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Sermon #69 — Ephesians Sermons

 

Title:                           Be Filled with the Spirit

 

Text:                            Ephesians 5:18

Subject:                     The Filling of the Spirit

Date:                          Tuesday Evening — May 23, 2017

Readings:     Bobbie Estes and Larry Brown

Introduction:

 

As God will enable me, I want to talk to you about the Spirit filled life. Amidst all the happy-clappy, hand-waving, tomfoolery of this modern, charismatic age of Pentecostal sorcery, someone needs to speak and speak clearly about the person and work of God the Holy Spirit. ⸺ I repeat, with emphatic dogmatism what I have said to you many times from this pulpit.

Š      The Apostolic Age is over.

Š      The Apostolic gifts of that age are no more.

Š      No one today has the gifts of healing, of speaking in tongues, or of prophecy.

 

But that does not mean that the work of God the Holy Spirit has ceased. It has not. This is distinctly the age of the Spirit (John 16:7-11; Acts 2).

Š      God the Holy Spirit is our Divine Comforter and Teacher.

Š      God the Holy Spirit gives chosen, redeemed sinners life and faith in Christ.

Š      God the Holy Spirit is he who sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts and seals to us all the blessings and blessedness of God’s covenant grace in Christ.

 

Obviously, some questions need to be answered.

Š      Do I have the Holy Spirit?

Š      Do all believers have the Holy Spirit?

Š      What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

 

Ephesians 5

 

Open your Bibles to Ephesians 5, and I’ll answer those questions for you from the Word of God. In the fourth and fifth chapters of the Book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul, writing by divine inspiration, gives us very clear and very specific instructions about how we are to live in this world for the glory of God. He spent the first three chapters of this book telling us how God saved us by his free and sovereign grace in Christ.

Š      By Sovereign Predestination

Š      By Special Purchase

Š      By Saving Power

 

God the Holy Ghost ever points us to Christ, glorifies Christ, speaks of Christ, and inspires faith in, devotion to, and praise for our great Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Š      Religion talks about you, your goodness, and your works. ⸺ The Bible talks about God, his goodness, and his work.

Š      Religion focuses your attention on you, your feelings, your experiences, and your sacrifices. ⸺ The gospel of Christ focuses our attention upon Christ, his sacrifice, his accomplishments, and his glory.

Š      Religion talks about being in the Spirit, feeling, the Spirit, and knowing the Spirit. ⸺ But God the Holy Spirit always talks about Christ, being in Christ, trusting Christ, and knowing Christ.

 

(Ephesians 3:17-19) “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; (19) And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

 

Strange Doctrine

 

The Jews accused Paul of setting forth strange doctrine, because he asserted that “Christ is the end of the law.” They accused him of promoting licentiousness. The Gentiles thought he preached strange doctrine, because he taught God’s saints to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present, evil world. They accused him of teaching asceticism, “touch not, taste not, handle not.

 

It is difficult for us to understand just how strange Paul’s doctrine must have appeared to men and women living in Ephesus 2000 years ago. When those Ephesian converts first read the things Paul wrote in this chapter, they must have thought, at least initially, “This doctrine is absurd. No one thinks like this.” In that day, particularly in the Gentile world, society was so degenerate, by reason of prolonged idolatry, that drunkenness, theft, lying, fornication, adultery, even sodomy, were common and acceptable. Debauchery was the norm of society.

 

Fornication was the common practice. Theft was a way of life. Lying was a universal custom. It was only blameworthy if you were clumsy enough to be caught in a lie. Drunkenness was an ordinary condition of life. Even the great political and military leaders of those dark days were known for their drunkenness. At their public feasts they made a sport of gluttony and drunkenness. You will remember, this was a problem that had to be dealt with at Corinth (1 Corinthians 11).

 

In many of the idolatrous religions, from which these Ephesians and other Gentiles had been converted, drunkenness and fornication were parts of the religious rituals they regularly practiced. It is difficult for you and me to realize the impact of Paul’s exhortation in our text ⸺ (Ephesians 5:18).

 

(Ephesians 5:18) “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

 

Christ’s Claims

 

Here, the Apostle Paul, by inspiration of God the Holy Ghost, set before these Gentile converts, and sets before us, the claims of Christ over our lives. He would not alter the gospel of God or compromise the claims of our holy Savior, regardless of the circumstances.

