Bible Study: Ephesians
(Part 3-Chapter 5:1-19)
by Gary T. Panell
In the first section we had the I. Wealth of the Believer (Doctrinal) in Chapters 1-3. Now we are in the second section of the outline, II Walk of the Believer (Practical) in Chapters 4-6:9.
(1) "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children."
Just like children imitate their parents' actions, God wants us to imitate Him. The goal for our lives should be to be more and more like Christ every day. We will not be perfect until we get to heaven, but we are to be as "Christ like" as we can be, since we are God's children. "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
We are not always able to look at God, as Father, without thinking about the example our father was, in some cases this might be good, but in other cases negative feels that a person has about their own father might arise. Years ago, we were teaching a Bible Club in Portland, Oregon, and we told the children that God is our Father. No sooner had I gotten the words out of my mouth and a little girl cried out, "I hate my daddy, he killed my sister." You can imagine our shock at this statement, and sure enough we found out that she was staying with foster parents because her father, in fact, had beaten this little girl's sister to death with his belt in front of this little girl.
Friend, if you did not have a positive experience with your father, you will have to prayerfully put these thoughts out of your mind, as you think about your Heavenly Father. You will need to pray to God to give you a new view of a Holy Father who is perfect. God is a Father who loves you with a love that you cannot even imagine (John 3:16). Our Heavenly Father is a three times Holy God! He will never fail you nor forsake you! "For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' (Hebrews 13:5b)
When He corrects us He will do it in love and not in anger. "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: 'My son, do not despise the chastening (discipline) of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens (corrects), and scourges (punishes) every son whom He receives.'" (Hebrews 12:5-6)
Tom Landry, long time coach of the Dallas Cowboys football team said: "I make men do what they don't want to do, so that they might have what they want." This is the way the Lord is with us, someone has said also, "God won't make you do anything, but He will sure make you wished you had." Again this is because we are His children and He loves us. He knows that if we are to be responsible children we need corrective discipline to make us Holy, as He is holy. I ask my students at school "Would your parents love your little brother or sister if they let them play in the street?" They get the picture, God has to stop us from sinning, but it is so we won't get hurt, He corrects us, because He loves us!
(2) "And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma."
The early North American pioneers were making their way across one of the central states to a distant place that had been opened up for homesteading, and they were traveling in covered wagons drawn by oxen, and progress was necessarily slow. One day they were horrified to notice that a long line of smoke could be seen in the west. The smoke and fire stretched for miles across the prairie, and soon it was evident that the dried grass was burning fiercely and coming toward them rapidly.
They had crossed a river the day before, but it would be impossible to go back to that before the flames would be upon them. Only one man seemed to have understanding as to what should be done. He gave the command to set fire to the grass behind them, then when a space was burned over, the whole company moved upon it.
As the flames roared on toward them from the west, a little girl cried out in terror, "Are you sure we will not all be burned up?" The leader replied, "My child, the flames cannot reach us here, for we are standing where the fire has burned! What a picture of the believer, who is safe in Christ!
'On Him Almighty vengeance fell,
Remember in Ephesians chapter one, we looked at the person who is "in Christ," and how that he or she will be spared God's anger. Like those pioneers that were threatened by the fire, who got into the ring of grass that had already been burned, and were saved. So too, for those who get into the circle of Christ's love, because He has already taken God's wrath for sin on himself. He was sacrificed for us that we would not have to be separated from God forever, in hell. God loved us and gave His only Son for us that we might be eternally saved. Praise God for this, and it is a sweet smelling aroma to Him as well as to us!
We are to love God and our fellow man; this is a summary of the Ten Commandments and all the Law. "Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?' Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:35-40)
Before Jesus went back to heaven He gave us a new commandment. "Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, 'Where I am going, you cannot come,' so now I say to you. A new commandment I give to you that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13: 33-35)
Again when we obey this command to love our brothers and sisters in Christ no matter what church denomination they are in, then we will see the world wanting to know what is different about us, and they will want our Savior and Lord! This principle can be applied to each local church as well, and watch what happens in that community. There is a true story called: In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon, which illustrates this point.
"What Would Jesus Do?" This is the question Rev. Henry Maxwell asked himself and his congregation after the sudden death of a stranger, about 30, who had come to their church for work, but they had been too busy to help. This is the question that led newspaper editor Ed Norman, millionaires Virginia Page, businessman Milton Wright, singer Rachel Winslow, college president Donald Marsh, and dozens of others in all walks of life to begin revolutionary spiritual adventures that transformed their whole community.
Later in John chapter 17, Jesus would pray for his disciples to have this love, but he also prayed for those who would believe on Him as a result of the disciples' word. "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father , are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." (John 17:20-21)
Brothers and sisters in Christ, when this prayer is answered, revival will break out! At this time it is a prayer and a dream, but one day it will be reality! We can please God by obeying this new commandment that was given by Christ! And in all our dealings with our fellow man ask, "What would Jesus do?"
The example of the type of love we are to have is the love of Christ for the lost world. It is a wonderful love story like what is in the book of the Song of Solomon. It is like the most beautiful love story you have every heard or read about. This love story will end in a wedding ceremony and wedding feast in heaven.
"Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, 'write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' And he said to me, 'These are the true sayings of God.'" (Revelation 19:7-9)
We are engaged to Christ now, and that is the reason we are to love Him, and live holy lives. We want to be faithful to Him that has betrothed us to Himself! "For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:2)
You see, the Church is the bride of Christ. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her." (Ephesians 5:25). We were lost in our sins, but Jesus loved us and gave His life's blood that we might be His for eternity.
