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Old and New Testament
DO NOT BE FOOLISH:
dia touto me ginesthe (2PPMM) aphrones.:
(Ep 5:15; Colossians 4:5)
Eph 5:15 Therefore
(present active imperative - calls
for constant vigilance!) how you walk (behave, conduct yourself in
public and private), not as unwise men, but as wise,
(present active imperative - calls for continual attention to behave)
yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the
All verbs in
not suggestions! But rest
assured that God's commandments always
include His enablement, for He has given us His Spirit (the "Enabler")
Who indwells us and continually enables us to obey by giving us the
desire and the power (Php 2:13NLT-note).
Stated another way, every time we encounter one of God's commandments
(there are over 900 in the New Testament so we will have many
occasions to practice this approach!), we should begin to recognize
that His command is an "opportunity" for us to jettison self-reliance
and by faith choose "Spirit reliance!"
So then (1223)
(dia) in this case is used in its causal sense - in consequence
of, by, on the basis of, on account of the evil nature of the days, stop
(KJV = "Wherefore"; Amplified = "Therefore" - see
terms of conclusion).
Always pause to ponder and ask what
is the writer concluding (as you do this you are in effect learning to
a discipline God will greatly bless
- Ps 1:2, 3-note,
Also consider other
is Paul's conclusion because the days are evil and we are to daily seek
to redeem each one for God's glory. How do we do it?
Because we are called to walk wisely in order to maximize the use of the opportunities God
gives us each day (Eph 5:16-note), Paul concludes first by telling them to stop being foolish or showing lack of
sense (the negative). Then he emphasizes (the positive) that we are to
discern the will of God, which clearly indicates God's will is not
mystical but eminently knowable! Then Paul explains how we can know the will of God,
instructing us not to be
drunk with wine but instead to be "drunk" (so to speak) or
filled with the Spirit, letting
Him control our life.
Charles Hodge writes that...
“because the days are evil” or “because you are bound to walk as wise
people.” The latter is to be preferred, because the reference is to the
main idea of Eph 5:15–16 and not to a subordinate clause. “You must no
longer live in the futility of their thinking.” Compare Lk 11:40, “You
foolish people! [You unthinking ones!] Did not the one who made the
outside make the inside also?” Also see Lk 12:20; 1Co 15:36;
2Co 11:16; etc. In all these cases “fools” means people who do
not make a right use of their understanding, who do not see things in
their true light or estimate them according to their relative
importance. Here it is contrasted with understand: “Do not be senseless,
undiscriminating between what is true and false, right and wrong,
important and unimportant, but understanding (i.e., discerning) what
God’s will is.” That is, see things as God sees them, and make his will
or judgment your standard and the rule of your conduct. (Ephesians 5:17-18
(ginomai) means to become. The
with a negative
commands them to stop an action already in progress - stop becoming
Paul is saying stop acting as if you
don’t have the ability to understand the situations that occur in your
life and how God wants you to respond because you do have that ability
now in Christ, in the New Self. Second Timothy tells us we are not like
people who are lost but have minds that have been saved (see word study
We can understand what God wants us to do.
Moule writes Paul is charging
do not become such
(mindless, witless, as regards duty and its conditions), by a permitted
habit of forgetfulness, deepening till it fixes. (Ephesian Studies:
Expository Readings on the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Ephesians)
On this account stop becoming those
who are without reflection or intelligence (Wuest)
Eadie says that...
The Ephesian Christians, in order to
enable themselves to redeem the time (Eph 5:16), were not to be thoughtless, but to
possess a perfect understanding of the Master's will. They would then
form just conceptions of daily duty, and would not lose time through the
perplexity of conflicting obligations. (Ephesians 5:17-18 Commentary)
(878)(aphron from a = without + + phren = understanding,
means originally meant diaphragm and was regarded as the seat of mental
and spiritual activity, then mind or understanding -- see another study
on aphron -
click here) is literally a lack
of sense, reflection, understanding or reason. Aphron is one who does
not use his rational powers. Aphron describes one
not employing his understanding especially as it relates to practical matters.
It means lack of good judgment and can refer to folly in action. It can express a
reckless and inconsiderate habit of one's mind. Related ideas inherent
in aphron are not using common sense, mindless or unmindful of
the consequence of a thought or action, acting rashly.
is not a dim-witted person or clown (as in ‘play the fool’), but
in secular Greek was the person who had lost the correct
measure of himself and the world around him. He was one who lacked prudence
(= the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use
of reason and includes the idea of acting with or showing care and
thought for the future)
In the present
verse foolish describes one who does not know the will of the
Lord. Only as one understands what pleases God can he carry it out in
his life, and not to do otherwise is foolish! In Ephesians 5:15
Paul describes the unwise, those who simply lack wisdom, but in this
verse, the foolish behave contrary to what they know to be right.
In the OT exalting
human reason is folly (aphron). The aphron is the fool who denies God in
the Psalms. In Proverbs aphron refers to the simple or inexperienced
person. Josephus uses aphron to describe youthful folly or lack of
writes that aphron means...
Senseless. In Xenophon’s
“Memorabilia,” Socrates, addressing Aristodemus, says, “Which do you
take to be the more worthy of admiration, those who make images without
sense (aphrona) or motion, or those who make intelligent and active
creations?” (1, 4:4). Sometimes, (aphron is used) also, in the sense of
crazed, frantic, but never in New Testament. (Vincent, M. R. . Word
Studies in the New Testament 1:369)
writes that in classic Greek use...
aphron, senseless, foolish and
aphrosune, lack of sense, foolishness (both words from Homer onwards)
indicate by the use of the Alpha-privative that the term is essentially
defined by a lack or a negation, i.e. lack of insight and reason. But
the possible development of a diseased mind is not excluded here either
(Homer, Od. 23, 10-14). aphron can thus mean infatuated (Homer,
Od. 21, 102) and aphrosune can be referred back to mania (Aristotle,
Eth. Nic. 7, 6, both times, incidentally, through active intervention of
the gods). But the words chiefly describe deficient perception of value
and truth. (Brown,
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
used 11 times in the NT (see below) and 111 times in the
(2Sa 13:13; Job 2:10; 5:2, 3; 30:8; 34:36; Ps 14:1; 39:8; 49:10; 53:1;
74:18, 22; 92:6; 94:8; Pr 1:22; 6:12; 7:7; 9:4, 13, 16; 10:1, 4, 18,
21, 23; 11:29; 12:1, 15f, 23; 13:16, 20; 14:1, 3, 7, 8, 16, 18, 24, 29,
33; 15:2, 5, 7, 20; 16:22, 27; 17:2, 7, 10, 12, 16, 18, 21, 24, 25; 18:6,
22; 19:10, 13, 25, 28, 29; 20:3; 21:20; 22:3; 23:9; 24:9, 30; 26:1, 4,
27:3, 12, 22; 28:26; 29:11, 20; 30:2, 22; Eccl. 2:14, 15, 16, 19; 4:5, 13;
5:1, 3, 4; 6:8; 7:4, 5, 6, 9; 10:2, 3, 6, 12, 14, 15f; Is 59:7; Je 4:22; 17:11)
Luke 11:40 "You foolish ones,
did not He who made the outside make the inside also?
Jesus uses aphron to describe the Pharisees because they thought
that their external works based righteousness could gain favor
with God.) Jesus called the Pharisees fools for their preoccupation with
Luke 12:20 "But God said to
him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and
now who will own what you have prepared?'
Comment: The rich man was a
fool because he had failed to prepare to meet God. A fool is the one
whose plans end at the grave! In both this verse and the preceding, Luke
11:40, willful and culpable ignorance is involved warranting a strong
reproach. The Pharisees and the farmer both refused to take into account
what God had revealed to his OT people.
Romans 2:20 a corrector of the
foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the
embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,
Comment: In this
context aphron is used by those who are "religious" to refer to
those they classify as immature in moral and religious matters.
1 Corinthians 15:36 You
fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies
Comment: Here a fool is one
who questions the fact of the resurrection and the life (cp Jn 11:25,
2 Corinthians 11:16 Again I
say, let no one think me foolish; but if you do, receive me even
as foolish, that I also may boast a little.
2 Corinthians 11:19 For you,
being so wise, bear with the foolish gladly.
2 Corinthians 12:6 For if I do
wish to boast I shall not be foolish, for I shall be speaking the
truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one may credit me with more
than he sees in me or hears from me.
2 Corinthians 12:11 I have
become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should
have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most
eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody.
Ephesians 5:17 So then do not
be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
1 Peter 2:15
-note For such is the
will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of
Comment: In this context
foolish describes those obstinately set against the gospel.
UNDERSTAND WHAT THE WILL OF
THE LORD IS: alla suniete (2PPAM) ti to thelema tou kuriou.:
(Deut 4:6; 1Ki 3:9, 10, 11, 12; Job 28:28; Ps 111:10; 119:27; Pr 2:5;
14:8; 23:23; Je 4:22; 1Th 4:1, 2)
Deut 4:6 “So keep and do them,
for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the
peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great
nation is a wise and understanding people.’
Job 28:28 “And to man He said,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil
Ps 111:10 The fear of the LORD
is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do
His commandments; His praise endures forever.
Ps 119:27 Make me understand
the way of Thy precepts, So I will meditate on Thy wonders.
FOR HIS PEOPLE TO BE FILLED!
Take a moment
and do a survey of some Scriptural passages related to
God's will (interrogate
with the 5W'S & H
[for many of the passages it will be important to check the
and write down your observations/applications in your devotional
notebook) - Mt 6:10, 7:21, 12:50, 26:42, Mark 3:35, Jn
4:34, 6:40, 7:17, Acts 13:22, 21:14, 22:14, Ro 12:2, Eph 5:17, 6:6, Col
1:9, 4:12, 1Th 4:3, 5:18, Heb 10:7, 10:36, 13:21, 1Pe 2:15, 4:2, 1Jn
2:17, Ps 40:8, 143:10. As a corollary, one can hardly expect to know
God's will if they are not depending on Spirit filled (Spirit directed
in their discernment) understanding (understand
is a command calling for continual adherence and the only way to truly
obey it is by dependence upon the Spirit's enabling power!)
Father, if Thou art willing, remove
this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done. (Lk 22:42)
And He taught us
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven. (Mt 6:10 -note)
Paul described a
similar idea when he wrote that believers walking as children of light
should continually be
trying to learn what is pleasing to
the Lord. (Ep 5:10-note)
But (alla) is a strong
adversative. Each time you encounter a
term of contrast
is an opportunity to pause and
ponder, asking what is the writer contrasting, why now, how are the
points contrasted, etc.
= with + hiemi = send) (Click study of related noun
sunesis) literally means to send together or
bring together. The idea is to put together "pieces of the puzzle" (so
to speak) and to exhibit quick comprehension. Suniemi is
describes the ability to understand concepts and see relationships
between them. Suniemi means to put together, grasp or exhibit
quick comprehension. Suniemi is the manifestation of the
ability to understand concepts and see relationships between them and
thus describes the exercise of the faculty of comprehension,
intelligence, acuteness, shrewdness.
sunesis was originally used by Homer in the Odyssey to describe the
running together or a flowing together of two rivers.
indicates this is a command to make this our continual practice to put
grasp or comprehend the will of God.
that suniemi means to...
to have an intelligent grasp of
something that challenges one’s thinking or practice
There are 26 uses
of suniemi in the NT - Mt 13:13, 14, 15, 19, 23, 51; 15:10;
16:12; 17:13; Mark 4:12; 6:52; 7:14; 8:17, 21; Lk. 2:50; 8:10; 18:34;
24:45; Acts 7:25; 28:26, 27; Ro 3:11; 15:21; 2Co 10:12; Ep 5:17. The
NAS95 translates suniemi as - gained...insight(1), understand(17),
understanding(1), understands(2), understood(5).
Matthew 13:13 "Therefore (term
I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and
while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 "In
their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, 'YOU
WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON
SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; 15 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS
BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED
THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR
EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD
Matthew 13:19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not
understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been
sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the
Matthew 13:23 "And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this
is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed
bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some
Matthew 13:51 "Have you understood all these things?" They said
to Him, "Yes."
Matthew 15:10 After (time
Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, "Hear and understand.
Comment: Clearly just hearing
the Word does not equate with understanding the Word of God. Natural
understanding is unable to comprehend supernatural truth. So how can we
understand the Word of Truth and Life? Only one way - God mush open our
"minds to understand the Scriptures." (Lk 24:45). After Jesus ascended
to be seated at the right hand of the throne of Majesty, He ask the
Father for the Spirit, Whom He sent to indwell everyone thereafter who
would believe in Him. Now it is the Spirit of Truth Who leads us into
all the Truth. How silly to go to the supernatural Word without a
supernatural Teacher to open our minds to understand. Without being
legalistic, let me suggest that we never open the Book until we have
first pause to pray and ask God to open our heart to understand! If we
have unconfessed sin, that is the first order of business (cp Ps 66:18-note,
etc). We can be confident "that, if we ask anything according to His
will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask,
we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. (1Jn
Matthew 16:12 Then they understood
that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the
teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Matthew 17:13 Then (When? When Jesus answered them. See context Mt
17:10-12) the disciples understood that He had spoken to them
about John the Baptist.
Mark 4:12 so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE
HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT
RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN."
Mark 6:52 (Context
= Mk 6:47-51).
- pause and ponder - What
is this passage explaining?
See context) they had not gained any insight from the
incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened (calloused, dull,
lacking power of understanding).
Mark 7:14 After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to
them, "Listen to Me, all of you, and
calls for immediate attention!)
Mark 8:17 And Jesus, aware of this (What?
= Mk 8:16), said to
them, "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not
yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart?
Mark 8:21 And (In light of Mk 8:18-20) He was saying to them, "Do
you not yet understand?"
Luke 2:50 But (term
they did not understand the statement (What
statement? Lk 2:49) which
He had made to them.
Luke 8:10 And He said, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries
of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING
THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.
Comment: See explanation on Mt
Luke 18:34 But (term
the disciples understood none of these things (What?
What is Luke
= Lk 18:31-33), and the
meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not
comprehend the things that were said.
Comment: "Hidden" is the verb
krupto (literally to prevent something from being seen,
figuratively to prevent it from being known and understood), from which
we get our English "cryptic" and in the perfect tense speaks of a
lasting condition. Obviously the day did come when He opened their minds
to understand the meaning of these things for they form the foundation
of the Gospel that the disciples proclaimed and for which they were
willing to die (and apparently all died a martyr's death except John who
was exiled to Patmos.)
Luke 24:45 Then He opened their minds to understand the
Comment: The specific texts
are not mentioned. Generally when the NT uses the word Scriptures (graphe),
it refers to the Old Testament.
Acts 7:25 "And he supposed that his brethren understood that God
was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand.
Acts 28:26 saying, 'GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, "YOU WILL KEEP ON
HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING,
BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; 27 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES;
OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND
UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM."'
THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
Comment: This is the sad state
of every natural, unregenerate, lost man still in Adam when it comes to
the supernatural Word of Truth (cp 1Cor 2:14, 12-16). One must be
transferred from the kingdom of darkness (especially spiritual darkness;
cp Jesus' call on the life of Saul = Acts 26:16, 17, 18) and to the
Kingdom of God's beloved Son, from in Adam to in Christ (Col 1:12-14-note,
- Ro 15:20) as it is written, "THEY WHO HAD NO NEWS OF HIM SHALL
SEE, AND THEY WHO HAVE NOT HEARD SHALL UNDERSTAND."
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves
with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure
themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they
are without understanding.
Ephesians 5:17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the
will of the Lord is.
103x in non-apocryphal
- Ex 35:35; 36:1; Deut.
29:9; 32:7, 29; Joshua 1:7, 8; 1Sa 2:10; 18:14, 15; 2Sa 12:19; 1Ki 2:3;
3:9; 2Ki 18:7; 1Chr 25:7; 2Chr 20:17; 26:5; 30:22; 34:12; Ezra 8:15, 16;
Neh. 8:2, 3, 8, 12; 10:28; 13:7; Job 15:9; 20:2; 31:1; 32:12; 36:4, 29;
38:31; Ps 2:10; 5:1; 14:2; 19:12; 28:5; 33:15; 36:3; 41:1; 49:12, 20;
50:22; 53:2; 58:9; 64:9; 73:17; 82:5; 92:6; 94:7, 8; 101:1; 106:7;
107:43; 119:95, 99, 100, 104; 139:2; Pr. 2:5, 9; 8:9; 21:11, 12, 29;
28:5; 29:7; Is 1:3; 6:9, 10; 7:9; 43:10; 52:13, 15; 59:15; Jer. 9:12,
24; 20:12; 23:5; Da 1:4, 17; 8:5, 17, 23, 27; 9:2, 13, 23, 25; 10:11,
12; 11:30, 33, 35, 37; 12:3, 8, 10; Ho 4:14; 14:9; Amos 5:13; Micah
4:12; Mt 13:13, 14, 15, 19, 23, 51; 15:10; 16:12; 17:13; Mark 4:12;
6:52; 7:14; 8:17, 21; Lk 2:50; 8:10; 18:34; 24:45; Acts 7:25; 28:26, 27;
Ro 3:11; 15:21; 2 Co. 10:12; Ep 5:17.
In summary, suniemi
describes the comprehending activity of the mind and
entails the assembling of individual facts into an organized whole, as
collects the pieces of a puzzle and puts them together to see the "big
picture!" The mind that understands (suniemi)
grasps concepts and sees their proper interrelationships. In the Bible
understanding speaks of the spiritual awareness of a man’s heart, an
awareness that can only be obtained by dependence on the Spirit of
Truth Who alone can "decrypt" God's Word and guide us into all
the Truth (John 16:13, 14:26).
from thelo = to will with
the "-ma" suffix indicating the result of the will = "a thing
willed") means what one
wishes or has determined shall be done or that which is desired or wished
for. It refers to a desire which proceeds from one’s heart or emotions. This
term expresses the result of one’s purpose or desire. Thelema has both an
objective meaning (“what one wishes to happen”) and a subjective
connotation (“the act of willing or desiring”). The word conveys the
idea of desire, even a heart’s desire, for the word primarily expresses
emotion instead of volition. Thus God’s will is not so much God’s
intention, as it is His heart’s desire. It is His will not as a demand
but as an inclination of pleasure towards that which is liked, which
pleases and creates joy.
