Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

04/08/2018 A.M.

 

“Be Filled With The Spirit”

Ephesians 5.15-20

 

Access a Worship Bulletin and let’s read our text together... Ephesians chapter five... We begin reading with the verse numbered fifteen... Are you there?... Verse fifteen... Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise...Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead...be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord... Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Let’s examine our theology... Our understanding of the Holy Spirit...

 

What we believe about the Spirit is important...

Because what we believe determines how we act...

 

Solomon said... As a man thinks in his heart so is he... What we think is how we live.

 

Jesus said... It’s out of the heart that comes both evil and good... Think good, live well... Think evil, live poorly.

 

Paul affirms… this concept… this pattern…when he said... It is with the heart man believes... It is with the mouth that confession is made.

 

We are what we think... So we need to think properly about the Holy Spirit.

 

First... We must understand that The Holy Spirit is real...

The Holy Spirit is God... The Holy Spirit is not an it... But a person... So we can have a relationship with Him.

 

Reminds me of the story about two taxidermists passing a pawn ship… They noticed an owl on a perch just inside the window. Immediately they begin to critic the bird’s appearance… Like its eyes were too glossy… Its feet had too many wrinkles to be real… Its feathers were too matted on the wings and too voluminous on his head.

 

One of the taxidermists even commented on how he wished he had been the one to mount the creature… Because he said… Such a majestic owl deserved better treatment… And then… And then the owl blinked.

 

Wow!!... Isn’t this how we treat the Holy Spirit??

 

We maintain all kinds of conceptual ideas about the Spirit… Many of which are not supported by TruthBy the real thing.

 

Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to be who He is…Not who we’ve tried to make Him. He is real... It was Job who said... The Spirit of God has made me… The breath of the Almighty Spirit gives me life.

 

The New Testament tells us that He is the spirit of life.

We are here this morning because the Holy Spirit is real.

 

The Holy Spirit is a person.

We know that by the pronouns used to speak about Him.

 

The Holy Spirit is God... You remember that in Acts chapter five... Ananias is said to have lied to God... Then when his wife Sapphira came in telling the same lie... Peter asked... Why have you conspired to lie to the Holy Spirit?  Verse nine says… The Spirit of the Lord!

 

The Holy Spirit indwells the obedient believer...

Peter told his audience in Acts two that they should repent and be baptized... And that would allow two things to happen...They would be forgiven of their sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

I think Jesus sums up this indwelling in John chapter fourteen... Verses 15-17 & 23... If you love me, you will obey what I command... I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

 

John says... We live in Him and He lives in us... Because he has given us of his Spirit.

 

Paul affirms our relationship in Romans eight... when he said... Those led by the Spirit are children of God.

 

Any examination of the Holy Spirit would be incomplete unless we talked about what He does for us... Perhaps the best way to do that is by looking at how He is described in Scripture... He is known as...

• Our counselor...

• Our comforter...

• He instructs... Is our teacher... He is the revealer... The Spirit of Truth...

• He is our guide... He leads...

• He serves as our... Advocate... Intercessor...The Paraclete... One who runs along beside us...

• He bears witness...

• He is... The deposit... The Ernest... The Seal... Guaranteeing our future salvation...

• He convicts us of sin...

• Scripture indicates that He helps us with our prayers...

• He helps draw us closer to Jesus…

• He reveals to us the mind of God…

• He encourages us...

• He is the Spirit of life... Scripture says giving life to our mortalbodies.

 

I think we would agree this morning... that it is in Him that we live and move and have our being... And that without Him we would be nothing... Amen?

 

I want us to understand that... We desperately need the Holy Spirit today... That we can’t live life pleasing to God without Him... Neither do we even want to try... He is the power behind the life God desires.

 

Years ago... I remember hearing a recording of a commencement address J. Vernon McGee gave at Dallas Theological Seminary… He was in his early 80s. He said that if he were starting his ministry over again... He would give much more attention to the Person and work of the Holy Spirit.  He would preach on the Spirit more frequently and attempt to lead people to depend on His power every day.