 

Today, there is an obvious return to the customs of those dark times. Fornication, adultery, lying, fraud, drunkenness, and sodomy are becoming more and more common and more and more accepted with every passing day. And the evil is even worse in our day, because it is against the full light of the gospel. It is still true, men love darkness rather than light.

 

And there is a common tendency to bring the standard of the gospel down to men.

Š      The church has joined the world; and the world has joined the church!

Š      Craving success in the eyes of men, preachers everywhere run to compromise the truth of God, and give people what they want, so that they can get a crowd. ⸺ (J.D. Greear ⸺ The Summit Church ⸺ 300 to 22,000 in less than 10 years!)

 

Be warned, my brethren, it is our responsibility to set before men the pure Word of God, with which we are entrusted, without alteration. We dare not set up principles of outward piety, like the Pharisees. But we dare not compromise the principles God himself has established in his Word. We have been translated from darkness into light by the power of God. We are the sons of God. We should therefore live as such. ⸺ “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind…Ye have not so learned Christ” (Ephesians 4:17-20).

 

But how are the people of God to avoid being engulfed in the ways of this world in which we live? How are we to resist the constant pressures of this evil world? Paul says, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” That is my subject ⸺ BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT! I pray that God will graciously enable me to preach that which is set before us in this text, so that each of us will leave this house of worship with a desire and determination to live under the powerful influence of God the Holy Spirit, for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Joel’s Prophecy

 

The Prophet Joel (2:28-32) told us that in the last day, the great day of the Lord, the Spirit of God would fall, not just upon a mighty leader here and there, as was the case in the Old Testament, but that the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon all flesh (Gentiles and Jews), with miraculous power.

Š      In those days of old, the Spirit of God was mightily given to a Samson, a David, or an Isaiah. But, now in this Gospel Day, all who call upon the name of the Lord, men, women, children, and servants have the Spirit of God.

Š      In those days, the work of the Holy Spirit was limited to the nation of Israel. But now he is poured out upon all flesh, both Jew and Gentile.

 

Joel’s prophecy had its accomplishment in the book of Acts. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter said plainly, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:16). As a result of the death, and resurrection, and ascension of Christ, the Holy Spirit has been given to his church and kingdom. When a person is born-again, the Spirit of God is given to him. We are in Christ, and Christ is in us. We are in the Spirit, and the Spirit is in us.

Š      He indwells every believer.

Š      He is to our hearts the seal of heaven.

Š      He guides us by his gracious influence.

Š      He preserves us.

Š      He teaches us.

Š      He sanctifies us.

Š      And he comforts us.

 

All of this is God’s gracious work. But we have a responsibility toward him as well. Paul has told us that we must be careful not to quench his operations in us. He said, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” And now he shows us how we are to avoid grieving him. “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be ye filled with the Spirit.”

 

Proposition: This is what Paul teaches us in this verse ⸺ As God’s elect in this world, you and I must avoid drunkenness and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

Divisions: Our text commands two things.

1.    Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess.

2.    But be filled with the Spirit.

 

A Great Evil

 

“Be not drunk with wine.” ⸺ Paul has been talking about the unwise. And one characteristic of those who are unwise is drunkenness. Drunkenness is a great evil. Those who are unwise are people who are unthinking, without understanding, senseless. Paul says, to you and me, “Be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Christ is the Lord. Here Paul makes our Savior’s very godhead a very practical thing, entering into our everyday lives. He is God. His will is our law. Upon this basis, we the Apostle says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess.

 

I think it is important for me to point out that it is the abuse of wine that is here forbidden, not its use. “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess.” The Scriptures do not teach the necessity of total abstinence. The Bible teaches the necessity of moderation. It is not the use of wine that is forbidden, but its abuse.

 

Over and over again in the Word of God we are warned not to abuse wine or anything else.

Š      The pastor must be above reproach, not one who lingers at his wine (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).

Š      Deacons, similarly, must be dignified, not addicted to much wine (1 Timothy 3:8).

Š      And the aged women should also be reverent in their conduct, not enslaved to much wine (Titus 2:3).

 

Nowhere in the Word of God do we find any prohibition of the lawful use of God’s creation. ⸺ “There is nothing unclean of itself.” Let us use all things wisely, for the glory of God. But what other people eat and drink is not our business. When churches draw up covenants and creeds forbidding the use of anything that God has not forbidden, they add to the commandments of God the traditions of men.

