In this sermon Jarrah continues our Ephesians by telling us how we can be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit and learnt to listen to the Holy Spirit!
Sermon preached by Jarrah Duckhs on Sunday June 6th 2021.
Confusion about the work of the Spirit – on one hand we see biblically that we
can have these life-changing singular experiences with the Holy Spirit when he
“shows up”, where tongues, healing, prophetic ministry breaks out for
example, but on the other hand the bible speaks to this ongoing,
transformational work of the Holy Spirit in you that are even more life-
changing..This is what we are going to explore today.
Ephesians recap – Ch1-4 the revolutionary story of Jesus’ death, burial and
resurrection and we have seen from Ch 4 until now how our lives are radically
changed as a result of this gospel story. And we have seen some seriously
profound and life changing revelations of who the Holy Spirit is to us. This far
into Ephesians, we have seen that The Holy Spirit is the:
- Past, present and future realisation of God’s kingdom
- Provider of the “apokolypsis” revelation and wisdom / understanding to know
- He is the Heart changing indwelling presence of God that sustains a constant
energising, empowering, prayer generating, Christ imparting relationship to
you at the core of your being.
- The power (dunamis) of God that strengthens your “inner man” (that is your
soul) with the capacity, ability and authority to live a Godly life
- One who enables us to ‘put on’ the new man created in righteousness and
holiness and repent, renounce and renew. Theme of Ephesians theme that has begun to play out through the book of
Ephesians, and all of it begins to point to this reality – that all truly Christian
behaviour is a result of the Spirit of God, living by the Spirit, walking by the
Spirit. And, as we will see today, “being filled with the Spirit”.
- Are we both individually and corporately desperate to be filled by/with the
So Lets Read Ephesians 5:18-21:
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery (or as other versions
say for this will ruin your life), but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one
another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody
to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God
the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another
out of reverence for Christ.
Verse context: We have seen from Ch4 through to now Paul building a long list
of instructions and exhortations on how to live in light of the gospel story what
we saw in Ch1-4. We see such imperatives as:
a. Chapter 4:22 To “put on” the new self created after the likeness of God
in true righteousness and “throw off” all patterns of sin
b. Chapter 4:25 To put of falsehood, and speak truth
c. Chapter 4:30 To not grieve the Holy Spirit
d. Chapter 5:1 To be imitators of God, being a fragrant offering to the Lord
e. Chapter 5: 3 To throw off sin
f. Chapter 5:8-9 To walk as children of the light that produce Spiritual
g. Chapter 5:15 To look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but
wise, where Paul is picking up the theme, again, from 4:23 be “renewed
in your mind”.
h. Chapter 5:17 To not be foolish / act thoughtlessly, but to understand
what the will of the Lord is (which as we see in Romans 12:2 relies
upon the Spirit)
Paul brings this series of exhortations to conclusion, by urging us to be “filled
with the Spirit”. WE must see that here “being filled with the Spirit” is not just
another imperative that is bolted onto the rest, but it is the KEY, the only
means by which all others can be lived.
Here is how I want to approach this revelation packed passage:
a. Define what “being filled by the Spirit” actually is;
b. How we are “filled with the Spirit”; and
c. The implications and effects of the Spirit filled life.
- What is “being filled with
- As humans, are triune beings created in the image of God, that is made up of 3
faculties, or components? Biblically speaking, we are composed of a Spirit,
Soul and Body:
a. “SPIRIT” (inner core of our being, the point within us brought into
contact with the Spirit of God)
b. “SOUL” (mind, will, emotions, intellect, understanding, decision etc).
perceives, searches, imagines, desires, loves, hates, resolves, and so
forth. Biblically, the Spirit and the Soul make up the inner man.
c. “BODY” (the senses of our being that interact with the world)
- To understand what “being filled with the Spirit” means, we need to first lay
out the foundation upon which this verse is written and see how the gospel /
Spirit interact with these aspects of your life – so here are 2 gospel revelations
to help us understand this:
d. In Romans we see that Jesus saves and severs your “spirit” from sin
through his death, burial and resurrection so that you get ‘born again’
and your spirit is restored as God deposits his Spirit (that is, His
presence) in you. Spiritually in that moment of justification, you were
made brand new and made spiritually righteous seated at the right hand
of God….But interestingly in that moment you get born again you still
have a soul (mind, will, emotions, affections, desires) that has for years
been taught to think, feel desire and respond to the fall of man. Don’t
get me wrong, these also change when you come to know Jesus, but
there is still potential for Patterns of sin to still exist! This is what 1 John
speaks to. But this leads to the 2nd revelation of the gospel:
e. Jesus sustains and applies our salvation through the ongoing, life-long
transformational work of the Holy Spirit in our soul (mind, will,
emotions); that is through a process called sanctification. 1 Thess 5:23 –
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and
may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. So as a result of sanctification,
patterns of sin are being broken, God’s kingdom advances in and
through your life and produces righteousness and holiness which
ultimately makes you become more like Jesus.
