This sermon is number 6 in a series of 36
Ephesians - Part 6
"The Mystery of His Will - Part 2"
by David Legge | Copyright © 2000 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com
Let me welcome you to our Bible Study here this evening in the Iron Hall. It's great to see you all out, and we hope and trust and we ask the Lord that He will bless us as we meet with Him and around His word to see what He has to say to us this evening. We're turning again to Ephesians chapter 1. Ephesians chapter 1, and we'll take time to read from verse 1 - and you'll be glad to know that we're going to get down to verse 14 this evening, and that's one section. It's taken us six weeks to get there, but hopefully we've been blessed as we've been going through each little truth that the Lord has for us in this little book.
Verse 1: "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory".
If you have the sheet that you were given last week (maybe you got another one on the way in) you'll see that we only got to the first point in our studies last week: verses 8 to 10. We learned what the mystery of His will is, we learned what a mystery is within Biblical terms - that a mystery is something that was hidden within the Old Testament scriptures that no one ever knew, not even the Jews, but in the New Testament, in our times, those hidden things of old have been revealed through the Lord Jesus Christ. We learned that the mystery of His will is that all things, all plans, all His counsels, all the circumstances in this world are being channelled together like rivers into the ocean to one specific purpose of the sovereign God. It's found in verse 10: 'That in the dispensation' - the economy, the administration - 'of the fulness of times [God] might gather together in one' - everything that is divided within this planet and universe, God is going to bring it together in one - '...all things in Christ Jesus, both which are in heaven, and which are on the earth; even in him'.
Quickly let us look at the remainder of what we have on our sheet, because it's important as we look at our study this evening - verses 11 to 14 - that we understand a few basic distinctions within the word of God. Paul says this great plan of God that has been working down all the ages, that in the dispensation of the fullness of times God in the millennial kingdom is going to bring everything together. Jesus Christ is going to have control over all things, He will rule over the world that is now in chaos. He goes on and he describes, as we have it on our sheet, the mystery as it is applicable to the different sections of God's people down throughout all time. First of all - verse 11 and 12 - He talks to and about the Jews. 'In whom also we have obtained an inheritance', or we have been made an inheritance, 'being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ'.
Now notice that! Paul says - in verse 11 and verse 12 - he uses the pronoun 'we'. Now look at verse 13: 'In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise'. So there's a distinction between verse 11 and 12, and verse 13. Verse 11, Paul says collectively 'we have obtained', or, 'we who were made an inheritance'. If you were to turn to Deuteronomy 9 (you don't need to do it, I'll read it out for you) and verse 29, Deuteronomy 32 and verse 9, you find this said of God's children Israel: Ye, "Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance...for the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance". The Jews in the Old Testament - when God, in the book of Exodus, revealed to Moses and the children of Israel who He was by His covenant name 'Yahweh' or 'Jehovah', He told Israel that they would be His gem, His treasured possession - that Israel, chosen race among all the world, would be a treasure unto Him. So you see what Paul's saying in verse 11: 'We', one day in the Old Testament, 'were made an inheritance to God. We were predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will, that we', the Jews, 'should be to the praise of His glory who first trusted in Christ'. Who first trusted in Christ? The Jews. Isn't that right? The apostles were Jews. The first church - those that believed - were in Jerusalem, and Paul is saying: 'We were the ones who first trusted in Christ'. It could even be translated: 'fore-hoped in Christ'. The Jews and the prophets and the scribes, before Christ was ever born, they all looked forward and 'fore-hoped' to the day when Messiah would come.
The word of God tells us and the New Testament opens up the mystery; that most of the Jews rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. Only a handful of them believed, but there is a day coming - Paul says - when all will be made one in Christ. And Paul tells us again, and enlightens upon it in Romans 11:26, that one day those Jews will look upon Him whom they have pierced and all Israel shall be saved. So Paul, in verse 11 and 12, speaks of the Jew. And then you look in verse 13 because this is the mystery, not just of the Jew - that the Jews who rejected Christ were now believing, but the mystery of the Gentile. 'In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation'. This is a mystery! That the Gentiles, the pagans, the heathens that worshipped gods of stones and the spirits of their fathers - those who had previously been described as the filth of the earth: they had now also heard the gospel? They had now also believed God's word and, wonder of wonders, the mystery that the Gentiles now could actually be made an inheritance to God. We are God's inheritance! The mystery as it's carried out further in the book of Ephesians (and we'll look at it in later weeks) is this: in the fullness of times God will bring the Jew and Gentile together in His new heaven and His new earth. And the mystery of the church is this: that both Jew and Gentile are brought together in the person - in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. Those two words are beautiful in verse 13, aren't they? 'In whom' - in whom, in Him, in Christ, in the beloved, in Jesus Christ, Christ Jesus. Paul continually talks about this relationship: how we are planted in Christ, and everything that we have - the very fact that all things will unite together in Christ one day, the fact that we who were cast off of God, we had no hope in the world before Christ - we have been given all the blessings of God in Christ Jesus.