 

That which is here prohibited by the Spirit of God is drunkenness. “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess.” Drunkenness (with wine, bourbon, weed, or heroin) is a destructive course of life, always leading to debauchery. ⸺ Drunkenness is the crutch of a weakling, the spine of a coward, and the excuse of a sluggard. ⸺ It is a great evil. Children of God, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess.

 

A Great Gift

 

The great gift and blessing of God to his people in this world is the gift of the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit is the ascension gift of Christ the King to his church and kingdom (Galatians 3:13-14; 4:4-6).

 

(Galatians 3:13-14) “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

 

(Galatians 4:4-6) “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (5) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (6) And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

 

A Parallel

 

There is a parallel set before us in our text. “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” The parallel is this ⸺ Just as the ungodly become intoxicated with wine, the people of God are and should constantly seek to be intoxicated with the Holy Spirit. Why do men get drunk with wine, or other things? There are several reasons. I cannot mention them all. But, in some ways, there is a parallel to be drawn. Drunkenness is the Devil’s poor substitute for the blessings of the Holy Spirit.

 

One motive for drunkenness is joy and exhilaration. But true joy comes only from being filled with the Spirit. If you would be full of joy, be full of the Holy Spirit.

 

Sometimes men get drunk in order to find strength. But if you would get strength, be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God gives strength in the highest degree. He guides his people with spiritual strength.

 

When people get drunk on wine, they become very bold. And the Spirit of God gives holy boldness to those who are filled with him.

Š      He gives boldness to do the will of God without counting the cost.

Š      He gives boldness in the cause of Christ.

Š      He gives boldness at the Throne of Grace.

 

Sometimes intoxicants are used in large quantities to relieve pain. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to have pain turned into praise. The Divine Comforter causes us to forget the sharpness of our trials and to rejoice in God’s purpose, his goodness, and his grace. Child of God, when you have a severe trial, take a deep drink of the fountain of living water and be filled with the Holy Spirit. In sickness, you can rejoice. In poverty, you can sing. In bereavement, you can give thanks.

 

Sometimes men use wine excessively as a stimulant to arouse their spirits. But, when a child of God is downcast, what he needs is to be filled with the Holy Ghost, and that will awaken his soul to holy zeal. ⸺ “Be filled with the Spirit.”

Š      He will make you see what a great Savior Christ is.

Š      He will fill your soul with the love of God in Christ.

Š      He will refresh your heart with the knowledge of redemption.

Š      He will make Christ your joy.

 

You can see Paul’s reasoning. It is foolish to accept Satan’s empty substitute. ⸺ “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

 

A Contrast

 

There is also a great contrast between being drunk with wine and being filled with the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit is in every way better than the excitements of wine.

 

The contrast is seen at the very beginning of the verse. ⸺ Wine can never fill; but the Spirit of God fills his people until they can say, “My cup runneth over” (John 4:14; 7:37-38).

 

(John 4:14) “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

 

(John 7:37-38) “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.”

 

Wine creates riot. When men are full of wine, they are full of riotousness; but when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, he gives blessed rest, a quiet, unutterable peace.

 

Wine causes contention; but the Holy Spirit brings submission (v. 21). Human nature likes to rule; but the Holy Spirit of God works submissiveness in the heart. Instead of wanting to be first, the believer is taught to be last. Instead of craving to be the greatest, the Spirit of God causes saved sinners to know they are the least.

 

Drunkenness makes men fools; but the Spirit of God makes men wise (vv. 15-16). A person filled with the Spirit knows the right way and deliberately walks in it.

 

Drunkenness makes men forget their relationships and responsibilities; but the Holy Spirit causes us to remember them.

Š      Spirit filled wives are submissive.

Š      Spirit filled husbands are loving.

Š      Spirit filled parents nurture their children in the Lord.

Š      Spirit filled employers are good, thoughtful, and generous.

Š      Spirit filled workers are faithful, honest, and hard-working.

 

What a practical admonition Paul gives us here! ⸺ “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Nothing is more destructive than drunkenness. And nothing is more profitable that a life under the rule and control of Christ by his Spirit.

 

The Filling

 

Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” ⸺ What is Paul talking about here? What is this filling of the Spirit? Paul is not talking about some ecstatic, unexplainable, emotional experience, or fit of religion, such as the Pentecostals and those who are Want-a-be Pentecostals promote. This is an imperative command of Scripture.“Be filled with the Spirit.” And the Scriptures make it plain what that command involves.

