Acts 2 & Ephesians 5:18-19 Sermon – Filled With The Spirit

In this sermon Tim continues our God’s empowering presence series by taking a look at the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost and the believers being filled with the Spirit, and then looking at Ephesians 5 where Paul says not be to be drunk on wine but to be filled – Tim compares drunkenness and being filled with the Spirit and implores us to keep being filled with the Spirit in our daily lives!

Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday July 3, 2022.

05/02/23 – John 12:20-33 Following Jesus & Intro – by Tim Giovanelli – The Farewell Discourse Series Manly Life Church Podcast

In this sermon Tim introduces us to our first sermon series in 2023, The Farewell Discourse Series – messages from John 12-17! Tim helps us understand who John is and the book itself leading up to chapter 12, before diving into chapter 12 vs 20-33 and what it means to follow Jesus! We can't wait for this series so make sure you stay tuned each week! SERMON NOTES: Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday February 5, 2023. Find out more here: Find us on Facebook here:
  1. 05/02/23 – John 12:20-33 Following Jesus & Intro – by Tim Giovanelli – The Farewell Discourse Series
  2. 29/01/23 – The Glory of Christ – Greg Beech
  3. 22/01/23 – Luke 15:1-8 God's Heart for the Lost – by Lani Daniel
  4. 15/01/23 – 1 John 4:11 Friendship In Church by Tim Giovanelli
  5. 08/01/23 – Philipians 3:17-4:4 Stand Firm in 2023 – by Peter Brooks


Well did you know that at Manly Life we have a beautiful values statement. You can find it on our website… 

  • And there will be a pop quiz to make sure you all know them, sprung on you at any moment…
  • Firstly, the gospel is good news… 
  • Secondly we value relationship with the Father… 
  • Thirdly, kingdom community…
  • Our fourth is ‘We value Spirit Filled Community.’  

“We desire to be known as people of God’s presence continuing the works of Jesus. It is the Spirit of God who assures us of our adoption, who transforms our character and empowers us with gifts to serve. We seek God’s presence in our meetings and in our mission.”

Old joke about Sydney… Father, Son and HS all return to heaven from holidays on earth. 

  • Asking where have they been…
  • God the Father, says I’ve been to London… oh, says Jesus and the HS – we’ve been there, great city
  • Then the Holy Spirit says I’ve just been to Cape Town… oh says God the Father and Jesus… we’ve been there – amazing place! 
  • Jesus says I’ve just been to Sydney…. “oh” says the HS… I’ve never been there…
  • Not true these days…  lots of amazing churches full of the presence of God!  

Sometimes the church has had these unhelpful dichotomies…

  • We are a bible teaching church… all about the Word… the word, the word, the word…
  • We are a social justice church…. all about transforming society… fairness, fairness, fairness…
  • We are a charismatic, Holy Ghost explosion church… power, power, power…
  • In Kenya, I knew of a church called the Maximum Miracle center…
  • Never made sense to me… why not go for it all!
  • John Wimber used to say “all Word we dry up, all Spirit we blow up, but Word and Spirit and we grow up!”

And of course that was Jesus! That was the Apostle Paul! That was the Apostle Peter!

  • Jesus was an incredible teacher of the truth (think the sermon on the mount – greatest ethical teacher in history!)
  • Jesus was an agitator for social justice showing incredible mercy on the poor and modelling compassion to his followers…
  • And Jesus was full of the power and presence of God… healing the sick and defeating evil
  • I want to be like that!

And I think that is why I was drawn in the UK to the amazing church I ended up at…  

  • First time I walked in St Paul’s Hammersmith London as a 22 year old… in a service and they started talking about projects in the local community… then preaching from the Word… then beautiful worship… and prayer time where they invited the Holy Spirit to come and minister…
  • I remember thinking… whacko… now we are away!
  • This is what I have been looking for in an alive local church!

So what kind of church is Jesus wanting to build? I want to suggest he wants to build a church full of his presence… that is, the Holy Spirit. 

  • Why? Because of the fruit that the HS brings in our lives and in the church…
  • Interview with Nicky Gumbel… talking about the waves! 
  • At HTB in the mid 90’s… secretary was hiding under her desk – come back… 
  • My friend Ash was there – sovereign move of God!
  • Well that birthed Alpha and the Marriage Courses and extensive church planting and Worship Central and training ministers…

And that is what is important with any move of the Holy Spirit: The fruit it produces!

