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Be Filled with the Spirit (Ephesians Sermon 37 of 54)

Be Filled with the Spirit (Ephesians Sermon 37 of 54)

May 01, 2016 | Andy Davis
Ephesians 5:18
Life in the Spirit, Good Works

Andy Davis preaches an expository sermon on Ephesians 5:18. The main subject of the sermon is what it means to be filled with the Spirit.



Forty days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a new era of human history began. It was on the day of Pentecost, it was in the city of Jerusalem. The era of the Spirit came, and it came pouring down from Heaven to earth, and it identified its coming first with a sound. It was a sound of a violent rushing wind, like a hurricane I imagine. Like a mighty rushing powerful wind. Now, the sound was audible to many there in the city of Jerusalem, if not everyone in the city. And it was so amazing, it was so stunning, so supernatural, that had attracted a crowd, people came to find out what this sound was, what caused it. 

Now, at that time, the church was assembled in the upper room for prayer and the Holy Spirit was poured out on them first. With this sound there came what seemed to be “tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them,” and they were all filled with the Spirit of God and they spoke the Word of God, and they themselves then poured out into the streets of Jerusalem and began to change the world by the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ, crucified and resurrected they began to change the world. And 3000 brothers and sisters in Christ were added to their number that day by simple faith in Christ, by the power of the Spirit and the church began and started to explode. The very thing that Jesus promised those 40 days before when He said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.” 

Now, this supernatural power of this invisible wind has been blowing through human history ever since, but not the destructive power of a hurricane that leaves devastation in its way, just buildings flattened. No, actually amazingly, just the opposite. As the Holy Spirit blows through human history, He leaves construction in His wake, He leaves an ever more glorious structure or building, the Church of Jesus Christ. And as I said in my prayer, it's something that we can now only begin to see by faith, eyes of faith, this ever growing city of God, this heavenly Zion, this new Jerusalem, this Bride of Christ getting more and more glorious all the time. But that is the effect of this powerful working, this wind of the Spirit blowing through human history and the Spirit is blowing now every bit as powerfully as He did that first day. All over the world, the Spirit is blowing and building the Church of Jesus Christ.  

Now, when I was a child, maybe seven, eight years old, I don't remember how old, my father took me hiking in the White Mountains, in New Hampshire, and I'll never forget that night. We were up in a fire tower, I guess the kind of tower that fire wardens or whatever, build to look out over vast expanses of forest. And it was the middle of the night, and I got up and I went out on the platform and I heard the sound of the wind blowing in a ravine nearby, and I couldn't describe it, I'd never heard it before. I don't know how to put words as certainly as a seven or eight-year-old wouldn't have been able to put it into words. But I still can hear it in my mind. I almost want to call it a three-dimensional sound. It was just deep and long and wide. And ever since then I've had a love affair with wind. I just love the sound of wind. I guess the wind of the Spirit is more, I don't know, four-dimensional or ten-dimensional or something like that, just doing supernatural things in people's lives and hearts. And I want to talk about that today in one-half of a verse.  

I. What Does it Mean to be Filled with the Spirit? 

Ephesians 5:18, "Be filled with the Spirit." So that's what we're going to talk about today, and I want to try to understand what this command means. So as we look at these words, "Be filled with the Spirit." We have to just start by asking what does that mean? What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? Well, just think in your own mind of images of filling, something filled, like a vessel overflowing with a liquid, you’re just pouring and pouring, it just gets higher and higher and then it starts to overflow. Remember when Jesus changed the water into wine, he commanded that these six stone jars be filled up to the brim. So I was talking to my kids this morning, so we're driving in, and said, "What do you picture when you think of something filled up to the brim?" So just nothing more can go in because it's maximally filled. Or you could picture a sail, like one of those old clipper ships, you picture one of those, ever seen one of those tall, ships or you've seen pictures of them. The sailing age is over in terms of commerce and all that, but you could picture these beautiful clipper ships with three mass and all of these sails, just absolutely filled with wind and the ship just ripping through the water as fast as wind could ever move it. Or maybe like a sponge, just completely saturated, nothing more could fill that sponge. That's the picture I have in my mind of being filled. But what does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?  

