TURN OUR WORRIES TO PRAISE BECAUSE GOD NEVER LOSES WHAT BELONGS TO HIM
Apple has a product called airtag. An airtag is a small button-shaped tracking device that is used to track your belongings. You can attach it to your backpack, your luggage, your bicycles, or maybe even your dog. When you lose your belongings, you can use your iPhone to find it. You can engrave your initials on the airtags to identify you as the owner of the belongings.
Why did Apple invent the airtag? Because people worried about losing their belongings. Do you worry about losing your belongings? Do you worry about losing your car key? Think about the troubles you will face if you lose your phone. What about losing your wedding ring? You would be in big trouble when your spouse finds out about it. Now, have you ever worried about losing your salvation? Maybe you have committed a serious sin in the past that caused you to worry about losing your salvation. Maybe you worry about your eternal destiny because you are not sure you will persevere to the end.
My topic for today is this, we should turn our worries to praise because God never loses what belongs to Him. Again, we should turn our worries to praise because God never loses what belongs to Him. Today’s text is Ephesians 1:11-14. Ephesians 1:11-14 is the end of one of the longest sentences in the New Testament. The sentence starts at 1:3 and ends at verse 14, a total of 202 words! Paul was eager to tell the saints in Ephesians about the heavenly spiritual blessings they have received from God the Father because of the redemption works of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our text for today is the end of these spiritual blessings. Today I have three points. First, we should praise God because we belong to God. Second, we should praise God because we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. Third, we should praise God for His glory.
We should Praise God because we belong to God (v11-v12)
The first point is we should praise God because we belong to God. Look at verse 11 with me. “In Him, we have obtained an inheritance”. Many commentators including Harold Hoehner and FF Bruce think it is better to translate it as “In Him, we have been obtained as inheritance.” It is because the Greek word is in the passive tense. What does it mean that we have been obtained as God’s inheritance? Verse 5 tells us God predestine us for adoption as sons. It means we are His, we belong to God. We are sons and daughters of God.
When did God decide that we are His inheritance? According to verse 4, God has chosen us and predestined us before the foundation of the world.
Who did God consult when God predestine us? God consulted himself, there was no one else. And then God works all things, so that His plan will be accomplished.
I have a son. He was predestined as my son. He did not know it when he was born. And then later on, he slowly discover I am his father. When he did bad things, I might discipline him, but I will never disown him because he is my son, he is my inheritance.
Maybe you have committed a serious sin in the past. It might be a dark, secret sin that you would never tell anyone. You may have been tempted by Satan to worry about losing your salvation. Do not fall into temptation. God might discipline you, but God will never disown you because you are His child, you belong to God, you are God’s inheritance. You have been predestined by God.
The purpose you have been predestined is so that you can praise God for His glory. Look like verse 12 says: “so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory.” Your hope is in Christ, not in yourself. What are you worried about? Whatever it is, take all your worries and turn them into praise because God works all things, so that we could praise Him, for His glory.
We should Praise God because we were sealed us with the promised Holy Spirit (v13-14a)
Now let’s move on to the second point. The first point is we should praise God because we belong to Him. The second point is we should praise God because we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. Look at verse 13, “In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” Again, he starts with “In Him”, just like the first point. Do you see Triune God is working? In Christ, God the Father has sealed us with the promised Holy Spirit.
Some of you might ask is it possible to know that I am one of the chosen? The answer is yes! Look at verse 4 and verse 5, Paul was very sure that he was chosen and predestined as a child of God. Furthermore, Paul changed from “we” in verse 11 to “you” in verse 13, indicating that it is possible for the saints in Ephesians to know they have been predestined to be God’s inheritance.
How do you know you has been chosen, predestined, and sealed with the Holy Spirit? You know because you have heard the world of truth, the gospel of your salvation, believed in Christ. It is God’s sovereignty to choose and predestine you as His inheritance. And it is your responsibility to hear the gospel and believed in Christ. Those who believed are the ones who have been chosen and predestined.
What is the meaning of “you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit”? It means ownership. It means you belong to God because Christ promised He would send the Holy Spirit to live in those who believed in Him.
On my wedding day, I put a wedding ring with my name on my wife’s ring finger. It means she belongs to me. She also put a wedding ring with her name on my ring finger, it means I belong to her. Similarly, you belong to God because God has sealed you with the promised Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the guarantee or down payment of our inheritance. Look at verse 14, “who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.” That means the fellowship we have with the Triune God through the Holy Spirit is only a small portion of something far greater in the future, and we are guaranteed to acquire the full possession in the future when Christ returns.
Men may default on our payment, but God is faithful. God never defaults on His promise. Since He guaranteed our full inheritance with His Holy Spirit, He will surely fulfill it.
We should praise God for His glory (v14b)
What should be our response to this? We should praise God for His glory. Look at the second half of verse 14, “to the praise of His glory”. It is the same phrase as in verse 12. What does it mean? It means God chose us, predestined us, led us to hear the gospel, and sealed us with the Holy Spirit with one purpose, that is so that we will praise Him for His glory! The purpose of salvation is doxology!
How do we praise God for His glory? We praise Him with our singing in during a worship service, for His glory. But may I suggest praise is more than singing? We could praise Him with our minds when we meditate on His word, for His glory. But praise is more than that. We praise Him with our interactions with fellow students, professors, and others on campus, for His glory. But praise is more than that. We praise Him at home when we love our parents, spouses, and children, for His glory. But praise is more than that. We praise Him by living our life, for His glory.
Some years ago, God called me to minister to a house church in China. After spending some time with this group of believers, I notice something is wrong with them. Some of the believers were in constant worried about losing their salvation. Because they were not sure about their eternal destiny, they did not have peace. When they first heard that God has sealed them with the promised Holy Spirit, and their eternal destiny is secured because they belong to God, one of the sisters literary jumped up and down, because she was filled with joy and could not help but to express her praise to God. Since then, they no longer live in worried, instead, they live in praise for the glory of God.
I think if I get some Apple airtags, I might still lose some of my belongings because airtags could run out of battery. Or there could be bugs with Apple software. But God never runs out of battery. God does not have any software bugs. God never loses what belongs to Him. We should praise God because we belong to Him. We are God’s inheritance. We have been predestined for His glory. We should praise God because God has sealed us with His Holy Spirit. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we should turn our worries to praise because God never loses what belongs to Him.