Contact Us

  • Phone: (509) 747-3007
  • Email:
  • Meeting Address:
    115 E. Pacific Ave., Spokane, WA 99202
  • Office/Mailing Address:
  • 608 W. 2nd Ave, #101. Spokane, WA 99201

Service Times

  • Sunday: 10am
  • Infant through 8th grade Sunday School classes available
  • FREE Parking!



Back To List

Sep 26, 2010

Reasons to Be A Romantic, Part 2

Passage: Ephesians 1:7-14

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Postcards from the Front: A Wartime Romance

Category: Ephesians

Keywords: redemption, sealing, holy spirit, redeem, seal, security


Paul gives numerous reasons why our hearts ought to be passionately in love with God. This message looks at two of those reasons: redemption in Christ and sealing of the Holy Spirit.


Reasons to Be a Romantic-Part 2

#3 in the series “Postcards from the Front:  A Wartime Romance”

September 26, 2010

Ephesians 1:7-14

STORY:  As many of you know, this past summer, our family headed to various parts of the world for several weeks.  Mikias and Yohannes took off to Africa to visit their relatives and roots while the “paler part” of the Repsold clan headed to Europe…to encounter a bit of our Anglo & Germanic roots. 

      We took off from Vancouver, Canada and headed to Munich, Germany with a 6 hour layover in London in between.  Not realizing how tired we really were, we hopped a train to downtown London...and promptly fell asleep on the train…or at least some of us. J (See photo.)

      We finally did arrive in Germany, got a good night’s sleep, and awoke the next morning to a pouring rain…in which Sandy & I had to find our way by a rather circuitous bus and train route to a little burg outside Munich.  We were looking for the Deutsche Reismobil Vermietungs office (DRM for short)—an RV rental business on the outskirts of Munich. 

      As it turned out, the RV we received was brand new.  It had about 450 kilometers on it.  We were the first to use it…which was a little intimidating since, if you know anything about Europe, it’s famous for narrow streets and sometimes crazy drivers. We left Munich the next day and drove to Salzburg, Austria, arriving at night.  So we simply pulled into a truck stop outside of Salzburg and went to bed. 

      The next day, we ventured into that beautiful town made famous in America, at least, by the movie The Sound of Music.  How times have changed. [Pic of Andrew w/ Lady Gaga poster.]

      As we wound our way through the quaint, narrow streets of Salzburg, we happened to find a wonderfully big parking spot in the heart of the city.  By moving a couple of unused bike racks, we were able to fit our RV nicely into the oversized parking spot. 

      From there we spent most of the day walking around Salzburg, viewing the sights.  When our legs wore out, we made our way back to the RV for lunch and a rest. 

As we rounded the curve in the street where we had left the RV, a horrible reality met our view.  Our RV was gone!  Sure enough, there was the empty spot we had parked it in, but no RV.  Then we saw “The Sign”. [Highlight “No Parking” sign.]

      Now, when your car disappears from its parking spot, it’s usually a major inconvenience.  But when your transportation AND your HOME disappear…and you are in a foreign country… and you don’t speak the language…it’s a CATASTROPHY! 

      So we asked around at a nearby restaurant.  “Did you see someone take a BIG motor home from that corner?”  Yes, they had actually seen the police take it away.  That was the good news for the day.

      So we walked the mile-and-something to the police station where I was asked to go inside… alone… and answer some questions.  To make an already long story longer, I was informed that we had parked illegally and that our RV had been impounded. 

      “How do I get it out and how much will that cost?” 

      Since I wasn’t even supposed to be driving an RV in the city, I was told it might involve a hefty fine of several hundred dollars plus a towing fee.  After much pleading and groveling, they decided to wave the fine.  So, we took a bus to the place where they had impounded our home on the outskirts of town.  There we would find out how much it would cost to free our impounded home.  After waiting for another hour for someone with keys to show up, we finally “redeemed” our RV for about $160 in towing fees.  Thus started 4 weeks of adventure…and mis-adventure. J

It seems that lately in the world, paying to get back what is rightfully yours already, has become the new sport.  Just last week, Sarah Shourd, one of three American hikers imprisoned for 14 months in an Iranian jail after they were questionably arrested hiking on the border with Iraq and charged with “spying” based on their “suspicious aims”, was released after paying $500,000 dollars “bond”.  Her two male hiking companions, one her fiancée, are still being held.  Do you think Sarah will be going back for her trial…or forfeiting her ransom/bail money?  

