DRINK AND DRINK AGAIN

Eph.5:18 – Amp. – And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.

We just finished our annual Mardi Gras Saturation services at Victory Fellowship with special guest Pastor Rick Shelton. This was one of the most rewarding weeks for me spiritually in a long time. Pastor Rick went with the theme, spiritual saturation, all week long. If you are not familiar with that terminology I want to take a moment and share this powerful spiritual practice. Saturation means to soak in a substance until you can hold no more. Actually, that is what the Baptism in the Spirit is all about. Baptism means to immerse an object into something. Baptism in the Spirit is an immersion into the substance or person of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is tangible and we can soak or saturate in Him until our lives change and miracles break out. The Life in the Spirit Commentary describes it like this.

“Paul says not, ‘be full of the Spirit’, as though one were full of Spirit in the same way that another is full of wine, but ‘be filled by the Spirit,’ with the emphasis on being filled to the full by the Spirit’s presence”, or with “the fullness which the Spirit gives.”

Many Christians aren’t even aware of the availability of the Baptism in the Spirit. They think that when Jesus came into their life that was all that there was for them. The thing being overlooked is the infinite nature of God. Salvation introduces us to the world of the Spirit where multiple fillings are available and necessary. We can never get to the end of Him, heaven will be an endless unveiling of His infinite nature, including His power, beauty, goodness, and wisdom. Wuest has some interesting comments about today’s verse showing that multiple fillings and even continual fillings are available.

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. “Be constantly being filled with the Spirit.” The interpretation is, “Be constantly, moment by moment, being controlled by the Spirit.”

So that’s what we experienced this week. I experienced a new powerful baptism in the Holy Spirit myself. Now you may think that we are wasting our time on experiential Christianity. That is far from the truth. We are now more motivated and empowered to go about the work of evangelism and discipleship. So I say go ahead and have another drink, the world needs what you have to give.

FOUNTAIN IN YOUR SOUL

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

Being drunk in the Spirit is not some new bizarre twist on Christianity forged in the halls of charismania. Spiritual intoxication is as old as communion or any other sacred part of our Christian faith. Even though this intoxication is often characterized by laughter and extreme joy it is saturated with the very holiness of the Lord. Actually it has erupted throughout church history often scandalizing segments of the body of Christ. It has often been connected to critical seasons for the church, equipping Christians for the persecution and temptations that are rampant in the world. Here is how Augustine described spiritual intoxication and drinking in his day.

“The Holy Spirit has come to abide in you; do not make him withdraw; do not exclude him from your heart in any way. He is a good guest; He found you empty and He filled you; He found you hungry and He satisfied you; He found you thirsty and He has intoxicated you. May He truly intoxicate you! The Apostle said, “Do not be drunk with wine which leads to debauchery.” Then, as if to clarify what we should be intoxicated with, he adds, “But be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart”. Doesn’t a person who rejoices in the Lord and sings to Him exuberantly seem like a person who is drunk? I like this kind of intoxication. The Spirit of God is both drink and light.”

Many have left the church in our generation because of a dissatisfaction that has developed in their souls. Churches have scrambled and morphed into a culturally acceptable model to try to keep the crowds. The changes in church hasn’t helped meet the nagging thirst that is in the dissatisfied souls of this age. The solutions are as old as the gospel itself, man is thirsting for God and nothing less will do. The solution for today’s world is the same as the one that has surfaced throughout history. Man is thirsty for living water, the water that becomes a veritable fountain in our souls.

SOBER INTOXICATION

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

There have been seasons of renewal all throughout church history. There are many similarities but also differences that can be observed. Two of the things that influence the way we receive and define renewal is our cultural bias as well as our theological bias. There was a powerful outpouring of the Spirit in the Roman Empire during the 3rd century after Christ. Imagine what a different world they were part of, totally different from the one we are part of today. Their view of Revival was effected by their culture just as ours is in our modern world. During the outpouring in the 1990’s I observed how theology could effect our view of Revival. I experienced the Vineyard version, the Assembly of God version, and the word of faith version; you can connect the dots. Here are two accounts of Revival from the 300’s from Cyril and Ambrose.

“They are not drunk in the way you might think. They are indeed drunk, but with the sober intoxication which kills sin and gives life to the heart and which is the opposite of physical drunkenness. Drunkenness makes a person forget what he knows; this kind, instead, brings understanding of things that were not formerly known. They are drunk insofar as they have drunk the wine of that mystical vine which affirms,“I am the vine, you are the branches”.”

“Every time you drink, you receive the remission of sins and you become intoxicated with the Spirit. It is in that sense that the Apostle said, “Do not get drunk with wine… but be filled with the Spirit”. He who becomes intoxicated with wine staggers, but he who becomes intoxicated with the Holy Spirit is rooted in Christ. How truly excellent is this intoxication which produces the sobriety of the soul!”

Even though there are differences in the way people respond and define outpourings of the Spirit, they are all essentially the same. Notice the similarities to what many of us have experienced. The things that stand out to me are the emphasis on joy, spiritual intoxication, the scriptures, redemption, and an emphasis on Christ Himself. People may respond differently under the anointing and have different interpretations of what it may mean; at the end of the day God has come down and refreshed our souls. Come and visit this generation Lord!

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

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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,

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

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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.