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Be Filled with the Spirit

By David Robinson/ August 6, 2017

Series  Ephesians: All Things in Christ

Context  Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic  Discipleship

Scripture  Ephesians 5:15-21

Paul's command to be filled with the Spirit means to continually abide with and to walk under the influence of the Spirit's power and authority.

Sermon Notes:

  1. Paul's letter is both profoundly theological and profoundly practical, as all good theology should be. Theology always has a direct and obvious application, and Paul's letter shows us that.
  2. The Lord calls us to talk as those who are wise, contrasting the life of those in Christ and those outside: the non-Christian walks in lust, the believer walks in love. One walks in dark, ignorance and folly, the other in light, wisdom and knowledge of the truth.
  3. You are either under the influence of the devil and under his authority or the influence and authority of the Holy Spirit.
  4. Generally in Scripture wisdom is described as the fear of the Lord. The person who is wise knows God's Word and also how it is applied to various situations and circumstances.
  5. One particular area Paul points us to is redeeming the time. One of the ways we do that is keeping Sabbath. We're also to be filled with the Spirit, singing and making melody to the Lord and submitting to one another.
  6. As Christians we're walking with a purpose to a destination. The direction of our lives is towards Christ in whom all things are being brought together.
  7. Christ gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from this present evil age. So we live in these days but we have been redeemed from those evil days (cf. Gal. 1:4).
  8. The days are evil and we are called to take them back. We have a God-given and redeemed perspective on time now.
  9. The wisdom of God has been revealed as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Christ. Do things in view of God's eternal purpose for history.
  10. Practically this means that we exercise better time management. The Devil promotes idleness. Christians. You can waste a lot of time on the internet or in drunkenness. Be thoughtful and careful.
  11. Given this theological perspective on time and all things being united in Christ, one way we redeem the time is by keeping Sabbath. We are a busy people in our culture, but God's law gives the reason why we keep the Sabbath (Ex. 20:11).
  12. God blessed this day and made it holy. And God has created the world and the rhythm of our lives that we need to rest one in seven. That's the rhythm of creation which reflects God himself.
  13. In Deuteronomy 5 God reminds the Israelites that they were redeemed from slavery therefore rest on the Sabbath. Enjoy that redemption in Christ and rest.
  14. When you honour the Sabbath you're actually saying in an implicit way that Christ is the Lord of history and is making all things new.
  15. Rest from your regular work on Sunday. Whatever regular work looks like for you, don't do it. Sunday is also the day the church gathers together for worship. This is resting in the communion we have with God and with one another.
  16. Sabbath is a gift and the blessing of it is that we have a day to rest in God's presence, where we set aside distractions of day to day life and feast on God's Word. We make a point of spending time with one another, worshipping and singing and giving thanks.
  17. Many Christians today think the Sabbath is not a big deal. We carelessly go along with the rest of the world.
  18. We need to watch carefully how we use alcohol. Alcohol is a sign of blessing. In moderation it can be taken with a certain reverence and thanksgiving, but drunkenness is disgraceful and degrades the image of God.
  19. To be filled with the Spirit is a command for ongoing submission to God. It’s a command to continually abide in the fellowship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (cf. Eph 1:23, 3:19).
  20. One of the ways we are filled with the Spirit is through our fellowship with one another.
  21. The result of having been filled with the Holy Spirit is that we sing, give thanks, and submit to one another.
  22. Singing and making melody with your heart speaks to having integrity in our singing. The worship service is not about lip service but heart service. Remember God's indictment in Isaiah 29:13.
  23. Those who are filled with the Spirit are grateful and thankful. It marks us out as Christians.
  24. Spurgeon said that thanksgiving is the preface to a holy life, the foundation of obedience, the entry way of sanctity. He who would serve God must begin by praising God, for a grateful heart is the mainspring of obedience.
  25. If you are filled with the Spirit there will be no room for self-interest and pride. Instead you submit to one another and serve one another.

Application Questions:

  1. What are the characteristics of good theology?
  2. What does it mean to walk in wisdom?
  3. Does your face shine with thankfulness?
  4. What are the blessings of keeping Sabbath?
  5. Does my practice of the Sabbath imply my sense of self-importance and lack of trust in God's care?
  6. What does it look like to be filled by the Spirit?