The Gift of Security

Steve Viars December 24, 2017 Ephesians 1
Outline

4 reasons we can rejoice in the reliability of our salvation

I. You are Secure because of the Power of Your Position

A. What it is

v. 13 – in Him

Romans 6:3-4 - Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

“By a marvelous miracle that only God can comprehend, every believer has been to the cross of Calvary, been nailed there spiritually with the Savior, and been buried and raised with Him. Jesus Christ not only was crucified, buried, and raised for every believer but with every believer.” John MacArthur – Ephesians, p. 29

John 10:27-31 - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one”…

B. What it is not

1. not defined by your successes

2. not defined by your failures

II. You are Secure because of the Truthfulness of the Message

Ephesians 1:13 - In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed…

A. It had to be heard

Ephesians 1:13 - …after listening to the message of truth…

Romans 10:17 - So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Romans 10:14-15 - How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

B. It was good news

Ephesians 1:13 - In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation…

John 1:29 - …Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

C. It had to be believed

Ephesians 1:13 - In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed…

III. You are Secure because of the Permanence of the Seal

Ephesians 1:13 - In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise…

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Romans 8:9 - …But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

Ephesians 4:30 - Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

A. Signifying power, like the decree of a king – Esther 8:8-12

B. Signifying ownership – Jeremiah 32:10

C. Signifying unchangeableness – Daniel 6:17

Daniel 6:17 - A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel.

D. Signifying authority – Matthew 27:62-66

IV. You are Secure because of the Purpose of Your Redemption

A. To bless you with an inheritance

Ephesians 1:14 - …who is given as a pledge of our inheritance…

Ephesians 1:18 - I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints…

B. To live to the praise of the glory of His grace

Ephesians 1:13-14 - In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 1:6 - …to the praise of the glory of His grace…

- Merry Christmas to you…I hope you’re having a marvelous celebration with your family and friends this weekend…

- I’m glad you’ve chosen to make worshipping the Lord a priority today…

- I don’t want to interrupt your holiday spirit or anything…but can I ask you how you’re feeling this weekend about the security of your personal data…

- you probably bought a lot of presents on-line the last couple of weeks, right…and they’re all wrapped beautifully under the tree waiting to make someone in your life feel loved and appreciated…

- but you bought it from a person you’ve probably never met…at a place you’ve never seen…

- and you gave them your name…and your address…and your credit card number…and even that little three digit number on the back…

- are you absolutely certain that information is secure?...

- or, how many restaurants are you planning to visit in the next ten days?...

- are you anonymously paying cash?...does anyone use cash anymore?...I doubt if we could come up with $100 worth of cold hard cash among our entire congregation this am…because we all pay for our meals with credit cards…

- surely everyone involved in that process can be trusted, right?...your data is…secure, right?

- now, you might say – well, PV – no worries because we use a monitoring company to watch over things like that…what’s it called again Myrtle – Oh yeah, it’s…Equifax…

- yeah, well about that…you know what happened to them this year, right…

- they had a massive data breach…not the largest, btw – that distinction belongs to Yahoo – which allowed the private information of 500 million customers world-wide to be hacked – you don’t have a Yahoo account, do you?…good, back to Equifax…

- the data of 143 million of their US customers was compromised this year…that’s half the US population…

- including names, SS numbers, birthdays, driver’s license numbers, addresses…

- all of which can be used to subsequently open a bank account, a credit account or be involved in all sorts of fraudulent activities…

- well, we can trust them to do the right thing now, right?...well…about that…

- the executives at Equifax waited six weeks before disclosing the breach…six weeks…where thieves had access to your personal info and you didn’t even know it…

- you say – what were these executives doing during that time?...yeah…well, about that…

- they were busy…dumping their stock…

- the breach began in mid-May and was discovered on July 29th…3 top executives began dumping stock on August 1st…including the firm’s chief financial officer…(do you know his name by the way?…John Gamble…)

- you’ve been entrusting the security of your personal data to a guy named John Gamble…

- who sold 6500 shares of his Equifax stock for $946,000 before all this news went public…and he claims to this day that sale was just coincidental…he didn’t know anything about the breach…woke up that day and decided to sell a little stock…

- you’ll have to decide whether you believe…Mr. Gamble…

- six weeks later when Equifax finally disclosed what happened…they had a series of reassuring offers…

- you could check to see if you were one of the ones whose data was breached…but you had to plug in your name to their system…along with the last six (not four like normally required) but the last six digits of your SS number…

- why anyone would have trusted Equifax with even one digit of their SS number at that point is a complete mystery…

- they also began marketing their new credit monitoring service…named “TrustedID Premier”…a name undoubtedly crafted by…Mr. John Gamble…

- the good news is…the service was made available to anyone in the US for free…for the first 12 months…but in order to sign up, you had to give them…your credit card number…because after 12 months, they would immediately begin charging your credit card 19.95 per month…

- one article said – “Firms like Equifax are much more concerned about collecting personal information than protecting it.”