  • What matters is the long term results… Are lives changed, are ministries launched? Does Jesus become more real to people…
  • Joey and I scratch our heads… most charismatic people we know are also some of the most difficult people we have ever met! Experience chasers… but its not changing them… 
  • What the Holy Spirit is about is producing fruit in our lives. 
  • Transformed character, boldness and power in ministry, hearts for the poor and downtrodden!
  • Amen?

Well of course if you know your bibles you will know that God’s presence, his Holy Spirit is all through the scriptures… and we did a bit of this story 2 weeks ago… go back and listen. 

  • In the Old Testament we see at times the Spirit of God fill people for extraordinary tasks at certain times – think Daniel who interprets dreams…
  • But you then get these promises that the presence of God is going to be a more full, more available, more empowering presence for all of Gods people.
  • And Kirrily spoke so well last week about the promise in Ezekiel of a new heart and a new Spirit poured out on God’s children. 

Or do you remember in our Isaiah series last year in chapter 44:3 it says; 

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”

  • Isn’t that a beautiful image… God pouring his spirit on his children… like pouring water on a thirsty land…
  • Seen the wet season come to the desert in outback Australia… soaks the parched earth and what seems desolate comes to life with wild flowers and fauna!
  • Well the Holy Spirit in a community will do this… bringing life to what looks dead!  
  • Part of why we gather and invite the Spirit to come… we come having had tough weeks, carrying burdens… then God’s presence comes and touches us… and…
  • So the promise is that God will pour his Spirit… called a blessing on your descendants… that is us!

So who is the Holy Spirit?

  • One thing that I have been enjoying in preparing this series is reading the biblical scholar Gordon Fee’s book called God’s Empowering Presence.
  • And we can get an idea for who the Holy Spirit is from the names given to him in the New Testament…
  • In Acts 17 he is called the Spirit of Jesus. Same in Philippians. The Spirit of Jesus. 
  • In Romans 1 he is called the Spirit of holiness
  • In 1 Corinthians he is called the Spirit of our God
  • In Ephesians 1 he is called the Spirit of wisdom and revelation
  • In 1 Corinthians 5 he is simply called the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And so in Acts 2… after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus… this is the Spirit that is poured out on God’s children!

  • The Spirit of Jesus, of holiness and wisdom and revelation and power!
  • In Acts 1 Jesus appears to them and says “wait for the gift my Father has promised…”
  • Then he says, in a few days “you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit!”
  • The word baptise was used to describe a ship sinking under the water… in other words you are going to get drenched in the presence and power of God!
  • He will plunge you into holy power. That is the promise of the scriptures. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit. 

So Pentecost happens and in one sense the church is born… Acts 2 says,

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

  • And what happens? Well they get accused of being drunk! The people mock them… I can only imagine it is quite a scene…
  • A rushing wind fills the room and tongues of fire come to rest on them…
  • And then they head out to get on with the mission of God… an afraid group huddling in an upper room get launched into the world with the same message and power of Jesus!
  • Within a generation that message has brought salvation and new tribes and tongues into Jesus kingdom all across the Romans world and beyond…

Isn’t this just the best story ever!

  • Honestly… I don’t understand why people don’t want in on this?
  • The average punter doesn’t realise that we are not just talking about Jesus but also experiencing Jesus presence in our lives. 
  • And honestly it is the main reason I know that Jesus is Lord…
  • We are not just compelled to this story because of what we read in the bible..
  • But because we have experienced the love and power of God poured into our lives. 
  • So knowing God is not just an intellectual affair. There is an element of knowing God that is experiential.  

Census stuff… people need an encounter…

Well look what happens to the first disciples. Acts 2… They get plunged into the presence of God and they look like they are drunk. 

  • So a huge crowd comes together in bewilderment at what is going on. And it says “they hear the wonders of God in their own languages…”
  • So some people make fun of them saying ‘they have had too much wine!”
  • Clearly to outsiders they look intoxicated. I find that so interesting. 
  • And I find it interesting that the same drunk comparison is used in Ephesians. 

Ephesians 5:18-19 “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.”

What an interesting comparison… for Paul here being drunk on wine and being filled with the Spirit have similar and yet very different effects. Enough that to him this is an obvious comparison…

  • Of course drunkenness is a classic alternative to filling the hollow. 
  • Often when we realise that money wont fill the hole in our lives we turn to drink
  • Often when we realise that sex wont fill the hole in our lives we turn to drink…
  • Friend – real estate guy… owned his own very successful agency before he was 30… on the outside it looked like he had everything… but he revealed to me he was drinking a whole bottle of spirits just to get to sleep at night…
  • It is about escapism. People drink because they can’t handle the pressure or maybe the boredom of life. Want to escape into a different world. 

