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March 13, 2010
Under the Influence – Part 1
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Ephesians 5:15-21

Purchase the CD of this sermon.


In this series of sermons, Philip De Courcy warns the church not to settle for two-thirds of God. Christians often fail to grasp that through faith in Christ, they were not only given the gift of eternal life, but they were also given the giver of eternal life—the Holy Spirit—as a further gift. That puts the Christian at a great advantage because the Holy Spirit lives to bring God, vast as He is, within the narrow circumference of our lives.

More From This Series


Let’s take our Bibles and turn to Ephesians chapter 5, and verses 15 through 21. I want to begin probably a two-part sermon on the subject of the filling of the Holy Spirit. We’re in an ongoing series on the person and work of the Holy Spirit, we are reminding ourselves about the advantage we have in our walk with Jesus Christ in that Christ has indeed sent us a comforter, a coach, a counselor in the person of the Holy Spirit, and his work is indeed to lead us into all truth and to conform us to the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. And you and I living under the new covenant have a great advantage in that we are indwelt by the Spirit personally and permanently, and therefore if we realize we are inhabited, we would be certainly less inhibited and our lives should be marked by victory, and confidence, and boldness in the Lord Jesus.

Ephesians 5 and verse 15, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise but understand what the will of God is. And do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart 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.” Let’s talk about under the influence. Paul Harvey, the radio commentator, tells of a sign outside a gas station some years back. It read, “Labor, $10 per hour. If you watch, $12 per hour. If you help, $15 per hour. And if you worked on it before you brought it in, $27 per hour.”

I like that story. It seems to remind us that there’s a price to be paid for trying to do something you’re evidently not equipped to do, or meant to do. The moral of the story seems to be that it will cost you in the end if you try to do another man’s work for him, a work that he is best suited to do for you. And as I thought about that, I thought about the high price that many Christians are paying in defeat and discouragement, because they’re trying to do God’s work for Him apart from the infilling and the overspilling of the Holy Spirit. Despite their best attempts, many Christians find their prayer lives are short of breath, their worship is dry, their time in the Word unproductive, their love of the lost a mere shadow, and that their lives are marked by an unbroken cycle of discouragement and disobedience.

They’ve been working at being a Christian, but it’s not working. I would suggest to you this morning that in the light of our story, might it not be the case that that kind of person, that kind of Christian has been trying to do the work of another at a cost to their Christian vitality and Christian victory? We need to be reminded this morning, do we not? That the Christian life is not difficult, it’s impossible. The Christian life is not difficult, it’s impossible. It’s impossible apart from God’s help by the means of God’s presence in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, did He not? In John 15:5, “Without me, you can do nothing.” Paul reminds us in Philippians 4 verse 13, “But that through the strength that Christ pours into us, we can do all things. Without Him, nothing.” With Him, all things.

That’s the all things that God has indeed purposed and planned for us. And the means by which Christ pours his strength into us, we learned in our first study is the indwelling Spirit. I go, He’s coming. And He will be in you on my behalf. Christ has ascended, the Spirit has descended that you and I might live the life God intended. You and I need to get a hold of that this morning. As the comforter, the Spirit has been sent by Jesus Christ to come alongside us and supply us the strength necessary to do the work of God and the will of God on earth. What does Paul say in Philippians chapter 1 verse 19? “For I know that this will turn out from my deliverance,” he’s talking about his imprisonment, “Through their prayer,” and look at the end of verse 19, “And the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”

That’s the implication of Pentecost. Jesus Christ has ascended, the Spirit of God has descended, so that you and I through the supply of the Spirit might live the life God intended. Guys, you and need to remind ourselves again and again that the Christian life is not a matter of us doing God’s work for Him, it’s a matter of God doing His work through us. Listen to what Paul says in Philippians 2 verse 12. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you, both to will and to do his good pleasure.”

Listen to Paul in his letter to the Colossians, chapter 1 in verse 27. “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of His mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to,” listen, “His working, which works in me mightily.” And if we go to the letter we’re looking at, Ephesians chapter 3 in verse 19, here’s what we read. “That Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith, that you being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width, and length, and depth, and height, to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him, who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think according to the power that works in us. To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations.”

The Christian life is not a matter of us doing God’s work for Him, but God doing His work through us, and that brings us to the subject we’re considering this morning, the filling of the Holy Spirit. The empowering of God’s Spirit within each of our lives. It is so necessary. Unless there is within us that which is above us, we will soon succumb to that which is around us. We must not only experience the infilling of the Holy Spirit at conversion, but the filling and over-spelling of the Holy Spirit for Christian living and service. We’ve already established in this series that one cannot be a Christian apart from the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit. We saw that, did we not? In Romans chapter 8 and verse 9 where we read these words, “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 of His.”

We came to see that at the moment we trust the Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God comes to take up residence in our life, but the Spirit of God can be resident within us without being president over us. We can be indwelt by Him without being dominated and directed by Him. This is what we’re talking about here in Ephesians chapter 5 when we talk about the filling of the Holy Spirit. I want you to think about this, we can have Him without Him having us. Therefore, in the light of that possibility and in the light of the necessary filling of the Holy Spirit, for you and I to accomplish God’s will and work in our lives it’s imperative that we come to the imperative of Ephesians chapter 5 and verse 18. “And do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”

This is one of 12 references in the book of Ephesians to the work of the Holy Spirit. This is a letter rich in Pneumatology, bringing us to see and understand both the person and work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian. This book talks about being filled with the Spirit. This book talks about being sealed with the Spirit. This book talks about having access in one Spirit to the Father. This book talks about our lives being a habitation of God in the Spirit. This book talks about keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This is a book rich in understanding of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. And one of the themes is the theme that we’re looking at, the theme of empowerment, endowment for service.

Paul passionately, and personally, and pastorally desires that the Ephesians be strengthened with power through the Spirit of God, that they be filled with all the fullness of God, that they be filled with the Spirit. Look at chapter 3 in verse 19. He prays that they might indeed know all the fullness of God. And he says in chapter 5, verse 18 that they need to be filled with the Spirit. Failure to be filled with the Spirit of God is outright failure. I like the story of the teenage female motorist who was stranded by the side of the road with the hood up on her car. In a state of confusion, a good Samaritan stops to help and after some investigation discovers that the car is out of gas. And in telling the teenage girl what was wrong, she asked if it would hurt to drive it home like that.

Well, there’s a lot of Christians with their hood up wondering what’s wrong with their Christian experience. Their prayer life is short of breath, as we’ve said. Their worship is dry, their time in the Word is unproductive. Well, if you look under the hood, you’re going to see that it’s an issue of either being or not being filled with the Holy Spirit. Too many of us are running on empty and choking on the exhaust fumes of our own self effort. Well, let’s make a start at looking at this text. There’s four things, we’ll cover hopefully two this morning. I want us to look at the regulation of being Spirit-filled, then I want to look at the realization of being Spirit-filled, and then next time we’ll look at a couple of other items. What about the regulation of being filled? This is a command here in Ephesians 5 verse 18, “And do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”

Let’s look at this text. Couple of things by way of understanding its grammar and its syntax. The text is in the imperative mood. That simply means it’s a command. This is not a suggestion. This doesn’t come with a pretty please from the Apostle Paul, this is something you and I are not at liberty to avoid. “Be filled with the Spirit, I command it”, says the Lord. The text is in the present tense. That means that you and I are to be constantly filled with the Spirit. We are to go on being filled with the Spirit is how you could translate this. This is not something that’s done in our lives never to be repeated. That’s true of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We’ll maybe come back to that next time. But what’s true of the baptism of the Holy Spirit or the sealing of the Holy Spirit is not true of the filling of the Spirit.

