“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,”
Ephesians 1:13 NKJV
I haven’t visited this passage for a while but found myself being drawn to it this morning. It is reassuring and comforting to read the promise of being sealed by the Holy Spirit, but part of that comes from knowing what sealing means.
The sealing that Paul is talking about is the mark of identification often placed upon important documents to show authenticity, ownership and authority. The seal was usually made from hot wax and then impressed with a signet ring. Thereby identifying the document with the owner of the ring.
As a believer, the Holy Spirit is the seal of my salvation. He marks us as belonging to the Lord, by His authority, an eternal security. It is difficult to reconcile this image with the idea that some have that we can lose our salvation. But it is images like this that assure me of the amazing grace that is from the Lord in salvation. It is His work and not mine. It is not by my effort that … Read More »
On Christmas Eve in 1865, Philip Brooks, a minister of Holy Trinity Church in Philadelphia, travelled through the fields from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. He wrote about this journey:
“After and early dinner, we took our horses and rode to Bethlehem. It was only about two hours when we came to the town, situated on an eastern ridge of a range of hills, surrounded by its terraced gardens. It is a good-looking town, better build than any other we have seen in Palestine. . . . Before dark, we rode out of town to the field, where they say the shepherds saw the star. It is a fenced piece of ground with a cave in it (all the Holy Places are caves here), in which, strangely enough, they put the shepherds. The story is absurd, but somewhere in those fields we rode through the shepherds must have been. . . . As we passed, the shepherds were still ‘keeping watch over their flocks,’ “or leading them home to fold.”
They followed the path of the shepherds into Bethlehem and assisted in a midnight service at the Church of the Nativity. He wrote of this service : “I remember standing in the old church … Read More »
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way. (Matthew 2:10-12 NASB)
As we said yesterday, the Magi did the only appropriate thing when they found Jesus, they worshipped and gave gifts. The famous gifts of Gold, Fankincense and Myrrh, each have their own prophetic symbolism.
Gold is a precious metal and very valuable. It is used as a standard through out the world and is still used in trading. It is likely that Mary and Joseph used this to finance their journey to Egypt. It is symbolic of Jesus’ divinity and kingship.
Frankincense is a white resin or gum. It is highly fragrant and was used in worship (Exodus 30:34). Frankincense is a symbol of holiness and righteousness. The gift of frankincense to Jesus is symbolic of our worship to Him.
Myrrh is a spice used in embalming, a bitter perfume … Read More »
And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way. (Matthew 2:8-12 NASB)
As I look at the Magi story again, we see a profound statement phrase uttered by Herod, “Go and search carefully for the child”. Even from un-sanctified lips God releases words that have life. But this is typical of God, He is not limited by man and their degree of sanctification (that is not an excuse to sin but … Read More »
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had … Read More »
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” … Read More »