62x in 58v - Mt 6:10; 7:21; 12:50; 18:14; 21:31; 26:42; Mark 3:35; Luke
12:47; 22:42; 23:25; Jn 1:13; 4:34; 5:30; 6:38, 39, 40; 7:17; 9:31;
Acts 13:22; 21:14; 22:14; Ro 1:10-note;
1Cor 1:1; 7:37; 16:12; 2Cor 1:1; 8:5; Gal 1:4; Ep 1:1-note,
Ep 6:6-note; Col
Col 4:12-note; 1Th 4:3-note;
1Th 5:18-note; 2Ti 1:1-note;
2Ti 2:26-note; He 10:7-note,
He 13:21-note; 1Pe 2:15-note;
1Pe 4:19-note; 2Pe 1:21-note; 1Jn 2:17; 5:14; Rev
4:11-note. NAS = desire(1), desires(1), will(57).
will of the Lord, is virtually identical to Paul's earlier charge
for believers to walk "trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord'
cp 2Cor 5:9-note)
The subsequent verses explain that God's will include not
participating in unfruitful deeds of darkness (Eph 5:11), being careful
how we walk, wisely not unwisely (Eph 5:15), making the most of
our time (Eph 5:15), not being foolish (Eph 5:17) as well as continually being
filled with (controlled by) God's Spirit, being thankful, submitting to
one another, being loving husbands, being obedient children, being
disciplining fathers, being obedient slaves and being non-threatening
masters. Clearly, God's will is best discerned from God's Word
as taught by God's Spirit.
OBEY GOD'S WORD
John explains the
basic principle that "obedience is the organ of spiritual knowledge"
"If any man is willing to do His
will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or
whether I speak from Myself. (John 7:17)
In Romans Paul
explains one of the key ways to discern God's will writing...
And (This conjunction draws us to Ro
which should be our first "order of business" - to present ourselves
wholly holy to the Holy One!)
do not be conformed
with a negative means stop an action
already in progress or do not begin it) to this world (kosmos), but
= be continually transformed = Wuest translates it “change
your outward expression to one that comes from within and is
representative of your inner being, by the renewing of your mind”)
by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove (dokimazo) what the will of God
is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Ro 12:2-note)
Comment: As we choose (and
remember that even our choice to pursue holiness is enabled by the
Spirit of holiness! We must continually throw off self reliance and
embrace Spirit dependence!) to be
less and less poured into the mold of this world system which is opposed
to God and allow God to change us from glory to glory as we take in and
live out His sanctifying Word of truth, we are more and more enabled to
put things to the test for the purpose of showing them to truly be God's
We can pray for
God's will to fill us as Paul prayed for the Colossians
For this reason (What
Col 1:8) also, since the day
we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you
may be filled (controlled by - the verb is
pleroo, just as in Ephesians
5:18 "be filled with the Spirit") with the knowledge (epignosis
= not a mystical
feeling but a deep and thorough knowledge of the
will of God) of His will in all spiritual wisdom and
understanding (sunesis) (Col
Comment: Note that being
filled with the knowledge of God's will result in the life or "walk"
described in the following verses - we will be enabled to walk. (Col 1:10-note,
Col 1:11, 12-note)
But be careful! Don't fall into a subtle trap that knowing
assures you are growing! It is not just the knowledge that allows
us to walk but obedience to the knowledge as enabled by the Holy Spirit
(Who even opens the eyes of our heart to be able to comprehend these
profound spiritual truths!)
Paul explains that
a thankful attitude is God's will for believers writing
in everything (Really
everything? All times? All circumstances?
That's not NATURAL! And that's the
point -- it's supernatural!)
command to make this our constant practice! Clearly this supernatural
action calls for total dependence on the supernatural enablement by the
this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1Th 5:18-note)
Comment: Notice that Paul does
not say give thanks for everything but in
everything. And in the context of Ephesians 5, we see
that the way we can have a grateful attitude is by being continually filled with the Holy Spirit
- cf Eph 5:20-notes
"always giving thanks for all things". There is no way
to do this naturally when circumstances are such that they cause us to
be ungrateful (trials, afflictions, adversities, etc)!
NLT "No matter what happens,
always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ
emphasizes that doing (not just knowing) God's will is crucial...
Because of the abounding evil and the
shortness of the time (Eph 5:15-16), we might be tempted to spend our days in frantic
and feverish activity of our own choosing. But this would amount to
nothing but wasted energy (cp Jn 15:5 and would yield only "wood, hay
and straw" at the Bema Seat 1Cor 3:12-15, 2Cor 5:10-note). The important thing is to find out God’s will
for us each day and do it. This is the only way to be efficient and
effective. It is all too possible to carry on Christian work according
to our own ideas and in our own strength, and be completely out of the
will of the Lord. The path of wisdom is to discern God’s will for our
individual lives, then to obey it to the hilt (cp walking in His
will and works = Eph 2:10-note). (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
describes one that has sovereign, unopposed power and absolute authority.
the One Who has absolute ownership (cp 1Cor 6:19-note,
1Cor 6:20-note) and uncontested power and therefore
the One Whose will is good and acceptable and perfect. As His loyal,
loving subjects we should obey His will, our obedience enabled by His
Spirit and motivated by our loyalty and love (not from a sense of guilt
or legalism or merit).
sums on this section on knowing the will of the Lord stating that...
Generically, the will of the Lord is
that we be strengthened in the inner man by the Spirit of God (Eph 3:16-note), that we
obey Him, that we depend completely on Him, that we be surrendered in
our attitude towards Him. Specifically because of that fear of God (cp
2Cor 7:1-note), God
will give us wisdom in the specific areas of our life (Pr 1:7-note
from William Arnot, Pr
Charles Hodge writes that...
The will of the Lord is the
will of Christ. That Lord here means Christ is plain not only
from the general use of the New Testament, so often referred to, but
also from the constant use of the word in this chapter as a designation
of the Redeemer. Here again, therefore, the divinity of Christ is seen
to be a practical doctrine, entering into the daily religious life of
the believer. His will is the rule of truth and duty. (Ephesians 5:17-18
John Stott writes that...
Nothing is more important in life
than to discover and do the will of God. Moreover, in seeking to
discover it, it is essential to distinguish between his ‘general’
and his ‘particular’ will. The former is so called because it
relates to the generality of His people and is the same for all of us,
e.g. to make us like Christ. His particular will, however,
extending to the particularities of our life, is different for each of
us, e.g. what career we shall follow, whether we should marry, and if so
whom. Only after this distinction has been made can we consider how we
may find out what the will of the Lord is. His ‘general’ will is found
in Scripture; the will of God for the people of God has been revealed
in the Word of God. But we shall not find His ‘particular’ will in
Scripture. To be sure, we shall find general principles in Scripture to
guide us, but detailed decisions have to be made after careful thought
and prayer and the seeking of advice from mature and experienced
believers. (Stott, J. R. W. God's New Society: The Message of
Ephesians. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press) (Bolding added)
Harry Ironside remarking on
do not be foolish writes that...
the only way that you and I can be
delivered from our own natural foolishness, is by being divinely
enlightened. We do not understand what the will of the Lord is
excepting as we give ourselves to the careful, thoughtful study of His
Years ago I used frequently to stop
in the midst of a discourse and ask everyone in my audience who had read
the Bible through once to raise his hand. The last time I did that I was
so ashamed that I made up my mind never to do it again. I had an
audience of five hundred people, all of whom professed to be Christians,
and when I put that question to them, only two raised their hands, and I
was ashamed to have the devil see it. I was so thankful that there were
not a lot of sinners there to see it. They would certainly say, "Those
Christians do not value their Bible very much."
I am reminded of something that
occurred just recently in this city. There was an open religious forum
was there to represent the Atheists, another to represent Protestantism,
another Roman Catholicism, and another, Judaism. The Catholic got up and
told why he was a Catholic, and the Protestant got up and told why he
was a Protestant, the Jew why he was a Jew, and then Clarence Darrow,
the Atheist, got up to speak, and he said,
"Gentlemen, I have been very much
interested in one thing. I notice neither Protestant, Catholic, nor Jew
ever referred to the Bible. Evidently they no longer value that
so-called Holy Book as they used to do."
And then he went on to declare that
he was an Atheist because he had no use for the Book that they never
even mentioned. What a pitiable thing that professed Christians should
attempt to tell why they were Catholic or Protestant and never once
refer to the Bible!
Oh, that you and I might be genuine
Bible Christians! A friend of mine used to be designated as a walking
Bible, and I thought, What a splendid description! If anybody ever came
and said, "Mr. So-and-So, what do you think about such and such a
thing?" he would say, "Let us see what God says about it," and out would
come his Bible. "Why," the man would say, "I didn't know it was answered
in the Book that way." I never knew this friend to say, "I think," but
always, "God's Word says so and so."
If you and I would be wise with the
wisdom that cometh from above, we need to search the Scriptures. I like
that little chorus:
"In my heart, in my heart,
Send a great revival;
Teach me how to watch and pray,
And to read my Bible."
(cp Ps 119:25)
The pitiable thing is that the great
majority of Christians, I dare say, are so busy with other things that
they have very little time for their Bibles. Although engaged
exclusively in Christian service now for forty-five years, I do not dare
come into the pulpit, I do not dare undertake my day's work without
first going to the Word of God to gather fresh manna from day to day (cp
Mt 4:4, Lk 4:4, Deut 32:47). If sometimes I am so hurried in the morning
because of being out very late the night before and oversleeping a
little, or an urgent call comes and I rush out thoughtlessly without
going to the Book, I find myself saying, "What is the matter with me
today? I feel so dried up and half-starved spiritually. I am in no
condition to try to minister to other people." And then the answer
comes, "Why, you didn't have your spiritual breakfast this morning (cp
You went off without a bit from God's Word," and I have to say, "Lord,
forgive me for thinking that anything is more important than time spent
If you are not in the habit of reading your Bible methodically,
prayerfully, let me beg of you, let me plead with you, go into the
presence of God and confess to Him the sin of thus neglecting His Holy
Word. He says, "Search the Scriptures," (cp Acts 17:11-note;)
and if you disobey a command, it is sin. If you have been disobedient go
to Him and confess it, and say, "Lord, henceforth teach me to say with
Thy servant, 'Neither have I gone back267 from the commandment of His
lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary
food'" (Job 23:12-note ;
cp Ezra 7:9, 10-note).
Give God the first place in your
life, give His Word the place it ought to have and then indeed you will
understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians
5 Expository Commentary)
ON FINDING THE WILL OF GOD
your own will.
I seek at the beginning to get my
heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a
given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just
here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are
ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in
this state it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His
2. Do not
depend on feelings.
Having done this, I do not leave the
result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to
3. Seek, the
Spirit's will through God's Word.
I seek the will of the Spirit of God
through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word
must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay
myself open to great delusion also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all,
He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
Next I take into account providential
circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's will in connection
with His Word and Spirit.
I ask God in prayer to reveal His
will to me aright.
The best way to
study a subject often begins with a definition of that subject. What do
we mean by the will of God? It is that holy and stated purpose of
the Father to make His dear children as much like Christ as possible.
Without doubt the most important factor in finding God’s will is the
Bible itself. God speaks to us not in some loud voice, but through the
1) The Scriptures declare He
does have a definite will for my life. “The steps of a good man are
ordered by the Lord” (Ps 37:23-Spurgeon).
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go” (Ps 32:8-Spurgeon).
See also Eph 2:10-note;
2) God desires us to know this will for our lives. “Therefore do
not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ep 5:17-note).
3) This will is continuous. It does not begin when I am thirty
years of age. God has a will for children, young people, adults, and
senior citizens. See Isa 58:11.
4) God’s will is specific. “Your ears shall hear a word behind
you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’” (Isa 30:21). “But the way of
the upright is a highway” (Pr 15:19).
5) God’s will is profitable (Jos
Ps 1:1, 2, 3-note).
What is the will of God for us? As we have already noted, it differs
from believer to believer. But here are four aspects in the will of God
which apply to every Christian:
It is His will that
we learn more about God Col 1:9-note
It is His will that we grow in grace 1Th 4:3-note
It is His will that we study His Word 2Ti 3:14, 15, 16, 17-
It is His will that we share our faith Acts 1:8; 1Ti 2:4 2Peter 3:9-note
F B Meyer (in his
devotional on Mt 6:10) writes that...
MANY PEOPLE shrink from God's
will. They think that it always means pain, or sorrow, or
bereavement. They always feel melancholy when you speak of doing the
Will of God. Alas! how the devil has libeled God. The will of God is the
will of a Father. It is the Fatherhood of God going out in action. "It
is not the will of your Father that one of these little ones should
perish." "This is the will of God, even your sanctification."
If only the will of God were
done on earth, as it is done in heaven, there would be peace between the
nations, and love and happiness in all our homes. Love would cement the
union of all men in a city of blessedness. The fact of the world's
present condition is no argument against the beneficence and blessedness
of the will of God. It is because men will not do the will of God that
things are as they are!
In our own life we shall never be
really fight or happy until we have got to the point of saying: "I
delight to do Thy will, O my God." We may not begin there. The first
step is to choose it, then we shall come to accept it lovingly and
thankfully; but, finally, we shall rejoice and delight in it. If you
cannot say "Thy Wilt be done," say: "I am willing to be made willing
that Thy Will should be done." If your will is like a bit of rough and
rugged iron, tell God that you are willing for it to be plunged into the
furnace of His love, so that all which is unyielding and obdurate may
pass away before the ardent heat of the Divine Fire. Depend on it that
He will not fail, nor be discouraged with the long process that may be
required; and that He will not be rough or violent. He will stay His
east wind. He will keep His hand on the pulse, that He may be aware of
the least symptom that the ordeal is too strong.
At first there may be a twinge of
pain, as when a dislocated limb is pressed back into its proper
position, but afterwards there is the blessed restoration of healthy
vigor. You will only lose what you would gladly give up if you know as
much as God does of what promotes soul-health. "Whosoever," said our
Lord, "will do the Will of my Father, the same is my brother, and
sister, and mother." "In His Will is our peace."
Most Gracious God, to know and love
whose will is righteousness, enlighten our souls with the brightness of
Thy presence, that we may both know Thy Will and be enabled to perform
The great Puritan writer Thomas Watson listed the following
principles to invoke in order to rightly discern God's will...
How shall we do God’s will aright?
sound knowledge. We must know his will before we can do it; knowledge is
the eye to direct the foot of obedience. The Papists make ignorance the
mother of devotion; but Christ makes ignorance the mother of error. ‘Ye
do err, not knowing the Scriptures.’ Mt. 22:29. We must know God’s
will before we can do it aright. Affection without knowledge, is like a
horse full of mettle, but his eyes are out.
we would do God’s will aright, let us labor for self denial. Unless we
deny our own will, we shall never do God’s will. His will and ours are
like the wind and tide when they are contrary. He wills one thing, we
will another; he calls us to be crucified to the world, by nature we
love the world; he calls us to forgive our enemies, by nature we bear
malice in our hearts. His will and ours are contrary, and till we can
cross our own will, we shall never fulfil his.
us get humble hearts. Pride is the spring of disobedience. ‘Who is the
Lord, that I should obey his voice?’ Ex 5:2. A proud man thinks it
below him to stoop to God’s will. Be humble. The humble son says, Lord
what will you have me to do?’ He puts, as it were, a blank paper into
God hand; and bids him write what he will, and he will subscribe to it.
grace and strength of God to do his will. ‘Teach me to do thy will:’
as if David had said, Lord, I need not be taught to do my own will, I
can do it fast enough, but teach me to do thy will. Psalm 143:10
that which may add wings to prayer, is God’s gracious promise, ‘I will
put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes.’ Ezekiel
36:27. If the lodestone draw the iron, it is not hard for the iron to
move: if God’s Spirit enable, it will not be hard, but rather delightful
to do God’s will.
Martin Luther said...
were in the will of God, I’d plant an oak tree today, even if Christ
were coming tomorrow.
When David Livingstone was asked if he didn’t
fear that going into Africa was too difficult and too dangerous, he
immortal until the will of God for me is accomplished.”
An illustration of the principles to utilize when seeking the will of
Meyer was sailing many years ago to England from northern Ireland. He
told the story of how it was night and, as the ship entered the harbor,
nothing was to be seen but a confusing array of lights. Dr. Meyer
wondered how the captain could hope to navigate into the harbor safely
at night in such a confusing jumble of lights, and so he asked him. The
captain took him up to the bridge and said, “You see, sir, it’s really
very simple. I’ll show you how. Do you see that big light over to the
left? And do you see that other big light over there to the right of it?
And now, do you see that outstanding light farther still this way? Well
now, keep your eyes on those three lights and see what happens.” As Dr.
Meyer watched, the big outer light on the left gradually moved in until
it coincided with the middle one. Then, as the ship turned, the light
gradually merged into the third. “There now,” said the captain, “all I
have to do is to see that those three big lights become one; then I go
straight forward.” The point is that the believer also has three lights
to guide him into the will of God. When Scripture and conscience are
lined up with outward circumstances so that the three become one, we
need have no fear. We may go straight ahead. God’s will is clear.
An illustration of how not to discern the will of God...
middle-aged farmer who had been desiring for years to be an evangelist
was out working in the field one day when he decided to rest under a
tree. As he looked into the sky he saw that the clouds seemed to form
into the letters P and C. Immediately he hopped up, sold his farm, and
went out to P-reach C-hrist, which he felt was God’s leading.
