April 16, 2023
In Full Control – Part 2
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Ephesians 5: 18 - 21

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This powerful series will challenge you to understand your role in the body of Christ. Through the book of Ephesians, Pastor Philip will remind us of the joy and blessings God intends for believers to experience in the church as they live as a united family in Christ.

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Take your Bible. Ephesians 5:18 to 21. Let’s stand just to change position and in reality, honor God’s Word. Verse 18. “And do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation.” That’s another word for debauchery or prodigal living, “But be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submitting to one another in the fear of God.” So reads God’s Word. You may be seated.
I think it was Paul Harvey that told about a sign outside a car repair shop. The sign read, labor, $10 an hour. If you watch, $12 an hour. If you help, $15 an hour, and if you worked on it before it got here, $30 an hour. I like that. And there’s a little principle that comes out of that that we can apply to life and to the Christian life. We all know that there’s often a price to pay for doing something you’re not qualified or equipped to do. You know what? Sometimes you’re just better putting it into the hands of the professionals. And what’s true of life in general is true of the Christian life in particular. You and I are not qualified nor are we equipped in and of ourselves to live the Christian life.
The Christian life is not a DIY project. The Christian life is something that God produces in your life and in my life and we have to submit to his help in it all. You and I need the help of God to live the Christian life. The Christian life’s not hard. Have you found that? It’s impossible. Jesus told us in John 15:5, “Without me you can do nothing.” We need him every step of the way. We need to submit to his life and leadership. We need help. But here’s the beautiful thing. We have help in the helper. Did you know that the Holy Spirit is described as the helper? In John 14:14 to 16 and in John 16:7 he’s called the helper. Jesus said, “It’s to your advantage that I go away so that the helper might come.” Guys, I’ve been with you, but through the Holy Spirit, I’m going to be in you every day and in every way, I’m available to help you live out what God is working in in your relationship with me.
The Holy Spirit is the helper, the Paraclete, the one who comes alongside us. So whenever God commands us to do something, go somewhere, the Holy Spirit comes alongside us or he’s inside us helping us achieve that, accomplish that. He generates and animates the whole Christian experience. John 6:63 talks about life from and in the Spirit. Becoming a Christian, being a disciple of Christ, is impossible without the person and work of the Holy Spirit. From beginning to end, the Christian life must be lived in complete reliance upon the Holy Spirit. Are you doing that? Am I doing that? Are we filled? Are we controlled by? Are we reliant upon the Holy Spirit in our families, in our discipleship, in our church life? A Christian may not always be conscious of the Holy Spirit’s presence, but he would not be a Christian in his absence.
I quoted John Stott the last time we were together, and I’m going to repeat it because it’s such a good quote bringing us to our text. “Without the Holy Spirit, Christian discipleship would be inconceivable, even impossible. There can be no life without the life-giver, no understanding without the spirit of truth, no fellowship without the unity of the Spirit, no Christ-likeness of character apart from his fruit and no effective witness without his power.” That’s how critical the Holy Spirit is to your expression of your life in Christ. So let’s come to our text. Paul has commanded the Ephesians to come under the control of the Holy Spirit every day and in every way. When you go back to chapter 4 in verse 20 he threads a needle here. He threads this idea that you and I must put off our old life apart from Christ and put on our new life created in the Lord Jesus.
Then he goes on from that point forward to talk about putting off and putting on, and we’re still with Paul as he thinks that through. You go back to chapter 4, verse 20 and following, he says, “Hey, don’t lie. Speak the truth.” You’ve got to stop stealing and add a work ethic to your life in Christ. You mustn’t become bitter and sorrow and hateful and despiteful. You’ve got to be forgiving and kind and forbearing. In chapter 5 he says you can’t be sexually unclean. You’ve got to be sexually pure. He talks about not walking in the darkness, walking in the light. And then he says here, you can’t be drunk anymore because no doubt some in Ephesus came out of a background of partying or going to the worship in the temple of Diana, which was marked by profligate living, marked by sexual immorality, drunkenness. And he says that’s no longer part of your life. Do not be drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit. So put off the old man. No drunkenness anymore. Put on the new man. Come under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Now, a little footnote here. When I preached this a couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a police friend of mine who told me that he was once on patrol and he pulled over a guy who was drunk and driving, but the thing he noticed was the man was clearly drunk, but he noticed on the passenger seat there was a Korean Bible. And so as part of the sobriety test, he had him read Ephesians 5:18. I’m not sure they teach that in the academy. I’m not sure that’s allowed so I’m keeping his name to myself. But he got this guy and grabbed this Korean Bible and said, “I want you to read Ephesians 5. Do not be drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit.” That’s where we’re at.