But we're going to home in specifically this evening on your fourth point there: the mystery of both, the mystery to both the Jew and the Gentile. Look at verse 14, first of all verse 13 to get the context: 'In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory'. I want us to look at this verse 13, because it tells us the order of how these Gentile people from Ephesus got saved. It tells us, indeed, how anyone gets converted: 'Ye also trusted after that ye heard' - hearing! 'You heard the word of truth', hearing the word of God. 'You had faith', you believed the gospel - and after you believed the gospel, you were sealed by the Spirit. Paul traces their steps, their birth pangs - how they came into life in Christ as Gentiles. They heard the glorious good news of the gospel, they believed in Christ, and then the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity came - the Spirit of promise - and sealed it. Turn with me to John chapter 7, John chapter 7, because here we have the Lord Jesus Christ, in His own words, anticipating the day when such a thing would be seen. John chapter 7 and verse 37: 'In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water'. 'If any man thirst' - isn't that the cry of the glorious gospel of Christ? Isn't it? 'If any man thirst let him come unto me', Christ says. And God has given us this glorious gospel to proclaim - this gospel of the word of God - and we are to take it and proclaim it, shout it from the mountaintops and the housetops that 'Jesus saves, Jesus, saves'. Paul tells us in Romans that this is the formula of faith: 'Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God' - that's the order! The order that Paul lays down in Ephesians: 'In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth'. John puts it, in his gospel in chapter 1 and verse 12, like this: 'But as many as received him, to them gave he power', or the privilege, 'to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name'.
It's wonderful, isn't it? To have the word of God, isn't it? You see if we were to stand up here, and even if we knew Christ and tried to convince men and women that they needed to know Him too, we would waste our time for all eternity - because it would be useless because it is not our word that makes the difference. We can't create the anxious thought, but it's the powerful hammer and sword of the word of God. And to think that Paul describes it in this verse 13 as the 'word of truth'. Every word of it, every wit of it is full of truth - it is true! It instructs in the weightiest truths of life and of eternal life, salvation. It, itself, publishes the glad tidings of salvation, it contains the offer of it, it shows you how you can get to it! It gives you the power to trust in Christ, and the blessed Holy Spirit of the living God renders the reading and the preaching of the word of God effectual unto salvation. Indeed it is the word of truth alright - and, oh, how we should cherish it! For men and women of bygone days - and we forget it all too easily - have shed their blood upon the pages of holy writ because they wanted us to get it!
I wonder do you get tired of hearing the gospel preached? Do you? You hear it every Sunday night. You might hear it maybe more than that - a couple of times a week and you get fed up with it and you think: 'Well, I am saved and I don't need to hear this all the time'. I wonder have you, as a believer, lost the thrill of it? Have you forgotten what it was like to be lost in your sin and without hope, without God? What it was like to feel your sin weighing you down and you could do nothing about it? What it was like to have your eyes lifted by the Holy Ghost to the cross where the bleeding Lamb was dying? What it was like to realise that He was there for you? Have you forgotten? My friend, that is something that you need to get before your eyes every day. You need to get to the cross every day! For if you don't get to the cross every day, you'll never take up your cross and follow Him.
