God sealed you with the Holy Spirit, and here's what that means. He sealed you in the sense that he marked you out as his own. He stamped you, as it were, with the Holy Spirit to show that you belonged to him forever.
The idea of being owned by someone is antithetical to our modern sensibilities, and justifiably so in the wake of historical slavery. But when God is your owner, you're right where you need to be. Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and this is The Truth Pulpit. As Pastor Don Green continues teaching God's people God's word, he'll continue our series Secure in Christ Forever, with part one of a message titled Owned by God Forever.
And Don, how are you going to approach this issue? Well, my friend, I'm glad you're joined us today on The Truth Pulpit because we're going to see the wonderful nature of the comprehensive plan that guarantees your security in Christ forever. In eternity past, God chose us in Christ.
Sometime in this present life, if you're a Christian, he worked and sealed you with the Holy Spirit with the goal that he would ultimately bring you to glory and eternity future. What a wonderful plan. Do you know Christ to share in it? Thanks, Don. And friend, let's join our teacher now in The Truth Pulpit. Now, for a sentence, verses 3 to 14, that stretches out for 202 words in the original Greek language of it, and that sounds like such a long sentence and complex, and it is. And yet we see that there is such an economy of words.
There is so much expressed in such a short manner of time and with such a brevity of words that it's just magnificent. And what we're going to see as we look at the last half of verse 13 and in verse 14 today, we're going to see three more aspects of God's work in your salvation, and the three marks of his work through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, which are absolutely intended to bring you to a divine certainty and assurance of your salvation. Those of you, and I know there are many of you, where you've wrestled with this issue and you've had doubts about your salvation, understand that God brought you here to hear just this. And those of you that perhaps can superficially say, once saved, always saved, I want you to understand that there's so much that underlies the certainty of our salvation that I don't want you to miss this either.
We're going to start with this. There's a past, present, and future aspect to these things, and we're going to start, first of all, with the past promise of God. The past promise of God. Look at verse 13 with me. We're going to jump to the end of the verse just for the sake of clarity in the message. Paul says there at the end of verse 13 that you were sealed in him with the Holy Spirit of promise. Your salvation was certified, as it were, by the Holy Spirit. And the phrase there, the Holy Spirit of promise, here's what I want to deal with, and just kind of taking this chronologically.
How is it that he is the Holy Spirit of promise, or the promised Holy Spirit? What is that referring to, and what does it have to do with the perspective with which we view our salvation here today? We tend to be, because we've been conditioned over time, we tend to think of our Christian experience more in the here and now. We're tempted to think about how can Christianity help me today?
How can it help me in this or that relationship, or with my struggles in life? And when we think about being a Christian from that perspective, we greatly impoverish our spiritual experience. We greatly impoverish, we greatly cheapen what it means to be a Christian.
And I want to help stretch out your perspective a little bit with what we're going to consider here today. Scripture tells us, we'll look at this in a bit, Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer, every true believer in Christ. We all have the Spirit of God dwelling in us if we are true Christians.
Now look, that's a wonderful reality. We're going to talk about it more in a minute, but what I want you to see about it is this, is that that spiritual reality that we are enjoying as Christians right now is connected to promises that Jesus made while he was here on earth 2,000 years ago. The present spiritual reality that we enjoy of the indwelling Holy Spirit, his power and influence in our lives, is connected to promises that Christ made and that Christ has now kept for us.
And I want you to see this in some familiar passages perhaps. Go back to the Gospel of John chapter 14. John chapter 14 is where we will start with this, and we'll see how many of these we look at.
John 14 beginning in verse 16. This is on the eve of the crucifixion of Christ. Jesus is speaking in the upper room to his disciples, and he's making promises to them. You think about this and realize that Jesus knows that he's on the verge of crucifixion. He knows that he is about to bear the sins of his people on his shoulders, and yet here he is graciously providing for the needs of his disciples, making promises to them, and we who through that chain of faithful ministry throughout the ages, those of us that have benefited from the apostolic message, here we are now 2,000 years later, and we are on the receiving end of these very promises that we're about to see.
It's just stunning, the work of God over the ages, and how Christ has provided for us with so much greatness and faithfulness. Look at John 14 verse 16. Jesus is about to depart. He's physically leaving the disciples in a matter of just a few weeks, and he is assuring them, he's helping them not to be thrown off, not to be discouraged or despair by the absence of his physical presence, because he's going to do something that will help them in his physical absence. John 14 verse 16, he says, I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper that he may be with you forever, that is, the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it does not see him or know him, but you know him because he abides with you and will be in you. Jesus is promising them that he will send the Holy Spirit when he ascends to heaven, and the Spirit will dwell within them, and he will be with them to comfort them, to help them as they live for Christ in this hostile world. Look over at John 15 verse 26, he repeats it and expands on the promise. He's promising them that the third person of the Trinity will come to be with them.