Well, last week we talked about the first half of the verse which says, "Do not get drunk on wine which leads to debauchery, instead, be filled with the Spirit." So I think if you put it together, then the idea of being drunk with wine as the idea is the alcohol is dominating the mind, dominating the person's brain, and so the effects of the alcohol which they have been drinking are evident. Evident in the way they speak and the way they act, etcetera. The wine is dominating their brain, it's dominating their behavior. So then, by contrast, to be filled with the Spirit means to be controlled and dominated and affected internally by something that has come to you externally, the Holy Spirit of God resulting in a pattern of behavior that we're going to talk about today. 

You can see that a person is filled with the Spirit by how they act, by what they do. Jesus said in John 3, "The wind blows wherever it wishes. You hear the sound of it, but you cannot tell where it comes from and where it's going. So it is with everyone who has been born of the Spirit.” So you can tell the wind of the Spirit has come in someone's life by how they're living. By how they talk, by how they act. So to be filled means, I think, to be controlled, to be moved, to be empowered, to be dominated, to be saturated by the third person of the Trinity, the Spirit of God. So in order to understand that, we have to go back a little bit and try to understand the Holy Spirit, the theology of the Spirit. Who is the Spirit? 

Remember what we learned a few weeks ago in Ephesians 4:30, where it said there, "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you are sealed for the day of redemption." So we learned then that the Spirit is a person with emotions, with intelligence, with a will, with a personality. He can feel things. He's not impersonal like electricity or magnetism or gravity or something like that. We must also remember that the command to be filled with the Spirit is based on a prior promise that's been made to us by Almighty God, that God has promised to give us the Holy Spirit of God, that's going to be vital to understanding this command. 

In Acts 2, on the day of Pentecost. After the Spirit was poured out and the church flowed out into the streets, the apostles began to preach the Gospel, and Peter in particular, preached very plainly the history of Jesus, who He was, what He had done, and “the people there in Jerusalem were cut to the heart, they were pierced, and they said, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’” So, the Philippian jailer later would ask, "What must I do to be saved?" That's what they were asking. Peter answered this, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, for all whom the Lord our God will call." So there's the promise of the Holy Spirit to anyone and everyone that hears the Gospel, and believes, and repents, and is baptized. That's the promise. 

Now that promise was actually given centuries before that in the Old Testament by the prophet Joel, which Peter quoted that day in Acts 2. In the last days, God says, "I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I'll pour out my Spirit in those days and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below. Blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Well, that's the promise in the book of Joel centuries before Jesus was even born of the coming outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God by calling on the name of the Lord, who we now know is clearly the Lord Jesus Christ.  

The same was seen in Ezekiel 36, as we seen many times before in verse 27, "I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” So those three people that were just baptized. The fifth question that Chase asks is, "Do you promise to live a life of obedience to the commands of God," the last part is so vital, "by the power of the Holy Spirit?" And they said, "I do." They're just speaking out that Ezekiel 36, promise. “I have a new nature now. I want to obey God's commands and so by the Spirit, I'm going to obey Him.” 

Now, the power of the Spirit of God is limitless, it's equal to that of God Almighty because the Holy Spirit is God Almighty. There are over 20 verses in the Bible linking the Spirit to power. And so, we've got a sense of the power of the Spirit of God here. Now, what I'm going to say, this is straightforward assertion, the Spirit-filled life is the true, the genuine Christian life. Every true Christian has the indwelling Spirit, every true Christian is already sealed with the Spirit. You don't need another sealing, it's already happened, it's once and for all. But it's not true that at every moment, every Christian is filled with the Spirit. There is a distinction between the sealing of the Spirit, what I also think is the baptism of the Spirit, once and for all, and then there is the filling of the Spirit, which must happen again and again, and that's what we're talking about today, the filling of the Spirit. 

II. What Are the Effects of Being Filled with the Spirit? 

So let's talk now about what are the effects of being filled with the Spirit. Now, there are a lot of things I could talk about here, but I want to zero in on three, and if you're taking notes, I think it might be helpful to just know with these three are. Number one: Three key effects of being filled with the Spirit, number one, overflowing joy in Christ. Overflowing joy in Christ. Number two: Victory over besetting sins. And number three: Power in witnessing or in evangelism. Those are the three things I'm going to talk about. When an individual is filled with the Spirit, those three things you will see in their life, overflowing joy in Christ, power over besetting sins, and then power to be witnesses or to do evangelism.Let's talk about them one at a time.  

First, overflowing joy in Christ. To be filled with the Spirit means to overflow with joy in Christ. John Piper put it this way. Basically, it means radiant joy because the Spirit who fills us, is the Spirit of joy that flows between God the Father and God the Son, because of the delight they have in each other, therefore to be filled with the Spirit means to be caught up into the joy that already flows among the Holy Trinity and to love God the Father and God the Son with the very love with which they love each other. 

So we have been somewhat caught up into Heaven by the Spirit, and we are receiving a flowing and re-flowing of the love that the Father, Son and Spirit already have with one another. That's what it means to be filled the Spirit, overflowing with that kind of joy. Acts 13:52, I love this. “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” That says it all, doesn't it? “Filled with joy and filled with the Holy Spirit” or, again, even in the book we're studying here, if you look back at Ephesians 3:16-19, Paul says this, "I pray that out of His glorious riches, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." So there's the Spirit, the work of the Spirit. "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,” again by the Spirit, “may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide, and long, and high, and deep is the love of Christ and that you would know that love that surpasses knowledge, that you would be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” That's what I think of when I think of being filled with the Spirit. Feel to the measure of all the fullness of God because Jesus loves you.  

You have a sense of the infinite dimensions of God's love for you in Christ and it moves you, it brings you genuine joy overflowing with joy. Now, I'm not going to be among those pastors that make any kind of distinction, whatsoever, between joy and happiness. I actually get frustrated by people who do that. Many of my brother pastors do that. What do they tell you? They say, “Happiness is earthly. It's tied to earthly things, but joy is a heavenly thing.” I'm like, look, I don't know how you define joy without at some point, using the word happy or happiness. Go ahead and try to do it. Talk about joy for five minutes without using anything to do with happy or happiness. In the end, they're the same thing, and you can have a joy in your team winning the Super Bowl or you can have happiness in Christ being resurrected. 

I think it's just happiness. It's just joy. It's something that comes on you where you just know that God loves you and you're going to Heaven when you die, and it just simply makes you happy. Now, I'm not denying that we go through great sufferings and we go through great grief, sorrowful, yes, but always rejoicing. I understand that there can be a great mingling, I understand all that. But it's just a joy. It's a joy focused on Christ, it's a joy that's focused on the resurrection, like the women. Remember how they went to finish the burial of Jesus, and there was no need. There was no need to finish the burial because Christ had risen from the dead, and in Matthew 28, this angel greets them. It's one of my favorite angels of all time. Do you have favorite angels? I don't know, I'm not getting weird, I'm not naming them with different weird names that aren't in the Bible like some people do. But that angel went down and rolled back the stone. Talk about, any of you strong guys, you've never done anything like that. The angel moved that stone and sat, and I picture angel legs dangling. I mean, do angel legs dangle?  

But I just picture that, I just have that picture of the angel sitting on the stone and announcing to the women, "He is not here. He is risen, just as He said.” And what does it say? In Matthew 28:5, so the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid, yet, filled with joy. That's what the Holy Spirit does. And why? Because Christ is every bit as much risen today as He was yesterday or as He was 2000 years ago. And the joy we should have in that should be the same from age to age, even from hour to hour. 

So it's just a joy that comes in Christ crucified and resurrected. Just know your sins are forgiven, His blood is sufficient for you, and you're just overflowing or I think, again, that same morning, when Jesus was with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. You remember, these are two of my favorites as well, and they're walking along with this stranger who seemed to have no idea what was going on. And it's so amazing how Jesus supernaturally hid Himself from them, they couldn't recognize Him. He was blocking something in their minds. They were kept from recognizing Him. But He began to unfold the scriptures, the prophecies about Christ, death and resurrection. Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter into his glory? 

And so, He ends up having that meal with them, and He breaks the bread and their eyes are open at last and they realize it's Jesus, and He disappears, He's gone! And then they say, "Were not our hearts burning within us. When He opened the Scriptures to us?” So that's what the Holy Spirit does. The Holy Spirit makes your heart burn inside you by revealing Christ to you from the Scriptures. That's what happens. And then, the filling of the Spirit, this joy just starts to be evident to everyone around you, because it flows out. 

