Two weeks ago, we just kicked off our series in the book of Ephesians. We're calling it the "Chiropractic Sessions" because by it we aim to confront and realign key beliefs and concepts that, in this day and age, tend to get skewed, causing seemingly extraneous problems in our marriages, careers, churches, relationships, and pocketbooks (among other areas). If you are new to Ephesians or this series, you can browse this page to get an idea of how we are unpacking the material.
This week I had the privilege of preaching from Ephesians 1:11-14. These verses lie in a major Trinitarian passage outlining the plan of the Father, the continuation of the plan through the blood of the Son, and the securement of the fulfillment of the plan by the Spirit. The Spirit, as the passage says, is the guarantee of our eternal life and joy in heaven with Christ. It is already in place for those who trust in Jesus as God's Son.
I don't know about you, but it took me about three days to come down off that Seahawks win. With every highlights video I watched, an anxiousness came upon me. I cannot believe what just happened! And who would have called it in the 3rd quarter? Nobody. The odds were stacked against us.
I don't know of anybody who hasn't felt that way in their own lives. And I can tell you with honesty: I often feel like my life is the 3rd quarter of the Seahawks/Packers game. It might only be a month in to 2015, but I've got four turnovers already. And maybe you feel the same way in some area of your life. Maybe your kids haven't developed or grown up as you expected. Maybe your marriage is exceedingly disappointing. Maybe you're falling behind in school--again--and you never live up to what others believe of you. Maybe you're getting older and, if you're single, you're feeling ever more pressure to find a companion and start a family. Maybe your spiritual life is lame; riddled with sin and failure. Maybe your prayer life is non-existent. And, just maybe, you are overwhelmed with guilt for falling short and misrepresenting Jesus.
This may be your 3rd quarter, but we all know what happened in the last 3 minutes. The Seahawks owned it. They believed in the win throughout the game. They truly believed it. And how is this any different than in our own lives? You might respond, "Joe, we don't know if we're on the Seahawks side! For all we know, we could be on the losing team!"
But that's not what Ephesians 1 says of those who love Jesus. The text says that you've been sealed.
When people give their lives to Jesus, they are given God's Spirit as a helper. The Spirit convicts us of sin, bears fruit in our lives, prays for us, and is, among many other things, the guarantee of our eternal blessing. Scripture says that we were "sealed" with the Spirit. Just as a wax seal qualifies a letter, and identifies its sender, so this "Spirit seal" reveals our righteous quality (from Christ) and identifies the one to whom we belong. We are children of God. We are on the winning side because Jesus said, "it is finished." We are on the winning side because nobody can break the seal of the Spirit (not even you). Your life might often feel like the 3rd quarter, but you'll come away with the win because it has already been secured for you.
Now, believing in the win did not make the Seahawks work any less; believing in the win made them work harder. Likewise, knowing that we will inherit a grand store of riches and blessings makes us work all the more vigorously to see our hope fulfilled.
We've been sealed! I'M ALL IN! You in?
Let's work! I want to see it, Lord!"