Paul is speaking to the Ephesians Church here, that is Christians, so the past reality of
salvation and receiving the Holy Spirit as a deposit, is clearly already established.
Therefore we must conclude that this passage “be filled with the Spirit” is therefore
making reference to the ongoing sanctifying / transforming work of the Spirit in you
walk in relationship with Jesus. And the Greek… definitions of “Filled” from Eph 5:18
and the word “Sanctification”.
FILLED – Greek “plerou”
- To make full – be full/filled
- To carry into effect, bring into
- To fill so as to diffuse throughout
ones soul, take possession of, to
permeate ones heart – to spread
through and renew every part.
Now reading this in the context of the
verse – “Do not get drunk on wine, but
allow the Holy Spirit to diffuse through
your soul, take possession of it and
Its like yeast that spreads through a
dough. Its a process.
And check this out because look at the
Greek for the word sanctification which
presents the same reality:
SANCTIFICATION – Greek
- To separate from sin and dedicate
to God – consecration / setting
- To be Purified internally by the
renewing of your soul to become
more like Christ in righteousness,
holiness and conduct (that is to be
set apart for the purposes of God).
So now it is clear that biblically speaking, “being filled with the Spirit” is to be
sanctified / transformed by the Spirit as constant way of life. This is where the Spirit:
- Renews your minds, that is to give you the capacity to perceive and live out
spiritual truth and ultimately understand His will (as it says in Romans 12:2)
- The Holy Spirit transforms and renews our emotions, passions and desires to
abstain from passion of the flesh (as it says in 1 Thesselonians) and
- The Holy Spirit transforms and renews our wills to align with His (as it says in
Through this process, your life ultimately becomes realigned with God’s authentic
design for your life which is to become more like Jesus; where the fruits of the Spirit
characterise your life. This brings the ULTIMATE glory to the Lord on the earth and
is the ULTIMATE sense of life itself.
- How we are “being filled with
Learned truth has to become living truth. 4 ways the bible says we are filled with the
- How to be filled with the Spirit #1 – Get in His word and Presence daily
a. We see this in the NT everywhere, but Look at Colossians 3:16 the
parallel verse to Ephesians 5:18 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you
richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing
psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts
to God”. This is so interesting, because the word and the Spirit have the
same effect – singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. We see the
beautiful interaction here between the word of God and the Spirit of
God, where the the Holy Spirit takes the word of Christ and transforms
our lives with it.
b. John 17:17 17 Sanctify them by[a] the truth; your word is truth.
- How to be filled with the Spirit #2 -Active surrender and yielding to the
leadership of the Holy Spirit.
a. To surrender to the Spirit is simply to “walk with the Spirit” and obey
his leadership. It is to be under the influence, guidance and dynamic
power of the Holy Spirit in each faculty / aspect of your life and actively
/ intentionally surrendering to his transformational work. This becomes
a reality the more we are in relationship with him, as we grow in
confidence and sensitivity in hearing his voice and obeying his leading.
- How to be filled with the Spirit #3 -“Putting on” the New Self by the
strength and power of the Holy Spirit.
a. We saw this in 4:22-24. “throw off your old sinful nature and your
former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23
Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put
on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and
b. Putting on the “new nature” is like putting on a cloak. Romans 13:14 –
“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not
think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh”. Our task is not
to “weave” the garment, as this is the Lord’s, it is to “wear” the garment,
“throwing off” the garment of our old nature, that is sinful practices.
God has a walk in robe of new clothes already prepared for you to wear
through the Holy Spirit.
c. Metaphorically it is being clothed with new clothes woven by God, but
practically it is walking in constant connection with the truth of God in
his word and allowing the Holy Spirit to take this truth and transform
our lives and character to cause the fruits of the spirit to define it.