Unfortunately, he was a horrible preacher. After one of his sermons a
neighbor came forward and whispered in his ear, “Are you sure God wasn’t
just trying to tell you to P-lant C-orn.”
The "Will of God"
Matthew 6:9-10: Thy Will Be Done - Sermon on Mount On Site
Romans 11:33-12:2: Discovering Will
of God by Ray Stedman
What Is the Will of God and How Do We Know It?
by John Piper
Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of
for that is
do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled
and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.
Bible - Lockman)
NLT: Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your
life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: Don't get your stimulus from wine (for there is
always the danger of excessive drinking), but let the Spirit stimulate
your souls. (Phillips:
Wuest: And stop being intoxicated with wine, in which state of
intoxication there is profligacy. But be constantly controlled by the
Young's Literal: and be not drunk with wine, in which is
dissoluteness, but be filled in the Spirit,
DO NOT GET DRUNK WITH WINE:
kai me methuskesthe (2PPPM) oino:
(Genesis 9:21; 19:32, 33, 34,
35; Deuteronomy 21:20; Psalms 69:12; Proverbs 20:1; 23:20,21,29, 30, 31,
32, 33, 34, 35; Isaiah 5:11, 12, 13,22; Matthew 24:49; Luke 12:45;
21:34; Romans 13:13; 1Corinthians 5:11; 6:10; 1Corinthians 11:21;
Galatians 5:21; 1Thessalonians 5:7)
VERSE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT!
Well known pastor
and author Charles Swindoll made this statement...
I don’t know of a more important
verse in the New Testament for the Christian than Ephesians 5:18—honest,
no exaggeration. This verse tells the believer how to live an authentic,
empowered life: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is
dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” It begins with a negative
command: “Don’t get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation” (which
means excess, existing hopelessly out of control). When you’re drunk
with alcohol, you lose control. You also lose self-respect and the
respect of others. “Don’t get drunk.” A positive command follows: “But
be filled with the Spirit.”...This is a command, not a suggestion. It’s
an urgent imperative, not a casual option...“Be filled” is a command,
which means I play a part in it. For example, I cannot be filled with
the Spirit while I have unconfessed sin within me. I cannot be filled
with the Spirit while at the same time conducting my life in the energy
of the flesh. I cannot be filled with the Spirit while I am resisting
God’s will and relying only on myself. I need to be sure that I have
taken care of the sins that have emerged in my life, that I have not
ignored the wrong that I have done before God and to others. I need to
walk in conscious dependence on the Lord on a daily basis. Many a
morning I begin my day by sitting on the side of the bed, saying:
This is your day, Lord. I want to be
at Your disposal. I have no idea what these next twenty-four hours will
contain. But before I sip my first cup of coffee, and even before I get
dressed, I want You to know that from this moment on throughout this
day, I’m Yours, Lord. Help me to lean on You, to draw strength from You,
and to have You fill my mind and my thoughts. Take control of my senses
so that I am literally filled with Your presence and empowered with Your
energy. I want to be Your tool, Your vessel today. I can’t make it
happen. And so I’m saying, Lord, fill me with Your Spirit today.
I challenge you to begin every day
with a similar prayer. “Lord, today, enable me to live out the authentic
Christian life for Your glory.” Customize it with your own details
depending on what may be the needs of that particular day. (From
his book which I highly recommend
Embraced by the Spirit: the Untold Blessings of
Intimacy with God)
Galatians 5:16 Walking By the Spirit - In Depth Commentary
Acts 6:1-5 Full of the Spirit and Wisdom - Hampton Keathley
Acts 7:54-8:1 The
Death of a Spirit-Filled Man - John Piper
Acts 4:3, 5, 8 Filled with the Spirit (A Study of
the Man Stephen) - Alexander
studies by John
The Person of the Holy Spirit...
The Person of the Holy Spirit-8 The
Work of the Holy Spirit in the Believer (Spiritual Gifts)
The Person of the Holy Spirit-9 The
Work of the Holy Spirit in the Believer (Filling)
The Person of the Holy Spirit Part 10
The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Believer (Filling -2)
Conservative Theological journals for related articles.
is required to view the entire article but gives access to literally
thousands of conservative articles. You can search with simple or
complex references like: James 1:2 or Hebrews 1:1-3,6; 5:4
(Note: I am not
associated with Galaxie and receive no remuneration_
Here is a sampling of some of the
articles you will retrieve by entering Ephesians 5:18...
What Does It Mean To Be Filled With The Spirit? A
Ephesians 5:18: Holy Spirit or Human Spirit?
Being The Fullness Of God In Christ By The Spirit:
Ephesians 5:18 In Its
The Filling of the Holy Spirit: A Quality of Life
The Filling of the Holy Spirit
The Filling of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts
- Norman Brown
And - It is
sad that too often this great teaching is taken out of its context. The
point is that the Greek connective "and" (kai) clearly links it with the
preceding verses (our daily conduct Ep 5:15, our redemption of
opportunities God presents = Ep 5:16, the will of God = Ep 5:17). The obvious implication is that being continually
filled with the Spirit is intimately related to the will of God and also
to making the most of one's time in our daily conduct during our short
stay on earth.
And do not intoxicate yourselves
with wine, in which, as if lying hidden in that dangerous vehicle,
is riot, "dissoluteness" (asotia),
the miserable license which bursts the bonds of conscience with
dreadful ease, and breaks up the whole moral order. (Ephesian
Studies: Expository Readings on the Epistle of Saint Paul to the
Ephesians) (Bolding added)
THE MOST IMPORTANT
DOCTRINE of THE SPIRITUAL LIFE
Ray Pritchard wrote that
the filling of the Spirit is the most
important doctrine of the spiritual life. It is foundational to
everything else. There is nothing we need more. Here is my definition of
the filling of the Spirit: It is that state in which the Holy Spirit is
free to do all that He came into my life to do. In a sense being filled
with the Spirit is an impossibility-at least as far as it depends on us.
Only God's Spirit can fill us. We need two things-emptiness and
openness. You can't fill a jar that's already full, and you can't
fill a jar that is not open. There must be a sense of need-"Lord, I'm
empty and I need to be filled by Your Spirit." There must be a
willingness-"Lord, I'm open to You..." The filling of the Spirit is
really as simple as that. As long as we are conscious of our need and as
long as we are willing to yield to the Lord, we can be filled with the
Lord all day long. This power is available to us all day long. (Ephesians
5:18: Filled with the Holy Spirit?)
(See also his sermon -
Ephesians 5:18 How Can I be Filled With the Holy
John MacArthur echoes the importance of this
doctrine writing that...
If we do
not obey this command, we cannot obey any other—simply because we
cannot do any of God’s will apart from God’s Spirit. Outside of the
command for unbelievers to trust in Christ for salvation, there is no
more practical and necessary command in Scripture than the one for
be filled with the Spirit.
J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press)
Comment: The implication of
MacArthur's statement is that every time we encounter an imperative in
the New Testament, in a sense we are confronted with our desperate need
for the Holy Spirit's enabling power to carry out that commandment!
There are more than 1500 commands (imperatives) in the New Testament, so
we will have many opportunities to learn to depend on the Spirit's
filling and empowering! How are you doing with this ongoing "exercise?"
E.g., men, Paul commands "Husbands,
(present active imperative) your wives!" (Eph 5:25) Try to do
that in your own, innate, natural power! You simply can't do it! (I
speak from much experience! ...and many failures!) If Paul's command
were not enough to convince us of our constant need for the Spirit's
filling, he adds "just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself
up for her!" And so clearly Paul calls us to...
Die to self.
Depend on the Spirit.
And for the ladies (wives) Paul
issues an equally difficult command "Wives,
(present passive imperative -
continually be willing to be subject) to your husbands, as is fitting in
the Lord." (Col 3:18).
It is worth emphasizing that all of
the commands (and behaviors) Paul calls saints to practice in Ephesians
5:19 through Ephesians 6:19 are in the CONTEXT of being filled with the
Spirit: worship, marriage, family, children, employees, spiritual
warfare, praying -- all call for continual dependence on the Spirit of
God for successful completion! To try to carry out any of the NT
commands in our own strength leads to sure failure and frustration.
The NLT paraphrase presents an accurate sense of the meaning of the
Don't be drunk with wine, because
that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control
(methusko from methuo = drink to intoxication) means to
have one's faculties impaired (as by alcohol) or become intoxicated. Both wine and the Spirit do their work deep in the human
psyche. They effect people below the level of consciousness, down at the
foundations of personality. The Spirit is not merely with God's people
but in them.
with a negative
commands them to stop an action already in progress (or not to start
this practice). A T Robertson
adds that the idea is that getting drunk means it is "Forbidden as a habit and to stop it
also if guilty."
Drunk is a
word that is often used figuratively in English, for example describing
a person drunk with rage, etc. Think of it this way - what fills
a person a person controls a person. If I am filled with anger, envy,
hatred, etc, those emotions will control my actions and interactions
The person drunk
with wine loses self-control, but the one "drunk" with the Spirit gives
the believer self-control! (cf Gal 5:23)
In the Septuagint the verb (methusko) repeatedly
occurs for watering (Ps 65:9, 10), but always with the sense of
drenching or soaking; of being drunken or surfeited with water. In Jer.
48 (Sept. 31) 26, it is found in the literal sense, to be drunken. The
metaphorical use of the word has passed into common slang, as when a
drunken man is said to be wetted or soaked (so Plato, above). The
figurative use of the word in the Septuagint has a parallel in the use
of potizo, to give to drink, to express the watering of ground. So Ge.
2:6, a mist watered the face of the earth, or gave it drink. Compare
Ge 13:10; Dt. 11:10. A curious use of the word occurs in Homer,
where he is describing the stretching of a bull’s hide, which, in order
to make it more elastic, is soaked (methuousan) with fat (“Iliad,” xvii.,
390). (Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament 2:82)
an interesting comment on methusko writing that...
A curious use of the word occurs in
Homer, where he is describing the stretching of a bull’s hide, which in
order to make it more elastic, is soaked (methusko) with fat.”
The word, therefore, refers to the condition of a person in which he is
soaked with wine.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
Here are the 5 in the NT...
Luke 12:45 "But if that slave says in
his heart, 'My master will be a long time in coming,' and begins to beat
the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk;
John 2:10 and said to him, "Every man
serves the good wine first, and when men have drunk freely, then
that which is poorer; you have kept the good wine until now."
Ephesians 5:18 And do not get
drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the
1 Thessalonians 5:7 (note) For those who
sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get
drunk at night.
Revelation 17:2 (note) with whom the kings
of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the
earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality."
30x in the non-apocryphal
- Ge 9:21; 43:34; Deut. 32:42; 1Sa 1:14; 2Sa 11:13; Ps. 23:5;
36:8; 65:9, 10; Pr 4:17; 23:31; Song 5:1; Is 7:20; 34:5, 7; 49:26;
55:10; Je 25:27; 31:13, 25; 46:10; 48:26; 51:7, 39, 57; La 3:15;
4:21; Ho 14:7; Nah 3:11; Hab 2:15.
Article on wine) is the fermented drink common in the Ancient near east.
The wine most commonly drunk in Paul’s day was either nonalcoholic or
had very low alcohol content. Fermented juice was mixed with water (as
much as 8 or 10 parts water to 1 part wine) to lessen its power to
intoxicate, particularly when the weather was hot and much fluid was
consumed. Because water was frequently contaminated, as in many third
world countries, the slight alcohol content of common wine acted as a
disinfectant and had certain other health benefits.
Drink is not a stimulus, it is a
depressant. It depresses first and foremost the highest centers of all
in the brain. They are the very first to be influenced and affected by
drink. They control everything that gives a man self-control, wisdom,
understanding, discrimination, judgment, balance, the power to assess
everything; in other words everything that makes a man behave at his
very best and highest. The better a man’s control, the better man he
is.… But drink is something which immediately gets rid of control; that
indeed is the first thing it does.
A danger to which they were exposed,
and a vice to which those around them were much addicted. Luke 21:34. It
is not improbable that in this verse there is an allusion to the orgies
of Bacchus, or to the festivals celebrated in honour of that heathen
god. He was "the god of wine," and, during those festivals, men and
women regarded it as an acceptable act of worship to become intoxicated,
and with wild songs and cries to run through streets, and fields, and
vineyards. To these things the apostle opposes psalms, and hymns, and
spiritual songs, as much more appropriate modes of devotion, and would
have the Christian worship stand out in strong contrast with the wild
and dissolute habits of the heathen. Plato says, that while those
abominable ceremonies in the worship of Bacchus continued, it was
difficult to find in all Attica a single sober man.
Barclay writes that Paul...
goes on to draw a contrast between a
pagan gathering and a Christian gathering. The pagan gathering is apt to
be a debauch. It is significant that we still use the word symposium
for a discussion of a subject by a number of people; the Greek word
sumposion literally means a drinking-party. Once A. C. Welch was
preaching on this text: "Be filled with the Spirit." He began with one
sudden sentence: "You've got to fill a man with something." The heathen
found his happiness in filling himself with wine and with worldly
pleasures; the Christian found his happiness in being filled with the
W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press
The Bible Background Commentary
has an interesting note that...
Many people in the ancient world
believed that drunkenness could produce a sort of inspiration or
possession by Dionysus, god of wine. Dionysus’s most active worshipers
yielded control of themselves to him and performed sexual acts or acts
full of sexual symbolism (often to the distaste of conservative Romans).
Here Paul may contrast this behavior with inspiration by God’s Spirit.
People did not think of Dionysus every time someone became drunk,
however; drunkenness was more commonly associated simply with loss of
self-control. It was standard practice in both the late-night banquets
of the rich and the taverns of the poor.
Nave's Topical Bible
Made from grapes, Gen. 40:11; 49:11;
Isa. 25:6; Jer. 40:10, 12; from pomegranates, Song 8:2.
Kept in jars, Jer. 13:12; 48:12; in skins, Josh. 9:4, 13; Job 32:19;
Matt. 9:17; Luke 5:37, 38; in bottles, Josh. 9:4, 13; Job 32:19; Jer.
13:12; 48:12; Matt. 9:17; Luke 5:37, 38.
Cellars for, 1 Chr. 27:27.
New, Hag. 1:11.
Old, Luke 5:39.
Medicinal use of, Prov. 31:6, 7; recommended by Paul to Timothy, 1 Tim.
Used at meals, Matt. 26:27-29; Mark 14:23.
Made by Jesus at the marriage feast in Cana, John 2:9, 10.
Ceremonial use of, Matt. 26:27, 28, 29; Luke 22:17, 18, 19, 20.
Forbidden to priests while on duty, Lev. 10:9; Ezek. 44:21; to Nazirites,
Nu 6:2, 3;
Abstinence from, of Daniel, Da. 1:5, 8, 16; 10:3; of courtiers of
Ahasuerus, Est 1:8; 1Ti 5:23.
Samson's mother forbidden to drink, Jdg. 13:4, 5.
Forbidden to kings, Pr 31:4.
Denied to the Israelites in the wilderness, that they might know that
the Lord was their God, Dt 29:6.
Offered with sacrifices, Ex. 29:40; Lev. 23:13; Num. 15:5, 10; 28:7, 14.
Given by Melchizedek to Abraham, Gen. 14:18.
Fermented, Lev. 10:9; Num. 6:3; 28:7; Deut. 14:26; 29:6; Prov. 23:31,
32; Mark 2:22.
Refined, Isa. 25:6; Jer. 48:11.
Of staggering, Psa. 60:3.
Inflames the eyes, Gen. 49:12.
Commerce in, Rev. 18:13.
Banquets of, Esth. 5:6.
Given to Jesus at the crucifixion, Matt. 27:48; Mark 15:23; Luke 23:36;
Intoxication from the use of, Psa. 104:15; Prov. 4:17.
Instances of Intoxication from
Noah, Ge 9:21; Lot, Ge 19:32; Joseph Ge 43:34;
Nabal 1Sa. 25:36; Amnon, 2Sa 13:28, 29; Ahasuerus, Est 1:10;
kings of Israel, Hos 7:5; falsely charged against the disciples, Acts
Of the divine judgments, Psa. 60:3; 75:8; Jer. 51:7.
Of the joy of wisdom, Prov. 9:2, 5.
Of the joys of religion, Isa. 25:6; 55:1; Joel 2:19.
Of abominations, Rev. 14:8; 16:19.
Of the blood of Jesus, Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:23, 24; Luke 22:20; John
Unclassified Scriptures Relating to
Deut. 14:26; Deut. 33:28; 2 Kin. 18:32; 2 Chr. 32:28; Neh. 10:39; Psa.
4:7; Psa. 104:14, 15; Prov. 31:6, 7; Eccl. 2:3, 11; Isa. 56:12; Hos.
2:8, 22; Hos. 7:14; Joel 1:5; Joel 2:24; Joel 3:3; Amos 6:6; Hab. 2:5;
Hag. 1:11; Zech. 9:17; Zech. 10:7; 1 Tim. 5:23
Admonitions Against the Use of
Lev. 10:9; Num. 6:3; Jdg. 13:4; Prov. 20:1; Prov. 21:17; Prov. 23:29-32;
Prov. 31:4, 5; Isa. 5:11, 22; Isa. 24:9; Isa. 28:1, 3, 7; Jer. 23:9;
Jer. 35:2-10, 14, 18, 19; Ezek. 44:21; Hos. 4:11; Luke 1:15; Rom. 14:21;
Eph. 5:18; Tit. 2:3
FOR THAT IS DISSIPATION: en o
estin (3SPAI) asotia:
(Matthew 23:25; 1Peter 4:3,4)
For that is
dissipation - for that is debauchery and it will ruin your life.
1828 Webster's Dictionary defines dissipation as
The act of
scattering; dispersion; the state of being dispersed. Scattered
attention; or that which diverts and calls off the mind from any
subject. A dissolute, irregular course of life; a wandering from object
to object in pursuit of pleasure; a course of life usually attended with
careless and exorbitant expenditures of money, and indulgence in vices,
which impair or ruin both health and fortune.