- is anyone sensing a case of holiday indigestion coming on?...

- and I realize someone might say – you’re right PV – I’m feeling sick – I’m going to the doctor…

- yeah, about that…Reuters recently reported, and I quote – “Your medical information is worth ten times your credit card number on the black market”…

- One writer said – “As attackers discover new methods to make money, the heathcare industry is becoming a much riper target because of the ability to sell large batches of personal data for profit.  Hospitals have low security, so it’s relatively easy for these hackers to get a large amount of personal data for medical fraud…”

- the whole thing makes you sick…but to get well, you better go to someplace other than…the hospital.

- I’m certainly not trying to ruin your holidays…because that’s just not my way…

- which is why this morning I’d like to offer you a gift…and more precisely, I’d like to tell you about a gift that has already been made available to you…it’s…The Gift of Security

- with that in mind, please open your Bible to Ephesians chapter 1…page 150 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…our theme this year has been…In Christ Alone

- and sadly, this is the last time I get to say this this year – but this was our theme because 2017 marked the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation…which emphasized how salvation was by grace alone, though faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, according to the Scriptures alone…

- by the way, I realize there might be some here who would say – you know, I feel like we just scratched the surface of these topics and I have a lot more questions…if you e-mail me, I’d be happy to send you a list of additional books you may want to consider…we’re not going to take the time to review them this am – but I’d be happy to follow up with you personally on this….

- during this Christmas Season, we’ve been thinking about Gifts that Come from Being in Christ

- it’s an introduction to the doctrine of soteriology – or the doctrine of salvation…

- so we’ve looked at regeneration, and adoption, and justification…this morning we’re talking about The Gift of Security

- please look at the way this is emphasized as I begin reading in Ephesians 1:1…[read 1:1-14]

- so we’re talking this morning about The Gift of Security – and with the time we have remaining, let’s look for 4 reasons we can rejoice in the reliability of our salvation.

I. You are Secure Because of the Power of Your Position

- the challenge with all these illustrations I’ve given is we’re left with the question…well then, who in the world can I trust…

- prior to this summer, Equifax was about as trustworthy a company as there was…

- it was their job to tell other companies if we could be trusted…

- well, if you can’t rely on them…who can you entrust yourself to…

- here’s the answer – the Lord Jesus Christ…the One whose birth we’re celebrating this weekend…

- the One who was born of a virgin…an action prophesied hundreds of years before it occurred…

- the One who proved His deity by powerful teaching and miraculous signs…actions prophesied hundreds of years before they occurred…

- the One who died on the cross as substitutionary atonement for the sins of man…an action prophesied hundreds of years before it occurred…

- the One who was miraculously raised from dead…an action that prophesied hundreds of years before it occurred…

- the One who is drawing men and women to Himself through the gifts of regeneration, and repentance, and faith, and imputation, and justification…

- and then building His church so that the gates of hell [not just a bevy of internet hackers] the gates of hell will not overpower it….to the praise of the glory of His grace…

- and Scripture tells us that when you admit your sin…and accept the gift of salvation made available through His shed blood…one of the literally hundreds of things that happens to you instantaneously is that your position is fully, and freely, and forever changed…

- you are now found…what does Paul say at the beginning of verse 13?...

A. What it is

- v. 13 – in Him

- you saw that allusion to our union with Christ throughout this passage…

- Paul explains that in Romans 6…

- Romans 6:3–4 - Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

- “By a marvelous miracle that only God can comprehend, every believer has been to the cross of Calvary, been nailed there spiritually with the Savior, and been buried and raised with Him. Jesus Christ not only was crucified, buried, and raised for every believer but with every believer” (John MacArthur – Ephesians, p. 29).

- that position is so secure that we find Jesus describing it in ways that are absolutely delightful and reassuring…like in this place…

- John 10:27–31 - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one”…

 - do you hear what the Lord is trying to tell us?...do you hear what the Lord is trying to give us?...Forget Equifax…and forget all your human attempts to earn righteousness on your own merit…

- Jesus is offering the gift of security…and when a person accepts it, that forever changes our identity…in every situation, we have the privilege and the responsibility of viewing ourselves through the lens of our identity in Christ…the most important thing about us is that we are In Him…

B. What it is not

1. not defined by your successes

- that is greatly liberating right here at the holidays…

- because this means that our security or our position is not in…our successes…

- so the goal at the holiday table for a follower of Jesus Christ is not to brag about all of his/her successes over the past 12 months…

- or to be complimented for the perfect meal…or thanked properly or compensated properly…

- again…that is incredibly liberating….

