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The Filling

The Verdict / John Munro
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March 14, 2023 11:26 am

The Filling

The Verdict / John Munro

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March 14, 2023 11:26 am

Dr. John H. Munro March 12, 2023 Ephesians 5:15-21

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Our pastor this evening is Ephesians chapter 5, Ephesians 5 verses 15 through 21.

So if you have a Bible, I invite you to turn there. We've been going through the book of Ephesians and learning that the first three chapters of Ephesians relate to doctrine, and the last three chapters are primarily concerned with our daily behavior. However, we mustn't see these two sections as isolated sections of Scripture, because as we came to chapter 4 verse 1, Paul says, I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called. He's referring to the first three chapters, and there he's dealt with the wonderful blessings that we have in Christ, that our salvation is all of God's grace, that we're saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. He's dealt with the reconciling work of our wonderful Savior, reconciling us to God and also to one another. And Paul has explained the mystery of Christ. A special ministry entrusted to Paul to reveal that in this new community of believers that we call the church, not only are there Jews and Gentiles, but Jew and Gentile are now equal.

That was revolutionary. It was one thing for the Jews to concede that there may be Gentiles in the kingdom of God, but surely not on an open footing. And Paul reveals that in chapter 3. What incredible blessings we have. He says in verse 19 and 20 of chapter 3, he talks of us knowing the love of Christ, the surpassing knowledge that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. We're thinking this evening of the filling of the Spirit. Notice what he says there, that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. He goes on to say that Christ is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think according to the power at work within us.

Surely this is grace upon grace. And as we come then to chapters 4 and 5, we see the outworking of these principles in the life of the believer. Those who are truly saved are going to live differently, and our behavior is going to be contrasted with the Gentiles.

They live for themselves, Paul has explained. But now that we who are in Christ, we are to put off that old life, and we are to put on the wonderful new graces of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are to walk in love. We are to walk in light. And so we come to verse 15 of Ephesians 5. Here is the Word of God to us. Paul says, look carefully then how you walk. Here is Paul's metaphor for the Christian lifestyle. How are we to live? How are we to walk?

Well, you are to be careful how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 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. A wonderful passage. And so Paul deals with this intriguing subject of the filling of the Spirit. In chapter 1, he's told us that the Christian, at the moment of our salvation, is sealed with the Spirit. He's told us in chapter 4, verse 30, that we're not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, but now he tells us that we are to be filled with the Spirit. So let's think of this subject of the filling of the Spirit.

It's somewhat controversial. People have all kinds of ideas about it. And first of all, I think it's important that we differentiate between the baptism of the Spirit and the filling of the Spirit. Now is the baptism of the Spirit. Turn back in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians chapter 12, and there Paul helps us to understand this concept of the baptism of the Spirit. Every believer, a true believer, is indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

That's Romans 8, verse 9. In fact, if you don't have the Holy Spirit indwelling you, you are not a true believer. But what does it mean to be baptized by the Spirit? 1 Corinthians 12, verse 12, just as the body is one, he's talking about the human body, and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body.

Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, and all were made to drink of one Spirit. There's only one Holy Spirit. And at the moment of our conversion, that we are baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ. So this Spirit baptism is not an experience subsequent to conversion, as taught by some churches who believe also that the initial inevitable sign of the baptism of the Spirit is speaking in tongues.

I remember in a previous church, a young man came to see me, and he was in great distress. He'd been in a church that taught that you had to be baptized by the Spirit, and that was an experience subsequent to salvation. And the way you could discern if someone was baptized by the Spirit is that they could speak in tongues. And he said to me, I've never spoken in tongues, and the people tell me that I've not been baptized by the Spirit. And he said, I've been prayed over, over and over again. People have come, they've laid their hands on me, and now they've questioned, am I a true believer?

I don't have enough faith. And so there is that teaching, a very false teaching, quite distressing actually to many people that the inevitable sign of the baptism of the Spirit is speaking in tongues. I remember having breakfast with an assembly of God pastor who believed this, and I said to him, I've never spoken in tongues. Are you saying I've not been baptized by the Spirit?

