LIFE IN THE SPIRIT (Ephesians 5:18-21)
“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God” (New King James Version).
“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (New Living Translation).
“Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another” (The Message).
•I know you would love to be a dynamic believer.
•I know you would love to see others come to Christ.
•I know you would love to be on fire for God all the time. If you catch on fire, people will come to watch you burn. I’m reminded of the story of a fire at a local church. The town drunk was running beside a church deacon, the deacon said, “I’ve never seen you run to church before!” The drunk replied, “The church has never been on fore before!”
•I know you would love for people to see Jesus in you.
•I know you would love to be passionate about your service to God and the church.
•I know you would love to worship God will your whole heart.
Let me assure you that you can be a dynamic believer and witness for Jesus Christ, on fire for God, a pillar in your church, and people will see Jesus in you because of your passionate service and worship. This life is found in our text. “Be filled with the Spirit.” “Be being kept continuously filled with the Spirit.”
To be filled with the Spirit is to live with every area of your life yielded to the Spirit’s control. Just as the person filled with wine is under the influence or control of the wine, so the person filled with the Spirit is under the Spirit’s control. It is living every moment as if you’re standing in the presence of Jesus Christ.
If we compare Ephesians 5:18 with Colossians 3:16, we note that letting the Word of Christ dwell in you richly is the same as the filling of the Spirit.
This filling is available to EVERY child of God! The dynamite of God is ours for the taking. Acts 1:8,
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Philippines 3:10 NLT, “ I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.”
But there must be a passion for this fullness.
•Not the passion of emotional pursuit, not just for the feeling.
•Not the passion of the moment when life is not going well.
•Not the passion that might help you get your family back.
•Not just the passion you need to build a great church.
•Not a passion to give you bragging rights about your spiritual life. But a passion that will make you brag about Jesus.
This is a passion for a work of God in our day. We constantly pray for a mighty, earth shaking unprecedented visitation of God’s Spirit in revival power. Our prayer, “Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence!” (Isaiah 64:1). But where does it begin? “Fill me, oh God!”
As I read the lives of men like Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, George Whitfield, David Brainard, Billy Sunday, Jonathon Edwards, Evan Roberts and other giants of the past. They were men willing to spend and be spent. They had an abandonment, a desperation, a burning passion for a move of God in their day. They were “filled with the Spirit!”
God has not changed! The same Spirit that was active in creation; the same Spirit that led the children of Israel by fire and smoke, and that filled the Tabernacle in the Wilderness; the same Spirit that filled the Solomon’s Temple with fire and smoke; the same Spirit that sat in cloven tongues of fire on the disciples of Pentecost; the same Spirit that filled the powerful preachers of history is the same Holy Spirit that stands ready to fill YOU and ME today!
Now I know this doctrine of the Spirit’s filling is a very misunderstood, and much of the time a neglected doctrine.
There is a fear of identification with radials, like the snake-handers and other fanatics
There is also a fear of too much emotion in the church. I visited a small church in Southern California where a friend of mine was preaching. He said something with which I agreed, so I said, “Amen!” everyone in the church turned and looked at me.
There is a dread fear of enthusiasm in the church. Let me just say, If you have no emotion about what God has done for you, I seriously doubt that God has done anything for you! I know The Bible says, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). But when we read the Psalms, they shouted, cried, lay prostrate, raised their hands, and praised God with their whole being. There are seven Hebrew words for “Praise” in the Old Testament. I mention only one, hallal, “to praise, to make a show or rave about, to glory in or boast upon, to be clamorously foolish about your adoration of God.” We get our word “hallelujah” from this word, meaning, “Praise YAH (Yahweh).” However, "hallelujah" means more than simply "praise Yah", the word hallal in Hebrew means “a joyous praise in song, to boast in God.”
