Peninsula Community Church
Ephesians – What are You Being Filled With?
March 15, 2015
Ephesians 5:18-21 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, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Paul in this verse defines two outcomes that are a result of how we live and what we live life for. In this passage, Paul defines one style of living that provokes responses and brings outcomes that diminish the individual while the second style of living provokes responses and brings outcomes that builds the individual.
The first style is defined by Paul as being drunk with wine which leads to debauchery. To understand what this means, we need to understand the term debauchery. It is a term we don’t use today. At least I don’t hear it. However, the term “debauchery” was a common one in Paul’s day and is defined as “excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures.” It represents the one who is living a lifestyle where they have lost all control and have cast off all legal and moral constraint. When indulging in this lifestyle, there is a tendency to lose control of one’s mental, emotional, and spiritual capacities. Have you ever noticed that one who is drunk says and does things they would not do under normal circumstances? Too often one in a drunken stupor does things that they regret later (lampshade on the head, reckless driving, crude language, and disgusting acts).
This idea of drunkenness was one of the critical issues of Paul’s day. It was not uncommon for people to get drunk and then have unrestrained orgies as a result of their drunkenness. It was also common for those who participated in such things to do so in a spiritual context. They believed that they were somehow connecting spiritually to those with whom they were involved. In essence, in Paul’s day there was a reliance on drunkenness and false spiritual concepts. As a side note, we must clarify that this particular verse is not a prohibition on drinking wine but on the excesses that lead to drunkenness and recurring immorality.
While this may characterize the unbeliever, this is not so for the passionate follower of Christ. This style of living was not an acceptable in Paul’s day and it certainly is not acceptable today. Why is this? It is because we are to be ruled by a different authority and a different power. The problem with being drunk is that the individual succumbs to the control of a different power.
To contrast these two lifestyles, Paul turns his attention to the lifestyle of one who is being filled with the Spirit. Paul states Do not get drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit. Basically Paul is saying don’t live an uncontrolled life but live submitted to the One who controls us in a most positive way. To fully understand what Paul is communicating here, we must have some understanding of the Greek language in Paul’s day. In the Greek language different verb tenses more clearly define the words used. For example, if the tense of the verb was past tense then the action occurred in the past and would not occur again. If the verb was in the present tense there was an ongoing action occurring. The action may have initially occurred sometime in the past but it was to continue in the present. It stands to reason then that the future tense was an action that would happen in the future.
In understanding the present tense verb in the phrase “be filled” we know that Paul is not only commanding us to be filled with the spirit but to be continually filled with the Spirit. We must recognize that this is not a one time event but it is an ongoing process. While there is certainly an initial filling of the Spirit, at the time of the new birth, we must recognize that we must continue to stir up and be renewed in the spirit that is in us.
In contrast to being drunk with wine, we are to continually be filled with the Spirit which means we are being controlled by the Spirit that results in a different outcome. Being filled with the Spirit is living every moment as if you’re standing in the presence of Jesus Christ. The problem that exists is that we can begin live in such a way that we are not even aware that the Spirit has been leaking from us. The story of Samson highlights this problem. Now granted, I know this is an Old Testament story prior to the coming of the Holy Spirit but the basics of the story are the same. Samson did not lose his power overnight even though the final event had been the cutting of his hair. You see he had been leaking the spirit of God from his life slowly. But then he woke up one morning and he had been changed. Miles McPherson the pastor at the San Diego Rock Church stated “The Holy Spirit is a person. He has a mind and He lives in you. Stay filled with the Holy Spirit, because the devil will trick you into thinking that being drained (of the Holy Spirit) is normal.” Therefore do not be drained but be filled. And as we are filled, we overflow into others lives, naturally.
Paul now moves to defining a set of characteristics that speak to the kind of life exemplified by one being filled with the Spirit. The first of these characteristic is that they worship together. We do this by addressing one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. This does not mean that we live life as an operetta or as a musical but rather we live out the words of these songs in our life and our actions. Our lives become a song of praise to the Lord. You see this is why we worship together as believers. We come together to proclaim the glory of God. Why? It is because God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). There is no greater way to praise God than singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs together with His people. Listen to the Psalmist who said Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name (Psalm 30:4). Fifty-eight times in Psalms the word sing is used of praise to God. Thus the one who is Spirit filled will join the body of Christ in joyful and exuberant worship of God’s mighty acts.
The second characteristic of being filled with the spirit is that they have worship in our hearts. Paul states that we are to sing and make music in your heart. While it is important to worship God outwardly, it is just as important to have worship in our heart. You see outwardly we can do a good job of faking it but it is hard to fake what is in the heart. By making music in our hearts, we rejoice in all that God is doing. A heart filled with music exudes joyfulness and praise. For those who walk in joy have the sound of music in their hearts. Have you ever met that person who always has a tune on their lips or you hear them whistling a melody where ever they go no matter what is happening in their life? Making music in your heart signifies that the Holy Spirit has a hold on you and that He is an integral part of your life.
The third characteristic of being filled with the Spirit is that they live a grateful life. The greatest testimony of being filled with the spirit of God is a heart filled with gratitude and thanksgiving. This passage suggests that we can praise God and give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. You see a grumbling spirit is not compatible with the Holy Spirit. The strongest negative characteristic of the Children of Israel, in their journey through the wilderness, was that of a grumbling spirit but a Spirit filled believer is not a grumbler. They are filled with thanksgiving and praise. You see a grumbler complains about their leaders, the music, the food, the church, the people in the church, their neighbors, and their jobs. Most often the one who grumbles is not trusting God or the Spirit within them.
The fourth characteristic is that they submit to one another. To submit to one another is to honor and respect one another. Submission brings liberty and not bondage. It means to willingly place oneself under another as under the Lord. Too often this word submit has been used by some to mean that the one submitting is a door mat and must give in no matter what. To force someone to submit is not submission at all. That is bondage. In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul defines submission as Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
The comparison to be noted here is that there are times where one who claims to be filled with the spirit becomes aggressive, brash, and self-assertive but that does not illustrate the power of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. The Holy Spirit is a humble spirit and those who are filled with the Spirit will be guided in meekness and gentleness. This is critical because it not only exemplifies a life of being filled with the Spirit, it also exemplifies the life of Christ. Thus the idea of submission means that we treat each other with respect and love. You see to truly submit to one another is be aware that we can learn from one another and understand that each person has something to offer the relationship. To submit means we recognize one another’s gifting and abilities.
As we close, let us be reminded that we are to be continually filled with the Spirit. Throughout our walk there are things that will cause the Holy Spirit to leak from us. The issues of life, the busyness of work, the craziness of family, and the nature of everyday life cause us to be weakened. The question therefore is “How do we continue to be filled?” We continue to be filled by living in the Word and by maintaining a life of prayer. We continue to be filled by filling our hearts with worship. We continue to be filled when we give what we have in the Spirit away so that we recognize the need to continue to be filled so that we have more to give away. It is worth it because we will have a song in our heart, we will live a grateful life, and we will understand how to submit to one another. That is what it means to be a passionate follower of Christ.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2014 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom