Summary: Exposition of Ephesians 5 and John 15 regarding living the Spirit-filled Christian life out of the two most important texts that deal with the matter.
Text: Eph 5:18, John 15:5-8, Title: The Missing Link, Date/Place: NRBC, 11/27/11, AM
A. Opening illustration: read the story at the opening of The Spirit Filled Life, “I’m willing to bet there are millions of churchgoers across America who cannot confidently say they have experienced His presence or action in their lives over the past year. And many of them do not believe they can. The benchmark of success in church services has become more about attendance than the movement of the Holy Spirit. The “entertainment” model of church was largely adopted in the 1980’s and ‘90’s and while it alleviated some of our boredom for a couple of hours a week, it filled our churches with self-focused consumers rather than self-sacrificing servants attuned to the Holy Spirit….The light of the American church is flickering and nearly extinguished, having largely sold out to the kingdoms and values of this world….We are not all we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Spirit of God….shouldn’t there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of him or her and the person who does not?”-Francis Chan
B. Background to passage: we have been talking about the definition and use of spiritual gifts within the body, because Paul has in 1 Cor 12. There are a couple of more messages on the definitions of gifts, but one of our members noted last week that I spoke about the “baptism of the Spirit” related to verse 13. And they asked about the “filling of the Spirit” which I only made a passing mention of. And as I thought about it this week, I felt like I should spend more time on such a key concept not only to spiritual gifts, but to every aspect of the Christian life.
C. Main thought: this morning we will talk about living the Spirit-filled Christian life out of the two most important texts that deal with the matter.
A. Keep on Being Filled (Eph 5)
1. Differentiate between baptism and filling. Explain the command in v. 18 to keep on being filled by the Holy Spirit. The word was used to speak of wind filling the sails of a ship, or like salt permeating meat, or being overwhelmed with a particular emotion, full of sorrow, full of joy, full of fear. In none of these cases did the thing being filled do anything but be there; someone/something else had to do the application. And along with the analogy of wine in this verse, the idea of control in carried with it. The witness of Acts shows us that while baptism by the Spirit happens once, filling happens repetitively. And the verb is passive, something that is done to us rather than by us. So, Paul is commanding that we continually, repeatedly, be filled up by the Spirit.
2. Acts 2:4, 4:8, 31, 6:3, 7:55, 11:24,
3. Illustration: think of it like a balloon, talk about the guest who lives in the back room whom you never see, versus one that lives in your living room, eats your food, and has his way about the whole place,
4. The filling of the Spirit is primarily responsible for effective ministry (empowerment for service), use of the spiritual gifts, production of spiritual fruit, evangelism, and sanctification; or just the whole Christian life! We don’t have time to got into all of the ministries of the Holy Spirit today (but let me encourage you to pursue it on your own, start in Rom 8, Gal 5, John 14-16), but suffice it to say that the active ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life is the only way that you will ever live in victory in the Christian life. And so to live in ignorance of this important concept is disastrous for your walk of faith. But most of our mindsets are geared to “do your best” or “try real hard” and God understands the rest. And we spend most of our Christian life trying to serve in our own power, vowing to try harder, do better, kill sin ourselves, and feeling terrible when we fail again and again. But the power to have victory in your Christian life lies in being filled with the Spirit. He is not a power to be harnessed; He is the life of Christ, the Spirit of the Living God who dwells in you. So we are to seeking the filling of the spirit, but not work it up. There is nothing that the sail can do, but wait on the wind, but it is hoisted in faith. Stop trying, and start trusting, depending, abiding in Him to work through you.
B. Abide in Christ (John 15)