Now, just a little footnote here or a sidebar. This is one of nine references to the Holy Spirit. Have you been picking that up as we’ve gone through Ephesians? There’s a robust doctrine of pneumatology. We’ll get to teleology, ecclesiology, christology, eschatology, pneumatology. You say, “Pastor, what does that mean?” Well, go to our core class and find out. I’m not going to do it all for you, but pneumatology is the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Let me give you some of these references quickly back in chapter 1 verse 13 to 14. When you and I put our faith in Jesus, God put the Holy Spirit within us and the Holy Spirit seals us until the day of redemption.
What’s the day of redemption? That’s glorification, that’s heaven, that’s the rapture, that’s us leaving this earth and being with Jesus. And you know what? Here’s the promise. One of the best verses on eternal security in the Bible. The Holy Spirit’s not going to leave you until you’re home safely and glorified. Amen. And then number 2, according to chapter 2 verse 18, it’s through the Holy Spirit we have access to the Father through him. According to chapter 2, verse 22, he’s made a temple of our bodies and collectively as the church, we are now a habitation of God through the Holy Spirit. We’ve said it a million times, we’ll say it once more. In the Old Testament, God had a temple for his people. Today God has a people for his temple and you’re it. Your body is a portable temple.
That’s why everything you touch, from the changing of a diaper to the building of a car, to the helping of your neighbor, to the giving of a truck, it’s all sacred. It’s all worship. It’s all something you can dedicate to the Lord by the help of the Holy Spirit. There is no wall of separation between the secular and the sacred, between the world and the church. He strengthens us. Chapter 3:16, what does it say? “To be strengthened with might through his Spirit and the inner man.” He’s a unifying force. In chapter 4:3, we read about the need to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. In chapter 4:30, we’re told we can grieve him. The Holy Spirit’s a person. He’s not an it, he’s not a thing, he’s not a field of energy. He’s not some kind of spiritual gasoline you just top up once in a while with. He’s a person who indwells you, who wants to have fellowship and communion with you, who will speak to you through the Word, who will encourage you to cry, Abba Father.
And you know what? You can grieve him. When you and I disobey the Word, when you and I come out from under the Lordship of Christ, we grieve him and we lose power and we lose intimacy with God. In fact, 1st Thessalonians 5 says we quench the Spirit when we do that kind of stuff. He uses the Bible. When we get to chapter 6:17, how’s the Word of God described? The sword of the Spirit. That’s what the Word of God is. It’s a weapon he uses as we use it to fight off temptation, to allow us to overcome the evil one, so on and so forth. Chapter 6:18, he helps us pray. Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. And then here we are. He desires to lead and guide us. He desires to lead and guide us. Be filled, come under his control.
Remember we said that this idea of be not drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit is one of contrast. Don’t do that, do this. But it’s also a comparison. Just as alcohol dominates a person to a point of lack of control, so the Spirit of God must dominate us to a point of self-control. So we looked at the caution and we looked at the command. So let’s pick up what we called the conduct, the conduct. Verses 19 to 21. This is where we’re at for the remainder of the service and the sermon. The influence of the Holy Spirit will be felt and evidenced, made manifest, in that we will speak to one another when we sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. We will sing and make melody in our heart to the Lord. We will give thanks in all things and we will submit to one another. That’s what the Spirit of God produces in the life of someone submitted to him.
You want to know if someone’s spiritual? You want to know if the Holy Spirit is not only just resident in your life but present in your life and then these are the marks. In fact, it’s an interesting insight. Often in both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts, both written by Luke. When someone is filled by the Holy Spirit, a conjunction is added, and, and the point of the conjunction is that once a person is filled by the Spirit, something is produced, something is added. Let me give you a couple examples. In Luke 1:15 to 16, we read that John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit and turned many to the Lord, and turned many to the Lord. What about Luke 1:41 to 42? Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit and exclaimed the blessing on Mary.
