22 Nov 2015
Ephesians 5:18 Be Filled with the Spirit Pastor Chee Keen 22 November 2015 When the common and average lives of the Christians around us are unhappy, defeated, and stunted in growth, does this determine and decide on what is normal for the Christian? The average Christian experience cannot set the standard for what is normal for the Christian life. Only the Bible can tell us that. The Bible tells us that the normal Christian life is to be lived out by being filled with the Spirit. What does that mean? Come and find out in this message! Slides Audio **Right Click to Do
When the common and average lives of the Christians around us are unhappy, defeated, and stunted in growth, does this determine and decide on what is normal for the Christian?The average Christian experience cannot set the standard for what is normal for the Christian life. Only the Bible can tell us that. The Bible tells us that the normal Christian life is to be lived out by being filled with the Spirit. What does that mean? Come and find out in this message! Slides Audio
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Last time, I spoke in the English service on the Holy Spirit I received ah several comments and feedback which suggested to me that this is a truth that has encouraged and blessed many hearts and so I thought it is fitting that I will share with you another message on the Holy Spirit and the title simply is to be filled with the Spirit, to be filled with the Spirit.
This is one of the most important command in the Bible and yet commonly misunderstood. Perhaps you have never even heard of the need to do so, because maybe all you thought you need to do is to say the sinners prayer, receive Christ as your personal savior, thereafter come to church, read your Bible and pray if you can make it in the morning and that's the Christian life.
So all this Holy Spirit talk, all this filling of the Holy Spirit, seems to be for those special zealous, earnest, super Christian. But may I suggest to you that what is average, is not necessarily normal, what is average, is not necessarily normal. Have you ever wonder why is it that some Christians seems to be growing, joyful and yet others are constantly struggling and you know, defeated in their lives.
Why is it that some Christians are happily serving the Lord without complaining, but some of us, you know, may find it difficult even just to come to church in the morning. Why there is such a contrast and when the common Christian, the average Christian, struggles in their lives, in their marriage, at work, it seems to suggest that it is normal. But that may not be so. Let me explain why.
For instance if your bodily temperature as you take it, because of your fever is at 39 or 40°C and you check into the hospital in order to get yourself, you know treated in all and you found that everyone there is running a high fever, they're running at 39 to 40°C. Can you survey the hospital scene, on the average body temperature and conclude that 39°C or 40°C is the normal body temperature? No way. Why, because the average is not necessarily the normal. So what sets the normal for the Christian life? The Bible sets the normal, sets the standard for the Christian life.
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And so we need to come to the Scripture and ask oursleves how are we supposed to live our life for God. And may I suggest to you this morning, may I propose to you to consider this. You may not have considered this before, this may not even be something you've heard of, perhaps this is the first time. Maybe you've heard of it, but it's associated with all kinds of mystical experiences that you thought is more normal to stay away from.
But may I suggest to you this morning that, scripturally the normal Christian life is to be lived out by being filled with the Spirit. Let me say that to you again, just in case you didn't register maybe you're still somewhere on the way here, maybe you're on your way out already, but come back here to the meeting shall we, come back here because I think this is important for you, all of us. The normal Christian life is to be lived out by being filled with the Spirit.
Let's look at what the Scripture says in Ephesians 5:18
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery,
but be filled with the Spirit,
and do not be drunk with wine for that is debauchery but be filled with the Spirit. This is a command from God. In other words is not well this I like it or whatever. It's a command, you have to do it. If you are a Christian God says live out your Christian life normally, by being filled with the Spirit. Since it is a command from God in Scripture it makes sense that we ask this question isn't it, "How do I know that I am filled with the Spirit, how do I know if I'm filled with the Spirit?" Once again this may not be a question you have seriously considerded before but I like you to consider it this morning with me. Maybe you have thought that this is for others, and the pastor who is preaching the missionary setting off on to the mission field, those who are at the frontline you know of the spiritual battle, they need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, but ordinary Christian like me, well I just read my Bible and pray you know, I just come to church, I give all my offerings and tithes, I serve a little here and there, I think that's good enough God should be well pleased. I'm already you know sacrificially living for Him in my limited sense.
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But no the Scripture says be filled with the Spirit. And so how do I know if I'm being filled with the Spirit? Now this is actually not an easy question to answer if you think about it. Now let's turn it around, if let's say you asked me, how do I know I'm being filled with the Spirit, if you ask me, are you filled with the Spirit, right, I may answer it in three ways depending on what you mean, I may answer in 3 ways depending on what it means.
I may answer it as yes, you know you'll be like, wah, pastor you yayah ugh and wah you Spirit filled well show show show show some power or whatever or I may answer and say sometimes. Wah this one also like you know might might might win, might lose kind of' answer. Sometimes only, then what you doing up there. You know if you're not spiritual then who this is scary now.
