Good morning everyone. I pray your day has started off well. I thank you for spending some time with me in the Word. I thank you because believers spending time in the Word benefits the entire body. So I thank you for caring enough to take this time. We are continuing with Ephesians.
You will find the letter to the Ephesians to be an encouraging letter as Paul took the time to remind the believers of what they had received and become with the sacrifice of Jesus. Of course there is more than just the cross but spiritual maturity has us begin there at the cross. We cannot skip that and then grasp the rest of the teaching. Without the cross there is nothing. Yet, after the cross comes the Spirit which enables us to have the ongoing, daily relationship with God.
Now, let me remind you that yesterday we considered the spiritual blessings we have received, that lift us above the circumstances of life. These spiritual blessings cause everything else in our lives to pale in comparison; one of these blessings being no less than the love God has poured into us. Reminding ourselves of these blessings will keep us anchored and filled with the joy of the Lord; it enables peace in the most troubling of times. But there is even more that has been given to be a daily reminder of the riches of our God:
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory. vs. 13-14
As you begin your day understand the spiritual reality of your life. It is not the written Word alone that is a witness to the promises we have received from Jesus. We have been given another witness who acts as a seal and a deposit that guarantees the promises. To this day businesses use a seal in legal agreements and contracts. The seal represents the authenticity of the person signing. That is the Spirit in us. You know what down payments are. They used to be referred to as a deposit. You pay a small portion of the greater amount that is to come. It is a promise which guarantees the total amount will follow. This is what we received with the giving of the Holy Spirit.
What does this do for us? It should be a source of encouragement every day. Where the Spirit is salvation is promised. Without the Spirit Jesus is not present. Of course the Holy Spirit is so much more but this is what this proportion of scripture presents and it is wonderfully encouraging news. Why? Because it doesn't matter what we face or how we fail today, these spiritual blessings, including salvation is guaranteed to us. Houses can be taken away, work can disappear, death may arrive, physical strength may wain but these promises, these spiritual blessings will outlast them all.
It takes some maturity to understand the significance of this. It is the reason Christians can face persecution, even death with no fear. It is the reason believers can love their enemies. It is why we find songs in our hearts even in the toughest days. Even when we are rejected by family and friends we can go on with joy because nothing can affect these promises of God; Jesus' love goes on forever, as does his mercy and grace. If you can grasp what is important, what is truly important then you will grasp why this is such a great source of encouragement today and why we can join with the psalmist as he sings:
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. (Psalm 118:1)
Your day should be filled with thanksgiving as we live the reality of these spiritual blessings. Let that be your anthem today: Give thanks to the Lord, his love endures forever. Do a word search and see how these words of praise were constantly on the lips of God's people. Remember what king Jehoshaphat had the people sing as they went out to face their enemy:
After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever." (2 Chronicles 20:21)
And remember when God acted on their behalf:
As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (2 Chronicles 20:22)
May our God respond to our needs as we sing praise and lift up the name of Jesus in the reality of the greatest spiritual blessing; his love endures forever.