 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon said... More than anything else... We need to rediscover the Holy Spirit and learn anew to depend on him.

 

So... Let’s use these thoughts and challengesas a basis for our lesson this morning... Where Paul admonishes… Because the days are evil...

We should redeem the time we have left...

And to be filled with the Spirit...


Just what is Paul saying?

Come... Let’s see what we can learn about this infilling...

 

Read verse eighteen again... This time from different translations...

 

The NIV... Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

 

The New Living Translation... Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.

 

The Message reads... Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God... Huge amounts of him.

 

The Living Bible Paraphrased says Don’t drink too much wine… For many evils lie along that path… Be filled instead with the Holy Spirit… And controlled by Him.

 

Note with me some observations from the text

that will help us understand what Paul is saying...

 

First... This is a command.

In the Greek... This verb is in the imperative mode... This means the filling of the Spirit isn’t an optional part of the Christian life. Every Christian is to be filled with the Spirit.

 

Secondly... It’s in the present tense.

This insight is particularly helpful because... In the Greek... The present tense has the idea of continual action.  We could legitimately translate this verse... Be continually filled with the Spirit.

 

Wuest in his word studies renders the verse... Be constantly controlled by the Spirit.

 

John MacArthur says we could translate it literally... Be being kept filled with the Spirit.

 

The Amplified catches the present tense this way... But ever be filled and stimulated with the Holy Spirit.

 

It’s like what happens when we tell children to go mow the grass... Rake the leaves... Wash the dishes... Vacuum the floor.  They work for a while and quit... We say... Why didn’t you rake the leaves and mow the grass... wash the dishes, etc?... Well Idid... No you didn’t go finish what I asked you to do.

 

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a continual action for those who are in Christ... Who are children of God.  It is to be our normal way of life... To be filled again and again and again.

 

Thirdly... It is in the passive voice.

In Greek as in English... Commands can be either active or passive.  However... we’re much more used to hearing active commands...

• Go to the store and pick up some milk... That’s an active command.

• If the boss says... Fill that hole with dirt... Fix that equipment... That’s in the active voice.

 

But Ephesians 5.18 is in the passive voice.

He doesn’t say... Fill yourself with the Spirit... But... Be Filled… Be filled with the Spirit.

 

This is the key to everything... To be filled means that the filling of the Spirit is a GOD WORK... Not man... Not us!... We can’t fill ourselves... But we can be filled.

 

You see...

1) The Holy Spirit is ready and willing to fill us at any moment.

2) We must BE WILLING... We must make ourselves available to Him.

 

Let me give you a new word... Georgia says I’m always doing this without any authority... The word is fill-ability.

 

At the gas station... It means two things... I’m empty... I want my car filled with gas... It’s need plus desire.  

 

Here it is church...When our need to be filled with the Spirit becomes our greatest desire... We will be filled... Over and over again... Every time... God will see to it!!... Amen?

 

Number four... This is a plural command.

As if Paul were saying... Let each and every one of you be filled with the Spirit.

On one hand... That means the command is for every Christian.

God's intent... God’s desire is that all his children be filled with the Holy Spirit

 

But... I think there is a sense in which this is also a corporate command.

 

The church... As an individual body of believers... Is to be filled with the Spirit.

 

You see... Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of life...  God’s Spirit imparts life-giving power that transforms the church from a social club or a religious gathering into a dynamic living body of Christ.

 

This point is clearly made in the following verses... 19 & 21... Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.... Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

 

I think the observation is that when the Holy Spirit fills us individually... Our corporate church life will be transformed.

 

This is the difference between a church that is alive and a church that is just filled with pew setters.  Both churches have the same Bible... The same rituals... Sing the same songs... Have many of the same programs... Even the same schedule of services.

 

Outwardly they may look very much alike... But one is alive... The other is dead... The difference?.... One is filled with the Spirit and the other is not!

