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May 1, 2010
Under the Influence – Part 3
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Time:
Ephesians 5:15-22
Scripture: 
Topics: 

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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.

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Transcript

Let’s take our Bibles and turn to Ephesians Chapter Five, Ephesians chapter five. And we’ll read some critical verses together on this subject of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians Five 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 the Lord 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. Give thanks always for all things to God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of the Lord.”

Think about this with me this morning. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit, but the Spirit does not have every Christian. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit. That’s a given. In fact, if you and I are not indwelt by the spirit of God we cannot be a follower of Jesus Christ. Listen to Paul in Romans Chapter Eight in Verse Nine. He says this, “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.”

Every Christian has the Holy Spirit. They are indwelt permanently and personally by the Holy Spirit. But sadly, the Holy Spirit doesn’t have every Christian. We can be indwelt by Him without being empowered by Him. He can be resident without being president. We can have all of Him without Him having all of us. In fact, the way I would illustrate it would be this. Imagine two glasses of water and two packets of Alka-Seltzer and into the one glass of water, I drop an unopened packet of Alka-Seltzer. And that represents the presence of the spirit of God in your life and in my life, the Alka-Seltzer is in the water. But in the other glass, I take that packet of Alka-Seltzer, I open it and plop it in and it fizzes and it does its thing. And that represents the filling or the influence of the Holy Spirit.

See, the Holy Spirit can be in us, indwelling us without empowering us, directing and dominating our lives, and that ought not to be the case. We have Him, but He has been given so we might give ourselves to God. Therefore, it must be the case that we not only have Him, but that He has us. And that’s what brings us here to Ephesians Chapter Five. Paul recognizes that every Christian is indwelt by the Spirit, but not every Christian is filled by the Spirit. Nowhere are we commanded to be indwelt by the spirit of God. That is something that happens as a grace gift the moment we’re saved, in the baptism of the Holy Spirit as He comes into our life to permanently indwell us and our bodies become His temple. But Paul does have to command us to be filled with the Spirit and we want to bring that home to our hearts this morning under the subject Under the Influence.

We started to look at this text from a number of angles. We considered its regulation. We looked at the regulation of Spirit fullness. It is required of you and me to be filled with the spirit of God. This is an imperative. In the Greek, it’s a command. It’s in the plural, it’s applicable to all of us, and it’s in the present tense. It’s something that should be an ongoing reality in all of our lives. We ought not to be drunk with wine, but we ought to be filled with the Spirit. Both are commands. One is in the negative and the other is in the positive. And by the way, the church has suffered more from Christians not filled with the spirit than from Christians who have got drunk with wine.

As a pastor for many years I’ve never seen a drunk Christian disrupt a business meeting, but I have seen Christians full of themselves, and not the Holy Spirit, disrupt a business meeting. We must not only stay sober and guard that which we take in moderation, if that’s what our conscience dictates, but we must allow the spirit of God to fill us. We must not be filled with spirits, but we must be filled with the Spirit, for a number of reasons. We looked at the matter of obedience, we looked at the matter of opportunity and we looked at the matter of obligation. We then went on to look not only at the regulation of the Spirit’s fullness, but we went on to consider the realization of the Spirit’s fullness. What is it to be filled with the Spirit? The idea is to be influenced, to come under His control. Just as a drunk man comes under the control of alcohol, so a Christian must come under control of the sweet and sweeping presence of the Spirit who indwells him. He’s resident, but He must become president.

Then yesterday morning we looked at the reception of Spirit fullness. How do we receive the Holy Spirit’s fullness? We ought to seek the Lord Jesus Christ. We ought to study God’s word. We ought to separate ourselves from knowing sin. We ought to serve others and empty ourselves so that God might fill us again and we need to surrender to His operation and to His influence. That brings us now to consider what we might call the ramification or the repercussion of Spirit fullness. The filling of the Holy Spirit will manifest itself in several ways. You cannot be filled with the Spirit of God in your life and not realize it, and others realize it. I love the verse back in 1 Samuel 10, Verse Six, regarding King Saul, and as the spirit will come upon him to speak God’s word, we read that he became another man.