Call it ‘bail’, call it ‘ransom’, call it ‘fines’, the concept is all the same:  it’s going to cost someone a lot of something to get back something or someone they value or love.

That’s the whole idea behind what the Apostle Paul tells us we “have” “in Christ” in today’s text in Ephesians 1:7ff.  The biblical word used is “redemption”.  It can mean ‘to pay a ransom’ or ‘to buy out of the market place permanently.’  Here’s what it says.

“7In him[Jesus, the ‘One the Father loves’] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”

Today we’re going to begin to unpack ever so little just what it is that we who have put our faith and trust in Jesus have “in Christ”.  Remember how many times Paul uses that phrase “in Christ” in the N.T? 164 times!  It’s not an insignificant phrase. 

  • If I ask you, “What do you have “in the bank”, what will you reply?”  [“Very little” probably. J]
  • If I ask you, “What do you get being a member, say, of AAA?  What do you have being a part of that ‘club’?”  [Free maps, roadside assistance like flat repair, free towing and help when you lock your keys in the car or have a dead battery; discounts on hotels, help with travel plans, etc.]

So if I asked you to write out 10 things you “have in Christ,” what would you put down? 

And more significantly, how much does it mean to you? 

How often do you think Sarah Shourd thinks about being free these days?

How much do you think she is moved emotionally by not being in solitary confinement 23.5 hours a day anymore?

Did anyone have to tell her to “feel” a certain way the day she was released to the Swiss Embassy in Teheran, flown out of Iran and reunited with her family? 

  • Do you think she feels valued knowing that her family paid $500,000 for her release?
  • Do you think she is grateful for the freedoms of America and the “due process” our legal system goes through when you are arrested?
  • Do you think she is overwhelmed  by the realization that she could have never been released and could have gone mad or died in that infamous prison in Teheran? 

When Paul wants people to be overwhelmed in this ‘divine romance’ between God and us, he writes about some things that God has done ‘in Jesus Christ.’  And the very first thing he puts in this love letter to Jesus’ bride, the Church, is this truth of ‘redemption.’  Here’s what redemption is all about.

Redemption means “to buy out of market place.”  In essence, every time you go to the grocery store, you ‘redeem’ what is in your grocery cart.  You pay a price you think fitting for items you want to eat. 

If it’s too expensive, what do you do?  [Steal it.  WRONG!  You just leave it there and don’t buy it.]

So WHAT questions does that understanding of ‘redemption’ raise in your minds?

  1. What ‘marketplace’ were you and I bought out of?
  2. Who paid the price?
  3. What price was paid?

#1.  The ‘marketplace’ from which we were purchased isn’t talked about here in Ephesians 1.  But it is in other passages. 

  • Galatians 3:13—“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us….”  The law of God condemns every human being in this world.  It makes us aware of what sin is and that we are sinners.  The law of God (which flows from the holy nature of God) stand over us with a gavel that is continually pounding, “Guilty… guilty…guilty…of this sin, of that failure, of doing what we shouldn’t do…and of not doing what we should do.”  
  • Peter calls that burden of legalism and the absolute impossibility of trying to get right with God through obeying 100% of the Law of God as “the empty way of life handed down by our forefathers” in I Peter 1:18.
  • Titus 2:14, in speaking about how we are waiting for “the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” tells us that he “…gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

So, we got bought out from under the just and sure condemnation of God’s law and holiness. The image is of a slave being purchased out of slavery. 

We’re not used to dealing in slaves any more, thank God!  But slavery still exists in this world.  Women, children and sometimes men are still bought and sold around the world. 

  • Sex trafficking is a form of horrible slavery.  Human beings are usually kidnapped and then sold to people who use, abuse and profit from their total and absolute subjugation.  (See “Taken” for some mildly graphic scenes of sex-trafficking slavery.)
  • Christians in Sudan still experiences the horrible nightmare of being enslaved by Muslim slave-traders in northern Sudan, sold to other Muslims and pressed into slavery in homes of men who buy them. Whole groups of these slaves are often bought by well-meaning Christians seeking to liberate their brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Our own nation’s worst blot on its history is the stain of slavery that destroyed African families, degraded the soul of America, resulted in the abuse and death of thousands of black Africans and eventually cost us the blood of hundreds of thousands in our Civil War. 