And he sort of hesitated. He didn't want to say that, but that's what they believe. Even in Corinth, even in a first century church, as we read 1 Corinthians, it was clear that not all Christians spoke in tongues. No policy here, 1 Corinthians 12, verses 12 and 13, that every believer in Christ has been baptized, immersed. This morning we saw water baptism.

It is an immersing. It is a baptizing into the body of Christ. We are now as followers of Christ in a new environment.

We have a new identity. We are eternally united with our Lord Jesus Christ. We're baptized into the body of Christ. We've been brought from the sphere of Adam into the sphere of the Spirit, and we have all of the Spirit we need.

Isn't that encouraging? That the same Holy Spirit who indwelt the Apostle Paul, the same Holy Spirit who indwelt our Lord Jesus Christ is the same Spirit that we have. There's not different versions of the Spirit. At the moment of your conversion, think of this, think of the grace of God. Not only does He cleanse all of your sins, but He baptizes you into the body of Christ so that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and we are forever secure. Now what about the filling of the Spirit? Well, Spirit baptism is once and for all.

It's an unrepeatable event which instantaneously occurs at the moment of conversion. When we're converted, we don't understand that, but that's what takes place. There is this one Spirit, the Holy Spirit — remember God is triune, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This one Spirit is received by every believer at the moment of conversion.

That's why we look for a change in the true believer as opposed to the false professor. The filling of the Spirit, on the other hand, is a frequent and repeated experience. It sometimes said, one baptism but many fillings. Water baptism is the outward symbol of the spiritual baptism which begins our new life of union with Jesus Christ. And as we read the New Testament, we're never urged, we're never commanded to be baptized in or with the Spirit. We're never told to seek the baptism of the Spirit. But we are commanded, as we just read in Ephesians 5 verse 18, we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. Did you notice that, verse 18?

Don't get drunk with wine, that's debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit. It's a command for every single believer to obey. The command is in the present tense. This is a continuous daily action to be filled continually. Every day, I am to be filled with the Spirit.

You say, what on earth does that mean, to be filled with the Spirit? We talk of people being full of themselves. Anyone here full of themselves?

No hands up. But we know people who are full of themselves. When we use that expression, we mean that their life revolves around themselves.

They only talk about themselves. We say they're full of themselves, full of their own importance. As followers of Jesus Christ, we're not to be filled with ourselves, but as we read in chapter 3 verse 14, verse 19, we're to be filled with all the fullness of God.

That's spellbinding, isn't it? To think that we're filled, can be filled with all the fullness of God. So be filled is a command. It's in the present tense. It's also passive, which means we do not fill ourselves with the Spirit, but rather we are to be continuously filled with the Spirit.

The Spirit, the Holy Spirit is the means by which we are filled with Christ. Paul has told us, you're not to live like the Gentiles. You're to walk in love, chapter 5. You're to be imitators of God. And you say, well, that's impossible.

Yes, it is impossible on your own strength. But now, you have the Holy Spirit, and you're to be filled with the Spirit. You're to walk in love. You're to walk in the light. You're not to pursue the life of darkness, and you are to be very careful how you walk. Not in foolishness, not like the unbeliever.

How is this going to take place? I am, you are, to be filled with the Spirit. Now what does it mean? Well, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, very simply, think of it this way, it is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. And this is the key, if there is a key, to spiritual power.

This is a key to holy living. And Paul, I think, helps us in verse 18 by making a comparison based on the concept of alcohol. The person who is drunk is under the control, is under the influence of alcohol.

His speech, his balance, his conduct are all affected. I remember as a student, a couple of friends of mine were walking the street, and there were some young women with us, and a young man, a couple of them, they felt that these young women should be with them rather than with us. And we told him firmly, I think fairly graciously, to go away. And the next thing I knew, this small man who was totally intoxicated by one age was jumping on my back, and before we knew it, we were, there was a fight in the street and somebody called the police and we were all taken to the police station.

And of course, the police officers, as they always do, saw sense and some of us were released. But this little man was known to be under the influence of drink. Lack of control, behaving in a foolish, silly way. That's what happens when people are drunk. Incidentally, the Christian is never to get drunk with alcohol.