Listen, 1 Samuel 10, Verse Six, “Then the spirit of the Lord will come upon you and you will prophesy with him and he turned into another man.” When the Spirit of God touches our lives, and fills the seal of our life, we will become another man. We will become another woman. The life of the Spirit will show up in our lives. With my years of law enforcement or just through general observation, I think you would agree with me, it doesn’t take long to spot a man who has had one too many drinks. He will lack control. He will lack civility. And he will lack cooperation. He tends to have a foul mouth. He tends to be insubordinate. And he tends to be out of control. And the Spirit filled man will be all of these things in reverse. You’ll be able to tell a Spirit filled man by his words, by his self-control, by his submission.

This is what Paul go on to show us here. In fact, it’s interesting that if you look at the Book of Acts and every time the expression filled with the Spirit is mentioned, you’ll always find the conjunction and. They were filled with the Spirit and it had repercussion. In fact, if you go back to Luke Chapter One, Verse 41 to 42, Elizabeth was filled with the Spirit and exclaimed the blessing upon Mary. If you go to Luke Chapter One, Verse 67, Zachariah was filled with the Spirit and prophesied. In Acts Chapter One, Verse Four, we read on the day of Pentecost that the disciples were filled with the Spirit and spoke in other tongues. We read in Acts Chapter Four, Verse 31, that faced with persecution and hostility that the early apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word with all boldness.

There’s always an and to the work of the Holy Spirit. It will produce certain things in your life and my life. And in the context of Ephesians Five, there are three compelling elements and evidences of the fullness of the Holy Spirit. We’ve already established the how, the why, the what. Now we’re going to consider how it all fleshes out. We have here three participles in this text. The person who is filled with the Holy Spirit will speak in song, Verse 19. Give thanks and submit, Verse 20 and 21. Stanley Toussaint of Dallas Theological Seminary commenting on these facts says, “The three participles indicate actions that occur simultaneously with the filling. When a believer is controlled by God the Spirit, he or she will sing, be thankful and submit his or her will to the good of others.”

So let’s look at these quickly. There will be gladness. This is how I’m going to put it. There will be gladness, gratefulness, and graciousness. There will be gladness. With physical inebriation, so with spiritual inebriation. A drunk man has a loose tongue and you’ll often find him singing. Same with the Christian. When the Holy Spirit fills a man or a woman, when you and I come under His sweet and sweeping influence, He will loose our tongues and set our souls singing. Ephesians Five, Verse 19, “Be filled with the Spirit speaking to one another in psalms,” so the speaking is really a singing, “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” The apostle Paul is clear here that God controlled life is marked by singing.

I love that verse in Psalm 40, Verse Three, “He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.” If God has saved you and taken you from the miry clay and from the pit of damnation and destruction, He will automatically put a song in your mouth. That’s something to sing about. That’s something to be happy about. The born again Christian loves to sing to God about God and about His grace and about His glory and about His son and about His redemption. The Christian loves to sing heartily, enthusiastically, and with the heart making melody in your heart unto the Lord. The lips are moving in concert with the vibrations of the heart. We read in Acts Chapter 2:47 of the early days of the Christian Church, and again we see them marked by singing, marked by heartfelt worship. Acts Chapter Two and Verse 47, what do we read? “So, continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house they had their food with gladness.” They were a happy bunch. There were no sour saints in the early church. They had their food with gladness, simplicity of heart, praising God.

We meet that man at the beautiful gate later on the Book of Acts who receives God’s healing outside and inside and we find them what? Leaping and praising God. There will be a gladness. In fact, we read in 1 Corinthians 14, Verse 26 of how a New Testament church was to operate. It had to be done in decency and in order, but isn’t it interesting, we read in that passage that when the church gathered, what does Paul say? “And if you come with a prayer or with a psalm.” Seems like at least in a context there, that people would come with a song in mind that they wanted the saints to sing along with them. It was said of the early Methodists that their homes could be recognized by the sound of singing. You go down a street in Old England, you knew you were walking past a Methodist home because inside you could hear the saints singing, filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.

