Summary: A message on the filling of the Holy Spirit.
FILLED UP OR A QUART LOW
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Pastor Brian Matherlee
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is the antidote for spiritual vertigo.
There are two kinds of vertigo:
• Subjective vertigo is when you are stopped but another object’s movement makes you sense you are in motion. (i.e. a car at a stoplight rolls back while you are stationary but you stomp on the brake)
• Objective vertigo is the sensation that you or your surroundings (or both) are spinning. It’s usually caused by an inner ear problem. (But it can also be caused by amusement park rides and spinning in circles with your forehead on a bat). This is the kind of spiritual vertigo I’m talking about. Something inside of us is not quite right and the world spins out of control.
Paul is writing to believers of Jesus in Ephesians. He tells them to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Didn’t they have the Holy Spirit already? Don’t all Christians have the Holy Spirit? The answer is yes. But let’s understand what Paul is talking about.
When we become Christians we receive the Holy Spirit as an identification of our adoption as sons and daughters of God. Ephesians 1:13, 14 states, “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
We are saved from sin and receive the Holy Spirit. This is not the end of our Christian life. It is only the beginning. Peter wrote in his first letter that we were to have the qualities and attributes of Christian living in increasing measure.
When Paul writes this statement, “be filled”, we learn three simple truths about the filling of the Holy Spirit:
1. It is a command
a. Paul writes in the imperative
b. There’s a story told of a husband and wife both of who were doctors - one a doctor of theology and the other a doctor of medicine. When their doorbell was rung and the maid answered, the inquirer would often ask for "the doctor". The maid’s interesting reply was: "Do you want the one who preaches or the one who practices?" We know the theory of Christian living but what we must do is to practice it!
2. It is a continuous filling
a. It is in the present tense
b. D L Moody was once asked why he urged Christians to be filled constantly with the Holy Spirit. "Well," he said, "I need a continual infilling because I leak!" He pointed to a water tank which had sprung a leak. "I’m like that!"
c. Paul tells us what things cause us “to leak”
i. Deceitful desires (4:22)
ii. Old attitudes (4:23)
iii. Resistance to holiness (4:24)
iv. Dishonesty (4:25)
v. Sinful anger (4:26)
vi. Theft & greed (4:28)
vii. Unwholesome talk (4:29)
viii. Resistance to the Holy Spirit (4:30)
ix. Etc., etc. (the rest of the passage)
d. What does the Holy Spirit patch the holes with?
i. Kindness & compassion
ii. Forgiveness of others
iii. Imitating God
vi. Opportunistic for the kingdom (5:16)
e. In a seminary missions class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push. After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. He went to the school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them push his car off. As he made his rounds, he would either park on a hill or leave the engine running. He used this ingenious procedure for two years. Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station. When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, "Why, Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable." He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to Jackson’s astonishment, the engine roared to life. For two years needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting that power to work. J.B. Phillips paraphrases Ephesians l:19-20, "How tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God." When we make firm our connection with God, his life and power flow through us.
3. It is a gift
a. The verb is passive
b. The Holy Spirit fills us; we don’t pull up to the spiritual gas pump put in our Jesus card and pump what we want.
c. Every instance of the Holy Spirit filling an individual is done this way. The person receives the gift, never demands it.