Do you hear me? If you're a follower of Jesus Christ, you are never to get drunk. Scripture says that, do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery.

That is very, very clear. No, we who are filled with the Spirit are surrendered to the Spirit's control in our thoughts, in our minds, in our actions, under the control of the Spirit of God. What fills us controls us. Don't be captivated, as it were, by alcohol, but be captivated by the Holy Spirit.

That's a good way to look at it. And believers who are filled with the Spirit are surrendered to the Spirit's control in their lives, their thoughts. We thought this morning of our possessions. The individual who is filled with the Spirit has surrendered everything they have to the Lord. And remember, when Paul in Galatians 5 enumerates the fruit of the Spirit, do you remember the last one he mentions? Self-control. And being filled with the Spirit doesn't mean that we lose control of ourselves.

That doesn't mean that we don't know what we're doing. I've heard of people saying that people in the church service were barking like dogs, laughing uncontrollably. Some of you remember that, the Toronto blessing a few years ago, so-called blessing. I don't think it was a blessing. And speaking with an incessant gibberish, and they don't know what they're doing.

They've lost control of themselves. That is never the actions of the Holy Spirit. These are not the signs of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Well, what does the filling of the Spirit look like? How would you and I know if we are filled with the Spirit? Notice Paul is going to tell us the results of the filling of the Spirit doesn't mention tongues, doesn't mention prophecies, doesn't mention the sign gifts.

But what are the results of the Spirit-filled life? Well, he uses five particiables. If you look at verse 19, first addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody. Verse 20, giving thanks. And then verse 21, submitting. Five particiables. I want to take the first three together in the interest of time so that the first result, the overflow of the Spirit-filled life is joyful worship.

That's what he says. Verse 19, addressing one another. Scripture is full of one another. We pray for one another. This is one of the reasons we come to church.

This is one of the reasons just watching at live stream while it has — is very convenient for people who are ill or are out of town. There's no substitute for being together with one another. We come together to worship one another, to bear one another's burdens, to encourage and admonish one another. And our fellowship is going to be authentic spiritually as others pour into our lives. You can't fellowship and serve one another when you stay at home. Now notice verse 19, how we fellowship, how there is this overflow of the Spirit as we come together, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. Psalms, hymns, spiritual songs.

If you're filled with the Spirit, you have a desire to worship God with joy. Remember when the children of Israel were delivered through the Red Sea? What do we read in Exodus 15? I will sing to the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously. What are they going to do? They're going to sing for joy. When David gets together the various ingredients for the building of the temple, we read in 1 Chronicles 15 that he raised with all of the choir and the singers and the instruments songs of joy.

The dedication of the walls in Jerusalem under the leadership of Nehemiah. What do they do? They sing. They rejoice. At our missions conference, we thought of Psalm 96, how does it begin? Sing to the Lord a new song. Here are the apostles, Paul and Silas in prison in Philippi.

What are they doing? They're praying and singing, encouraging one another. And then in that wonderful scene that is in the future, and I think we'll close by singing about it, in Revelation 5 verse 9, John says, they sang a new song, the heavenly host, saying, worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you've made them a kingdom and priest to our God, and they shall reign on the earth. Even a very superficial knowledge of the Bible, you come to this conclusion that the people of God are to be a worshipping, joyful people.

And the Holy Spirit, as we're filled with the Holy Spirit, this is one of His results. And you say, well, I'm not a very good singer. It's not a matter of you being a good singer.

It's a matter of using the voice, the talents that you have to worship and to praise God. The Christian life is one of joy. It's not one of gloom.

It's not one of despair. The people had been delivered from Egypt. The temple is about to be built. The temple is built, and they're singing in the temple. Paul and Silas, or even in their persecution, are praising God.

And think of that wonderful eternal scene in heaven when they're singing a new song. Now, we have these three categories, psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and I think it's difficult to make sharp distinctions between them. The word psalms is from, we get our old, the Psalter, we have 150 psalms.

And it probably originally meant the sound of a stringed instrument. The very word psalm means a stringed instrument. And so, in the tabernacle and in the temple, they sang these psalms. This was the hymnbook of Israel, 150 psalms. And we try, as Tim has explained this evening, we try in our worship to incorporate some psalms.