Then, as the ministry becomes more educated the Holy Spirit becomes more neglected, Billy Sunday asked about a certain minister, “Has he been to seminary?” He was told, “No.” His response, “Thank God that will help some.” Now don’t get me wrong. I strongly believe in an educated clergy, but not at the expense of a spiritual ministry. Learning does not take the place of a Spirit-filled ministry. The Apostle Paul was a brilliant, educated man, but it did not hinder his witness. Acts 26:24,25, Paul before the Roman Statesman, Agrippa, “Now as he (Paul) thus made his defense, Festus (The Roman Governor of Judea) said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth…”
Jesus had the fullness of the Holy Spirit in His life! If He needed the Holy Spirit for His earthly ministry, how dare we think that we can minister, or even live a dynamic Christian life without this filling?
•Disciples on the Day of Pentecost needed this power!
•Multitudes in acts four were filled.
•The servants (deacons) in acts six were filled.
•Stephen stood for Jesus and gave his life. He was Filled with the Spirit
•Paul and Barnabus were filled with the Spirit for service (Acts 13:1-3).
If these great believer’s needed to be filled, how can we possibly think we can live a dynamic Christian life without it?
Look at them:
They had a holy boldness, no compromise. They stood for something! If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. Ephesians 4:14, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
There was a real unity of thought and purpose! Philippines 2:2-4, “Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
They were willing to give up, fame, fortune, family and friends for the privilege of serving God. Luke 9:62, “But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
What do Spirit filled believer’s look like?
•They feel a consciousness of the actual presence of the Living God.
•They constantly sense the presence of the Holy Spirit their lives.
•They are absolutely different from the world.
•They want to praise God all the time.
•They love other believers.
•They are more than willing to sacrifice anything to see God’s kingdom advanced.
•They have a clear picture of the fate of people outside of Christ.
Look at church history: The first New Testament revival was on the Day of Pentecost when God came down to empower His infant church. “On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability” (Acts 2:1-4). They spoke in eighteen different languages, so that everyone heard in their own tongue.
God came down as they were in one accord, praying. These disciples were already believers, true disciples who had followed Jesus and heard His teaching. They were forgiven, converted, they had close fellowship with Jesus. They went everywhere preaching. They had power to work miracles, but they had not yet received the Holy Spirit. The filling of the Spirit is something grander, higher, and more wonderful than anything they had experienced before.
How much do you want God’s power on your life? Are you saying, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” (2 Kings 2:14). Where are the miracles? Where is the answered prayer? Where is the power to witness without fear? “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
Picture three chairs. In one chair sits Abraham who experienced miracles in his life every day. In the second chair sits Isaac, who observed miracles in his father’s life but had very little experience of his own. In the third chair sits their children, “and there arose another generation after them who knew not the Lord nor yet the works which He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10). In which chair are you sitting? Miracles every day, )and by the way every believer experiences miracles in his life every day, he just fails to recognize then as the hand of God). Or are you an Isaac, able to see miracles in other’s lives? Or the third chair, you have never experienced God’s fullness?
The filling of the Spirit is indispensible for believers:
•A true Christian, whose faith is real will not be content to live on the mundane plains of mediocrity, they will demand to be filled with God.
•A true Christian, whose faith is real will not be content to deny the dynamic of being filled with God.
•A true Christian, whose faith is real will not be content to deny the power of the Word of God in his life.
This filling is an imperative for EVERY believer. The tense of Ephesians 5:18 is imperative, “Be, being filled with the Spirit.” It is a continuous action.
There is no such thing as a Christian without the Holy Spirit! When you accepted Christ as your Savior and Lord, the Spirit took up residence in you. Every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit! “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all” (Romans 8:9 NLT). And He is there in His totality! He is the Third Person of the Trinity. He is not an impersonal power like electricity, He is a person, and He lives in believers.
We do not get the Holy Spirit in doses, a little at a time, we receive all of Him at salvation. Every believer has the same amount of the Spirit, but the Spirit dies not have the same amount of every believer!
So what does it mean to be filled with Spirit?