So it seems like it's a, it's a catch question isn't it, whether you say yes or no, you're in trouble. Yes, we will hold you up to the limelight. No, why and then sometimes, also cannot. But how? One of possible answer I may give is, you tell me. Why is it that I may answer you in three different ways. It's because the word filled or be filled in the, with the Holy Spirit is a word picture, is a word picture, is a word picture describing the truth of what happens when you're in the right relationship with God.
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So depending on what you mean, I may give you one of these three answers. Let me explain what I mean alright. I hope I have woked you up to sufficient level of curiosity, to be thinking about it. If you are not, you can wave and I can start all over again, beginning with good morning, I'm just kidding. Alright, I hope that you are with me now, because you're going to enter into a very important subject, that concerns everyone of us.
Now let's start with the second one which is the most common way people assess if they are filled with the Spirit, when you mean feelings. Then I will answer sometimes, does it make sense to you? If you ask me do I feel, do I sense being filled by the Holy Spirit, I would say sometimes. Why, because there are emotions involved when you are filled by the Holy Spirit. Let's look at the examples of Scripture in Luke 10:21
In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit…
The Scripture tells us in the same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit. It seem in the Scripture that joy is a common emotion associated with the filling of the Holy Spirit even with our Lord Jesus Christ. And so many Christians to this day would say that they are filled by the Holy Spirit because they feel very happy, they are on a high they feel that they could face the world, they could take on life and so they say now I'm Spirit filled, if they are singing in worship and you feel that rush of excitement and adrenaline, you may feel that you are filled by the Holy Spirit. There is emotions involved when you are filled by the Holy Spirit, not only for our Lord Jesus, but also for the disciples.
In Acts chapter 13:52
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
the Scripture tells us as the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit, once again the emotion of joy is associated with the filling of the Holy Spirit. But you see the sad thing is this, as I travel, I have the opportunity to speak to Christians, in different countries and I ask them this question, most of them will humbly, meekly, say no, I'm not filled by the Holy Spirit.
When I probe further and asked them why, the common response is because I don't feel anything. In fact, I seldom have any feelings, you know years ago, I had that sense of fullness and excitement, but it has long passed. In other words, they associated their filling of the Holy Spirit with an emotional experience and because it was from a long distant past, they feel that they're no longer filled by the Holy Spirit, so let me just get on with my normal Christian life, by doing my routines and rituals and doing my discipline and so on and so forth. Why, because you're thinking of the filling as an emotion.
You know, in Scripture, there are godly men who has faithfully served the Lord, but they experienced other emotions beyond merely joy, when they're serving. Look at 2Corinthians 7:5. 2Corinthians is a book written by Paul to express his struggles, his sorrows, his conflicts, his fears to the Corintians Christians, he is baring his heart. That's why if you read 2Corinthians, you can sense, the the heart beat of the apostle Paul. In other Epistles, it will be very theological, very rational, a lot of truth, but in 2Corinthians, a lot of emotions. He seems to be expressing and here is one that he is expressing to us here, recorded for us in chapter 7:5, he says,
For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn— fighting without and fear within.
2 Corinthians 7:5
but when we came into Macedonia our bodies had no rest, because he is going through a very rough and tough time, in preaching the gospel, in sharing the good news, in serving the Lord and he says, we will were afflicted at every turn. Because he is suffering and he is having all this pressures and stress in life, he says that there were fighting without and there were fears within.
In other words, although he was faithfully serving the Lord, doing the work of God, filled by the Holy Spirit, but yet he experienced fear. Now, if you understand the filling of the Holy Spirit as a relationship with the third person of the Godhead, this would make a lot of sense, this would make a lot of sense. What do I mean? Let me give you an example, as an illustration, last year I had opportunity to travel to this quaint little town called Woodson (sounds like) with my beautiful wife. So here's a picture of me with her but just in case you think it's so romantic, actually all the kids are with us, not just our kids, my sister-in-law's kids and my father, mother-in-law are also with us.
So we are all together traveling here and um but you know when we came to this place, my wife, she just loved it and she enjoyed the beauty the Chinese called it...... and what have you and I want you to know that the night before we traveled up, I had was engage in this long and pretty intense conversation until 3 AM at night. So when you have a conversation until 3am at night, I mean you feel tired, you feel groggy, all you want to do, when you reached this place, is to go to bed.
