The Spirit-Filled Life

Title: The Spirit-Filled Life

Bible Book: Ephesians 5 : 18

Author: Preston A. Taylor

Subject: Holy Spirit; Infilling of Holy Spirit; Spiritual Living; Christan Living



"Be filled with the Spirit." Ephesians 5:18

The Sahara Desert is the world’s largest desert. Sahara is an Arabic word that means desert. That desert stretches 3,000 miles from the Atlantic Ocean across North Africa to Saudi Arabia. It runs south into Africa for 1,200 miles. We might say that the Sahara is "full of sand."

The oceans are "full of water." The sky is filled with air. When the sun is shining on a cloudless day we say that the earth is "filled with light."

Christians need to think about being "filled" with the Holy Spirit. We need to have a life that is "overflowing" with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 states that we are to, "be filled with the Spirit." The words in reality are, "Be being filled with the Spirit." Those words of Paul were directed to the Ephesians who were believers in an area that is now Turkey. The message was not to professional church leaders, but rather to ordinary Christians. The message is for us today in the place where we live. The "The Fullness of the Spirit" is for all Christians. All of us need a fresh touch from God, a  fresh anointing, a fresh filling, and a walk that invigorates us by the Spirit of the Living God. God intends for us to have this kind of spiritual life and walk. Let’s look at the meaning of "Being filled by the Spirit." What does this mean for us now?

I. We Have Christ In Control

When we are "filled with the Spirit," Christ is in control of our lives. He occupies the "throne" of life. Jesus is at the center of life. He has the rule in life. The Holy Spirit’s fullness in life is to honor Christ and place him at the center of all we think and do.

The Holy Spirit’s work is to exalt Jesus and let Him be the "Lord" of life. This means we walk with Jesus. We have communion with him. David wrote in Psalms 84:10, "For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." When we are filled with the Spirit, Jesus permeates every fiber of our being. Our body, our mind, our spirit, our total self is under the dominion of Christ. The Spirit-filled life puts Christ in the center of all we do.

The Holy Spirit leads us to worship Jesus. One Scripture verse that is most instructive comes at the end of the Gospel of Luke. The moment had come for Jesus to return to heaven following his death on the cross and his bodily resurrection. Eleven apostles followed Jesus just outside the "Holy City." Jesus lifted up his hands and blessed that small group of followers. As Christ ascended into  heaven, the disciples "worshipped Jesus, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy" (Luke 24:51-52). When the Spirit of God fills us, we turn every place we go into a "worship center." We worship Jesus  in our church buildings, in our homes, in school, at play, at work, and all places. The Holy Spirit leads us to applaud Jesus and praise and worship him.

II. We Have A Happy Funeral Service

When we are filled with the Spirit, we have a happy funeral service. We die to self. A pastor had a funeral service for an elderly man. At the end of the service someone said to him, "Hey, this has been a wonderful day." The man continued speaking, saying, "I love funeral services where we can celebrate and praise the Lord for the home-going of one of God’s people."

Every church needs to have a big number of funerals. Everyone needs to die to him or herself. Galatians 2:20 has some thrilling words, "I am crucified with Christ." The death by crucifixion is not a pleasant experience. Certainly the death of Jesus for us was one in which he suffered more than we can understand. We don’t suffer like Jesus did when we "crucify ourselves," but we do come to the end of our self-lives, or we need to do that. Look again at the words in Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ." The expression is "present tense." This means an "on going" experience. In other words, it means that continuously I am being crucified with Christ.

As Christians we need to "die." We die to self, to selfish wishes, plans, and dreams. This death is one "with Christ." The Holy Spirit wants us to die with Jesus. We need the cross to be directly in our pathway every day. And yet, this death doesn’t put an end to life, but really the crucified life is the life that God wants us to have.

Notice that when we die with Jesus that we begin to live. "Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave hims elf for me." Can we get this message? Do we apply it to our own lives? Have we died? Have you and I died?

None of us can fully understand the depths of Romans chapter six. In that chapter the Apostle Paul wrote about his personal experience. He said that what he didn’t want to do, he did! What he wanted to do, he didn’t do! You have been there and, haven’t you?

The struggle between the "carnal, self life" and the "spiritual life" goes on. It will go on until God calls us home. The "fullness of the Spirit" helps us have a spiritual walk, and not a carnal, selfish life.

One man described the experience of a double life in this way. He said life for him was like having two dogs - - a good one and a bad one. The bad dog sometimes dominated and sometimes the good one became the master. The man said that the one who became the master was the one who received the most feeding. We need to "starve" the carnal life, crucify self, and let the Christ-life dominate.

