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What Are You Full Of?

"18 And do not get drunk with wine, in which there is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your hearts to the Lord;"
Good Morning Beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We're so blessed to have you here with us
We live in a society over run with people wanting to be their own boss. However, as we continue our journey through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we’re going to find that we had better rethink that attitude. Anyone who has been a Christian for any length of time, anyone who is familiar with this particular portion of Scripture, knows who incredibly important this passage. In fact, I believe there is no area of our Christian walk, more crucial, more essential than this particular truth.

Let us bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

Father, we thank You for the Word You have for us today, we thank You for the joy that fills our hearts being gathered together. We thank You for Your Spirit that fills our hearts with song. We give You thanks for gifted people both past and present who continue to inspire us to sing our hearts out.

Lord, help us to yield our hearts to You, to empty ourselves, that we might reach a level of spiritual fullness that is unimaginable, help us to walk worthy, being filled by the Spirit, rejoicing and singing our praises to You. Most of all, we thank You that we can sing the song of the Redeemed.
May it all be for Your glory
In Jesus' name

Today's Message: What Are You Full Of?

Open with me your Bibles to Ephesians 5:18-19 I'd like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read to get this essential text set in our hearts.
"And do not get drunk with wine, in which there is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your hearts to the Lord."
Now, in spite of how many misinterpret our passage, "And do not get drunk with wine.." Paul is giving his readers a command here that is consistent with the teaching in the rest of Scripture, his main focus here is clearly not the issue of the drinking of alcoholic beverages. Remember that Paul is writing here in a section where he has been pointing out to his readers that, as followers of Jesus Christ, they can no longer continue to live their lives in the same way that they had done so prior to their conversion experience. 
Paul, realizing that many of these Gentile believers would have been familiar with, and even previously participated in, the cult of Dionysus, the god of wine and ecstasy. A major feature of that worship was the orgies where the participants became highly intoxicated with wine in order to cause Dionysus to fill the worshiper’s body so he or she would comply with the will of their god. 

So the primary issue here is not so much drunkenness, or wine, but rather the concept of leaving behind the life of darkness these Gentile Christians were once engulfed in. So I’m not going to spend a lot of time on that part of our passage this morning, other than to say that the Bible very clearly teaches that drunkenness is a sin. On the other hand, one cannot legitimately make the case that the Bible totally prohibits the drinking of alcoholic beverages, either. 
The whole matter of drinking wine and whatever is a big problem today. It’s quite a huge discussion in the church today. There are some Christians who say, "Well, I don’t drink, therefore you shouldn’t drink, because it’s a sin to drink.” Some one else will say, "Since it’s not a sin to drink, Jesus drank wine and they drank wine in the Bible and they drank wine in the Old Testament, and I’m just being biblical, and I want to be a biblical Christian." 
However, this is one of those issues where I believe we need to allow others to live out their own convictions, while practicing the conviction we believe in. However there are a couple of caveats. First, we can never allow our freedom to become a stumbling block to our brothers and sisters in Christ. And secondly, we should not try force our own personal convictions onto others.
That said, I believe the point of the verse in "but be filled with the spirit." So why did Paul mention not becoming drunk with wine? I believe the answer is quite simple. One very sure way to act like a fool, is to become drunk. That is the antithesis of wisdom, being filled with the spirit is the will of God, not to mention wise while being drunk is stupid, irresponsible and foolish.

This is another one of those passages that has been misapplied within the body of Christ because many have not taken the time to examine this verse carefully within its proper context. And as a result, many Christians are chasing after some experience that will "validate" the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives or assure them that they have the Holy Spirit. 

But as we’ll discover this morning, it is not an issue of us getting more of the Holy Spirit; it is an issue of the Holy Spirit getting more of us. It’s not about an event; it’s about a lifestyle. I know that I run the risk of putting you to sleep or boring all of you to death, but there is really no way that we can adequately understand this passage without a lesson in Greek grammar.

