Saturday, April 30, 2011
Ephesians 5:18 How to Have a Spirit-Filled Life
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Eph 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
My wife and I periodically take a personality inventory in which one can score either as a thinker or as a feeler. It shows whether you make decisions with your head or your heart. Thinkers and feelers gravitate to different kinds of occupations. A pastor, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer asked, “What’s with these guys? We’ve been waiting for fifteen minutes.” The doctor agreed, “I don’t know, but this is ridiculous.” The pastor noted, “Hey, here comes the groundskeeper. Let’s have a word with him.” The pastor called out to the groundskeeper, “Say, George, what’s with the group ahead of us?” George said, “They are rather slow, aren’t they? That’s a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime.” The group was silent for a moment. The pastor sympathized, “That’s so sad. I think I’ll say a special prayer for them tonight.” The doctor added, “That’s a good idea. In fact, I’m going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there is anything we can do for these guys.” The engineer suggested, “Well, in the meantime, why can’t these guys play at night?” I think you know what category the engineer fell into.
Thinkers are like that. They don’t gift-wrap things. One fellow that had one too many was stumbling home through a cemetery late one frosty night. He fell into an open grave. Pretty soon another inebriated type came along and heard the first fellow yelling from the hole in the ground, “Help. I’m cold. I’m cold.” The second fellow peered into the open grave and said, “Well, no wonder. You kicked all your dirt off.”
Am I responding to His Lordship or acting out of guilt?
Am I letting the Holy Spirit work in and through me or am I in a spiritual rut?
Oh, foolish Galatians! What magician has cast an evil spell on you? For you used to see the meaning of Jesus Christ's death as clearly as though I had shown you a signboard with a picture of Christ dying on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by keeping the law? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit came upon you only after you believed the message you heard about Christ. Have you lost your senses? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? You have suffered so much for the Good News. Surely it was not in vain, was it? Are you now going to just throw it all away? I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law of Moses? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. Galatians 3:1-5
Am I letting the Holy Spirit work in and through me or am I in a spiritual rut?
2. In the Church
3. In the World
Signs we are in danger or are already in a spiritual rut:
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.Reading the Bible is dry/boring. You look at it more like a rule book or an encyclopedia …it’s informational.
.You might pray, but it is often with little or no expectation of a response.
.Sinful behavior is justified or ignored.
.You worry, even fear, that God may complicate your life with some trial.
.It’s all about following the rules. You want to know if it’s right or wrong, and you’re very concerned about others doing the same.
.You are a controlling person unwilling to trust God for your future or others.
.You see a list like “Love, joy, peace…” and you try your best to be those things.
.You’re doing what you have to spiritually to get by.
In the Church:
.You repeat without feeling or meaning
.You sing without wonder or joy
.You don’t see evidence of God working in other peoples’ lives, you are self-righteous, and want your own way always.
.You listen without expectation or surprise
In the World:
.You don’t want to stand out or make waves
.You don’t want others to think you’re different
.You look more like those of the world than Christ
.You don’t panic at the thought that the person next to you may spend eternity in Hell
.You are more concerned and bothered by the sins of others in the world (homosexuality, abortion, premarital sex) than you are about expressing practical love to them
.You seek money for your life comfort rather than the cause of Christ
The background is Insecurity, the cause is
The solution is the gospel of Christ.
Are you Playing The Shame Game?
So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. Galatians 5:16-17
Characteristics of His Holy Spirit who is with us and in us:
But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. Galatians 5:22-23
From a rut to a new life:
.Confession & Repentance
.Less of me, more of God
Results: Fruit of the Spirit Love Joy Peace Patience Kindness Goodness Faithfulness Gentleness Self-control
Only through the grace of God in Jesus Christ is a person enabled to escape the curse of his/her sin (and of the rut) and to live a new life.
The Spirit Filled Life
A profound truth -The fruit of the Spirit is the evidence of the filling of the Spirit.
What is the filling of the Spirit?
What does the Bible say about the filling of the Spirit?
Fact Number One: Every believer has received the gift of the Spirit.
Acts 2:38, Ephesians 3:17-19
Fact Number Two: Every believer has been baptized into the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:13
What does it mean to live a Spirit- filled life?
Fact Number Three: Every believer has been sealed by the Spirit. Ephesians 1:13
Fact Number Four: Every believer is commanded to be filled with the Spirit.
Every Christian needs to learn how to be Spirit-filled, so that they can experience the full measure of the Christian life.
