Sermon: The Spiritual Blessing of Our Inheritance (Ephesians 1:11-14)

The Spiritual Blessing of Our Inheritance

Ephesians 1:11-14

 

Ephes. 1:3 (ESV) 

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 

 

Ephes. 1:11-14 (ESV) 

    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,  [12] so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.  [13] In him 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,  [14] who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

If you remember when we began the Book of Ephesians, I mentioned that one purpose of the Book was to show that Jew and Gentile come together to form a new humanity called the Church. Here, Paul stresses this truth.

He began this extended sentence in verse 3 and carries it through to verse 14, one long, run-on sentence. For the apostle, the praise of God was more important than grammar. Once he began thinking about the blessings God has lavished on His people, he forgot all else.

1. In Christ, Jews Receive an Inheritance

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,  [12] so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

The Apostle Paul shows us that if the Jew is to have an inheritance from God it comes through and because of Jesus Christ. When he says, we, he means himself and the first ones to believe which were Jewish folks. A Jew will not be granted an inheritance because he/she is Jewish. Being a physical descendant of Abraham does not grant one a right standing with God. Before a Jewish person can claim an inheritance from God that person must become a Christian. The Jew must be found in Christ.

Like everyone, the Jews found reason to boast in their heritage. They were the ones that God had given the Law to. They were the ones God had taken an interest in. They were the ones who had the Old Testament and the Prophets. However, they didn’t consider whether they kept the Law of God or listened to what the prophets said. They thought that the fact that they we the ones God dealt with initially was cause for confidence.

The Jews despised everyone else that did not have the Law and saw them as useless dogs.

Then something happened. The Jews were also given the Savior Jesus Christ. However, they were so steeped in tradition that to accept Jesus as the Messiah, they would need to give up their god of position and tradition. They could not give this god up. So rather than seeing Christ clearly and loving Him supremely, they turned back to the gods of their own imagination and crucified the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

All this was in God’s sovereign plan. Because, as Paul says, it is in Christ…in this crucified Jesus Christ that the Jew has hope. Hope can be had because they have been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 

The Jew can have a right standing with God, not because he is a Jew but because Jesus Christ came to the earth to save sinners and to unite all things.

God is working to do just that as He has formed the Church. The people who make up the Church of Jesus Christ will be the ones to inherit God’s blessings.

In him we have obtained an inheritance. Literally, the original “We have been made possessors of an inheritance”. It is His doing. Again the Bible highlights the fact that God takes the initiative and we are the ones who are passive in this transaction.

Like all things, this is for the glory of God. So the way in which God gets glory from a Jew is for that Jew to become a Christian…to be in Christ. Paul and his band of early believers were some of the first Jews to trust Christ as Savior and Lord. By this God was exalted.

[12] so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

A Jewish person will glorify God only by becoming a Christian. All other ways are futile.

2. In Christ, Gentiles Receive an Inheritance

[13] In him 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,  [14] who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

The Gentiles didn’t trust in their heritage. They were not like the Jews who had been given the Law and the Prophets. However, they had a different god to trust in. For the Gentile…or we could say for the Greek, there was the god of knowledge. For the Greek, security came from trust in one’s intellectual ability. The Greek philosophers-Plato, Socrates and Aristotle were revered as gods in the Greek culture.

Because they had different gods, the Jews and Greeks always clashed, each one hating the other. We still see this today. There has always been some scuffle going one between Jew and Gentile. The only way it ends is when each worships the same God through Jesus Christ. When Jew and Gentile become Christians, then they will stop fighting.

The amazing news for us is found in this set of verses. Paul tells us that In him you also…

Just as the first century Apostle Paul and his companions were granted an inheritance because they were in Christ, so today all who are in Christ will also receive an inheritance.

It’s clearly taught here in this text that the way in which all people are granted an inheritance by God the Father is only through God the Son. Being in Christ is the only way.

We haven’t received this inheritance yet, but we are waiting eagerly by faith knowing that it’s waiting for us.

1 Peter 1:3-5 (ESV) 

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  [4] to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,  [5] who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

A big part of our inheritance is final salvation. Paul tells us we don’t fully possess it yet but it is guaranteed. Being included in this inheritance of God took place… when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him.

The moment you heard the gospel and the Lord opened your heart to believe it, you were included in the inheritance of the saints.

In Him we have adoption

In Him we have redemption

In Him we have an inheritance

Because of the obedience of Jesus Christ, God has caused His blessings to abound toward us. Not only are we possessors of these wonderful privileges based on the work of Christ, but these blessing are promised to last forever.

Paul now gives us another spiritual blessing…

 3. In Christ Jews and Gentiles are Secure

sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  [14] who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,

Paul writes that we have been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

God wants His people to understand that they are completely secure. It’s one thing to understand this but it is another thing all together to feel secure. As a Christian today, do you feel secure?

We should be careful to rely on our feelings because we may not always feel certain ways. God wants His people to understand and experience security.

The word sealed has a number of meanings and all of them are true in this case.

First, to seal something is to keep what is inside…inside and keep what’s outside on the outside. In canning vegetables the lid is sealed. The stuff on the inside can’t get out. When the Holy Spirit seals God’s people, they are so secure that they cannot escape even if they wanted to.

Another meaning of sealing is to show authority and ownership. In ancient days a king would place his seal on a letter and this sealing meant that the letter was his property and no one could open it except the intended recipient. When we are sealed, God is showing ownership over us. We belong to Him.

One last meaning of sealed is when someone in authority endorses something. The saying, he gave his stamp of approval to it. The stamp or seal is intended to say that the king, for example, makes a decree and stamps it to show everyone that the decree comes with the king’s authority.

God’s people are sealed forever. We are inside His kingdom forever, we are His property, and we are authenticated by the Holy Spirit’s seal of approval.

Do you feel secure in Christ alone. Because God has set His seal upon us which is the Holy Spirit, we must trust in that alone. We sin when, as God’s children, we trust and feel secure in other things. God is not glorified when we trust or feel secure in our abilities. He is not glorified when we look at the amount of money in our bank account.

How does keeping us for eternity bring glory to God?

God’s glory is too important to God to have our eternal destiny depend on us. God has too much at stake for something as important as the eternal destiny of His children to depend on us. That’s why the Spirit seals us and keeps us forever. God will be glorified.

[12] so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

[14] who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

The Holy Spirit seals believers and He is the guarantee that they will acquire God’s inheritance.

2 Cor. 1:21-22 (ESV) 

    And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us,  [22] and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

It’s very important that as Christians we become immovable. We will continue in the faith, not because we can round up enough power and determination to do so, but because the Holy Spirit has sealed us and He is the guarantee that we will remain. Every person to whom the Holy Spirit is given will remain God’s child forever, without exception.

Literally, the word guarantee means the Holy Spirit is a down payment or the earnest payment.

Today, if you purchase a house, you may be required to place a some of money down until the bid is accepted. This sum of money is used to make sure you’re serious and that you’ll come back to finalize the paperwork etc.

If one has to put down 1,000 dollars to make an offer on a house their pretty sure the offer is genuine. If the purchaser doesn’t return then the home owner keeps the money.

So, and earnest payment is a guarantee that the purchaser will come back.

Our salvation is so important to God that He gives us the Holy Spirit as the guarantee that when the time is right He will come back for His people.

We should feel 100% secure because God’s Word is trustworthy and because His glory is at stake.

Isn’t it such a relief to feel secure? No longer do we need to be anxious or worry about our salvation. The Church is set on a rock solid foundation. Jesus will return and take His children home. None will be left out or forgotten.

Praise God for a salvation fixed on Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

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