Summary: A study on what it means to be filled with the Spirit


TEXT: Ephesians 5:18-21 W. Max Alderman

INTRODUCTION: There is much confusion regarding what it means to be Spirit filled. Even leaders of great denominations struggle with what it really means to be Spirit filled. I have heard preachers say that the evidence of being filled with the Spirit is to speak in tongues. As sincere as they might be in their intentions, there is not one shred of evidence to support this belief. Yet, I believe that we can know what it means to be filled with the Spirit and also why it is commanded. This is what we are going to consider as we address the subject of being thankful. A Spirit filled person is a thankful person. What better way to approach the day of thanksgiving than to show what makes a person truly thankful.


It is imperative that the believer be filled with the Spirit. Some live and act as though this is an accepted option. It is not! Just as imperative as it is to not be drunk with wine, it is commanded that we are to be filled with the Spirit. So says this verse…

A. The Requirement Is Given As A Command. (V. 18)

We, upon conversion, are Spiritual beings. There is a part of us that is spiritually quickened at the moment that we are saved. The spiritual part of man is made alive when the Holy Spirit sanctifies and births the sinner into the family of God. Once that conversion has taken place, the soul of man is to take in the Word of God and act upon it. The soul is comprised of will, intellect, and emotions. For one to be Spirit filled means that his soul is operating under the influence of the Holy Spirit just as an intoxicated drunkard is influenced and operating under the influence of alcohol.

B. The Requirement Is Given With Conditions. (cf. Colossians 3:16,17)

One cannot be filled with the Spirit unless the Word of Christ dwells within you richly. This must happen within the soul of man. This is where our capacity to learn Truth takes place. We call this our intellect. You can put anything into your mind that you choose, but only the Word of God indwelling makes you Spiritual. This is not just head knowledge; this is when one acts upon Truth while exercising faith or believes that the Word of God is, indeed, the Word of God. A check-point that is given to us in James tells us that , “Faith without works is dead…”


The results given below are for the purpose of showing us that the believer is to be filled with the Spirit so that he can practically put Christ on display in every activity and relationship that he is involved with. For this reason, we must remind ourselves that there is not a secular and a sacred for the believer; everything that we do is sacred or should be. For this reason, beginning in verse 22 going through verse 9 of chapter 6, Paul is instructing the believer as to how he is to operate in all of his relationships.

A. There Is A Silent Joy. (V. 19a)

For there to be a song on the lips, there must be joy in the heart. If you do not have inward joy and peace, you are not filled with the Spirit. There are two reasons that one is not filled with the Spirit. One is either lost or if saved, is not letting the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.

B. There Is A Singing Aloud. (V.19b)

One has the ability to express publicly what is going on privately when that person is filled with the Spirit. “A good man out of the good portion of the heart bringeth forth that which is good…” A man speaks his heart.

C. There Is A Spirit Of Thanksgiving. (V. 20)

Psalm 100 tells us what thanksgiving is all about. A Spirit filled thankful person will make a “joyful noise unto the Lord”. This thankfulness will show up in every part of one’s existence. Are you thankful?

D. There Is A Submitting To Others. (V. 21)

One learns the art of submitting from the Word of God. This tells us that the Spirit person does not have to be first…


One’s ability to be Spirit filled means that he has a relationship with God. Did you hear that? We are kin to God by the new birth! He becomes our heavenly Father.

A. The Spirit Filled Person Must Have the Right Father. (cf. John 8:44)

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