These are inspired words of God. There are some traditions where churches only sing psalms. There's what's called a free church in Scotland, and I've attended their service. It's really not for me, but they only sing the psalms. No musical instruments for some reason, and all of their hymnbook are psalms. But there's also here hymns, probably songs of praise written by the first century Christians. So in the church, what did they do? They sang the psalms, but there was also hymns. And then there were these spiritual songs.

It's the word from we get ode, an ode, a poem put to music as spiritual songs, probably a song of joyful testimony. And whatever we may say about the psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, it shows that in the early church there was variety as they sang together, and they're doing it to encourage one another, building up one another through our worship, addressing one another, and singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord. We have the similar thought in Colossians 3 verse 16, falls there, says, like the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Do you encourage others in your worship?

Do you encourage one another with the Word of God? We try at Calvary with all of our very type of music to make sure it's biblically sound, that it's theologically accurate. We're not just singing a nice little tune. No, we are the people of God and we're singing praise to each other and we're edifying one another and helping one another to understand the wonder of the greatness of God and the way of salvation and the Lord Jesus Christ. And this worship then, which is the result of the filling of the Spirit, is not entertainment, is not a performance. Notice Paul says it's to the Lord with your heart.

Yes, there is skill but the heart condition of we who come together, whether someone is standing up here singing or whether we're down there singing makes no difference. We're to do it to the Lord with our heart. Johann Sebastian Bach said that the aim of all music is the glory of God.

At the end of the day, that's the test, isn't it? The end of a worship service. It's not whether you liked it or I liked it, but did God like it? Was it to the glory of God? Such worship, which is an overflow of the filling of the Spirit, delights the heart of God. And we are blessed at Calvary to have worship that does that. Now the second result, the second overflow of the Spirit-filled life is thanksgiving, verse 20. Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. The individual filled with the Holy Spirit is a thankful person.

That's convicting isn't it? Paul here says, for everything, always and for everything. The Holy Spirit produces humility. The Holy Spirit produces a thankfulness in all circumstances.

Paul commands us in the Philippines too to do all things without grumbling or disputing. No, rather, the work of the Holy Spirit in us is to produce thankfulness. Lack of thankfulness comes from pride, believing that we deserve something better than we have. And nothing robs us so quickly of our spiritual vitality and of the joy of the Lord than complaining. And really, when you complain, you're really saying you know better than God. Do we believe that God is sovereign over our circumstances? Absolutely. He is the sovereign God.

He does whatever He pleases. And so part of the overflow of the Spirit is that we give thanks. Not just for our food, we should do that, but in life. Life, life hard for you. Life's had some difficulties. That's true of all of us, isn't it? Life is hard sometimes.

Life is difficult. But here are the people of God in Ephesus being instructed. As Paul has mentioned and rehearsed many of the evidences of the grace of God in their life, and now he says, I want you to be wise.

I want you to know what the will of God is. I want you to be filled with the Spirit, and that will result in joyful worship, reverent worship to God, and will also result in a life of thankfulness. Thankfulness.

Do you ever catch yourself not being thankful? Sometimes if we're married, our husband or our spouse will hold us to account, apparent to a child, perhaps a child to apparent, that we as a people of God are to be thankful. We're going to break bread in a moment, and the Scripture says that when our Lord Jesus took the bread, He gave thanks to His God. We don't know what He said, but He gave thanks. Similarly the cup, He gave thanks. Now the third result, the third overflow of the Spirit-filled life is submission, verse 21, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

That's a tough one, isn't it? Some people are easy to submit to, other people are a bit more difficult. Those filled with the Holy Spirit are not selfish, demanding people, always thinking of their own rights. The Holy Spirit never makes us proud. The Holy Spirit never makes us self-important. The Holy Spirit always glorifies Christ and produces in us the mind of Christ. Remember the opening verses of Philippians 2 where Paul tells us, let everyone think not only of his own interests, but of the interests of others. That's the overflow of the Spirit in the life.