Does anyone wish any of these kinds of slavery upon themselves?  NEVER!

Anyone who trusts in Jesus Christ finds themselves freed… redeemed from slavery to God’s law and from slavery to the power of sin over us.  Remember Titus 2:14?  Christ has “redeem[ed] us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” 

So what was the PRICE of this ransom?

The Bible is very clear about that. 

  • Ephesians 1:7“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins…”
  • I Peter 1:18-- 18For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

From the price of the incarnation itself (God taking on humanity, putting himself in human flesh and under the Law, living perfectly, sinlessly, in the world he had made but which hated him and the righteous life he lived) to the price of the crucifixion, WE have been ransomed…redeemed…bought out of slavery by the very life and death of God incarnate—Jesus Christ. 


This is one of the things we should feel and remember in communion. 

  • We are not slaves to the law of God that we could never measure up to by a lifetime of effort.
  • We are not slaves to any sin or to the sinful desires of our flesh anymore.  It does not have power to control us like it used to.  We have a new Master and the power of sin has been broken.
  • Our redemption speaks of the VALUE God places on each of us.  He paid THE highest price.  The value of something is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it.  THE most amazing being paid THE highest possible price for THE most broken people—us.  Why do we question our value in this world?  Why do we go seeking self-worth in the wrong places rather than in the presence of God who has already showed us what we are worth to Him? 


So let’s go back to the text of Ephesians 1

7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

Notice that redemption and forgiveness are used almost as synonyms?  We could spend weeks on the nature of forgiveness.  Let me just say that forgiveness is one of THE MOST POWERFUL truths/concepts in all of the Bible.  Experience it, engage in it, be overwhelmed by it…and you will be transformed as will your relationships.  Col. 3:13-God calls us to forgive “as the Lord forgave you.” 

      But resist it, fail to offer it to others, get bound up in bitterness…and you will suffer for your choices throughout all of life.  Scripture is FULL of teaching about the dangers of not living in forgiveness towards others, especially when you have experienced the total, unconditional and continual forgiveness of God through Christ.

  • Failure to forgive blocks God’s forgiveness of us (Mt. 6:15; Mk. 11:25)
  • Failure to forgive gives bitterness a root in our souls that destroys us.  (Heb. 12:15)
  • Failure to forgive puts you under God’s discipline (Mt. 18:20-35)

God’s Grace

Here, too, is a subject that could consume a year of Sundays.  Just notice the language of abundance here:

  • …the riches of God's grace…
  • 8that he lavished on us…. with all wisdom and understanding

Grace is not something you ever earn.  It is not something you get by your own effort.  Grace is always something God pours out from HIS loving, grace-filled heart.  It is his ability in the middle of our dis-ability.  It is His blessing when we don’t deserve blessing. 

Now, vss. 9-11 are basically telling us that God had this whole astounding love relationship purposed “in Christ” before the world began.  But NOW…WE live in the time when he has chosen to “put [it] into effect.”  And the effect he wants is for ALL people—Jews, Gentiles, men, women, young, old, white, black and everything in between—to experience a divine unity “under one head, even Christ.”  That divine image of Christ the head and the Church the body, is how closely interconnected and related we are to be “in Christ.” 

We’ve already looked at the doctrine of “election” and “predestination” mentioned in vss. 11-12.  So I would like us to finish today encountering another powerful reason to be a romantic with God found in vss. 13-14.

13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.

Here is where the Holy Spirit comes into this love letter.

This term “seal” is used in the N.T. about 30 times, sometimes as a verb and sometimes as a noun.  Here it is in the verbal form—it’s an action that God does TO and FOR us. 

ILL: Sandy and I just watched a wonderful movie Young Victoria, really a love story about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  Queen Victory assumed the crown from her uncle, William IV, in 1837 when she was just 18 years of age.  Buckingham Palace had just been finished and she was its first resident.  She became the longest reigning monarch in British history, holding the throne from age 18 to age 82. 

      The movie is filled with correspondence that goes back and forth between Albert and Victoria.  Every other scene there is someone writing, dripping wax on the envelope and stamping the wax with their signet ring before curriers whisk it off to their beloved. 

TODAY, for the most part, we have lost this wonderful art of “sealing” things. Sealing something in times past, particularly in biblical times, had 3 possible meanings. 