In other words, I wanted to go back to the hotel, go back to my bed, hug my pillow and say goodbye to the world. However, after lunch my wife looked at me, beaming from ear to ear, let's look around and I okay can we do it short, you know, like quick, you know, a snapshot kind of thing. But no, we walked on for an hour and so on. You know what, she just loved it, it just thrilled her heart and as we took pictures here, took pictures there, soon her joy infected me, because we are in a relationship. Her joy became my joy and although I wanted to go to bed, I was having a headache, I didn't feel well enough, but yet I was filled with my wife's joy and I myself get, became thrilled with the place, because we were in a relationship.
You know in a very much the same way, when you are in a relationship with the Holy Spirit, His joy becomes your joy. This is the reason why though you may feel grief at your sin when you repent of that error in your heart, when you are supposedly supposed to be grieving, there could be joy in the midst of sorrow, because the Holy Spirit fills you with the joy, He is delighted that you are repenting. When you are making a decision to give up a career choice, in order to take care of your family, in order to serve your children, to spend more time with your family and that's what God wants you to do at that juncture in your life, although you feel sad that you are giving up this golden opportunity, yet you could be thrilled because the joy of the Holy Spirit can become your joy, that is in the relationship.
You see because you are on a journey with the Holy Spirit and His feelings, can influence your feelings and that's why you could have a peace that surppass all understanding, in the midst of difficulties and trials. You may feel like we all going to die, we are not going to make it, but yet because you are filled by the Holy Spirit, you know the Holy Spirit will be calming your heart and say, it's okay, it will all work out, you are not going to die and even if you do, you're going to heaven, it's going to be alright. And so you see, there's going to be comfort, there's going to be peace, there's going to be joy in the Holy Spirit.
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Emotions are involved, but you know the thing about emotions are this, you can't control them. And so as feelings come and go, you should not rely on them too much, to assess if you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Friends, I hope that this morning, you can write it off your heart and mind, that only when you feel happy or joyful, when you feel that you love God and would give everything for Him, that is the moment, are you filled the Holy Spirit. You see when we settled down into the afternoon that beautiful day, at Woodson, my wife was no longer smiling beaming from ear-to-ear, I was beginning to feel tired. So we kind of went into quiet mood, but we didn't quarrel, we didn't fight, we didn't argue, we were contented in being at peace with one another.
In the same way friends, there are times when the Holy Spirit leads you and you be filled with joy and excitement. But there are times when the Holy Spirit is walking with you and you are simply quietly confident, that you're keeping in step with Him. Feelings come and go but the journey continues. And so you must allow these feelings to give you delight, but yet not rest on them in assessing if you are right in a relationship with Him.
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That brings us to the next answer. My next answer if you asked me, if I am filled with by the Holy Spirit, is yes when you mean control, yes, when you mean control. Because this is actually what Ephesians 5:18 is talking about when it says be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Scripture tells us here and not get drunk with wine for that is debauchery but be filled with the Spirit.
You see the contrast here is with the influence of alcohol on our bodies and life. You know when you drink wine, it's begins to control your body, begins to control your thinking and you begin to become a kind of a different person. I heared Pastor Mike share in his message on filling of the Holy Spirit, that the story is told of a man who were both, who was drinking with his friend and they both got very drunk and at one point in their drinking together, one of two men said, I'm going to jump out of the window and fly around the building come back and see you. The next day when his friend got sober and visited this friend who flew out in the hospital, he looked at him and say why did you let me jump out of that window. And this friend who didn't jump out, looked at him and said because I really thought you could fly. Why would they think like that, why would they act like that? Because they're under the influence of alcohol. Paul is saying don't be under the influence of alcohol but be under the influence
and control of the Holy Spirit, that is what he means. And that is why you can say yes, and you ought to be able to say yes. Why, because the command be is to all believers, it's in the plural. Whether you're young or old as a Christian, whether you are a man or a woman, a boy or a girl, no matter how long you have been saved, how much of the Scriptures you know, you have to be filled by the Holy Spirit.
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It is a command to all believers, it encompasses everyone, no one is excluded. It's not the mark or badge of humility to say you know, what I'm just a humble, quiet Christian, let the Spirit fill everyone else, but leave me alone, I'm okay I can do without. No, why, because it's a command to all believers. Not only it's a command to all believers, this command, the Scriptures tell us is in the passive, the passive like the English in the Greek, means that it is something done to you. Well, if something is done to you, how can you obey it? It's like how can I be filled by the Holy Spirit, if I can't do the filling? Think of it like suntanning. Let's say, you want to become tall, dark and handsome and be the talk of town, for the next few weeks and so you decided you're going to get a suntan to, in your first step to that goal. Now you can't tan yourself right, but what can you do? You can go under the sun, since the haze is over, you know and sunbathe and let the sun rays shine on your skin, the sun will tan
your body. In the same way, you can't fill yourself with the Holy Spirit, but you can yield, you can put yourself under the Holy Spirit's influence and control, and that is what the Scripture means, that we are to allow the Holy Spirit in our hearts to control and influence our thinking and our life.
