FILLED #2

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Eph. 5:18 ,19 – And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,

Continued from yesterday,
“Be filled” is plural and thus applies to the body of Christ collectively. God’s people collectively are to “be so ‘full of God’ by his Spirit that our worship and our homes give full evidence of the Spirit’s presence: by song, praise, and thanksgiving that simultaneously praise and adore God and teach the community”.

The Spirit filled life is closely connected to our Christian community. It is veritably impossible to stay full of the Spirit if you are not around Spirit filled believers. I am not talking about people who say they believe in being Spirit filled, I am talking about actually drinking of His Spirit corporately. Who you fellowship with will determine your ability to stay full of the Spirit.

Eph. 5:18-20 – And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

“It ( the phrase. Be filled) is passive and thus could be translated, “Let the Spirit fill you” (NEB). There should be such an openness and obedience to the Holy Spirit that nothing hinders him from filling us.”

This is critical. Yielding, learning to be in a receiving mode, is key to receiving more of His presence. Many get stuck in a doing mode. Humility stays in a receiving state, I need Him in my life

DRINKING IS STEPPING INTO THE RECEIVING MODE

“It is a present tense and thus carries the idea of an ongoing action. As our physical bodies need the constant renewal that sleep brings, so the body of Christ needs the constant renewal that the Spirit makes possible.”

This passage could be translated ‘be being filled’. Be baptized or immersed into the Spirit is a continual thing. Paul is calling us to a lifestyle of drinking in the new wine on a continual basis.

Eph. 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.
At the end of the day our life depends on being filled with the Spirit. Take time to draw near, you will benefit by His presence.

FILLED #1

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Eph. 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

Paul draws a comparison to being under the influence of alcoholic beverages and being continually filled with the Spirit. There is an incredible pressure to drink in our present society. Those who don’t drink are often perceived as odd. Our society in America, as well as world wide, is changing rapidly. I became a Christian in 1973. Just in those years since my conversion things have changed extensively. In 1973 it would have been scandalous for a Christian to drink alcohol. Today it is not only accepted and normal, it is actually encouraged in many Christian circles. There was a reason drinking has been unacceptable for Christians, drinking brings all sorts of problems. Paul said there was a better way.

Rom. 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Gal. 5:16 ¶ But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

In the Life in the Spirit Commentary today’s passage is explained. It describes the alternative to drinking alcoholic beverages, being filled with the Spirit and the importance of being Spirit filled. Check this out.

“It is an imperative and is thus a command. Being filled with the Spirit is not an optional or tentative suggestion, as if we are at liberty to take it or leave it. It carries an urgent weight of importance.”
Paul tells us the urgency of being filled with the Spirit. Without the Spirit prevalent in our life we will easily succumb to the spirit that is in the world. Our purity and Christian testimony is at stake.

A. The Spirit within
John 4:10,13,14 – Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

B. The Spirit upon

John 7:37-39 ¶ On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

To be continued….

BE BEING FILLED

Eph. 5:18,19 – And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,

Ephesus was not much different from other port cities of the day, sexual immorality, religious idolatry, and drunken behavior were common. Paul’s words to the church were very pointed, we have a different kind of drink and a different source of enjoyment from the culture of the world. In today’s verse Paul is describing the importance of continual fillings so that we don’t become consumed by the culture of the day. New Orleans is not much different; a dose of religion, sexual promiscuity, and plenty of booze is the order of the day. This is not our world as Christians, Paul describes our source of pleasure in today’s verse. Here are some comments from Watchman Nee, sounds like China needs the power of the Spirit as well.

“Plerousthe, ‘be being filled’, is the expression here used in relation to the Holy Spirit. “Allow yourselves to be continually made full.” This describes not a crisis as at Pentecost but a condition we are to enjoy all the time. And it is not a matter of spiritual gifts and manifestations outwardly but of the personal presence and activity of the Holy Spirit of God within our spirits—the oil that guarantees the lamp shall burn on undimmed, long after the midnight hour if need be. Moreover, it is not alone a private, individual thing. It is something we share with other Christians. Paul speaks of making melody together. Some of us may well find it easier to sing solos than to keep in time and harmony in a choir or even in a duet! Yet the fullness of the Spirit is given to us with this very object, that we shall sing together a new song before the throne.”

Née emphasizes the need for joining other Christians in our spiritual drinking. It is in these corporate gatherings that the Holy Spirit comes in the most profound ways. Paul describes singing together as our form of drinking this new wine. He also describes it as “be being filled”. This is what church is, worship takes a prominent role as we drink together in joyful songs. Rather than seeing worship as so kind of preliminary that we can take or leave, we view it now sat the moment when we are all filled with the power of His presence.