What about Luke 1:67? Zechariah was filled with the Spirit and prophesied. And we could go on. When we get into the Book of Acts, you’ll see that, that conjunction and. That when the Holy Spirit fills a life, that life gets filled with certain behavior and attitudes. Let me quote Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones here. It’s a good little comparison. Don’t forget he was a wonderful expository of God’s Word. By trade he was a physician. He ultimately became a pastor. In fact, he was part of a group of doctors that actually ministered to the Royal Family. He ultimately became a Calvinistic Methodist and he’s got six volumes on the book of Ephesians. But here’s what he says. I think this is worth quoting. He says this.
“Wine, alcohol, pharmaceutically and pharmacologically speaks of a depressant, not a stimulant. Take up any book on pharmacology and look up alcohol and you will find always it is classified among the depressants. It depresses first and foremost the highest centers of all in the brain. They control everything that gives a man self-control, wisdom, understanding, discrimination, judgment, balance, the power to access everything.” In other words, everything that makes a man behave at his very best and highest, alcohol suppresses that part of the brain. But what the Holy Spirit does is the opposite. If it were possible to put the Holy Spirit into a text book on pharmacology, it would put him under stimulant for that is where he belongs. He really does stimulate. He stimulates our every faculty, the mind and the intellect and the heart and the will. And that’s what’s going on here.
If you’re filled by the Spirit of God, you will be stimulated to speak to one another in edification, to sing God’s praises, to be thankful in everything and to submit to one another. So let’s get into that speaking. Chapter 5:19. “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Now I think we’re all convinced that worship has a vertical focus. We’re here to worship the Lord, one Lord, one baptism, one hope, one Father. We’re here with a focus to put our mind and heart in his direction and to thank him for the gift of life and the gift of eternal life and all that he’s doing in us and around us and for us. But I do want you to notice there is a horizontal focus in worship. Speaking to one another. Singing to God, vertical. Speaking to one another, horizontal.
There’s a congregational component to a worship service and I think sometimes we miss that. Sometimes we lose that. Worship should bless the heart of God, but worship should be a benefit to each other, not individually but corporately, right? Hebrews 10:24 to 25 is a description of an early Christian assembly and we’re told there not to forsake our gathering together. Get together in person and stimulate one another, stir one another to love and good works.
I think Jim Elliott the martyred missionary said Christians more often than not don’t need a pat on the back, they need a kick in the pants and we need that. That’s why we get together to give ourselves a kick in the pants, to pray more and evangelize more and worship more. 1 Corinthians 14:26, certainly we are given a window into certain expressions of the early church’s worship and it seems very participatory. Here’s what you’ll read. And when you come together, someone will bring a prayer, someone will bring a psalm, someone will bring a teaching, but they were ministering to one another. Listen to Ian Hamilton. Again, this is worth a quote. “Christian worship as deeply horizontal focuses as well as vertical. Speaking to one another. Christian worship that flows from a Spirit-filled life is never self-centered and certainly not self-preoccupied. You’re asking the wrong question to yourself when you say, “What am I getting out of this service?”
I want to rubbish that completely. But the question is, what are others getting out of this service as I speak to them and minister to them and encourage them? Worship is not individualistic. It’s not self-centered. It’s not self-preoccupied. Listen to Ian Hamilton again. “It is worship that is marked by a family spirit of mutual encouragement. We come before God not as a collection of desperate individuals, though we come with our unique individuality. We come to worship as the people of God, the body of Christ, the temple of the Holy Spirit.” This is one of the marked features of the Psalter. Again and again, the psalmist direct encouragement and challenge and thanksgiving towards other worshipers. Listen to Psalm 105 where the psalmist says, “Give thanks to the Lord, make known his deeds among the peoples. Sing psalms to him and glory his Holy Name.
