March 19, 2017 – Ephesians 1:11-14

Lesson Date: March 19, 2017

Focal Scripture Passage: Ephesians 1:11-14

AIM: To lead students to describe the work of God the Holy Spirit in salvation, and to respond to His work by rejecting the devil’s lies and trusting Him to seal them unto the day of their complete redemption.


Before class: Read the notes on Ephesians 1:11-14 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Locate one or more legal document displaying a seal, such as a notary’s seal or other seal of authenticity, to bring to class.  Some such documents include wills, deeds, contracts, marriage licenses, birth certificates, or even paper money, which is not valid unless it contains the seal of the United States Treasury Department.  Also, bring a bottle of prescription or over-the-counter medicine that is packaged with a “safety seal.”  Write the following scripture references on index cards or slips of paper: Romans 8:17; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 4:30; 1 Peter 1:3-4.  Enlist some class members who are comfortable reading aloud to look up the scriptures and be prepared to read them to the class when called upon.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the legal document you have brought to class.  Point out the notary’s seal or other seal that appears prominently on the document.  Ask: “Why are we required to notarize certain legal documents?  What does the seal prove?” (in the case of wills, deeds, and contracts it proves the authenticity of your signature, thus proving that you agreed to whatever terms were included in the document; in the case of marriage licenses, birth certificates, and paper money it proves that the document is legitimate, authentic, and can be trusted).  Seals are placed on documents to prove their authenticity.  Sealed documents such as deeds prove the ownership of the property.

Direct the class’ attention to the medicine bottle, pointing out the “safety seal.”  Ask: “What is the purpose of this kind of seal?” (it protects the contents from loss, contamination, or corruption; it also protects children from accidental poisoning).

Tell the class today’s lesson is about another very important seal.