We have a big problem with the ego or self-life. We want control rather than surrendering life to the Holy Spirit’s control. We have an "I" problem which is a one-letter problem "i." The letter "I" is the central letter in sin.

"I" is the central letter in pride. The self-life needs to go to the cross. We need to be crucified, don’t we?

We need to have a funeral service one time in life. But again, it’s an every day experience. Paul wrote "I die daily" (I Corinthians 15:31). Where do you and I stand in relation to self-funerals? A new day will come in the life of every church when we all die! The spiritual life means death to our ways. Are we ready for our own funeral today?

III. We Have The Fruit Of The Spirit

When we are filled with the Spirit we will have life blessed with the fruit of the Spirit. Look briefly at fantastic words in Galatians 5:22-23.

We need to be known as people who love one another. The rumor got started in New Testament days that the followers of Jesus loved one another. Let’s get that same rumor going where you and I live, will we?

The potential qualities of life for a Christian may astound us. What about joy? That’s one fruit of the Christian life. We go places and carry on a ton of activities in search of joy. Some people travel all over the world, spending fortunes, simply to be happy. The recipe for joy is given in the list of spiritual fruit.

Another great word pops up in Galatians 5:22. Here we find "peace." So much of the world finds itself in turmoil. We don’t have peace between nations, between denominations, between churches, and often within families. Too often peace is a missing ingredient. When we let the Holy Spirit fill us we’ll be filled with "the peace of God that passes all understanding." Get down to the truth of God’s control and His peace will overflow in life (Philippians 4:7).

Add a few other qualities to your life such as long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control and you’ll find people staring at you in disbelief and amazement every place you go. The pastor may not recognize you. The spouse will discover that a "new creation" in the house. The children will become beautiful beyond words. The "Fullness of the Spirit" will do wonders for every person.

IV. We Will Help Others

When we are filled with the Spirit we will help others. We will be like Jesus who "went out doing good" (Acts 10:38). Christians are to be identified as those who think of others, who have compassion for those with needs. One of our hymns has the words, "Lord, help me to live from day to day, in such a self forgetful way, that even when I kneel to pray, my prayer shall be for others."

Bertha Smith served as a single missionary in Mainland China and Formosa for forty years. She wrote two books about missionary service. One of the stories about that remarkable missionary relates to an experience in her life one winter in the city of Shantung. As Bertha was walking to a mid- week prayer service, she saw some boys throwing rocks and sticks into a pagan temple. She asked what they were doing. The answer came back that an old beggar woman was inside the temple and they were having fun throwing at her.

Bertha Smith walked inside the old temple and saw two pagan idols that had fallen over. Near the idols lay the gray-haired woman, huddled up in a corner of the dark temple. Bertha spoke and the beggar looked up, asking for help. The missionary told the beggar that she would come back and help her. After Church the missionary lady returned to the temple with a lantern and some food.

Since she knew that the night would be cold, missionary Bertha Smith also carried a straw mat for the beggar to sleep on.

The beggar also needed cover, but the missionary didn’t see any clothes in her house that she could put over the Chinese woman. She took a quick glance at a quilt she had made as a girl in her home in South Carolina. The quilt was a beautiful reminder of earlier years for the missionary. But nothing else seemed to meet the need of the hour. The quilt, the straw mat, and some food were taken to the pagan temple. The old woman looked up as Bertha entered the ugly place. The woman laughed as she began to eat by the flickering light of the lantern. She rejoiced for having a mat to sleep upon and a quilt to cover her body.

Bertha told her the story of God’s love in Christ Jesus. She reached out to her as best she could, never knowing if the beggar woman would or could understand the message of salvation.

When we have a Spirit-filled life , we will reach out to others. We will have compassion. We will care. Let’s look around us. Maybe someone is in our family that needs us. Maybe a next door neighbor

has a life that’s lonely and desperate. Perhaps we can find someone in an office or a classroom or in some other place who needs a word from us. Let’s not be self-centered, but unselfish. Let’s go after those who need the help that can only come from God’s people who are Spirit-filled.

V. We Have An Overcoming Life

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will have an "overcoming life." The Holy Spirit will give a life of victory. The Holy Spirit lives within the life of every believer. The "indwelling Spirit" is our assurance of a triumphant life. First John chapter 4, verse 4 speaks volumes. John wrote, "Greater is he who is in you than he that is in the world."

The Holy Spirit is more powerful than the devil. We have the potential of an overcoming, victorious life because of the Spirit of God who lives within the life of every believer.