Are you convinced of the power of the gospel? Are you? The power that is in the word of God - do you really believe, as Paul says, that it is the dynamus, the power, the dynamite of God unto salvation to every one that believeth? The preaching of the gospel is what saves! We live in a day of drama but, you know, drama is not the word. Jesus Christ was the word, this is the written word - but you'll not find a word in drama. And to think of this fact: that Paul the great apostle, in the day in which he lived, theatre was the chief medium of entertainment. Do you not think he would have used it? Why did he not? Because God hadn't ordained it! But God tells us what works! He says that He has ordained the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. We are not born, Peter says, of corruptible seed, but we are born of incorruptible by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever. Do you realise that this is a living book? Do you? It is alive! It can talk to you! It can lead you! It can guide you! Its very words can protect you! And even if you don't read it - the Gideons will tell you - that when it gets into peoples' hands it changes their lives! Can I plead to you young people? Oh, for a band of young people today who will plead with a compromising church and say: 'Take your rubbish and give me the word!'. My young Christian, if you don't have a thirst after the word you need to look into your heart. The whole church at large that wants to sideline our epilogue - the word of God - needs to look at what they're living. Is it a falsified, hypocritical life, or is it the life of God in Christ? I am utterly, utterly sold out and convinced that there is power in the preaching of the gospel, in the Spirit of the living God. But I'll tell you something else that I am utterly convinced about: if the cure doesn't come in contact with the helpless, it's useless. You know that the Roman Catholic Church (and God will damn them for it) locked up this precious book for centuries and it didn't do anybody any good. But when Wycliffe was burnt at the stake, and they burned him and his Bibles, and they took his ashes and they threw [them] into the Severn River. And little did those papists know that as they did that, the very Bible that was in his bones was going to every area, every town-land, every city within the whole of Britain because there's power in the open, preached word of God. It is the light of the world!
But can I say to you, do you know what we do with the light of the world? We shine it where there already is light. Don't we? We take it and shine it into the places that are beaming like the sun - the bright places - and then we stand back and expect to see results. But the word teaches that you've got to shine it into the deepest darkness and bring the dark souls into the vicinity of where the light is being shone. Sure light is only light because of darkness around it. Isn't that right? C.T. Studd, the great missionary, said this:
'Some like to stay within the sound of church and chapel bell,
But I'd rather run a rescue shop within a yard of Hell'!
Do we preach the word? And, you know, preaching the word is like teaching - I often used to think about my teachers, that they weren't teachers at all, because they're only teachers when you learn! And, my friends, we are only preaching the gospel if the lost are hearing it. Do we go where the sin is? Do we go, like the Lord Jesus Christ, to where the sinners are? Because where sin abounds grace doth much more abound. Can I say to almighty God this evening, 'God save us from a respectable church-going Christianity!'. Oh, that God would restore us to make this place perhaps what it was one hundred years ago: a rescue mission! A centre where broken, damned souls were mended by the blood of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit - where hell-bound lives were saved! May God loose our tongues! May God loose our feet and our hands to shout aloud and to cry aloud in the street the great grace and gospel, and opportunity of the grace of God to all who will come and believe. I believe that we have caved in to the pressure today of the spirit of tolerance in our society. I really do, I believe we're afraid! We're afraid of the world and what they'll do, we're afraid of what our family and our friends will say: 'He's shoving religion down my throat again' - and we cave in. We are caught, as the word of God says, 'in the snare that is the fear of man'. We have listened to the prophets of modern evangelism who tell you not to speak of hell but of a 'lost eternity', to speak not of sin but of 'mistakes', to preach not the shed blood of Christ but only a 'giving of a life for others', to preach not a life of holiness but a 'life of wholeness and happiness' - it's very subtle, isn't it? But then we wonder why the light isn't shining into the darkness. God, give us a fearless, fiery, fervent band of preachers and proclaimers and Christians who will resist unto blood, striving against sin!
I wonder has God been speaking to you in recent days through the word of God about the lost around our district? I know He's been speaking to me, and some people have come to me and expressed how God has been speaking to them. And can I say to you as an assembly: Let's do something! They're lost! They're drowning in their sin! They're going into the fires of an eternal hell, never to get another chance! Let's do something! Don't ask me what, but let's do something rather than nothing! I'll be honest with you: there are times when I am before God that I can almost feel my hands dripping with the blood of the lost! D.L. Moody - he was often criticised for his methods of evangelism, and even his making appeals and altar calls - and do you know what his reply was? 'My way of doing it's better than your way of not doing it'. Brethren, let's do something!
