Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Work of the Holy Spirit - Sealing

Another work of the Holy Spirit, and one that may get overlooked sometimes, is the sealing of the Holy Spirit. This work is one which should bring great hope and encouragement to the believer.

Here is the outline I used in this sermon:

I. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Est 8:8, Eph 1:13-14)
          A. The seal of the Spirit shows ownership (1 Cor 6:19-20)
          B. The seal of the Spirit gives security (John 10:27-29)
          C. The seal of the Spirit is irrevocable.

II. We are given a guarantee by the Spirit of God (Eph 1:13-14)
          A. The inheritance is kept for us (1 Pet 1:3-5)
          B. We are kept for the inheritance (Phil 1:6)

III. We are marked by the Spirit of God
          A. We have the mark of holiness on us (1 John 3:9)
          B. We have the mark of resemblance on us (1 John 2:6)

To help in understanding what the Ancient Near Easterner heard when the author used the picture of sealing I went to Esther 8:8. We see in this text that the owner of the seal determines how secure that seal is and if it is the king's seal then that seal is irrevocable. This is the picture of what sealing of the Spirit is. When a believer accepts Christ at that moment he or she is regenerated by the Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit, baptized by the Spirit, and at that moment the believer is sealed by the Spirit. That seal shows the ownership of that person. Like the king's signet ring, our heart, our lives, are stamped to show they are God's and God's alone. The Spirit's sealing also gives believers the security that no one will take that mark from them. This is because that seal is irrevocable. Once God stamps the believer with Him mark, the mark can never be removed.

In the Ephesians passage, Paul show a connection with the seal and the guarantee of our hope. This is my second point about the Spirit's sealing. When the Spirit seal us that sealing is a down-payment, so to speak, on eternity. It teaches us that His sealing preserves an inheritance for us. It also teaches us that He will preserve us for that inheritance.

Finally, while I touched on in my first point, I finished this study by focusing on what it means to be marked by God. The seal of God means that there is a mark on His followers. People should look at His people and know they are His people because of His mark on their lives. While there may be many "marks" which one could identify as showing God's ownership, I chose two. First, there should be a mark of holiness on those who have the seal of the Spirit. I am not advocating entire sanctification but I do believe that if someone is truly sealed by the Spirit, if they truly are a believer, their lives should not be characterized by sin. The Spirit working in our lives will result in increased holiness, from God's work and to His glory. Second, there will be a resemblance of believers to Christ. Much like some parents could never disown their children because the children look like little clones of the parents, a believer should have a walk that resembles Christ.

The sealing of the Spirit is usually not spoke of as a dramatic, dynamic work of the Spirit. This might be because 1) people would rather talk about the controversial aspects of the work of the Spirit like baptism or 2) the sealing of the Spirit seems to be mostly internal. The sealing begins as a work of God which He alone sees as a mark of His children. The results of this are more visible, like someone turning from a sinful life and living and loving more like Christ. Nevertheless, the sealing of the Spirit is an incredibly amazing work of God in the live of believers. We are marked as His and that mark is permanent and can never be removed. Because of that, we can know we will be with Him for eternity and eternity will be there for us. All of this should produce in us a desire to live more and more like the One who died for us. What a great God we serve!


HuEmanity Unlimited said...

love the passion in your writings!