  1. Review.
    1. Remind the class that Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesian believers while he was a prisoner in Rome (locate Rome and Ephesus on the map)
    2. Remind them that Ephesians 1:3-14 tells about the involvement of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in our salvation.
    3. Read Ephesians 1:3-5.
    4. Ask: “What three important things did God the Father do for us in salvation?” (He blessed us, chose us, and adopted us).
    5. Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Eph. 1:7).
    6. Read Ephesians 1:6-10.
    7. Ask: “What are some of the important things God the Son did for us in salvation?” (He made us accepted, He redeemed us, forgave us, enlightened us, and one day He will gather us to Himself).
    8. Tell the class today’s lesson is about the role of God the Holy Spirit in our salvation.
  2. We Have Been Given an Eternal Inheritance.
    1. Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 1:11.
    2. Ask: “What have we obtained?” (an inheritance).
    3. Tell the class that receiving an inheritance is one of the results of being adopted as God’s child ( 1:5).
    4. Ask: “According to the rest of verse 11, why have we obtained an inheritance?” (because God predestined (chose) us to do so according to His own purpose and will).
    5. Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read Romans 8:17.
    6. Ask: “How does that verse describe us?” (heirs of God).
    7. Tell the class those who are heirs receive an inheritance. We have an inheritance coming to us because we are heirs of God.
    8. Ask: “Have you ever heard of anyone who received an inheritance, but wasted or squandered it all away?” (they probably have).
    9. Tell them that is not possible with the inheritance Christians have coming to them.
    10. Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read 1 Peter 1:3-4.
    11. Ask the class what those verses say about our inheritance (it is incorruptible, undefiled, doesn’t fade away, and it is reserved in heaven for us). Our inheritance can never be lost, stolen, or used up.
    12. Write the word “Inheritance” on the marker board or chalkboard.
    13. Say: “IF YOU ARE SAVED, God the Holy Spirit has reserved an eternal inheritance for you.”
    14. Ask the students how it makes them feel to know that they have an inheritance reserved for them in heaven.
  3. We are Sealed with the Holy Spirit.
    1. Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 1:12.
    2. Ask: “What is a result of our salvation?” (the praise of God’s glory).
    3. Explain that the word we in this verse refers to Jews who accepted Christ as their Savior. Paul was a Jew as were most of the early believers.
    4. The word ye in the next verse (read the first phrase of that verse) refers to saved Gentiles. The believers in Ephesus, to whom Paul was writing, were mostly Gentiles.
    5. Tell the students that Ephesians 1:13 contains four actions words that describe what takes place when a person receives Jesus Christ as Savior. Ask them to listen for those four words as you read that verse.
    6. Ask: “What action words did you hear in that verse?” (they should identify the words trusted, heard, believed, and sealed).
    7. Explain that in order to be saved a person must hear the Word of God, trust it to be true, and believe in Jesus Christ.
    8. Ask: “When we hear the truths of the Gospel and place our faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, what does verse 13 say the Holy Spirit does for us?” (He seals us).
    9. Remind the class of the seals you showed them at the beginning of class.
      • Just as the notary’s seal proves authenticity and ownership, the Holy Spirit’s presence within the believer proves the authenticity of his or her salvation as well as the fact that Almighty God owns them.
      • Just as the medicine bottle’s seal protects the medicine from loss or corruption, the Holy Spirit’s presence within the believer prevents him or her from ever again being lost or returning to a condition of spiritual corruption and deadness.
    10. One of the things the Holy Spirit does for us in salvation is to seal
    11. Write the word “Sealed” on the board.
    12. Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read Ephesians 4:30.
    13. Ask: “What does that verse say the Holy Spirit has done for us?” (sealed us unto the day of redemption).
    14. Stress the fact that because the Holy Spirit has sealed us we can never slip out of God’s hand!
    15. Say: “IF YOU ARE SAVED, God the Holy Spirit has sealed you with His presence.”
    16. Ask the students how it makes them feel to know that they are sealed and can never be lost or snatched from God’s hand.
  4. The Holy Spirit is the Earnest of Our Inheritance.
    1. Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 1:14.
    2. Ask: “What does this verse call the Holy Spirit of God?” (the earnest of our inheritance).
    3. Ask: “What does the word ‘earnest’ mean?” (a down payment, promising full payment at a later date).
    4. Explain that earnest money is a portion of the purchase price that is given in advance to prove that the purchaser will come through with the rest of the money.
    5. Ask: “Have you ever paid earnest money or made a down payment?” (probably, for the purchase of a house or car).
    6. Ask: “Did you immediately take possession of the item upon which you made the down payment?” (no, the down payment or earnest money does not give you ownership; it is merely a guarantee that full payment is coming).
    7. In salvation, when we receive Christ as our Savior we don’t immediately receive the inheritance promised us in heaven. The Holy Spirit is the earnest that guarantees we will receive that full inheritance in the future.
    8. Write the word “Earnest” on the board.
    9. Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 1:22.
    10. Explain that the Holy Spirit’s presence in the believer proves that the Lord will deliver all of the inheritance He has promised the believer.
    11. Say: “IF YOU ARE SAVED, God the Holy Spirit is the earnest of your promised inheritance.”
    12. Ask the students how it makes them feel to know that the Holy Spirit living within proves they will one day inherit all the blessings God has prepared for them.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the class they have discovered three words that describe the role of God the Holy Spirit in our salvation.  Direct their attention to the three words written on the board.  Ask them how each word expresses what the Holy Spirit does for believers.

Remind the class that Ephesians 1:3-14 describe the roles of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit in our salvation.  Erase the board and tell them we can summarize the work of each member of the godhead with three words that begin with the letter P.  Tell them that God the Father PLANNED our salvation, God the Son PURCHASED our salvation, and God the Holy Spirit PROTECTS our salvation (write these three words on the board as you say them).

Read the following: As many as God hath chosen, as many as Christ hath redeemed, as many as the Spirit hath called, as many as believe in Jesus, shall safely cross the dividing sea.  We are not all safely landed yet: part of the host have crossed the flood, and part are crossing now.  The vanguard of the army has already reached the shore.  We are marching through the depths; we are at this day following hard after our Leader into the heart of the sea.  Let us be of good cheer: the rear-guard shall soon be where the vanguard already is; the last of the chosen ones shall soon have crossed the sea, and then shall be heard the song of triumph, when all are secure.”[1]

Tell the students that some people mistakenly believe that Christians can lose their salvation.  That is the devil’s lie.  For that to happen, the Holy Spirit of God would have to stop being our seal and stop being the earnest of our future inheritance.

Urge everyone to reject the devil’s lies about losing one’s salvation and trust the Holy Spirit to seal them unto the day of redemption.  Lead a closing prayer.


CONCLUSION: Encourage everyone to thank the Lord daily for the work of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in their salvation.  Ask them to review their memory verses this week and to read the rest of Ephesians 1 in preparation for next week’s lesson.

[1] Morning and Evening, Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning devotional for January 21

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