"Sweet-smelling aroma," this is what God feels about a sacrificial life lived for Him, even as Christ gave His life as a sacrifice for us. "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." (2 Corinthians 2:15) "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." (Hebrews 13:15-16) We are not saved by works, but after we are saved we do good works for the One we love, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
The picture is from the book of Leviticus where there was a sweet-smelling aroma from the offerings. "...And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD." (Leviticus 1:9) "The sweet savor offerings are so called because they typify Christ in His own perfections and in His affectionate devotion to the Father's will." (Scofield)
Jesus gave His life willingly for the Father and for us. "In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come-in the volume of the book it is written of Me-To do Your will, O God.'" (Hebrews 10:6-7) God was not really interested in the Old Testament sacrifices, but they were a picture of the Lamb of God that would willingly take away the sins of the world.
God wants us to willingly give up our lives for Him, which is a sweet-smelling aroma He desires! "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:1-2)
(3) "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;"
We are not to dwell on sexual immorality which is what fornication is. It includes adultery, but adultery is only one form of sexual immorality. "Fornication and all uncleanness" includes all forms of sexual sins from premarital sex, adultery, incest, pedophilia, bestiality, and so on. We are not to be dwelling on these thoughts. "Fornication encompasses all acts of sexual immorality; covetousness identifies the insatiability of human carnality-never able to 'get enough'" (Spirit Filled Life Bible)
You may have heard the words of the one worldly song that goes: "I can't get no satisfaction." Which is really true, one sin leads to another, but no sin will lead to lasting satisfaction. Take any sin you want to talk about whether it be a drug addiction or a sex addiction they do not leave lasting satisfaction. (Look at the article, Pornography and the Bible)
A person who is into pornography has to have harder and harder stuff to meet the next level of desire or lust, and so it goes with all sin. The Bible says it leads only to death and hell. Only the forgiveness and pardon that Jesus offers will give us real satisfaction, but people try so many wrong things to get this satisfaction.
You have heard about what St. Augustine said, every person is born with a Christ shaped hole in their heart that only Christ can fill (I am paraphrasing). Maybe you are reading this but are not truly saved, and God is convicting you right now of your need of salvation. Cry to God in prayer, God be merciful to me a sinner, please save me, and He will.
Can you see how television, movies, radio, magazines, etc. have been used of the devil to get even Christians thinking and speaking about things we should not be thinking about? "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things." (Philippians 4:8)
"There is a danger of one's experiencing a morbid satisfaction in discussing other people's sins. As becomes saints. [...as is fitting for saints] We are to know what is fitting and proper in our high position." (Wycliffe Bible commentary) We are sons and daughters of the King, we are to become kings and queens in His kingdom, and then how should we act in this world? God is convicting me of how much time I spend watching television as I write this.
"Covetousness," "And He (Jesus) said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." (Luke 12:15) We can get sucked into the world's way of thinking about material things. They have this saying, "The one who dies with the most toys wins." It is a funny saying, but in reality this is the way the world thinks. There is another saying that is not as well known, but it goes like this: "The one who dies with the most toys still dies."
They do not think of eternity, but only of all the things they can accumulate in this world. If you notice all the television programs emphasis riches and nice homes with all the material things that charm people. However, have you ever seen a funeral car with a trailer being pulled behind it with the person's things in it? These things in this world are not lasting. In Vietnam when we left an area, we loaded everything up into C-130s, and nothing was left. As I looked at the area that had been our home for several months, but now was all gone, I thought the only thing important here that is left are the people. So it is, only the ones we take to heaven with us are going to last, not things!
In this regard, when I was on the San Blas Islands off of Panama, there was a Christian there that had been a drug dealer before he was saved. He related to me, how at one time he had money piled on his table (as I remember about a million dollars), but he had no way of spending this money on the tiny island.
Later he had to spend some time in jail for his illegal activities. Greed is of the world, and we are not to think and speak about material things, but of spiritual things. "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God." (Colossians 3:1) "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)
Last night as I lay sleeping
Up on high at heaven's door
He took my hand and led me through
But suddenly my eyes unfold.
And yes, this morn I woke to find
And as this day went softly by
(4) "...neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks."
Does this mean that we cannot joke around as Christians? I do not believe this is what Paul is talking about; Jesus had a sense of humor. He would say things like you, "Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!" (Matthew 23:24) Paul is saying Christians should not be using the dirty jokes of the world. With shame I say that when I was in the military I was very good at repeating dirty jokes. I liked having people laugh at my funny-but dirty jokes. This was not of the Lord, and I was living carnally away from the Lord at that time.
We should be giving thanks with our mouth not using our tongue in a wrong way. "Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell." (James 3:5-6) These are strong words about the tongue from James, but he tells it like it is. A little spark can set off a whole forest fire, so it is with a coarse joke that can come out of our mouth without us even thinking before we say it.
What should we do with our tongue? We should use it to give thanks to the Lord; this will be an "antidote" against using our tongues in a wrong way. "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit." (1Thessalonians 5:16-19)
(5) "For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God."
This really seems like strong words here from Paul in the middle of a beautiful letter; however, it is a warning for people who name the name of Christ to examine themselves to see if they are in the faith."
He reminds them, that if you are a fornicator, unclean person, covetous, or idolater, you are not saved. There are "churches" today that claim to be Christian, but they see nothing wrong with these sins, they are not truly saved. For example, you cannot be claiming to be a Christian on the one hand, and living with someone, but not married to them, on the other hand. This is not the way a Christian lives, they want to get married. If they are not married, they will be separated until such a time as they can get married.
You cannot be a Christian and claim you are a homosexual. Christians do not live unclean lives. We are not going to be into the perversions of the world. There should be a stark contrast between the way we live and the way the world lives. Today, though, so often the world has flooded into the church. God will not stand for it; He will judge this type of living. Some churches think they can accept homosexuality into the church and God will be pleased. Don't get me wrong here, a homosexual is welcome in the church if they are there to listen to the word of God, but if they come to encourage their life style and not be repentant of their sin, they should not be welcome then.