Now of course in the scriptures, alcohol is not forbidden. Jesus first miracle in John’s gospel is turning water into wine. Paul recommends some wine to help illness in 1 Timothy.  

  • In the Old Testament a sign of the messianic age dawning is an abundance of good wine!
  • But drunkenness is warned against repeatedly!

So we get this comparison… don’t get drunk on wine… but get filled with the Spirit of God!

  • And the tense of be filled is present, continuous. This isn’t meant to be a one off experience…
  • It’s meant to be an ongoing experience…
  • Leaky vessels… think a spounge…

So what do drunks look like that made them think the early Christians were drunk at Pentecost?

  • Have you ever wondered that? 
  • So to finish today I want to suggest that being filled with the Spirit is like being drunk… and nothing like being drunk… (this could go either way…)
  • Being filled with the Spirit makes you bold!

You know when people are drunk they often act in a carefree, irresponsible kind of way…

  • Call it Dutch Courage… I remember at university that I had these friends who wouldn’t dance until they had drunk about 6 beers… and then the dancing was not pretty… a lot of…
  • People drink because they want to be bold to approach the opposite sex or say things they wouldn’t normally say… shy people become outgoing…

Well when you get filled with the Holy Spirit you get a different kind of courage or boldness!

  • Think Peter… he goes from hiding in an upper room to preaching in the open air!
  • I remember when I worked in London I gave all my colleagues a copy of the Message NT… 
  • Victoria and I were out at dinner the other night and I started to share about Jesus with our waitress and then Victoria prophesied over her! 
  • So being filled with the HS is a bit like being drunk… you get a holy boldness!
  • We need to be a Spirit filled church, courageous for the Lord!
  • Being filled with the Spirit takes God from your head to your heart!

You know sometimes people drink because they want to get out of their heads and start expressing their emotions…

  • Have you ever had a mate at the pub come up to you and tell you “I looove you…”
  • Drinking does that… quite rational people become quite touchy feely, and expressive!
  • And you get sad drunks too… they have a drink and the tears flow and the emotions bubble up!

Well when you get filled with the Holy Spirit, often we go from head knowledge of God to an experience in our hearts of God

  • Romans 5 says God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit!
  • So we have this encounter with God.
  • First Alpha weekend away in London… Minister invited the Holy Spirit to fill us… had this encounter with the love of God… 
  • I’m not usually very emotional guy… I cried at my wedding and… well I cry at every wedding…
  • But we need these experiences of God’s love as they assure us of the realness and for-ness of God towards us. 
  • We need to be a church that has remarkable, unexplainable experiences of God, where he just comes amongst us, his people, pouring his love into our hearts!
  • Being filled with the Spirit changes your character!

You know drunk people often have a change in their character…

  • Have you ever been the only sober person at a party where people are drinking lots…
  • Often you realise that drinking brings out pretty obnoxious traits in people. 
  • Quiet people become loud. Reserved people can get aggressive. 
  • Silly people get… well… sillier!
  • Maybe on the positive, it can bring out the fun and joy in a person…

Well when you get filled with the Holy Spirit it transforms your character from the inside out…

  • Sometimes we judge other Christians because they are not very transformed… 
  • But maybe you should have met them before they became a Christian 😉
  • But seriously what God is wanting to do, is make a better version of you. Amen?
  • It’s the fruit remember of God alive in you… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and so on…
  • When the Spirit of Jesus resides in you… you become more like… any guesses?
  • Yes! Jesus! And who wouldn’t want that!

Finally, when we get filled with the Spirit we sing!

  • Have you noticed that about drunk people… they often sing?
  • In my slightly wilder years in London I remember a few nights out where Operatic Tim came out… and you don’t want to have to hear that!
  • Well when we are filled with the Holy Spirit it leads us to sing!

So it says; “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.”

  • Do you know every time there have been revivals around the world it has always produced new music in the church?
  • And one of the most wonderful things about being a Spirit filled Christian is our worship!
  • Amen?
  • I mean you should have been at our house on Wednesday night. YA’s could have been out getting drunk… but got filled with the Spirit and sung!
  • Even last Sunday… particularly after the evening service… all in… 
  • Spirit filled worship… and prayer ministry and people lost and intoxicated in the presence of God!

Well, Manly Life do we want to be a church full of the intoxicating love and power of God?

  • I reckon that’s got to be better than a community full of the wine guzzlers…
  • Bold for Jesus, experiencing his love and power and being changed from the inside out!
  • Sing…
  • Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to come and minister to our lives right now…

Published by timgiovanelli

My wife Victoria and I are planting a new church in Manly, NSW

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