For the praise of His glory! Why should we forgive those who have wronged us? For the praise of His glory! Why does God want us to love Him and love others? So that He will be praised and glorified. For the praise of His Glory! FOR THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY!!!
Why should we reach out to those who are lost, who live around our church? For the praise of His glory! Why are you saved? For the praise of His glory!
We are not saved for our own benefit, but for God's. Do you think that God saved you to make you comfortable in this life? Did you think that you are saved so that you can sooth your conscience and pretend the lost do not exist? Are we here as a congregation just to maintain a building and treat the lost as untouchables? Are we to cower in fear and refuse to reach out to our neighbors?
We have been given the Holy Spirit to convict us when we get wrapped up in our own lives and refuse to reach out to others. We have been given the very presence of God in our lives so that He can lead us out into the world to share the gospel message with the lost.
Are we doing what God has called us to do? Have we fulfilled His purpose for our lives? Will God allow us to retire from the work of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with others? Our retirement from the work of the church will come when we go home to meet our Savior face to face. Our full inheritance will come to us when we have run the race here, when we have completed our course, when we have been faithful to live for the glory of God in this life.
For now we have the promised Holy Spirit, our down payment on what God will give us. We are not here for our pleasure. We are here for one purpose. The Spirit of God has come to live within us to empower us to praise God. His presence and power are given to us so that we might glorify Him by loving Him and loving others.
When we refuse to reach out to others... when we refuse to forgive others, we are shutting our ears to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We are gradually hardening our hearts to that still small voice that tells us God loves us and He is our Lord.
If He is Lord, we must follow His lead. We must not claim He is Lord and then refuse to listen when He speaks to us and calls us follow Him. When we are urged by the Spirit to come to the altar to pray it is for one purpose. For the praise of His glory!
We have been sealed, guaranteed the inheritance. It is not for our honor and glory but for God's.
“Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession — to the praise of his glory.” NIV
One of the great hymn writers was a woman named Fanny J. Crosby. She wrote one song in particular that fits this message today. It is called “Redeemed”.
by: Fanny J. Crosby
Redeemed – How I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy, His child, and forever, I am.
Chorus: Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.
Redeemed, redeemed, His child, and forever, I am.
Redeemed and so happy in Jesus, No language my rapture can tell;
I know that the light of His presence With me shall continually dwell.
I think of my blessed Redeemer, I think of Him all the day long;
I sing, for I cannot be silent; His love is the theme of my song.
I know I shall see in His beauty The King in whose law I delight;
Who lovingly guards every footstep, And gives me a song in the night.
I Peter 1:18-19 says: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
Have you noticed in these opening verses Paul says again and again “in Christ” or “in him”? It is in Christ that we have an inheritance from God. It is in Him that we are predestined for the glory that God intends for us to share with Him. It is in Christ that we have come to trust for our salvation. In Christ we are marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit.
Do you know the love of God? Do you believe that He loves you? Are you living with Him as the Lord of your life?
If not, you are invited to seek Him and to bow in humble submission to Him as He pours Himself into your life, into your heart