•To be dominated by the things of Christ. He is my life!
•Having our live saturated with His word. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). When we fill our lives with the Word of God we grow to be more like Christ.
•It is yielding the authority of our lives to Christ. “Your sword first, sir,” is always the language of surrender. Stop fighting and yield control to Him.
•It is a recognition that the Holy Spirit lives in us every moment of every day. It is simply practicing His presence!
The indwelling of the Spirit is a constant, it cannot be changed. He moved in when I got saved! And He lives in me. “And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13 NLT). The sealing of the Spirit is the same, when He moved in He sealed my future. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). But the filling of the Spirit is a moment by moment yielding of ourselves to God the Holy Spirit. It is both a gradual and a sudden experience. God will fill what you give Him to fill, a cup, a barrel, a thimble, an empty life?
Let me conclude with some basic matters, and a simple formula for filling:
1. You must be certain to the point of conviction that God is able to fill you. If you feel it is just some super-charismatic experience meant for only a few of God’s chosen servants, search the Scriptures to see that God has this for you!
2. You must be certain that you desire to be filled. Many are not willing to pay the price.
•Are you willing to make Christ the very center of your world?
•Are you willing to have your life possessed by the Holy Spirit?
•Are you willing to give up that part of your life that prevents you from having God’s fullness? D.L. Moody tells the story about the meetings he was conducting in London. He was housed in a beautiful mansion. He was told to explore this magnificent home. So he began to explore, but on the third floor he found a locked room. Go anywhere, except for this one room. Our lives are like that, we say, “I’m yours God, my life is open to You! Everything except…This habit, this attitude, this little sin. Until we yield every part of our life to God we will never experience the filling of God’s Spirit.
•Are you willing to have a revival in your life that will change you and everyone around you?
•Are you willing to become more like Jesus and allow your world to see Jesus in you?
•Are you certain you want to be completely obedient to God’s Word?
3. You will have to deal with self sins:
•Love of self will need to be replaced with humility, and meekness Ephesians 4:1,2, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.” Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” “Happy are the nobodies!” How do you react when someone gossips about you, lies about you, offends you, or attacks you. If you are to be like Christ your must say as He did on the cross, “Father forgive them.” You will have to die to self, Paul said, “I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” (1 Corinthians 15:31).
•Self-righteousness. Trying to please God by the works of the flesh.
•Self-indulgence. Do you always insist on having your own way? Do you insist on doing your own thing? Do you insist on having your space? Do you say, It’s my life, I have a right to live my own life?” What does God say, ”Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” there must be a complete emptying before there can be a filling.
Everyone has as much of God as he desires to have! Is there anything in your life bigger than your desire to be Spirit filled Christian? You will never be a Spirit filled Christian until you deal with it! Is there anyone in your life more important than Christ? You must be willing to make every relationship in your life a second to your relationship to Christ. Luke 14:25-27 MSG, “One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.”
Here’s the formula:
Present yourself to God. God cannot fill what He does not own! Romans 12:1,2, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Have the proper motive. To glorify God and His church. If the church is to have Jesus Christ at it’s center, then we must have Him at the very center of our lives. What des the church look like when they look at you? You and I are then church.
You must desire to be filled. Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Psalm 42:2, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Psalm 107:9, “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”
You must be willing to pay the price. Following Jesus will cost you everything in this world. Being a Christian is not a part time thing. It’s not a hobby that you can pick up and put down whenever you want to, it is a full time 24/7 commitment to do the will of God. It is priority number one and nothing, nothing at all should get in the way of your walk with Christ. It may cost you, family, friends, fame, and fortune. How many young people have we known who were alienated from their families when they accepted Christ? It costs something to follow God!
Then, there must be a humble asking. Luke 11:13, “How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Our prayer, “Lord, I want to give you me, without reservation, no strings attached, fill me and use me, In Jesus name, Amen.”
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:14-21).
Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB). Contemporary English Version (CEV).
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