I think you get the point. That will require preparation, that will require presence, participation, and passion. What do I mean by that? Simply this. Passion is a love for the church. Do you love the church? Do you miss it when we’re not together? Do you get excited about the family coming together and the Lord’s there in small groups where we get to stimulate one another to take on the image of our great Savior? Do you participate speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs? Did you sing this morning? If not, shame. Honestly, shame on you. You just disobeyed Ephesians 5:19. Get rid of the long face. Start singing with a joyful heart because that builds the body. That encourages the saints. Do you participate? Do you serve somewhere? Honestly this morning you’ve been coming for weeks, months. Do you serve? Are you helping us somewhere or is it still all about you? Is it about convenience to come in and come out, have your kids ministered to or whatever the case might be, and slip right back into the jet stream of life?
No, speak to one another, love one another, serve one another, forgive one another and it requires your presence. You can’t speak to one another, you can’t touch each other on a screen. We need to be together, speaking to one another, in each other’s company, throwing an arm around each other, giving a holy kiss, whatever the case might be. Sharing a word. I love it when I see after the service just one or two brothers or sisters or a combination hugging each other and somebody praying because somebody’s got a hurt. It’s all important. It’s a bit like the soccer wave. Have you ever been to a soccer stadium for the wave? I love it. To be honest, sometimes I get to love it. Because what happens is somewhere in the game, the game has kind of gone flat and some group of fans or a fan or two to say, “Hey, we need to get everybody excited and we need to cheer the team on.”
And so maybe, I don’t know, 10, 20, 30 fans in some part of the stadium start and they stand up and they wave. And the first go around is a little bit of a ripple. May get 10%. And first time around, I can’t be bothered with that. That’s kind of where I’m at. I don’t get up on the first round, but you know what? I got to kind of be embarrassed or encouraged into it. And so it goes on a second and a third time and you get 20% and 30% and towards the end in a good soccer game in a good stadium and a good crowd, a hundred percent participation. By this stage, we’re all encouraged to get up and encourage the team and get excited. We all need that. Sometimes we come to church and we don’t want to get up. We don’t even want to come, but then there’s a wave of encouragement that’s washes over us with a word, a song, a word from the Word. Before long we’re out of our seat and we want to be part of what’s going on.
Speaking secondly, singing. That’s the horizontal side. What about the vertical side? Look at verse 19, “Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” There you go. The gospel sets the church a-singing. I want to tell you something. I really believe this. I believe I can substantiate this. When you become a Christian, you become a singer. God makes you a singer. He really does because Psalm 40:1 and 2 says what? He took me out of a horrible pit. Now while there’s a context to that historically, you and I often [inaudible 00:23:11]. He took us out of a horrible pit called hell and eternal damnation. He took us out of that horrible pit and he set our feet on a rock, Christ Jesus. And that whole experience is so wonderful that what happens next? He put a song in my mouth, even praise unto our God. I didn’t sing much when I was an unbeliever at church.
Now you could find me singing on a Saturday at Windsor Park when I watch my soccer team called Linfield. I didn’t sing on a Sunday. I didn’t want to be there, but then I get saved. I’m singing the first Sunday I’m in church saved because he put a new song in my mouth. If I’m going to sing about a team that gets beat 70% of the time, aren’t I going to sing about Jesus Christ who leads me in triumph always? Singing is part of the Christian experience. The church was set a singing thing about the gospel in its own announcement. In Luke 2:8 to 14, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” An angel told that to the shepherds and it says, “And then a great host of heavenly beings appeared and they sang glory to God in the highest and peace on earth towards man.”
My mother was always singing. I just kind of reflected on that. I knew it growing up, but in her passing, you look back and go, you know what? That woman was always singing. In fact, just recently my brother Ian shared a video of her in the last days of her life. The last weeks of her life, in her dressing gown, suffering from dementia but still singing in the kitchen. In fact, my daughter Angela reminded me in between services that one of the things that brought my mother to Jesus Christ was she worked in a cigarette factory called Gallaher’s. One of the women she worked with was a Christian woman called Lily who always sang at her machine. It always fascinated my mom. What makes this woman sing? Has she got reason to sing? Well, she did. She was saved and she knew the Lord Jesus. She had every reason to sing.
