God did not save you in order to rent you and then turn you back later on when he found out that you weren't as good as he thought you were going to turn out to be.
You're not a short-term rental. You are the owned possession of God. You are his property. You belong to him. There's no going back. Thanks for joining us on the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Hi, I'm Bill Wright. Today, as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's word, he concludes our series, Secure in Christ Forever, with part two of a message called Owned by God Forever. Last time, Don told us that we must understand God's sovereign claim on Christians through the lens of past, present, and future. He covered the past promise of God and the fact we are the present property of God. On today's program, Don will provide point number three, the future presence of God.
So have your Bible open to Ephesians chapter 1, verses 13 and 14, as we join Don now in the Truth Pulpit. Paul could say in 1 Corinthians 6, 19, you've been bought with a price, therefore glorify God with your body. We talk about salvation and the language of redemption that we've been purchased.
Well, when you buy something at the store or in the car lot or you buy a piece of property, you own it! When Christ died for you, he was not simply making a means for your sins to be forgiven and then you would drift along through life. No, he bought you so that God would own you. We've been chosen to belong to God, we've been redeemed, we've been purchased by the price of blood, we've been adopted into the family, we're just rehearsing right now terms that we've seen here in Ephesians chapter 1. And now he's saying, you've been sealed, God owns you.
What you should be seeing in the multiplicity of these metaphors is that God has delivered a people, he has bought them and redeemed them so that they would belong to him. There is an element of ownership that we gladly say we belong to God, and the mark of that ownership is the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Turn over to the book of Galatians, Galatians chapter 5, verse 19, speaking of the unsaved, Paul says, the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. All of those marks of the flesh. Notice that it's not all external behavior, it's not just immorality and drunkenness, but there's the inner reality of envying and anger and outbursts of that kind of anger, that as a pattern of life, show that someone does not have the Spirit of God dwelling within them.
That's the mark that the world owns that one. That kind of life is a mark that that person is still in the realm of the world. Because Paul says there in verse 21, I forewarn you that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But by contrast, this mark of the Spirit, verse 22, The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such things there is no law. Those inner attitudes are the mark of the Spirit. That's indicating the presence of the Spirit in your life. In the things that we studied in 1 John, we saw that the desires for the Word of God, a belief, a conviction of truth, not error, is the mark of a true Christian. That obedience, a spirit of obedience, a pattern of obedience to God's Word is the mark of a true Christian. And loving other believers is a mark of a true Christian. That's why it's so impossible for someone to claim to be a Christian and totally remove themselves from the people of God. Say, I'll just be a Christian on my own, thank you.
Well, no, not really. Because one of the marks of the Spirit dwelling within you is, is that you have an affinity and an affection for the people of God, and you're drawn to them like magnets. You want to be around the people of God because you find, even without thinking about it, that you have a shared heart with them. Those different spiritual attitudes, those attributes, those marks of life, those things that mark out a Christian, those are the spiritual attributes that flow from the presence of the Spirit of God in your life.
And what that means is, see, this is all connected. The real point here is this, is that that is the mark of God's seal, a completed past action. God has claimed you as his own, and now you belong to him. The impress of the Spirit shows that you are a Christian. God has authority over you.
God will protect you. You belong to him, not to yourself. You are the present property of God as a Christian.
Present possession, the belonging of the Creator, of the Redeemer, of the Savior. 1 Corinthians 6, 19, do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, watch this, verse 19 of 1 Corinthians 6, and that you are not your own? Why is it that we're not our own?
It's because we belong to someone else. Verse 20, you have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body. To say that you are a Christian is to say, I don't own my own life. It's to say that I belong to the God who purchased me through the salvation that is exclusively found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, how does that tie in with the idea of assurance? Look, God bought us to own us, to keep us. God did not save you in order to rent you and then turn you back later on when he found out that you weren't as good as he thought you were going to turn out to be.
You're not a short-term rental. You are the owned possession of God. You are his property. You belong to him. There's no going back. And as we go through the Christian life, the Spirit of God controls and directs us, disciplines us when we stray, but never lets us fall completely away.
He will always bring us back. God has identified us as being his. That work of the Spirit in your life is the impress that shows that. And what I want you to see is that at the very moment you believe, Scripture says, that is when God did it. God put his ownership stamp upon you from the very beginning. Some of you can remember after your conversion.
I know that I can. There were things that you sinfully enjoyed prior to your conversion, and in that initial period of time after your conversion, you would go back and go back to those sins. But all of a sudden, the pleasure that you once found in them was no longer the same.
It was different. You didn't enjoy it anymore. It started to make you feel convicted.
What you used to enjoy now becomes an element of, I don't even like that anymore. See, you're nodding your head. You recognize it.