Richards paraphrases it...
don't live under the influence of
alcohol but under the influence of the Spirit. How important that we
drink deep of Him, and let Him give direction to our lives. (Bible
related to ásotos
which in turn is derived from a = negative + sozo = save
which describes something devoid of saving quality) literally means that
which cannot be saved. Strictly speaking asotia refers to the
disposition of an ásotos or prodigal. It is the picture of having
no hope of safety, then describing the act of one who has abandoned
himself to such reckless behavior. Asotia conveys the idea of waste that
There are only 3
uses in the NT - Ep 5:18; Titus 1:6; 1Pe 4:4
describes this as...
a reckless waste of money and of life
itself. A typical example is the prodigal son, touching whom a cognate
word is used in Lk 15:13, living dissolutely. Paul says that in
drunkenness is reckless waste of all we have and are. (Ephesians
the related word ásotos in his description of the prodigal son
And not many days later, the younger
son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant
country, and there he squandered his estate with loose (ásotos)
living." (Luke 15:13)
Comment: More literally this
reads "living in a wild, abandoned manner and so living recklessly,
one who cannot save and thus is one who extravagantly squanders
his means. Then it chiefly denoted a dissolute, debauched, profligate
manner of living.
Vincent adds that asotia is literally "unsavingness" and
describes the "the prodigal son who lived unsavingly [asotia]."
The excesses and
flagrant, senseless activities connected with the religious celebrations
of Dionysus were well-known in the ancient world. The worshipers felt
that they were united, indwelt and controlled by Dionysus who gave them
special powers and abilities. As discussed below under "be filled", the
idea in that command is to be continually controlled by the indwelling
Spirit of God, this picture standing in stark contrast to the worshipers
variously translated as profligacy (state of being completely given up
to dissipation and licentiousness), reckless abandon, debauchery
(extreme indulgence in sensuality),
riotous living, wild, excess, extravagant squandering, dissoluteness,
prodigality (quality of being recklessly extravagant with wasteful
lavishness threatening to lead to early exhaustion of resources).
describes behavior which shows lack of concern or thought for the
consequences of an action as seen with senseless or reckless deeds.
the characteristic of an abandoned man, denoting a dissolute life and
carries the idea even of rioting (as translated in the KJV) and was
commonly used to describe drunken revelry at pagan festivals.
portrays the utter recklessness in expenditure on part of those who have
lost self-control (or never had it).
In the use in
1Peter 4:4, Peter gives us a good sense of the meaning of asotia
(read the context), writing to the saints experiencing various trials
"the time already past is sufficient
for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a
course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties
and abominable idolatries. And in all this, they are surprised that you
do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation
(asotia), and they malign you; but they shall give account to Him who is
ready to judge the living and the dead." (see
1 Peter 4 :3;
or prodigal is one who spends too much, who slides easily under the
fatal influence of flatterers and the temptations with which he has
surrounded himself into spending freely on his own lusts and appetites.
describes the child who wastes money with the implication of wasting it
on pleasures and thus ruining himself or herself.
Septuagint (LXX) uses asotia one time in the
following verse (Brenton's English translation)
A wise son keeps the law: but he
that keeps up debauchery (asotia) dishonors his father. (Pr
translates Pr 28:7
He who keeps the law is a discerning
son, but he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father.
Eadie comments that
The term asotos, from a privative and sozo, is the picture of a
sad and very common result. It is sometimes used by the classics to
signify one who is, as we say, “past redemption”...The adverb asotos
is used of the conduct of the prodigal son in the far country in Lk
15:13. See Titus 1:6; 1Pe 4:4; Sept. Pr 28:7 (Ephesians 5:17-18 Commentary)
adds the note that
The man who is ásotos is
incapable of saving (Ed note: this does not mean God can't save him
because He can); he is wasteful and extravagant and pours out his
substance on personal pleasure; he destroys his substance and in the end
ruins himself. One who is ásotos is the old English
scatterling, the Scots ne’er-do-well , the modern waster
. Aristotle who always described a virtue as the mean between two
extremes, declares that on the one hand there is stinginess, on the
other there is asotia , reckless and selfish extravagance, and
the relevant virtue is liberality. The household of the elder must never
be guilty of the bad example of reckless spending on personal pleasure.
W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press
carries ideas of prodigality, profligacy, and even of rioting (KJV). It
was commonly used of drunken revelry at pagan festivals. Additional
ideas inherent in asotia include wasteful expenditure, intemperate
living, especially excessive drinking and acts of self-indulgence.
always described a virtue as the mean between two extremes, declares
that on the one hand there is stinginess, on the other there is
asotia, reckless and selfish extravagance, and the relevant virtue
writes that to get drunk with wine...
is an example of folly, a lack of
sense, especially inconsistent with the intelligence of the true
believer. The person who has correct discernment will not seek
refreshment or excitement from wine but from the Holy Spirit. Therefore,
the apostle adds, instead, be filled with the Spirit. In drunkenness, he
says, there is debauchery—“revelry,” “riot,” whatever tends to
destruction. The word is derived from a word which means “what cannot be
saved,” one given up to a destructive course of life. (Ephesians 5:17-18
There is in the vice of intemperance
that kind of dissoluteness which brooks no restraint, which defies all
efforts to reform it, and which sinks lower and lower into hopeless and
helpless ruin. It is erroneous, therefore, on the part of Schoettgen, to
restrict the term to lasciviousness...The connection between the two
vices is notorious; but libidinous indulgence is only one element of the
asotia. This tremendous sin of intemperance is all the more to be
shunned as its hold is so great on its victims, for with periodical
remorse there is periodical inebriety; the fatal cup is again coveted
and drained; while character, fortune, and life are risked and lost in
the gratification of an appetite of all others the most brutal in form
and brutifying in result. There are few vices out of which there is less
hope of recovery—its haunts are so numerous and its hold is so
tremendous. (Ephesians 5:17-18 Commentary)
As Ephesus was a commercial town and
busy seaport, its wealth led to excessive luxury, and Bacchus (See
Bacchus the Roman god of wine & intoxication = Dionysus = Greek
god) was the rival of
Diana. The women of Ephesus, as the priestesses of Bacchus, danced round
Mark Antony's chariot on his entrance into the city. Drunkenness was
indeed an epidemic in those times and lands.
Alexander the Great, who died a
sacrifice to Bacchus and not to Mars, offered a prize to him who could
drink most wine, and thirty of the rivals died in the act of
Plato boasts of the immense
quantities of liquor which Socrates could swill uninjured; and the
philosopher Xenocrates got a golden crown from Dionysius for swallowing
a gallon at a draught.
Cato often lost his senses over his
choice Falernian. The “excess” or dissoluteness attendant on drunkenness
and the other vices referred to in the previous context, is also
illustrated by many passages in the Miles Gloriosus of Plautus, the
Latin version of an older Greek drama. The “braggart captain,” a citizen
of Ephesus, is described in the prologue by his own servant as “a vain,
impudent, foul fellow, brimful of lying and lasciviousness.” Another
character of the piece thus boasts—“Either the merry banterer likewise,
or the agreeable boon companion will I be; no interrupter of another am
I at a feast. I bear in mind how properly to keep myself from proving
disagreeable to my fellow-guest,” etc. . . . “In fine, at Ephesus was I
born, not among the Apulians, not at Animula”—(there being in this last
term a difference of reading). (Ephesians
FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT:
alla plerousthe (2PPPM) en pneumati,:
(Ps 63:3, 4, 5; Song 1:4; 7:9; Is
25:6; 55:1; Zech 9:15, 16, 17; Lk 11:13; Acts 2:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18;
11:24; Gal 5:22, 23, 24, 25)
Walking By the Spirit - Galatians
(alla) marks a contrast - In contrast to a state of intoxication
with wine be intoxicated by the Spirit. Drunken and Spirit-filled people
have one thing in common -- they are both controlled people. Their lives
and their behavior are radically changed by that which fills them. Paul
is saying stop living under the controlling influence of alcohol but
instead be continually living under the controlling influence of the
Holy Spirit. How important it is for us to "drink" deeply of Him
(cp Jn 7:37, 38, 39), yielding to Him, and
letting Him give direction to our lives.
calls being filled with the Spirit is "the great secret of real Christianity."
writing about the contrast between wine and the Spirit considers this
the most basic point of the verse.
There is a direct parallel drawn between being drunk with wine and being
filled with the Spirit. What precisely is the point of comparison
between wine and the Holy Spirit? Doubtless the issue is influence or
control. A person under the influence of wine experiences altered
behavior. He may say or do things he would not ordinarily do. Emotions
may be heightened for a brief period, causing the person to experience
anger followed quickly by elation followed quickly by depression. If the
person drinks enough wine, his mental processes will be affected and
decision making ability radically altered-almost always with a negative
result. Likewise, the filling of the Holy Spirit produces a change in
behavior. In the Book of Acts, once timid disciples became flaming
evangelists for Jesus Christ.
In Ephesians 5:19, 20, 21, Paul mentioned three
practical results of the filling of the Spirit: Singing, a thankful
heart, and an attitude of mutual submission. The last result is most
significant because true submission always involves giving up your right
to be in control in every situation. When we submit from the heart, we
are saying, "I don't have to have my way all the time." Only a heart
touched by the Holy Spirit can maintain such an attitude in every
relationship of life. (Ephesians 5:18: Filled with the Holy
Be filled with
the Spirit - It is important to retain the standard of sound
doctrine in regard to the Holy Spirit one should
be careful to avoid 3 common misconceptions regarding the filling with
First, it is not an emotional experience per se, although
filling clearly does not preclude emotions of joy as indicated by Eph
Secondly, filling with the Spirit is not reserved for a few special
Christians, because this command applies to every believer.
filling although associated with some controversial teaching, should not
be dismissed on that account. Every believer is in desperate need of
sound doctrine regarding filling with the Spirit. Remember that the Holy
Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, and He is the One Who brings out Christ's
presence in our lives.
G C Handley
Let the Holy One, your Sealer and
Sanctifier, so surround and possess you that you shall be as it were
vessels immersed in His pure flood; and then, yielding your hearts
without reserve to Him, you shall be vessels not only immersed but open;
"in Him," and "filled" in Him," as He, continually welcomed, continually
occupies and hallows all parts of your nature, all departments of your
Let us remember well that this great
clause is not a teaching merely but a precept. As distinctly as it is
enjoined upon us not to be intoxicated with wine, so is it enjoined upon
us to seek, in earnest, "fulness in the Spirit." May nothing blind us to
the fact and the significance of that precept (Ed: In a
general sense, any commandment or order intended as an authoritative
rule of action; but applied particularly to commands respecting moral
conduct. Webster's 1828 Dictionary ); no, not the unwise and perhaps
even fanatical things which have been sometimes heard in the Church in
connection with the sacred Fulness. We may be very sure that the command
means nothing which shall "unhinge" the Christian's life, and cast it
loose from the noblest sanity and the most steadfast order. As a fact,
we find it here imbedded amongst precepts laying
the great laws of self-control, and it comes just before the special
directions which the Apostle gives for the quiet sanctities of the
Christian home. It must be a thing, whatever it is, full of all that is
just, true, lovely, and of good report; full of virtue and of praise
Let in the holy atmosphere to your inmost self, to your whole will
and soul. Let the Divine Spirit, in Whom you , believing, are, pervade
your being, as water fills the sponge.
But then, all the while, it is a
thing supernatural. It is a state of man wholly unattainable by
training, by reasoning, by human wish and will. It is nothing less
than—God in command and control of man's whole life, flowing everywhere
into it, that He may flow fully and freely out of it in effects around.
O Thou from Whom all holy desires do
proceed," give us the great gift of the desire, ever deeper, for "fulness
in the Spirit"; that we may with joy lay claim to the mighty,
benignant gift. For Thou hast promised "Thy Holy Spirit to them that ask
It is the unspeakably vital requisite
to the full blessing of the soul. It is that which the Church needs with
a need that cannot be uttered.
We must not forget meanwhile that the
thought of this Fulness is here connected, in a special degree, with
that of the joy of the Lord and its expression. As the miserable
exhilaration of the drunkard comes out in the song of "riot," so the
"calm excess" of the man "filled in the Spirit" will come out in song
too. It will come out always in the song of the life, the melody and
harmony of a character and conduct gladdened by the blessed Presence.
But it will tend often too to come out in the song of the lips, and
above all when Christians, thus "filled," meet together before their
Lord. (Ephesians 5:15-21 Holy Results of Heavenly
Blessing -goto p274)
Wayne Barber asks...
How do I live
wisely in a dark, hostile world? I am constantly saying to the Lord,
it is." By saying "yes" to Him, I am saying "no" to my
flesh. I am being controlled moment by moment by moment. I am
constantly aware of His presence in my life, moment by moment by moment,
practicing the presence of Christ as I am willing to yield to whatever
His will is in my life. (Sermon)
C H Spurgeon
wrote these timeless words...
The grand thing the church wants in
this time is God's Holy Spirit.
word study of
pleroo) means literally to
be filled to the brim (a net, Mt 13:48, a building, Jn 12:3, Acts 2:2, a
city, Acts 5:28), and then figuratively to make complete in every
particular, to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally, to
diffuse throughout, to pervade, to take possession of and so to
ultimately to control.
in Ephesians 5:18 does not mean to get more of the Spirit since the
Spirit indwells us completely when we are born spiritually.
The more common
figurative meaning of filled
in the NT is to be controlled by that which "fills" one's heart and
mind. Here in Eph 5:18 Paul is not giving a suggestion
but a command (imperative
mood) to all saints ("all" of us because the verb is plural so not just a
select few are to be filled!) to...
stop getting drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be
continually, constantly, moment by moment, filled with and controlled by
It is elementary for me to remind you
that the Holy Spirit dwells in you. It is one thing for you to have the
Holy Spirit. It is another thing for the Holy Spirit to have you.
D L Moody
commands us to be filled with the Spirit, and if we are not filled it is
because we are living beneath our privileges.
Given that His
filling is commanded by God, if you are not being continuously filled
with the Spirit, then you are out of the Lord's will (see "the will of
Ephesians 5:18 - note)!
describes the ideal situation of every saint (the command is plural so
not just a select few) as being continually (not just an experience for
special occasions) filled
- "keep on being filled" or "be being kept filled". Filling is not a one
time event! In fact, the present tense aspect of the command
indicates that we are not to rely on a past filling nor in expectation
of future filling, but can live only in present tense or continual
filling. Be filled
is a command that includes the idea of conscious continuation. Being
filled with the Holy Spirit is not an option for believers but a
in Eph 5:18 is
(subject receives the action) which emphasizes that we as
believers do not fill ourselves but permit the Spirit to fill us or
control us (so called "divine passive", a work of God not man). This is
also sometimes called the "permissive passive" which
conveys the idea "allow yourselves to be filled".
John Bunyan alluded to the "passive" aspect of the filling when he
cannot create the wind, but they can hoist their sails to welcome it;
neither can we create the breath of the Spirit, but are we to miss it
when it comes through failure to keep our sails unfurled?
means "to be full to the top; lacking nothing; nothing short of
complete." If there is room for any other thing in our hearts, then we
are not filled with the Spirit. His will should be our will. His
thoughts should be our thoughts. His desires should be our desires. The
Holy Spirit is to be in absolute domination of our lives...
If you were
to be arrested this evening on the charge of being "Spirit-filled" (Ed:
on the charge of "INTOXICATION"...of operating your "vehicle", your
body, UNDER THE INFLUENCE"), would there be enough evidence to convict
you? Or, has the Lord shown you some areas that need work in your walk
with the Spirit, your worship of the Savior or your witness to the
EVIDENCES OF A SPIRIT FILLED LIFE)
No Christian can
fulfill God’s will for his life
apart from being filled with His Spirit.
J S Blackburn...
Being filled characterizes "the normal Christian life" to be enjoyed and
experienced constantly and is not to be reserved for
"spiritual" experiences. Just as intake of wine must be repeated in
order to exert its effect, so too “filling” with the Spirit requires a
continual receptivity in order to exert His effect. Just as we made a
choice to receive Christ at the time of salvation, we must also daily
and moment by moment choose to surrender our will to the Spirit’s
guidance and control....
Now, let me say that we Baptists are
a little afraid of the Holy Spirit. We are afraid He'll make us talk
funny and do weird stuff. Because of that there has been a tendency
among some Baptists to avoid emphasizing the presence and ministry of
the Holy Ghost. I just want to go on record this evening and tell you
that we need Him and all that He brings with Him. We need Him and His
presence and His power in a desperate way. We shouldn't fear the Spirit
of God, but we should welcome Him and create an atmosphere where He
feels at home, an atmosphere where He can work unhindered in this
Hudson Taylor's Illustration on Filling - On one occasion Hudson Taylor wanted to teach a
spiritual lesson, so he filled a glass with water and placed it on the
table before him. While he was speaking, he pounded his fist hard enough
to make the water splash onto the table. He then explained, “You will come
up against much trouble. But when you do, remember only what’s in you will
spill out.” - Our Daily Bread
Note that being filled with the Holy Spirit doesn't
mean we have more of the Spirit, but that the Spirit has more of
us! More of my heart. More of my will surrendered to His will. It
doesn't happen all at once any more than we get drunk all at once. Being
filled with the Spirit happens as we continually choose to live under
His holy influence.
"Be filled with the Spirit"...does it denote a moment
when He "arrives". It is a constantly repeated or habitual
experience. By the
contrast with being drunk with wine, there seems to be a reference to
our intake in spiritual things (see Table below on what we should
be ingesting!). If our intake is in the things of the Spirit, that is,
the things of Christ, then behaviour will be dictated by the Spirit and
not by wine.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary explains that
in being filled...
rather than controlling himself, is controlled by the Holy Spirit (Ed:
As signified by Paul's use of the
passive voice - action
upon the the subject from outside source). It
may be more accurate to say that the Holy Spirit is the “Agent” of the
filling (cf. Gal 5:16-note)
and Christ is the Content of the filling (Col 3:15-note).