A person who is covetous or an idolater these cannot be truly saved, because the Word of God speaks against these sins. There is a contrast between light and darkness. There is right and wrong, and we need to proclaim this in the church and on the outside. The Bible says that they will say evil is good, and good is evil, and this is what is happening in the world, but it better not happen in the church! "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20) If you are in a church like this, get out of it before you are judged with that church!
(6) "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience."
We see this happening today; you have speakers that are going all over the world attracting large audiences. They leave out the "sin" question, the "blood of Christ," and of course the "hell" issue. This is so they will not be offensive; in so doing they are very offensive to God! Oh, also they forget to mention that Jesus Christ is God. They give the old lie of Satan, they say, "You are a god," or "good is within you, you just need to tap into that "source." It is the same lie Satan told Eve, it is just packaged a little differently.
"But know this, that in the lasts day perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! ...But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." (2 Timothy 3:1; 5:13)
(7) "Therefore do not be partakers with them."
This is where the Lord draws the line in the sand and says, "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty." (2 Corinthians 6:17-18) I believe in these last days we are seeing a dividing in the churches, there are those who will support evolution, abortion, immorality, and homosexuality, and those who will not. There will be more and more divisions along these lines. You will have to decide which side you will be on. Those who choose to not compromise will be persecuted.
I believe this is what is talked about as the "falling away in the last days." There are two things that will happen before the Antichrist will be revealed. The first, I believe is the "falling away," and the second is the rapture of the Church. "Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.
"And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is take out of the way." (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3; 6-7) I believe that the "He" that is being spoken of here is the Holy Spirit in the Church. When the Church is taken to heaven, the Antichrist will be able to do his thing, and that is to get people to worship him rather than Christ. By the way, he will not call himself, the "Antichrist," but "Christ"; therefore he will deceive many. However, he cannot do this as long as the Church is on the earth. Before he is revealed though, the "falling away" takes place. It has always been happening, but we see it increasing in the "last" of the "last days."
There are those who want to marry homosexuals in the church, and this has already taken place in some places. Expect that it will increase. Also, leaders in the churches will be homosexuals themselves. They will deny that Jesus Christ is God, and they see nothing wrong with evolution and abortion. Along with this there will be many of the sins that were mentioned in 2 Timothy 3 permitted in their churches. We are told to come out of these "churches" before we are judged with them. We are seeing the fulfillment of the churches of the Revelation spoken of: Pergamos, the compromising church, Thyatira, the corrupt church, Sardis the dead church, and Laodicea, the lukewarm church. If you are in a church like these, my word to you is, leave before you are destroyed with them!
(8) "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light"
Before we were saved we walked (lived) in the darkness, spiritually speaking. But now we are told:" Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (her). For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he (she) who does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17)
We reflect the light that comes from Christ, and this light is seen by the world if we keep our lives clean for the Lord's light to shine through us. "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16) That children's song is so true that reminds us: "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine."
Now that we are saved, and have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light we are to walk (live) worthy of that high calling. "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13)
"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy." (1 Peter 2:9-10)
(9) "(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),"
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23) As we live we are to show forth these characteristics. Are we going to be able to do this all the time? Absolutely not! None of us will be perfect until we get to heaven. Only Christ can help us with this fruit of the Spirit. Even as a Christian we often have trouble with each one of these traits. As the passage continues in Galatians it says: "And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." (Galatians 5:24-26)
(10) "...finding out what is acceptable to the Lord."
The only way we are going to find out what is acceptable to the Lord is to study and meditate on God's Word. "How can a young man (or woman) cleanse his (her) way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." (Psalm 119:9-11) "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2)
What else is God's will for our lives: "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time. (1 Timothy 2:1-6)
(11) "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
This is where the rubber meets the road, as they say. The world doesn't seem to mind, if we live our lives in silence as the "silent minority." However, let us start to tell them that what they are doing is sin, then it seems like "all hell breaks loose!" If you look at Acts, everywhere Paul and the missionaries went they were meet with anger.
They were persecuted; I believe one reason we are not seeing more out and out persecution in the United States is because we are not living godly lives. One part of godly living is sharing our faith with others, and exposing sin. Look at what happened to John the Baptist when he told the king that he should not have his brother's wife.
We are not to do anything in violence only in love, but we need to make it clear from the word of God that evolution, abortion, immorality, homosexuality, etc. are wrong. We need to make clear what the Bible says about these subjects. We should preach the Gospel in no uncertain terms; that in repentance from sin, and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ alone is salvation. Jesus is the only way: "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.
"Thomas said to Him, 'Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?' Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:1-6) This is where, most "Christians," are not willing to go. Oh yes, they claim they are saved, just don't ask them to witness, or don't ask them to speak up when sin is going on.
Part of our job as Christians is to share the truth in love. We need to contend earnestly for the faith. "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ." (Jude 3-4)
When we do expose sin in the world and sin in the church we will find that we will become more unacceptable to the world and to the unbelievers "in" the church. "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12) I believe as revival among Christians takes place, and we start to really live in the Spirit, we will see persecution, just like the early Church saw. I know that this is already taking place in parts of the world and has been for some time. We need to get with the "program" the way God intended for us!
(12) "For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret."
Much of what we see on television or computers today should be shameful to even speak about, but it seems that even many Christians take these things in stride. In other words the things of the world do not bother us like they should bother us. I speak for myself as well here.