And you know why you're nodding your head? It's because at that instant, or that era in your early Christian life, was the mark of God on your life. You no longer belong to sin in that way anymore. What I want you to see is you look back on your spiritual experiences, that when that happened, when you couldn't go back to sin with gusto, when you couldn't go back to your false religion, when you just found yourself being pulled and separated away from your former friends who were your partners in crime, that separation from sin was an aspect of the mark of God, the ownership seal of God. You belong to me now, and you won't be enjoying that like you once did. Now we look back and we understand that was the mark of God.
It was different because you were under new ownership, and you're there forever. That's the seal of the Spirit. There's more. The Holy Spirit in our lives is now an indication about what is yet to come. What is yet to come? What is yet to come?
Point number three, the future presence of God. I love this. I love this. You know, there's such a perfection thinking about Christ promising the Spirit and delivering on his promise. That's precious! I mean, that's perfect! That he is so much Lord over creation, Lord over the physical and the spiritual, Lord over the visible and invisible, that he can make a promise and keep delivering on it 2,000 years later.
With no threat that he's going to slow down or be diminished in his capacity to keep what he's promised. That's perfect! It's wonderful! Praise be to Christ that he's like that. Then to realize, here in the realm of the present, having believed and having been sealed with the Spirit, that we're walking through life marked out as the possession of God, that we're not our own, that there is a purpose and there is a meaning and there is a significance of eternal consequence to our life as we walk through, day by day, that is testified by the abiding fruit of the Spirit in our lives that shows that we've been sealed in the Spirit and we belong to God. Man, that's perfect.
I was born to humble parents in a farm town. And now you're telling me that I belong to the eternal Creator? He set his affections on me before time began and he's carried it out and he owns me and I belong to him? Man, that is perfect!
That was perfect and now this is perfect! And could it be that there's something that's even more wonderful than that? You're understanding this if you feel a sense coming upon you of just being utterly humbled by the goodness of God, that we are on the receiving end of so many wonderful things that we did not initiate and that we could not earn.
Your simple Christian life is tied to the promises of Christ and even beyond that to the choice of God before time began. That's awesome. Wow! God, what did you... It couldn't be about me because there wasn't anything about me that would make you want to own me like that. I mean, you own the universe. You own the cattle on a thousand hills.
You own everything! And yet you took me, a stranger and a sinner, and brought me in so that you could own me? You say in your mind, oh God, who am I that you would do that?
Why would you do that? If something of that is echoing in your mind, you're getting it. A true Christian is not indifferent to these things.
It just drives him to praise and to worship in humility. And with all of that, we haven't even gotten to the best part yet, but that's what we're coming to now. Point number three, the future presence of God. These things just get progressively more wonderful. They're perfect and yet they get better.
How could that be? And here's what we're going to see. The Spirit of God now in your life is given to you. God gave the Spirit to you. Watch this as simply as a part of a greater whole that he intends to deliver on for you. Look at verse 14. Ephesians chapter 1 verse 14. The Holy Spirit of promise at the end of verse 13. Who is? Okay, so this relative clause is now going to expand on the significance of the Holy Spirit in your life. You were sealed in him with the Holy Spirit of promise.
Who is? Now he's expanding on what this means, the significance of the Spirit. Who is, verse 14, given as a pledge of our inheritance with a view to the redemption of God's own possession to the praise of his glory?
Let me state this simply in summary form and then we'll unpack it just a little bit. God gave you the Holy Spirit, and one aspect of that great incalculable gift is that he's telling you, I've given you the Spirit now, but understand this, there is more to come. I have more to give you than simply your present Christian experience. The Spirit is the indication that God is going to give us more than he already has.
Now, you should be saying, wait, time out! He's already given us so much! And you're saying there's more to come?
That's exactly what we're saying. The Holy Spirit in your life is a guarantee from God that he will give you still more in the future, things that none of us here in this life right now have yet begun to enter into. The Holy Spirit then places us in a realm of certain anticipation that greater blessings are yet to come to us. Look at Ephesians 4 verse 30, where Paul says, Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed.
Okay, I've seen this before. Sealed for what? Sealed for the day of redemption. Sealed for that future day still to come when God brings us into his presence, glorifies us, perfects us, and we are with him for the remainder of all of eternity, with sin banished, with Satan destroyed in the lake of fire, with no more temptation, with no more sorrow, but simply enraptured with the greatness of the glory of the presence of the Shekinah glory of God on full splendor display.
And you and I, there, belonging there, owned by God, redeemed for that great multifaceted experience of glory throughout all of eternity. The Spirit of God in your life now is God's promise. It's God's guarantee that he will give you the rest of it also. There is no way that a true Christian could lose their salvation in light of this language. There's no way God makes the initial payment in the person of the Holy Spirit and says, This is the guarantee that I will follow through. For a true Christian to lose his salvation would be to say that God broke his promise. God broke his guarantee.
