From my message "The Not-So-Secret Secret to the Christian Life."
A Candid Confession
So here's a candid confession: I was raised in some very conservative Christian circles and and Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Holiness groups freaked me out a bit. For a time in my Bible college education there were even warning about these groups being on the fringe of the faith and basing most of their theology in the emotions of their upbeat services rather than building their theology on the Word of God. Of course in some cases this was true especially in the 70's and 80's while the local church was going through many changes and fighting to find a way to reach a rebellious and open generation of young adults.
A simple Truth
The Bible is very clear that the Holy Spirit indwells all who truly believe on Jesus as the means of their salvation. If you are saved by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-10) then the Bible says you also have the Spirit of God dwelling in you (John 14:17; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16). This is not a controversial issue. This is simple and powerful truth. I have taught it many times. I believe the very Spirit of God lives within me. The Scriptures teach us to walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), to be taught by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14) and to be lead by the Spirit (Romans 8:9). All of this I have woven into dozens of sermons. I have also taught on the passage of being "filled by the Spirit, from Ephesians 5:18-20. You probably remember this passage. It's the one that says you shouldn't get drunk.
"Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." - Holy Bible, New Living Translation
We emphasis lots of truth from this passage. We tell all our good-ole-boy friends this is why you shouldn't drink heavy every weekend. And, we talk about being filled with the Spirit. But I want to confess that for years I have equated this with the indwelling of the Spirit. I think perhaps because I was so afraid of being labeled something denominationally I feared to look closely at this passage.
A Closer Look.
But here the Apostle Paul is telling the true Christ followers in Ephesus, who already are indwelt by the Spirit of God to make a definitive effort to be "filled by the Holy Spirit."
Indwelling and filling are different. If you are a Baptist, indwelling and filling are different. If you are a Pentecostal, indwelling and filling are different. All Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, but not all Christians are filled by Spirit of God. In fact, many Christians never seek or try to be filled, they are satisfied with the indwelling. The indwelling gets you safely home to heaven. But don't you want more?
Look closely at the results of the filling. There are four behaviors that happen when we are filled. The Bible says we will be continually:
- speaking to others in spiritually uplifting ways (psalm, hymns, spiritual songs)
- Singing with a light heart
- Giving Thanks - Always giving thanks for all things (for and in all things)
- submitting to one another in the fear of Christ
Do your co-workers describe you in any of these terms? Does your family talk about you with these attributes as your most common behavior? I know it is a hard question! It is something as Christ-followers we must wrestle with in our daily lives. We need to grow up in all aspects as unto Christ and become more Christ like. So rather than be a Christian who speaks discouragingly, we should speak encouragingly to and about others. Rather than murmuring and carrying a heavy heart, we should sing to the Lord continually. Rather than complain about what we don't have, and demand or expect more we should be continually expressing thanks and we should submit to others in our work place, and home rather than be combative or resistant.
This is the filling of the Spirit alive in us!
So how do I get filled if I am indwelt?
Here are some good verse to help you.
- Ask - Luke 11:13
- Believe- Galatians 3:2
- Surrender -Romans 12:1-2
- Obey - ACTS 5:32
For more study on this, you can access Northside's sermon audio by clicking on the PODCAST tab at the top of this site or by visiting the podcast directly on iTunes here. You can also download messages on our BuzzSprout profile here.