Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.
We come this morning to an important portion of scripture. It is important because we as believers need to understand what it means to life a Spirit-filled life.
I. The Spirit’s Identity
It’s easy for us to envision God the Father and God the Son, but when it comes to God the Spirit, we kind of push Him to the side and treat Him as though He was not really as important as the others. One book that is out now about the Holy Spirit is entitled – ‘The Forgotten God’ by Francis Chan, and often times that’s exactly what the Holy Spirit is – forgotten. Yet the more I study about the Spirit the more I realize just how important He is. Without Him, we would not and could not live the Christian life.
First of all we need to recognize that He is not a ‘thing’ or an ‘it.’ He is not a mystical force silently floating around. The Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit is a part of the Godhead, equal with the Father and the Son. He has a mind, He has a will, and He can express and feel emotions. The evidence of His impact upon our lives as Christians includes things such as: love, joy and peace, and He Himself can experience sadness and grief.
Jesus said this about our relationship with God: ‘God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.’ (Jn 4:24) Though there may always be many things we will not understand about the Spirit, we must recognize that without Him, there is no living relationship with the living God.
II. The Spirit’s Indwelling
A. The Problem
There are several reasons why we struggle with understanding the Spirit.
For one thing, the King James Version often uses the word ‘Ghost’ for Spirit and that scares some. Why the KJV translators did that I’m not sure. It’s the same Greek word that they also translated as Spirit.The Holy Spirit is not something scary. Jesus repeatedly referred to Him as ‘the Comforter.’
2. “Emotional Experience”
Another reason for the confusion in the church is because many believe that the filling of the Spirit produces some great emotional experience. They read about the events that took place on the Day of Pentecost and they believe that the church should have a Pentecostal type experience over and over again. To them, anytime anyone is filled with the Spirit, something extra-ordinary or phenomenal is going to happen.
We should keep in mind that the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control. A whole lot of what we consider to be an emotional experience is just that – an emotional experience and not necessarily the work of the Holy Spirit.
In addition, some believe and teach that unless a Christian speaks in unknown tongues, they do not have the Holy Spirit, or at least the fullness of the Spirit. Our focus today is not Tongues, yet because some have been led to believe this way, let me say three things:
a. One of Many Spiritual Gifts
According to scripture, tongues was only one of the many spiritual gifts given to the early church and not even in the early church did every believer speak in tongues. (read 1 Corinthians 12)
b. A Sign Gift
According to Mark 16, the reason the gift of tongues was given to the early church was to confirm the gospel message. (read Mark 16:17-20)
Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.
c. Filling of Spirit and No Tongues
We should also note that throughout the book of Acts there are numerous incidents where someone was said to be ‘filled with the Spirit’, yet there is no mention of tongues. And perhaps most convincingly and important is that in the same book that Paul speaks of being ‘filled with the Spirit’, he makes no mention of tongues.
As we will see today, the filling of the Spirit is not about being out of control, but rather being in control.
B. The Promise
The promise of the indwelling Holy Spirit is a promise made to all believers.
1. The Promise to All Believers
a. The New Covenant
Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
b. The New Creation
The New Covenant was God’s promise to make us into the new creation. ‘A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.’ It was based upon this promise that Paul wrote –
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away ; behold , all things are become new.
How can the old things be put away and all things become new? It can only happen by the New Birth.
c. The New Birth
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
In John 3, Jesus described the ‘renewing of the Holy Ghost’ to Nicodemus as being ‘born-again by the Spirit.’ Salvation is a spiritual new birth produced by the Holy Spirit based upon our faith in Christ’s death on the cross.
It was based upon this promise that Jesus said to His disciples:
John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
2. The Power For All Believers
Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
The word ‘endued’ means to be: clothed or outfitted.
a. Outfitted With Power
To be ‘outfitted’ means to be equipped with whatever is necessary to get the job done. Jesus promised His disciples that they would be endued with power in order to be His witnesses. Consider this with what Paul wrote to the Ephesians:
Ephesians 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.
To be strengthened with might is the same thing as to be endued with power. It means to have the power of God’s Spirit working in and through us.
b. Armored for Protection
The word ‘endued’ also means to be armored. Consider this with what Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Near the end of our study in Ephesians we will study in greater detail God’s armor for the believer, but for now let me say this –
The armor of God is the life and character of Christ that is given to the believer through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. In Romans 13 Paul wrote – “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Rm 13:14)
III. The Spirit’s Impact
Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.
So much could be said here but let me try to summarize it by drawing a contrast between the Wastefulness of the World and the Abundant Life Jesus Promised.
A. The Wastefulness of the World
Paul speaks of those who are ‘drunk with wine.’ Today is Superbowl Sunday and many of the TV ads shown during the Superbowl tonight will have to do with alcohol. None of those ads will reveal the truth about men and women who have lost their families, their businesses or their health due to alcohol. None will show the men and women who are today sitting somewhere in prison because they committed a crime while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. All of these ads will portray alcohol as bringing us gladness while hiding from us the sadness.
Note again – “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess…”
The word ‘excess’ means wastefulness. It is the result of a life lived under the influence of the world’s wine. This can best be seen in the life of a young man called the Prodigal Son. You remember the story; he took his share of his father’s inheritance and went off into the far country and as scripture says – “wasted his substance with riotous living.” He wasted all of his money trying to find happiness from the world’s wine. We call him the ‘Prodigal’ son. Do you know what prodigal means? It means reckless wastefulness. It’s foolishness at its best.
It’s easy to see the foolishness of the prodigal son and overlook our own. Consider that thought as we read the verses that lead up to vs. 18:
Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Paul says to – ‘walk circumspectly.’ (v 15) Circumspectly means: exactly, accurately, diligently. To walk circumspectly is to be alert and aware of your surroundings. To put this in biblical terms, rather than living like the spiritual fools of this world who don’t know any better, live as followers of God, led by His Spirit.
B. The Abundant Life Jesus Promised
In contrast to the world’s wine, consider these words from Jesus
John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive…
Here is the abundant life that Jesus promised. Here is that fullness of joy that John wrote of. Here is the fruit, more fruit, and much fruit that the Father wants to produce through our lives. Here is experiencing exceedingly, abundantly above all we could think or ask. Here is being filled with all the fullness of God.
Paul gives us at least five ways the filling of the Spirit will affect us:
1. Give us wisdom for living in this evil age (vv. 15-16)
2. Give us the ability to understand God’s will (v. 17)
3. Give us a heart filled with joy and singing to God (v. 19)
Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
4. Give us a heart filled with thanksgiving to God (v. 20)
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I said that there were five ways the filling of the Spirit would affect us, yet I only gave you four. Tune in next week as we begin to explore what is perhaps the most powerful way the filling of the Spirit impacts a believer’s life.