The Promise of God's Purchase (Ephesians 1:13, 14)
I. Mine, Mine, Mine
I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “mine”, it stirs up memories of a troubled toddler hanging on, hands like a vice-grip, to one side of a toy or book while his brother or sister is attempting to wrestle away the other side of the contested object.
That's when mommy or daddy has to step in and deal with the less-than-angelic behavior connected to that word, “mine”. Thus, this word usually makes me think of things like selfishness and tension and frustration and correction. “Mine. Mine. Mine.”
This morning, as we turn together to God’s word, and in contrast to what I’ve just shared, we’re going to see how glorious that very word can be. Turn with me to Ephesians 1, vs. 13 and 14.
You may remember that this morning we are, once again, revisiting a four-part study of the Holy Spirit called, “The Spirit of Promise”. Who or what is the Holy Spirit? What difference does the Spirit make in the life of the Christian? In your life? Last time, from John’s Gospel, we saw how Jesus announced the coming of the Holy Spirit for all of God’s people in fulfillment of what was announced beforehand in the Old Testament.
We saw in John’s Gospel, specifically in chapters 14, 15, and 16, that God the Holy Spirit’s primary work in this age is to “bear witness” to God the Son, to Jesus. What does that mean? Well, from a big picture perspective, it means the Spirit of God enables us to live in the purposes of the Father that the Son of God has made possible. (2x)
Of course, when we explore these distinct persons of the Trinity we cannot forget that we are always talking about only one God. When one is glorified, all are glorified. We worship and serve and are empowered by one God. Only one.
But Scripture has given us a perspective, albeit limited, into the essence of this God. And the reality that He is “trinity in unity”, helps us understand how He has worked, wants to work, and will work to accomplish His purposes.
III. The Passage: “The Promised Holy Spirit” (1:13, 14)
So this morning as we look together at Ephesians 1, let’s keep these things in mind as we continue to explore the role of God’s Spirit in our lives and in the world.
Listen to what Paul tells the Christians in Ephesus about this Spirit. 1:13…
In him [in Christ] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
So what we have here, in essence, is Paul’s affirmation that what Jesus said would happen, really did happen. Jesus promised another Helper would come… and He did… and still does. As Paul tells us here, this is the “promised Holy Spirit”. This is the Spirit of promise.
Consider some of the different ways in which these two verses reveal more about God’s Spirit.
A. The Spirit and God’s Proclamation (1:13a)
First, look back at verse 13: In him [in Christ] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit...
Notice that Paul is confirming there is only one way to receive this Spirit of promise. There is only one way in which the predictions of the prophets and the promise of Jesus can be fulfilled in our lives individually.
We cannot earn the gift of the Spirit. We cannot buy the Holy Spirit. We don’t recite a chant or wait in deep meditation for the Spirit. We don’t need someone to pray over us or lay hands on us to receive the Holy Spirit.
Paul is clear here about the prerequisites for personally receiving the Holy Spirit: we hear and we believe. That’s it. What do we hear? We hear the “word of truth”. What is the “word of truth”? It is “the gospel of your salvation”. It is the message concerning God’s Son. Remember: God’s Spirit and God’s Son, their work intimately linked, just like we saw last time.
But if we are to personally know the Spirit that Jesus announced, then we have to do more than hear the message announced about Jesus. We have to believe that message. We have to embrace through faith the One proclaimed in that message.
When the Holy Spirit was first given to the church in the book of Acts, God chose to give clear external evidence, among different groups of people (i.e. Jews, Gentiles, Samartians, disciples of John the Baptist), that the promised Spirit really had been given. It was clear from these supernatural signs that the Spirit had come to all without exclusion; without bias.
But those were historical occurrences that we don’t find repeated. What Paul reveals here is that when anyone (and that means anyone), places their trust in Jesus as their only hope, they receive the Holy Spirit. There are no exceptions to that rule. There are no second or third place prizes. We all receive the Spirit in full measure when we believe on Jesus Christ.
Have you truly believed that Jesus Christ is your Redeemer and King? If you truly believe, then you have truly received the Holy Spirit. Isn't that wonderful news?!
B. The Spirit and God’s Property (1:13b)
But look again at how Paul, at the end of verse 13, describes the gift of the Holy Spirit:
In him [in Christ] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit...
What does it mean that we were sealed with the Spirit? As you probably know a seal is a stamp of sorts. It was a cylinder or stamp engraved with a design or name that could leave an impression on wax or clay. Did you know that more than 200 Hebrew seals have been discovered, all bearing the individual names of their owners? That’s what a seal does, it points someone back to the authority or ownership of the person the seal represents.
Listen to how Paul uses this same image with Timothy: Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His”… (II Timothy 2:19)
I think the same idea is present here in Ephesians. When you believe on Christ, when you receive the Holy Spirit as a result of this faith, you are in fact sealed by the Spirit; that is, you are marked by the Spirit as God’s property; Brothers and sisters, friends...
