Bible Topics In The Christian Library
 
BLESSED WITH A HEAVENLY INHERITANCE
Ephesians 1:11-14

INTRODUCTION: A man relates the following story: "I got off at the train depot one day as a tramp. For a year I had begged on the streets. Badly in need of food, I touched a man on the shoulder and said, "Mister, please give me a dime." As soon as I saw his face, I recognized my aging father. "Don't you know me?" I asked. Throwing his arms around me, he cried, "Oh, my son, I have found you at last! All I have is yours!" Think of it -- I was a tramp who begged for 10 cents from a man I didn't know was my father, when for 18 years he had been looking for me to give me all he possessed!" 

Many Christians wonder through the world not knowing what they have "in Christ." They think they are penniless but really have vast spiritual wealth promised to the by their Father. 
 
 

BODY
 
 

I. WE HAVE AN INHERITANCE FROM GOD. (Verse 11)

A. The inheritance is a promise of a blessing to be extended in the future.
1. It is just like a will that has been executed promising future wealth. One mentioned in that will does not now enjoy all of those blessings but has the sure promise of them, as long as the will is not changed.

2. The inheritance of God has been promised through the last will and testament of Jesus Christ.

a. Hebrews 9:15-17 "And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives."
B. Notice the progression that Paul says concerning the inheritance. 
1. It starts with God planning the scheme of redemption from before the beginning of the world.
a. Matthew 25:34 - "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
2. It is in the present in that we are redeemed (bought out of) sin and have our sins forgiven in the body of Christ.
a. Acts 26:18 - 'to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.'
3. By remaining faithful in the body of Christ we have a promised inheritance in the future.
a. Revelation 21:7 - "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
C. The great inheritance that we have promised is a home in the eternal abode.
1. Matthew 19:29 - "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
D. This is a sure inheritance - kept and promised by God, vouchsafed by the Father.
1. John MacArthur points out that the Greeks used a figure of speech to emphasize something that was certain. Something that was so certain that there was no possibility of not coming true was sometimes spoken of in the past tense, such as this.

2. 1 Peter 1:3-5

 
II. GOD IS WORKING ALL THINGS FOR OUR INHERITANCE ACCORDING TO HIS DIVINE COUNSEL. 
A. God predestined us to receive his inheritance.
1. That predestination has to do with Godís preordained plan for salvation.

2. Notice again that the predestination is "In Him."

3. In foreordaining us to be His heritage, God was working toward the purpose that we would be a people devoted to praising His glory, we, the Jews, who in ages before have been the first to have hoped in the Messiah (or Christ).

4. God planned for the beginning of mankind that He would give the eternal inheritance of living with Him. 

5. Revelation 13:8 - "....the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

B. Paul clearly tells us that we have a part in this planned inheritance. 
1. We heard the word of truth.
a. Romans 10:17
2. We believed the gospel of our salvation.
a. The belief here seems to be representative for obedience to the gospel of Christ. This happens throughout the New Testament, with the writers using faith, repentance, confession, and baptism as being the sole part of the plan of salvation. It is an ellipsis, a figure of speech that has the part stand for whole.
3. We are told of how we respond to Christ.
a. Acts 18:8 - Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.
 
III. THE HOLY SPIRIT PLAYS A PART IN OUR INHERITANCE. 
A. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
1. The seal here seems to signify ownership. The Holy Spirit is the seal that shows that we are Godís children.
a. 2 Timothy 2:19 - Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

b. Romans 8:9, 14, 16 - "But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.... For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God....The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,"

2. This sealing takes place when we hear the word of truth, believe it, and are baptized into Christ.

3. The Holy Spirit is given to all Godís people at the point of our baptism into Christ.

a. Acts 2:38
4. This sealing serves a dual function.
a. God recognizes that His Spirit is dwelling in us.

b. We recognize that His Spirit is dwelling in us - based on us doing what the Spirit has said is necessary to receiving the sealing of the Spirit.

B. The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance.
1. The guarantee here is a down payment, just like an earnest payment when we decide we want a house but needs time to secure financing or full payment. 

2. How is the Spirit the guarantee, or earnest of our eternal inheritance?

a. It is Godís promise. If God has given His Spirit His is certain to keep His promise of an eternal inheritance if we remain faithful to Him.
3. While the Spirit indwelling us cannot be seen by the doing of miracles (as indeed it was not in the first century), the influence of the Spirit on our lives can be seen. See Galatians 5:22-25. This is accomplished when we yield the Spiritís prompting in his word.
 
CONCLUSION: Wouldnít you get excited if someone told you that you were in someoneís will to inherit millions of dollars? Most people would. But Christians have something far more valuable. They have the wealth of God that has been promised to them as an inheritance.
 
 

Copyright 1999 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.


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