It is like that illustration of the frog that you probably heard about before. It goes like this, if you threw a frog into a pan of boiling hot water, it would do everything in its power to jump out before it dies. However, if you were to put that same frog in water and slowly turn up the heat, it will just stay in the water and not even attempt to get out, but die slowly. So it is with many "Christians" today, they have let the world turn up the heat slowly, and they do not even realize how bad it is getting around them. Their spiritual life is being sucked out of them.
We need to hate sin as Jesus did, and as John the Baptist did! We need to make sure we are not enjoying the things of the world. We need to turn off the T.V., radio, the computer, etc. and spend more time in prayer and in the Bible. Then we will be shocked when shameful things are spoken about. We will resist the devil and his temptations. "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)
(13) "But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light."
"And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it (overcome it). There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
"He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:5-13)
(14) "Therefore He says: 'Awake, you who sleep,
A lot of people are walking around in the world, but they are like dead men and women walking around, they are alive physically, but they are dead spiritually. "...but she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives." (1Timothy 5:6) They know they really can't get any real satisfaction in this world, but they keep trying nonetheless. Then I have heard thousands of testimonies of how this longing in people's lives sent them to searching for the truth, or for something lasting, and then they received Christ. Now, oh how they want to share this good news with others. My Dad's salvation experience is an example of this; you can read about it in the article: What Happened to Shorty.
(15) "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,"
(16) "...redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
We need to understand that time is the most valuable thing we possess. Some people spend their time to get as much money as they can. I heard tonight on the news how a college student put up a page with just advertisements, and he earned a million dollars as a result. Now he is going for the billion dollars.
Let me submit to you that your time is worth more than a billion dollars, way more. You say how, we can reach the spiritually lost with our time and they will spend eternity with us in heaven. How much more reward could a person want? Paul said that he would give up heaven if he could see his countrymen saved.
How much is a soul worth? What if you earned or won a million dollars, or a billion dollars, would it be worth more than going to heaven or taking someone with you?! "For what profit is it to a man [woman] if he [she] gains the whole world, and loses his [her] own soul? Or what will a man [woman] give in exchange for his [her] soul?" (Matthew 16:26)
We have to use our time wisely for the Lord. The best thing we do with our time is to spend it in prayer, praise, Bible meditation, fellowship, and witnessing. That is if we want to spend our days wisely, and have spiritual success. "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." (Joshua 1:8) (Two Year Bible Meditation Chart) "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25)
Prayer, and praise: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19) "Now it came to pass in those days that He [Jesus] went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." (Luke 6:12)
"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another that you may be healed.
"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit." (James 5:13-18)
We saw this in action just last night as the elders and believers from our church went to pray for a sister in the hospital that for all intents and purposes looked like she was on her death bed. Many of her body functions were not working and she was unconscious. We prayed around her, and today we got word that she woke up and is improving. Now she is sitting up and talking, God is answering our prayers. Praise God! How do we want to spend our time here, as the Lord says we should be, doing His will, which is found in His Book the Bible!
Praise: Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth. Selah: Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him." (Psalm 67:3-7) "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." (Psalm 100:4-5)
(17-18) "Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (intemperance); but be filled with the Spirit,"
If we want to be wise and know what the will of God for our lives as Christians is, it is given to us here in these two verses:
First, verse 18 is not condoning the moderate use of alcohol, as some have claimed, but just the opposite. Being filled with wine or using any would be wrong, but being filled with the Holy Spirit is a command to be followed! (The information on alcohol can be found in several articles: Wine in the Bible, Beer and Other Alcoholic Beverages in the Bible, Wine In The Bible: A Biblical Study On The Use of Alcoholic Beverages.)
"The first command here could better be translated: 'Do not begin to be drunk with wine.' Since even a small amount of an intoxicant has a damaging effect on the brain, this command in effect calls for total abstinence from alcohol. Proverbs 23:31 warns against even looking on the wine, lest it tempt one to drink."
"The connotation of 'filled' here is 'being filled.' That is, the filling with the Spirit is not a once-for-all experience, like the baptism of the Spirit into the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:13]. Instead, we are urged to continually be filled with the Spirit-controlled by the Spirit. In a way analogous to how alcohol may control a person's thoughts and actions, the better way is to allow the Holy Spirit to have control." (The Defender's Study Bible, Dr. Henry M. Morris)
The filling of the Holy Spirit comes all of faith-for one who is a Christian, and requests the filling. Laying on of hands with prayer for the individual may accompany the filling; however laying hands on an individual is not required.
We were saved by faith when we asked God to forgive our sins, and we received Christ as our personal Savior. We have the Holy Spirit living in our lives from that time forward. "But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." (Romans 8:9)
"All Christians have the Holy Spirit within them. Anyone who does not have the Holy Spirit within is not a Christian. Though Paul says that Christians are in the Spirit, he also warns that they can from time to time live 'according to the flesh' (v.13)." (New Spirit Filled Life Bible)
A person is initially filled in an instant of time just as one is saved in an instant. The picture in Scripture for this is Exodus where Moses crossed the Red Sea with the children of Israel. "Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. (1 Corinthians 10:12) Then, later the next generation of the children of Israel went over the Jordan into the Promised Land. "And Joshua said to the people, 'Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you. Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan." (Joshua 3:5, 17)
Crossing the Jordan is a picture of going into the Spirit filled life according to the book of Hebrews. "Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: 'So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,' although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: 'And God rested on the seventh day from all His works'; and again in this place: 'They shall not enter My rest.'
"Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, 'Today,' after such a long time, as it has been said: 'Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.' For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His." (Hebrews 4:1-10)
One has to get his feet wet by "faith"-believe God will fill you after confession of all known sin, and then ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit. Just like for the apostles there was an initial "filling" or Baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus told them that would come. Then after this the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit over and over in their lives after prayer. The filling is a command of God for all Christians to not just have an initial filling, but to keep on keeping on being filled. Some Christians will tell you about how they were filled years ago in a wonderful experience, but this is not supposed to be the end, we need to keep on being filled according to this passage.