Look at the text that Herbert read. Verse 19 through 21, "Addressing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing, making melody to the Lord with your hearts." Verse 20, "Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." These are activities, these are actions that come out, they're acts of a person filled with the Spirit. It has to do with something internal. You're singing and making music in your heart, you're giving thanks to God for everything that's happening in your life by faith, even if some of it's very difficult and then, you're joining with other brothers and sisters in Christ corporately because you're speaking to one another with “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” So, there's that corporate worship aspect of being filled with the Spirit. 

We're happy in Jesus. Or, if you prefer, joyful in Jesus. And we're just singing and praising, and enjoying being together. And it's so powerful that really is, I think, the Philippians 4 secret of being content in any and every situation, it is by the power of the Spirit of God that you're able, look at verse 20, to give thanks always and for everything to God the Father. Always and for everything. Like Paul said in Philippians 4, “I've learned the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well-fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” So the strength for abiding joy that is not tied to circumstances comes from the Holy Spirit of God, He gives you strength to rejoice. 

Now, you may be going through amazing affliction. And I have had opportunities even the last number of weeks to talk to people whose hearts are breaking with earthly circumstances. I know some of the things you're going through, but I know I don't know all of them. But I believe that we can have through the Holy Spirit of God an abiding joy, a contentment in Christ, and that's what it means to be filled with the Spirit for me. 

So let me just ask, does this characterize you? Would you say this transcendent consistent joy in Jesus characterizes your life? Do you consistently experience this joy, the joy of your salvation in Christ? Does your heart overflow with the sense of the infinite dimensions of how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ? Do you have a sense of that? And you just are characterized by joy with the people around you say, "Now, there's a brother, there's a sister, they're just characterized by joy in Jesus." Would you say this characterizes you? Remember I've said before that every Christian is sealed with the Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit, but not constantly filled with the Spirit. So do you have a sense of that? Do you have a sense of Christ dwelling in your heart, by the Spirit? And though you may be disturbed by circumstances from time to time, like a needle in a compass returning back to true north, do you return quickly to joy in Jesus? Is that you're settled abiding state? 

Okay, secondly, the second effect of the filling of the Spirit is victory over besetting sins. To be filled with the Spirit means to see consistent victory over besetting sins. Now, we believe that we Christians are indwelt not only with the Holy Spirit of God, but we are indwelt with sin, still. We have indwelling sin. Romans 7 makes it very, very plain. “I do not understand what I do, for what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” And he says, "For what I do is not the good I want to do. No, the evil I hate, I do not want to do, this I keep on doing. Now, if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it's sin living in me that does it.” 

Now, so we all, all Christians, have this powerful, indwelling sin nature. Now, we Christians, we do not all sin in the same ways, but we all sin daily, and we struggle with what's known as besetting sins. So these are habitual sins. Christians have different habits of sin, but we all have these besetting sins. These are avenues of access that the enemy has to our souls because they work, it's where our walls are broken down and he, the enemy, just knows the weak spots and just keeps on coming right there. Those are those besetting sins. Perhaps, it's a recurring lust issue. Perhaps you're struggling with internet pornography or something like that, or maybe you have an ongoing battle with sinful anger, you're just characterized by angry outbursts or even low-level irritation with loved ones. Maybe it's a battle of food, you just can't seem to get enough, and you're trying to find happiness and joy in eating. Or maybe it's a struggle with materialism, you just can't own enough, you just have to keep buying things so you go online and buy something else. You don't even know why you bought it, it just made you feel better. Or maybe it's a battle of depression, just a dark, inky blackness that comes over you or maybe it's laziness. Procrastination, you're putting off things you know you need to do, but it's just a recurring habit in your life and there it is. 

So, to be filled with the Spirit then, means to gain victory over those patterns of sin, to see actual temptations dead at your feet by the Spirit. A Spirit-filled person puts sin to death. It says in Romans 8:13-14, "For if you live according to the flesh, you will die. But if, by the Spirit, you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live because those who are led by the Spirit of God, these are the children of God." 

