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Summary: What it means to go from being controlled by a substance such as alcohol, to being that controlled by the Holy Spirit.

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A Lesson for Christians from the Life of an Alcoholic

Scripture: Ephesians 5:10-21

STORY

Mel Trotter was an alcoholic. Again and again he promised his wife that he would give up drink for good. Once, he managed to stay dry for eleven and a half weeks. At the end, thirst overcame him. He squandered his horse to pay for a round of drinks. He reached the point that he committed burglary to feed his awful habit. His wife and child suffered terribly for his sin.

They had only the one child. The boy was about two years old when Mel came home after a drinking spree. “I went home after a ten-day drunk and found him dead in his mother’s arms. I’ll never forget that day. I was a slave, and I knew it. It pretty nearly broke my heart. I said, ‘I’m a murderer. I’m anything but a man. I can’t stand it, and I won’t stand it! I’ll end my life.” But he didn’t have the courage to do it because he feared God’s judgment.

He put his arms around his wife and swore on the baby’s coffin that he’d never touch another drop. Two hours after the funeral, he staggered home blind drunk.

On this day, January 19, 1897, Mel Trotter made the decision to kill himself. He staggered drunk through Chicago, determined to throw himself into the freezing waters of Lake Michigan. Unable to break his habit, unable to keep his promises, he wanted to die.

His progress brought him past the door of the Pacific Garden Mission. Harry Monroe, who himself had been an alcoholic, was leading singing. As the doorman helped Mel in, Monroe stopped to pray for Mel. “O God, save that poor, poor boy,” he pleaded.

Monroe told the audience of his own past and how Christ had delivered him from alcohol. Mel listened and believed. That night, he answered Monroe’s invitation to make room for God in his life. Monroe explained that Jesus loved him and would change him. And that is what Jesus did. Asked later how he knew he was saved, he replied, “I was there when it happened, January 19, 1897, 10 minutes past 9, Central Time, Pacific Garden Mission, Chicago, Illinois, USA.” (By the staff or associates of Christian History Institute, Copyright 1999-2005).

MESSAGE

What does it mean to be so affected at one moment in your life, that your life is totally changed forever?

“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit...”

What does it mean to be so filled with the Spirit of God that nothing is ever the same?

What is it like to go from being so controlled by one substance, or thing, to being *that* controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit?

Being controlled, or filled, by the Holy Spirit should be a profound reality in a Christian’s life.

Understanding the infilling of the Holy Spirit can, and does, change our lives. I want us to focus on that for a few minutes this morning. Because as we meet in a few minutes around the Lord’s table, it is important that we who partake are *filled* with the Holy Spirit.

Let’s first look at some reasons why we are to understand this. Why is this something that we must not, and cannot ignore if we’re going to live the life Jesus has called us to live on this earth:


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