In fact, that’s one of the main reasons I’ve chosen to only tackle this in just two verses. While our English versions all capture some of Paul’s meaning, there is no way to really comprehend this crucial and important issue without looking at this passage word-by-word. 

Perhaps the most critical thing we will do this morning is to get a grasp on the meaning of this word that all of our English translations render “filled.” When we use the word “fill” in English we normally think of something being placed into a container such as milk being poured to the brim of a glass, or filling the tanks in our cars with gasoline. But those examples don’t really convey the meaning of the word Paul uses here.

The Greek word "pleroo" has three facet meaning. A force which moves, this word was used to describe wind filling the sails on a ship, thus providing the force which moved the vessel. When we apply that concept to our spiritual lives, we find that the Holy Spirit is the force who moves us along in our day-to-day walk with the Lord. Instead of focusing on our own wants and desires, we’re to allow the Holy spirit to be the current that determines where we go in our lives.

Permeation, when some of you woke up, you grabbed a cup of coffee. And then those of you who really don’t like the flavor of coffee added sugar, sweetener and/or one or more of those little cups of flavored creamer to your coffee. And once you stirred it into your coffee, it filled, or permeated every drop of coffee in that cup. So every sip took on the flavor of what you added to that coffee. If we’re filled with the Holy Spirit then every part of our life ought to bear the flavor of His presence in our lives.

That brings us to the third meaning, and the one most prominent in the New Testament, it conveys the sense of domination or total control. We can see that if we look at how that same word is used elsewhere. In John 16:6, when Jesus told the disciples that He would soon be leaving them, he spoke these words to them: "Yet, because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart."

Jesus was pointing out that their grief was so overwhelming that it consumed their thoughts. In other words, it dominated and controlled them.

We see this concept even more clearly in Acts 5:3, in the account of Ananias and Sapphira. "Then Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds from the field?" I do not believe there can be any doubt that the way Peter uses the same word in that passage is to picture how Satan had control of the heart of Ananias.

To further illustrate the point, Paul has already contrasted for us being filled by the Holy Spirit and being drunk. What do we call it when someone gets drunk and then drives their car? Driving under the influence. Which is really just another way of saying driving under the control of the alcohol. Paul was making the association between becoming drunk and being controlled by the pagan gods.

We are not merely empty vessels into which the Holy Spirit is poured like a liquid nor is He is merely some power socket that we plug into to be empowered for service. He is the third person of the Triune God who brings us into a right relationship with God the Father through the finished work of God the Son, Jesus Christ, and who dwells permanently in our lives. We don’t need to get more of the Spirit. But we do need to allow the Spirit get more of us. In fact, being filled is not an option.

I believe the Greek word for "be filled", "plērousthe," is imperative here. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not just for "super-Christians" or for some elect group that has an extra dose of the Holy Spirit. Every follower of Jesus Christ is to be filled, or controlled, by the Holy Spirit. The point is, this is a command, which means that it is not optional. Although, as we’ll see in a moment, the filling of the Holy Spirit is all God’s work, this is not merely some prayer request or something that we are to ask God for. Since the Bible commands it, this must be something that is possible for every follower of Jesus Christ to obey and God will give us whatever is necessary to do that.
Alcoholism and drunkeness is a sin, and it needs to be confessed and dealt with as a sin. If you want joy, unspeakable and full of glory in your life, if you want comfort beyond the comfort the world can ever dream of, then Paul says, “Be filled with the Spirit.” Don’t seek your answers in the bottle, they’re not there, they just compound the problem. And whenever you look at the Bible and you talk about drunkenness, it always comes out bad. In speaking from my own past experiences, it is never a good thing. I can testify, it always leads to disaster. 