Imagine a man saved his money for years to buy a brand new car. He parks it in his driveway, shows it to his friends, and sits in it all afternoon so people will notice his new car. But he doesn't know how to start it, so everywhere the car goes he has to push it. That may seem silly to you, but that's the way many Christians are with their spiritual lives. They know the Holy Spirit dwells in them, but they never have quite figured out how to be filled with the Spirit. They've got faith, but they end up pushing their faith around rather than allowing their faith to carry them. Paul tells the Ephesians, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). I believe many Christians have not understood that verse. They realize it warns us not to get drunk, but they don't recognize that it also encourages us to be filled. The Christian life is not just a matter of "don'ts", it is also a matter of "do's." Don't be under the influence of alcoholic spirits; do be under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
1. The Reasons for Being Filled with the Spirit
We are called to be filled with the Spirit, as Stephen Olford has said, continuously, consciously, and conspicuously. Being saved is not a matter of what you do for God, but what God does through you by His Holy Spirit. If you do not know how to be filled with the Spirit, you will never fully enjoy what God has planned for the Christian life. There are several reasons why we are to be filled with the Spirit.
Obedience to God
God has commanded you to be filled. To not do so would be disobedient. Ephesians 5:18 is not just a good suggestion, it's a command! It is written in the imperative, which means it is necessary for you to do this. The Christian who is not Spirit-filled is living in rebellion against God. It is also written in the present tense, so it commands you, right at this moment, to be filled with the Holy Spirit. And the command is written in the plural, so it is not just for pastors and missionaries but for all Christians everywhere. Every Christian should be filled, right now, with the Holy Spirit.
We Baptists have a tendency to carefully study the first part of the verse, about not being drunk with wine, and forget about the last part that calls us to be filled with the Spirit. Many people seem to think that getting drunk is the worst thing someone can do. But the way that I read the verse, it is a greater sin not to be filled with the Spirit than it is to be filled with wine. I've had far more problems from people in churches who were not filled with the Holy Spirit than with people who were drunk with wine! We would all be shocked if someone came up to the platform of a church drunk, but we should be more startled if a person came up to lead a church service without being filled with the Spirit. God has commanded us to be filled, and we ought to obey.
Obligation to God
Being filled is not only our obedient response to God, it is our obligation. You have obligations as a Christian. In Ephesians 5:19-20 Paul continues, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." In our worship life, we need to be filled with the Spirit because that's the only way to truly worship God. I have been in worship services where it came across as a tired and empty exercise. But a Spirit-filled worship time is life-changing and world-shaking. You have an obligation to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth.
You also have an obligation to be Spirit-filled in your wedded life. Verse 22 reads, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." The wife is to respect and love and submit to her husband as though he were Jesus Christ. That won't be done through human nature; our culture is filled with the selfishness and independence of feminism. Women are called to stand up for themselves and throw off the shackles of patriarchy. However, God has called women to submit to their husbands, so feminism is dead wrong. To truly submit, she will have to be Spirit-filled. It's her obligation. The Bible doesn't stop with women, however. Verse 25 says, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." The wife is to submit to her husband as though he is Jesus Christ, but the husband is to love his wife as though he were Jesus Christ loving the church. Jesus loved sacrificially, giving His own life for the church. A husband ought to love his wife so much that he is willing to die for her, and he ought to show it by the way he lives for her. Most women wouldn't have any difficulty submitting to a husband whom she could see loving her that much. The problem I have is that I can't love as well as Jesus Christ loves. So I have to let the Spirit work His love through me. My wife is loved by God through me. She doesn't mind being my second love, because she knows that when I am Spirit-filled she receives the love of God through me.
Not only in your worship life and your wedded life are you to be Spirit-filled, but in your work life you are to be filled with the Spirit. In Ephesians 6:5 Paul writes, "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ." You serve your boss as though he were Jesus Christ. Even if he isn't a Christian, you serve him as though he were the Lord Himself. "Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men" (vv. 6-7). You ought to go to work with the same enthusiasm that you have for church. Your job is your temple of devotion. It is your lamp stand for witness. What better place to let your light shine? Imagine the impact we would have if all Christians on the job were known for being honest, careful, punctual, trustworthy, and hard working. Of course, that's not human nature. We are naturally slow, lazy, and critical. But you could make a difference in your office if you decided to serve others like Jesus Christ. You won't be able to do it under your own power, however. You'll need to be Spirit-filled.