Rudyard Kipling, the poet, writes regarding William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. Listen to this! And can I say to you: after I preached the gospel last evening and ministered yesterday morning, and I got up this morning ready to get before God in the word of God for the Bible study - I didn't feel like it. I wondered how I was going to get the energy and what God was going to have to do! And this came to me - this word here that I'm going to share with you - and I had a jump in my step! Listen to this! Rudyard Kipling says of this great old man: 'I saw him walking backward in the dusk over an uneven wharf; his cloak blown upwards, tulip-fashion over his grey head. And while he beat a tambourine in the face of the singing, weeping, praying crowd who had come to see him off, I talked much with General Booth during that voyage and I expressed my distaste of his appearance at the wharf' - didn't like the way he was doing it. 'Young fellow', he replied - listen: 'if I thought I could win one more soul to the Lord by walking on my head and playing the tambourine with my toes I'd learn how!'. Isn't that it? Have you a love for the lost that you'll preach the gospel? These Ephesians heard it, but they heard it because it was preached to them. How shall they hear without a preacher?
An examining committee composed of ministers had met together to look at the qualifications of Billy Sunday. He was going to be ordained as a gospel minister. And among all the other questions that were fired at him in that interview, the world-famous baseball player was requested to identify who this great church father in church history was, and they named him and asked him to say something about his writings and about his life - and Billy was stumped. After fumbling around for a moment he, with a twinkle in his eye, said 'I've never heard of him. He was never in my team' - and they didn't know what to do. And after a moment's deliberation one of the men turned to the others and said: 'I think we should ordain this man. You know why? Because Billy Sunday has won more souls for Christ than the whole shangbang of us!' - isn't that what matters? It's not how much you know, it's who you know! It's the fact that you're consumed with an atomic fire of the love of Christ and the love for souls, so much so that you'll give them a chance! Give them a chance.
'In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation' - and here's the next part I want you to see - 'in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of promise'. Now I want you to note something in this passage: the Authorised Version of the scriptures that we love so much is a little misleading in this verse, because some have looked at it and seen: 'after ye believed ye were sealed with the holy Spirit'. And they've deduced that this is an experience that you have after conversion, and you have to wait for it. But look at the verse previous, Paul says: 'In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth', so they trusted after they heard the word of God, 'the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed'. So if you took that line of thought that that word 'after' literally means 'way after', you would say that these believers got saved twice: after they heard the word of truth and then after they believed. But what's Paul getting across? That this was something - in this verse - this conversion experience was something that happened altogether in a moment. This is true christening...you've heard of christening, haven't you? Some believe that it's being born into the church of Jesus Christ, but this is true christening: being sealed by the Holy Spirit of God, and where the name of a father or a mother is not put upon you, but the name of Christ! It's like the farmer putting his dye mark on the sheep, on the flock. It's like the farmer putting that brand onto his cattle. He's marking them! He's saying: 'They're mine. No one will take them off me. They're mine. I'm going to keep them. I'm going to look after them'. And what the sealing of the Holy Spirit is for the believer is simply this: that God is satisfied with Christ's cross work! And He puts a seal on it by giving you the Holy Spirit. Your gift of the Holy Spirit is the full-stop mark; punctuation of satisfaction upon Christ's atonement at Calvary. It's different than the way that the Holy Spirit worked in the Old Testament, where He came upon someone and then He came off them. And then he would come upon them again when they needed them, but then He would go away. This is something entirely different, what Paul was talking about here is what baptism, Christian total immersion, believer's baptism means and symbolises: that we are baptised into Christ. It is the effusion of the Holy Spirit Himself: that He, the third person of the blessed Trinity, is given to us, available to the believer according to the promises of the Old Testament and the words of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit is the promised one, yet He is the same one whom all the promises are fulfilled in. Of course, there's a difference and we must make the difference between the Holy Spirit's regenerating work and His sealing work. If you think about it like this: there's a difference between building a house and then someone moving into the house. And God, in regeneration, comes into the soul of a man, quickens his spirit and He makes him a new man or woman in Christ - the temple ready to receive the Spirit. Then, at the same moment of conversion, the Holy Spirit moves in to take possession - He seals them! So many of us find these things very difficult to understand. So Paul gives us some imagery in these verses: he talks about a seal, and then in verse 14 he talks about 'the earnest of our inheritance'. The seal, within these old classical days, gives us some instructions and illustrations about how the Holy Spirit relates to us as the believer in the sealing. You know what a seal is, you get them on letters sometimes in wax. It's the same seal that Pilate put on the stone that was across the tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a stamp, and in these days it was a sign that was affixed to a document to guarantee its genuineness. It was also attached to goods that were in transit, that if they got lost the owner would know. They would be sent back to him, they would never be lost for good. It made sure that they were protected as they went from one place to another, and also it represented a designation of office in the state. You've seen letterheads, or suitcases, or envelopes with [OHMS] - [On] Her Majesty's Service, haven't you? That's what this seal was. It represented that this was a guarantee of genuineness - this letter was real. It made sure that, as that letter went from one place to another, that it would be protected, it would never be lost. It was something that had the stamp, the name of the person, the dignitary that it represented.
