I once knew a man who never saw a contract that he couldn’t break. He was successful, charismatic and admired in his church and community. In fact, this man was an elder, ministry leader and respected confident in a large church.
But, in his business life, a place where he sat at the top of the heap; he was a deal breaker and a bully to those beneath him as well as an untrusted adversary to those who competed with him in that world.
And somehow, in today’s church climate, the thought of confronting him has never crossed the minds of those closest to him.
Discussion: Why would his friends or associates be silent in times like this? What are some things in your heart that might hinder you from addressing him?
There are two reasons I bring this up as an introduction to today’s topic.
1. Character matters!
– It matters more than money, connections or the number of glad handed friends a man has.
– Character trumps charisma every day.
– And the church of Jesus Christ, particularly the charismatic churches, need to go back to the basics of character.
2. God is not a deal breaker!
– In one of the most glorious statements Paul ever penned, he states the staggering promise of the good news in one phrase.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
Discussion: How important is character in your life?
Now for the sake of good theology and rightly dividing the word, what follows through to verse 14 is the cleanest exegesis of the Trinity you will find.
vs. 3-16 God, the Father is described
vs. 7-12 Jesus, the Son, our Savior
vs. 13-14 The Holy Spirit of Promise
The balance is impeccable in Paul’s words, and so it should be with His church.
Each of the Trinity, honored and loved, none above the other, three persons in our God.
vs. 3 is the great statement of our Covenant Keeping God.
What defines “every spiritual blessing?”
1. Beyond the covenant promise God made to Adam & Eve
2. Beyond the unconditional covenant made to Noah
3. Beyond the great covenant made with Abraham
4. Beyond the land covenant made with Abraham’s descendants
5. Greater than the covenant with Moses
6. Surpassing the covenant of David, His king
7. Is the New Covenant wrought and confirmed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ
The Covenant of Grace – forgiveness of sin, the coming first offering to Adam & Eve completed once and for all.
The Covenant of Redemption – God purchased your life! You were dead, useless, a sin-filled carcass of worldly desires destined for hell.
…But God valued you more than Himself and sent His Son to purchase and redeem you from your enemy!
And now, God wants you to enter boldly into your heritage!
Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Discussion: What is our heritage here on earth? Can we see it?
When Paul prays that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened –
– He is praying that we would boldly move into our inheritance.
– That like the 2 on the road to Emmaeus who said that,
Luke 24:32 They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”
Today, God is speaking to hearts!
– Your heart is burning!
– Decide now to step into the promise of God in Jesus name!
In a world of deal breakers, God has made us more than a promise!
In the words of J. Parker…
“I cannot know His future plans,
But this I know:
I have the smiling of His face,
And all the refuge of His grace,*
While here below.”
(*Such a great line. No matter what storms or mistakes
we face, we can run to His covenant of grace!)
Now, I want you to see this morning how far God has gone to make His promise real.
Ephesians 1:13-14 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, 14 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.
– What has allowed a lethargy to infect the church of Jesus Christ in today’s world?
– Why is failure, sinful lifestyles and broken promises the norm in the church?
It is because of the non-appropriation of this great promise of God.
Read vs. 13 again. “You were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise…”
A seal does three things:
1. Authenticated an item – a seal of approval
2. Protects and keeps – provided security from harm
3. A mark of ownership – branding cattle
Isaiah 49:16 Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.
And you are not the one that does the sealing!
It is God who seals you…
– not a certain belief you hold
– not your actions
…But after listening to the message,
…After believing the message,
You were, past tense, sealed in Jesus with and by the Holy Spirit that was promised by the Father.
And when you accept this great gift…
– your life is transformed
– and the world sees, hears, witnesses and cannot deny the life of God
Every time the church has manifested the sealing of the Holy Spirit, revival has broken out.
Instead of the lethargic, narcissistic inward focus that has inflicted so many…the vibrant, white hot passion that Jesus has for the lost takes over.
When revival breaks out…
the church goes out.
When the church goes out…
the lost come in.
When the lost come in…
the Holy Spirit breaths life.
And when the Holy Spirit breaths life…
revival breaks out.
Sealed by the Holy Spirit…
Ephesians 4:1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
You want to know a good place to start?
– Your words
– Your judgements
– Your lack of kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness
…Because God in Christ has forgiven you!
Discussion: In what areas of your life do you need to change the way you walk? (to walk worthy?) What about the words you use on Facebook, can you walk worthy there?