So, this is the issue of mortification of sin, you're putting sin to death, you're mortifying the sin nature. John Owen, the Puritan who wrote best, I think, on this of any writer in history said, "You must mortify, you must make it your daily work, you must be constantly at it while you live. Cease not a day from this work. Be killing sin or sin will be killing you." Owen said this, "The choicest believers who are assuredly free from the condemning power of sin ought to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin." So you've been delivered from the condemning power of sin, you're not going to go to hell, but now it's your business to fight sin everyday. And Owen also said this, “The vigor and power and comfort,” I would add the word ‘fruitfulness,’ “of our spiritual life depends on the mortification of the deeds of the flesh.” You want to be spiritually healthy? Put sin to death. You want to be spiritually fruitful? Put sin to death. If you wonder why you're not feeling strong spiritually, look to this place. If you wonder why you're not leading people to Christ, or there's not fruit in your life, look to this. 

Now, what Owen said is that only by the power of the Spirit can this mortification really take place. Owen said this, “All other ways of mortification are vain. All helps leave us helpless. It must be done by the Spirit. This is the work of the Spirit, by Him alone is it to be wrought and by no other power can it be brought about.” Now listen to this, “Mortification from a self-strength carried on by ways of self-invention unto the end of self-righteousness is the soul and substance of every false religion in the world.” Every religion is trying to put to death a lot of these same sins, but they do it in their own invented ways, by their own strength, and for their own glory.: No, no, Christians do it by the Spirit. By the Spirit.” 

So, to be filled with the Spirit is to know the power of the Spirit of God coming on you in the day of battle. When you see those same old lusts, those same old temptations coming at you along the same quarter, here they come, the battle is on by the Spirit you can kill all of them, all of the temptations. So picture, I read this morning the story of Samson with the jawbone of a donkey. If you're going through the ESV everyday in the Word, that was today, this morning. So, there is Samson with the bloody jaw bone of a donkey, killed what? A thousand Philistines? How did he do it? Did you ever wonder about that? They're coming at him with sword and shield and spear, he's got this little jawbone of a donkey. He must have been real quick that day, ducking under the spear, spinning around as someone slashed at him with a sword. One hit though from Samson and the jawbone, you're finished. At the end of the day, he was standing. Pile of dead people at his feet. 

Now, that's a picture of the Spirit of God coming on someone in power, only let's translate it now into the spiritual realm. Your sins are going to come hard after you, and by the power of the Spirit, you can kill every temptation, they can be dead at your feet, all of them. Now, no warrior has ever been mightier in this than Jesus. How many of his temptations did he kill? Answer: All of them. 100%. 

In the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of holiness, we can kill our besetting sins. How does He do it? Well, the Spirit fills you with such a joy and such a satisfaction in Christ, the fruit of the Spirit: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control,” just filled and then when the harlot Babylon comes, Revelation 17, she's pictured there riding, dressed in purple and scarlet, and she's holding this glittering gold, precious stone pearl cup filled with abominable things and all of her adulteries, and she hands you this cup and says, "Here drink, you'll enjoy," you can see her for what she really is. You'll see her the way you'll see her on judgment day because the Spirit has filled you with satisfaction in Christ, you don't need those things. And it drives out the world with all of its alluring temptations and lust. That's how he does it. And as a result then, as David said in Psalm 101, "I will be careful to lead a blameless life. When will you come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate, they will not cling to me." So the filling of the Spirit brings the cross of Christ to your mind. You see that he suffered and died for just such sins as that, and then it brings the glory of the resurrected life to your mind and then the glory of the heavenly life to your mind, and that's what the Spirit does, He fills you, fills you, fills you with these things and then you fight, and you're able to kill sin. 

Thirdly, to be filled with the Spirit is to have power for witnessing. This is well known from Acts 1:8, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth." So, the Spirit, a Spirit-filled person has a boldness for witnessing. Take the case of Peter. Peter, the night Jesus was arrested, as you remember, followed Jesus at a distance, got himself into nothing but trouble. Remember that? A slave girl speaks to him at the door, says, "You're not one of his disciples, are you?" "No, no, I'm not." A little slave girl. Remember, Peter is ready to die for Jesus that night. Apparently not. But that same Peter, a month and a half later, is in downtown Jerusalem preaching boldly the Gospel, and some time after that, he and John were arrested for healing a lame beggar. Remember that? They're hauled before the exact same Jewish authorities that had condemned and killed Jesus, and this same Peter filled with the Holy Spirit, when called to account for what had happened to that lame man said, "We're being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed? Then know this, you and all the people of Israel, it is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is the stone you builders rejected, which has become a capstone. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men, by which we must be saved." Wow! A month and a half later, that's what Peter is like. Where's his fear of death now? Gone because by the power of the Spirit, he was able to preach and speak boldly. 

Now, there's lots of examples of this, Acts 4:31, end of that chapter. The whole church prayed, the whole church was shaken, the whole church was filled with the Spirit, the whole church went out and spoke the word of God boldly, Acts 4:31. Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, told the truth to his Jewish countrymen, "You stiff neck people with uncircumcised hearts and ears, you're just like your fathers, you always resist the Holy Spirit. Was there ever a prophet your fathers didn't persecute and kill? And now you've betrayed and killed the righteous one. You who received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it." That's Stephen filled with the Holy Spirit of God. 

So yeah, the Holy Spirit comes on us and gives us a power and a boldness, and dear brothers and sisters, do you not notice? Can you not see the signs of the times? We're going to need it. We're going to need power and boldness to tell the truth to our co-workers and our neighbors, and it's accelerating, it's getting faster and faster. You know exactly what I'm talking about. It's going to take courage. Now listen, that doesn't mean you're not going to be afraid. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2, "I was with you in weakness and fear and much trembling so that my speaking might be a display of the Spirit's power." So there's going to be weakness, there's going to be fear, there's going to be trembling, but there's going to be witnessing. You overcome all those things and you do the right thing, and say the words that need to be said, weak as you are, and to God be the glory. 

III. How Can I Be Filled with the Spirit? 

So those are the three effects: Overflowing joy in Christ, victory over besetting sins, and power in witnessing. Now, let me ask you, and you're asking this question, "How can I be filled with the Spirit?” Well, grammatically, Ephesians 5:18 is really pretty weird. It is something called a passive imperative. "Alright, Pastor, do you not know what time it is? It's like 10 still, I thought we were like in the landing mode now." We're doing quick applications then we're done. Well, we'll be done soon. But bear with me. Grammatically, this is something known as a passive imperative. Let's take the second word, imperative. This is a command. You Christian, are being commanded here, there's something you need to obey, okay? Something you need to obey but it's a passive imperative. What is passive? We know active and passive, it's like do you do the action or do you receive the action. Like a soldier might say, it was, "Kill or be killed." 

Is there any difference to the soldier between those two? Kill or be killed? Yeah, life or death. That's the biggest difference between active and passive. So, this is not a mild grammatical excursion here. So, what we actually have here is a command to have something done to us. You are commanded to have something done to you. So that brings us right to the mystery, the infinite mystery of divine sovereignty and human responsibility, or some call it free will, or whatever. We are commanded to receive the influences of the Holy Spirit of God. So, there's a cooperation here. It's very similar to what Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:7, "You must be born again." It's the exact same thing. "Something has to happen to you, Nicodemus, or you're not going to Heaven. If you're not transformed by the Spirit, and if you don't believe in Jesus, you're going to be excluded, you're going to die and go to Hell. You must be born again.”  

I say that to all of you that are here that are in an unconverted state. Maybe you're here as a friend, or you just walked in off the street, or someone invited you, you came to watch the baptism. If you know you're unconverted, I'm just saying to you what Jesus said to Nicodemus, "You must be born again and if you're not born again, you'll be condemned." But it's the exact same idea. You must have something happen to you. And so, this thing has to happen and herein lies the rub of the Christian's individual life, Christian's marriage, Christian's parenting, church life. The Holy Spirit, the coming of the Holy Spirit guarantees that everything that must happen to get the elect finally saved and into Heaven will most certainly happen. But it is not true that everything that could happen or even should happen will happen. And you know what I'm talking about. Marriage could be so much better if we would just be being filled with the Spirit, and that's the translation, be being filled with the Spirit. A continual thing. We could have such a richer, fuller church life if we were more continually filled with the Holy Spirit of God. It's because we disobey, it's because we sin that we don't see that. It's because we're so weak in our sin. 