Remember many came out of Egypt-many were saved, but only two of the original group went into the Promised Land! "...all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples." (I Corinthians 10:3-6a) This does not mean that they all died and went to hell as some teach. It means that many of them did not live out the life God intended for them as believers, because they did not have faith that God could do what He said He would do for them. Therefore they could not rest on this earth, but had to wander around in the desert.
Another thing, the Promised Land is only a picture of heaven by way of "application," not in reality. You see in the Promised Land there was fighting going on. There is no fighting in heaven. In the Promised Land there was sin committed, not in heaven! So crossing the Jordan is a picture of the Spirit filled life, not a picture of going to heaven 'per say,' except by way of application. Now I am glad that many more of the second generation went into the land than the first crop! God is depended on by faith to do the work, not us, that is why it is called a rest.
Maybe I should say we only hear of a very few from history who entered this rest-no doubt many more did, but this is not recorded for us by history. When we get to heaven we will see what really happened. I believe God is still writing the book of Acts in heaven, and one day we will get to see, The Rest of the Story. A few of these that did have the filling of the Holy Spirit are men like, John Huss, John Wesley, Charles Wesley, R.A. Torrey, and D.L. Moody, Billy Graham, Chuck Smith, and so on.
Paul and Peter talk about sanctification as a growing process, whereas the filling in the Spirit, found in Ephesians and Galatians, is a command that happens in a moment of time. Someone has said we are leaky vessels, so we need to be refilled again after this time. It is like a battery that needs to be recharged from time to time, once is not enough!
The filling can be hindered by the grieving (Ephesians 4:30) or quenching (1 Thessalonians 5:19) of the Holy Spirit. Then restoration can be regained upon confession of sin (1 John 1:9). Then God can refill us with His Holy Spirit. The apostles and early Christians were filled over and over again, and each time it gave them boldness to witness, and great joy. "And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness." (Acts 4:31)
We can grieve and quench the Holy Spirit by a lack of faith and unthankful-ness plus numerous other sins. This study is not really a detailed study, but hopefully it will help a new learner see the "importance of the filling" and "how to be filled." We are commanded as Christians to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?
Some Christians question the need for the filling because they reason it is just synonymous with the Holy Spirit coming into our lives at salvation, or it is just growing in grace. So let's look at these arguments against the filling of the Holy Spirit. Paul was a Jew, and was saved on the Damascus road. Some even try to deny that Paul was saved on the Damascus road; they say he was not saved until Ananias prayed for him. The problems with that is that Ananias called him Brother Saul, and God Himself said of him "he is a chosen vessel of Mine." Ananias did not say you will be a brother, he called him brother then. God did not say he will be My vessel, He said "he is a chosen vessel of Mine." (Acts 9:15)
Paul was saved on the Damascus Road when he called Jesus "Lord." After this he was filled with the Holy Spirit. And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized." (Acts 9:17-18)
There is an argument by some Christians that when the Holy Spirit came and baptized a people group this only happened once so there is no need for a filling of the Holy Spirit again today. When you get saved they say you have all of the Holy Spirit so there is no need for a further filling.
There are at least two problems with this argument so let's look at these. The first is that in Ephesians 5:18 we are commanded to be filled, so why this command if there is no need for the filling. Second, Paul was a Jew and the Holy Spirit had already fallen on the Jews on the day of Pentecost and if there was only one baptism of the Holy Spirit for the Jews, why was Paul filled with the Holy Spirit being a Jew?
This is significant because many are taught that the Holy Spirit came to the Jews, then to the Samaritans, and last to the Gentiles. Now, they say, He no longer baptizes or fills Christians. They say, "That was just for the beginning of the Church Age as the Holy Spirit moved out to the different groups." This will be covered (Lord willing) in more detail in the book of Acts study, but for now it is important to notice that Paul was a Jew, and the Holy Spirit had fallen on his people on the Day of Pentecost, but Paul still needed the filling of the Holy Spirit!
One other matter needs to be cleared up here, when a Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit they have available to them the gift of speaking in tongues, or as some call it a prayer language. Look at these scriptures: "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 'Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" (Acts 10:44-47)
This filling of the Gentiles took place at the same time as salvation, which shows that we should never put God the Holy Spirit in a box because He is sovereign. The reason this probably happened at the time of salvation, I believe, was because the Jews might have argued that the Gentiles were not really saved because they were not given the gift of the Holy Spirit like they were. Normally today the order is salvation and then the filling, however I have heard of one exception, so I'm sure that there are other times where as in Acts 10 some people are filled at the same time as salvation. However, in all the other references it took place after salvation.
What happened to the Gentiles in Acts 10 is in fulfillment to the prophecy by Peter given on the day of Pentecost. "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:38-39)
My desire is just to make clear what I believe our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles were teaching. Here is an example of this: "Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit." (Acts 8:14-16)
You have another example of this found later in Acts, and it is speaking of the time that Paul was at Ephesus. He ran into some disciples of John the Baptist that had been baptized by him, but they did not know about the Holy Spirit. No doubt they had been down to the Jordan where John was preaching, got baptized and then left the area before Jesus had come to be baptized and revealed as the Messiah. You have to realize there was not the communications we have today. So there they were in the synagogue as disciples, but not yet born again.
We take up the story in Acts chapter 19: "And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?' So they said to him, 'We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.' And he said to them, 'Into what then were you baptized?' So they said, 'Into John's baptism.'
"Then Paul said, 'John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.' When they hear this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all." (Acts 19:1-7)
First we see again that these were Jews, they were believers in what John had preached that the Messiah was coming, but they had not heard that the Messiah had come already. So Paul had to give them the rest of the story.
