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Sermon #4022

The Nature of Sealing

A Sermon on Ephesians 1:13


Ephesians 1:13 ESV KJV
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, (ESV)

Sermon Description

The timing of the sealing of the Holy Spirit is a contested topic. It is a topic that raises many other questions. One could be tempted to ignore the subject or teach it in such a way as to minimize the difficulties with the doctrine. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:13 titled “The Nature of Sealing,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones thoughtfully engages this topic and the difficult questions head on. One cannot ignore the teaching of Holy Scripture but instead must carefully examine the Bible and conform their lives according to it. By looking at the teaching of the New Testament on the work of the Holy Spirit and invoking great theologians and pastors of the church, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says one must emphasize the experimental aspect of the sealing of Holy Spirit that occurs after belief in the gospel. He challenges the people of God to consider whether they have experienced the sealing of the Spirit. Is there an unmistakable experience that has occurred, resulting in a great assurance, joy in Christ, or love for God deep within their hearts? Dr. Lloyd-Jones cautions distinguishing between the sealing of the Spirit and particular gifts of the Holy Spirit that may or may not come as He dispenses gifts as He sees fit.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sealing of the Spirit is vital and important to understand. We must have no misunderstandings about it.
  2. The sealing of the Spirit happens after belief, though it may happen almost immediately or later. The two are separate and distinct.
  3. The sealing of the Spirit fulfills the promise of God throughout the Old Testament and the preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus.
  4. The sealing of the Spirit is an experimental, inward assurance given by the Holy Spirit that we are children of God. It is the Spirit bearing witness with our spirit.
  5. The first result of the sealing of the Spirit is the assurance we are children of God and heirs of God.
  6. Another result is the love of God being shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We are filled with God's love.
  7. Another result is loving Christ and rejoicing in Him with unspeakable joy and glory.
  8. Spiritual gifts may accompany the sealing of the Spirit, as in Acts 2, but they are not necessary or guaranteed. The Spirit gives different gifts to different people as He wills.
  9. The sealing of the Spirit is not the same as conversion, though it may happen at the same time. Conversion gives rest through belief in the Word, but sealing gives direct assurance. Sealing goes beyond conversion.
  10. The sealing of the Spirit is not the same as sanctification. Sealing promotes sanctification but does not guarantee it. One can be sealed but become a backslider. Sealing is a point-in-time experience, sanctification is continuous.
  11. The intensity of the sealing experience may vary, but the thing itself is unmistakable, plain and clear. God tells us we are His children.
  12. Emotion accompanies the sealing of the Spirit, though emotionalism does not. Strange phenomena may temporarily accompany it due to the power and weakness of human frames. But humility, reverence, and love show it is from God.
  13. Paul shows the balance of deep emotion yet humility, reverence, wisdom, and understanding that should accompany the sealing of the Spirit.

The Book of Ephesians

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.