MARDI GRAS MAMBO

Eph. 5:17,18 – Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

Mardi Gras has become an opportunity for man’s carnal nature to run amuck. I know all the arguments that defend the day that God forgot, I lived in NOLA as a child and almost all of my life, but at the end of the day it has become pretty ugly. You ever wonder why the king of Mardi Gras is some rich white guy and the queen some young girl from a connected family? Something doesn’t smell right about that. In many ways it has become a drunken spectacle where people end up doing things they only dream of in their darker moments.

Today’s verse draws a parallel to two kinds of lives and two kinds of joy. One shows the spirit of the world dominated by drunken foolishness. The other life is a life of a different kind of drinking, drinking in the wine of the Spirit and being filled with a heavenly joy.

Matthew Henry points to Bacchus, of all things, in his comments on today’s verse.
“Drunkards are wont to sing obscene and profane songs. The heathens, in their Bacchanalia, used to sing hymns to Bacchus, whom they called the god of wine. Thus they expressed their joy; but the joy of Christians should express itself in songs of praise to their God. In these they should speak to themselves in their assemblies and meetings together, for mutual edification.”
Barnes also references Bacchus, he says his influence turns men into madmen. Here are his thoughts.
“Do not become madmen. Here is a most evident allusion to the orgies of Bacchus, in which his votaries acted like madmen; running about, tossing their heads from shoulder to shoulder, appearing to be in every sense completely frantic. But understanding what the will of the Lord is. It is the will of God that ye should be sober, chaste, holy, and pure. Get a thorough understanding of this; acquaint yourselves with God’s will, that ye may know how to glorify him.”
What kind of drinking will you be doing today? Which community of drinking are you a part of? One drink leaves a sense of emptiness and guilt and the possibility of shattered relationships. The other drink, joy unspeakable and a connection to a community of beautiful people.

TWO KINDS OF DRINK

Eph. 5:18,19 – And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

This verse describes the two types of lifestyles that we find in our world today. One is characterized by worldly behavior enhanced by the use of alcoholic beverages. The other life is a Spirit filled and empowered lifestyle characterized by another kind of drinking. Yep, there is another drink very different from the one the world offers us. What is this heavenly beverage? It is the new wine of the Holy Spirit. Paul describes a life constantly filled with this new wine. How is that possible? Just check today’s verse, we can be continually filled by singing palms, hymns, and spiritual songs; these are the drinking songs of the Spirit. Martin Luther loved to sing the Psalms, check out his thoughts on today’s verse.

“Consider what the most respected church fathers, especially Athanasius and Augustine, taught about using psalms. They said we should adapt and adjust our minds so that we are in tune with the psalms. We must sing the psalms with the help of the Holy Spirit. They are like a school for the attitudes of the heart. Don’t think that you are being asked to do the impossible. All you need to do is try, and I know you will be glad you did. First, practice on one psalm or even one verse of a psalm. You will be successful as soon as you have learned how to make just one verse come alive and live in your heart—even if it takes a day or a whole week. However, after you begin, everything else will follow naturally, and you will find a rich treasure of insight and love. Just be careful you don’t let weariness and discouragement prevent you from getting started.”
Just go ahead and get started; in other words, go ahead and have a drink. David himself had discovered this kind of drinking, that’s what the Psalms are all about. David describes this life in

Psa. 36:8 “They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures”. Start singing the Psalms, then move over into one of the songs or hymns from church, as you get good and intoxicated on the Spirit you can move into the spiritual songs of the Spirit or the new song like David sang. This can become your chosen drink and you will never thirst for that worldly beverage again.

THE WORD, THE SPIRIT, AND PRAYER

THE WORD, THE SPIRIT, AND PRAYER

Be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.Ephesians 5:18–19

I love what Paul taught us about staying filled with the Spirit by singing scripture. Prayer can become quite pleasurable when we follow the apostle’s instructions, “Be continually filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in Psalms…”. Actually, praying or singing Psalms can never be exhausted. In the Psalms we find worship, petition, intercession, and prayers of commitment and intercession. Believers have been praying and singing the Psalms for thousands of years. Here are some thoughts from Martin Luther who used the Psalms in his daily times with the LORD.

“Consider what the most respected church fathers, especially Athanasius and Augustine, taught about using psalms. They said we should adapt and adjust our minds so that we are in tune with the psalms. We must sing the psalms with the help of the Holy Spirit. They are like a school for the attitudes of the heart.