Right before preaching his last sermon, George Whitefield, one of the most powerful evangelists that ever lived is overwhelmed with weariness, and with asthma, the breathing problems that would take his life that very night, his last day on earth. He didn't know it, but he probably suspected it. And a huge crowd of 6000 people gathered to hear him in Newburyport, Massachusetts; 6000 people, without one of these things. And so, he had to from his diaphragm, from his lungs, find a way to speak to 6000 people one more time, and he just stood there. They set up two barrels and put a plank of wood across them and they helped him up, this dying man. And a friend who knew him well said, "You're more fit for bed than for preaching." He looked at him and said, "True sir." And then he stood there unsteadily, weary and then he cried out these words, he said, "Lord, I am not weary of your work, but I am weary in your work. If I have not finished my course, let me go and speak for you once more in the fields, seal your truth and come home and die." And he waited for another period of time, maybe as much as five minute just standing there and then, empowered by the Spirit, he preached for two hours. Someone who had heard him many times said it was the most powerful sermon they ever heard him preach. So that's a picture of God's strength and his power made perfect in weakness.  

That's why we need to be being filled with the Spirit because we are weak and not just physically weak, but we're morally weak and we yield to temptations, and so we lose the filling of the Spirit, so we need to be filled again and again and again. How? Well, I'm going to go back to the beginning of the verse. "Be not drunk with wine." I said last week, it was quite possible that the wine that was drunk back then had a much lower alcohol content than that which we have today. So what it meant is that someone who wanted to be drunk had to go after it, and go after it hard, they had to drink and drink and drink and drink and drink and drink and then in there somewhere, they would get drunk. That's why Peter said, "You know, it's really impossible for us to be drunk, it's only 9 in the morning. There hasn't been enough time." So in a similar manner, you have to go after this life being filled with the Spirit. You have to say, "I want this, I want to be filled with the Spirit."  

So what do you do? Well, by faith. You do it by faith. Go to the promise. In Acts 2, the promises for you and for all your children, for all of us, you have promised me the Spirit. Also, every command is also a promise. The more you think about it, you'll know it's true. If God has commanded you be perfect then say give that command, make me perfect. So what you do is you take this command and bring it back to God in your weakness, in your frailty, and you say, “I need you to fill me, I am weak, help me.” And so by faith, you are filled with the Spirit, by faith in the promise of God, Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope." 

So it's in faith, that's how you do it. By seeking, by going after the things of God, saying, "I want the Spirit-filled life, that's what I want." And I don't mean just occasionally, I mean continually “setting your heart on things above, setting your mind on things above, seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness.” And by Scripture, just take the Bible and say, "God, speak to me by this word. Speak to me by the word of God, I want this." By prayer and by Christ, he will do it. One last thing is confessing any sin. He may show you a block in the pipeline and say, "I cannot fill you while this sin is not dealt with.” Confess your sin to Him. Say, 'Search me, O God and know me and show me, show me my sin, show me what I didn't know I was doing wrong, and those things that I did, I was violating willfully, violating your commands. Forgive me and fill me.'" 

So, are you a Christian? Start there. You can't be filled with the Spirit if you're not a Christian. So just start with that. Be born again. Trust in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. We'd love to hear one of you say, "Six months from now, three months from now, I was at that sermon on Ephesians 5:18, I came as an unbeliever. I heard three baptisms. I heard the Gospel multiple times, I trusted in Jesus that day." Secondly, if you are a Christian, just let me ask, are you consistently filled with the Spirit? Is your life characterized by a consistent joy in Jesus? Thirdly, do you see at your feet metaphorically at your feet everyday, temptations killed by the power of the Spirit? Are you seeing that? And fourthly, do you see a power for witnessing that doesn't make you no longer afraid to witness whatever but enables you to get over that and speak to people? Do you see power for witnessing in your life? That's what it means to be filled with the Spirit. If not, seek the filling of the Spirit. 

Close with me in prayer. Father, we thank you for the time we've had to study your word today, thank you for Ephesians 5:18. Help us, O Lord, help us to be being filled with the Spirit, to know the Spirit-filled life, and the fruit and the joy that comes from that. O God help us, help us to be overflowing with joy in Christ. Help us to be holy by the power of the Spirit, putting sin to death. Help us, O Lord, to be witnesses for you here in Durham and even to the ends of the earth. We pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen. 

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