Study Notes

Ephesians 1:13-14


In our study of the book of Ephesians, a Sunday won't go by without hitting at least one major Bible topic. Last week, we talked about predestination. This week, one of the workings of the Holy Spirit. Let's dive in...

1:13-14 The Message Of Truth

Gospel. A lot of people think it's a kind of music. Others think that it is a book written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. But the Greek word is "yoo-ang-GHEL-ee-on," simply meaning "good news."

The one who brings the good news is called a "yoo-ang-ghel-ID-zo," or, as we say in English, an "evangelist." The evangelist brings the good news, he brings the gospel.

But what is the gospel? After all, the Bible says that there are different gospels (Gal. 1:6). Paul said that anyone who preached one of these different gospels was accursed (Gal. 1:8-9). He said that his gospel consisted of:

- Jesus Christ (2Tim 2:8),

- the descendant of David (2Tim 2:8),

- Who died for our sins (1Cor 15:3).

- He was buried (1Cor 5:4), and

- rose from the dead (2Tim 2:8) on the third day (1Cor 15:4).

- He appeared publicly to many after His resurrection (1Cor. 15:5-8), and

- will one day judge men's secrets (Rom. 2:16).

Now the gospel is not merely information. It is something to listen to and then believe in. We must...

Acts 15:7 "... hear the word of the gospel and believe."

When you believe in it, you are saved:

Rom. 1:16 ...the gospel... is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes

If you don't believe it, the Bible says you will die in your sin:

2Cor. 4:3 ...if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

Because of this, the work of evangelism that we've been called to is vitally important. But many feel unqualified to proclaim it, because they feel like they don't have a convincing personality - they feel that they don't have the sales ability. This is why we must remember that the gospel isn't a convincing sales pitch. There is supernatural power behind it - drawing people to God, and away from their sin:

1Ths. 1:5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction

The Word of the gospel is powerful, and the Holy Spirit is working internally as we're talking externally.

The Holy Spirit

A lot of people are confused about who or what the Holy Spirit is. Some think the Holy Spirit is a force, or a power. Some think the Holy Spirit is a ghost. But it is vital to remember that the Holy Spirit is God Himself. God has a three-fold nature: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - one God, three Persons. And so everywhere the Holy Spirit is mentioned by a pronoun, it is "He." One of my pet peeves is when people call Him "It." We wouldn't call Jesus, "It," or the Father, "It," so let's not call the Holy Spirit, "It."

Now, He has three main positions towards people.

1) The first, as we just saw, is to be next to them, drawing them into a relationship with Jesus Christ. To convict them of their sin and bear witness of Jesus.

2) Secondly, He goes into people when they believe, the purpose for which we will be talking about today. This is the reason He is called "the Holy Spirit of promise," because Jesus promised the disciples before they received the Spirit,

John 14:17 ...He abides with you, and will be in you.

He was next to them in chapter 14, and would be in them in chapter 20. And so the Bible says that we...

Gal. 3:14 ...receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

3) Thirdly, He comes upon believers to empower them. This is a strange concept to many people, because of the charismatic and pentecostal implications of it. But don't worry, we will have plenty of opportunities to study this in the upcoming chapters of Ephesians.

Sealed In Him

Today, we are concentrating on that second work - the Holy Spirit being in people who believe. One of the purposes for Him dwelling inside of us is listed here: to seal us.

What does a seal signify? I grew up thinking that they were actors in shows at Sea World that barked while slapping their fins together. But Biblically speaking, a seal is an impression put in clay (Job 38:14) signifying a royal decree, a mark of ownership, or of security.

This was applied to letters (1Kings 21:8; Esther 3:12; 8:8-10), documents (Neh. 9:38), books (Isa 29:11; Rev 5:1-9), deeds of purchase (Jer. 32:10-11), and even stone openings (Dan 6:17; Matt. 27:66). But in addition to paper and stone, people can also be sealed (Rev. 7:3-4).

This signifies God's royal decree that we are His. As 2Timothy says,

2Tim. 2:19 ...having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His"...

In chapter four, Paul will call Him...

Eph. 4:30 ...the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Pledge Of Our Inheritance

This seal of ownership is a pledge of our inheritance. Various translations of the Bible call Him a guarantee, or a deposit.

"The Holy Spirit is ... a deposit or first installment in hire purchase. It is a token payment assuring the vendor that the full amount will eventually follow. It can also be applied to an engagement ring..." (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

In the same way a man gives an engagement ring, in the same way we put earnest money down on a house, God has given us His Spirit. To the Corinthians, Paul said,

2Cor. 1:21-22 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave {us} the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

God has promised us that we are His.

Rom. 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God

Listening To The Message

If you have listened to the gospel, which is a message of total truth, and believed in it, you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit, God's pledge to you that you are His child, and that you have an inheritance waiting for you in heaven.

But maybe you've never been clearly told this message of total truth. Here it is:

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He came to earth as a human being, being born to a virgin named Mary, who was a descendant of Israel's King David. His human birthright is to be the King of Israel. His divine birthright is to be the King of all the universe.

Although He never did anything wrong, He was nailed to a cross and killed. He allowed this to happen so that He could pay the death penalty that our sins deserve, because

Rom. 6:23 ...the wages of sin is death...

Three days later, He rose from the dead, and appeared to over 500 people over the course of 40 days, to confirm this fact with eyewitnesses. He then ascended up to heaven, where He will one day judge people for their sins. But if you believe in Him, being sealed by the Holy Spirit, you will not be judged, you will be welcomed into heaven.

That is the message of truth. First, you listened to it, now it's time to believe it.

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