Summary: . We want to be a Spirit-filled church. Since this church, like every church, is made up of people, the only way that we can be a Spirit-filled church is if we have Spirit-filled people. But what exactly does that mean?
January 18, 2004 Ephesians 5:18
¡§The Spirit-filled Christian¡¨
Let¡¦s try a little experiment. I¡¦m going to mention some events or players in past and present day history, and you see what comes to mind as I say these things. Here we go:
„X the death of Princess Diana
„X the city of Atlantis
„X WMD in Iraq or Iraq in general
„X The assassination of JFK
If our experiment worked, what happened as I said some or all of those things was that questions came into your mind. Did the city of Atlantis ever exist, and if so, did it sink into the sea as the legend says? Was there only one gunman targeting President JFK on that fateful day in Dallas? How long will there be a U.S. presence in Iraq, and will there ever be a stable Iraqi government there? Just recently, a group in England started a new probe into the death of Princess Diana to see if it was really an accident. All the questions have not been answered to their satisfaction, so they¡¦re going to ask them again.
This week, President Bush announced a new initiative ¡V a permanent space station on the moon by 2015 to be used as a launching point for a manned expedition to Mars. I¡¦m not sure why President Bush wants man to go to Mars. Up to now, all the billions of dollars that have been spent on gaining information about the red planet have been focused on one question: was there ever life on Mars? I can answer that question: NO! Now, since I just saved the U.S. government and its taxpayers 100¡¦s of billions of dollars, I think that they could send us a small thank you in the form of a check for a million dollars to build us a church building.
Let me throw one more subject at you and see if any questions come to mind: being filled with the Spirit. Last week, we talked about characteristics that will manifest themselves in a Spirit-filled church and how that kind of church will be very attractive to people. We want to be a Spirit-filled church. Since this church, like every church, is made up of people, the only way that we can be a Spirit-filled church is if we have Spirit-filled people. But what exactly does that mean? And other than the fact that it is commanded in the Bible that each of us be filled with the Spirit, what reason should you or I have for wanting this filling? These are questions that we are going to answer this morning in order to combat the confusing and false information that is out there about the Spirit and, more importantly, to help us get right in the center of the will of God for our lives.
1. How do you DEFINE what it means to be ¡§full of the Spirit¡¨?
„X NOT the same as being ¡§baptized¡¨ by the Spirit ¡V baptism makes you a part of the body of Christ
¡§For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body...and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.¡¨
1 Corinthians 12:13 (NIV)
¡§...if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.¡¨ Romans 8:9 (NIV)
„X It is when the Spirit gets control of your life
¡§...those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. ...if the Holy Spirit controls your mind there is life and peace.¡¨ Romans 8:5-6 (NLT)
Illustration: Have two glasses ¡V one clear, one colored ¡V already filled with a colored liquid (kool-aid) to illustrate that each Christian is already filled with the Spirit in the sense that He is already inside of us. But then, point out that with the colored glass, the glass controls the color that the outside world sees. The color of the liquid inside is unable to show through. With the clear glass, it is very easy to see the color of the liquid. Likewise, the more clear we are and the less in control we are, the more control the Spirit can have over our actions and attitudes.
¡§The point is one of control. If a man is filled with anger, than anger controls his life. If a man is filled with greed, then greed dominates his life. If a man is filled with love, then love influences all he does. And if a man is filled with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will have the controlling interest in your life. It is ¡§control by consent.¡¨
¡§Let me stop and make a critical distinction: Being filled with the Holy Spirit does not mean I have more of the Spirit, it means the Spirit has more of me. I do not need more and more of the Spirit ¡V as if the Spirit were a drug whose effectiveness depended on increased dosage. God works just fine in small doses. It is we who must allow God to do his full work in us.¡¨