1.)    Ownership:  seals marked something as the property of someone.  ILL:  My dad adopted during one period of his life, the habit of engraving any piece of machinery, tool or furniture with the words, “Stolen from N.B. Repsold.”  His summer cabin and garage had been broken into and cleaned out twice and he was bound and determined he wasn’t going to let them fence his stuff in the future!  It wasn’t actually a “seal”, but it did indicate ownership.  Perhaps deeds, titles and signatures today indicate ownership.

2.)    Authenticity:  Seals sometimes indicate whether or not something is authentically “Made in China”…or “Made in the U.S.A.”  Some pieces of art come now days with a “Certificate of Authenticity” that supposedly authenticates that the item is genuine and not a replica.  My wife and I have a color lithograph of one of Stephen Lymann’s paintings hanging on our wall at home.  We have the “Certificate of Authenticity” filed away should we ever choose to sell it in the future. 

            Brand names used to be a sort of “seal” of authenticity.  But, as many of us have found out, what you see is not necessarily what you get.  I bought a pair of what I thought were Nike running shoes at the Beijing flea market several years ago when we were there on a missions trip.  They looked and felt like the real deal…until I started running in them at home.  After about the 3rd run, my shins and ankles started to really hurt.  Then I began to hear something rattling around in the soul.  So I figured I’d just wear them for walking and every-day stuff.  But I soon found out that I couldn’t even use them for walking.  My feet, my joints, even my back would hurt after about an hour in the things.  I’ve concluded that they were really produced by the Chinese Secret Police to subtly destroy Americans. J

            While I may not be very good at telling the authenticity of name-brand running shoes, I can probably tell when I’m playing the “real deal” in terms of cellos. 

            If you know anything about stringed instruments, you know who THE most famous and most prized violins and cellos were made by, right?  WHO?  [The maestro of Cremona, Antonius Stradivari]  While Antonius Stradivari made only 1,100 stringed instruments in his career in Italy spanning the late 1600s to the mid-1700s, there are literally hundreds of thousands of “replicas” that have little tags in them reading “Stradivarius.”  Don’t believe it!  There are only about 600 “Strads” left in the world.  That includes violins, cellos, violas, guitars and a few harps.  Fires, wars, accidents and all have diminished their numbers, sad to say. 

            But back in 1989, when we were on our first furlough from Spain, I was looking for a cello to use for the year.  Visiting a supporting church in Seattle, I decided to visit one of the most reputable stringed instrument shop in the Northwest, Bischofberger Violins.  I found and instrument I wanted to try out for a week.  So while they were making a few minor adjustments to the instrument, the owner asked if I would like to play a “special” cello they had in their shop on consignment. 

“How special?” I asked. 

“It’s a Stradavari,” he replied.

“Now you’re pulling my leg,” I shot back. 

“No.  Seriously.  Would you like to try it?”  I about vaulted over the counter. 

He took me to a private room and brought in the instrument.  Then he went to find a bow that would do it justice.  He came back with an $8,000 bow!  I asked him how much the cello was going for.  “Quarter of a million” he said.  I asked if it was insured. J 

            As I began to play some pieces from memory, I almost started to cry.  I’d never played an instrument that was so beautiful to play.  The rich, resonant sound practically oozed from this instrument.  The difference was light-years between anything I had ever played on or have ever since. 

            Looking back, I should have bought the Strad.  J  The most recent figures for how much people are paying for one of the 60 that still exist goes anywhere from $2 million to $20 million!  There is nothing like the “real deal”. 

APP:  Something far, far better and more valuable has been placed within, upon over and under every child of God.  It’s the Holy Spirit.  And whomever He inhabits, he places his “seal” of authenticity on.  You can tell an “authentic” Spirit-filled Christ-one.  HOW?  By the “music” they give off when played by life.  You hear and see and feel the “fruit of the Spirit” oozing out of them—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

            It’s not just about the “label” people wear.  It’s about the life that they evidence.  The lives of genuine Christ-followers will bear the “seal” of the Holy Spirit’s life.   

3.)    Security:  Seals were used in ancient (and more recent times) to secure something fast in place.  The Sanhedrin placed a seal on the tomb of Jesus and posted a guard to insure that there wouldn’t be any monkey business about a resurrection (Mt. 27:66).  The book of Revelation talks about “seals” that are only to be opened by Jesus (Rev. 6-8).  Satan will be bound in the Abyss for 1,000 years, “locked and sealed” (Rev. 20:3). 