You can tell a lot about a Christian and a lot about a church by listening to them sing. We read here that we’re to sing in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Let me just divvy that up for you. There’s three kinds of musical composition being mentioned here. The psalms are self-evident. It looks like that the New Testament church sang from the Old Testament Psalter. The 150 hymns that make up the hymnal we call the Psalms was a hymnal that they used in the New Testament church. They liked to go back to the songs of David and Moses and Asaph. We read here, hymns. They probably denote new hymns that had been written, Christian canticles. It’s believed that like a passage like Philippians Two, Verses Five through 11 may have been an ancient hymn. We argue there are some of those maybe in the Book of Ephesians and in the Book of Colossians.

And then there were the spiritual songs. They seem to be much more spontaneous, much more impromptu, maybe even a little bit repetitive. They could be maybe something akin to what we might call a praise chorus. So they sang from the psalter, they sang some of the new hymns that were kind of doctrinally based, theologically cohesive and clear, and then they sang just songs almost from the heart. And that’s the way you and I ought to be if we’re filled by the Spirit. Do you like to sing? A Christian who doesn’t sing is an oxymoron. It’s just it ought not to be. You really need to unzip your heart and look inside if you come here and don’t sing. You’re probably, if not surely, not filled with the Spirit. Because we sing from the Psalter, we sing hymns, we sing praise songs. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a gale in the night or a nightingale, God wants to see you and hear you sing.

Now, you may not make our choir, but you can sing in God’s choir. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If you go to Psalm 33, you’ll read of the psalmist saying we need to play skillfully on the harp. We ought to have skilled musicians. We ought to have really good singers on the platform because they lead us, but it’s their job to lead us as the choir of God’s assembled people, to make melody in our heart unto the Lord. And at this point, it really doesn’t matter how sweet it sounds because God really doesn’t listen to your voice. God listens to your heart. And if he finds melody there, it’s a pleasure to Him.

I’ve told you before of June’s dad’s conversion in Scotland. Gordon was saved through a track being given to him by a brethren man in the workplace and after he read it, God the Holy Spirit grabbed Him by the collar and brought Him to the foot of the cross and worked repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. And after a while he told the men at work what had happened and the word went out, “Gordon has become a hallelujah.” What a description of a Christian. It’s exactly what ought to happen at conversion. You and I ought to become a hallelujah, speaking to one another on psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.

Let me, before I leave this, remind you that while fundamentally our worship is vertical in nature, making melody in our hearts onto the Lord, really on a Sunday morning there is an audience of one. It’s God Almighty and His glorious son and the great work of redemption and the excellence of His person and the mystery of His plans. These are the great things of the Christian song. But there is a horizontal aspect. We not only sing to Him, this verse tells us we sing to what? One another. It’s why it’s important that you come with a smile and a joyful heart and you sing. I benefit from that. If I do it, you benefit from that, because we’re singing to one another. We’re encouraging each other to give praise to God. What is worship? Worship is attributing worth to God by the agency of the Holy Spirit, because of the work of the Son of God.

We not only ought to sing to our Father in heaven, we ought to sing to our family on earth. We ought to sing as families. If you’re here as a family, what a blessing. Mom and dad, the children, to sing together is a blessing. Read the songs of ascent in the Psalter of how families went up from all over Israel towards Jerusalem and sang on the way up together. I still in my mind’s eye remember those mornings at Rathkeale Baptist Church sharing a hymnal with my father. I wasn’t a believer until I was 16, but William De Courcy gathered his family every Lord’s day morning and marched us down to Rathkeale Baptist Church. This was the day before the overheads and PowerPoint. I’m not knocking those or making a big argument for a hymnal, other than it was something that was reinforced to me as a boy standing for my Dad, sharing a hymnal. And he held one side of the hymnal and I held the other side and he turned to pages as we sang together.