It is a repeated experience. In fact, in John chapter 2 and verse 7, we read of the wedding reception in Cana, and we read that Jesus commands them to fill the jars with water. The imperative there is in the aorist tense, which means that they were to fill the jars once and that was it. That’s not what is the case here in Ephesians 5 verse 18. This is a present tense imperative. We are to go on being filled, which by the way seems to imply that this is something you can lose. You can be filled with the Spirit and then not be filled with the Spirit. Something else about the text, it’s in the passive voice, which means is that the subject is being acted upon. You would want to translate it like this, “Let the Holy Spirit go on filling you.” Let the Holy Spirit go on filling you. This isn’t something we do, this is something He does as we allow Him, permit Him and let Him, and I think that’s important.

You and I are not filled by the Holy Spirit by some religious hoopla, by doing certain things, by bending nights in prayer or rolling on the ground in a state of spiritual hysteria. This is something that is done to us. We are passive in this to a large degree. One other thing about the text, it’s in the plural. Be filled with the Spirit is addressed to the whole church, not just the pastor, not just the elders, not the deacons, not those who are being set aside for foreign missions. This is something that’s commanded to be the case ongoing in the life of every Christian at Ephesus. So mark that down. None of us is to get drunk with wine, and all of us are to be filled with the Spirit. That’s the point. Now, put it together. Here’s what you’ve got, guys. This experience and operation of the Holy Spirit is not an optional extra. This isn’t like a sunroof or sports wheels on your car. This comes standard for the Christian life, for all Christians at all times.

This isn’t some spiritual high water mark. “You know, Pastor, someday I would like to get to a place where I’m Spirit-filled.” If you’re not Spirit-filled, you can’t live the Christian life. This isn’t some optional extra, this isn’t a high water mark, this is normative new covenant Christianity. The Christian does not grow towards Spirit fullness but from Spirit fullness. Did you get that? Write that down and think about that. The Christian does not grow towards Spirit fullness, we grow because of it, through it, in it, as the Spirit empowers us to do those things with God, which God has called us to do, which we cannot do by ourselves. The baptism of the Spirit takes place immediately, and then it allows for the filling of the Spirit immediately. There’s nothing abnormal about the filling of the Holy Spirit. You have not arrived when you get filled with the Holy Spirit, you have only begun to live the Christian life.

That’s why Vance Havner, the famous and oft-quoted preacher among Southern Baptists used to say, “The average Christian is so subnormal that when he becomes normal everybody thinks he’s abnormal.” That’s a great quote. You see the regulation of being filled with the Holy Spirit? Now, let’s think about it in a couple of different directions. If you’re taking notes, the command to be filled with the Spirit is a matter of obedience, it’s a matter of opportunity and it’s a matter of obligation. Now, we’ve already established it’s a command, it’s an imperative for all of us to enter upon and embrace at all times. The filling of the Holy Spirit is not a blessing to be sought, it is a command to be obeyed. Write this down, this is convicting. We either live in the Spirit or we live in sin.

That’s just a takeaway from Ephesians 5:18. We either live in the Spirit or we live in sin. This command, in fact is prefaced by another command I want you to notice, this is another imperative, one’s in the negative and one’s in the positive. “Do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” On the negative side, we’re not to be drunk with wine, which was evidently a danger to those who had limited choice of beverages in those days. On the positive side, we’re to be filled with the Spirit. Now, I say look at these two commands, sitting side by side I see a comparison and I see a contrast. What’s the comparison? Well, I think a comparison is this. Just as a man can come under the influence of alcohol that brings him to a point where he acts out of character, so the Christian can come under the influence of the Holy Spirit so that he too acts out of character.