My mother was always singing, brought to Christ by a woman who sang at work. What does Psalm 144:15 say? “Happy is that people whose God is the Lord.” Singing and music accompanied by emotion have been a prominent part of the worship of God’s people while they’re under the old covenant or under the new covenant. Read the Psalms. Read Exodus 15 and you’ll find Israel singing. Do you know that according to Zephaniah 3:17, God sang over Israel. The God we worship, the God in whose image we’re made, is a singing God. Come into the New Testament and the gospel is announced with song. You’ve got Mary’s Magnificat, you’ve got Simon’s song, you’ve got Elizabeth’s hymn. We find the church after Pentecost praising God and finding favor with God and man. We’ve got Christian hymns probably in Philippians 2 and Colossians 3 and we’re told here to sing to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Whether we’re a nightingale or a gale in the night, we’re all meant to sing whether in tune or out of tune.
I sing in tune. June sings out of tune. It’s just a fact. She knows it. We know it and at times we’ve told her to tone it down a little bit. But to her credit, she just keeps singing and so she should and we need to repent of telling her. We just need to make sure we are heard more than she’s heard. But to gather in tune, out of tune, nightingales, gales in the night, we’re all meant to sing, every single one of us. It’s not an option and I certainly, as I’ve said, some of us, all of us sing, but only some of us should sing into a microphone and hopefully we’re doing a good job at deciding not who that is. But you know what? We’re all meant to sing. Listen to these verses, just simple verses but shouldn’t they challenge us? Ask yourself this morning, do I sing the way I should as often as I ought? Psalm 89:1, “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever. With my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.” By the way, sing to your children.
I just told you, I grew up in a home where my mother sang. I have vivid memories as an unbeliever standing beside my dad who I heard sing at a soccer game on a Saturday, but who sang more on a Sunday in the little Baptist Church because Christ was real to him. I had no doubt this was not a performance, this was not a put on. This was real. Sing to the generations to come. Listen to Psalm 104:33, “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.” Isn’t that why so many Christians sing around the deathbed of a loved one? We did. You’ve done it. We’ve all been there. It’s a Christian tradition. “I will sing as long as I live. I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” Here you are this morning with life and some of you didn’t sing.
What a shame. I will sing while I have my being. I will sing as long as I live because we’re going to sing this in an eternal dimension. Psalm 108:1, to wrap this up and move on. “Oh God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and give praise even with my glory.” By the way, we’re told here in Ephesians 5, just a point, to sing to one another and to the Lord in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. I’ve read a lot on that, but I think most commentators are in agreement. Basically we’ve got Psalms or Old Testament Psalms, the Psalter, 150 songs, hymns that were often accompanied by the flute or stringed instruments. They were psalms accompanied by music and they were assigned within the liturgy of the nation of Israel and we’re to sing the psalms.
Now, some congregations in Scotland and other places sing only the psalms. I’m not sure that’s right, but we’re to sing psalms for sure, but alongside it we’re to sing hymns. There’s a debate. That’s probably Christian hymns, new hymns that are emerging with a Christological focus that’s Philippians 2:6 to 11, Colossians 1:15 to 20 where new songs were sung. We’ve got Doxologies in Ephesians 1:3 to 14 and Romans 11:33. Spiritual songs, there’s a bit of a debate about that, but probably songs from the Spirit. That might be songs that are either spontaneous or a little bit more free flowing and come out of the experience of individual believers. I like what Robert Morgan says because we have established here that worship is not to be individualistic. We’re to speak to one another. We’re to enhance the experience of others. But it’s also to be blended, psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. He says this. “Experts debate the differences among these three terms, but it makes sense to think of it in epic terms. Psalms are hymns from biblical history. Hymns are those from Christian history.
Spiritual songs are expressions of worship that are more contemporary in our own generation. Ephesians 5:19 makes a case for what we may call blended worship. I like that. By the way, on my Sundays off I’ve been to many different places, different churches, and I’m discouraged often by what I see. You sit among congregations that don’t sing and they’re sitting in the dark and they’re not singing because all kinds of stuff’s going on up on the platform. Big screens, pictures, images, and you’ve got some kind of professional band that either comes to church or is being hired by money, and so it’s more sit there and we’ll sing to you. Let the experts do it, let the professionals do it. And it seems to me so back-to-front. Turn the lights up. Yeah, the music should be good or the best a church can produce, but not manufactured. But it’s the church’s job to sing to one another in a blended manner.