 

Indeed... We need the filling of the Spirit individually... So that our churches will be alive for Christ... Amen?

 

Number six... We note the contrast between wine and the Spirit...

This is the basic point of the verse... There is a direct parallel drawn between being drunk with wine and being filled with the Spirit.

 

Two things that are important here... The issue of influence and control.

 

A person under the influence of wine experiences altered behavior.  He may say or do things he would not ordinarily say and do.  If the person drinks enough... His mental processes will be affected and his decision making ability will be radically altered... Almost always with a negative result.  Being under the influence and control of wine... Changes our life.

 

Likewise... Being filled with the Holy Spirit produces a change in our behavior.

 

Here it is church... If the Spirit of God lives in us... We will be changed people.

 

In the Book of Acts... Once timid disciples... Became flaming evangelists for Jesus Christ.

 

Paul makes this statement in Romans 8.15... For we did not receive a spirit that makes us a slave to fear, but we received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

 

Then to Timothy...  God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

 

So... We gotta ask this morning... Who is in control of our life?

Drunk people and Spirit-filled people have one thing in common... They are both controlled people.  Their lives... Their thoughts... Attitude... And behavior... Have been radically altered by that which fills them... Wine or Holy Spirit...

 

• If a man is filled with anger and hate... Then anger and hate control his life.

 

• If a man is filled with money...materialism... greed... Then money... material things and greed... dominate his life.

 

• If we are filled with love... Then love influences all we do.

 

It is control by consent!!  When the Holy Spirit fills us... He will have the controlling interest in our life.

 

You see... Being filled with the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean... I have more of the Spirit... It means the Spirit has more of me.

 

And here it is church... Just one drink doesn’t make one drunk... Being filled with the Spirit doesn’t happen all at once...

• It is a lifetime process of our choosing to live under His influence...

• To cooperate with His leading...

• To walk in the Spirit...

Control by Consent!

 

You see... Some of us are so full of ourselves that we have little or no room for the Holy Spirit.

 

Some have simply closed their heart to the work of the Holy Spirit... Don’t do that!... don’t do that!!

 

F. B. Meyer explains the Spirit’s filling this way.  He said that most people think of the Spirit as a substance to fill us... Like gas filling up a tank.

 

So we run out of the Spirit and God fills us again. But that’s not the best image to use.

 

Meyer says... I want you to think about the elevated trains that you find in many large cities. Those trains run on three rails... Two for the wheels and one for the electricity. The electricity is always there... But the train doesn’t move unless there is contact with the third rail... Touch that rail and the train moves... Pull away from that rail and it stops.

 

You see... His power is always available.

The third rail is the Holy Spirit.

• His power is always available...

• There’s never a power shortage… Never a brownout.

 

But sometimes we live out of contact with his power. When that happens... Our lives simply stop working the way God intended.

 

Well... We gotta ask... How do we know when one is filled with the Holy Spirit?

 

Well… How can we tell if an individual or a church is Holy Spirit Filled?

Easy... Easy... It’s not difficult at all...

 

Two scriptures

Verses 19 & 20 of our text… People who are singing and making music in their heart to the Lord… Those giving thinks to God for everything in the name of Jesus…

 

And then in Galatians chapter fiveThe fruit of the Spirit is... Love... Joy... Peace... Patience...Kindness... Goodness... Faithfulness... Gentleness... And self-control. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit... Let us keep in step with the Spirit.

 

Well... We must stop... But... If you do not have the Spirit of God in your life... You can’t be filled with Him or His power...

 

Let Him into your life through genuine New Testament conversion… Make Him your… Guide... Counselor... Comforter... Advocate... and Encourager byFaith... Repentance... And the New Birth in Baptism.

 

As a child of God... Why not allow this lesson to be the starting point of our being willing to give God’s Spiritcontrol of our life... Becoming fully available to Him... As we stand and sing together.