Ephesians Study, Part 40: Keep Being Filled with the Holy
Last week, we studied Paul's admonition not to get drunk with wine, because that is a
waste. He had previously told us not to waste our time, that the time is short and we
need to get on with what God wants us to do in our life, and he says that to get drunk
is also a waste.
Although we spent time of the question of wine and the Bible, I concluded that wine
is not the problem, that excess is the problem, excess anything. Anything that takes
over your life and is in the way with your relationship with Jesus, is a problem
and a waste, it is dissipation as Paul put it.
I also concluded that Jesus drank wine when he was here on earth, and I find no
direction from him that to have a drink of wine is bad, unless it leads to excess
or unless it causes another to stumble. That is of course, a really big if because
it is impossible to know when our example causes someone else to use it to excess or
when our example interferes with someone else being attracted to Jesus and
ultimately come to accept him as their Savior.
Be Filled with the Spirit:
Although we took that course of discussion last week, that was not even what
Paul was telling us. He was telling us not to get drunk, which I do not think
anyone would argue is a good idea, physically or spiritually.
But let's look at what he really said, which is yet something different.
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled
with the Spirit --Ephesians 5:18
He says that we shouldn't waste our lives by being drunk with wine, but instead we
should fill our life with the Holy Spirit and accomplish what God has in mind for
us in our life. The real message is the positive admonition, to be filled with
How often we've heard this. It is interesting that to be filled with the spirit
is commanded. This is a call for obedience to do something. This be filled with
the spirit, needs a comment. The verb here has three things which we should
note. The verb is an imperative. That means that it is a command. But the other
part, which does not show up in the English, is that it is in the continuative present
tense. It really says "keep being filled". Paul says that this is an experience
we should be having every day. This is not just when we were saved. It is not
just on special occasions. He is saying keep on keeping on being
filled. Interestingly, it is also in the passive of voice which means that
we do not fill ourselves but we simply permit the Holy Spirit to fill us. The
point is, we do not use the Holy Spirit, he uses us. The word filled here
is also misunderstood. The word it really means "to be controlled by". It is
used that way also in Luke 4:28:
From here it would be easy to jump off into a study about the work of the
Holy Spirit. There are at least four or five things that the Holy Spirit
does once and for all.
- And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard
these things. --Luke 4:28 They were controlled by their anger.
- But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming.
They were controlled by their jealousy.
Perhaps the sum of all of this is to be emptied of ourselves as spelled out in
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is interpreted by
most scholars as the act that includes an individual into the body of Christ.
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether
Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one
Spirit. --1 Corinthians 12:13
- The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit is when the Holy Spirit takes up residence
in the believer and empowers the believer as John makes clear in John 14:16.
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that
He may be with you forever -- John 14:16
There is also the Anointing of the Holy Spirit, where he is the teacher of the believer.
As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in
you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing
teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it
has taught you, you abide in Him. --1 John 2:27
He is also both the Earnest and the Seal which guarantees the inheritance
of believers and guarantees the believers for the inheritance. We already
talked about that in Ephesians Chapter 1.
There is also a Ministry of the Holy Spirit which is continuous. Being filled
with the Spirit is a continuing ministry. It is through the Holy Spirit that
we confess and put away sin, First John Chapter 1 hammers away at that. It is
through the Holy Spirit that we are molded as stated in Romans 12.
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. --Romans 12:1-2
- It is through the Holy Spirit that God's word dwells richly in us.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom
teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual
songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. --Colossians 3:15
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but
Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in
the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. --Galatians 2:20
It is interesting that in Acts Chapter 2, at Pentecost, the believers were accused of being
drunk and yet, both in Galatians 5:23 which says
gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law ...
and in First Corinthians 14, it is clear that self control is a fruit of the Spirit. So
uncontrollable behavior, in many people's interpretation, is questionable.
To fill a cup with a new ingredient, it must first be emptied of what was already in the
cup. One of the things that is difficult for us to understand and to learn is
that to be filled with the Holy Spirit we first must be emptied of ourselves.
There are four evidences of being filled with the Holy Spirit which Paul gets into next.
He just said:
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled
with the Spirit... --Ephesians 5:18
--and he continues the thought--
...speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing
and making melody with your heart to the Lord. -- Ephesians 5:19
So one evidence that you are filled with the Holy Spirit, is the joy you
express. This speaks of the inward Joy of the Christian. Christian Joy is a
deep experience of both adequacy and confidence. Those are what a lot of
people think of when they think of Joy. The Christian Joy is really based on
that. In spite of the circumstances around us, a Christian should feel
adequate and confident. If you think about it, God goes to extensive lengths
to continue to ask us, do you really trust me.
And Paul continues:
...always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ to God, even the Father --Ephesians 5:20.
Another evidence is the thankfulness we express for what God provides for us,
both good and bad. Remember: "Nobody knows the trouble I've had, Glory
Hallelujah!" Thanksgiving should not be something we do occasionally, it
should be continual. And Paul says that we should always give thanks for all
things. Remember that when Paul was writing this, he was a prisoner. Here is a guy
under house arrest. He is in prison. He will be going to his death
most likely before too long. And yet he is reminding us, and he was reminding
the churches to give thanks for everything, good and bad. Here he is chained
to a Praetorian guard. But of course Paul gives us this admonition
throughout his writings. All of Paul's prison epistles are letters of
comfort to the reader.
...and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. --Ephesians 5:21
Paul tells us in both Philippians and in Romans that we are to think
more highly of others than ourselves. These are familiar thoughts
that Paul is just hammering home to us. If we ever hesitate to think
of others more important than ourselves just remember who washed the
disciples feet. How do you submit yourself to one another? One way
is to be bold in rebuking sin. You owe it to your Christian brother to
be firm on that. And you need to be willing to have a brother offer
correction to you when you need it.
In Acts 4:13 it says:
Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and
understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed,
and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. --Acts 4:13
Similarly, the new believers recognized that Peter and Paul were trained by Jesus,
and that they needed to be trained by Peter and Paul.
So Paul says that we should lead our lives in a manner worthy of being
chosen as a follower of Jesus, which includes being filled with the
Spirit that is Jesus and acting like it, which includes being joyful,
and thankful and willing to be submissive to each other as believers.
That was the easy part.
Now, we have been through the easy part. The easy part is over. Now
to the rough stuff. All of the women who know the passage we're about to
come to are already uncomfortable. This is that time that you may find
some of the women in the class going to the restroom, or in our case
missing a class session. They know that Ephesians 5:22 is next. How
many women in this room have had Ephesians 5:22 pointed out to you by a
man in your past? (That was only a rhetorical question.)
...there is no class, because of the church-wide world mission
focus. The following week (May 11), we are going to look at the question of the
relationship between a man and a wife, as God designed it.
Look at Ephesians 5:22-33 to prepare.