That’s biblical, singing to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Fathers and mothers need to sing and the children need to see them singing. Because I saw my dad singing and shouting at soccer games on Saturday because him and I went to an odd soccer game together in Belfast and I loved that about him. There was passion. He was a man. But it would’ve been something strange to me to watch my dad shout from the stands of Windsor Park in Belfast and then the next morning squeak like a mouse in the house of God. No, he sang the praises of His God and the glories of His savior. I want to believe it was because many times my dad was filled with the Spirit.

Little thought here too. Since Paul’s recognizing the horizontal nature of worship, that’s why we need to express some give and take towards each other, young and old, when it comes to worship. I am deathly and deathly against building a church on some stylistic preference regarding music based on age. That’s why at Kindred we purposefully have a blended balanced style of worship. We sing songs, we sing hymns, modern and old, because we are to sing to one another young and old. And when a church bifurcates itself by placating to the old or to the young, they are grieving the Holy Spirit. I believe that with all my heart.

In fact, we will go on here to see in Verse 21, “Submit to one another and submit to one another when you sing to one another.” Listen to these words by J.I. Packer. “If worship styles are so fixed that what’s being offered fits the expectations, the hopes, or even the prejudices of any one group as opposed to the others, I don’t believe the worship style glorifies God.” He’s dead right. In fact, building the church on stylistic preferences or age appeal, whether old or young, is just as contradictory to the reconciling effect of the gospel as building one based on class race or gender. It’s powerful. Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns. Sing as families. Have the young and the old singing together to the praise of God.

There will be gladness and there will be gratefulness, there will be gratefulness. The second result of being filled with the Spirit is giving thanks for all things to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. Gratitude and not grumbling should mark the Christian. Now there’s another test. There’s another benchmark. Are you filled with the Spirit? Do you love to sing? And not just go through a routine or the motions, but there’s melody in your heart, you’re excited about being a Christian. You still haven’t got over the fact that God saved you from the pit of hell, the price of His own son’s life. And does that over spill into gratefulness for all the other things that God does? Supremely Christ, but beyond that, every good and perfect gift comes from above?

Gratitude and not grumbling should mark the Christian. One woman was asked, do you ever wake up grumpy? She said, “No. I usually let him sleep in.” Do you ever wake up grumpy? Either yourself or your spouse? I hope not. And we’re all capable of that. That’s why in the morning we’ve got to get an adjustment to our attitude. Fill ourselves with the word of God so we might be filled with the Spirit of God. The Christian should constantly be praying, “Lord, you’ve given me many things. Give me but one more, a grateful heart.” Listen to the psalmist in Psalm 100 and Verse four. That’s the passage that talks about coming into God’s presence. In fact, we’ll just break in at Verse One. “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before his presence with singing. Know that the Lord, he is God. It is he who made you and not you yourself. We’re his people.” Verse four, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving in your heart and enter his courts with praise.”

I’m dating myself. Remember that old chorus, “Enter his courts with thanksgiving in your heart. Enter his courts with praise for this is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Straight out of Psalm 100. And yet it’s a challenging verse, isn’t it? Look at it again. Verse 20, “Giving thanks.” Okay, we get that. We ought to. In fact, gratitude and giving thanks is what one writer calls a species of justice. If we are the recipient of God’s grace, I mean the Bible says, “What do you have that you haven’t been given?” If that’s true, and it is, from breath to love, to friendships, to home, to food, it all, if we have been given that, it’s a species of justice that we give thanks to God. It’s the right thing to do, let alone the joyful thing that it is.

And so we get that. Give thanks. Verse 20, “Always,” but here’s the kicker, “for all things. For all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus, submitting to one another in the fear of God.” We understand giving thanks for the good things. That’s not really that hard to do. And yet, let’s be honest, sometimes it seems to be hard for us to do. But we get that. We understand giving thanks for the good things. And we even understand giving thanks in all things. In fact, you may want to mark on your margin 1 Thessalonians Five, Verse 18. Towards the end of his letter, Paul says this, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.” Similar wording, “For this is the will of God in Christ.” Similar, but not exactly the same. In 1 Thessalonians, I’m encouraged to give thanks in everything. In Ephesians 5:20, I’m encouraged to give thanks for everything. And so then there’s a difference.