Š      You and I who are God’s are to be filled with the Spirit continually.

Š      This is not something that only certain believers enjoy. Paul is saying, “Be filled, all of you, with the Spirit.”

May God give us grace to obey this command.

 

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is being continually under his influence, continually controlled by the Spirit of God. All true believers have the Spirit of God dwelling in them. ⸺ “God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). ⸺ “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9).

 

To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to believe God, to trust Christ. Paul is here telling us, as God’s children in this world, to live continually, in all things, looking to Christ. This is the same thing as that for which he prayed in chapter 3.

 

(Ephesians 3:17-19) “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; (19) And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

 

When we are commanded to “put on Christ” and “put on the new man,” we are commanded to trust Christ, to be “filled with the Spirit.

 

The Holy Spirit is our Teacher, and we are to be adhere to and follow his teaching. What does he teach us? He teaches us the gospel of the glory of Christ.

Š      He teaches us our sin.

Š      He teaches us God’s righteousness.

Š      He teaches us God’s judgment of sin.

Š      He teaches us the glory of Christ and his power to save.

 

The Holy Spirit is our Guide. We are to follow his lead.

Š      He guides us into all truth.

Š      He guides us to Christ for all things.

Š      He guides us in the will of God.

 

The Holy Spirit is our Comforter, and we are to lay our heads upon the pillow of his comfort.

Š      He comforts us by assuring us of God’s love.

Š      He comforts us by assuring us of our adoption.

Š      He comforts us by assuring us of our redemption in Christ.

Š      He comforts us with the assurance of our resurrection.

Š      He comforts us by assuring us of eternal glory.

 

When a person is filled with the Spirit, he is full of the graces and fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The works of the flesh ae many. They arise from the evil heart of a man. But the fruit of the Spirit s one. It arises from the gracious presence of the Spirit of Christ in our hearts. The Spirit filled man bears fruit with reference to God, to his fellowmen, and toward himself.

Š      The fruit of the Spirit toward God is love, joy, and peace.

Š      The fruit of the Spirit toward men is longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness.

Š      The fruit of the Spirit within is faith, meekness, and temperance.

 

When a man is filled with the Spirit, I am sure it is safe to say that, he is filled with the desire of the Spirit. It is the office and work of God the Holy Spirit to glorify Christ. And all who are filled with the Spirit are under the dominion of this great desire, that Christ may be glorified.

 

How?

 

We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. That is our responsibility. So, this question must be answered question ⸺ How can foul, sinful men and women like, you and me, be filled with the Holy Spirit? Just as the Spirit of God was poured out upon God’s church on the Day of Pentecost, he must be poured into our hearts in the new birth by our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Titus 3:4-7).

 

(Titus 3:4-7) “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, (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; (6) Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; (7) That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

 

We are filled with the Spirit only as he fills us by his grace, shedding abroad in our hearts the love of God (Romans 5:5), constraining us to constantly be aware of the blessed fact that Christ died for us that we should not henceforth live unto ourselves but unto him who loved us and gave himself for us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

 

O my soul, continually ask at the Throne of Grace for flagons of this wine, the best wine, which goes down so sweetly, causing all who drink it to awake (Song of Solomon 2:5; 7:9).

 

Our Savior’s love is compared to wine, the best wine, wine that goes down smoothly

Š      Because of Its Antiquity! ⸺ Everlasting Love!

Š      Because of Its Purity! ⸺ It is pure and it makes pure.

Š      Because it is refreshing to all who drink it.

 

All who drink of this wine, the love of God revealed and made known in the crucified Christ, being persuaded of God that we are his, are permanently and perpetually inebriated by it.

 

To be filled with the Spirit is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. To be filled with the Spirit is to trust our blessed Savior. Is this not the promise of God?

 

(Proverbs 1:23) “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.”

 

(Ezekiel 36:26-27) “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.”

 

(John 7:37-39) “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: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”

 

(John 16:7-11) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (8) And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (9) Of sin, because they believe not on me; (10) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; (11) Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”

 

The Spirit filled life is the Christ filled life. The Spirit filled life is the faith filled life. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and go home “filled with the Spirit.”

 

(Ephesians 5:18) “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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