He now lives like the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the comparison, and we’ll come back to this in a moment, but there’s a contrast. The contrast is this, while under the influence of alcohol, a man is often led to lose his self-control, to act foolishly, and often to behave in a way that’s unconscionable. The man under the influence of the Holy Spirit doesn’t descend into debauchery, or as it’s described here, dissipation. The filling or influence of the Holy Spirit leads to control, submission, a life lived under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and a life lived out in the service of others. That’s the comparison, and that’s the contrast you find here in this command. Now, the point I want us to grasp here as we take this idea of it being a matter of obedience a little bit further is that these commands are equally true to the Christian.

Don’t be drunk, be filled. We are not to be drunk with wine, but we are to be filled with the Spirit, and here’s the point. You ought not to have the one without the other. And the point I want to make guys is this, often the Christian settles for half of this verse. How many of us have been drunk recently? I’d like to believe none, but how many of us are living daily under the sweet influences and leading of the Holy Spirit? So, you’re glad to know you haven’t been drunk and that you’re a dry Christian, but you may be a doubly dry Christian, and that’s no good. You may not have drunk spirits, but neither may you have drunk of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13 tells us that, “We are baptized by the Spirit and the body of Christ, and we have all been made,” look at the metaphor, “To drink of the Spirit.”

Guys, you and I should be seeking an experience of spiritual inebriation. Intoxicated in the Spirit, doesn’t lead to weird or bizarre behavior like barking like dogs or vomiting on the floor of a church sanctuary, but it does lead to behavior that’s Christ-like, as you and I sell ourselves to the kingdom of God in daily consecration and commitment. Listen, the implication of this text is that it is just as sinful not to be filled by the Spirit as it is to be drunk. That’s powerful, isn’t it? You’re either living in the Spirit or you’re living in sin. That’s true for me and it’s true for you, and I would hazard a guess that more damage has been done to the church of Jesus Christ by Christians not filled with the Spirit than by people coming into our meetings drunk.

In fact, there’s a great story told by Leighton Ford of a visit his brother-in-law, Billy Graham made to a very large and influential church. And as the guide was showing him around the premises, he did tell him by the way of an unfortunate experience the church had gone through. They had discovered that one of their officers in the church had gotten repeatedly drunk, and they had to discipline him and put him out of the fellowship. Mr. Graham said, “How long has it been since you put someone out of the church for not being filled with the Spirit?” The guy looked at him and startled. So Mr. Graham continued, “The Bible says, ‘Don’t be drunk with wine,’ but the very same verse is, ‘Be filled with the Spirit.'” It’s challenging, isn’t it?

In fact, the sin of not being filled with the Spirit is a sin of omission, while the sin of getting drunk is a sin of commission. You know the difference, the sin of commission is actually doing that which you should not do, and the sin of omission is not doing that which you should do. James 4 verse 17, isn’t it? Says this, “Therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him is sin.” We not only sin by the things we do, which we shouldn’t do, we sin by not doing the things that we should do.

Get that into your head. We not only sin by doing bad things, we sin by not doing good things. Make that distinction in your mind. Don’t get it confused like the little boy in the Sunday school class, who was asked to explain what the sin of omission meant. He looked at the teacher and said, “Is it those sins we wanted to commit but never got round to committing?” No son, that’s not the answer to the question. It’s those good things that we should do that we never get round to doing. It’s an imperative in the present tense, it’s in the plural. Every Christian at Ephesus is called by Paul to be filled with the Spirit on a daily, weekly basis, and it’s not just good enough not to be drunk, to be a dry Christian. You could be a doubly dry Christian and in double sin.

Adrian Rogers, in a message on the filling of the Holy Spirit put it like this, “If you do what you ought to do, cannot be doing what you ought not to do, but you can only do one thing at a time.” A man who is filled with the Spirit is not going to get drunk in the first place. You can be sober and not be filled with the Spirit however. It’s a matter of obedience. Secondly, it’s a matter of opportunity. This command here in Ephesians 5:18 reaches back to verse 15. This command is embedded in a section of Ephesians that stretches from chapter 5 verse 15 right through to Ephesians 6 verse 9. And so, being filled with the Spirit is not just a matter of obedience, it’s a matter of opportunity. Paul says here to these Ephesians, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil.”