Hymns, psalms that are hundreds and thousands of years old and contemporary songs that give expression to the generation that is now in Christ. I do like what Robert Coleman says in his book, Songs of Heaven. He says that George Whitfield who often preached outside as an evangelist and a revivalist, when he preached his voice could be heard for a mile. When he sang, his voice could be heard for two mile. What about that? Are you known for your singing? Is your singing loud and pronounced? I don’t have time to go down this trail, but I’m going to throw this your way just as a footnote for many of you who take notes. Why should we sing? Well, number one, to affirm the gospel, to affirm the gospel. Psalm 96:2 tells us to tell of the salvation of the Lord. Number two, to engage the heart. Psalm 45:1 talks about my heart is filled with a good theme.
Number three, it builds unity. Psalm 118:1 to 4, let Jacob say, let Aaron say, let Israel say. Singing affirms the gospel when songs are theological and confessional. Singing engages the heart and gives expression to our love and emotion for God and it builds unity. In fact, John Stott by the way, I meant to throw that in when he talks about speaking to one another and singing, he says that there’s evidence that the early church at times sang antiphonally. One part of the congregation sang to another part of the congregation and I’m going to talk to Tom about. Let’s kind of weave that in. If you’ve grown up in a bit of a Baptist culture, you’ll know we’re going to sing verses 1, 3 and 5 and the ladies are going to sing verse 1 and the men are going to sing verse 2 and we’re all going to sing verse 5. Well, at least that’s a start, isn’t it? Singing to one another, the ladies singing to the men, the men singing to the ladies.
Let those who are happy today sing to those who are unhappy today. Whatever the case might be. Let’s just bear that in mind. Number three and four will go quickly, savoring. There’s another evidence, another conjunction kind of idea here. When you’re filled by the Spirit, you’ll speak, you’ll sing and thirdly, you’ll savor the goodness and mercy of God. Look at verse 20, “Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus.” We’re to be marked by a spirit of thanksgiving. Is that true of you or me? The doctor asked a wife one day, “Do you wake up grumpy in the morning?” To which she replied, “No, I let him sleep.”
We don’t want to be grumpy. We’re not to be critical. We’re to be a thankful people, a people marked by grace and marked by gratitude. You know those two words come out of the same family of Greek words, kairos, eucharistos, grace, thanksgiving, grace, births, gratitude and what God has joined let no man put asunder. If you have experienced the grace of God, you will express it in song and thanksgiving. It’s just a fact. And if you’re not singing as much as you once did, that means there’s a depletion of your experience of grace and your valuing of it because if you keep that up to date, then you’ll sing a new song because grace produces gratitude. In fact, gratitude’s a theme in Ephesians. The whole book begins with the doxology, doesn’t it? I believe from verses 3 to 12 or maybe it’s 14, it’s all one sentence in the Greek.
It only comes a full stop about verse 14. Someone, Paul says, “God has blessed us with every blessing in the heavenly places.” He just gets on a roll and thanksgiving just pours out him. Redemption, election, adoption. Chapter 1:16 picks up the theme of thanksgiving. “I do not cease to give thanks for you.” Now, this is a tall order, isn’t it? Give thanks in everything? But you and I can do that because this is a work of God like everything’s a work of God. If God asks us to give thanks in circumstances that may not be to our liking in everything, he can produce that in us as we depend on him. Wasn’t it Augustine who prayed, “Lord, ask what you will, but give what you ask.” Jesus commanded a man with a withered hand to reach. Jesus commanded a man who was paralytic to stand up and walk.
Lord, ask what you will, but give what you ask. If you’re asking me to give thanks in every circumstance, give me the grace to do it, and he will. Paul and Silas sang psalms and hymns at midnight while they were in prison. And I tell you, God will help you do it. And it is an act of faith when we do it. In everything give thanks even for the things we would not naturally give thanks for because here’s what we believe. God works all things together for good. The things not good, we don’t celebrate evil. God doesn’t call us to celebrate evil but give thanks for evil. We celebrate the God who’s sovereign over it and who can work it together for good. So when you and I give thanks to God in everything, even the things that are not to our liking, that’s an act of faith.