      This is clearly what Paul has in mind in Ephesians 1 here—Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.

      That term “deposit” (arrabon in Greek) means just what it says, a “deposit” or “down payment.” 

Q:  What kind of things do you put a “down payment” on?  Cheap stuff? Common stuff?  NO, rare stuff, stuff you really intend to carry through with on buying. 

APP:  To me, this is one of THE strongest reasons to accept the theology of eternal security—the belief that your salvation and mine, being primarily the work of God and not something we do, is something far more secure than our variable moods, actions and emotions. 

      What happens if you don’t carry through with the final purchase of a house on which you have put a “down payment”???  You LOOSE the down payment!  Is God going to “loose” himself, his Spirit?  No chance!  This is another part of the glorious doctrine of divine election. 

      IF salvation is because God sees you in the future choosing him, then when happens if your faith wavers and you “un-choose” him some day? 

      BUT if ‘election’ is His choosing us (as the Scriptures present)…if it is Him putting His seal of his own Spirit on us…if it is Him making a ‘down payment’ insuring that he will eventually “redeem” us at the resurrection of the dead, then there is GREAT reason to be confident in HIM—his word, his promise, his Spirit, his staying-power. 

There simply is no one else in life that we can have this confidence with.  Children leave parents…and parents leave children.  Spouses give up on each other and divorce.  Friends and lovers stop “friend-ing” and “loving”. No wonder so many of us have a hard time believing God would be any different. 

      But he is.  He loves when we stop loving. He holds on when we push him away.  He stands up for us when we run.  His love is the stuff from which every truly great love story is taken. 

ILL:  Young Victoria. There is one scene in the movie that, though not historically accurate, does a wonderful job of showing the nature of this kind of godly love.   

      One of the earliest mistakes Queen Victoria made in the first years of her reign was to ally herself too closely with one political party in the House of Lords.  As the political winds began to shift, she foolishly refused to make even the slightest cosmetic adjustments to her staff that would have drawn the country together.  Instead, she ended up with riots on her hands and a black eye on her reputation and wisdom. 

      Later, her new husband, Prince Albert, who has now completely won her heart by his patient, humble and wise love for her, helps arrange some minor changes in the staff of the royal family that better reflects the mood of the nation. 

But no sooner does he come to bed that night then she tears into him for interfering in her business, usurping her authority, and offending her.  In actuality, he had only done what was wise, prudent, in her best interests and made her stock rise in the eyes of the public.

      He tells her so and then heads for the door to spend the night on the royal (and proverbial) couch.  She explodes even further and demand him “as his sovereign” to not leave.  He quietly closes the door. 

      The next day, despite the spat, he joins her in the open horse-drawn carriage for her daily ride among the people.  When she tells he curtly that she doesn’t need him along, he replies something like “You wouldn’t want people to start rumors about our marriage, would you?  He challenges her to smile at her people while she maintains her stern and sour face and turns away. 

      Along the ride, an assassin approaches the carriage, aims and fires his pistol at the Queen.  Albert, sees the man coming at the last moment and instantly, almost reflexively, throws himself between the Queen and the assassin, taking the bullet in the shoulder. 

      Now confronted with a bleeding husband who has thrown himself between her and her assassin, her heart melts and she recognizes the complete folly and arrogance of her ways.  “WHY did you do it?” she asks sobbing.  Albert responds, “First, because I am dispensable and you are not.  And secondly, because you are everything to me.” 

That, too, is our divine romance.  But it goes even deeper for us.  For we are the “dispensable” ones and God is not.  Yet he, being Sovereign of the Universe, did not consider his own safety or freedom from pain when he willingly, almost reflexively, interposed himself between Satan and sinners, between the judgment of God and the unworthy sinners, us.  He was wounded grievously; we were healed eternally. He suffered a horrible and unjust death; we are living an amazing and eternal life. He took the bullet meant for us; we took his Spirit meant for our holiness. 

The response to “redemption” ought to be unbounded gratitude.

The response to “adoption” should be unbounded holiness—lives that truly ooze with the divine music of the Spirit-filled, Christ-dominated life.     


  • What do you need to do to cultivate a life of gratitude to God, not just an hour on Sunday?
  • What is God inviting you to do to really become a divine “Stradivarius”, not just someone who wears the label “Chr.”?