"Signed, Sealed, Delivered"
I love the Holy Spirit. The power agent of God. A part of creation. A part of the incarnation. And a part of our re-creation. We are blessed people, for we have received the Holy Spirit.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
A. Since becoming a Christian, I would guess that there are times when you might have questioned your own salvation. “How many times can I sin, ask God to forgive me, and he forgive me?” “At what point in time does God simply say, ‘Get out here you vile and wretched person. Depart from me you who practice lawlessness?’” Listen to what God says in Heb. 6:4-6. Am I in or out? Am I lost or saved? How do I know? Am I destined to always question?
B. Then I turn to 1 John 4:4-6, 13-18; 5:13. I feel good again. I feel the confidence that God loves me and that I can go to heaven. But what do these passages have in common? One talks about losing my salvation and the other about keeping it. The common bond between them is working of God’s Holy Spirit.
C. We come back to our reading and we are now faced with another deep theological issue. (Read vs 13-14)
D. What does it mean to be sealed/marked? When did I get this Spirit of God and how does He work in me? When Paul writes to the faithful in Christ Jesus he tells them that every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places is in Christ. So what is Jesus has he shares with us. One gift that has been given to those “in Christ” is the Holy Spirit.
I. The Creation Agent – God’s Signature
A. You cannot approach this subject without starting at the beginning. For us, that beginning in Genesis 1. Listen to Gen. 1:1-2. Look at what the Spirit of God was doing – he was “hovering over” the face of the waters. Sometimes this word is translated “brooding.” It was a time of darkness and chaos, of nothing but water in a ball of mass swirling, and then the Spirit of God goes to work creating as God speaks. The very signature of God is the creation of this universe. The Spirit was the power of God at work in creation. But don’t stop there.
B. Sin was the reason Jesus came to this earth; God in the form of man. In his perfection and godliness, Jesus accepted in the flesh the consequence of all sin of all time in him on the cross. Sin, yours and mine, caused Jesus to hang upon the cruel cross of Calvary. Placed in a tomb the body of Jesus laid dead. Now listen to Paul (Rom. 8:9-11).
C. The Spirit of God that was at work from the chaos through the creation – the birth of this world is the same Spirit of God that was at work in the resurrection of Jesus from the grave to leave the tomb empty for price of sin had been paid for all time. But don’t stop there.
D. Early in the ministry of Jesus a good man, a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews came to Jesus stating that he and others knew that Jesus came from God. That was a great statement of faith that something from above – heaven, God – came to earth. But Jesus kept that conversation going. Listen to John 3:3-8.
E. The Spirit of God that was a part of the creation of the world, the resurrection of Jesus is the same Spirit that is at work in the recreation of sinners into saints. We see it even more clearly in Acts 2, when the Jews on Pentecost of that year heard this great sermon about who Jesus was and why he hung on the cross were convicted and wanted to know what to do with their guilt? No guilt offering at the Temple was told to them, but instead we hear (READ Acts 2:38-39).
F. Are you ready for this – God’s signature is the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who are “in Christ” and that gift is given to us at our baptism. If you have been baptized into Christ then you have God’s signature upon you as his gift of the Spirit comes to seal you as God’s possession.
II. God’s Seal – Guarantee
A. There are many seals used in scripture. One area that we see these seals/marks in found in the book of revealing the mysteries – the Letter of Revelation. There we find “seven seals on a scroll.” We also find “the mark of the beast” and also that “seal/mark on the forehead of the servants of God.” The 144,000 is the fullness of the saved.
B. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a seal or a mark from God that we are his children. There is some protection that comes from being a child of God. I am not saying you can’t or won’t be harmed, persecuted or suffer in some way. I will say that when you have the spirit of God as your seal, not even death is victorious over you, because heaven is your home. You know where you are going. Confident in grace.
C. But from God’s perspective there is a guarantee. That guarantee is that heaven is real and eternal and is there for those who are in Christ. God will not renege on his promise of salvation to all who walk in the light, who remain in Christ, who live with the Spirit because God has promised heaven to those are born from above and live by grace.
III. Our Inheritance – Delivered
A. The Holy Spirit is God’s signature and seal of our redemption from sin and life in Christ. As long as the Spirit of God dwells in our eternal destination of heaven is guaranteed.
B. Heaven is our inheritance. Abraham was promised an inheritance. He would be the father of a nation that was so great you could not count them just like you cannot count the stars above or sand on seashore. It was an inheritance that was delivered in the body of his flesh and spiritually in all who believe by faith. For we are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. What we inherit is God’s salvation, freedom from sin, signed and sealed with the Holy Spirit and will be realized in its fullness when we enter into the eternal glory of Heaven itself. Signed, sealed, delivered all by God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
A. That gift – of forgiveness of sin and the Holy Spirit is for “all those who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39) He is calling you. If you are saved by the blood of Jesus then you are in Christ and filled with the Spirit. If you have not come to Christ, then you are separated from God and still in your sin. It’s that simple, and that difficult.