This mornings Bible study at Englewood Baptist Church was awesome! Nearly every Thursday morning, a group of diverse Christian men gather from all over West Tennessee to study God’s Word. Gary Taylor leads this group and has done so for over 7 years, if I remember correctly. He teaches the scripture in a clear, direct, and powerful way. I try to go to these Thursday morning sessions as often as I can, usually at least 3 times a month. If you have not tried this group, I would highly suggest you do. It is a men’s group and we meet Thursday mornings at 7:00am at the fellowship hall (cafeteria) at Englewood Baptist Church. Englewood is located on North Highland in Jackson, TN.
Now, on to the scripture of the morning. Gary taught from Ephesians 1:11-14. Our study sessions are very direct, as I mentioned earlier. I appreciate this style of preaching and teaching. Most men NEED this style to challenge them to act upon what they hear. That’s just the honest truth. Anyway, the part of the lesson that really glows with power comes from Ephesians 1:13-14. These verses give a concise but clear definition of the Gospel and it’s saving and keeping power. Let’s look closer…
- “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth,” (someone proclaims the Word and you listen)
- “the gospel of your salvation” (the Gospel is the vehicle of salvation)
- “and believed in him” (you put your faith and trust in Jesus)
- “were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (the Holy Spirit seals or finalizes your salvation)
- “who is the guarantee of our inheritance” (the Spirit holds the promise of salvation for us, His seal is our guarantee)
- “until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (He holds on to it until the day we die and enter His glory, heaven)
Hallelujah! How awesome is that! The salvation story and spiritual security all in 2 little verses of scripture. Aren’t you glad that the results of placing your faith in Jesus is guaranteed? The power that secures your salvation does not come from your feeble attempts to save yourself… NO. You can never be good enough to deserve nor work your way into God’s glory. For Americans, we often miss the imagery of the Spirit of God sealing us until the end. However, when I was in Romania, I could use the imagery of the “seal” to great effect. You see, in their country, practically all transactions of money or government documentation required an official stamp or seal to be placed on the paperwork in question. Even when you purchased a candy bar in a gas station, the attendant would pull out an official seal and WHAM, they stamped the receipt before they were allowed to give it to you. So, this word picture had a great impact on them. When you truly place your faith and trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit stamps God’s seal of approval on your life. This legitimizes your claim, your salvation experience. That seal makes things official. You do not stamp the transaction yourself, the party who is giving you the receipt is doing it. For our purposes in this little lesson about the assurance of salvation, remember, it is not you who has the power to offer up that seal… it comes from God. Through your obedience in trusting Jesus as Savior, the Holy Spirit stamps your heart with the blood of Christ. That power cannot be nullified. Aren’t you glad?
The only question is… have you made that decision? If you have not, please do so. You will not regret it.