The apostle Paul needed to instruct first century believers to be filled with the Spirit. These were believers who actually received ministry from the apostles who walked with Jesus. Still Paul needed to tell them to be filled with the Spirit. Obviously we can be believers and attend church with the best of ministries, but not be filled with the Spirit. It is possible to be a Christian and be empty of the spirit, or at least not full.

THE SPIRIT FILLED LIFE
By Pastor Delbert Young

Filled with the Spirit

Audio

Filled with the Spirit

Scriptures: Ephesians 5:18-21, Acts 2:1-4, Ephesians 5:18-21

Our last lesson was named ‘Changing, or You Da Man.’ A primary aspect of the Spirit filled life is a life that will allow the Holy Spirit to change that life into the image of Christ (2Co 3:18). In that lesson we saw that the scriptures assure us that Jesus was human. Therefore, we can be changed into his image. The Holy Spirit will change us so we can evangelize the lost, ministering to the bruised, and serving one another (Luk 4:18-19; Gal 5:13).

When we first become a believer, the changes are evident. We stop doing things that we know are not pleasing to God. We invite people to church and tell of our faith. We pray and attempt to help people. We find ways to serve. Sadly, after a period, these obvious changes begin to slow or even cease. We may continue to attend church, but we stop changing. Have you ever wondered why this happens? We were once so ‘on fire’ for the Lord, then we become cool and even cold toward God. How many have ever experienced that, be honest? We need to be refilled with the Spirit. Refilled? Yes, that is what I want to talk about today.

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

I want to begin today as we began last week by asking a few questions. What does it mean to be “filled with the Spirit?” In the Charismatic corner and Pentecost position, it means speaking in tongues. Is that what it really means? What difference does it make if I’m ‘filled’ or not? And perhaps the most important question is ‘Am I filled with the Spirit?’ What a question! What if someone walked up to you and asked you, “Are you filled with the Spirit?”, how would you answer that question? If I am not, then how do I get there from here?

In verse eighteen, Paul said,

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

It is interesting that the apostle Paul needed to instruct believers, even first century believers, to be filled with the Spirit. These were the believers that actually received ministry from the apostles who walked with Jesus. The Apostle John actually ministered at Ephesus. Still Paul needed to tell them to be filled with the Spirit. Obviously we all can be believers and attend church with the best of ministries, but not be filled with the Spirit. It is possible to be a Christian and be “empty of the spirit,” or at least not full. It’s interesting that on the day of Pentecost, the believers were filled with the Spirit (Act 2:4). Then in Acts 4:31, they were filled again. They must have leaked.

Another point that needs to be made here is that being filled with the Spirit is not only for a few ‘super stars’ in the church. Every believer is instructed to be “filled with the Spirit.” But how do I get there from here.

….but be filled with the Spirit

A. Not Automatic

We note then that being filled with the Spirit is not automatic. It’s not something that simply happens at salvation. Being filled with the Spirit is something in which we participate. There is not a ‘one time’ giving of the Holy Spirit to the believer. There is a doctrine that says we get it all at once. If that were true then why did Paul tell these believers to be filled with the Spirit?

B. Essential and Urgent – That which fills us, controls us

This statement, “be filled with the Spirit,” is a command in the imperative mode. The imperative mode means the command is given to influence the listener’s behavior with something essential or urgent. To be filled with the Spirit is essential to the believer. It is urgent. What is it that is so essential and so urgent?

Paul draws an analogy between a person being drunk, or filled with wine, and a person being filled with the Spirit. They are both “filled” people. They are both controlled people. Their lives and behavior will radically change by that which fills them. The truth is that which fills us will control us. If a person is filled by alcohol then alcohol will control the thought process, decision making process, affect reason and response, stir emotions, affects the speech, and control the person in many other negative ways. The Holy Spirit will also affect a person in every way that alcohol will, except in every situation the effect is positive.

If a person is filled with lust, then lust will control that life. Lust will control the thought process, decision making process, reason, response, emotion, etc. If a person is filled with anger, then anger controls that life. Anger will control the thought process, decision making process, reason, response, emotion, etc If a person is filled with greed, then greed will control that life. If a person is filled with love, then love will control that life.