Thus in this relationship, as a believer is yielded to the Lord and
controlled by Him, he increasingly manifests the fruit of the Spirit
(Gal 5:22, 23-note).
The Spirit’s indwelling (John 7:37, 38, 39; 14:17; Ro 5:5-note;
1Co 2:12; 6:19, 19, 20; 1Jn 3:24; 4:13), sealing (2Co 1:22; Ep 1:13-note;
and baptism (1Co 12:13; Gal 3:27) occur at the time of regeneration and
thus are not commanded. However, believers are commanded to be filled
constantly with the Holy Spirit.
Each Christian has all the Spirit,
the command here is that
the Spirit have all of him.
The wise walk
= Eph 5:15-note)
then, is one that is characterized by the Holy Spirit’s control.
J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor
L M Grant...
Eph 5:18 puts in sharp contrast the
intoxication with things physically pleasurable and the pure,
precious joy of being filled with the Holy Spirit. There are many
things with which one may become intoxicated -- the love of money,
prominence, self-importance (even in a religious way), sports,
excitement, etc. These things will tend to take away the sobriety of
ruling our own spirits (Pr 25:28). But one who is filled with the Holy
Spirit has his own spirit in subjection (1Cor.14:32). Every true
believer is always indwelt by the Spirit, but to be filled with the
Spirit is to allow Him full place in every department of our lives. Let
no one ever dare to claim this to be true of him, but rather let it be
true. In the measure in which Christ is really our Object, such will be
the measure of the filling of the Spirit at any time.
While it is clear that one may be filled with the Spirit in speaking for
the Lord (Acts 13:9, 10, 11), yet it also may be true in the singing of
psalms, hymns and spiritual song (Eph 5:19). The word indicates a sacred
song accompanied by a stringed instrument. Hymns are songs of praise
addressed to God, and the word is evidently used for many of the psalms
also, though not all psalms are hymns and hymns are not necessarily
psalms. Spiritual songs embraces a wider field than praise, for it
includes songs of spiritual experience and celebration of scriptural
events and of meditation on various truths of scripture. Singing is
audible, but making melody in your heart is more vital. This is surely
an encouragement to those who have difficulty in carrying a tune!
Accompanying this musical melody is a spontaneous giving of thanks, in
addressing God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph
5:20). "Always for all things" reminds us that there is no time at which
one is not free to address God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus
Christ. This constantly thankful spirit will have both a preserving and
fruitful effect, and it will simplify for us the character of submission
one to another in the fear of God (Eph 5:21). Thus we will recognize God
as being in control rather than the will of man dominating. (Comments
On The Epistle to The Ephesians)
If you and I are going to experience
the fullness of the Christian life, then we must learn how to be filled
with the Holy Spirit. It isn’t enough just to be saved. That will get
you to Heaven, but unless you are filled with the Spirit, you will have
a rough road here below...Christianity is far more than a bunch of
“don’ts”, there are a whole lot of “do’s” to keep you busy too. In fact,
if you will spend your time doing the do’s, you won’t have time to do
BEING FILLED WITH THE
(A) Obedience to God -Eph.
5:18 is a command, not a suggestion...The Christian who is not Spirit
filled is in rebellion to God!...Baptist tendency to spend more time on
Eph 5:18a than 18b...I have had more trouble out of Baptists who were
not Spirit-filled than out of drunks and lost people! How would we react
if a drunk came to lead the service? Yet, we think nothing of doing the
Lord’s work in an unfilled condition! Spirit filling is not the
privilege of s few, it the command for all. It is not the abnormal
Christian experience, it is the normal Christian experience!
(B) Obligation To God -
Not only do we owe God our obedience in this matter of Spirit-filling,
we also have an obligation to Him. We are obligated to God in every area
of our lives. We must strive to be everything we can be for His glory
and to do this, we must be Spirit-filled! Notice several areas where it
is especially important.
(1) Your Worship life - Eph.
5:19-20 - To experience true worship, we must be sensitive to, and
controlled by the Spirit of God - John 4:24.
(2) Your Wedded Life - Ep
5:22-25 - The wife is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord -
“Feminism is dead wrong!”... Neither husband or wife can fulfill their
duties to the other until they are
living under the influence of the Spirit. Until they are, the home is
out of balance! Children need the filling also (Eph. 6:1, 2, 3, 4)
To live above with saints we love,
Oh, won't that be glory!
But, to live below with saints we know,
Now, that's another story!
(3) Your Work Life - Ep 6:5,
6, 7, 8, 9 We are to do our job as if we were working directly for the
Lord. You ought to serve your boss as if He were Christ Himself! Our
daily work ought to be carried out with the same enthusiasm that we have
when we go the church. Every Christian ought to let his light shine
brightly on the job. (Ill. Lazy, slow, critical, dishonest versus
honest, careful, punctual, trustworthy, hardworking.) There is a great
need for Spirit-filled workers on the job. See Daniel's example of
excellence and integrity -
Daniel 6 Commentary)
(4) Your War Life - Eph.
6:10-17 - We are locked in mortal combat with a powerful spiritual foe,
the devil. The only hope we have of succeeding in life is to war in the
Spirit. Ill. He is after your home, your family, your marriage, your
faith, your health, your happiness, anything he can touch and destroy.
Your only hope is to be Spirit-filled!
(5) Your Witness Life - Eph.
6:18-19 - To be a good witness demands that we be Spirit-filled.
Otherwise, our words will have a hollow ring to them and they will have
no power to touch the heart. (see the necessity of this in Acts 1:8) (Sermon
on Ephesians 5:18)
Believers are to be available, sensitive, submissive and obedient to the
Spirit’s urgings in their daily lives. He can be resisted (cf
Acts 7:51), quenched (1Th 5:19 [note] - we can "throw water the fire"
by disobedience, etc), or grieved (Eph 4:30-note),
where the context suggest He is grieved by unwholesome words - Ep 4:29-note).
We cannot fill ourselves, but must allow the Spirit to have freedom,
continual influence and constant control of our mind, our emotions and our
will...in short He is to control our entire being.
This "holistic" picture parallels Paul's exhortation in Ro 12:1
(see note) where he
calls on all believers to present yourselves as living
sacrifices, as a "sacrificial offering" which represents a loving, willing,
voluntary yielding or surrendering, not the presentation of just a
portion of our being, but of our entire persona (a holistic
presentation, wholly His, wholly holy, "Holy, Holy, Holy")! As we daily
present ourselves to God the Holy Spirit, He will influence and empower
our moments and our days...and we will go to rest at night knowing we
have experienced a "Spirit filled" day, a day in the center of His will!
And such a life becomes a supernatural adventure (cp Jn 10:10b)!
What are you waiting for?
DO YOU HAVE
Ray Pritchard adds this thought on making
ourselves available to the Spirit Who is ready and willing to fill us as
Let me give
you a new term you've never heard before. The term is "fillability."
It's what happens when you go to a full-service gas station and say,
"Fill 'er up." The person pumping the gas knows that the statement "Fill
'er up" means two things: 1) I'm empty and 2) I want to be filled with
gas. That's fillability. It's need plus desire. And when your need to be
filled with the Spirit becomes your great desire, you will be filled.
Over and over again. Instantly. Every time. (Ibid)
WITH THE SPIRIT
RICHLY INDWELT BY THE WORD
Colossians and Ephesians
are parallel epistles in a
number of respects and Ephesians 5:18-6:9 presents a very
interesting parallel with Colossians 3:16-4:1 as
summarized in the following table (NAS77). First, take a few minutes to
pray (Ps 119:18-note,
Eph 1:17, 18, 19-note)
and read through both sections of Scripture, especially observing the
similarities (Ps 119:130-note).
Then go through the following chart to see if you agree with the
Ask yourself, what parallel truths
is God teaching us in these two great sections of Scripture? Which of my
interpersonal relationships do these passages address? How can we apply
these truths to our personal life, our marriage, our family, our
workplace, etc? What might transpire in each of those points of
application? Then read the explanatory notes that follow.
WORD OF CHRIST
Teaching & Admonishing
and SPIRITUAL SONGS
and SPIRITUAL SONGS
and making melody
with YOUR HEART
to the Lord
in YOUR HEARTS
GIVING THANKS for
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
even the Father
ALL in the name
of the Lord Jesus,
GIVING THANKS through Him
to God the Father
to your own husbands
to your husbands
in the Lord
to your parents
DO NOT PROVOKE
your children to anger
BRING THEM UP
in discipline & instruction of the Lord
DO NOT EXASPERATE
who are your masters
according to the flesh
in all things OBEY
who are your masters
the same thing to them (slaves)
Give up threatening
knowing that both their Master & yours
is in heaven
& there is no partiality with Him
to your slaves
justice and fairness
knowing that you too
have a Master
every verb in bold red font signifies
not good suggestions!) and all are in the
(continuous action, habitual practice, as one's "lifestyle",
speaks of our general "direction," not perfection!). Now stop for a moment
and ask yourself - can I keep even ONE of these commands in my own
strength? If you
think you can, just try it the next time your spouse "verbally
insults/assaults" your intelligence! None of us can
keep these commands in our strength and to try to do so is to fall
into the trap of self reliance and legalism.
THE HUMAN SPIRIT
THE HOLY SPIRIT FILLS
often we read Paul's long list of commands and forget to examine
which is critical for accurate
this case crucial for real-life
The context in this case clearly gives us the answer
regarding how we can carry out the commands. These "holy" actions
can only be energized or enabled by the Holy Spirit Who dwells in
each saint. If we are filled with or controlled by Him, yielded to
Him, depending on Him, casting off any semblance of self-reliance,
then, and only then, can we successfully keep these commands. And
as we do so, we are in effect also fulfilling Paul's (present
command to walk by the Spirit which effectively prevents us
from carrying out the desires of the
flesh (cp Gal
that Spirit filling SHOULD RADICALLY AFFECT ALL of our
relationships - wives, husbands, children, fathers, slaves
(think "employee" today), masters (think "employer" today)!
Every vital social
interaction is to be impacted by the Holy Spirit! So let me ask
you a rhetorical (for effect primarily) question --
"How important is obedience
to Paul's command that we be continually filled with/controlled by
the Holy Spirit? And can you even obey his command without the
help of the Helper Who fills you? Meditate on that thought today!
And then, as Ray Pritchard says when you go to full service gas
station cry out "Fill me up!" expressing your deep desire
and desperate dependence on the Spirit's enabling power to
carry out God's commands which are not burdensome
As an aside,
it is interesting that we see so many Christian marriages and
families in various states of disturbance, dissonance (lack of
agreement) and/or even imminent dissolution. Paul was written us a
"prescription", so to speak, for the "balm" (a soothing
restorative agent) that can bring healing to families and
marriages in dire (dismal, dreadful) straits! But like any
medicine, the doctor can prescribe the best remedy, but the pill
still has to be swallowed in order to effect a cure. What would
happen to marriages and families that made an intentional effort
(initiated by and energized by the Spirit of Grace-Heb 10:29b) to
on Paul's prescription in these passages and related cross
references? In Psalm 107 the Spirit says that when the
disobedient and distressed children of Israel "cried out to the
LORD in their trouble, He saved them out of their distresses. He
sent His Word and healed them, and delivered
them from their destructions." (Psalm 107:19, 20). Beloved, His
Jehovah Rapha (Jehovah Rophe)
The LORD our Healer
and He is the same yesterday, today and forever and His Word is
able to bring hope and healing to the hopeless and broken hearted!
Notice that the
"variable" in these parallel passages is God's Holy Spirit
in Ephesians and
Holy Word in Colossians. The effects of being filled with the Spirit
and the commands to be carried out by Spirit filled saints are virtually
identical to those seen in saints who are in a sense "filled" with the Word
of God! And so how can we discern if a
person is filled with the Spirit as described in Ephesians? He or she is joyful and thankful. How can we
tell if a believer is filled with the Word of God as described in
Colossians? He or she is joyful and
So clearly, one of
the keys to the Spirit filled life, is to marinate
mind with the Word of life (Php 2:16-note,
1Jn 1:1), the Word of truth by which we are set apart (Jn 17:17) and walk
(in the Spirit's enabling power) in obedience to the Truth
have learned. The result will be a growing understanding
and experiencing of the eminently practical Spirit filled life.
So let me ask you -
How's your "appetite?"
Are you eating His Word daily?
(Observe how important Jesus thinks this is in Mt 4:4) Notice that the
question is not are you reading your daily devotional, but are you spending time
with Jesus, Who is the Word (Jn 1:1) letting His living and
active Word dwell in your richly? (Cp Heb 4:12,13, 1Pe 1:23, 24, 25-note,
1Pe 2:2-note)? If not, then
you need to decrease your "dietary intake" of devotionals, Christian
books, etc, and replace them with intake of solid meat (Heb 5:14) and
pure (unadulterated, no
additives) milk of the Word, so that by it you may
respect to salvation (1Pe 2:2-note,
See the Related Posts on Facebook and
A POWERFUL PAIRING: FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT &
FILLED WITH THE WORD
A Word-filled Christian is a Spirit-filled Christian,
a believer who is so controlled by the Word of God that it dominates his
or her entire life. Their life demonstrates that they are filled with
the Holy Spirit.
Alexander Maclaren related the Spirit to the
Word declaring that...
He who has
the Holy Spirit in his heart and the Scriptures in his hands has all he
J N Darby wrote...
To have the Holy Ghost is one thing;
to be filled with the Holy Ghost is another. When He is the one source
of my thought, I am filled with Him. When He has possession of my heart,
there is power to silence what is not of God, to keep my soul from evil,
and to guide in every act of my life and walk; so that in both I am kept
apart from the world.
The Word of God teaches the Children of God how to live
while the Spirit of God supplies the power to live for the Glory of God.
Dr Howard Hendricks has a witty exhortation that relates to
the saint's continually letting the Word of Christ dwell within...
(1Peter 2:2) tells us: in order that you might grow.
Please note, it is not that you may know. Certainly you
can’t grow without knowing. But you can
know and not grow. The Bible was written not to
satisfy your curiosity but to help you conform to Christ’s image. Not
to make you a smarter sinner but to make you like the Savior. Not to
fill your head with a collection of biblical facts but to transform your
life....How many years have you been a Christian? Nine months? Seven or
eight years? Thirty-nine years? The real issue is,
"How much have you grown?"
Step up to God's growth chart, and measure your progress. That’s what
this passage is teaching. So the first reason for studying Scripture is
that it is a means of spiritual growth. There is none apart
from the Word. It is Gods primary tool to develop you as an
By the Book Revised - Howard Hendricks).
Warren Wiersbe adds that the Spirit filled...
believer sings to himself as well as to the other believers and to
the Lord. Our singing must be from our hearts and not just our lips. But
if the Word of God is not in our hearts (cp Mt 12:34, Col 3:16), we cannot sing from our hearts.
This shows how important it is to know the Word of God, for it enriches
our public and private worship of God...Someone has said that a
successful Christian life involves attention to three books:
and the hymn book.
I agree. I often use a
hymnal in my devotional time, to help express my praise to God. As a
believer grows in his knowledge of the Word (cp 2Pe 3:18), he will want to grow in his
expression of praise. He will learn to appreciate the great hymns of the
church, the Gospel songs, and the spiritual songs that teach spiritual
truths. To sing only the elementary songs of the faith is to rob himself
of spiritual enrichment. (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
In Acts we see the
opposite attitude of allowing oneself to be controlled by the Spirit,
the unbelieving Jews described by Stephen as...
who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting (present
tense = continually) the
Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. (Acts 7:51)
Resist is antipipto from anti = against + pipto
= fall and so literally means fall against, rush against; hence,
strive against, oppose, resist by actively opposing pressure, force,
power or violence. To resist implies an overt recognition of a hostile
or threatening force and a positive effort to counteract or repel it.
Antonyms of resist are to accept, submit, surrender or yield
The person who is
filled with sorrow (Jn 16:6) is no longer under his own control but is under the
control of that emotion. In the same way, someone who is filled with
fear (Luke 5:26), anger (Luke 6:11), jealously (Acts
5:17) or even Satan (Acts 5:3) is no longer under his or her own control,
but under the control of that which "fills". This sense is so important to
understand that it is elaborated on more in the section below. The
point is that to be filled is to be totally
dominated and/or controlled by what fills you and this is shade of meaning of
pleroo that is especially relevant to our understanding of Paul's
command in Ephesians 5:18.
Filled is pleroo, “to
fill up, to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally, to flood,
to diffuse throughout.” In Acts 6:15 we have Stephen, a man filled
with faith and the Holy Spirit. Faith filled Stephen in the sense
that it controlled him. The Holy Spirit filled Stephen in the sense that
He controlled him. Therefore, the fullness of the Spirit has reference
to His control over the believer yielded to Him.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans
The heathen priests pretended to be
filled with the
influence of the god they worshipped; and it was in these circumstances
that they gave out their oracles. See a remarkable instance of this
quoted in the note on Luke 9:39, where the case of a Bacchanalian is
described. The apostle exhorts the Ephesians not to resemble these, but,
instead of being filled with wine, to be filled with the Spirit of God;
in consequence of which, instead of those discoveries of the Divine will
to which in their drunken worship the votaries of Bacchus pretended,
they should be wise indeed, and should understand what the will of the
SHADES OF MEANING
note that pleroo
indicates more than just pouring water in a glass up the brim and can
have at least three shades of meaning in Scripture, all of which have
some relationship to the meaning of pleroo here in Ephesians 5:18.
Pleroo was often used of the wind billowing the sails of a ship and
providing impetus to move the ship across the water. To be filled with
the Spirit then to is to be moved along in our Christian life by God
Himself, by the same dynamic by which the writers of Scripture were
“moved by the Holy Spirit” (2Pe 1:21-note). In the spiritual realm, this concept depicts the Holy
Spirit providing the thrust to move the believer down the pathway of
obedience. A Spirit-filled Christian is not motivated by his own desires
or will to progress. Instead, he allows the Holy Spirit to carry him in
the proper directions. Another helpful example of this first meaning is
a small stick floating in a stream.