We understand giving thanks for the good things and we even understand giving thanks in all things because you’ll always find something to give thanks for. Even when things aren’t going as good as you’d planned or desired or wished, it could be worse. And if you’ll wait long enough, it often will become worse. You’ve heard me tell the story of Matthew Henry, the great commentator and Puritan. He was once robbed and accosted. And he wrote in his diary the following day, “Let me be thankful first because I was never robbed before. Second, because although they took my wallet, they did not take my life. And third, because although they took my all, it was not much. And fourth because it was me they robbed and not someone else.” It’s great, isn’t it? That’s challenging.

You can give thanks in everything, but boy, this is hard, giving thanks for everything? Cancer? Losing your job? Foreclosing on your home? Dealing with a prodigal son? And the list is endless. And every one of you could stand up and add to that list this morning. How do you give thanks for, all things, always. In? I can do that. For? That’s tough. And yet that’s what we’re commanded to do here. I think one thing needs to be said here. You must interpret this verse in the light of God’s character. Some Christians have fallen into a silly idea of buying into what’s called unconditional praise.

Listen to John’s thought. “The strange notion is gaining popularity in some Christian circles that the major secret of Christian freedom and victory is unconditional praise. That a husband should praise God for his wife’s adultery. That a wife for her husband’s drunkenness. That even the most appalling calamities of life should become subjects for thanksgiving and praise. Such a suggestion is at best, dangerous. It’s a half-truth, and at worst, ludicrous and even blasphemous. Of course, God’s children learn not to argue with Him in their suffering, but to trust Him and indeed to thank Him for His loving providence by which He can turn even evil to good purposes, but that is praising God for being God, not praising Him for the evil.”

That’s a great statement. And I think that’s Paul’s driving at here, because it is qualified. Read it again, Verse 20, “Giving thanks always, for all things to God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ.” We can give thanks to God for everything we’re going through. Not that we as Christians are saying cancer is good. That’s acceptable. We’re not saying that. But we can give thanks to God for being God, and in His sovereignty, Romans Eight, Verse 28, “He works all things together,” little word again, “for our good.” I can give thanks for all things because God will work all things for my good. I’m thanking God for being God. I’m not thanking God for the cancer, the evil, the death, the calamity. I’m thanking God for what will result in His hands in the midst of that.

Amen?

Amen.

That’s what we were on to last week in John 11. Remember, Jesus said to the disciples, “I’m glad that Lazarus is dead.” Not glad that His friend is dead. Not glad that Mary and Martha are breaking their heart back in Bethany. Glad for what it occasions, glad for what it results in. Listen to Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the famous expositor. He spoke many lectures on Romans Eight. “God can make all and does make all work ultimately for our good. This is surely a staggering statement, but it is a statement that is made by the apostle. It is only in the case of Christians that we can demonstrate exactly how this happens, how all things are made to work together for our good, trials, tribulations, failures, and sin are not good in and of themselves and it is a folly to pretend that they are.”

He’s taking a shot at that unconditional praise nonsense. They are bad. How then can we justify the statement that all of them work together for good? The answer is that they are so used by God and so overruled by God and so employed by God that they turn out for our good. It’s a powerful verse. That’s a radical verse, isn’t it? You would need to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to live that one. “Giving thanks for all things always to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ.” But Corrie ten Boom, who’s buried not very far from here, in the city of Orange, she experienced it. Read about it in her book, The Hiding Place, or watch the movie.

Her and her sister, Betsy, were imprisoned by the Nazis because they had hidden some Jews. They were sent to one of the worst German concentration camps. And as they were put in their barracks, it became patently clear that it was overcrowded and flea ridden. It was a squalor. That very morning they had been reading 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks,” and Betsy said to Corrie, “Corrie, let’s give thanks to God for everything we see in this room.” And this isn’t her word. She’s a very refined woman. She said, “You nuts? Are you crazy? It’s like a sardine tin. And it smells like a sewer. And look at all those little ticks jumping all around the place.” But she did. And only months later did they realize that their room was less visited by the guards than almost any other room because it was overcrowded and flea bitten. And that’s why they were able to have their Bible studies and disciple women in that room unmolested and undisturbed.