A big, attractive world of "things" confronts us every day. The world’s music can be heard blasting out in automobiles every day. We hear worldly music on the radio and on television. Most children and youth as well as adults move to the world’s music. So-called Christian homes often have ungodly music filling every part of the house. Most of that kind of music appeals to the sensual, to the self-life, to the evil that’s around us. We don’t have to "fall for that." God has given us music that honors  Christ. And the Holy Spirit enables us to sing to the praises of the Lord wherever we go.

We may hear corrupt talk every day. Jesting that is ungodly is a practice in many places. Filthy talk is a common denominator. Immorality is carried on in every nation. What do we do in the midst of a world that is sinful? Let’s practice 1 John 2:15-17 and know that the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life is not from God, but is from the world. All of that passes away, but the one who does the will of the Lord lives forever.

When God gave Moses the 10 Commandments, God said seven times, "Be ye holy, for I am holy." How can we be holy in an unholy world? We may "be filled with the Spirit" and find the answer. Jesus prayed in the high priestly prayer in John 17:15 that his followers not be taken out of the world, but that they be kept from the evil that is in the world. We find the answer to this prayer in "The Spirit-filled Life."

VI. We Get Right With People Around Us

When we are filled with the Spirit, we will get right with everyone around us. The Bible has straight talk about right relationships. We don’t hear this message preached very often about right relationship with others coupled with the offerings we make to God. However, Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that if we have anything against our brothers that we should not make an offering, but leave the gift, go get right with the offended brother, and then come and offer the gift (Matthew 5:23-24).

Two results would take place if we practiced the words of Jesus. One, the Church "stock market" might crash. Offerings might drop off fifty percent or seventy-five percent. And yet again, once problems between Christians have been settled, we might have a "monsoon season" with money flowing in that would give us heart attacks. We would have enough resources to "feed and clothe" destitute people all around us and get every church out of red ink.

We need to get right with others if we are to survive. Paul wrote about this kind of problem in the first century world. Galatians 5:14 reads that if we bite and devour one another that we are going to destroy ourselves. We’ll be consumed in cannibalistic fashion unless we get right with each other.

We remember the story of Jacob and Esau. Their grandfather was Abraham. The two grandsons of the patriarch had a real problem when Jacob took the birthright from his brother. Jacob had to leave town fast, or he might have been killed. Twenty years later, Jacob returned. Before he got back to his home country, an angel of the Lord wrestled with Jacob into the long-hours of the night. Jacob finally prevailed. His name was changed to "Israel," meaning "Prince of God." He began a new day with God’s anointing upon him. He then had power with man and with God. He had a fresh encounter  with God. Jacob met his brother and they hugged each other and wept. At least for a season, they got right with one another. Being filled with the Spirit will bring about wonderful changes in our lives today as well as in centuries gone by.

VII. We Have Spiritual Power

When we are full of the Holy Spirit we are going to have spiritual power. The filling of life by the Spirit of God, the fresh anointing that comes to us, the walk in the Spirit will change our lives from weakness and helplessness one of strength and victory.

We know about Samson. His life casts a long shadow across the book of Judges. Samson was the mightiest man in the Old Testament because God’s Spirit came upon him. He could pull up city gates of an enemy city and take those gates to another place. By the Spirit of God the man Samson was able to catch 300 foxes and tie them together, set a torch between those animals, and burn up the grain fields of the Philistines. The Spirit of God came upon Samson one day when he met a lion. Samson ripped apart the lion. Finally, Samson tore down the temple of the pagan god where the enemy held him captive.

The Holy Spirit yearns to fill our lives. He wants us to have God’s power so that we can have a wonderful life every day. The Holy Spirit lives within the life of every believer. He wants to take control of life. Results that are unbelievable will then happen.

We can do the work that needs to be done when the Spirit fills us. The drudgery of life will be gone. We can sing as we do our work. We can have the joyful experience of witnessing to others. We can resist the devil in all his attacks.

We can say no to the world and celebrate with victory. We can have a life that is filled with the glory of God. You and I can have a new life when we surrender our lives to God.

God spoke fabulous words in Isaiah 44:3. He said that he was going to pour water on the thirst and floods upon the dry ground. If anyone thirsts for spiritual blessings, God is ready to meet those needs. If any one lives on "dry ground" and needs the floods of God poured into life, let God take control. Blessings flood the lives of those who say "yes" to the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said in John 7:37-39 that if anyone thirsts that such a person might come to him and drink. Then, Jesus said, rivers of living water would flow forth from that believer’s inner being.

A spiritual river, mightier than the Nile or Mississippi or Amazon, flows forth from God’s throne. God wants His people spiritually filled. Every Christian may "come and drink" from God’s unfailing fountain. If we want to be "filled" with the Holy Spirit, God will open His "flood gates" and we will be blessed. We can’t afford less, can we?

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