Christians, according to Paul, are to buy up every opportunity that the providence and plan of God sends their way. Let me paraphrase Paul’s words here. The Christian is to watch their step, the Christian is to use their head, and the Christian is to be alert to every chance they get to leverage things for gospel advantage. And they need to do that urgently because the days are evil. Now, here’s the implication, guys. Let me try and put it together. Since then, God controls all things in His providence, and directs them to the maximization and magnification of His own glory in the accomplishment of His will. The God who controls all things to that end wants to control us so that He might match the man with the moment so that He gets His will accomplished. And you and I need to be led, and filled, and subject to the Holy Spirit on a day-to-day basis, because it’s not just a matter of obedience, it’s a matter of opportunity.

God’s got things for us to do, God’s got gifts he has given to us for the benefit of the body that we need to discover and employ. God’s got people for us to share the gospel with, and the God who controls all things needs to control us so that all those things get done. That’s the point here. Be filled with the Spirit, because you’re meant to be redeeming the time, buying up the opportunities, fitting into God’s plan, and nobody can help you see that better and cause you to do that more than the Holy Spirit himself. We won’t turn for sake of time, but an example of it would be Philip in the book of Acts, he was one of the seven that was selected in Acts chapter 6. What do we read of Philip? He was full of faith and the Holy Spirit. He’s a Spirit-filled man.

We meet up with him again in Acts chapter 8. He’s ministering in Samaria, God is blessing his ministry, people are being saved. But all of a sudden he’s on the road to Damascus, I think it is, and the Spirit of God encourages him to go up beside a chariot. And on that chariot is the Chancellor of the Exchequer for Ethiopia. Unbeknownst to Philip, he’s sitting, reading Isaiah 53, a God-appointed moment. Someone ripe, the fields are white on the harvest. Here’s a man who wants to know more about Jesus Christ, and he’s reading a passage in the prophecy of Isaiah that tells us of the one who is to come, and suffer and sacrifice on our behalf. And if you read Acts chapter 8, the Spirit of God leads Philip down that road and tells Philip to go and join himself to the chariot. And Philip takes his opportunity, ripened by God’s providence, now directed by God’s Spirit.

Philip is a man who’s matched to the moment. You and I need to remind ourselves that apart from being filled and led by the Spirit of God, we are a liability to God’s work, and we are a dead loss to a dying world. Unlike William Jennings Bryant, the story surrounding his speech at the Democratic Convention some years ago, he was the third time president candidate. Someone said after the speech, “That was an excellent message.” Bryant replied, “I made use of an opportunity.” And then he added these words. “That’s about all we can do in life, use or abuse our opportunities” How true?

It’s not only a matter of obedience, a matter of opportunity. Finally, here it’s a matter of obligation. We’ve already noted that this commandment, this imperative is embedded in a section that stretches back to chapter 5 verse 15, and it stretches forward to Ephesians chapter 6 and verse 9, and then you have the break in verse 10. “Finally, my brethren.” He’s moving on now, there’s a change of thought. So, it’s not only a matter of obedience and a matter of opportunity, it’s a matter of obligations. Because if you read the verses that come after verse 18, you have a whole set of instructions to wives and husbands, children and parents, slaves and masters. And what you have here is a specific outworking of one of the results of being filled with the Spirit. Look at verse 21. One of the results of being filled with the Spirit is that you and I will submit to one another in the fear of God.

We’ll look at this more extensively the next time, but if we’re filled, we’ll sing to one another. We’ll give thanks to God in all things and we’ll submit within the will of God to the service of other people. And I think that’s important for you and I to grasp. You and I want to do God’s will, and if we’re to accomplish God’s will we need the empowerment and enduement of the Holy Spirit. So, Paul commands us here. He says, “It’s imperative that you come under the sweet influences of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.” It’s not just enough not to be drunk with wine, you must be filled with the Spirit. There are all sorts of opportunities around you and there are all sorts of obligations in front of you. As a husband, as a child, as a parent, as an employee. You see, only the filling of the Holy Spirit will prevent a husband from becoming a tyrant, and a wife from becoming a rebel.

