A friend told me of a his son who was always willing to help people, but when he drank (got drunk), he became a different person. Some of us may have had friends or relatives, like this young man who drank heavily, who then became “different” people.
The (Gentile) culture of the Ephesians was very different to even our own. People would often get drunk, steal, deceive and had extremes of immorality. The new believers in Ephesus also would do some of these things.
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18-19)
Here there is a comparison and a contrast with being drunk with wine and being filled with the Spirit. (There is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol, but it is wrong to drink it so we become drunk)
The work of the Spirit
When we believe we are marked with a seal the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. (Ephesians 1: 13-14). The believer has the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 3:16 ), but we must also be filled.
How can we filled with God’s Spirit? The filling of us with God’s Spirit is his work. Our work is to prepare ourself for his Spirit.
When we look at chapter 4 of Ephesians it is plain that we must not live as the Gentiles do (like those around us), but rather put off our old self and put on the new self.
For the Ephesians this meant:
- Not speaking lies, but telling the truth.
- Not stealing, but working so that they could share with those in need.
- Not using bad language, but saying that which is helpful.
- Not being full of rage and bitterness, but kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other
Why should we be filled with Spirit?
- The work of the spirit is a stimulant not a depressant.
- The work of the spirit is productive not destructive.
- The work of the spirit produces real fellowship and joy
Do you want to be filled with the Spirit?
If so put off the wrong behaviour and attitudes and put on the right behaviour and attitudes. Look to God for his stimulating, productive Spirit which brings true joy and fellowship.