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The Challenge of Ephesians 5:18— “Be Filled With the Spirit”

March 12th, 2006

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in Psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ”

(Ephesians 5:18-21)

The challenge of Ephesians 5:18 is—“be filled with the Spirit…” Paul, here, uses the imperative mood (Be filled!). This is intriguing because the Ephesians were already sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13); which took place when they heard the gospel, believed the gospel, and were baptized (Eph. 1:13b; 5:26). This may account for why Christians sometimes go through periods of apathy. It very well may be that these non-productive periods of spiritual disinterest—whether regarding church attendance, daily devotionals, or, basic outreach beyond themselves—simply happens as a direct result of spiritual emptiness. We do know this, Paul firmly said, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). If this is Paul’s negative criticism to the Ephesians, his positive direction which he desires for them is expressed in 3:16,19—“…to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God…”

Concerning the challenge of Ephesians 5:18, we may say with certainty: that God wants his people filled; that he wants them filled internally; and, that he desires this to be Spiritual in content. His challenge and your response!?

-Robert M. Housby

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