Not going to happen! Let's not impugn the grace and character and integrity of God with such foolishness. God will deliver the fullness of what he has promised. The Spirit in your life now is the pledge that he will give you the rest. John 14, Jesus says in verse 2, In my Father's house are many dwelling places.
If it were not so, I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, our gracious, sweet, loving Lord says, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. The Holy Spirit in your life is an indication that you're a personal recipient of this promise. Christ says, I will come again. I will receive you to Myself.
And I have the intention of taking you so that you can be where I am and be with me forever. In other words, God plans to give us much more than we presently have here on earth as a Christian. It's so great and noble and wonderful and joyful to be a Christian right now. We enjoy so many blessings, don't we? In Christ, we share them together corporately.
We know them in our own hearts. And somehow, somehow God is going to take that spiritual gift and expand it to us into greater ways than we can possibly ask or think or imagine. You know, when you're walking with Christ and you love Christ in this world, you're just caught up in Him and you love Him so much. Oh, Lord, you saved my soul at the cost of your own blood. I love you for that.
I worship you for that. And that fills your heart till it bursts, doesn't it? Well, understand that that's a microcosm of a much greater reality that we're going to have in the future still to come. The privilege of being a Christian now will be swallowed up in the greater privilege of being a Christian around the throne of Christ and seeing Him face to face. And to trace it all back to the argument that Paul is making, the presence of the Holy Spirit described in the Scripture manifested in your daily life is the guarantee that God will certainly give you the rest as well. Beloved, it grieves me when people buck against the great truths that are found in Ephesians chapter 1 because they're cutting off their own spiritual lifeline.
They're forfeiting the riches of the blessings that we're talking about here. Realize that God chose you before the foundation of the world, that Christ redeemed you and God has adopted you into His family simply because it pleased Him to do so. Nothing of you. Nothing of your merit. You would not have willed this. You could not have willed this.
You did not will this. He saved you. He's working in you. One day He will bring you into His eternal presence where you will know the fullness of joy forever. This just sweeps through all of eternity. And the gift of the Holy Spirit in your life, the presence of the indwelling Spirit in your life who has made it possible for you to understand God's Word and to love Christ and for your life to change.
Listen, here's the point of this whole passage. The gift of the Holy Spirit in your life demonstrates the utter, complete, pure sincerity of God and His full intention to bring the rest of it to pass. You have been sealed not just for today.
You've been sealed for the day of redemption. God says, I own you. I have intentions to bless you far more than you know right now.
And the Spirit is your indication. It's what I give you so that you can know for certain that the promises that lie ahead will become yours in experience in just a little while longer. God has sealed us for the future day when He completes it.
Past promise of Christ, present property of God, the future presence of God all belong to us as a gift from a holy God who is not only holy but who is loving and merciful and gracious and has been kind to you by degrees that cannot be measured. It's overwhelmingly wonderful, isn't it? What a great God! What a great Savior! What a great Spirit! What a great salvation! All of His grace, and it's all of His grace, poured out on unworthy men and women like you and me. What can we say to these things? Look at the end of verse 14. As a holy hush comes upon our soul, realizing how much we have received and yet there is so much more yet to come.
What's the effect? It's to the praise of His glory. What do we say to these things? We praise God. We honor Him. We thank Him.
Now and forever. Oh, God! You know, sometimes you feel like the trials of life are going to make your knees buckle.
Forget that. What I want you to be having impressed upon your heart is this, is that our knees are buckling now under the weight of divine blessing. He has been so good to us!
Past promises, present possession, future presents! Oh, God! I stagger under the massive weight of Your goodness upon my life. Lord, to the praise of Your glory, to the wonder and the glory and the magnification of Your holy name, oh God, to You be the glory, to You be the thanks for all that You have done. I gladly turn my throat, my tongue, and my lips into an instrument of Your praise. We have received the gift.
God receives the glory and Him alone. And with that, we've reached the end of our series, Secure in Christ Forever. Pastor Don Green will embark on another compelling series next time on The Truth Pulpit, so plan now to join us. But right now, Don's back here in studio to wrap up our Just Completed series.
Don? Well, my friend, I hope you've been able to be with us during this series of messages from Ephesians chapter 1. That Bible chapter gives us great ground for confidence and security as we trust in Christ. God chose and adopted us. He redeemed us in Christ so that we would belong to Him forever. Of course we're secure in Christ. The love of God guarantees it forever and ever.
Amen. Thanks, Don. And friend, we invite you to visit thetruthpulpit.com. There you'll find information about free CDs of any of Don's messages. That's thetruthpulpit.com. And now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as Don Green again teaches God's people God's Word from The Truth Pulpit.
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