- How to be filled with the Spirit #4 – Behold His Glory
a. 2 Corinthians 3:18 – And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the
glory of the Lord,[a] are being transformed into the same image
from one degree of glory to another.[b] For this comes from the
Lord who is the Spirit.
b. YOU BECOME WHAT YOU BEHOLD. If you behold the glory and
majesty of Christ, you are transformed into the image of Christ by the
work of the Spirit in you. Because the fruits of his life become the fruits
of your life.
DO NOT GET CAUGHT IN THE LEGALISTIC MINDSET. This is where I went
wrong for so many years, because these biblical “how to’s” and the imperatives we
saw in Ch4 and 5 this far aren’t just another set of hard and fast laws and regulations
we must follow in order to be “filled with Spirit”. Its not because “God HAS”
therefore “NOW YOU MUST” in a legalistic way, but rather it is a “God HAS”,
“Now you CAN” through the power of the Holy Spirit. We must understand who is
working in you and what this work in you causes you to do…
You are not the one “working” to be “filled with the Spirit”….because WE ARE
SAVED AND SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE FATHER, IN GOD THE SON AND
THROUGH GOD THE SPIRIT. It is and always will be God working in us. But see
there is this transaction that takes place – Philippians 2:13 says that God energizes
and creates in us the power (through His Holy Spirit) and the desire to will and
to work for His good pleasure. As you are filled with the Spirit, the Spirit creates in
you an ever-deepening faith and trust in Jesus and an ever-increasing delight in His
word, His Spirit and to do His will. So no longer can we interpret these how to’s “be
filled”, “work out your salvation”, “let the word of Chirst”, “throw off sin” as “work
fuelled by the flesh to earn the favour of God”, it is talking about “work fuelled by
faith for the Glory of God”.
- Effects of a Spirit-filled life
We have seen “what” being filled with the Spirit is, we have seen “how” we are filled
with the Spirit and now we must conclude with the personal and corporate effects of
Here is how the passage reads.
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the
Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart 20 giving thanks
always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
It is in these verses that Paul draws out the ultimate imperative of “being filled with
the Spirit” and that is this: That we (personally / individually) are so filled with the
Spirit that we come to know God in all his fullness and we reflect this in the way we
live in worship and thanksgiving to the Lord but with equal seriousness Paul is
imploring God’s people collectively, as a body of believers, to be so full of the Spirit
that our worship, our church and our relationships give full evidence of the Spirits
work in us.
- Look with me to v19 and 20. but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing
one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and
making melody to the Lord with your heart
We see that the effects of a “filled with Spirit” are one that results in a life of Worship.
Paul alludes to two dimensions of worship here: both the personal and the corporate.
The Personal Dimension:
On the personal level, “being filled with the Spirit” causes us to worship and praise
God with all your heart in response to what He has done, what He is doing and what
He will do in and through us. So “being filled with the Spirit” causes us to respond to
God with singing “Psalms” and “Hymns” – which simply mean “to praise God” and
with “spiritual songs” which in other translations says “spontaneous songs of the
Spirit”. This is the new songs to the Lord like the psalm 95-100 songs where our
hearts are so alive by what the Holy Spirit is doing in us that our hearts break fourth in
song and melody.
And if this worship gives glory to God, as we have seen in the bible, then could you
imagine what happens when a collection of people worshipping the Lord in this
manner come together and corporately worship the Lord?
The corporate dimension:
This is exactly why Paul introduces the “corporate dimension” of the worship that
results from “being filled with the Spirit”. See in v19 it says Speaking/singing to one
another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs or as in other versions, teach and
admonish one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. In both versions we see
the expression of Worship whereby we “teach” or “speak” to one another as we
worship, that is to impart instruction and instill doctrine into each other, and we
“admonish” each other which is to edify and encourage. We praise God and edify one
another at the same time. We may not realise it, but this is happening here every
Sunday, every life group, every Wednesday worship night!
This is the church that God is shaping across the earth, a church where, as we saw in
Ephesians 2:21-22 the whole building is being joined together and rises to
become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built
together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
So Church, I ask you again – ARE YOU PERSONALLY / AND ARE WE
CORPORATELY DESPERATE TO BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Because the Spirit changes, transforms and brings life to you, but in doing so changes,
transform and brings life to this community, and every sphere you are in. And let me
tell you Manly Life, there is so much life in this Church which is direct evidence of
the Spirit being at work in this place.