If the Holy Spirit is in you, it means you belong to God.
This “sealing” by the Spirit is, in fact, another way of talking about one aspect of what we see in the book of Acts, of what John the Baptist and Jesus and Paul called the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”. It was the Holy Spirit doing what water could only symbolized: death and cleansing and renewal. And by this spiritual death and cleansing and renewal, we are connected to God.
Or as Paul expresses it here, we are sealed by God; we are marked as His own possession.
C. The Spirit and God’s Pledge (1:14)
But look at how Paul takes this imagery even further in the next verse, in verse 14: [the Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Here's another word that complements the idea we are now God’s property because of the Holy Spirit; that we belong to God. The word translated here “guarantee” is the Greek word arrabon. An arrabon is a “pledge”, or what we would call a “down payment”; or maybe, more specifically in this context, it is a “first installment”.
But a “first installment” for what, we might ask? Well, verse 14: it’s for “our inheritance”. Paul spoke about this inheritance only a few verses earlier in verse 11 of chapter 1:
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will… (Ephesians 1:11)
So in verse 14, Paul gets more specific about this inheritance of eternal life with Christ by clarifying that even though we do not yet have our full inheritance, we do we have a first installment. We have the Spirit. Paul uses all of the same language when he tells the Corinthians...
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him [in Christ]. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.  And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us,  and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (II Corinthians 1:20–22)
Paul says this later in Ephesians: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30) There’s the idea of being sealed, and once again, it’s connected with the truth that God is coming again for those who marked as His own.
So how can we be assured that God will do all this? The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of promise, is given to us as a first installment of the incalculable spiritual blessings that we will one day be ours, fully and finally when God takes for Himself that which is already His: you and me.
IV. You are Not Your Own
What we’re seeing in all of this is that the Holy Spirit is the promise of God’s purchase. The Spirit is the indisputable evidence that we really do belong to God.
Paul makes a similar point in Romans 8. Listen to how the language of belonging here is parental, not simply possessive...
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God...  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:15–23)
You see, we are not simply acquired, we are adopted through God’s Spirit. Again, there are many ways in which the New Testament describes this work of the Holy Spirit in making us God’s own people. Listen to how it's expressed in I Corinthians 6:19, 20. This is what Paul tells the Corinthians who were foolishly flirting with and condoning sexual immorality; who were handing their bodies over to impurity. Paul writes:
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Through the Holy Spirit, and because of the work of the Holy Spirit, God says to those who have believed on Jesus Christ, “You are not your own…you are mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.”
If you are a follower of Jesus, God wants to remind you of this incredible truth this morning: the Spirit of God in you is indisputable proof and precious assurance that you belong to God.
It’s easy to feel at times like we have been left in the “lost and found” of this world. It’s easy to feel like we are still spiritual orphans trapped in life’s orphanage. It’s easy to feel like we are simply an abandoned and condemned house, boarded up, without any signs of life.
In fact, the flesh, the Enemy, and the world would all have us believe we've been left, that we've been abandoned, that we've been slated for demolition. But remember Paul’s words from
Romans 8: The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…
The Spirit bear witness to Jesus. And one of the ways He does that, is by reminding Christians they are sons and daughters of God because of God’s beloved Son. Whatever challenges you are facing in here or out there, is the Spirit of God comforting you with that truth, that you have been sealed… that you are God’s and he is coming for you?
The Spirit of God in you is indisputable proof and precious assurance that you belong to God. In the coming weeks, we will talk more about assurance of that assurance, that is, assurance that God's Spirit really is IN you.
But if you are not a follower of Jesus Christ this morning, through faith, then you do not belong to God. Now for many, that might sound fine. Who wants to be someone else’s property? But the reality is that you are never, and have never been, your own. You have, do, and always will belong to someone or something else.
The Scriptures reveal that if we do not belong to God, then we are slaves to sin and death. You are either a child of God or a slave to sin. Those are the only two options.
But there is hope. Listen to what Jesus tells us about the help, hope, and the Holy Spirit:
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil [slaves of sin and death], know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13)
And you can ask him, even this morning, even now. Paul already told us how we can receive the Holy Spirit, didn’t he? He comes when we hear and believe the Good News about Jesus.
If you do believe, then because of the cross and empty tomb of Jesus Christ, you do have an eternal inheritance waiting for you. But... you are already rich beyond you wildest dreams, because you have God the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. He has sealed you. You really do belong to God... now and forever. Hallelujah!
More in The Spirit of Promise (2020)
June 28, 2020The Promise of God's Power (Ephesians 3:14-21)
June 21, 2020The Promise of God's Perspective (I Corinthians 2:1-16)
June 7, 2020The Promise of God's Purpose (John 15:26, 27)