Sometime in our lives most of us
have tossed a stick into a creek and then run downstream to see the twig
come floating by, propelled only by the force of the water. To be filled
with the Spirit means to be carried along by the gracious pressure of
the Holy Spirit. From a negative aspect, the men in (Ro 1:29-note "being
filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed") are being moved by their depraved minds to do
Pleroo can convey the idea of permeation as of
salt’s permeating meat in order to flavor and preserve it. In
regard to Ephesians 5:18, this shade of meaning conveys the idea that
God wants the Holy Spirit to permeate and flavor our lives so that when
we’re around others they will be impacted by the One Who permeates us.
This shade of meaning brings to mind Paul's description of believers in
Second Corinthians where he explains that...
we are a
fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among
those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the
other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?
(2Cor 2:15, 16)
Pleroo as alluded to
above can convey the
sense of one being dominated or controlled by that which fills them.
Some examples were mentioned above, but
let's look in more detail at some
Scriptural illustrations of this third meaning in order to help
understand what happens (or should happen) when a believer is filled
with the Holy Spirit. Note that some of these examples use pletho which
is a synonym of pleroo and conveys the same meaning.
For example, in Luke's description of the filling of the saints at
Pentecost in Acts 2:4 he uses pletho instead of pleroo
writing "they were all filled
(pletho) with the Holy Spirit".
With that point clarified let's look
at several illustrations of filling and controlling...
records that when Jesus was teaching in the synagogue and reminded the
Jews that in the days of Elijah only Naaman, a Gentile (to them a
veritable "dog") was healed of leprosy, there was a sudden and dramatic
change in the "political climate" in the room (previously they had all
speaking well of Him, cf Luke 4:22)...
And all (all without exception!) in the
(pletho) with rage (thumos describes agitated, vehement anger
that rushes along relentlessly) (Lk 4:28)
The rage resulted from the teaching that the Jews did not occupy an
exclusive place in the blessings of God, but that God's help was
available to those who had faith, irrespective of whether Jew or
What were these Jews controlled by? They were clearly
controlled by what filled them and what filled them was rage! And what was
the resultant action that emanated from their boiling agitation? Luke
tells us that...
They rose up and cast Him (Jesus) out of the city, and led Him to the
brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw
Him down the cliff. (Lk 4:29)
The rage so
controlled these Jews that they were driven to the point of seeking to
murder the Messiah! We have all experienced this type of controlling
emotion, haven't we? When our anger boils and takes control, we
realize that we are capable of doing things we would otherwise never
In Luke 6 we read
the following interaction as Jesus healed a lame man's hand on the
And after looking around at them
(scribes and Pharisees) all, He said to him, "Stretch out your hand!"
And he did so; and his hand was restored. But they themselves were
filled with rage, (anoia = irrational anger, fury, extreme rage) and
discussed together what they might do to Jesus. (Lk 6:10, 11)
Comment: Observe the causal
relationship between filling and "feelings" that controlled them to the
point of conspiring to put Jesus to death!
In Acts Peter
confronts Ananias who failed to present the offering from the sale of
his land, Luke recording that...
a certain man named Ananias, with his
wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price
for himself, with his wife's full knowledge, and bringing a portion of
it, he laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has
Satan filled (pleroo) your heart to lie to the Holy
Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land? (Acts 5:1,
Comment: Observe the father of
lies filled Ananias' with falsehood which directly countered the
Holy Spirit and resulted in holding some of the money back. What filled
Ananias controlled him!
In Acts 13 when
Paul and Barnabas arrived at Pisidian Antioch, Paul began proclaiming
Jesus as Savior to the point that people were even begging for more of
Paul's expository preaching and...
when the Jews saw the crowds, they
were filled (pletho) with jealousy (resentment), and
(notice the actions that resulted from their being filled with jealousy)
began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming. (Acts
What you observe
is that when a person is filled with an emotion, that emotion can
totally control and dominate the individual and result in actions or
words reflective of that emotion.
is Not Baptism
By the Spirit
As an aside be sure that you don't confuse filling
with the Spirit with the other closely related phrase baptism
of the Spirit, this latter phrase describing a one time occurrence
at the time of salvation, in which the believer is "immersed" into and
becomes identified with the body of Christ, the church.
12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized (see
word study on baptizo) into one body (the Church universal,
the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ), whether Jews or Greeks,
whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
This baptism by the Spirit occurs the moment
we trust Christ, is not repeated, is not commanded and does not need to
be prayed for, because it is a sovereign once-for-all act of the Spirit
of God at the time of conversion. When the Spirit came at Pentecost, the
believers were baptized by the Spirit and the body of Christ, the
Church, was born. Luke records that Jesus...
them (the apostles He had chosen) together, He commanded them not to
leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised (See Acts
2:33, Isa 32:15; 44:3,4, Joel 2:28, 29, 30, 31, 32; Lu 24:49; John 7:39; John
14:16, 26, 27, 28, 15:26, 16:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,13, 14, 15), "Which," He said," you heard of
from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized
with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." (Acts 1:4-5)
In Acts 2 the apostles were baptized into the
body of Christ with all the other believers present at Pentecost. On
this occasion, Luke records that in addition to the baptism Jesus had
promised, the believers were also “filled with the Spirit” (see Acts
2:2, 3, 4 below), and it was this filling that gave them the power they
needed to witness for Christ, Who had instructed them earlier
"It is not
for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own
authority but you shall receive power (see
word study on dunamis) when the Holy Spirit has come upon
you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea
and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:7-8)
In summary, the Jewish believers were baptized by the
Spirit into the body of Christ in Acts 2, but it was not until some 8
years later that Luke records the baptism of the Gentiles into the body
of Christ. At that time the Gentiles also were filled with the Spirit as
deduced by the fact that they demonstrated the same sign of filling that
the Jews did on the day of Pentecost, i.e., they spoke in tongues. This
demonstration of supernatural power was necessary to convince the Jews
(who had been raised to despise the Gentiles) that the Gentiles had
truly been born from above and were truly part of the body of Christ (cf
the unity Paul explains in Ephesians - see Ep 3:4; 5; 6; 4:1; 2; 3; 4;
5; 6 notes
Compare Luke's record of these events in Acts 10 and
speaking to Cornelius and the other Gentiles at Caesarea) "And He
(referring to Jesus) ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to
testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of
the living and the dead. 43 "Of Him all the prophets bear witness that
through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of
sins." 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit
fell upon all those (Gentiles) who were listening to the message. 45 And
all the circumcised believers (Jewish believers) who had come with Peter
were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out
upon the Gentiles also. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with
tongues (a sign that they had been filled with the Spirit) and exalting
God. Then Peter answered, 47 "Surely no one can refuse the water for
these to be baptized (here he refers to water baptism that represented
the Spirit's baptizing them into the body of Christ at the time of their
conversion, see verse 45 above) who have received the Holy Spirit just
as we did, can he?" 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of
Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days. (Acts
describes his experiences at Joppa and Caesarea in order to explain to
Jews in Jerusalem who were disturbed by the reports that Gentiles had
received the Word of God. Peter declares...) "And as I began to speak,
the Holy Spirit fell upon them (the Gentiles at Caesarea, Acts 10), just
as He did upon us at the beginning (Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, Acts
2). 16 "And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, 'John
baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
(So the Gentiles were baptized in Acts 10) 17 "If God therefore gave to
them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord
Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?" 18 And when
they heard this, they quieted down, and glorified God, saying, "Well
then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to
life." (Acts 11:15-18)
Eddie Rasnake also emphasizes that being
filled with the Spirit is distinct from being sealed with
with the Spirit (Eph 1:13-note) is a once
and for all experience that occurs at salvation and is concurrent with
being “baptized” by the Spirit into Christ’s family (see 1Cor
12:13). Being “filled with the Spirit” is a repeatable act that is part
of the sanctification process. Being “sealed” with the Spirit deals with
you getting the Spirit; whereas, being “filled with the Spirit” involves
the Spirit getting you. Paul contrasts being drunk on wine with being
filled with the Spirit. In both cases, an outside agent is influencing
the person. With both, it is initiated by an act of the will, and both
are results of the outside agent’s work on the inside. With wine, it is
alcohol released from the stomach into the bloodstream and brain. With
filling, it is the already present Spirit released into all parts of the
body. Both result in altered personalities consistent with the altering
agent. Being filled with the Spirit is not an optional accessory to the
Christian life. It is the hub of walking consistently with God. There is
no other way to experience the victorious Christian life except for the
indwelling Christ to be in control (see John 15:5). To not be “filled”
(directed and empowered) with the Spirit is to disobey a direct command
of Scripture and is therefore sin. (Ibid)
The famous preacher Donald Grey Barnhouse put
No one may
ask a believer whether he has been baptized with the Spirit. The very
fact that a man is in the body of Christ demonstrates that he has been
baptized with the Spirit, for there is no other way of entering the
Warren Wiersbe adds this comment regarding the
preceding passages from Acts writing that...
historic baptism, in two stages (Acts 2, 10), has never been repeated
any more than Calvary has been repeated. But that baptism is made
personal when the sinner trusts Christ and the Spirit enters in to make
him a member of the body of Christ (1Cor 12:13). The baptism of
the Spirit means that I belong to Christ’s body. The filling of
the Spirit means that my body belongs to Christ. (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor) (Bolding added)
James Montgomery Boice observes that...
Acts there are ten occasions, at Pentecost and afterward, when an
individual or group of individuals is said to have been filled with the
Holy Spirit. In each case the common factor is that the persons involved
immediately bore testimony to Jesus. The incidents are: (1) the company
waiting in the upper room on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4); (2) Peter
before he spoke to the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:8); (3) a group of early
Christians (Acts 4:31); (4) the first deacons (Acts 6:3); (5) Stephen
(Acts 6:5); (6) a second reference to Stephen (Acts 7:55); (7) Paul
(Acts 9:17); (8) a second reference to Paul (Acts 13:9); (9) Barnabas
(Acts 11:24); and (10) the disciples at Antioch (Acts 13:52). The one
apparent exception is the case of the first deacons, but even this is
not actually an exception in that we are not told of a filling of them
by the Spirit but only that they gave evidence of having been filled.
This may have been known by the fact that they had already been active
that the wise man should desire to be so filled with God's Spirit that
he might bear a faithful and effective testimony to Jesus Christ. Quite
obviously, this will be a testimony conveyed by the upright character of
his or her life, which is what Paul has been talking about all along.
Also, quite obviously, it will be a testimony conveyed by the content
and character of his or her speech, which is what the next two verses
deal with. (Eph 5:19, 20)
SPIRIT FILLED SAINTS
IN THE BOOK OF ACTS
First, we should not forget that the Gospels record that
our Lord Himself was filled with the Holy Spirit, Who empowered Him for
ministry, Luke recording...
full (pleres related to pletho) of the Holy Spirit,
returned from the Jordan and was led about by the Spirit in the
wilderness (so the Spirit's filling is associated with His leading)...14
And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit; and
news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. (Luke
Comment: Mark records that after Jesus' baptism, "immediately
the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness" (Mark
1:12) As an aside note that the terms Spirit and power are
frequently associated = Lk 4:14; Acts 1:8; Acts 10:38; Ro 15:13; 1Cor
2:4; Eph 3:16; 1Th 1:5; cp 2Ti 1:7. Clearly, the Holy Spirit imparts
power for ministry.
begs several vital questions to all preachers of the Gospel and all
Gospel workers - Are you ministering with power? Are you preaching with
power? In short, are you filled with the Holy Spirit? Are you filled
with the Holy Word? Do not think you can be filled with the Holy Spirit
if you neglect being filled with His Holy Word!
THE SECRET OF THE
this truth so important to comprehend and to put into action?
While Jesus was perfect and we can never be Jesus, the NT clearly calls
for us to follow His example (1Cor 11:1, 1Pe 2:21, 1Jn 2:6, Jn 13:14).
What was His example? Or stated another way, how was Jesus able to
live the life He lived? A teaching that is often overlooked is that
Jesus ministered in the enabling power of the Spirit (Lk 4:14, 18 Acts
10:38, cp Acts 1:2 = after the resurrection! Isa 11:2-4 = in the
millennium!) giving us the perfect example to follow. The only way we
can live a supernatural life is by discarding self effort and
surrendering to Spirit dependence! That is the "Jesus way!" From the
beginning to the end of His ministry Jesus submitted to the Father to
direct His steps ("not My will but Thine" - see Jn 5:19, 30, Jn 8:28)
and surrendered to the Spirit to empower His steps! We cannot improve on
His example. This begs the question - are you following His example? Are
you learning what it means to be filled with the Spirit so that you
might walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:16)? This is the profound and yet simple
"secret" of the "abundant life" (Jn 10:10b).
In the book of Acts observe the repetition of the
filling of believers and the specific manifestations or effects that
are associated with filling...
And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing
wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there
appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they
rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy
Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was
giving them utterance.
Peter was present and was filled at this time but note in the passage
below Luke again records that Peter was filled, indicating that filling
unlike the baptism of the Spirit is not one time event, but is repeated.
Note also that here filling was associated with speaking in tongues but
not in the other examples below.
Then Peter, filled (passive voice
shows Peter's yieldedness to the Spirit's control) with the Holy
Spirit, said to them, "Rulers and elders of the people
Here we see Peter filled with the
Spirit, the effect being to give him boldness to proclaim Jesus to the
Jewish leaders even reminding them that they had crucified their own
Messiah! Boldness in speech and ability to face persecution triumphantly
are effects of being filled with the Spirit in contrast to being
filled with the flesh which was Peter's former condition that led to his
denial of His Lord on the night
Jesus was betrayed by Judas --
70 "Now Peter
was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a certain servant-girl came to
him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean." But he denied it
before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about."
In sum, yielding to the Spirit's filling/control releases His power in
the believer's life. This principle is the foundation of the "victorious
Christian life"! As corollary, remember not to be surprised by
persecution because a genuinely Spirit filled believer -- and church --
will be be a living rebuke to the world, which is exposed by the Light
of Christ, cf . Ep 5:8,11-see notes
4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered
together was shaken (as at Pentecost there was a physical manifestation
of the Spirit's presence), and they were all filled with the Holy
Spirit, (indicating their obedience to the Lord, their walking in
the light, their yieldedness to Him) and began to speak the word of God
with boldness (literally this Greek word conveys the idea of freedom to
say all = an attitude of openness that stems from freedom and lack of
fear). (Comment: This verse records at least the second time that
these early Christians in the Jerusalem church were filled with the Holy
Spirit, the first time being at Pentecost in Acts 2:2-4)
(The 12 Apostles summoned the congregation of disciples and explained
they as apostles must not neglect the Word of God to serve tables) "But
select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full
of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.
4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the
word. 5 And the statement found approval with the whole congregation;
and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit,
and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte
7:55 But (Stephen) being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed
intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the
right hand of God;
Comment: Here Stephen, a man filled with the
Spirit and so controlled that he proclaimed to this hostile Jewish
audience one of the most powerful sermons ever recorded in
7. And what was the price for his bold Spirit empowered
proclamation? They stoned him to death. Do not miss the truth that one
of the great evidences of his being Spirit filled was that he had a
forgiving spirit (see Acts 7:60, cp Jesus Who as the God-Man was [in a
way that is surely a divine mystery] controlled by the Holy Spirit [Lk
4:1, 14, Mt 4:1, Mk 1:12] uttered a similar prayer for forgiveness from
the Cross in Lk 23:34. The truth be said, only Spirit filled folk can
genuinely forgive insults and injuries from the heart! See in depth
discussions on forgiveness in the
9:17 And Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying
his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to
you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may
regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
11:24 for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and
of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord.
13:9 But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy
Spirit, fixed his gaze upon him, 10 and said, "You who are full of
all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all
righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of
the Lord? 11 "And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you
will be blind and not see the sun for a time." And immediately a mist
and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would
lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed when he saw what
had happened, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord.
13:52 And the disciples were continually filled with
joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Note that there is no indication that these new Gentile believers spoke
in other languages when they were filled with the Holy Spirit. This
phenomenon uniquely occurred at the first coming of the Holy Spirit to
the Jews and at His first coming to Gentiles, recorded respectively in
Acts 2:4 and Acts 10:44, 45, 46. Note that none of the other references
to the filling of the Spirit mention the manifestation of tongues.
Summary of Some of the Results of Spirit Filling
in Acts (including passages not listed above)...
- A fountain bubbling over with joy—Acts 13:52
Boldness to soul winning—Acts 4:8-12, 31; Acts 13:52, Acts 14:3
Power for service—Acts 1:8, Acts 6:3, 8; Acts 11:24
for suffering—Acts 6:3, 8, Acts 7:55, 59 (Read Stephen's full sermon
over Satan Acts 13:9-11 (Note impact = Acts 13:12 note who received the
Exaltation of Christ—Acts 9:17-20, 10:44-46
Clearly these passages in Acts point out that the
filling of the Spirit refers to His control over the yielded or
surrendered believer and that this filling results in supernatural
results, including bold witness to the gospel, empowerment for ministry,
William MacDonald (Believer's
Bible Commentary) has some comments similar to the preceding
regarding the Spirit in the Book of Acts...
seven times in the Book of Acts when men are said to be filled with or
full of the Holy Spirit. Notice the purposes or the results:
speaking (Acts 2:4; 4:8; 4:31)
2. For serving (Acts 6:3)
3. For shepherding (Acts 11:24)
4. For rebuking (Acts 13:9)
5. For dying (Acts 7:55)
In summary, the
command for believers to “be filled with the Spirit” calls for us to be continually controlled by the Spirit
in our mind, emotions, and will. To be filled with the Spirit is not to
have the Holy Spirit somehow progressively added to our life until we are full of
Him. It is to be under His total dominion and control moment by moment.