They were saved, as we are today in the Church age, then they were baptized. If they had stopped there they would be on their way to heaven as many Christians are today, but many Christians today could say like these men, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." You see so many people are given only half the message, the message of salvation, but they are not then informed about the filling of the Holy Spirit, and how that it is a command for us as Christians to be filled.
There is a person who is giving the rest of the story to many in the Church today who did not know about it, and this is Pastor Church Smith of the Calvary Chapel movement. He says and I quote: In the second chapter of Acts, when the people said, "Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:37-38). Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, but Ananias came to him and laid hands on him that he might receive his sight and receive the Holy Spirit. (Acts 9)
We believe there is an empowering experience with the Holy Spirit that is separate and distinct from conversion. We acknowledge a three-fold relationship between the Holy Spirit and the believer that is represented by three Greek prepositions-'para,' 'en,' and 'epi.'
In John 14, Jesus told the disciples, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." (John 14:16-17). 'With you' speaks of the 'para' relationship, the coming alongside. The 'en' in the phrase 'in you' is equivalent to our English preposition 'in' as in "He is going to dwell in you."
We believe that the Holy Spirit is dwelling with a person prior to conversion. He is the One convicting him of his sin, convincing him that Jesus Christ is the only answer. The Holy Spirit is constantly testifying of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come. We also believe that the moment a person receives the witness of the Holy Spirit, Jesus takes away his sin. When anyone invites Jesus to come into his heart, to take over the rule and control of his life, we believe that the Holy Spirit then comes into that person's life. He is with each one of us to bring us to Christ, and when we come to Christ, He begins then to dwell in us.
Paul said, "...know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For you are bought with a price;" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). He also told the Ephesians, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;" (Ephesians 5:18). Thus, we believe that every born again believing child of God has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. He is under the injunction of the Scriptures to yield his body to the control of the Holy Spirit and to be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit.
We also believe that the Holy Spirit provides the power in the life of the believer to give him victory over sin and over the flesh. We are taught to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. He that walks after the Spirit will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The Holy Spirit is the power over the flesh life, giving us power over our fallen nature. He is the power in our life to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18). So we see the dynamic power of the Spirit in us which comes when we accept Jesus. He begins that work in us of transforming us into the image of Jesus Christ.
We believe that there is a third relationship that the believer can have that is separate and distinct from the first two. In Acts 1:8 we see this promise. "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." This relationship is when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. The word is 'epi' in the Greek, which means 'upon' or 'over.' I prefer the translation of 'overflow' because I believe that this experience allows the Holy Spirit to flow forth out of our lives.
Our lives are not just a vessel containing the Spirit, but they become channels by which the Spirit flows forth to touch the world around us. I also believe that this is the objective work of the Spirit. The first work is subjective, when the changes and the transformations take place within me. This 'coming upon' experience provides objective evidence of the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit, allowing us to be effective witnesses for Jesus Christ. That is God's ideal and plan, that my life be the instrument through which He can reach the world around me as the Spirit flows forth, as the dynamic of the Spirit goes forth out of my life.
...So we believe that there is an experience with the Holy Spirit that is distinct from conversion and indwelling. Some call it baptism. Some call it being filled with the Spirit. Whatever we choose to call it, it means being overflowed with the Spirit. You can fill a cup, but if you keep pouring, it's going to overflow. This is distinct from just being filled. This is overflowing with the Spirit. Some call it the gift of the Spirit. Some call it the empowering of the Spirit. It doesn't matter what you call it, the main thing is that you have it. We could argue over theological terms, but the experience is described as a gushing forth of torrents of living water from our innermost being. So whatever name you call it isn't important. The main question we must ask concerning this necessary empowering experience for the ministry is simple: DO YOU HAVE IT?
(This quote is from the book, Calvary Chapel Distinctives, by Chuck Smith.)
We do believe in the validity of the gifts of the Spirit, and that these gifts can be expressed today. But we don't believe in excesses that so often accompany a freedom in the use of the gifts of the Spirit. So we avoid the controversy. If people want to speak in tongues, we encourage them to do so in a private devotional setting to assist in communicating their love, their praises, and their prayers to God. We look to 1 Corinthians 14 as our biblical example.
We don't insist that a person speak in tongues as the primary evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We believe that there are other evidences that are more credible than speaking in tongues. As Paul said, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." (1 Corinthians 13:1)
We don't emphasize tongues as the primary manifestation of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but we look for love as the fruit of the Spirit. I believe that we can stand on a solid Scriptural basis doing that and, at the same time, encourage people to receive the gifts of tongues.
(These quotes are taken from the book, Calvary Chapel Distinctives, by Chuck Smith. Some quotes were taken from Chapter 3, Empowered By The Spirit, and others from Chapter 11, Striking The Balance.)
The question is raised then does everyone speak in tongues when they are baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit? If a person is honest they will have to admit that not every Scripture that talks about the filling, mentions speaking in tongues, just as this passage in Ephesians 5:18 does not. No doubt, there have been many filled with the Holy Spirit throughout history that never spoke in tongues even though it was available to them. Does this mean that they were any less filled with the Holy Spirit, I think not. I believe as we hear the testimonies of great men and women of faith, we see the results of the filling in the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit demonstrated in their lives, even if they never spoke in tongues.
Billy Graham does not claim to speak in tongues, but he does claim the filling of the Holy Spirit is for us today. How could he be so used of the Lord unless he was filled with the Holy Spirit? On the other hand, so many are taught against speaking in tongues, that many people will not even entertain the thought that God would do such a thing for them. My mother-in-law was just such a person; she was filled with the Holy Spirit and used mightily of the Lord. She even spoke in tongues to begin with, but stopped doing this because she was taught that it was wrong. So some Christians may not speak in tongues because they think it is wrong.
