Hymn: Guide me, O thou great Jehovah
Theme: Be filled with the Holy Spirit
Topic: Marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit
Reading: Ephesians 1:3-14
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,4just as he chose us in Christ* before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.5He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will,6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight9he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ,10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance,* having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will,12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.13In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit;14this* is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.
At the beginning of our current theme, we discussed several works of the Holy Spirit. In today’s study our focus will be on the seal of the Holy Spirit on believers of Christ. In some parts of the world, to buy something, the buyer can make a deposit to the seller who then puts the item away, marking it as sold. The buyer takes full possession of the item as soon as complete payment is made. One way of talking about salvation is to say that the same goes for humanity. Through the fall of Adam and Eve, we all became estranged to God; enslaved to sin, and prone to fear of death and attacks of the enemy. But through the death and resurrection of Christ, the yoke of sin was broken, the debt we owed was paid and God marked all believers of Christ with the seal of the Holy Spirit. This has several implications and we will be discussing as many of them as we can. One of the important aspects of having the seal of the Holy Spirit is the guarantee that we are God’s own people – here and hereafter.
1. Why did God mark us with the seal of the Holy Spirit?
Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:17-32
In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14this* is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory. 17 Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds.18They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart.19They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practise every kind of impurity.20That is not the way you learned Christ!21For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus.22You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts,23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,24and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another.26Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,27and do not make room for the devil.28Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labour and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy.29Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up,* as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption.31Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice,32and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.*
2. How do we know we are marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit?
Ephesians 1:17-23, 2:11-22
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him,18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints,19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.20God* put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.22And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church,23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
11 So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth,* called ‘the uncircumcision’ by those who are called ‘the circumcision’—a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands—12remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.14For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.15He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace,16and might reconcile both groups to God in one body* through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.*17So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near;18for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God,20built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.*21In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord;22in whom you also are built together spiritually* into a dwelling-place for God.
For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s* will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,10so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.11May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled* you* to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son,14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.*
3. What are the implications of bearing the seal of the Holy Spirit?
Romans 8:9-11, 26-27
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit,* since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit* is life because of righteousness.11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ* from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through* his Spirit that dwells in you.26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes* with sighs too deep for words.27And God,* who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit* intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.*
2 Corinthians 5:5-10
He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord—7for we walk by faith, not by sight.8Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.9So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.10For all of us must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters* beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits* for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.14For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news,* so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.15So then, brothers and sisters,* stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope,17comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.
But you, beloved, must remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;18for they said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, indulging their own ungodly lusts.’19It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions.20But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit;21keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to* eternal life.22And have mercy on some who are wavering;23save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies. *24 Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing,25to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen.
We believers of Christ bear the seal of the Holy Spirit. Let us live and love as He guides us knowing that He is true and will surely guide us to eternal life with the Lord.
Lord we thank You for marking us with the seal of the Holy Spirit. We ask You to keep leading us all the days of our lives for without You we are lost. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.