Oh, how it speaks to us of our salvation! You see, the seal of the Spirit that Paul is talking about here - it guarantees everything that God has promised - it guarantees it to us! We can be sure! We've learnt week after week of the inheritance that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ in election, in predestination (one day to be like Christ), in adoption - so many blessings of wisdom, knowledge. We have so much in Christ according to the riches of His grace, but the sealing of the Spirit upon our lives is God saying: 'Now, there's the receipt! There's the guarantee'. The two ideas behind it are ownership and security. Isn't it wonderful to know that we are not our own? That we are bought with a price, that we belong to Christ, but not only has He His stamp on us, but we are secure as He is in God. We are His and we are safe.
Paul adds to the analogy of the sealing and then he talks about 'the earnest of our inheritance' - and that word can be translated (the word 'earnest') as the 'deposit'. What he's saying is the Holy Spirit to the believer is the deposit, the guarantee - the word is borrowed, these days, from the commercial world - it meant an instalment in hire purchase. It was a token of payment ensuring the vendor that the full amount would eventually follow and be paid. It's a similar idea to the engagement ring. It's a promise that the marriage would come to pass, but it is greater than an engagement ring - for we've heard of so many marriages and engagements that don't come to pass, that don't reach that final day - but this is a watertight guarantee. This is an 'earnest': a deposit. God has covenanted with us, not just by the shedding of His Son's blood, but as an inward witness within our soul by the sealing of the Holy Spirit, that one day we will have everything that is promised to us. God has paid the down-payment to us, He has sealed us with the Holy Spirit, which assures the seller of good faith - we are the seller, we are receiving the Holy Spirit - and it gives us the good faith that God, the buyer, one day will pay in full.
You remember those hours maybe - they don't happen too often, they're special times, maybe in a meeting or in your own quiet time, or reading a book or the word of God - and you have a special sense of God's presence. You know what I'm talking about - but isn't it wonderful to think that that's only the deposit? These things that we experience - and, I tell you, I don't think we really enter into what God wants to experience down here at times - but even the fullest, the most complete experience of the living God on earth, is only a taste of what is going to be paid in fullness to us one day. And what an experience that will be! God calls it, through His word, 'the redemption of the purchased possession'. What is the purchased possession? It is the inheritance. Who is the inheritance? We are the inheritance, we are God's treasure! We were once the dung - Paul said 'the filth and off-scouring of all things', and at times we ought to view ourselves as that. But in God's eyes, in Christ we are His treasured possession. It's amazing how anyone could see us in that way, isn't it? But in Romans chapter 8 we read all about it: that there is a day coming - and the whole earth groans and we have the witness of the Holy Spirit, or we ought to have, within us crying 'Abba Father', that we are not of this world, that we have been redeemed by soul and spirit - but there is a day coming when we will be redeemed by the body. And all of us - everything about us - will go one day to be with Christ and serve Him - and you, my Christian friend, ought never to be happy in the world because of that, you don't belong here!
And although every Christian (and I want to stress that: every Christian) is sealed by the Holy Spirit, Paul says in Romans 8:9: 'if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his' - you can't be a Christian without the Holy Spirit. Everybody here saved is sealed in the Holy Spirit, but let me say this: for many Christians the Spirit's presence has been buried deep in the recesses within the sanctuary of their spirit. And that sealing that they have been given has never been let out to contaminate their whole being, to effuse into both their body and soul, not just their spirit, so that we can say as Paul says: 'to be filled with the Spirit'. Do you know why that doesn't happen? If you turn to chapter 4 of Ephesians - chapter 4 of Ephesians - we find another reference to this sealing in the Spirit: 'And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption'. Why is it that in so many Christians - and I would believe 90-plus percent of them in these days in which we live - that they do not know the reality and the blessing of experiencing the Spirit-filled life and walk with God? It's because there are things that grieve Him. Why did He come upon the Lord Jesus Christ in the likeness and the form of a dove? Well, the dove has no gallbladder. Did you know that? There's no gall in a dove, no dirt. It's a pure animal, it is white. It is a timid animal, in other words my friend, if you want to know what this is - to feel His Spirit witness with your spirit that you are His - get rid of your sin! You need to yield yourself to Him.