For example, when you read in Psalm 1, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,” you must actually reject the advice that wicked people give you. When you read, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD,” you shouldn’t take it easy and pat yourself on the back as if you are a person who already loves the Lord’s teachings. For as long as you live, you will need to think of yourself as a person who desperately needs to love God’s teachings even more.

Don’t think that you are being asked to do the impossible. All you need to do is try, and I know you will be glad you did. First, practice on one psalm or even one verse of a psalm. You will be successful as soon as you have learned how to make just one verse come alive and live in your heart—even if it takes a day or a whole week. However, after you begin, everything else will follow naturally, and you will find a rich treasure of insight and love. Just be careful you e don’t let weariness and discouragement prevent you from getting started.”

I love Luther’s paraphrase of the teaching of Augustine and Athanasius, “we should adapt and adjust our minds so that we are in tune with the psalms”. This is exactly what Paul taught, to adjust our minds by praying the Psalms. Paul said this would result in being filled with the Spirit.
So let’s think for a moment about the teaching of Paul and the church fathers. Actually what they taught us was what happens when we combine the word of God to our prayers in song. This powerful threefold cord results in incredible, Holy Spirit outpouring. If you feel a little dry, take out the Psalms and begin to sing them (any melody will do). If you don’t know where to start, some of my favorites are Psalms 63; 16; 110; and 45. Enjoy!!!

WAKE UP

WAKE UP

Eph. 5:14 ¶ The Message
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!

Obviously, the Apostle Paul is talking about a state of what he called spiritual slumber. What a great picture of being vulnerable, we are never in a more dangerous place than when we are asleep. I’ll never forget the time Parris and I fell asleep in our hotel room in Moscow with our door left unlocked. We were passed out from jet lag and a long week of all day street ministry and carelessly did not lock our door before we went to sleep. That night someone came into our room and stole my wallet. What a strange feeling I had when I woke up the next morning, I had been vulnerable in my sleep and was totally unaware. Paul was calling for the church in Ephesus to awaken from their sleep, spiritual slumber puts us in a state of spiritual vulnerability. Here is a quote from Albert Barnes’ commentary on this passage.

“Sleep and death are striking representations of the state in which men are by nature. In sleep we are, though living, insensible to any danger that may be near; we are unconscious of what may be going on around us; we hear not the voice of our friends; we see not the beauty of the grove or the landscape; we are forgetful of our real character and condition. So with the sinner. It is as if his faculties were locked in a deep slumber. He hears not when God calls; he has no sense of danger; he is insensible to the beauties and glories of the heavenly world; he is forgetful of his true character and condition. To see all this, he must be first awakened; and hence this solemn command is addressed to man. He must rouse from this condition, or he cannot be saved. But can he awaken himself? Is it not the work of God to awaken a sinner? Can he rouse himself to a sense of his condition and danger? How do we do in other things? The man that is sleeping on the verge of a dangerous precipice we would approach, and say, “Awake, you are in danger.” The child that is sleeping quietly in its bed, while the flames are bursting into the room, we would rouse, and say, “Awake, or you will perish.” Why not use the same language to the sinner slumbering on the verge of ruin, in a deep sleep, while the flames of wrath are kindling around him? We have no difficulty in calling on sleepers elsewhere to awake when in danger; how can we have any difficulty when speaking to the sinner?”

Wake up! Our world is more dangerous than you can imagine. In that place of spiritual slumber we easily fall into laziness and compromise. Only those wide awake in Christ can be prepared for the days we live in. Awake oh sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.

YOU DRINK TOO MUCH

YOU DRINK TOO MUCH

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

Have you ever had too much to drink? That is really a loaded question because who sets the standard of drunkenness? Are you good as long as you can still stand up? Maybe your definition goes along with what the law says is legally too drunk to drive. Maybe you describe too much as being when you pass out or go to toilet hugging. For me, I choose not to drink alcoholic beverages. First of all alcohol is a slippery slope that leads to bad decisions and horrible consequences. Secondly, God has provided a much better drink, He has given us the new wine of the Spirit. You can’t have both so I think I’ll stick with the new wine.
Jonathan Edwards had some interesting observations about spiritual drinking. He said that there was no such thing as excessive spiritual drinking. Now that’s what I am talking about, you can get as intoxicated as you like on new wine and all the consequences are good. Here is Edwards’ comment on Eph.5:18.

” ‘And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be ye filled with the Spirit.’
As much as to say, In this there is no excess. It is no matter how full ye are of the Spirit. A being full of wine, or being “drunk with wine,” were expressions of the same import in those days. Thus when the apostles were filled with the Spirit at Pentecost, some “mocking said, These men are full of new wine” [Acts 2:13]. There is excess in being full of wine, but no excess in being filled with the Spirit. There is no excess in spiritual enjoyments. We may be drunken with the Spirit, and there is no excess in that, as ’tis said, Song of Solomon 5:1, “Drink, and be drunken, O beloved.”