And you know what this command is also in the present tense. That means, this is not a once off experience. Many Christians, they look forward and they pray and they wait for that once off experience that would change their life forever. You know they wait for that red sea experience or they wait for that, you know Daniel in the lion's den, so that they could testify and so they pray and they hope that one day they could walk on water like Peter and they tell the Lord and say, if you will show Yourself to me, if You answer my prayer, if You, if you do this for me, I will believe you forever. My faith will never be shaken.
But the Scripture says no. Yes, there may be a major experience for you, but then there has to be continual yielding, continual filling of the Holy Spirit. Look with me in Scripture on the repeated filling of the Holy Spirit I give you two examples one of the church and one of an individual. You notice that in Acts 2:4, the entire church was filled by the Holy Spirit. That was on the day of Pentecost and because of that filling of the Holy Spirit, many souls were saved and ushered into the kingdom. But notice with me in Acts 4:31, that the same church when they prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken and watched, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
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They had to experience this again, they had to yield control back to the Holy Spirit, again and again and again. It means this, this morning when you set off, you may be in good spirits, but maybe something along the road irritated you. The moment you step into the hotel, you begin to speak a harsh word to your wife. When you do that, are you yielding control to the spirit, no, and as a result, you are under the influence of your irritation, of your anger. What do you need to do, you need to confess that as error, as sin, as a wrong attitude on your part and then come back under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Maybe yesterday you were feeling miserable and you are thinking negative thoughts about your life and about your future.
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But this morning, at church, a song spoke to your heart and you open your heart to Jesus and say: "Lord, take control of my heart now and control of my life now, I trust in You." At that moment, you have yielded control right back to the Holy Spirit. This why some Christians, they go up and down, left and right and they are not stable. Why, because they thought it is a once off.
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And they wait and they wait and wait for that sensational, dramatic encounter when what the Scriptures commands is that daily, moment by moment, we should be letting the Holy Spirit control and direct our lives.
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This is true also of individuals, as you read in Acts chapter 9 verse 17
So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”(Acts 9:17)
We read of the apostle Paul when he was saved God sent Annanias to lay hands on him, to pray for him and the Scriptures tells us that the moment he did that, he was filled by the Holy Spirit. That means he came under the Holy Spirit influence and control. But notice with me that when he set off on his first missionary journey, in Acts 13:9,
But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him(Acts 13:9)
the Scriptures tells us that Saul was also called Paul, he was filled again with the Holy Spirit, looking intently at him and begin to witness for Jesus Christ.
He could not look back at one experience and say that's it I'm okay now, he has to continually yield himself. Maybe you were wonderful when you were single as a Christian, but the moment you got married, you know, you have all kinds of conflict with your husband or with your wife and you begin to lose your bearings on the Christian life. You know what you need to do, you need to come back to the Lord, by yielding control to the Holy Spirit.
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Maybe you were great in your marriage, but the moment children come on the scene, and you begin to fight and bicker over them, what to do with the neglect the attention the discipline, the finances. You know what you need to do when children are on the scene, you need to yield your life back to the Holy Spirit, so that He can influence control and direct your thinking on how to lead that family He has given you. You see, it is repeated, moment by moment, in every single area of our lives. We need to let the Holy Spirit have control.
A story is told by Robertson McQuilkin, he is a missionary to Japan for 12 years. He was the president of Colombia University for 22 years and he wrote this wonderful book called Life in the Spirit. It is actually a workbook that we use in our church to train our workers in the past and in this workbook, in this book he wrote, he told the story of an encounter concerning the filling of the Holy Spirit.
You see, he had a youth conference leader tell him one year, that revival broke out in one of the high school campus the year before and what happened was this, the year before when Robertson McQuilkin came and spoke to the young people there, there was a young lady by the name of Debbie who came up to him after that and said, when you gave a invitation, I didn't want to raise my hands because I'm tired of raising my hands, consecrating myself to the Lord over and over again and failed.
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Then in tears, She asked the pastor there, Robertson McQuilkin, what's wrong with me and I love his answer because it showed his humility and wisdom. He said, I don't know. You know how would you like, you go for counselling with a pastor and you ask him what's wrong with me and he says, I don't know. Then why did I come to you for, right.
But you see, he was being very humble, I don't know, but he asked a very insightful question he asked Debbie, he asked her and said , You Know, Debbie who is in control of your life? Debbie answer said Jesus – and she thought about it and replied further, most of the time. At that point, Robertson McQuilkin realized, the issue and the problem, and said you know , Debbie, that's not how it works.
