Published June 28, 2012
Rom. 8:26-27; Eph. 5:17-21; 6:18
Bible Studies for Life, July 15
This is the third of five lessons that deal with the Holy Spirit. Two weeks ago, the first lesson highlighted our freedom from sin. Last week it focused on the victorious life made possible by the indwelling Spirit. Todayís word is empowered and highlights some areas in which the Holy Spirit empowers the Christian.
To empower is to authorize, to enable, to facilitate, to provide the means, to give power, or to endow. The opposite involves disallowing, preventing, hindering, denying, opposing, inhibiting, rejecting, resisting, forbidding, or blocking.
Power or energy is important. It gives its object or receptor the ability to do or act, the capability to accomplish its task. This year billions of dollars will be spent for research on new renewable energies sources. Should we not take the time to understand how the our source of power, namely the Holy Spirit, works in our lives?
Godís Spirit gives us the power to share the Gospel with the world (Acts 1:8). The task is not an easy one as we try to reach out to a changing Jerusalem here at home and also reach out with others to impact the world. How does He prepare us spiritually for that sacred task?
Be filled with the Spirit - Ephesians 5:17-18
This passage clearly underscores the intoxicating and harmful effects of alcohol. We cannot overestimate the damage that alcoholism has done to countless millions of persons and their families.
It is a leading factor in social ills from domestic violence, to child abuse and neglect to automobile accidents. The needed call to sobriety is still urgent. How we need Christian fathers who are filled with the Spirit!
On the other hand, there is the challenge to be filled with the Spirit. To fill something can mean to put into, to build up, to satiate, to complete, to occupy the whole of or pervade, or to spread throughout. Just as an alcoholic intoxication affects a personís attitude, appearance, and behavior, the Spirit is to satiate the complete life of the Christian. Jesus is an example of someone filled with the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14).
The opposite of a life totally influenced by the Spirit is one where the Spirit is quenched (1 Thess. 5:19). To quench means to put out the fire. Certainly Paul did not want anyone to oppose the authentic work of the Holy Spirit (Hobbs, ď1 Thessalonians,Ē BBC, XI, 234).
The Christian may also grieve the Spirit (Eph. 4:30) by disobedience, as the Jewish religious leaders were similarly guilty of resisting the Spirit by rejecting the message (Acts 7:51).
When one comes to Christ, he is baptized in the Spirit, receiving the indwelling Spirit into his life (Acts 10:44-48). The Spirit seals the Christian for all eternity (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30). The baptism of the Spirit occurs one time.
When we begin each day, we must pray that we would be sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and that He would fill us that day. This daily submission to the Holy Spirit is the internal side of the external confession that Jesus is Lord.
Be filled to serve - Ephesians 5:19-21
Music, thanksgiving, and a spirit of humble submission to one another reveal the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian. The music is completely inclusive as it encompasses the Hebrew Psalms in the Old Testament, hymns that recite the doctrinal outline of Christís life and work, and the spontaneous songs that tell of oneís Christian experience. There is still great music to be written, powerful sermons to be written, and great worship services to be experienced, all in the power of the Spirit.
A spirit of gratitude goes a long way. It replaces indifference, bitterness, and pessimism, each of which can engulf a personís soul. Counting oneís blessings is a good thing to do (Ps. 139:17-18).
The act of submitting to one another fills the commandment to love others, especially those of the Christian faith (John 13:34; Gal. 6:10). Jesus said that He came to serve and not be served (Matt. 20:28). Can we do less?
The spirit of hospitality was a Jewish custom in New Testament times, and not long ago was a part of Southern culture. Should we not do it more readily in Jesusí name today?
Be filled to pray - Eph. 6:18; Rom. 8:26-27
These passages shout with the good news of the Holy Spiritís involvement in our prayer lives. Continuous prayer acknowledges the Spiritís presence throughout the day. Pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17).
Prayer is tied to faith, and when our faith is weak, our pray life is affected. There are moments when we do not know how to pray. Christís example taught us to pray, ďNot my will, but Thine be doneĒ (Mt. 26:42; Luke 22:42).
We learn to pray in the name of Jesus (Col. 3:17) but also in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18). The Holy Spirit becomes our advocate for the Father because He knows the will of the Father (Rom. 8:27). Certainly the Trinity is alive and active in the daily walk of the victorious Christian.
Our prayer life is not always where we would like for it to be. Indeed a successful prayer life requires the assistance of the Holy Spirit.
Being filled by the Holy Spirit is essential. Our entire beings need to be satiated or influenced by His Presence. This spills over into our worship, impacts our relationship with fellow Christians, and strengthens our prayer life. We can more effectively pray for ourselves, our families, other Christians, and those around us who do not know Jesus, as well as for our country with its needs.
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