Ephesians 5 Series #2




TEXT:         Ephesians 5:18;    Acts 2:4-21


INTRO:       There is one thing in the universe that all things must have to continue on ... ENERGY!


a.   Stars cannot give light or warmth once they run out of energy - they collapse!

b.   Stop the energy flow to your home and see what happens!

c.   Food is nothing more than a form of supplying our bodies with needed energy so we can continue to function.

d.   Your automobile must have regular supply stops for energy if you hope to keep going somewhere in it ... no one has ever returned a car to the dealership after they bought it just because it ran out of fuel ... it is expected you will have to replace the energy frequently!

e.   AND SO IT IS SPIRITUALLY, we must maintain an energy flow from God to keep going spiritually, this is what is meant by being "FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT" the ultimate source of energy!  (And a supply without end or limit!)


ILLUS:      There must be a correspondence between the receiver and the transmitter. When we listen to a radio broadcast, there are many sound waves all around us, but the only way for us to become aware of them is to have an appropriate receiver able to catch them and make them audible. We would never know that anyone was talking to us from a distance if we expected our watch to pick up the sound waves. There is only one way in which man can know God, and that is through man's own spirit. God is a Spirit and can be known only by a spirit. We must not expect to feel Him with our fingers, or see Him with our physical eyes. It cannot be done. Yet that which can be perceived only by the spirit of man is just as real as that which can be perceived by his physical senses. - Source Unknown


PROP.  SENT:    The Bible teaches us to be "filled with the Spirit" every day, not just when we feel like it ... we need daily energy for living as God would have us live, to be "energized" Christians; ("dynamite" from Greek word in Acts 1:8 "dunamos" meaning, "power.")


I.   FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT!    Eph. 5:18a


A.   Drunk!    Eph. 5:18a

1.   Paul is setting up a contrast of thought in this verse.

a.   The Greek word in this text for "filled" means to "cram" or "fill up."

b.   But, it is to be filled up with God's Spirit, not the kind of "spirits" the world uses to become numb. 

2.   In his call to the church at Ephesus Paul is asking them to avoid getting drunk with the spirits of the bottle ... why?  Eph 5:18 "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit."  The answer to the "why" is that it leads to debauchery instead of discipleship.


ILLUS:      Strong drink can weaken character. -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990).


a.   Drunkenness dulls the senses ... thus leaving us open to actions that we might not otherwise get involved in.

b.   Because drunkenness tends toward poor judgment, creating possible situations that might lead to horrifying consequences later, Paul admonishes them to stay away from these "spirits" of the bottle!  They impact negatively the following areas of our lives:

(1.   Physical

(2.   Spiritual

(3.   Mental

c.   Rather than help us have energy it would rob us of energy; we would only think we are more energetic when drunk!

d.   Because it would impair their physical nature towards being uncoordinated, and leading to accidents, and possible destruction.

e.   Because drunkenness tends to give a FALSE sense of well-being, at best a temporary elation!

3.   What is Paul's point: There are always choices in this world ... go for the "gusto" of this world, or go for God's "gusto!"

a.   The feeling of joy from the first is brief and false, works by dulling the body and mind and lowering the issues of discretion in one's behavior.

b.   The feeling of joy from the second is eternal and true, works by sharpening the senses and the spirit!  The Spirit of God actually sharpens our sense of discretion.


B.    Debauchery!    Eph. 5:18a

1.   The "spirits of the bottle" are always associated with debauchery and destruction ... never with clarity and productiveness!

a.   Old Testament:

(1.   Noah got drunk and his children "uncovered" his nakedness and one was cursed because of it. (Genesis 9)

(2.   Lot got drunk and fathered children with his own daughters; they used alcohol to seduce him in a drunken state.  (Genesis 19:31-33)

(3.   David got Uriah drunk deliberately in an attempt to cover his own sin (2 Sam. 11:13) but it failed to help him.

b.   New Testament:

(1.   The Corinthians were getting drunk at the Lord's table, it was a disaster!  (1 Cor. 11)

(2.   Jesus used the idea of drunkenness in a parable about stewardship; explaining that the wicked servants were those who had a connection with drinking.  (Matt. 24:49)

(3.   1 Thessalonians 5:7 Paul warned the Thessalonians to avoid drunkenness, to stay alert.

c.   Even when used in a more positive role like passages in the Old Testament that talks about giving "beer to the perishing." (Prov. 31:6-7)

d.   Wine or beer then was given as a pain reliever like a drug; not for debauchery.

2.   The end result of drunkenness is loss, not gain ... something you will likely never see in a beer or wine commercial on T.V.!

3.   The reason Paul is so emphatic on this point is because of the way alcohol works, it strips from its victims control over their body and mind, and lowers the moral standards normally intact ... a dangerous thing when you have a fallen nature!

a.   We are called to be IN CONTROL of our body and mind!


