MAINTAINING A SPIRIT-FILLED EXPERIENCEEdit
- EPHESIANS 5:18-21
1. YIELDING Being filled with the Spirit is both a spiritual experience and a lifestyle. Just as every believer may have the experience, even so every believer is enjoined to maintain the lifestyle. It is of great consequence to be filled with the Spirit initially, but it is of even greater consequence to have an ongoing experience of being filled with the Spirit. When Paul spoke to the Ephesian assembly of being filled with the Spirit he was not referring to the initial experience (they were already baptised in the Spirit Acts 19:1-7)). He was speaking to them of an ongoing lifestyle which is a moment by moment yielding to the Spirit as we have seen, and this requires an initial consecration of will, and a walk maintained thereafter of that yieldedness to the Lordship of Messiah.
2. WORSHIP is a glorious result of the infilling of the Spirit, "And they were all filled with the Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:4)
In the Letter to the Ephesians, "Singing and making melody in your heart", speaks of a heart attitude of worship. It is the offering of love from a singing heart exulting in His presence.
As well as this being the result of being filled, Paul tells us it is also the means to keep constantly filled. The instruction which was begun in verse 18 is continued in verse 19 and it is also enjoined upon us. Not only do we need to yield to the Spirit, but upon doing so we must enter into worship toward Him.
"Speaking to yourselves" can be understood to be between more than one person, or individually, done as a personal spiritual exercise.
"Psalms" are religious songs with music, and "Hymns" are songs of praise with or without music. "Spiritual songs" are songs spoken in other tongues sung to cadences dictated by the Spirit.
'Speaking to yourselves', is edifying ourselves. Being filled with the Spirit and yielding to the exercise of speaking or singing with other tongues builds us up, as well as magnifying Yahweh our God and making melody to Him in our hearts. See 1 Corinthians 14:15; Jude 20
Thus, worship, which is the inevitable result of being filled with the Spirit is also the means whereby the Spirit-filled lifestyle is maintained.
3. THANKSGIVING is both the fruit of being filled with the Spirit and another means to maintain it. Unthankfulness quenches the Spirit and forces Him to withdraw into the shadows of our lives where He cannot be perceived. Thankfulness invites His manifested presence.
The infilling of the Spirit opens wide the door of thanksgiving in the human heart. It is sustained as we submit to His will, staying in that place of yieldedness to the His Spirit. A submitted will is evidenced by a thankful heart.
"In EVERYTHING give thanks, for this is the will of God in Messiah Yeshua concerning you" therefore, offering thanksgiving "unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord, Yeshua the Messiah' is necessary in order to stay filled with the Spirit.
4. SUBMISSION in full, is the entrance into the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and its fullness is maintained by a lifestyle of constant submission. The word for submission in the Greek, UPOTASSO, comes from the root TASSO which was used in classical Greek in a military sense. It meant to draw up in order for battle, to form, array, marshal either troops or ships. It speaks of soldiers marshaled in military order under a commanding officer. It is the subjection of one individual to another.
- The prefix UPO means 'under'. So combined together 'UPOTASSO' means 'to arrange under, or to subordinate'. The grammatical usage here is in the passive voice, thus meaning 'to subject oneself'. It is the opposite of self-assertation, of independence and self-seeking. It is to submit oneself, as a self-initiated placing of oneself under another.
Yeshua submitted His will to the Father in all things even to the point of going to the Torture Stake (Philippians 2:5-8), and just as He did this of His own volition, so must we be of the same mind and submit our self-nature, placing it under the control of the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh).
We place our desires in order of rank under the needs of our brethren renouncing our own will in order to serve others, as led of the Spirit. Right relationships with our fellow man are the basis of the Spirit-filled lifestyle, for if we are being controlled by the Spirit of God, our human relationships will be in order. Submission of heart will result in obedience to God in all His precepts.
Submission to God will have it's practical expression in several ways. We are to submit to those who are over us in the Lord (Hebrews 13:17), the younger is to submit to the elder (1 Peter 5:50). Wives are to submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22) and all are to be subject one to another.
Submission is a pre-requisite for receiving the Spirit (Acts 5:32) An obedient walk is the evidence of a submitted will, therefore Paul goes on in Chapter 5 & 6 to instruct those in various walks of life to render obedience to those placed over them in the Lord. We are challenged to walk in full obedience to Messiah in every area of our lives.
When we yield to the Spirit and thereby abide in Y'shua (the Vine), His life will flow through us keeping us in a worshipful attitude to the Father and thankfulness for all His many blessings.
In our relationships with our fellow man, the primary focus should be to maintain His established order within His Body of believers and also in the established hierarchy of authority that He has established in the world system which governs our society and maintains order and discipline in it.
If our will is submitted to Him and we are walking in obedience to His principles then we should be able to walk with our fellow man in peace and without offense.
When offences do occur as they may through no fault of our own, then we are instructed to prefer others above ourselves and attempt to live in peace with all men as much as it is possible, understanding that some will be offended by the truth and the life of Y'shua in us, in a way which is beyond our control.
"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you are called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Ephesians 4: 1-2
"Therefore if there is any consolation in Messiah, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfil my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2: 1-4 "The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace" James 3:18
"Therefore let us follow after the things which make for peace and the things by which we may edify one another." Romans 14:19
"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil, cling to that which is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another .. .. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse . Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who seep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." Romans 12:18