- you don’t need the applause or others and the approval of others because you are finding your security…in Christ…

- when Pastor Goode, our former senior pastor died, over 20 years ago now…a number of his family members from down in GA came up for the funeral…and in many cases, that was the first time a number of them had been here…

- of course the viewing and funeral were packed with people from around the community and around the state and around the country who had been impacted by Pastor and Mrs. Goode’s ministry…

- and several of them said to me – “we had no idea…”…in other words we had no idea that the Lord had been using our brother, or our uncle or whatever in this way…

- and I shared that comment later with Mrs. Goode and she said – well, when we went back home to visit, we were there to serve our family, and learn about what was happening in their lives, and finding ways we could show love to them…

- how does that happen?...when you’ve accepted the gift of security…

- when you’re secure and satisfied in Him, you don’t need or want or crave or worship the approval, and applause, and affirmation of man…

- that is a very healthy position….this also means you’re…

2. not defined by your failures

- I realize some here might say – I don’t even want to be around my friends and my family at this time of year because I’m in a rough patch right now…

- and I don’t want to have to keep saying…no, I’m not married…no, I still haven’t found a job…no, I haven’t had complete victory over this or this or this…

- and yes that is my old junker parked right next to my successful brother’s new Mercedes…and no, none of my kids were accepted into Harvard…and no this isn’t a designer drees, I got it at Meijer on sale…and the dish I brought is a frozen dinner I just microwaved…

- can I just say this to you…please don’t let any of that keep you from going and trying to be a blessing to your friends and family…because if you know Christ…none of those things I just mentioned define you…

- because you’ve accepted the gift of security…you’re in Him…you’re wrapped tightly in the Father’s hand, and the Son’s hand (the ones near where the spikes were nailed)…that frees you from the need to find your security anywhere else…

II. You are Secure Because of the Truthfulness of the Message

- Paul says - Ephesians 1:13 - In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed…

- our security is based on reliable facts…a truthful message…and Paul reminds us…

A. It had to be heard

- after listening to the message of truth

- Paul told the Romans - Romans 10:17 - So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

- he said earlier in that same passage - Romans 10:14–15 - How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

- the Ephesians had heard all sorts of messages…there were plenty of belief systems represented in the marketplace of ideas…but there was something about the good news of Jesus Christ that rang true to them when they heard it…

- they listened to the message of truth…because someone else will willing to proclaim it…

- I want to thank the many in our church family who have been looking for all sorts of ways to live and proclaim the gospel this season…that’s why you participated in Christmas for Everyone, or the LN, or the Christmas Musical…

- that’s why you’re going to serve in our Winter Break ministries…or one of our New Years Eve celebrations?...why?...

- because you’re giving careful attention to the condition of your feet…

- they are beautiful…because you are glad for the security that comes from believing the gospel of truth and you want others to enjoy that gift as well…

B. It was good news

- Ephesians 1:13 - In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation

- the word “gospel” literally means good news…

- not necessarily easy news…because it tells us about our sin and our inability to save ourselves…

- if that was not true…Jesus would not have had to come to earth…He would have stayed in heaven and shouted down…be real good…

- thoughtful people ought to be asking today – why is Christmas even necessary?...because the bad news of our sin has been eclipsed by the good news of God’s loving provision of…John 1:29 - …“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! …friends, there’s great security in that message…Paul also explains…

C. It had to be believed

Ephesians 1:13 - In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed…

- Can I ask you this am, in the quietness of this Christmas Eve…have you believed the gospel?...

- not in the sense that you believe the facts of it all – Scripture tells us the devil believes and trembles…

- but has there been a definite time in your life when you admitted your need, and then placed your faith and trust in Him?...

- a gift is not possessed until it is personally accepted…

- but friends, it is a marvelous gift…in part because it’s so secure…

III. You are Secure because of the Permanence of the Seal

- Ephesians 1:13 - In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

- this is where the issue of where our security comes into even clearer focus…

- the Bible teaches us that when a person accepts the gospel, we become immediately indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God…

- 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 - Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

- Romans 8:9 - …But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

- this by the way, is why the gift Pastor Aucoin spoke with us about is so important – the doctrine of justification…where at the moment of your salvation, the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to your account…and you are declared righteous on the account books of heaven…

- the Holy Spirit of God could not indwell you were that not the case…so these gifts all fit together in a marvelous package…

- but what’s amazing here – is that in these verses, Paul likens the presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life to a seal…something with which people in Bible times would have been intimately aware, because of the many times that picture was already used in the OT and also because of the ways a seal was used in their day and time…

- hot wax would be poured over the fold of a scroll and then a person’s ring or signet would be etched in the wax…it was then sealed and could only be opened by the appropriate person…

- and Scripture says – this is how secure your salvation is – it’s like it’s been sealed…in Christ, with the Holy Spirit of promise…

- and you might say – well, for how long?...Paul answers that later in this book… Ephesians 4:30 - Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

- I promise you – Equifax can’t make that claim…because they can’t guarantee that kind of security…but the blood of Christ can…see, this…

A. Signifying authority, like the decree of a king – Esther 8:8-12

- are you picturing some of the times in the Bible where the image of a seal had already been used?...