It’s a belief in a sovereign God. A complaining spirit is unbecoming of the Christian. I like the story of Charles Haddon Spurgeon who had many ministries he had to take care of. He had orphanages, he had a Bible college, he had a printing press and stuff like that, and so he was always raising money. At the end of one particular sermon in a particular church, he took his top hat and he passed it around for an offering for I would guess one of his orphanages or maybe for some of the students at his Bible college. And after it was passed around, it came back empty. So he bowed his head and he encouraged the people to pray along with him and he said, “Lord, I thank you that at least these old skin flints gave me my hat back.”
I love that. I’m looking for the opportunity to pray that someday. “Lord, thank you that these old skin flints gave me my hat back.” Give thanks in everything. Let’s wrap up here. Submitting. This will kind of set us up for next week. In the final evidence of the filling of the Spirit, as you and I come under the control of the Holy Spirit and yield to his leadership, because remember that’s what filling means. To be controlled by or to come under the influence of. There’s the contrast. Don’t get drunk, be filled. There’s a comparison just as alcohol dominates a man, so does the Holy Spirit. One produces lack of control, bad behavior. The other produces self-control and righteousness. But as you and I submit to the Holy Spirit, he will enable us to submit to those who God has authority over our lives. Now, we all submit to him, men and women. But if you go into the passage that we’re about to get into, look [inaudible 00:41:30] what he says in verse 22. Wives submit.
We’ll get into that, what that means. We do believe that wives should submit to their husbands, that men have headship over their wives at home and then the church and that headship is to be exercised lovingly for the benefit of one’s bride. But you’ll notice there’s a whole series of relationships immediately explained. Wife to husband, child to parent, children, chapter 6:1, obey your parents. Honor your mother and father. Look at verse 5. Bond servants, be obedient to those who are your masters. In verse 9, masters do the same things to them, knowing that your own master is in heaven. Wives submit to your husband, children obey your parents, bond servants follow your master, and you masters submit to your master. More to come. But here’s the point. Do notice, and have you noticed this maybe because of the whole charismatic chaos that has taken place and the abuse of spiritual gifts and wild ideas about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
Have you not noticed that some who claim to be spiritually led by Him, filled by Him, Pentecostal in nature are very brash, flashy, assertive. They seem to be like a law unto themselves. While here, the Spirit of God who fills a person is of a humble spirit and is of a meek spirit. Submit means to come under, to take your place under authority like a soldier under his commander, to stand under. In fact, when June and I were down at the Navy SEAL base in Coronado, one of the things that struck me was the parade ground where the new recruits would stand, and there were all these frogmen flipper pictures on the ground. My assumption is that these new recruits came and stood on top of their little flippers, standing under their commander waiting orders. That’s what the Spirit of God produces.
As we pray, here’s a question for you and for me. If the greatest sin of the unbeliever is his refusal of new life in Christ, perhaps the greatest sin of the Christian is when they decline to live in the fullness of the Spirit in the Christian life. If the sin of the world is rejection of the Son of God, maybe the sin of the church is ignorance of the Spirit of God. That’s studying pneumatology out of the book of Ephesians. Let’s fulfill this command. Don’t be drunk with wine. Don’t come under its influence or bondage, but come under the domination of the Spirit. Be intoxicated with the gospel.
Father, we thank you for our time in the Word. We pray indeed we would heed it. We’d hide it in our hearts so we may not sin against you. Lord, we thank you for your Spirit. We thank you for the gift of your Son, and we thank you for his gift of the helper. Lord, help us remember today that the Christian life is not a DIY project. It’s not hard, it’s impossible without your help, but we thank you for the helper. May we not grieve him. May we walk in the Spirit. May we be filled and dominated by his influence for gospel advancement. For those that are here today who have sought enjoyment and fulfillment in alcohol and drugs, who have gone to the broken cisterns of worldly pleasure, may they realize today that there’s living water and to be filled by the Spirit of God, having come to faith in Jesus Christ is one of the greatest joys, the greatest liberty, the greatest fulfillment. Help them to receive your Son today and enjoy the joy of the Holy Spirit and the peace that he brings. For Christ’s sake. Amen.