Naturally, we're selfish, self-indulgent, putting ourselves center stage. The Holy Spirit now who indwells us as we're filled with the Spirit leads to a spirit of submission, and we do so, end of verse 21, out of reverence for Christ, out of fear for Christ. We live in the fear of the Lord, and submission, a humble life of submission, is the lifestyle of the Christian.

When Apostle Paul is converted, as he gives his account of the testimony in the book of Acts on one of his accounts, he said, Lord, what will you have me to do? That's a life of submission, isn't it? I'm submitting to Christ. But not only submitting to Christ, but submitting to my brothers and sisters in Christ. And we are voluntarily to submit to others, to those who have authority over us. You see, men say, well, submission is for our wives. They are to be in submission.

Well, we'll come to that in a couple of weeks. But this is a general principle. Paul is going to flesh it out from verse 22 of chapter 5 through the end of verse 9 of chapter 6. He's going to say wives are to submit to their husbands, children to parents, slaves to masters.

We could also add citizens to the government, church members to church leaders, pastors to elders, and so on. Whoever we are, we are to live a life of submission. That doesn't characterize our society, does it?

It's all about us. People fight on a plane. We don't follow the instruction of the staff on the plane. People don't follow the instructions of our law enforcement. Children rebel against their teachers.

Employees argue with their bosses. We're a society, aren't we, more of rebellion than of submission. Spirit-filled Christians consider others. There is then, in a sense, mutual submission. We, as followers of Christ, we're not anti-authority. We're not rebels.

We're not always asserting for our own rights. That lack of submission causes problems in marriages and homes and schools, society and even in the church. Paul says in Romans 14 that even Christ please not Himself. Think of the Lord of glories. He comes to earth as we'll think, as we take communion in a minute. He submits to the will of His Father. I always do the things that please the Father. There's perfect submission. Not my will, but Yours be done.

That is our model, isn't it? And this Spirit, the very Spirit of Christ, who indwells us, produces this joyful worship, produces this thankfulness, and produces submission. Every day, will you depend on the Holy Spirit?

Spend time in this book. Spend time in prayer. Confess all known sin, and if you don't confess your sin, you'll not be filled with the Spirit. If you're living in unrepentant sin, you'll not experience the filling of the Spirit. Don't quench the Spirit, but be open to His work in your life.

Think of all of the Spirit, what the Spirit does. He guides us. He comforts us.

That's one of His descriptions. He is the comforter. I've personally experienced that in the last couple of years, the comfort of the Spirit. We are to walk with the Spirit. We are to produce the fruit of the Spirit. Paul's going to say in Ephesians 6, we are to pray in the Spirit. The Christian life is not us by our own strength, trying to change our lifestyle.

No, it's a supernatural one. To live life worthy of the Gospel, God gives you everything that you need. To live a life of love, to live a life of light and wisdom, we constantly need the help and the power of the Holy Spirit. You have all of the Spirit you need.

He indwells you. But the Spirit is to have all of us. There are areas of your life where you push out the Spirit. Is the Spirit really in control of areas of your life? The way you think, the way you act, the things you spend, the way you spend your time and your recreation, the things you watch, the things you discuss with others, is it all submitted to the Holy Spirit? Pray as we break bread that every aspect of your life, just every aspect is controlled by the Holy Spirit.

How do we do that? We keep looking to Christ. We keep trusting our heavenly Father who we know loves us and cares for us. And we don't quench the Spirit by continuing in unrepentant sin. We have that wonderful, wonderful experience day by day of worshiping God, of pursuing God, of experiencing the joy of the Lord, and being thankful in all circumstances, even in the disappointments and surprises of life, and to have that submissive attitude which our Lord Jesus had as a man on earth. And so walk worthy of the gospel to which we are called. Father, we do thank the Holy Spirit that we can be filled with the fullness of God, that we as a church can grow to the full stature of Christ. This is all of Your grace. And so even now, as we spiritually prepare ourselves to take bread and to take the cup, we do confess our sins, our lack of thankfulness, our lack of submission, our lack of joy, our self-focus, and ask that You'll graciously fill us with Your Spirit. Thank You that You give us the gift of the Spirit, and may He more and more control every aspect of our life. Help us Father, we do pray in Christ's name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-14 12:29:19 / 2023-03-14 12:41:17 / 12

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