You see, Debbie, it's not like you can say, Lord, You take the driver's seat of my life, You steer the wheel, You direct the course of my life, but when you reach an intersection and you don't like the way He is turning you into that direction, you grab the wheels back from Him and take over. He says that is not the way you live your Christian life.
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You don't let God lead when you like the way He leads and take it back when you don't like the way He leads. So he asked Debbie, said you know Debbie, how long do you want Jesus to be the Lord of your life and Debbie then realizing her error, says forever.
Since that day Robertson McQuilkin said, she was filled by the Holy Spirit, repeatedly, repeatedly and as a result, she began to live out the normal Christian life and as a result that testimony, others begin to come to know Jesus, dozens came to trust Christ, a prayer group was started, and the high school was impacted for Jesus, all because one young lady gave control of her heart to Jesus and allowed it to be filled by the Holy Spirit, repeatedly. You see my friends, we can't let God only direct certain areas of our lives. And when we don't like it, we take it back and we live life our way. We have to constantly, repeatedly, yield control of our lives to the Holy Spirit.
Now if you are thinking along with me, you should be asking, how then can I do that, how then can I do that ? Remember I shared with you that the work of the Holy Spirit is in a relationship with us. What does that means, it means that you need to know who He is, in order to allow Him to influence you. You need to know for instance that He is the Holy Spirit; that means He is holy.
If you harbour known sin in your heart, if you are angry and you want to stay that way, if you're bitter and you want to stay that way, if you watching things that you shouldn't be watching on the Internet and you don't care what the Bible says about it. You know you cannot be filled by the Holy Spirit. Why ? you're not yielding control to Him. Why, because you're harboring known unconfessed sins in your heart.
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Now He is, the Scripture tells us in John 14:17 the Spirit of truth. It means that if you are adept at using deceit and manipulation to get your way at work. If you are have no qualms about telling lies as long as you think you have good intentions, you have bought in to the way the world thinks, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, you are not yielding control to Him in this area of your life whenever you used deceit, manipulation and failed to tell the truth. And so you have to realize, that there are areas of our lives that needs to be handed over and cleaned up, if we are going to be filled by the Holy Spirit.
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You see the Scripture tells us in Isaiah 11:2, that He is the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of God. In other words, if we are so proud about our worldly knowledge, about our education, about our experience, about who we know, but so ignorant of what the Bible says, then you can't be filled by the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit will always lead you into the knowledge of the truth, not of error, not of pride.
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Well, He is the Spirit of life. Any kind of luke warmness, any lackadaisical attitude is not going to encourage you to walk with the Holy Spirit. You know some Christians they imagine being filled by the Holy Spirit like floating, like a jellyfish on the ocean. And so once they are filled, they will all float along and then they'll happily arrive at heaven.You know that is a totally mistaken idea. Just because the command is in the passage, doesn't that mean that there is no activity. You know when the Holy Spirit fills you, there will be lots of life and energy and dynamism, because He is moving you forward together with the rest of the church to advance His kingdom. And so don't get the wrong that being filled by the Holy Spirit means that you can get lazy with life, with your family, with your work, because now I'm Spirit filled. You know that is the wrong idea altogether because He is the Spirit of life, you're supposed to live out by His power, what life here on earth is supposed to look like.
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Now, the Bible tells that she is the Spirit of grace in Hebrews 10:29 and that means that any harsh words, like I mentioned before, any ungracious attitude is going to hurt your relationship with the Holy Spirit and cause you to yank control back, because if you say to yourself, you know what, when I see him, I bei song, when I see him, I wasn't speaking in tongues, that was, I not happy in Hokkien, okay wo bu shuang ta, in Chinese, a bit more Chinese now, you know, I don't like him. I see no him no up, you know and so if you have this kind of attitude, and you feel that you have a right to it, who are you. You know what, that kind of ungracious attitude is going to hurt your walk with the Holy Spirit.
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Do you not realize now that there many ways you yank control back from God because you grieve Him by contradicting the kind of God that He is and wants to be in your life and He is the Spirit of glory. You know friends, God saved us, the Bible tells us that we should live for ourselves but for Him who died on the cross and rose again. The Bible tells us that we are to set our affections on things above, not on things on the earth. It doesn't mean that the physical and material things are not important, it's just that it is not all important. If all you care about is making more money. If all you care about is building your temporary career, if all you care about getting the next condo, you know what, those things are important and they will win the applause of men, but because He is the Spirit of glory, it will grieve Him when that is all that's in your heart.
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You know what, you may be attending church, you may be coming here, reading the Bible, praying, serving, but if in your heart of hearts, that's all you really care about, to be right at the top of the ladder of this society, that's going to grieve Him because you know what, the Bible tells us that we live and we seek a city whose Builder and Maker is God. We live with an eternal purpose, and because He is the Spirit of glory, all those dreams and plans when they are only earthly, only worldly is going to grieve the Holy Spirit.