So there may be many other reasons why a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit may not speak in tongues. However, Christians need to realize this gift is available to all believers today, and they should not be afraid of it. I am not speaking of that gift that is used in the church that must be interpreted.
Only some have the gift of speaking in tongues that needs to be interpreted. I have never had this gift as of today, but I do pray in tongues at times to the Lord. The reason we know that this gift of tongues and interpretation is not for everyone is because Scripture says so: "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? (I Corinthians 12:29-30) The obvious answer is, "No." Look at 1 Corinthians 12-14 study for more on this subject.
In this lesson when I speak of "tongues" I am speaking of the "tongues as a prayer language" to be used in private. "What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding." (I Corinthians 14:15)
"But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit." (Jude 20) "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:26-27)
Paul also told the Corinthians that he spoke in tongues more than all of them, but this was in private (his prayer language). "I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue." (1 Corinthians 14:18-19) He concludes that chapter with a fitting ending for this section here as well: "Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order." (1 Corinthians 14:39-40
For many years I would have nothing to do with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, because I was taught as many are today, that it is like dabbling in demonism. When I was first filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues there were those Christians that would have nothing to do with me after that, even as it is today. Today there are many divisions in the Church over this very same issue, but this is because some do not want to believe that God does the same thing today that He did in those days.
If some of these same people would read the writings of some of their favorite Bible teachers and founders, they would realize that they believed in the filling of the Holy Spirit. D.L. Moody and R.A. Torrey even said the "filling" or the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" were one and the same. Moody and Torrey believed all the gifts were still for today, but often Christians want to pretend like they didn't teach this. It is true, not only because of what great men of God like Torrey and Moody said about this subject of the filling of the Holy Spirit, but because it is taught in the Word of God!
Here are some quotes from the writings of R. A. Torrey, a long time associate of D.L. Moody:
"FIRST PROPOSITION: A number of suggestive phrases-'Baptized with the Holy Spirit,' 'filled with the Holy Ghost [Spirit],' 'The Holy Ghost fell on them, 'The gift of the Holy Ghost was poured out,' 'Receive the Holy Ghost,' 'The Holy Ghost came on them,' 'Gifts of the Holy Ghost,' 'I send the promise of my Father upon you,' 'Endued with power from on high,' are used in the New Testament to describe one and the same experience.
"SECOND PROPOSITION: The baptism with the Holy Spirit is a definite experience of which one may and ought to know whether he has received it or not.
"THIRD PROPOSITION: The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is an operation of the Holy Spirit distinct from and subsequent and additional to His regenerating work. Every true believer has the Holy Spirit. But not every believer has the Baptism with the Holy Spirit.
"In such a normal state of the church the Baptism with the Holy Spirit would be received immediately upon repentance and baptism into the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, Acts 2:38. But the doctrine of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit has been so allowed to drop out of sight, and the church has had so little expectancy along this line for its young children, that a large portion of the church is in the position of the churches in Samaria and Ephesus, where someone has to come and call the attention of the mass of believers to their privilege in the Risen Christ and claim it for them.
"FOURTH PROPOSITION: The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is an experience connected with and primarily for the purpose of service.
These quotes were taken out of the book: What The Bible Teaches, the author is R.A. Torrey. The copyright is 1898-1933 By Fleming H. Revell Company, New York: 158 Fifth Avenue London: 99 Anerley Road, pages 270-275. I point this out because many Christians are not aware that D.L Moody and R. A. Torrey worked together, and both believed in the "filling" or "baptism of the Holy Spirit." No wonder they were used so mightily of the Lord in their day. We need this same filling today; it was not just something that was for the early Church!
You might ask how can I have this filling of the Holy Spirit, and that is a great question so let's look at that before we leave this section. I believe this is one of the reasons the Church is so anemic today and Christians that do not have the filling are so without the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. If you want to be filled with the Holy Spirit you must receive the filling by faith. First, you must know for sure that you are saved, and then you need to confess all known sin to the Lord.
If you attend a church that believes in the filling or baptism of the Holy Spirit ask for the pastor or elders to lay hands on and pray for you. If you do not know any Christian that believes this teaching that can lay hands on you, then pray that God will just fill you right now and believe that He will since He commanded us to be filled. If you begin to praise Him in your own language or another language do not be surprised just keep right on doing it!
You will find that you have come into His rest, because it is no longer you who is trying to do the work, but the Holy Spirit. He will now empower you to be a bold witness for Him as the early apostles were! "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
Here is a little of my testimony and that of my wife's as to how we came into the filling of the Holy Spirit: Feeling the call of God on our lives we went with Child Evangelism Fellowship as directors of Klamath and Lake Counties in Oregon. After a year of deputation (raising prayer and financial support), we traveled overseas to the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. There we were able, with God's blessing to see the work increase. While there I also learned about Pentecostals. Since I had never gone to a Pentecostal Church up to this time, I wanted to know if this filling of the Holy Spirit and speaking in "tongues" was real or not. I would find out.
We left Trinidad and Tobago after the work had been organized with the recognition of the government. The Lord called us at that time to Mt. Vernon, Oregon, where I became the pastor of the Community Church. It was there that I was to hear more about the work the Holy Spirit and what He is doing in our day.
Several times I visited the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship, Aglow, and the Assembly of God Church in John Day, Oregon. It was there at the Assembly of God Church, with Pastor Milo Frankie, that I received the filling (baptism) of the Holy Spirit, and spoke in tongues. Later that night, Marlene, who had been under conviction about the Holy Spirit's work, also received the "filling" and spoke in tongues. After this time I have been filled over and over again as I yield myself to the Lord.
