Howard Mooney - Ephesians - Glencoe - 1986

I was thinking of the work of the Spirit in Ephesians.  It speaks there of the seal of the Spirit, the earnest of the Spirit, the access of the Spirit, the unity of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, the sword of the Spirit, and prayer and supplication of the Spirit.  In each of those cases, the Spirit is spelled with a capital S referring to the Holy Spirit of God.  This church was a miracle church.  Paul, in writing to them, wanted to emphasize the fact that this miracle church that had come into their lives had only been possible by the Spirit, and it is so with us.

This wonderful fellowship we have been brought into can only be possible by the Holy Spirit.  What is the greatest difference between our church and every other church?  I used to tell people, when asked, that it was different in the Ministry, the Work, and so on, but today I tell them it is the Spirit of God given to us, a Spirit that is universally different to any spirit in any other church.  The Spirit has produced this wonderful fellowship.

Isaiah 4:4, when the LORD shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgement, and by the spirit of burning.  That shows us what to do.  It is the secret of Gods workmanship.  Philippians 2:14 says, "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.  It is a willingness to do His good pleasure."  That is the secret.  A minister once said, "I cannot understand it. Your people enjoy doing what we cannot force our people to do."  You cannot force anyone to do what we are doing, but God works into our hearts the willingness to do it, so we say, "I delight to do Thy will, O God."  The Spirit of judgement shows us what to do.  The Spirit of burning causes a burning desire to do it. A verse says, "For in my heart there is a flame of burning love for Jesus' name."

Isaiah 32:15, until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.  Using an illustration that is easy to follow, he spoke of their lives being a waste and howling wilderness with no fruit for God, no hope, and it would remain that way until the Spirit would be poured out from on high.  Then the wilderness would be a fruitful place, and as it says in verse 17, "... the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever."  Only the Spirit of God can bring about this change.  No matter how much you cultivate your life, no change will take place until the Spirit is poured out from on high.  We can look back upon the time the Spirit was poured out and changed our lonely lives into a paradise of God.

Ephesians 1:13 mentions when they heard and obeyed the Gospel, they were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.  It was not in the sense of sealing an envelope, but the King's seal stamped on a document.  When people say they knew it had the approval of the king and the authority of the king behind it, His Spirit, an evidence that God has put His approval upon us, and His authority is behind us.  He has sealed us by the Holy Spirit of promise.  It is spoken of like that because it was promised from way back in the Old Testament.

Exodus 12 has the promises as types and shadows.  On the day of Pentecost, after Calvary, God would pour our His Spirit in a dramatic manner for a special reason, and people looked forward to whom the Holy Spirit would be given, because they knew upon which ever group the Spirit was poured, that, this is the one on whom My approval is.  The Holy City was in a state of excitement, the temple filled to overflowing, and they thought, "It is upon us that God will pour out His approval.  We have cut off ourselves from the old synagogue, and so on."  And the Pharisees and Sadducees felt the same way.

When this day of Pentecost was fully come, there was excitement and expectancy, but the Lord caused the Spirit to come like a hurricane, a rushing, mighty wind.  They could hear it a long while before it came, and after it passed over the heads in the temple, and over the heads of the 480 synagogues in the city, and left them stunned.  It stayed over the home where the disciples were having their Sunday morning meeting.  It was 9:00 a.m.  It filled the house, giving evidence to those on the inside, and then on the outside, that, "These are the people, and this is the way, that I have poured out My seal of approval on."  It was not only the way in which they were worshipping, but He also placed the seal of approval upon the day on which they were worshipping.

Pentecost was the fiftieth day, pente means fifty.  When the first sheaves were being gathered, they were to be brought seven Sabbaths after - that is forty-nine days, and then the first day after the seventh sabbath, which would be the fiftieth day and also the first day of the week, Sunday morning, on that day of Pentecost. Over in our part of the world, we have a number of Sabbath keepers who feel they could not be right unless they keep the Jewish Sabbath. We show them Acts 2 where God put His seal of approval on it, not only on the way, but also on the day.

Joel prophesied this and referred to it as the great and terrible day of the LORD. Peter, at Pentecost, referred to the great and notable day of the Lord.  I don’t think he was making a misquotation.  To the Jewish world that day, it was a great and terrible day, a great day because God acted but terrible to them.  It was a sudden awakening to the realization of the fact that all our service, education, ceremonies, and religiosity was outside the will of God, and God revealed it to them so dramatically.  To the Lord's people, that day was a great and notable day in which God proved in the eyes of the whole world, that it is upon this way and this day that His approval was being poured out.

Today we can look back upon the great and notable day in our experiences, the day we obeyed the Gospel and God sealed us with that Holy Spirit of promise. 17th June, 1917 is the great and notable day in my life, because it was 3:30 in the afternoon that day that I stood to my feet, and indicated by my words that I was willing now to completely submit, and was conscious God had sealed me with His Holy Spirit of promise.  Every child of God who obeys the Gospel, God gives to them the Holy Ghost, and those who are naming the name of Christ and walking in fellowship with Him, can look back on that great and notable day in their lives.

The Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance.  I would like to help you appreciate the vastness and greatness of this, into which we have been called.  Ephesians 2:7, "That in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace... through Christ Jesus."  It will take all the ages to come, all eternity, for God to show us the extent of the inheritance He has provided for us.  What we have received through the Spirit is just like a down payment.  This thing is so great and so vast, it will take all eternity to enjoy the full benefit of it.

Joshua, coming to the end of his life, said, "I go this day, the way of all the earth... not one thing has failed of all the good things God spake, all are come to pass." This man had been walking with God for sixty-four years then, entering deeper and deeper into the will of God, having fellowship with God, and enjoying the provision He had given him.  This is the testimony of a child of God, one who gave God a chance.  Joshua 24:30, says, "They buried him in the border of his inheritance."  Think of it, sixty-four years walking with God, entering deeper and deeper into His inheritance, and everything God had promised had come to pass, yet he died just inside the border of His inheritance.

No matter how long, or how much you enjoy your inheritance, it is so vast, that when you die, you will just be inside the border, and it will take all of eternity to enjoy the rest of it.  The place where Joshua was buried means, a portion of the remainder.  For sixty-four years he had been enjoying a portion, but it will take all eternity to enjoy the remainder.  We feel it is the most wonderful thing in all the world, but we are just inside the border.

There are some exceeding things Paul mentions in this letter.  1:19 speaks of the exceeding greatness of His power on our behalf.  3:20 speaks of the exceeding satisfaction He has given us.  2:7 is the exceeding future God has planned for us. 1:7 tells that what we are now receiving is through the riches of His grace.  2:7 speaks of what we have to enjoy in eternity that is the result of the exceeding riches of his grace, exceeding power, satisfaction, and hope as we look into the future.  This word exceeding does not suggest it exceeds anything the world has to offer, because the world cannot come within a million miles of what we are enjoying today.  This is something that has exceeded our wildest expectations. You are in the only fellowship in the world that turned out to be true, away beyond anything we expected it to be.  So what we are enjoying in this lives experience exceeds everything God promised, away beyond the promises He has given us in His Word, but great and all as it is, it is just the earnest of our inheritance.

Ephesians 2:18,  "For through Him, we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."  That is for both Jew and Gentile.  Access is something like a pass. When I was working for a company on the night shift, I had to have a pass to get in.  The guard would talk to us through the door.  He didn’t ask who we were, or what we were, but it was, "Where’s your pass?"  That got us in.  This Spirit is just like that.  It gives you and me access into the very presence of our Father, and it is for as many times a day as we feel our need of it.

It is good to make a study of the things mentioned in the Bible that are only found in His presence.  To Moses, God said, "My presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest."  That rest is found no place else, except in the presence of God.  We read also, "In Thy presence is fullness of joy."  Those of you who exhausted the resources of this world before you met the Truth, you only found it in the Lord. We read in Acts 3:19 of the times of refreshing that come from the presence of the Lord.  There was the angel of the Lord who helped some in their need.  The only ones who have access to the Lord are the ones who have His Holy Spirit.  It not only gives us access and the privilege of entering into His presence in times of need, but the Spirit also helps us to enter into His presence and quietly enjoy His fellowship.  There have been times when I have gone into the room and have got down on my knees to pray.  I was not desperately in need at the time but I wanted to have close communion with God.  I never said a word, nor was one spoken to me, but I was very conscious of the Lord's presence drawing near.  The greatest tragedy that could ever happen to me would be if I should fail to make use of this access.

Hebrews 10:19, "Having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." This is made possible, our privilege of entering into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.  Think of the price God has paid for us to have this privilege.  Ephesians 4:3, "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."  Verse 13,  "Till we all come in the unity of the faith."  The reason Paul emphasized these things in his letter is because this church was a wonderful example of the unity that only the Spirit of God can bring about.  Some were Jews, some Gentiles, and there had been a middle wall of partition between them, the greatest wall of hatred that ever divided nations, but the coming of the Gospel broke down that middle wall of partition and made themselves of twain, one new man. That was the miracle of unity that only the Holy Spirit could bring about, working through the medium of the Gospel, enjoying it and giving a wonderful demonstration to the people of the world of how God can take people of a different background and make them one in Christ.

This word together occurs seven times in this letter, and it explains the miracle that had taken place.  He is calling us together, giving us the same life, raising us up together with the same power, sitting together in Heavenly places, a little foretaste of Heaven.  The building is fitly framed together, growing unto a holy temple in the Lord, like a body. 1:10 speaks of being gathered together, which will be like a family reunion.

Ephesians 3:15 mentions how this family of God is divided today, the only division we have among us.  Some members have already gone on to be with Christ, which is far better, and the rest of us are remaining for our turn to come. Some like myself, who may in recent months had a loved one taken from you, have rejoiced that that one is with Christ, which is far better but it does not offset the loneliness you have in your home and heart.  The only thing I don’t like about Convention is the parting.  We have had days of Heavenly fellowship together; our hearts become knit together and we enjoy the blessing, but then the good-byes are said, and as you look on some faces, you know that this is the last time we shall be on earth together.

Let us all look forward to our inheritance.