So you see there are so many ways you can hurt our relationship with God because it's a relationship. It is not formula. You don't put two and two together and say I'm spiritual now control, power me up. No, it is not like, it's a constant moment by moment daily filling, of control that depends on how you are relating to Him.
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Now as control is a decision of your heart, you can use this to assess if you are filled with the Spirit, every moment of your day. You can ask yourself right now, who is in control of your life, who is directing your heart. Have you ever yielded the control, the influence to the Holy Spirit or are you fully squarely, still in charge, because if you are not yielded, then you then you are not filled by the Holy Spirit. But if you can say yes, then guard it, keep it that way and you can be filled by the Holy Spirit.
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Now, here's one more, one more way, that the phrase be filled by the Holy Spirit is being used and the answer is "You tell me", when what you mean is results. You see interestingly, in the Scripture, the description, they were filled by the Holy Spirit, appears all the time. You will not find a single instant where Paul stand up and said, I'm filled by the Holy Spirit. Now you all sit down and listen to me, I'm going to preach the gospel. No he never says that. The book of Acts never said that, they always say, Saul was filled by the Spirit, Peter was filled by the Spirit. You know why, because this is the description given to those who were filled because they could tell the results.
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And so when you asked me, are you filled by the Spirit and if you mean results, what evidences can I see, then I will have to humbly say, you tell me, because I can't see myself. I can't be sure my heart is under His control. I can't be sure my emotion because they come and go, but you can tell me, if you see evidences of the Holy Spirit filling in my life and the same is true of you with me.
And many messages, many books have been written on the results of filling of the Holy Spirit. But today, I like to bring you to Ephesians 5 and have you pay attention to what Paul says are the results. So if you have your Bibles with you, if you have your iPad, your android tablet, I would like to invite you to turn now to Ephesians 5 and go down that passage with me, alright, so that you can see what Paul actually says, are the results when you are filled by the Holy Spirit.
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Now, the first thing he mentioned in verse 19, in Ephesians chapter 5
addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,
in addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. I like to point out to you here, there were first result being filled by the Spirit is this, there is a change in the focus of your heart. Do you realize that because of sin, we are so self focused and so self-centered. Have you not noticed that the songs you liked are those that appeal to you because I feel miserable, I want to sing, I can't live without you, I am going to die or whatever, you know, because I feel angry, I want to hear those, I want to be here and punch you, because it gives me a kick now, you know, everything we like is because I like it, it is about me, mine, and I. We are so hopelessly pivoted on self, that sometimes you can't even read the Bible without reading and see, see, he also do that.
You know just now, pastor say, cannot lie, but you know what, Abraham also lie what. Abraham never lie meh, how about Rahab, Rahab also lied, even becoming the ancestor of Jesus. So I can also lie. You know what, we are so good at finding excuses for our sins, making a way for ourselves, that we are hopelessly pivoted on self.
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But the Scriptures tells us that one of the first evidence that you are filled by the Holy Spirit, is suddenly, you are now free from thinking only of yourself and your world. And now your attention is directed to God and that's why you can sing to God, that's why you begin to feel that God is worthy to be praised.
You know when you came into church this morning, and you sat there, what were you thinking of, who were you thinking of and when you stood up to sing again, what were you thinking of who were you thinking of, I don't like this song, this is too slow. The one next to you maybe thinking, this is too fast, someone else may be saying, this is too loud, this is too soft, you know, get on with it, you know, change something else, change the leader, change the team, change everything, don't come to church, even better still.
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You know why, because you are just thinking about yourself. I too, when I'm left to myself. But you see when you and I are filled by the Holy Spirit, we begin to think of the Lord first, because my attention is turned towards Him. Notice with me the second result of Paul points out, he says in verse 20
giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
giving thanks always and for everything to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This tells us, that when you filled by the Holy Spirit, not only is there a change in the focus of your heart, there is a change in the attitude of your mind. Do you not realize that the moment you get up, you can actually start complaining, I got a bad night sleep, what a stupid dream, why is the air-con so cold, why did it rain today, what a lousy umbrella, why is Furuma so far away. How come the car park tickets must pay money now. And you know, you got a hell of one things to complain about, no food, no shopping, nothing.
You know, there are so many things you can complain about and you know what, every one of them are perfectly rational, logical, intelligent, to your mind. But what's wrong with all that? The attitude. That you are not thankful, you are not thankful for your life, you are not thankful for what God has given to you, you are not thankful for your wife, for your children and you are constantly restless.