It is not so
getting more of the Spirit,
but of Him getting more of us.
We need to
continually jettison our tendency toward self reliance and yield our will to His
will which is good and acceptable and perfect (Ro 12:2).
John Blanchard rightly said that...
the Spirit is not a press-button panacea; it is the growing experience
of those who hunger and thirst after righteousness (Ed: cp Mt
John: Complete Gathered Gold: A Treasury of Quotations for Christians
Expositor's Bible Commentary writes that...
therefore, be successive fillings of the Spirit; indeed, the Christian
life should be an uninterrupted filling. What this verse will not
substantiate is the claim that after becoming a Christian, a single,
additional, definitive filling is essential for completion. (Gaebelein,
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament.
that what ''fills'' you will control you...your
actions and your reactions.
John MacArthur explains it this
filled with the Spirit is to have one’s mind completely under His
divine control. This requires the Word’s dwelling richly in the believer
(cf. Col. 3:16-note).
And when our minds are under God’s control, our behavior inevitably will
be as well. It is not a matter of available power but of available will.
By the Spirit’s power, all believers are able “to walk in a manner
worthy of the calling with which [they] have been called” (Eph. 4:1-note).
Those who truly “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” will “make no provision
for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Rom. 13:14-note).
Being controlled by God’s Spirit comes from being obedient to
His Word. The Spirit-filled life does not come through mystical or
ecstatic experiences but from studying and submitting oneself to
Scripture. As a believer faithfully and submissively saturates his mind
and heart with God’s truth, his Spirit-controlled behavior will follow
as surely as night follows day. When we are filled with God’s truth
and led by His Spirit, even our involuntary reactions-those that happen
when we don’t have time to consciously decide what to do or say-will be
J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press
Victor Edman once said that...
Spirit-filled life is no mystery revealed to a select few, no goal
difficult of attainment. To trust and to obey is the substance of the
John Eadie says that...
intoxicated with wine, and they attempt to “fill” themselves with it;
but they cannot. The exhilaration which they covet can only be felt
periodically, and again and again must they drain the wine cup to
relieve themselves of despondency. But Christians are “filled” in or
with the Spirit, whose influences are not only powerful, but replete
with satisfaction to the heart of man. Ps 36:8; Acts 2:15, 16. It is a
sensation of want—a desire to fly from himself, a craving after
something which is felt to be out of reach, eager and restless thirst to
enjoy, if at all possible, some happiness and enlargement of heart—that
usually leads to intemperance. But the Spirit fills Christians, and
gives them all the elements of cheerfulness and peace (Gal 5:22-note,
Gal 5:23-note); genuine elevation
and mental freedom; superiority to all depressing influences; and
refined and permanent enjoyment. Of course, if they are so filled with
the Spirit, they feel no appetite for debasing and material stimulants (Ed:
cp the effect of "walking by the Spirit" distinguishes the appetite of
the lusts of the flesh! Gal 5:16).
(Ephesians 5:17-18 Commentary)
would not be taken with any of Satan's devices, then labor to be filled
with the Spirit. The Spirit of the Lord is a Spirit of light and power;
and what can a soul do without light and power against spiritual
wickedness in high places? (Eph. 6:12). It is not enough that you have
the Spirit—but you must be filled with the Spirit, or else Satan, that
evil spirit, will be too hard for you, and his plots will prosper
against you. That is a sweet word of the apostle, 'Be filled with the
Spirit' (Eph. 5:18); that is, labor for abundance of the Spirit. He who
thinks he has enough of the Holy Spirit, will quickly find himself
vanquished by the evil spirit. Satan has his snares to take you in
prosperity and adversity, in health and sickness, in strength and
weakness, when you are alone and when you are in company, when you come
on to spiritual duties and when you come off from spiritual duties, and
if you are not filled with the Spirit, Satan will be too hard and too
crafty for you, and will easily and frequently take you in his snares,
and make a prey of you in spite of your souls. Therefore labor more to
have your hearts filled with the Spirit than to have your heads filled
with notions, your shops with wares, your chests with silver, or your
bags with gold; so shall you escape the snares of this fowler, and
triumph over all his plots.Precious
Remedies Against Satan)
Luther says, a holy gluttony is to lay on, to feed hard, and to fetch
hearty draughts, until they be even drunk with the abundance of the
Spirit. Oh that there were more such holy gluttony in the world! (
NOVEMBER 13. "Be filled with the Spirit." Ephesians 5:18 The possession
of the Holy Spirit in the fullness of His grace contributes essentially
to the constitution of the spiritual mind. The antagonist of carnality
is the Spirit. "If we walk in the Spirit, we shall not fulfill the lusts
of the flesh." As the Spirit of God, He is the author of all that is
spiritual. As the Spirit of holiness, He maintains and carries forward
the work of sanctification in the soul. He it is who forms, and He it is
who leads forward, the spiritual mind. The large possession of the
Spirit! nothing can exceed the blessing. Without the Spirit of God, what
is man? He is the mark of every fiery assault, the prey of every
prowling foe—a magazine of corruption, around which a thousand
sparks—sparks of his own kindling—fall. But possessing the Spirit; even
in its most limited measure, what is man? A living soul—a holy being—a
temple of God—an heir of glory. But suppose him possessing the Spirit in
the plenitude of His grace, not partially, but "filled with the
Spirit—what must be the invincibility of his might in the resistance of
sin! what the potency of his shield in disarming the power of
temptation! and what the eminence of his attainments in
spiritual-mindedness, as a child of God! While others are girding for
the conflict, or are adjusting their armor, he is covering himself with
glory on the battle-field. While others are training for the race, he
has well-near reached the goal. "Filled with the Spirit," he is filled
with all the fruits of the Spirit. Faith is vigorous, hope is bright,
love is fervent. He is mighty in the "Spirit of power, and of love, and
of a sound mind."
It was this possession of the Spirit in His fullness which gave to the
apostles, who until then were so timid and unbelieving, such
irresistible boldness and power on the day of Pentecost. Some in their
hearing exclaimed, "These men are full of new wine." But the secret was,
"They were all filled with the Holy Spirit." And the hearts of the great
mass to whom they preached the crucified Savior bowed before the power
of their preaching, "as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind."
Oh seek to "be filled with the Spirit"! then will your thirstings for
God be deeper, your breathings after holiness more intense, your
communion with your heavenly Father closer, and your faith in Jesus
stronger. The indwelling of the Spirit is the root of all holiness; but
the communication of the Spirit in the plenitude of His gracious,
sanctifying, Christ-transforming influence, is the secret of an elevated
tone of heavenly-mindedness. Would you repel some strong assault, or
vanquish some powerful corruption, or throw off some clinging infirmity,
and abide by the verdant banks and quiet waters of fellowship with the
Father and with His Son Christ Jesus?—oh ask, and you shall receive, the
fullness of the Spirit.
Beware of being guided by any other than the Spirit of God. The
temptation is strong, and the tendency to yield to it equally so, of
being biased in forming our theological views, and in modeling our
Christian practice, by the profound research, the distinguished talents,
the exalted piety, and admired example of men. But this must not be. It
is inconsistent with the honor that belongs, and with the love that we
owe, to the Spirit. A human must necessarily be a fallible guide;
against the influence of whose doctrinal errors, and practical mistakes,
no extent of learning, or depth of spirituality, or eminence of position
on their part, can insure us. We are only safe, as we constantly and
strictly follow our Divine and heavenly guide. Blessed and Eternal
Spirit! to Your teaching would I bow my mind. To Your love would I yield
my heart. To Your consolation would I carry my sorrows. To Your
government would I resign my entire soul. "You shall guide me by Your
counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory." (EVENING
THOUGHTS or DAILY WALKING WITH GOD)
THE FILLING OF THE SPIRIT "Be filled with the Spirit." Ephesians 5:18
That which is our greatest privilege—is here spoken of as if it were our
duty. Indeed, privileges always imply duties—and duties suppose
privileges. Every believer has the Spirit—but we have not that measure,
that fullness of the Spirit that we might have. There is a fullness—and
we may receive more; there is abundance—and we are invited to come and
obtain freely. The parties to whom Paul wrote, had the Spirit, and were
sealed by the Spirit unto the day of redemption; and yet to them he
says, "Be filled with the Spirit." An increase is possible—is
desirable—is certain. It would be a preservative from a multitude of
evils; keeping the soul holy, the body chaste, the person fit for
Christ's service, and prepared for heaven. It would qualify us for all
other duties, influencing the views, thoughts, motives, words, and
actions. It would rule our wills, control our passions, direct our
energies, employ our talents, honor our profession, and increase our
It is therefore a duty, to which we ought immediately to attend. We have
the promise, the invitation, the examples, the inducements, and the
exhortation, placed before us in God's Word. Shall we despise or neglect
all these? Let us ask our consciences, Was I ever filled with the
Spirit? Do I feel that I ought to be? Do I heartily desire the blessing?
Do I daily and energetically seek it? Can I be happy without it? All we
want to need us holy, active, useful, liberal, and happy—is to be filled
with the Spirit—but nothing but being filled with the Spirit will make
O Spirit of God, come and fill my soul! Let me be filled with your
light, your life, your love, your power, your holiness, yourself! O to
be full of God!
"for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith." Acts
Charles Hodge writes that...
said to be filled with wine when they are completely under its
influence; so they are said to be filled with the Spirit when he
controls all their thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. The
expression is a common one in Scripture. Of our Lord himself it was said
that he was “full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1), and of Stephen that he
was “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5), and also of
Barnabas (Acts 11:24), etc. To the Christians,
the source of strength and joy is not wine, but the blessed Spirit of
God. As drunkenness produces rioting and debauchery, so the Holy Spirit
produces a joy which expresses itself in psalms, hymns and spiritual
songs. (Ephesians 5:17-18
Wayne Barber asks...
How do I live
wisely in a dark, hostile world? I am constantly saying to the Lord,
it is." By saying "yes" to Him, I am saying "no" to my
flesh (cp Gal 5:16-note
- walking by the Spirit effectively "neutralizes" our natural fleshly
desires). I am being controlled moment by moment by moment. I am
constantly aware of His presence in my life, moment by moment by moment,
practicing the presence of Christ as I am willing to yield to whatever
His will is in my life.
John MacArthur writes that...
Christian who is filled with the Holy Spirit can be compared to a glove.
Until it is filled by a hand, a glove is powerless and useless. It is
designed to do work, but it can do no work by itself. It works only as
the hand controls and uses it. The glove’s only work is the hand’s work.
It does not ask the hand to give it an assignment and then try to
complete the assignment without the hand. Nor does it gloat or brag
about what it is used to do, because it knows the hand deserves all the
credit. A Christian can accomplish no more without being filled with the
Holy Spirit than a glove can accomplish without being filled with a
hand. Anything he manages to do (Ed: No matter how
"religious" or "good" it looks to others - it is not a "good work" that
give glory to the Father because it is a natural and not a supernatural
work! Cp Mt 5:16-note,
) is but wood, hay, and straw that amounts
to nothing and will eventually be burned up (1Co 3:12, 13, 14, 15).
Functioning in the
produces absolutely nothing of spiritual value (Ed: See Jesus'
warning Jn 15:5).
J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press)
Are you letting the Word of Christ richly
dwell within you (Col
3:16-note) so that you might be controlled by the will of God in
the Word of God as taught by the Spirit of God?
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
If it were
possible to put the Holy Spirit into a textbook of pharmacology I would
put him under the stimulants, for that is where he belongs.
Vance Havner spoke to the fear of
many believers regarding teaching on the filling with the Holy Spirit
when he said...
Satan has scored a point in making us so afraid of extremism about the
Holy Spirit—which abounds indeed—that we may miss the true in our fear
of the false. We can be so wary of getting out on a limb that we never
go up the tree!
J I Packer said essentially the same
thing when he declared...
With a perversity as pathetic as it is impoverishing we have become
preoccupied today with the sporadic extraordinary and non-universal
ministries of the Spirit to the neglect of the more general ones.
How can you tell that
are "filled with the Spirit"?
a General "Marker" --
Note that the first "organ" Paul describes as being impacted by
being filled with the Spirit is our speech -- "speaking" is the first
word in Eph 5:19. Can I
suggest a rough guide by which you can carry out a self-examination to
assess whether you are "Spirit filled" or "Spirit controlled?" How is
your speech? Profane or pure? Gutter-like or godly? Self focused or
addition in the immediate context of Ephesians 5:18, Paul gives at least
three "markers" of a person controlled by the Spirit. How would you
assess your attitudes and actions today (and remember you are not under
law but grace) using these "markers" of a Spirit filled saint?
you joyful, thankful and submissive?
Then you are being controlled by God's Spirit.
To be filled with
the Spirit is to have one’s mind completely under His divine control.
Being filled with the Spirit parallels allowing the Word to dwell in us richly (See table above - Col 3:16-note).
When our minds are saturated with, marinated by and yielded to God’s Holy Word and His
the fruit will show in our behavior (thoughts, words, actions,
deeds). It is not a matter of available power (God's supplies are
infinite) but of available will (my yielding is finite and often
Too often we live our Christian lives as if we were yo-yo's on a string,
sometimes up, sometimes down, in a state of spiritual flux (and
unspiritual flesh)! By the Spirit’s power, all believers are enabled
to walk (supernaturally) in a manner worthy of the
calling with which [they] have been called (Ep 4:1-note)
In his devotional Ray Stedman
sums up this section writing that...
When you became a Christian, when you
believed in Jesus Christ and received Him as your Lord, the Holy Spirit
came to live in you. You have the Spirit, but the interesting paradox is
that, though all Christians have the Holy Spirit, we constantly need to
be filled with the Holy Spirit. The filling of the Holy Spirit is the
momentary taking from Him of the resources you need for the situation in
which you are. It has nothing to do with an experience or a feeling or a
crisis; it is a quiet drinking again and again of an inner supply of
This is a truth that many Christians seem to miss. They think that
Christianity means coming to church, getting a blessing, and then going
away to try to live in the light and warmth of the blessing until it
leaks away, and then they must come back and get filled up again. But
that is not Christianity. When Jesus said of the person who drinks of
Him, "Out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water,"
John says, "By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him
were later to receive" (John 7:39a). That is the strengthening that
comes from within, and there is plenty there for any situation. (Ephesians
5:15-20 Live Overflowingly)
WHAT FILLED WITH THE
DOES NOT MEAN
Wayne Barber explains what being
filled with the Spirit does not mean.
Being filled with the Spirit of God does not mean a dramatic and sudden
experience that somehow catapults you into some kind of spiritual
hierarchy, into a permanent state that is called the second blessing.
Forget it. That is not what Paul is describing. In fact, we have every blessing in Christ Jesus
(Eph 1:3-note). Why
would we want to look for a "second one?"
Being filled with the Spirit is not some act of our own flesh that seeks God’s approval. It is not someone saying
something like "Okay, God, I love
you and I am going to go out there and do your work and You help me
out." That has nothing to do with being filled with the Spirit.
Being filled with the Spirit is not the same as possessing
the Spirit or being indwelt by the Spirit. You
possess the Spirit the moment you became a child of God (Ro 8:9-note).
Being filled with the Spirit is not a process of progressively receiving bigger and bigger doses
of the Holy Spirit. Have you ever been around some of these pious, "I am
more spiritual than you are" people? They walk around as if to say,
"Man, I’ve got a bigger dose of the Holy Spirit yesterday. How much did
you get?" They act as if they had more of God. That has nothing
to do with what Paul is talking about. As a believer you
have all of God you will ever get (cp Col 2:10-note).
It is God now getting all of you that is
a key to being filled.
Being filled with the Spirit is not the same as the
baptism with the Spirit. Remember, there is no such thing as the baptism
of the Spirit. It is baptism with or by, by the
means of. We are baptized into the body of Christ with the Holy Spirit.
That is salvation. When we were baptized into the body, we received
every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. In Him is the fullness of the
BY THE SPIRIT
Wayne Barber helps us understand
what it means to be continually controlled by the Spirit...
How do you explain this? Take a glass
of water. Some people think that being filled with the Spirit means to
fill that glass up and guzzle it down. But after you do that it is
empty. Now you have to be filled again, so you fill it back up and drink
it down. Now it is empty, so you have to fill it up again. So you are
constantly being filled, emptied, filled, emptied of the Spirit. No,
that is not it!
Take the glass, the same glass, and
knock the bottom out of it. Make a conduit out of it, a pipe that
something can travel through. Take that glass, put it into the water and
let the river flow through it. That is being filled with the Spirit of
God. The Spirit of God is already there. It hasn’t gone anywhere. You
can’t empty yourself of Him. He is already there. However, you can clog
it up. You can shut it down. You can stop the flow. So therefore,
constantly in my life, I have to stay unhindered so the Holy Spirit of
God can flow and minister His life through me. I can’t minister to
anybody. I can’t do anything. It is Christ doing it through me.
What do I do? It involves several
things. First of all, it involves a confession of sin. Confession is the
word homologeo. It means to say to God, "You are exactly right. I
want to agree with you. Everything in my life is a result of me. It is
not the result of you. I’ve missed the mark, which is what the word sin
means, and God, I agree with you." The more I confess sin, the more I am
aware of the old garment. The more I am aware of the old garment, the
sicker I am going to get of it and the more I want to wear the new
garment. Confession of sin is very, very important to the believer’s
life. Moment by moment, day by day, it is constant.
I guess Romans 12:1, 2 helped me more
than anything else, when you think of being filled with the Spirit as
involving confession of sin, surrender of will, surrender of intellect,
surrender of body, surrender of time, surrender of talents, surrender of
desires, and surrender of possessions. Romans 12:1-2 drew a picture of
what it meant to be constantly "be being filled" with the Spirit of God.
In this passage Paul writes...
I urge you
brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and
holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of
worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by
the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is,
that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Ro 12:1-note,
It is a process folks, day by day,
constantly being broken, constantly yielding. It is not an arrival. It
is a pursuit.
