This Sunday we continued our series in Ephesians, you can view the sermon here.
In last week’s post, we discussed using our time wisely with the wisdom God has given to us. Paul next gives the command to be filled with the Spirit.
This is a Command
God’s commandments are for our good and His glory. God, through Paul, issues a command to His beloved children to be filled with the Spirit. We must understand this is not an option or an add-on for the Christian. We must be filled with the Holy Spirit. We cannot live the Christian life apart from it.
The placement of this command is instructive. Paul places it after the commands to be wise, to imitate God, and to walk as light (not to mention the commands of chapter 4). Without the Holy Spirit, we do not have a chance of obeying these commands.
But Paul also places it before his teaching on relationships: marital, familial, and those with our employers. We cannot and will not experience relational harmony or peace without being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Note: This is not a command to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. If we are in Christ, this has already happened and can never be undone.
Under the Influence
Being filled with the Spirit is to be filled with a person, not an experience. Paul is not issuing an imperative to seek continually after experiences. He commands us to seek the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.
We are to literally be under the influence of the Holy Spirit. If we get drunk with wine, we are under its negative influence. Conversely, we are to be under the positive influence of the Holy Spirit, a person. He is the driving force in our lives. He leads us to fight sin and pursue holiness. But we can only do this if we are filled with Him.
How can we be filled with the Holy Spirit? God never issues a command to His children without telling us how to follow or giving us the ability to follow.
How are we to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
In this sermon, we focused on how not to be filled, and next week we will look at how to be filled.
There are two main ways in which we act against being filled with the Holy Spirit.
- Grieving the Holy Spirit: We grieve the Holy Spirit when we sin. Our sin diminishes His work in our lives and we lose the sense of His presence we should have. When we do this, we should repent and pursue holiness again through the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Quenching the Holy Spirit: We quench the Holy Spirit when we live in habitual, unrepentant sin. When this happens, the Holy Spirit withdraws the sense of His presence from us. We remove the “heat” of His work in our lives through our rebellion.
As mentioned before: we are not filled with the Holy Spirit by seeking spiritual experiences. Experiences are not lasting and it is hard to command someone to experience something.
Have you given thought to this subject before? Have you heard a sermon on this before? Next week we will look at the Bible’s teaching on how we can obey the command to be filled with the Holy Spirit.