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The Scripture tells us that when we are filled by the Holy Spirit, we will begin to change in our attitude, we will begin to give thanks for the things in our lives, and not only that, he moves on and tells us that we would be submitting to one another. In verse 21 out of reverence for Christ.
submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
How often we are taught in society today, exert yourself, push your way, when people begin to listen to you and do things your way, that's when you have made it in life. And so, we go around pushing everyone, pushing your wife, pushing your husband, pushing your children, push everyone, just to show that you are the leader, you're alpha guy or whatever.
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But you know what, the Scripture says, don't do that, submit to one another. You know what that means, it doesn't mean, you go to your son tonight and say, you know the Bible says son that daddy should submit to one another, so I will start with you, now I call you daddy.
No, that is a total mis-interpretation. You know, it is not what the Scripture said, it is saying, you now to pay attention to what your son says, does it make sense. You start to understand his needs, you start to listen to him and treat him like an individual, someone who is made in the image of God, you give him the due respect as a human being and you begin to relate to him and help him grow up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The same is true for your wife, the same is true for your husband and all this intimate relationships, the Scriptures say, the mark of the Holy Spirit filling is that you will submit to one another. You start to pay attention and care for them, and not just have your way and try to win in every situation and that will begin to take place in your husband and wife relationships.
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In other words, if you are filled by the Holy Spirit, your marriage should change, for the better every day, as you learn to love one another, more and more and dwell with each other with understanding.
You know, parent and child relationship should change. Have you considered that perhaps your teenage child is not that rebellious, but because you been so neglected, because what daddy, mummy says, is always right and you can't argue against them. And on top of that, they are Christian, so when the use the Bible on you, you've got lagi less things to say, so you sure lose one, so why talk to them.
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You know what's the problem there, you are not submitting to your child, in the fear of the Lord, to understand his needs and to help him grow. And the Bible tells us that when you are filled by the Holy Spirit, your focus of your heart change, the attitude of your mind change, your relationships begin to be transformed and not only that even employer, employee relationships will change. You no longer treat someone just as a means, to make more money or the boss as someone to grab advantage from, you begin to be concerned for their well-being and their welfare, you begin to take care of them and treat them with respect. You know, all these will change. In others, my friends, if you do not have improving healthy relationships in your life, that according to Paul is a clear evidence, you are not filled by the Holy Spirit.
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I'm sorry I have to say that, because I know it can hurt, but you see if it depends on you, Paul says, be at peace with all men.
But if you can influence this relationship for good, but you're only contributing to his hurt, harm, sorrow and pain, then you need to take a step back and ask, why is it, I'm acting like that. Am I just thinking of myself, am I just having a bad attitude about all this, have I ever cared about the people who I am supposed to care about. You see, when you are filled by the Holy Spirit, your relationships ought to change.
But just in case you think that it's all about relationships, about my family and all, you know I like go on to highlight that in Ephesians 6:10, although some commentators would suggest that this has crossed another, you know another thought, but in other passages of Scriptures, it tells us, also that when you filled by the Holy Spirit, you will begin to do real spiritual battle, you will have to be strong in the Lord, in the power of His might, because you are beginning to give, you are beginning to serve, you are beginning to bless, you are beginning to influence people around you and you will get attacked.
If you don't to anything for anyone, then nobody really bothers with you. But when you stick your neck out, when you start to serve and begin to want to contribute to church, to the family, they will start to criticize you, and you start to get hurt and you need to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might, your faith may be questioned, your testimony may be challenged and so you enter into spiritual battle and the filling of the Holy Spirit, ushers you into the place of victorious service for God.
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And lastly, I want you to note that Paul then talks about sharing the gospel, and also for me that word may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel. In this and other passages of Scripture, the filling of the Holy Spirit, always issue in the gospel witness, through words and also through our walk, through our lives and also through our message. And so when you are filled by the Holy Spirit, there isn't one shriveled plum, one tiny grape and say you know, this little one, I am filled by the Spirit, right.