John 15 verse 26, he says, when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify about me, and you will testify also because you have been with me from the beginning. He says the Spirit is going to come and help you. The Spirit will bring to mind the things that I have said during my ministry, and he will minister to you and strengthen you and strengthen you and enable you to continue on. In chapter 16 verse 13, he says, when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
This is really a promise for the immediate 11 disciples, guiding them into the revelation of Scripture. He will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own initiative, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify me, for he will take of mine and will disclose it to you.
All things that the Father has are mine, therefore I said that he takes of mine and will disclose it to you. What I want you to notice about these passages, and there's one more that we're going to see in just a moment, the future tense of what Jesus says. He says, I will do this, the Spirit will come, and this is what the Spirit will do. He's speaking in the future tense as he's talking with his disciples there at the Last Supper.
And so he's looking into the future, and he's saying, I will do this in order to help you. The Holy Spirit will come and will sustain you, and he will have a ministry in your life that will continue on the work that I have begun in my earthly ministry. And so Jesus is promising them something magnificent that is still to come. Now, with that in mind, look at one final passage in Acts chapter 1 verse 4. Acts chapter 1 verse 4.
Multiple, multiple times Jesus said, I will send the Spirit, I will send the Spirit. And now here in the book of Acts chapter 1, he is on the brink of returning to heaven, and he says to them in chapter 1 verse 4, gathering them together, he commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, which he said you heard of from me. The Father promised this, I repeated it to you, I told you all about this, wait for it, wait for it, wait here in Jerusalem.
Verse 5, for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. And so he had promised it before his crucifixion, after his crucifixion, he repeats the promise, he says the Holy Spirit is coming. And in Acts chapter 2, on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit came with great power, and we don't have time to go into all of that, one day we will. But Jesus promised the Spirit, and the Spirit in fulfillment of that promise came, and now here we are, generations upon generations upon generations, centuries and even millennia later, here we are, you and I, individual believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we have this Holy Spirit dwelling within us. The past promise of God, the past promise of Christ, he has kept! He's given his Holy Spirit to us, just like he said that he would.
We look back in the pages of Scripture, as it were, we look out over the past ages of time, and we see that Christ kept his promise. And those of us that have the Holy Spirit in our souls, we have the life of the Spirit in our souls, the Spirit of God has awakened you to the truth of Scripture, the Spirit of God has awakened you to the glory of Christ, and now you love him. The Spirit of God has produced spiritual fruit in your life and changed you and is increasingly conforming you to the image of Christ.
Here's what I want you to see right at this point of the message. That life of the Holy Spirit in your soul is a reminder that Christ planned out your salvation long ago, and you are simply living in the stream and swimming in the flow of what Christ had already ordained to come to pass. He had promised his disciples, and we have the Holy Spirit, and the presence of the Spirit in our lives causes us to look back and say what he promised 2,000 years ago he has kept even to me. The past promise of God, certain, strong, infallible, and now fulfilled in you. It reminds us that Christ planned our salvation, it reminds us that he cares for us and he loves us so much that he gave us that which we never could have requested, that which we never could have compelled. He promised powerful help for the Christian life to us, and he has given it to us.
We could not have reached into heaven and pulled the Spirit of God down to come and help us. Christ promised it, the Spirit came, and now here we are on the receiving end of all of these immense spiritual blessings, the person of God himself dwelling within us. What can we say but praise the Lord for that? That testimony of the work of the Spirit of God in your life is no minor thing.
It is no small consequence. That is testimony is testifying. Those changes in your life, those spiritual desires, those affections, that persevering faith that you now have is a testimony, it is a witness to a greater reality, an invisible spiritual reality that speaks to the fact that the Spirit is at work in your life, and that tells you that Christ has kept his promise to those who believe in him. And it reminds us that God has been working out this great plan of salvation, and in your humble, quiet, unnoticed life, when you are manifesting that kind of spiritual fruit, that is no small thing. I understand the world doesn't care about it.
I understand that the world mocks us and tries to distract us with other things. But what your humble life is doing is it is reflecting and illustrating a spiritual reality that traces its reality back to the promises of Christ. Your life, which reflects the mark of the Holy Spirit, is indicating that Christ 2,000 years ago made a promise, and he's still keeping it today, and he kept it to me. Glory be, praise be to God. You see, there's nothing superficial about the Christian life.
There's nothing incidental about it. Everything about our life, I like to say this, the most noble thing in the world is to be a Christian. There is nothing more glorious, there's nothing more noble, grand, and that which most fulfills the purpose for which man was created than to be a Christian, and to be a living, walking, breathing illustration of the fact that God has the power to save, that Christ truly redeemed his people, the Spirit is alive and well, and what Christ promises he always keeps. Your humble Christian life testifies to all of those great spiritual realities, and we corporately get to be a corporate witness to that.
Isn't that cool? Isn't that just like really wonderful, that we have a purpose for life that transcends what we can get out of it before we die? That the way that the very things that are going on in our hearts are speaking to spiritual realities? And Christian, what I want you to do today, what I want you to do right now, is to be astonished at how your simple, faithful life testifies to the faithfulness of Christ to deliver on his promise. We have, Scripture says, turn back to Ephesians chapter 1, with all of those thoughts in mind. Ephesians chapter 1 verse 13, it says that you were sealed in him with the Holy Spirit of promise. You, who have believed, you show the mark of the promised Holy Spirit, and you are manifesting the fact that salvation is real and that Christ keeps his promises. Praise be to God.
Glory be to our God. Now, we're still, we're just getting started in the glory of what this passage says about our salvation. Because there's another aspect of the Holy Spirit, that the presence of the Spirit in your life proves that Christ keeps his promises. It's a reminder that Christ promised this thousands of years ago, and now we enjoy it. And so we're reminded of the past, we're reminded of our Lord by the work of the Spirit in our lives, but now there's something else that is testified to, and that is this, point number two. We said point number one, the Spirit reminds us of the past promise of God. Now point number two, he reminds us that we are the present property of God.
The present property of God. This is wonderful. Of course, any time you open up one of the 66 books of the Bible, that should be your reaction.
This is wonderful. Obadiah verse 3, man, this is great! Because all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching. Point number two, the present property of God. And here's what Paul is saying. At the very instant that you believed in Christ, Scripture says that God sealed you with the Holy Spirit.
Look at verse look at verse 13. Paul says, 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. You were sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit of promise.
Now I want to unpack this for you a little bit. First of all, notice the past tense of it. You were sealed. This describes a completed past act.
It's not something that is ongoing, it's not that you are being sealed as if there is a process going. In a one-time past act, at the moment you believed, God sealed you with the Holy Spirit in Christ. He irreversibly did this when you believed. I want to just stop and step back for a moment and just address those of you directly that struggle with the assurance of your salvation, that you can lose it, you wonder if you're being faithful enough, it's time to put that to rest.
It's time to slay that and bury it so that it never comes back again. We are not meant to walk through life doubting the reality of our salvation when it is clear that we have the Holy Spirit within us. This is the point of this passage. God did an irreversible act when he saved you, and the sealing, which is in the past tense a completed act, speaks to that completed reality. God sealed you with the Holy Spirit, and here's what that means. He sealed you in the sense that he marked you out as his own.
He stamped you, as it were, with the Holy Spirit to show that you belonged to him forever. Ancient documents were often sealed with a waxy substance that would close them up and protect the contents and authenticate the document as having come from the owner of the seal. And so there would be a seal in which that wax would be impressed with that showed the mark of its owner. And when you got a letter that was sealed like that, you would recognize the seal and say, oh, this letter is the real thing. It comes from the owner of the seal, and therefore I know that it's genuine.
The owner's distinct seal guaranteed the document was real. What Paul is doing is he takes those concepts and uses them to illustrate a spiritual reality about what happened in your salvation. God marked out every true believer at the moment of their conversion by imparting the Holy Spirit to them. Look over at Romans chapter 8, verse 9.
Romans chapter 8, verse 9. You need to see that this is the universal experience of every true Christian. Contrary to some, there is no such thing as a true Christian who does not have the Holy Spirit.
You were sealed at the moment you believed, every one of you, and the absence of the Spirit is a mark that you have not been born again, not that you need a second experience. Verse 9, Romans chapter 8, verse 9. Notice what Paul says. He says, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. See that word of belonging, that word of possession, that word of ownership that is there. Paul says that there's two classes of people. There are those that have the Spirit and those that don't. Those that don't do not belong to God, those that do have been marked as belonging to him.
The Spirit marks us as the property of God. Now listen, listen, this is really, really wonderful. I just run out of adjectives to talk about this. You try to diversify your adjectives and to spread them out so that you get something of the multicolored splendor of salvation.
There aren't enough adjectives to spread this around. It's wonderful, it's marvelous, it's glorious, it's incalculable. Here's what it means, keeping the idea of the seal in mind. The Holy Spirit in your life is, watch this, the signature indication that God owns you. You belong to God. You can distinguish Christians from non-Christians, not by a physical mark, not by a brand in their skin. You recognize a true Christian by the spiritual mark of the Holy Spirit. And so God puts the Spirit within us. The Spirit becomes the sealing mark, those changes in your life.
It's more than the fact that your life has changed, it's the fact that God has intervened and claimed ownership of you and put his mark on you in an irreversible way that distinguishes you from the world and says, that one belongs to me. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, with part one of a message titled, Owned by God Forever. Part two comes your way next time, so join us then here on the Truth Pulpit. Well, Don, while this radio broadcast is indeed a valuable tool to help increase biblical understanding, we have other great tools available too, don't we?
That's right, Bill, we do. Friend, we want to do everything we can to help you receive God's Word into your life, and so there's a lot of resources available for you to take advantage of on our website. We broadcast our church services Sunday and Tuesday over our live stream.
All of my weekly sermons are available for easy access via our podcast, and there are also free study guides for some messages to help you or your church group study God's Word on your own. You can find all of those things when you go to the place that Bill's going to point you to right now. Just visit thetruthpulpit.com and follow the links. That's thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright. See you again next time as Don Green teaches God's people God's Word from the truth pulpit.
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