Can you give thanks to God for everything in faith, believing that while it’s not good, He’s good, and He can turn it to good? Last thought. There will be gladness in the life of a man or a woman filled by the Holy Spirit. There will be gratefulness. And finally there will be graciousness. Look at Verse 21, back in Ephesians Five, “Submitting to one another,” this is the third participle. Speaking, thanking, submitting. “Submitting to one another in the fear of God.” The Spirit filled life will be marked by a willingness to crown others king. The man or woman marked by the Holy Spirit are unpretentious kind of people. Humble, gracious, flexible.

Let me tell you this, why is it that sometimes those who claim to be filled with the Spirit are often marked by assertiveness, braggadocia, and arrogance, when exactly the opposite is expected? Submitting to one another in the fear of God. This means subordination to a higher authority. And so in the context I think it’s driving at this idea that you and I put others ahead of ourselves. We submit to one another’s greater good. And this is a transitional verse. Verse 21 leads us on into those passages where the wife needs to submit to her husband, where the child needs to obey the parent, and where the worker needs to obey the boss. He goes on to flesh this out. How will a woman submit to her husband? By the filling of the Holy Spirit. How will a child become compliant and obedient to their parents? By the filling of the Holy Spirit. How can you become employee of the month? By the filling of the Holy Spirit? And what’s true for the employee is true for the employer. You and I in a practical way will evidence the filling of the Holy Spirit in that we will be the first to help others.

Readiness to take the second place and prefer others is the Christian way because it is the path of Jesus Christ. In Philippians Chapter two, Paul says this, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition, conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interest, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you, that was in him.” How can you put others first? How can you make their interest your supreme interest, falling behind Jesus Christ and walk to the cross? And be filled with the Spirit?

We dealt with this in our opening studies on the Holy Spirit. I’m not surprised that humility, servitude, a desire to help others before oneself is the mark of the filling of the Holy Spirit because He is the most, it’s not the best way to put it, but He is marked by being self-effacing Himself. He is often hidden. That’s why he’s become the forgotten God. But Jesus told us, “Hey, He’s not going to come and speak of His own authority. He’s going to come and speak of mine, and He’s going to come and show you things concerning me.” John Chapter 16, Verse 13 to 14.

When it comes to the Holy Spirit, it’s not about Him, it’s about someone else. I love that about the Holy Spirit. He’s equal to the Father. He’s equal to the Son. He is fully God. But just as Jesus Christ subordinated Himself to the Father, so the Holy Spirit subordinated himself to the Father and the Son. He is self-effacing and if you’re full of Him, you won’t walk about with a barrel chest. You’ll walk about with a bent spirit that says, “How can I help you? What can I do? I’d like to get out of the way so that you can come to the fore. I want to get behind you and push you forward. Whatever those things may be.” In the Christian world, the mark of a great man is not as Moody said, “The mark of a great man is not how many servants he has but how many he serves.”

The Spirit is resident in all of us, but is he president? We have Him, but does He have us? Every Christian has the Holy Spirit, but not every Christian has given himself to the Holy Spirit. “Therefore, be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled all of you continually with the Spirit, singing, giving thanks, and serving one another in the spirit of Jesus Christ.” Amen?

Oh God, we thank you for the challenge of these verses this morning. Oh God, we cannot be fulfilled Christians unless we are filled Christians. Lord, help us to empty ourselves of self, ambition, and pride. Help us to take our place in the body, singing to one another, serving one another, giving thanks to God for all that You are doing and are yet to do. Oh God, some of us have made sure across a lifetime that we’ve never become drunk. Some of us have even made sure that liquor has never crossed our lips, but oh God, how many of us have gone week upon week, day upon day, without truly coming under the sweet and sweeping influence of the Spirit? Forgive us for not being filled with the Spirit. Help us as a congregation to grow in our knowledge of Him and our experience of Him day by day. And everybody said amen.