Series B Pentecost 8
"Signed, Sealed, Delivered"
August 6, 2000
Ephesians 1:3-14

INTRODUCTION:  People need to be assured of their salvation.  Could this be why such a hymn as "Blessed Assurance" for example, is such a popular hymn these days? Our text for today causes to ask a somewhat pointed question, which is can you, be sure of your salvation? There are some that would say that they simply do not know where they stand with respect to God.

What about you?  Can you say for certain that you are a child of God destined for heaven?  In our Epistle lesson for this morning Paul gives repeated assurance that true Christians are chosen and destined for heaven.

Your future security is signed, sealed, and delivered in Jesus Christ.

1.      Your security in Christ is Signed - by the blood of the cross  Paul reminds us: "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace" (v.7)

Paul lists three of God's great gifts now made available to us through Christ. First is the redemption we have received from the sacrifice of Christ's own blood. All the goodness, all the excitement, all the joy depends first and foremost on the fact that we have faith in Christ. Without that faith, we stand outside God's plan, and remain estranged from belonging to this adoptive family.  However, once we have come to faith we art brought into the family of God and are treated not as stepchildren but as full heirs of the Savior’s amazing mercy and grace.

Second, we are freely given "the forgiveness of our sins,” What does this mean?  No longer will guilt, the memory of past sins and shortcomings, nothing will stand between us and our full acceptance as adopted children of God. There is complete restoration.  We are declared to be the children of God period! In Jesus Christ, all of your sins are forgiven – period! This is how the Father chooses to recognize us.  This is how the Father determines to treat us.
Third, God bestows on us "all wisdom and insight" (v.8) through which we can finally glimpse "the mystery" of God's will (v.9). This enables us finally to begin to understand the plan of salvation God has designed for us.  Now we can begin to see the true and pure presence of God's "good pleasure" all around us. This gift of God's grace bestows upon us is not only the redemption Christ brings, but the deliverance God-gifted wisdom gives us. He changes us. We are changed from living in ignorance and hopelessness. We, too, can at last see and comprehend "the mystery of his will."

2.      Your security in Christ is Sealed - by the Spirit. Paul continues:  " In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also, after that you believe, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” (v. 13)

Paul reminds us "you also" are a part of that select group! “You also” are now a part of the Church and the family of God.  You have been made full members of the inheritance. You have been "marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit." This promise is for you because God says so! Every promise is marked by God’s Word and is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit. The Father can not go back on His Word and the Holy Spirit backs up each and ever one of the Father’s Word.  Through Christ, we have been brought together to form a seamless unity- a united family in God's grace. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been a life long member or a recent convert. Each is a vital part of the body of Christ. Each is necessary and each is made a part of this family of faith.

3.  Your security in Christ is Delivered - by the church (v. 13)

ILLUSTRATION: The cartoon-strip character Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes, once said that the difference between him and the rest of the world was that "Happiness isn't good enough for me! I demand euphoria!"

So do disciples of Jesus! In the Collect for Peace we pray that God would give to us “that peace which the world simply cannot give” Peace with God, as Calvin describes it as “euphoria” is granted to us through those means which Christ offers to you and me. This is delivered to you and me through those means, which the Savior has given to us.

When we hear God’s message of salvation and life, through the Word preach, studied and read; when we receive His body and blood; when we witness a baptism and when we remember our own baptism; there we find that peace which the world simply cannot give.

The good news about Paul’s words for us this morning is that God desires only the best for His children.  It is God who takes the initiative. He chooses and destines us for eternal life. We don’t have to approach God and choose Him as our God. Really it’s the other way around. He doesn’t need to be persuaded to accept us as His people. He approaches us through His saving Gospel. Your security in Christ is signed, sealed, and delivered in Him. Thank God for His amazing mercy and grace.

+ Soli Deo Gloria +