Some other things that fill us are grief, worry, and depression. I am certain there are more things. We can know what fills us by recognizing what controls us. That which fills us will always control us.

What are we filled with today? I promise you that you know if it is the Spirit or not. I want to be filled by the Spirit. So, how do I get there from here?

C. Passive Voice

Though ‘be filled with the Spirit’ is a command, it is in the passive voice. Commands can be either active or passive. We are more familiar with active voice commands. For example, we tell our children, “Clean your room.” That is the active voice. The child is the source for the fulfilling of the command. However, Ephesians 5:18 doesn’t say, ‘fill yourself with the Spirit.’ It says, “be filled with the Spirit.” That’s a bit hard to understand, but extremely important. This is passive voice meaning the subject of the verb (believers) is the recipient and not the source of the action denoted by the verb. The passive voice is positional action.

Let’s use this analogy. Suppose I commanded you, “Be loved!” But if there was no one that wanted to love you, then you cannot obey that command. You are not the source of the action. Using the same thought with ‘be filled,’ if there is not someone that wants to fill us with the Spirit then we cannot “be filled with the Spirit.” It is not ‘fill yourself with the Spirit.’ It is “be filled with the Spirit.”

So, how do I respond to the command? How do I get there from here? Sticking with the comparison command to ‘be loved,’ how do I respond to that command? I make myself ‘loveable.’ I cannot ‘be loved,’ but I can make myself available to those who want to love me. I can do the things that make it easy to love me. I cannot fill myself with the Spirit, but I can make myself ‘fillable.’

If I want my automobile filled with fuel, what do I do? I can tell the fuel tank, “Be filled with fuel.” However, if I don’t place the automobile in a ‘fillable’ position, it will not be filled. I had gotten a new Ford F150 pickup to pull my boat. Doug, Joe, and I went to Florida to do some fishing in the gulf. We had been there a day or so and had gone to eat supper that night when my truck began skipping. I immediately looked at the gauges and, sure enough, I had given out of gas. I was so filled with the fellowship that I had not noticed that the fuel tank was empty. We chugged to a stop across from a fire station and they gave me enough fuel to get me going again.

Believers are this way. We become so absorbed in things that we don’t notice how low our tank is on the Spirit. We become ‘filled’ with something else. In an emergency, we will get enough to get us going again. We will do a little prayer or get around some Christians or do a little praise. Seldom do we pull up to the pump and say, “Fill ‘er up!” Many believers go through life on emergency fuel. We’ve been given enough to get us going, but we are not filled. How do I get there from here? We will not be filled until we position ourselves at the pump of the Holy Spirit.

It’s time for our church to be filled with the Spirit. That will not happen until we position ourselves at the pump. I was reading in Acts 2 and noticed that before the people were filled with the Spirit, the house was filled with the Spirit.

Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

We need a sound of the Spirit in our church. What is the sound of the Spirit? Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God. We often sing, but is it from the heart? I was talking to someone this week about this. When we sing from the heart there is an energy released. There is a presence that provokes praise and provokes worship. There is a filling that takes place that leaves with us. The believers at Pentecost day had positioned themselves at the place of filling. They made themselves ‘fillable.’ Are we ‘fillable’ today? How about you? Are you ‘fillable’?

Ephesians 5:18 says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Then the apostle says,

Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Paul gave us some instructions about being filled with the Spirit. He said it included singing from our heart, giving thanks God, and submitting ourselves to one another. He gives us the way to position ourselves at the pump.

(NRS) Ephesians 5:18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit,

Ephesians 5:19 as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts,

Being filled with the Spirit doesn’t mean I have more of the Spirit. It means the Spirit has more of me. How much of you does God’s Spirit have today? Are you filled with the spirit?

Being filled with the Spirit does not happen with one sip of the Spirit any more than taking one sip of wine will make a person drunk or one lustful thought fills a person with lust. One aggravating thing does not fill a person with anger and getting one dollar does not fill a person with greed. In every situation, being filled requires time. It requires remaining in the position to receive the filling.

Other Related Sermons:

Keep On Asking Seeking Knocking – sermon notes

Shut the Windows Daniel – sermon notes

Pentecost the Hope of the World – sermon notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young