Even though the initial filling of the Holy Spirit took place this way in my life, it may be very different in your life. Wait on the Lord in prayer and ask Him to fill you and He will. "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Of if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Of if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" (Luke 11:9-13)
Don't expect that all will be roses after you receive the filling of the Holy Spirit into your life. You may find as we did, lots of opposition to God's filling of your life, but remember God is with you no matter what happens!
The main purpose of your filling will be to make you a witness and to fill you with the fruit of the Holy Spirit so you can serve Him in power! "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
"And these sings will follow those who believe; In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mark 16:15-18) (Taking up of serpents and drinking anything deadly is speaking of the protection God will give people as they go out with the Gospel, even as Paul was delivered from the snake bit, it is not that people deliberately handle snakes, or drink poison on purpose.)
(19) "...speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,"
When you are filled with the Holy Spirit it will be natural to want to start singing, because there is a melody of praise for the Lord in your heart that spills out of your mouth in the form of singing. You are so amazed that God is still working today as He was in the beginning of the Church Age. "Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)
There is just something new and distinct about praising the Lord after the filling of the Holy Spirit. You cannot explain it to another person, it has to be experienced, but when you do really experience the Holy Spirit anew, you want to sing and praise the Lord! It is the second greatest experience a person can have in their life after salvation.
"Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory." (Psalm 98:1) ".I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding." (1 Corinthians 14:15b)
"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together." (Psalm 34:1-3)
"Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, the LORD has done great things for them. The LORD has done great things for us, and we are glad." (Psalm 126:2-3)
"Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises. Sing to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of a psalm, with trumpets and the sound of a horn; shout joyfully before the LORD, the King." (Psalm 98:4-6)
If the church is a Spirit filled church you are in, the people will love to worship and praise the Lord! You can tell the difference where there is a spontaneous worship service, or just a ho hum one. If the people are into the word of God and looking to His guidance they will be filled with the Holy Spirit and praise! "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Colossians 3:16)
"...Songs of the Holy Spirit, PRASIE AND WORSHIP. Paul taught the churches not only to sing psalms (biblical lyrics) and hymns (songs we write about God), but 'spiritual songs.' The Greek odais pneumatikais reveals the Holy Spirit as a composer, ready to enable and expand the song of the Lord through believers now as then. Interesting is the thought that this song is participating in heaven's song by the Spirit's enablement, a song described as the sound (or voice) of many waters (Rev. 14:2; 19:6). Joined to Jesus' description of the 'rivers of living water' (John 7:38) springing from within those who believe in Him, it appears that 'spiritual songs' may be one of those 'rivers'-springing with praise from the inner being of the worshiping believer." (New Spirit Filled Life Bible)
A person who is Spirit filled has no problem praising the Lord; it is a joy to worship our Lord and Savior! There was a Spirit filled speaker who came to our Community Church that I was pastor of in Mt. Vernon, Oregon. He shared with us a cassette tape of a congregation that was worshiping the Lord; it was the song Alleluia, and this phrase is repeated several times, but as they were singing some voices came in several octaves above what people can sing. I believe it was the angels joining the singing and worshipping the Lord. Think about the worship we will have in heaven with multitudes without number are worshiping the Lord together!
Another time I can remember that just sent tingles down my spine was when we were worshipping with several other churches. It was a time that as I remember it, sixteen different churches with choirs from several of these were leading the worship service. My wife and I had the privilege of being in the choir; we had rehearsed before this time. Tim Peterson, an accomplished pianist and choir director, was directing along with other choir directors from other churches.
As the service began there were those who came in the auditorium with banners of Christ unfurled. The music began and the room swelled with praises to Our LORD Jesus Christ. In my mind's eye I could imagine the scene in heaven in the future, when all of heaven's habitants will praise in one voice, in one mighty anthem, to our LORD!
"PRAISE the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name with the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp. For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.
Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishment on the peoples; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute on them the written judgment-This honor have all His saints. Praise the LORD!" (Psalm 149)
"At times God allows us, in our praises, to rise above our emotional levels, and even above our faith level, and join praises with the heavenly forces. Often, when this happens, we are not consciously aware that we have joined praises with angels and the spirits of just men made perfect. But just as surely as there was a joining of Jesus with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration, so, I believe, there are times of joining of the saints on earth with the saints in glory, in responses of praise that enable us to let the high praises of God be in our mouth.
When we get so joined and involved, when the saints are in communion, if you like, our praise is purer, stronger, and more properly directed-even though we may be saying the same words we've always said. And there comes a new direction, a new flow, a new depth of faith, a fresh authority in our praise.
It is interesting that where our translation says these high praises are to be in our 'mouth,' the literal Hebrew is 'in their throats.' Just as Jesus did not say it would be out of the brain but out of the belly that rivers of living water should flow (John 7:38), so here it does not say the high praises would be in the mind but in the throat. As surely as tongues go beyond the conscious level (supraconscious), so some praises go beyond the mental level of the conscious mind and are the result of direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
"It is as though the Spirit Himself is doing the praising. It may be in tongues, yet is more likely to be in your own language. But your intellect is not feeding your vocal chords; the Holy Spirit is directing the expression of praise. He is taking the heavenly 'high praises' and flowing them into your mouth. When this happens, you are not just dealing with praise as an expression; you're dealing with praise as a weapon, and what a fabulous weapon praise is!" (Let Us Praise by Judson Cornwall)
There is a wonderful example of how worship and praise through singing and music can defeat Satan. Look what happened in this true story. The Israelites were told they didn't need to fight this time just worship the LORD and thank Him for the victory. "You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.
"...Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: 'Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever.' Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated." (2 Chronicles 20:14-22)
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