ILLUS:       Both in England and in North America the same little poem is a part of folk tradition: "A whistling girl and a crowing hen will surely come to some bad end." The verse comes from an old belief that by whistling one could raise the wind. It was imitative magic. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3 that a man cannot control the wind and cannot control the Holy Spirit. It is rather for us to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).


b.   Not to have our fallen nature rule us!  History is replete with horrible results and stories in people's lives from alcohol.

c.   This is the real issue on the problem of drunkenness; it is not about bad people, it is about losing control.

4.   Drunkenness is nothing but trouble!


II.  FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT!    Eph. 5:18b;  Acts 2:4-21


A.    Dynamic!    Eph. 5:18b;   Acts 2:4-13

1.   What a contrast!

a.   These men had just come out from hiding for fear of the Jews and now, filled with the Spirit of God they are praying fearlessly in the presence of the same Jews, along with over 100 others; both men and women!  (120 in the upper room)

b.   It is interesting that the Jews at first make the mistake of thinking they are drunk! (See Acts 2:13) 

(1.   A similar mistake had been made about Hannah in the Old Testament when she was praying at the Temple: 1 Sam 1:13 "Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk."  Her stammering lips here in deep prayer had made the priest Eli think she was drunk, much like the stammering lips of the 120 in the upper room had done with this crowd.

(2.   When the Spirit of God comes on a person, it is a powerful experience!  Even in the Old Testament this happened: 1 Sam 10:6 "The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person."

c.   The crowd is amazed at these disciples, rather than being drunk with spirits they are "filled with THE SPIRIT!"

2.   This filling of the Holy Spirit had transformed these common men and women into uncommon men and women ... people you couldn't overlook!

a.   This is what the filling of the Holy Spirit does for you, it doesn't make you necessarily better than another Christian, BUT IT DOES MAKE YOU BETTER THAN YOU!

b.   This we can all use!  It is NEVER meant to be a gauge or spiritual superiority, to compare ourselves to one another ... it is meant to empower US to "Be witnesses" (Acts 1:8)  To be under the control of the Spirit, in contrast to earthly wine which does the opposite, earthly wine leaves you out of control!

3.   In Acts 2:12 you can read the reaction of the crowd to this small band of Spirit filled disciples: "AMAZED AND PERPLEXED, THEY ASKED ONE ANOTHER, 'WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?" Acts 2:12

a.   Either spirit will transform you ... Alcohol or God's Spirit!


ILLUS:      There are various kinds of drunkenness.  Holy Scripture speaks of those who "are drunken, but not with wine."  There is the drunkenness of pride, of anger, and of vengeance;  and there is another kind altogether, of zeal and fervor.  It was with this latter that the apostles were filled when they received the Holy Spirit. -- Francois Fenelon in Spiritual Letters to Women. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 8.


b.   Alcohol's transformation was well known ... but this filling of the Spirit of God's was unknown to this crowd, they would soon see how it transformed the small band of scared followers of Christ!

c.   Rather than dulling their senses, the Holy Spirit heightened their natural qualities by assigning to them a supernatural quality ... at this moment of being filled with the Spirit they spoke in other tongues!

d.   This dynamic gift of tongues proclaimed to the crowd the wonders of God in the various languages of the crowd ... instead of slurred speech which would normally occur with drunkenness; their speech when filled with the Spirit was clear, articulate, and speech testifying of the wonders of God!

e.   This is the dynamic of God's Spirit, He sharpens our entire being, what a dynamic gift!


B.    Declaration!    Acts 2:14-21

1.   What happens?

a.   Peter the former frightened disciple stands up and declares to the crowd the GOSPEL!

b.   While drunkenness often contains "BAD NEWS," the new wine of the Gospel is "GOOD NEWS!"

2.   Peter preaches like he never preached before, a new boldness grips him and the others as they stand for Christ in the midst of a crowd that only 50 days earlier gave assent to the murder of Jesus, and just days before had forced them into hiding for fear of their own lives!

3.   Now they stood out in the crowd ... these were Spirit filled men and women!

a.   The verb tense in Eph. 5:18b for "Be Filled" is Present, Indicative, Active in the original Greek: meaning, "KEEP ON BEING FILLED EACH DAY."  It was not meant as a single event, but as present and continuous!


ILLUS:     God commands us to be filled with the Spirit, and if we are not filled, it is because we are living beneath our privileges. -- Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899) - Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 5778


b.   It is not a onetime thing, it is meant to be a daily thing!

c.   just like you don't fill your car up once with gas, you don't get filled just once with the Spirit!

d.   The Spirit of God is the real "ENERGIZER!"

e.   Recharging or refilling is a need for every believer!


CONCLUSION:     There are 2 very different ways to transform your life: the spirits of wine will transform you, or the Spirit of the Word!  Paul asks the church to "fill-er-up" on the Spirit of God, not wine.  Nothing keeps running without a fill-up on some regular basis ... how about you, are you running empty or on the wrong source of energy, or are you being filled by the Spirit each day?  One creates debauchery, the other creates dynamic disciples.