Let me, in conclusion, express and explain what the end of this verse means: 'the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory'. It's a remarkable thing within the New Testament, that there are only two books that you find reference to this great truth of being sealed in the Spirit. You find it in the book of Corinthians and the book of Ephesians. And it's interesting to note, within the history books, that both cities of Corinth and Ephesus were great centres of the lumber industry in ancient times. A raft of logs would have been brought from the Black Sea (and some of you have been in Romania and you know the Black Sea), and those logs would have been brought down from there, and the different firms in Corinth and Ephesus would have travelled to a harbour and they would have looked over the logs, and they would have made their selection. Whatever logs they would have found as being fit, they would have paid a deposit, not the whole amount but just a deposit - an earnest payment - and they would have taken a knife and marked a wedge - a cut upon the log - to seal it. I think this is beautiful. Do you want to know what the redemption of the purchased possession means? Do you want to know? Listen: they would have pushed those logs down the river, and they would have channelled and travelled though all the storms, through all the obstacles. And maybe if that log could talk to you they would say: 'Am I ever going to get to this place? Am I ever going to survive? Am I going to drown? What's going to happen to me?' - but there would be a day that would come that those logs would reach the harbour there, and those that had paid the deposit upon them would come and they would see the seal upon them - and they would claim them!
What storms are you going through? I know you can hardly see by them. We're all like that at times. You wonder: 'Has this Christian lark any truth in it at all?'. You're maybe listening to people in your family that are unbelievers, and you'd nearly think twice about this word and all the things that are talked about of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, one day you'll be perfect, one day you'll be like Him, one day you'll see Him. You wonder: 'Will it ever come to pass?' - but listen! The church of Jesus Christ that He bought with His own blood - you, individually, as His sheep and His child - you are His purchased possession. You are His inheritance. You are His treasure, and the moment you were saved there was never any chance of you being lost because you were sealed - guaranteed! You were the earnest of that inheritance! There is a day when the redemption of your body will take place - your soul's been redeemed already, and so, really, has your body but it hasn't been realised or consummated yet - but that day will come when you will be transported to be like unto His glorious body! That's why Paul says here, it's 'unto the praise of his glory'. Do you know what this mark often meant? Do you know all the designer labels? You ladies know all about it! Designer labels, or a car - a BMW or a Mercedes marque, a Rolls Royce - do you know what that means? You know what a manufacturer loves to do, He loves to come out and see his seal upon a thing and say: 'I'll stand over that!'. There's a day coming my friend - maybe He can't do it for you and me now, He can do it, because we're in Christ, positionally - but there is a day coming when my Lord Jesus Christ, who died for me, will look into my eyes and say: 'There's My child! I'll stand over him!'
Our Father in Heaven, we thank Thee that we are saved and saved to the uttermost; that we're sure, we're sealed, secured - the package is finished - and we're on our way. There's nothing in Heaven or on earth or under the earth can stop that eternal journey now. But Lord help us to realise that we are blessed now in those heavenly realms; that we can know what it is to know the Holy Spirit as the glove upon our lives; that we are possessed by Him and that He uses us. Lord, use us we pray, use us as a light on a hill. Help us not to hide ourselves under the bushel of this building, but Lord break us loose and let us go, and give us grace and take away our fear. For we know there's power in the name of Jesus, and we'll know that, that day, when in the moment and the split second we see His face, we'll know there's power because we'll be like Him. That's the greatest miracle of all time: that we should be like Him. We thank Thee for this time and ask now that, Lord, You'll part us now in Thy blessing. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the sixth tape in his Ephesians series, titled 'The Mystery Of His Will - Part 2' - Transcribed by Trevor Veale, Preach The Word.
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