No, the Scripture tells us, that when you are filled by the Holy Spirit, everything will begin to change about you, in the way you look at life, in the the way you respond to life, in the way you relate in life, in the way you serve others in sharing the good news as well. I would like to share with you, in closing, this story of DL Moody. And some of you may know DL Moody is a evangelistist that God raised up in England, in America and England, to impact both continents for the gospel. And he was already having a successful Sunday school ministry in America when he saw that something is missing in his own life, something is not quite right, he felt dry, he was struggling along and he decided that he is going to find out what that is. On his journey, he realized the need to be filled by the Holy Spirit, so he sought it with all his heart. And eventually, according to his biographer, John Pollock, he found it and he was filled by the Holy Spirit, by surrendering the control of his heart and life to Jesus
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And as a result of that, he begin to spread the good news even more successfully in England, as well as in America. But the story I want to share with you, doesn't concern the preaching of the gospel or concerning his gospel rallies. It concerns his visit to a barbershop. According to his biographer, it was said that one day he visited the barbershop and he walked into the barbershop and as as the barber cut his hair, he just had simple, everyday life conversations with the man. But when DL Moody left the barbershop, the barber, said this of him. He said that when I had this simple everyday conversations with Mr Moody, it seems like heavens presence filled my tiny shop, the words he spoke, the spirit in which he spoke them, drew my attention to God. You know, DL Moody wasn't preaching there, but he was simply going through life, but because of the focus of his heart, the attitude of his mind, because of the way he has learnt to relate to people and the way he had learned to serve them, wherever he went,
whatever he did, he was able to give them a taste of the joy, the love and the glory of heaven. And you know what that is the normal Christian life, that is how we are supposed to live and we can only live it, if we are filled by the Spirit.
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So as the results are what others can see in you. You can use this to evaluate if you are filled with the Spirit in every area of your life, maybe in an relationship, you are struggling, then maybe that's where you need to say Lord, you know, help me, I need to be filled by the Spirit.
You know, every morning when I drive my children to school, every part of the week, I would pray and say Lord, filled both daddy and mummy, that's me and my wife with the Holy Spirit, so that we can raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Yes, we do read parenting books, yes, we do study the Scriptures. Yes, we do pray for our children. But we also pray for ourselves, that we will be Spirit filled parents, otherwise you know how, children can sometimes drive you up the wall and after you go up the wall, sometimes you fall down, flat on your face, right.
And the same may be true of your marriage, the same may be true of your family relations, or your church relationships. I don't know what is it you struggling in, but you know what the results will show, if you are filled by the Spirit, by the attitude of your mind, the focus of your heart and the relationships of your life, by whether or not your life is a witness for Jesus.
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So the normal Christian life is to be lived out by being filled with the Spirit. Are you filled with the Spirit, are you looking at just the emotions, are you yielding control, can the results be seen by those around.
Shall we close our eyes and have a time of prayer together, our Heavenly Father we give thanks to You, we give thanks to You for Your Word, because it is truly sharper than any two-edged sword. I'm afraid that in modern Christianity and even here in Gospel Light, we are comfortable with our routines of worship and we can easily console ourselves that we are doing okay, by the things we do and we may not have seriously considered that what is average, may not be normal, that our relationships may be breaking down, the way we relate to a particular person in my life may be an error and I need to change.
I pray Lord Jesus for my brethren here, that You would speak to their hearts and to realize that they need and they can be filled by Your Holy Spirit, not as a mere emotional experience, but as a yielding of the control of their hearts to You. I pray Lord Jesus, that the results can be seen in every area of our lives. With every head bowed, with every eyes closed, no one looking around, I like to invite you to spend some time communing with God. I'd like to invite you to take the message of the Bible today and ask yourself, are you filled by the Holy Spirit. You know, perhaps you have never really considered this question before, but it is good to think about it now, because it is a command, though confusing, yet important command of the Bible. Who's in charge of your life, who is directing your relationships.
Do you see evidences of any change, what thrills your heart, are you still complaining all the time, have anything improved for the better. You need the Holy Spirit's help to live the normal Christian life. He did not leave you here to struggle on your own. He wants you to be filled by the Spirit, will you be filled today, will you yield control to Him today and if you would, I ask, I invite you to pray to Him and say, Lord, You know, I'm sorry that I've been seeking experiences and emotional uplifts, and I have been so discouraged and given up, perhaps even, of pursuing You.
But this morning I want to recommit myself to You, not once in a while, but consistently to let You be in control of my life, forever be in control. Tell Him, ask Him, when I am not letting You be in control, show me, convict me right away, point out where I am resistant and disobedient, so that I can come under Your influence and live as I should. I hope that this is your prayer because that is my prayer, we are not perfect but He is and He wants His perfect grace and power to be seen in our imperfect lives and that only comes when we are filled by the Holy Spirit.
So I invite you to talk to Him, talk to God, and let Him have his way, and have influence over your life. If you have done so ever, maybe there are areas you need to recommit.If you have never done so ever, maybe now is a good time for you to say Lord, I surrender and yield my heart, I want to see those changes in my life. I want to see those changes in my relationships, help me to be filled By the Spirit.
So spend some time communing, praying to the Lord and let Him draw you into that journey, that walk with Him. Now, I like to invite you all to stand with me and respond with our closing song, Spirit of God descend upon my heart, let's sing as a prayer to the Lord as Tommy leads us, if that is the prayer of your heart. Spirit of God, descend upon my heart.
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