Only the filling of the Holy Spirit will prevent a father from becoming a bad-tempered prison warden within his home. Only the filling of the Holy Spirit will allow a slave to work with the spirit of a free man. You see, the Holy Spirit fills a man and fits a man for service. Spirit-filled Christians are also Spirit-spilled Christians. Spirit-filled Christians are Spirit-spilled Christians. Fundamentally, the Spirit of God has been given to us that we may be all that we need to be to others. What I need to be to my wife, what I need to be to my girls, what I need to be to this church, the Spirit of God will fit me for. If I’m willing to be filled by Him I have obligations I must meet, and I can’t meet them in my own wisdom and my own strength, and neither can you.

Therefore, it is critically important that you and I be filled with the Spirit. In fact, as we’ll see next time from verse 19 on, all the results of the Spirit’s filling are centered upon other person congregational activities. Did you notice that? Speaking to one another in the psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, submitting to one another in the fear of God. The Spirit’s fullness is an issue of ecclesiology really, it allows us to become all that God has saved us to be for the good of others and the glory of God. The Spirit’s fullness is not about you and me enjoying some spiritual high, or tripping on the Holy Spirit, getting lost in our own spiritual world, having ecstatic experiences that no one else can enter upon or understand. No, that’s not the results of the fullness of the Holy Spirit. He fills us with the fullness of God so that we might fulfill the will of God and that others may be blessed.

The Spirit-filled Christian is the Spirit-spilled Christian. I like the story surrounding General William Booth. He wasn’t sure what he was going to send to his workers across the world in the Salvation Army. The budget was tight and he was frugal by nature anyway. And so he sat down, time was late, he was trying to find the shortest message that he could send to all the lieutenants and foot soldiers of the Salvation Army. He come up with it, it was one word and he sent it by telegram across the world to all those among the ranks of the Salvation Army, and it was this. “Others.” He felt that was so fitting. It was Christmas, God’s self-giving, and God has given Himself that he might also through us give Himself again. Others, that’s the point. The realization of being Spirit-filled. Here’s the point and I’ll leave it for next time, the realization of being Spirit-filled.

We can get through this pretty quick. What is it to be filled in? Okay, we know we must be filled. It’s imperative that we are filled. What is it like? What is Paul driving at when he says, “Be filled with the Spirit”? It’s this. It’s to have a life that dominated and directed by the Holy Spirit. I think there’s two factors that prove that. One, the inherent contrast and comparison, drunkenness and the filling of the Spirit. Just as a drunk man comes under the influence of alcohol, so the Christian man experiences a spiritual inebriation that leaves him under the sway of the Spirit’s leading in life. He acts out of character because he’s now dominated by another. Isn’t it interesting, even on the Day of Pentecost, we have this rush of the Spirit’s power and presence invading the church on that particular day? And as they expressed the fullness of the Spirit, there were those who were looking on and they accused the apostles of what? Being full of wine.

Acts chapter 2, verse 4 and verse 13. So, you have this comparison. What does it mean to be filled by the Spirit? It means to come under His influence, to come under His yoke, to come under His sway, that you no longer do your own thing but you do that which He’s leading you to do. We talked about a DUI, don’t we? What does it mean? Driving under the influence. That’s what it means to be followed by the Spirit, to come under his influence. We see that in the comparison. And secondly, we see it in the grammar. [Greek 00:37:36] is the Greek word here, and it means to be filled. It was a nautical term of the filling of a ship’s sails that results in a vessel being carried over the ocean waves. Just as wind fills the sails of a ship and then influences the direction and empowers that ship, so it is with the Spirit.

