“...be filled with the Spirit.”—Ephesians 5:18
In the 56 year history of Brentwood Hills (this congregation first met on Wednesday evening, May 18, 1955), I doubt there’s ever been a more encouraging, challenging or transforming congregation-wide study than our current exploration of the Holy Spirit. Although the series officially ends soon, the exploration will continue until Jesus comes.
One of my favorite Holy Spirit passages is the inspired command from Paul in Ephesians 5:18. It’s a blessing to remember that Greek scholars tell us there are four important things we should all know about the phrase Paul uses in this verse – the phrase that is translated “...be filled with the Spirit.”
In other words, being “...filled with the Spirit” is not a suggestion or a ‘good idea,’ but a command. For an obedient Christian, being filled with the Spirit is not optional but essential. God knows that in order to survive and thrive we need the Holy Spirit … not just to be in our lives … but to fill our lives!
This means that the command to “...be filled with the Spirit” is not restricted to a select few. It is written as an inclusive command for everyone – not only those in the first century but also for those in the twenty-first century – and that certainly includes us!
Being “...filled with the Spirit” is not something that we do, but something that is done to us. In other words, in order for us to be “...filled with the Spirit” we must allow it to happen. You might ask, “How would it even be possible for us to stop it from happening?” For many of us the greatest hindrance to being “...filled with the Spirit” might be that our lives are already filled with other things – pride, fear, ambition, greed, anger, etc., etc., etc.
“…be filled with the Spirit” is not a one-time command. Instead – and our experience frequently confirms this – we must allow the Spirit to fill us on a continual basis. We receive the Holy Spirit as a gift when we become Christians (Acts 2:38), but that does not guarantee that the Spirit will ever fill us. Furthermore, if and when the Spirit does fill us there is no guarantee we will stay “filled.” This is a challenge and an opportunity we will have every day!
Church of Christ
5120 Franklin Road
Nashville, Tennessee 37220
Phone: (615) 832-2541
Fax: (615) 832-2583