I beseech you
brethren by the mercies
God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice.
Think of this as a blank sheet of
paper. You sign the bottom of it and give it to God. It is like going to
a surgeon who says,
I am going to do
surgery on your life. Here is a blank sheet of paper. Sign it.
No, I am not
signing it if it is all blanks. What are the blanks for?
That is what I
may have to cut out of you when I do surgery on you. Everything I cut
out of you is keeping you from
being everything you ought to be.
I am going to go home and check this
guy out. God says to do the same thing for Him. Give Him permission to
your body. Give Him permission to your life. Present yourself afresh day
by day and moment by moment.
God, cut out of
me anything that is hindering me from being everything you want me to
be. I give you full rights to myself. I want nothing but what you want
in my life.
Let me ask you.
Have you laid
everything at the altar of Jesus Christ? Are you being filled
with the Spirit of God? (Ed: Be careful here - don't think that
you're "laying everything" on the altar wins God's approval. That is
another very subtle form of legalism. It's not you "doing" as
much as it is your "being." Surrender your will to the sweet will
of the Spirit and He will fill you.)
Are you so full of yourself that
somehow you have meshed the two garments together to the point that you
don’t know the difference from one or the other? You see, being filled
with the Spirit is a constant surrendered attitude to Jesus (the Spirit
of Christ - Ro 8:9). He wants whatever it is that usurps His authority
to be Lord and king of our life (Ed: As an aside, whatever comes
between you and God is a form of idolatry!).
What is it in your life? I want to tell
you, folks, when you start letting Him control you, the garment comes
on, the strengthening starts and it is all the same thing. He said the
same thing three different ways. You need nothing from the outside. Oh,
no. That is dissipation. You already have it on the inside. Be
strengthened from the inside out, not from the outside in. (Ephesians
5:18-21 - Be Filled With the Spirit - 2)
Harry Ironside explains Ephesians 5:18 this way...
You will notice he puts two things in opposition, the one to the
other—drunkenness with wine and the filling of the Holy Spirit. Why does
these two things, these two conditions? You see, the man who has been
over-imbibing, the man who is drunk with wine, is controlled by a spirit
foreign to himself. Men, when they are under the influence of the spirit
of alcohol, do and say things that they never would do in their normal
condition. They make fools of themselves, they descend to all kinds of
ribaldry and nonsense, and people say, excusing them, "Oh, well; you
mustn't hold it against him; he is drunk, he is not himself." The
apostle says that that condition should never be true of a Christian,
but on the other hand the Christian should be dominated and controlled
by a Spirit other than himself. He should be controlled by the Holy
Spirit of God, and in the power of the Holy Spirit one is enabled to say
and to do what he could not say and do in his merely natural condition.
And so the filling of the Holy Spirit ought to be the normal experience
of every believer—
"Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be
filled with the Spirit."
The word here is not really in the past tense
but in the present—"Be habitually filled with the Holy Spirit."
What is the filling with the Holy Spirit? I think the thought that a
great many people have is that it is some strange, ecstatic, emotional
experience that comes to them at a given moment and then later passes
away and has to be repeated again. But that is not it. This is the
normal experience of the Christian life:
"They were all filled with
the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness" (Acts
They were dominated, they were controlled by the blessed Holy
Spirit of God, and this does not necessarily result in any special
emotional breakdown, but rather preserves one in the path of orderliness
and common sense. In the second Epistle to Timothy we read,
not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a
sound mind." (2Ti 1:7-note)
I have been in some places where people talk a great deal about the
fulness of the Spirit and where I have seen things that I never would
have thought possible a few years ago outside of an insane asylum,
people rolling upon the floor and raving like maniacs, and yet calling
that the fulness of the Spirit. That is not the spirit of a sound mind.
The man who is filled with the Holy Spirit does not go off into some
wild, fanatical state, but walks thoughtfully and carefully with God,
and his testimony has power with men.
Turn to the Epistle to the Colossians 3:16,
the word of Christ
= command to make this the habit of your life) in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and
admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing
with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (note)
Notice the effect there of the Word of Christ dwelling richly in the
soul. Then turn back to Ephesians and read these verses again. Do you
observe that you get the exactly the same results in Colossians when the
Word of Christ dwells in you richly that you get in Ephesians when you
are filled with the Spirit? What then is the inference?
There is an old rule in mathematics that
"things equal to the same
thing are equal to one another."
If to be filled with the Word is
equal in result of being filled with the Spirit, then it should be clear
that the Word-filled Christian is the Spirit-filled Christian. As the
Word of Christ dwells in us richly, controls all our ways, as we walk in
obedience to the Word, the Spirit of God fills, dominates, and controls
us to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, if you would be
filled with the Spirit and you know of anything in your life which is
contrary to the Word of God, if you are tolerating anything in your
private life which is contrary to the Word of God, if there is anything
in your outward associations, in your behavior before the world that is
contrary to His Word, go into His presence, confess your sins, sins of
omission, sins of commission, deal with it all before Him, and when
everything has been uncovered and faced in His presence, dare to believe
that He means what He says when He declares,
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1Jn 1:9).
And now, seek grace from Him to walk in obedience to His truth, cry out
from the depths of your heart as the Psalmist did, "Order my steps in
Thy Word" (Ps 119:133-Spurgeon's
note), and as you walk on
in obedience to the Word of God, you will be filled with the Spirit.
Do not get the idea that you must have some remarkable outward
demonstration, some amazing sign that the Spirit of God has actually
taken possession, but remember that He dwells in every believer, and as
you give Him room, He cleanses out of you everything that hinders. As
you let Him take full possession you are filled with the Spirit.
What will be the evidence of it? One will be fulness of joy (cp
Gal 5:22 -note).
The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of gladness, the Spirit of joy. Now do not
misunderstand me, there is a difference between holy joy and mere
natural merriment. Take the life of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. Even
though He was the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isa 53:3),
as we read the records in the four Gospels we cannot help but be
impressed with the fact that we are not reading the life of a sad Man
but of a glad Man. "At that time Jesus rejoiced in spirit and said,
Father, I thank Thee." (Lk 10:21) That is characteristic of the blessed
Lord. In spite of all the grief and sorrow that He bore He was joyful.
But having said that, let me remind you that in these records you do not
see depicted what the world calls a jolly man. His was no mere worldly
jollity, no mere worldly merriment, but a deep-rooted gladness that was
based upon unbroken communion with the Father, and that is the joy that
you and I should possess.
The one who is filled with the Spirit will be a glad, joyous
F B Hole writes...
It is not only an obligation but also a very wonderful privilege. To be
filled with One who is a divine Person, can that be a negligible thing?
It means that He has a complete control. If we take the exhortation to
heart we shall naturally ask-How may I be filled? What have I to do in
order that I may be?
That is no small question. We may at least say this; that it is ours to
remove out of the way all that hinders. The Spirit of God is holy.
Moreover, He is sensitive. We may easily grieve Him, even by things that
we allow without a bad conscience. Correspondingly we may easily be
preoccupied with things that we consider quite harmless, and yet being
pre-occupied there is not the room for Him to occupy us. A good many
"harmless" things will have to go out of my life and yours too, if we
are to be filled with the Spirit.
The fruits of being filled with the Spirit follow in verses 19 to 21.
The heart is filled with gladness which finds a spiritual outlet in
song. There is a glad acceptance of all things-even adverse
circumstances-with thanks-giving to the Father, in the name of the Lord
Jesus Christ; and as to our relations with one another the spirit of
yieldingness and submission, whilst always maintaining the fear of God.
Our submission to one another must not be at the expense of true
subjection to Him. (Ephesians
F B Hole)
When we fail to yield ourselves
completely to Him, we quench the Holy Spirit... Now, do you know what it
means to quench the Spirit of God? It doesn't mean that we extinguish
Him as you would quench or extinguish a fire. It means that we stifle
Him. We stifle His influence in our lives. And it's very possible for us
to be cleansed of every sin except unyieldedness. And if this is so, we
cannot be filled with the Spirit of God. So, make sure that you
unreservedly yield yourself to God for whatever He wants from you. Just
be transparent and open before Him. (The
Holy Spirit Fills You)
><> ><> ><>
Spurgeon writes that...
If you are filled with the Spirit of
God, and wish to retain his gracious presence, speak about him. Note
this, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is riot; but be filled with the
Spirit; speaking.” That is a curious word to follow so soon. The Holy
Ghost is not a dumb Spirit; he sets us speaking. “Speaking to
yourselves”; it is a poor audience; but still it is a choice audience
if you speak to your brethren. “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and
hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to
the Lord.” Beloved, when the Spirit of God fills you, you will not only
speak, but sing. Let the holy power have free course:
do not quench the Spirit.
If you feel like singing all the while, sing all the while, and let
others know that there is a joy in the possession of the Spirit of God
which the world does not understand, but which you are feeling, and to
which you wish to bear witness. Oh, that the Spirit of God would come
upon this entire church, and fill you all to overflowing! May the
members of other churches that are here to-night take home fire with
them, and set their churches on flame! The Lord bless you, for Jesus
Christ’s sake! Amen. (Read the entire sermon
Filling with the Spirit and
Drunkenness with Wine)
><> ><> ><>
Filled With The Spirit - Bible scholar C. I. Scofield once visited a
psychiatric hospital in Staunton, Virginia. The superintendent, who was
giving him a tour, pointed out a powerfully built young man who seemed to be
the picture of health.
“Wouldn’t that man be very difficult to manage if he became violent?”
“Yes,” said the superintendent, “but he never exerts his power. His delusion
is that he has no strength! He is always asking for medicine and complaining
Scofield later commented,
“How many in the church are like that! Divinely gifted with the indwelling
power of the Holy Spirit, they lack the faith, knowledge, and consecration
to use it. People are always praying for power. There is power enough. What
they need is the willingness to be used in any humble position, and the
faith to exercise the strength God has given.”
There are many splendid goals we could reach if we would cease our timid
excuse-making and just let the Holy Spirit fill and control our lives.
Because of our relationship to Christ and the indwelling Spirit, we have all
the strength we need to do His will (2Cor 3:5-note).
— by Henry G. Bosch
Lord, fill us with Thy Spirit’s might
That we may live as in Thy sight;
On all Thy children lay Thy hand
That they may live as Thou hast planned.
The human spirit fails
unless the Holy Spirit fills.
><> ><> ><>
Meyer has the following devotional comments on "Filled"...
IT IS said of Abraham that he died in a good old age, an old man, and
full. It is a beautiful conception; as though all his nature had reached
its complete satisfaction, and he could desire and receive nothing more.
The Psalmist, too, sings of fulfilled desire; and Mary tells how God
filled her hungry soul with good things. Can we speak with equal
certainty of being "filled"?note)
CHRIST IS THE SOURCE OF FULNESS TO HIS CHURCH AND TO INDIVIDUAL
SOULS. (Ephesians 1:23-
We have sought to be
filled with earthly goods and human love. Away upon the mountains we
have essayed to hew out for ourselves cisterns, to be fed by rushing
brooks and falling showers, and be always brimming; but we have been
greatly disappointed. In each case a flaw or crack has made our work
abortive, and we have seen the water sinking inch after inch till only
drops have remained to quench the fever-flush or our souls. Not more
successful have been the attempts of those who have sought rest in
systems of theology, in rites and ceremonies, or in the rush of
unceasing engagements. In none of these can the nature of man find its
completion or fruition.
All the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Him, that of that
fulness we might all receive, and grace on grace; like repeated waves
that follow one another up to the furthest reaches of the tide. In Him
we have been made full in the purpose and intention of God (Col 2:9-note);
and in Him we may be made full by the daily reception of his grace,
through the operation of the Holy Spirit.
It is as if God stored the whole fulness of his nature in Jesus, that it
might be readily accessible by us. The river of God, which is full of
water, flows over the low threshold of his humanity, that it may be
within the reach of the weakest and smallest in his kingdom. We might be
afraid of the Great Spirit; but what little child, what timid woman,
ever shrank from the gentle Lamb of God?
There is not one, who is in Jesus by a living faith, that may not reckon
on being filled by Him. As the life-blood flows from the cistern-heart
into each member and part of the body, so do the tides of life and love
that emanate from the heart of Jesus pulse against the doors of all
believing hearts. He fills all.
And He fills all in all. The heart, with its keen power of enjoyment or
sorrow. The mind, with its marvellous ability of tracking the footsteps
of the Creator. The sense of humour and the sense of reverence. The
hours of recreation and the hours of meditation. The days of work and
the days of worship. All in all.
He cannot do otherwise, without robbing or impoverishing Himself. For,
as each part of the plant is needed to fill up the measure of its ideal,
and as each member is required to fulfil the complete conception of a
man; so each one of the members of Christ's mystical body, that Church,
is essential to the manifestation of his fulness. He needs thee and me,
or there will be some portion of his fulness which will never be able to
manifest itself. But as sure as we present ourselves to Him, there will
be an infilling of our nature with Himself, as the chill morning air, at
dawn, becomes suddenly radiant with sunbeams.
CHRIST'S FULNESS IS MEASURELESS. (Ephesians 3:19)
There is no limit to the infinite nature of our Lord. The fulness of
Deity is resident in Him. Only God the Father knows Him, and no other
being, saint or seraph, beside. An angel with drooping wing might be
imagined as reaching the furthest limit of space and be holding the last
of the stars; but it is impossible to conceive of any limit whatsoever
to the love, or power, or patience of Jesus. The ocean is shoreless. The
The depth bottomless. Such is Jesus that there is no common standard by
which to compare Him with the greatest and noblest and eldest created
spirit in the universe of God. You might compare such a one with the
aphid on a leaf, for they are alike finite; but you cannot compare the
finite and the infinite.
All that fulness is for us. We are settlers on the continent of Christ's
infinite nature, and we are at liberty to go on putting back the walls
of our enclosure, so as to take in an ever-growing share of our
inheritance. But we need never fear that we shall touch its furthest
limit. When we have spent a million years exploring and appropriating,
we shall know as little of its real contents as the Pilgrim Fathers knew
of the America which has reared itself on the foundations they laid.
Though our capacities to receive out of Christ's fulness were increased
a thousandfold, all their need would be as regularly and constantly met
as at this present hour; because the nature of God awaits to feed them,
and we may count on being filled up to the measure of the fulness of
That measure will always be beyond us. We may therefore rest in perfect
satisfaction that we cannot exhaust it; and yet we may ever strive in
our poor measure to attain more nearly towards it. The Mediterranean is
ever losing volume by evaporation; and yet is always full, because it
can draw by the Straits of Gibraltar on the Atlantic. And its
tidelessness may well become the emblem of the peace and restfulness of
that soul which has learnt the secret of taking into itself the
blessedness of Jesus.
THIS POWER TO FILL WAS WON BY CHRIST IN HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION.
He did not ascend till He had
first descended. Always death before resurrection; stooping before
rising; the garden and the cross before the Ascension Mount.
But as surely as these come first, the others follow. He who
condescended to the fashion of a man, and thence to death, even the
death of the cross, must ascend by the very laws of that spiritual world
which He obeyed. He could not be holden by death. "Wherefore God highly
exalted Him." "Thou art worthy, for Thou wast slain."
And being by the right hand of God exalted, He received of the Father
the promised plentitude of the Spirit. It had been his before, as the
second Person in the Holy Trinity; but it became his now as the
Representative and High Priest of his people. It was entrusted to Him as
their Trustee and Surety. As we receive the fulness of forgiveness from
his death, so we may receive the fulness of the Spirit from his life.
There is no soul so low in its need, but He can touch it, because He has
descended into the depths of Hades; and now from the zenith throne of
his ascended glory He can reach the furthest and remotest points of
spiritual need: as the sun can cover a wider area when it sits regnant
in the sky at noon, than when pillowing its chin upon the western wave.
OUR GROWTH IN THE BODY IS TO BE WORTHY OF THE HEAD. (Ephesians 4:13-note)
In a caricature you will sometimes see a large head on a very diminutive
and dwarfed body; but there will be no disparity between the Head and
the Body when the Divine workmanship is complete. We are diminutive and
dwarfed just now; but as we abide in Him we shall grow and expand until
each member of the mystical Body shall fill out to its complete
proportion, and the ideal man shall stand forth before the gaze of the
universe, in the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
But this can only be when each joint shall supply to the whole its
appropriate nutriment, and when we all give ourselves unweariedly to
perfect one another in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of
the Son of God.
THIS FULNESS MUST BE RECEIVED.
The fulness is in Jesus' but we
must take it. It is not enough even to pray; we must reverently and
humbly appropriate its stores. "Give me this water," must be the cry of
each, "that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw."
There are three methods indicated here by which the filling process may
1. Give yourself to holy song; if not with the
lip, then in the heart, and with the music of a loving, trustful spirit,
and the rhythm of a life attuned to the will of God.
2. Give thanks always for all things. Some of God's best gifts
come in the roughest cases. When you see your Father's handwriting in
the direction, kneel down and thank Him for the contents before you
unpack them. All must be good that comes from Him.
3. Give submission and subjection to one another, except in
matters that touch conscience and the demands of God.
But, above all, learn the secret of an appropriating faith, that goes to
God with its need, and dip its empty pitcher down into the fulness of
Jesus, and takes up at any moment of the day the supply of its thirst;
not trying to feel any joy or exhilaration or emotion, but daring to
believe where it cannot discern, and to act on its sure reckoning that
it does receive that which it asks of God. Too often God's ships came
laden to our wharves, but we are not there to discharge them. Too often
his couriers bring love letters, but we are asleep and they pass our
doors. Too often his showers pass over the hills, but we do not catch
their blessed fulness to fertilize and enrich our fields.
Who is in control of your life?
Either the Holy Spirit or something else.
Something else is a poor substitute!
A. J. Gordon
Before Pentecost the disciples found it hard to do easy things; after
Pentecost they found it easy to do hard things.
Why should the children of a King
Go mourning all their days?
Great Comforter, descend, and bring
Some tokens of Thy grace.
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