Now just think about the comparison of the consequences of spiritual drunkenness to being drunk on alcohol. If you drink too much booze you do stupid things such as getting into fights, car wrecks, profanity, and possible sexual compromise. Excessive drinking can lead to other problems such as losing your job, your marriage, or loss of friends. Ultimately excessive drinking will effect you physically; all sorts of disease is connected to alcohol consumption.
Now what about spiritual drinking, what are those consequences? The first is extreme joy that drives depression out of our lives. You keep drinking new wine and you begin to be overcome by God’s love, this tends to spill over into our other relationships. Our marriage improves, our friends are better friends, and our job performance improves. Finally, spiritual drink connects us to the power of God. We live a more moral life, we have power in our testimony, and we can actually be used by God to bring miracles into other’s lives. So what am I going to do, I think I’ll have another drink.

REDEEMING THE TIME – AGAIN

REDEEMING THE TIME – AGAIN

redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Eph.5:16

Time is one of our most precious of all commodities. Our time is not unlimited, we have a fixed amount of time on this earth given to us by the Lord. Our wise use of time is one of the things about our lives that will be evaluated at that great day when each of us will stand before the Lord. Our lives are all a series of “times” allotted to us by the Lord, these times are viewed, by the Lord, as treasures, or opportunities given to us for the advancement of His kingdom. There will come a day when time is no more, time will be swallowed up by eternity, and all of us will be instantly standing and living in the fruit of our labors here on earth. Dick Mills has some valuable insight into this phrase “redeeming the time”. Listen carefully to his words.

“This verse contains an illuminating Greek word for time: kairos (kahee-ros’). This is time adapted to circumstances. Kairos can be defined as: 1) A set time for action, 2) the right moment, 3) the opportune point of time when a thing should be done, or 4) the time appointed to accomplish a certain task.
In Ephesians 5:16 we are admonished by Paul to “redeem” the time (kairos) appointed to us by the Lord. Newer translations render this phrase, “buying up the opportunity,” indicating we need a natural acumen (understanding) to help us to interpret our spiritual opportunities.”

All of us live in a world screaming for our time. The Lord is different, He is quietly waiting for us to turn our attention to Him and to see the value of the time He has given to us. Seeing the value of something is the key to wise stewardship, especially of our time. We give ourselves to the things we perceive as important. How can I redeem the time and why would I want to? One glimpse of Him and His greatness will answer all of those questions. When you “see” Christ for yourself, your value system is radically upended, what you deem as important will change. When that happens, you will immediately see the value of one of the Lord’s greatest gifts to you, your time. In light of what Paul said about living in the evil day, we have to redeem the time, frankly, we don’t know how much of it we have.

REDEEMING THE TIME

REDEEMING THE TIME

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Eph.5:15,16

We are rapidly heading into a new year, 2010 is over and 2011 is about to begin. At the end of each year it is good for us to reflect on our past year and begin to think of the new opportunities just ahead of us. In today’s scripture Paul talks about redeeming the time. What is he saying, how can I buy back lost time? Obviously we can’t buy back time that is past, but Paul is describing a supernatural lifestyle that can begin to make the very best use of our time and in some ways begin to buy back lost time. Paul talked about the way to make the best use of our time in the next few verses, he said we could do this by staying filled with the Spirit.

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Eph.5:18-20

The word Paul uses, dissipation, literally means to waste your time. He is saying we can buy time back by staying full of God. Jonathan Edwards preached a message called “Redeeming the Time”. Listen to his take on this passage.

“YOU have now heard of the preciousness of time; and you are the persons concerned, to whom God hath committed that precious talent. You have an eternity before you. When God created you, and gave you reasonable souls, he made you for an endless duration. He gave you time here in order to a preparation for eternity, and your future eternity depends on the improvement of time.—Consider, therefore, what you have done with your past time. You are not now beginning your time, but a great deal is past and gone; and all the wit, and power, and treasure of the universe, cannot recover it. Many of you may well conclude, that more than half of your time is gone; though you should live to the ordinary age of man, your glass is more than half run; and it may be there are but few sands remaining. Your sun is past the meridian, and perhaps just setting, or going into an everlasting eclipse. Consider, therefore, what account you can give of your improvement of past time. How have you let the precious golden sands of your glass run?”
2011 is just in front of us. Let’s take to heart the words of Paul and of Jonathan Edwards, stay full of God this year, as you do, you will be buying back lost time.