Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXX: Applying The Truth That Believers Are Blessed With The Earnest Or First-Fruits Of The Spirit
(2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:14 and Romans 8:23, et al.)
  1. Introduction
    1. A believer can find himself so impacted by interacting with those of other faiths or by agnostics or critics of the Christian faith that he may wonder if his Christian faith is even real or if it is just an illusion!
    2. Aware of this need, and to meet it, God has provided the believer with a positional blessing the instant he first trusts in Christ, the truth that the Holy Spirit is the believer's Earnest or First-Fruits of a genuine, blessed eternal future, cf. Lewis S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. III, "Soteriology," p. 263-264.
    3. We view this truth to apply it to gain assurance of the validity of our Biblical Christian faith (as follows):
  2. Applying The Truth That Believers Are Blessed With The Earnest Or First-Fruits Of The Spirit.
    1. The instant one trusts in Christ as Savior from sin, he is sealed with the Holy Spirit for unconditional salvation security until the day of redemption when the believer is taken to heaven:
      1. 2 Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 1:13-14 reveal the Christian is sealed with the Holy Spirit the instant he trusts in Christ logically based upon his act of faith in Him:
        1. The phrase, "after that ye believed" in Eph. 1:13 comes from the aorist participle, pisteusantes that can mean, "having believed," U. B. S. Grk. N.T., p. 665; The Analy. Grk. Lex. (Zond.), p. 326.
        2. Since Scripture nowhere else indicates a post-salvation function is needed in order to be sealed by the Spirit, that participle means one is immediately sealed as a consequence of trusting in Christ.
      2. As this seal is said to last until the day of redemption, its purpose is to keep a believer unconditionally saved until he reaches heaven beyond all possibility of his ever losing that salvation, Ephesians 1:14.
    2. Well, this sealing ALSO acts as God's evidential "Earnest" or promise that the believer's faith is real:
      1. Both 2 Cor. 1:22 and Eph. 1:13-14 tie the sealing of the Holy Spirit in with His function as an Earnest.
      2. Thus, as the purpose of the Spirit's sealing is to preserve the believer's salvation until the rapture when he is taken to heaven beyond all possibility of losing his salvation (cf. Eph. 1:14; 4:30), that Spirit also acts as God's "Earnest" or pledge to the believer that what he experiences in his current earthly life with the Holy Spirit is just a part of what he will know in eternity to come, Eph. 1:13-14 with 2 Cor. 1:22.
      3. Well, as our Earnest, the Spirit can also be said to be the First-Fruits of what we will later have, a term used in Romans 8:23 in the context of the believer's future hope of obtaining a resurrection body.
      4. Consequently, the current evidences of the Holy Spirit in the believer's earthly life act to assure him that his Christian faith is real and that his hope of eternal life and acquiring heaven is equally as real:
        1. When the believer walks with God, the Holy Spirit makes his heart reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, Gal. 5:16, 22-23; Rom. 5:5 ESV. This all assures the believer the Holy Spirit is real, along with his salvation and Christian faith.
        2. The believer in fellowship with God sees the Holy Spirit's supernatural power for special ministry at work in his service for God that is blessed with truly righteous living, 1 Cor. 12:11; 2 Tim 1:6-7.
        3. The believer in fellowship with God sees the Holy Spirit's supernatural power for righteous living in the midst of great trials that he humanly would not otherwise be able to handle, cf. 2 Cor. 1:8-10.
        4. When he is out of fellowship with God, the true believer sees the Spirit cause him great unrest and conviction of sin until he either repents or hardens his heart, cf. Psalm 32:3-5 with Hebrews 6:4-6.
      5. Yet, even if a believer hardens his heart to where God takes him to heaven prematurely in discipline, it manifests the reality of the Christian faith and his own salvation, 1 John 5:16; 1 Corinthians 5:3-5.
Lesson: When one first trusts in Christ as his Savior, he is sealed with the Spirit until he enters heaven, and that Spirit's evidence in his life reveals his Christian faith is real versus doubts to the contrary!

Application: (1) If we have NEVER seen the Holy Spirit's presence in us via our walk, WE are not SAVED, and must trust in Christ to be saved, Rom. 8:9b; Jn. 3:16. (2) If we USED to see the Spirit's work but not NOW, we are hardened and must repent! (3) If we as believers are internally convicted of violating God's Word in our lives, we are saved but out of fellowship, and the Holy Spirit is urging us to repent for restored fellowship and fruitful living. (4) If we see God's blessed work in our lives as we heed His word, rejoice in the REALITY of our FAITH through this evidence, and keep living for God!