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030908Promised Inheritance - 1.11-14

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A Promised Inheritance ~ Ephesians 1:11-14

Review the spiritual blessings we have covered so far.

He has chosen us

He has adopted us

He has redeemed us       

He has revealed the mystery to us

 

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.                                                                                 Ephesians 1:11-14

I.      We have an inheritance – vss 11-12

When we think of an inheritance in human terms, we know that

An inheritance can come in many shapes and forms.  An inheritance might be a sum of money left to a beloved family member.  It might be a piece of property or childhood home that is being passed on to a son or daughter.  I have heard the term “old money” used in financial settings referring to the wealth of an individual being inherited rather than earned.  An inheritance is not always made up of large sums of money or goods.  Sometimes an inheritance is made up of memories surrounding a much smaller item, a piece of furniture where mother and daughter sat and talked together.  An old set of tools valued because of the times spent, father and son together in the workshop.  Or perhaps a family bible holds significance because it was from its pages that you first heard that Jesus died for your sins. 

 

What is our inheritance?  The consummation of our redemption; the ultimate in spiritual blessing is yet to come!  Peter describes it in 1 Peter 1:3-5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:3-5

a.    It is part of His long range plan

i.       Peter’s wording here indicates that this spiritual blessing, that is not yet fully realized, still brings us hope for today.  I want you to notice something else.

1.    Peter knows that this blessing is ours because it is part of God’s long range plan.  Peter blesses God here because He has given us this great blessing.  Notice the work of God in this passage. [read it again]

2.    this squares quite nicely with what Paul says in verse 11

ii.     Notice what Paul says here in vs. 11.  

1.    Having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.  This was his plan from the beginning.  Now look at vs. 12.  Here he tells us why he did it.

, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

b.    It is for His glory

i.       God brings glory to His name by weaving all believers, Jew and Gentile, into this passage as co-inheritors of the manifold blessings of God.  In verse 11 Paul says “we have obtained” referring to himself and other Jewish believers who were first “to hope in Christ”.  In verse 13, he includes the Ephesians, the gentiles, by saying “you also”,  as those who had heard the message.  And then in verse 14 he includes all believers when he says that the “Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance”.  God’s glorious plan of redemption includes all who God has chosen whether Jew or Gentile.

ii.     He does this for the praise of His glory. 

Not only does Paul tell us that we have an inheritance through Christ but he goes on to tell us that our inheritance is guaranteed…

II.     Our inheritance is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit – vss. 13-14

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

The Holy Spirit is involved in our inheritance long before we are even aware of such a thing…

John Calvin said, “...God’s Spirit does a two-fold work in us with respect to faith. The first is that... he enlightens us to make us understand things which otherwise would be hidden from us, and to receive God’s promises with all obedience.”

a.    He prepares us for redemption

i.       Paul, in Colossians 1:12 says “…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”

1.    The word “qualified” means to “make capable or to fit”.    Paul says here that we simply don’t fit unless we are made to fit.   The unrighteous can have no place with the Holy God.  We must be made to fit the pattern that God has laid out in his plan.

a.     [illustration Here?] Al’s shop

ii.     2 Corinthians 3:5-6 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

1.    The word for adequate is the same root word used in Colossians 1:12 meaning “fit or capable”.  Here Paul says that we are not capable in and of ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves.  We can not make ourselves fit into God’s plan of redemption.  Our capability comes from God and no where else.  We are similar to the steel in Al’s shop.  The steel must be properly sized for it to serve its purpose.  In no way can the steal make itself fit.  So it is with us. 

The second part of the two-fold work Calvin speaks of is this…  “…that the same Spirit is pleased to abide in us and to give us perseverance, that we do not draw back in the midst of our way.”

This is what Paul is talking about here in verse 13 of chapter one.  [read 13]

We have been sealed in Him, that is Christ, with the Holy Spirit of promise.

b.    We have been sealed – In this passage Paul illustrates the fact that we have been sealed in two ways.  The first way we can look at being sealed is that God has put His stamp of identification on us. 

i.       Stamp of identification

1.    The use of an identifying stamp has been around for a very long time.  We have today, notary publics, who apply their seal to a document showing authenticity and ownership.  To this day, livestock are still branded or tagged with a mark identifying ownership. 

Kings and officials would identify correspondence as being from them by applying their stamp to a letter.  Often this was done with a bit of melted wax dripped over the flap of a document and while the wax was still soft an impression would be made of the officials ring.  This served to tell all who saw the document that everything that was found therein carried with it the power and authority of the one whose seal appeared there.

We who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ have received a stamp of ownership from the Most High.  Verse 14 says that we are God’s own possession and the Holy Spirit is God’s seal of ownership on our lives.

We have to take a moment here to think about what that means. 

1 Peter 2:16 says, “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

We think it only right to honor our employer by doing what he asks of us and we strive to represent him well.  But we are not his possession!  We are Gods possession!  Do we strive to represent Him [God] well with the same effort we give our employer?

Colossians 1:10 says, walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects.

We are assured of our inheritance because we have God’s stamp of ownership on us, the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is not only God’s stamp of ownership on us, but he is also given as a pledge. [read v 14]

ii.     The spirit is our pledge

1.    This word pledge is the word used to describe a down payment on purchase or perhaps some form of earnest money.  In just about every type of long term financial commitment a down payment of a percentage of the price is required.  When you buy a car, usually a down payment is necessary.  When you buy a house, a down payment is normal business.  The down payment is designed to express the buyers commitment to completing the agreed upon deal.

2.    The Holy Spirit is God’s down payment, His pledge, that He will finish what He started.

This is gives great assurance to us as children of God.  It not only means that we can be sure we belong to God but that we are secured by the Holy Spirit of promise.

Paul has given us five tremendous spiritual blessings.   All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ here this morning can say “God has blessed me abundantly, way beyond what I deserve.”

What is your response to those spiritual blessings?

He has chosen us

He has adopted us

He has redeemed us       

He has revealed the mystery to us

Sealed by the Holy Spirit

III.   My response to the spiritual blessings - I believe that Paul is calling us to praise God for these blessings.  How do we do that? 

a.    We can live lives of praise to Him.  Voice your praise to God!  Give testimony in word of the joy that is within you.

b.    Secondly, give praise by what you do and how you do it.  We belong to the Lord.  Let us live in light of that truth.

Close with the Doxology

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