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Summary: When we are filled with the Spirit, and living our lives by the power of the Spirit, we no longer need to look to others to fill our emptiness, and we do not have to manipulate and control them so that they will fill our emptiness! So, because we are str

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Grace Based Relationships October 13, 2002

“Relationships by the Book”

Ephesians 5:18-6:9

Last week we looked at relationships where grace is not in place

We talked about how when we try to control those around us for our own purposes we are living in the curse that Adam and Eve received when they sinned. (And though you may desire to control your husband, he will be your master.” Gen. 3:16 NLT with footnote) And we are trying to take over God’s job – to shape and mold people according to his good purpose.

We talked about how we are born with a “Holy Spirit shaped hole” in our hearts, and in order to fill that emptiness, we often concentrate on the exterior, performance orientated areas of our life. After awhile, we realize that no amount of success or sin can fill that hole, so we go looking for someone else to fill the hole – usually a mate or family member. They look good on the outside, but because they are just as empty on the inside as we are, they can’t fill our emptiness, and we cannot fill theirs. So we start to try to shape them into the type of person that can fill our emptiness.

We talked about how this is idolatry. Whenever we go to another person or thing to do for us what only God can do for us, we are treating them as another god, and it is idolatry.

If we are to go to God to have these needs met, how do we do it and how does it affect our relationships?

To answer those questions, lets turn to Scripture.

Ephesians 5:18-6:9

Why this passage? – Because this passage has been the most misused passage in scripture in family relationships. It has actually been used to control, manipulate and shame family members rather than freeing them to experience the grace that God is offering them.

I have often taught about this passage and pointed out that there is an incorrect division in the translation. You cannot read verse 22 outside of the context of verse 21 – in fact this whole section is an out working of verse 21. Paul tells all Christians to be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ, and then he gives specific example of how this way of relating too one another works itself out in the family and in the workplace.

This letter was originally written in Greek, and Greek is a very economical language. If one sentence has the same verb as the preceding sentence, they feel no need to repeat the verb, they just borrow it from the preceding sentence.

So a closer translation of these two verses would read “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ: wives to your husbands…”

But, knowing the original language also makes us realize that you cannot read verse 21 out of the context of verse 18. In this section, the only command is “do not get drunk on wine which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit” The rest of the verbs are participles – “ing” verbs

– Be filled with the Spirit, speaking in psalms, hymns, & spiritual songs, singing and making music, giving thanks, submitting to each other…

What Paul is saying is this is how you will look if you are filled with the Spirit: you will speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, you will sing and make music in you heart to the Lord, you will always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our lord Jesus Christ, and you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ!

Our submission to each other is an outworking of the Spirit’s filling of our lives.

Be Filled With the Spirit

Filled With the Spirit! (Page 81)

"Filled" is the Greek word pleroma, which has a couple of meanings that apply here. First, it could mean permeated. Permeated is what happens to your cup of coffee when you put sugar into it. It becomes permeated. After you stir, there is no part of the coffee that doesn’t have sugar in it.

Pleroma is also the word that would be used to describe a sail when it is full of wind. A filled sail is what empowers or propels a sailboat. (Now this is where what I learned in high-school physics comes in handy.) It is not the wind in the sail that propels the boat – the bout is not pressured forward from behind. In fact, the wind creates a negative pressure - a vacuum - in front of the sail. This vacuum is the force that attracts the boat forward. So being filled with the Spirit does not mean being power-driven through the Christian life, as if the Holy Spirit were a locomotive-wind behind us. Rather, it means being drawn into godly living by the Holy Spirit, who is in front of us, focusing us on God. I guess God knows about physics, too.

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