- remember in the book of Esther – an enemy of the Jews named Haaman tricked the king into issuing a decree that Jews could be exterminated…and what did the king do with that decree?...he sealed it…

- and later, when he learned what actually had occurred…he couldn’t unseal his own decree so he had to issue another one and seal it…

- signifying authority – just like the security of your salvation is based on the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ…there is no greater authority than that…

B. Signifying ownership – Jeremiah 32:10

- you may remember in the book of Jeremiah that the prophet is instructed to go buy a piece of land…and what was done to the deed…what often happened to land use documents like this one…

- it was sealed so there was no question about rightful ownership…

- what an incredibly powerful metaphor to use to describe the security of our relationship to the Lord…we’ve been bought with a price…

C. Signifying unchangeableness – Daniel 6:17

- you may have thought of this story…

- Daniel 6:17 - A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel.

- that’s the kind of seal God has placed on your soul and your eternal destiny…

D. Signifying authority – Matthew 27:62-66

- you might have thought – you know, that’s not the last den someone tried to seal…

- you’re right…

- the soldiers placed their wimpy little seal in the name of Pilate on the tomb of our Lord…till someone with far greater power and far greater authority came and opened it…

- now a person might ask – are you saying a person can’t lose their salvation…the answer is, of course not…

- if you could lose your salvation, you would have lost it half a dozen times already this morning…

- and by the way – this certainly isn’t the way I would have designed salvation…if I were God, it wouldn’t be free, I’d never allow to know if you truly had it, and if you messed up for even a second I’d take it away from you…aren’t we all glad I’m not God?...

- salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone…

- and apparently human being are better motivated by grace than fear…by security instead of uncertainty…

- please think about the people I mentioned a moment ago who have been so faithfully serving this Christmas season…why?...to earn something?...to keep something secure and intact…

- of course not – it’s in response to God’s free gift of grace…a gift that is marvelously secure…

IV. You are Secure because of the Purpose of Your Redemption.

A. To bless you with an inheritance

- did you see what Paul said in verse 14?...

- Ephesians 1:14 - who is given as a pledge of our inheritance…

- what does that mean?...

- what we’re discussing this morning is simply a down-payment…

- friends – the best is yet to come…

- Ephesians 1:18 - I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

- I realize that many who will hear this message will also be dealing with loss this holiday season…

- this will be the first Christmas without…mom, or dad, or grandpa…

- thankfully, many of those persons died…in the Lord…

- and if the Holy Spirit was the down-payment of the security of their salvation…

- what do you think that person is enjoying today?...the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints…

- and I mean no offense to the beauty of your holiday cooking or the excellency of your delicious meal…

- but your loved one who died in the Lord…be encouraged in this…they’re going to be having a really good day…

- that’s why tonight in our candlelight services I’m looking forward to talking to us about one last gift this Christmas Season…Our Eternal Hope

- so how does this passage end?...declaring that the purpose of all of this is…

B. To live to the praise of the glory of His grace.

- Ephesians 1:13–14 - In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

- this is best understood in light of what was previously said, how we can live… Ephesians 1:6 - to the praise of the glory of His grace…

- so what does that look like?...

1. When a person who has accepted the gift of security sins against someone over the holidays – they quickly admit their wrong and ask forgiveness of God and the appropriate people?...why – because there’s no fear of rejection…they’ve been sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise…and their confession is living to the praise of the glory of His grace…

2. When a person wakes up early during the holidays…and finds a quiet place and opens her Bible and reflects on the beauty of the babe in the manger, and draws near to her Savior and King in worship and adoration…it’s enjoying the security of that relationship…with private worship to the praise of the glory of His grace…

3. When a holiday guest messes up again or behaves offensively or speaks out of place…there’s a patience, a forebearance…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness…

- why…because sealed up inside of that person is the Holy Spirit of Promise…with all of His power and all of His fruit…allowing that secure believer to live to the praise of the glory of His grace…

4. and when we walk into the party, or the gathering, or the living room…what defines us is not this year’s successes…or this year’s failures…what defines us is that we’re in Christ…sealed in Him – securely – with the Holy Spirit of Promise…

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video