In fact, this same word is used in John chapter 16 and verse 6. Jesus has just told the disciples he’s leaving them. They are now saddened by that. Do you know what it says? “They were filled with sorrow.” Same word. It means that their mood changed. No, they were being dominated in their emotions by the thought of melancholy and sadness. That’s the whole point. When Paul talks about being filled with the Spirit, he’s talking about lives in which the Spirit of God is the dominant force. We talk about being full of the cold. What I mean by that is we feel its effects from the crown of our head to the soles of our feet. It’s the same with the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by Him, come under His influence, and therefore we’ve got to go back to this idea of the distinction between the baptism and indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the Spirit.

There is no question that at the baptism of the Spirit, we receive the Spirit. Permanently and personally. We substantiated that in earlier messages. The Spirit of God has made a gift of Himself to us. So, while the baptism of the Spirit settles the question, do we have Him? We do. The filling of the Spirit raises the question, does He have us? We possess Him, but does He possess us? And when you and I think of the filling of the Spirit, we must not think of a jug or a bottle being filled with liquid, because that would mean we would need to pray for more of the Spirit. We don’t need to pray for more of the Spirit. The believer has all of the Spirit, but the Spirit may not have all of us. We must not think of a jug being filled with water, we must think of a guest who has been given lodgings in our home. But he may be restricted to the basement, or he may be allowed to come into the first floor but he’s not allowed up onto the second story.

We may have someone in our house but not give them free course to roam in our house. We may have them in our house but not give them to the keys to the house. I think that’s a better analogy. Don’t think of the Holy Spirit as some kind of liquid being poured into a jug or a container, think of him as a guest. He is in the home. We know that, we’ve established that, but is He allowed to come into every room? Has He been given the keys to the house? There’s a great story surrounding D.L. Moody who was going to England to do a conference and a mission.

And as they were talking about extolling Moody’s gifts at a particular minister’s meeting, a young minister stood up and said, “You know what? To listen to you men, you would think that D.L. Moody had a monopoly of the Holy Spirit, as if he’s our only choice” To which an old man got up and said, “No, we don’t believe that D.L. Moody has a monopoly of the Holy Spirit, but we do believe that the Spirit has a monopoly of D.L. Moody.” And that’s the issue. As we close and challenge ourselves, is the Spirit resident in our lives without being president? Have we kind of shuffled Him off to the basement, and when we need a conversation with Him or when we need His help, we call Him up onto the first floor of our lives? When in all reality He should be given the keys to the house.

We’ll be better off for it, and everybody else associated with the house will be better off for it. Let’s pray. Lord, we have been chastised by this message this morning. Lord, speaking of myself, alcoholic beverages have not passed my lips in years and years, but there are days I know I am not filled with your Spirit, or not as filled as I could be with your Spirit. And I tend to lean on my own giftedness, or I act prayerlessly, and I am a liability to the work of God and a dead loss to the world and I’m not what I need to be to my wife, not what I could be to my daughters. But God, I think each of us needs to repent of that reality.

And God, sometimes we measure our Christian life by what we don’t do. Lord, we don’t do this and we don’t do that. And God, it’s not just what we don’t do, it’s what we should be doing but are not doing. Well God, as we have looked at this, this morning, help us to come under the sweet influence of the Holy Spirit. Help us to drink deeply of Him. We thank you for His Word, we thank you for the body of Christ. Help us to grow together in the study of your Word as we pour ourselves into each other’s lives, we know the Spirit will use that to grow us. Lord, we realize this is something He must do in us, and therefore the first thing we must do is get out of the way. Lord, help us to surrender on a daily basis to Him. Help us to hand Him the keys of our life.

Lord, there’s parts of our lives we haven’t yet yielded, corners that we’re keeping to ourself. It’s hindering His flow, it’s hindering His power, it’s affecting our effectiveness. Oh God, may He have a monopoly of us, because we thank you at conversion and in baptism we were given all of Him. And these things we ask and pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.