You also have an obligation to be Spirit-filled in your war life. In Ephesians 6:10 we read, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God." We are in a spiritual battle, and the only way to win is to be filled with the Spirit. Our enemy is real and is active. He has marshalled the forces of hell against us, and will attempt to sabotage your life and your family. He wants to bring devastation to your home, your health, your happiness, and your trust in God. He is strong and powerful, and the only way you are going to win the war is to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
You must be filled with the Spirit if you are going to fulfill your obligations in your worship life, your wedded life, your work life, and your war life. But you must also be filled with the Spirit if you are going to be effective in your witness life. Notice Ephesians 6:18&19: "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel." If you are going to talk with anyone about your faith in Christ, you must first be filled with the Spirit. Before I step into a pulpit to preach, I want the Spirit of God filling me. Without that filling, my words have no power to touch men's hearts.
2. The Requirements for Being Filled with the Spirit
Don't think of the Holy Spirit as a substance, but as a Person. Don't refer to the Spirit as "it," but as "Him." Jesus said, "When He is come He will teach you all things." The Spirit is a person, and you are His temple. 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us, "What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?" He will fill you with His presence.
The first thing you must do is to make a complete commitment to Him. You open up the door of your heart, welcome Him in, and give Him complete control of your life.
The filling with the Spirit may be pictured to the filling of a glove with a hand. Without the hand in the glove, the glove just flops about uselessly. If you have no yet become a Christian, the Holy Spirit is not living His life out through yours because He is not yet within you. As soon as you become a Christian the Holy Spirit indwells you.
Eph 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
If you are a Christian, just like the hand entering a glove, the Holy Spirit of God has entered your life. How many of you here have the same problems I do in putting on gloves. I could never live in a cold climate. I get frustrated with gloves. I get two or three fingers stuck in the same hole. If there is a little hole in the glove, my fingers will stick out through it!. I am hopeless with gloves. The Holy Spirit, just like your hand as it fills out each of the fingers of the glove, wants to fill out each area of your life and make it godly. You allow Him to come into every area of your life: your marriage, your job, your friendships, your finances. You open it all up to Him. Your complete commitment to Him is necessary before He can fill your life. He must be allowed to enter and control each area of your life. Have you let Him do that in your life? In your worship life? In your wedded life? In your work life? In your warfare life? In your witnessing life?
There must also be a continual control. The Holy Spirit wants to be continually filling your life and controlling your mind. The reason Paul used the contrast of being filled with the Spirit to being drunk with wine is because they have a similar effect on people. At the day of Pentecost, the apostles were accused of being drunk with wine. Peter had to explain they weren't drunk with wine, but drunk with the Holy Spirit. When you are drunk, the alcohol takes over and controls you. You don't act the same because the alcohol has changed your behaviour. The way you walk and talk and think are all altered. You may become generous, or violent, or talkative. You are dominated by the influence of the drink. So it is with the Holy Spirit. He controls you, and you aren't the same anymore. Your walk, your talk, your generosity, and your courage are all changed by the Spirit of God. A person gets drunk by drinking and stays drunk by drinking more. Likewise a person commits themself to the Holy Spirit, then needs to continually be dependent upon the Spirit.
There must be a claiming of this filling of the Holy Spirit. There needs to be a conscious claiming of it. "Just as you received the Lord Jesus, so walk ye in Him," the Bible says. You received Jesus by faith, so you must continually walk in faith. Just say, "Lord, I open myself up to You. Thank You for filling me with Your Spirit. I'm not looking for a feeling, I'm just claiming by faith the fact that I am filled."
3. The Results of Being Filled with the Spirit
As you are filled with the Spirit, you will see it in your relationship to God, your relationship to your circumstances, and your relationships with other people.
Your relationship to God will be energized by a spirit of adoration. You'll want to praise God and sing to Him. You'll find yourself constantly singing and praising the Lord. You can't help but praise God when you are filled with the Spirit. Your relationship with God will be strengthened as you adore Him.
You'll also find you have a spirit of appreciation, giving thanks to God for all the wonderful things He has done in your life. Your outlook on your circumstances will change, because you will begin to see your life through the eyes of God. You will no longer be under your circumstances, but will praise God that each circumstance is a divine appointment to move you toward Christlikeness.
Finally, you will develop a spirit of accommodation, which will change your relationship to other people. You'll find the Spirit helping you to submit joyfully to others, as unto the Lord. You'll find yourself looking for ways to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ. That's because the Spirit of God has changed your heart. Is the Holy Spirit filling you right now?