However, being filled is a daily process, over the course of a lifetime. The command to be filled is in the present tense. I hope that by now, we have made this point so many times in our journey through Ephesians, that we understand that the present tense indicates a continuing action. So we could very accurately translate this command: Keep on being filled, or controlled, with the Holy Spirit.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not some one-time occurrence, emotional event or single experience, but rather something that needs to occur on a day-to-day, moment-by-moment. For many Christians, I believe the picture of being filled with the Holy Spirit is similar to the way we fill up the gas tanks in our cars. We fill up our tanks, and then we drive around for some period of time. Then, we watch to see when the price per gallon is going up, so that we can fill up before the next price increase. And then if we mistime that and the gas gauge nears empty, now days, we stop by the bank for a loan and then go fill our tank up again. And we repeat this process over and over as needed.

There is a sense in which the Holy Spirit operated somewhat in that manner in Old Testament times. God would give the Holy Spirit to a specific individual for a specific period of time in order to accomplish a specific task. But from the day of Pentecost on, that all changed. As we saw all the way back in chapter 1, the very moment that we commit our lives to Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell permanently within us. We get all of the Holy Spirit we will ever need right then and there. The Holy Spirit is not some expendable source of energy that runs out and has to be replenished.

The next thing we see is that the word "be filled" is in the passive sense. In other words, the people to who Paul addresses this command are not the ones who are engaging the action. Someone else is doing it to them. Why? Because we can fill ourselves with the Holy Spirit. 

Although I’ve already warned you about trying to picture the filling of the Holy Spirit as being analogous to the filling of the gas tank, perhaps that illustration is actually helpful here. The gas tank in our car cannot fill itself up. Someone else has to do the filling up. The same thing is true when it comes to the filling of the Holy Spirit. I can’t fill myself up with the Holy Spirit. Someone else has to do that. And this verse gives us a very clear picture of who is doing the filling.

Every English translation I could find translates this passage "be filled with the Holy Spirit," which would indicate that the Holy Spirit is what, or more accurately whom, we are filled with. The NIV translation, however, uses the phrase "filled by" which indicates that the Holy Spirit is the instrument by which the action is carried out. That certainly seems to fit much better with what we’ve already learned here today, wouldn't you agree?  

In verse 19, Paul writes "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your hearts to the Lord;"

When spirit filled people all come together, this is the way the church functions. When Spirit-filled people come together, we sing. We sing. That is the expression of what's inside of us. And among whom do we sing? We sing to one another, we sing among ourselves. Where does the music come from and to whom do we sing? Let's look at the end of verse 19, "..making melody with your hearts to the Lord." Our song comes from our hearts, which we sing among ourselves, and our songs is directed to the Lord.

While music is certainly the expression of a Spirit-filled life, and people can be brought to Christ through music, I believe there needs to be evangelism along the way. 

The Roman Catholic church robbed people of music for fifteen hundred years? Did you know that? They took the music away from the people. Completely. And it wasn’t until the Reformation that music returned. One of the first things the Reformers did was bring the music back in the church, and consequently, they were some of the best hymn writers.

In Closing.... 

I believe that we can accurately conclude that what Paul is saying here is "All of you keep on being controlled by the Holy Spirit."

Given the context in which Paul writes this command, he makes it quite clear that we cannot live the kind of life he has been describing as a result of our own religious effort or even as a result of our spiritual discipline. Only God can cause that to happen as we allow ourselves to be controlled by the Holy Spirit who lives within us. I believe we would all agree with that statement.

Likely one of the best examples of "being Spirit-filled," is in Colossians 3:16-17. Allow me to read it to you. "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.."

One things both of these passages have in common is that they make it quite clear that the result of being filled by the Spirit is that all of our attention and focus is taken off ourselves and transferred to our relationships with God and with others. Do you see it?

Listen, as I read these two passages together. ".. speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your hearts to the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

And for those of you looking for a practical way to be filled by the Spirit, "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom.."

To be filled by the Spirit, we must allow the Word of God to infuse every part of our lives. Since the Holy Spirit is the author of the Word of God, when we allow that Word to saturate every area of our lives, we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us.

May it be so...

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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