From the Pastor’s Desk
Marriage Session 8
Ephesians 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Most of this lesson is a departure from marriage counseling, as such. I’m going to give information that is needed as background when you have the opportunity to help other with their marriage. It wouldn’t hurt to know if for your own spiritual benefit, either. I don’t usually go into any real detail on the Filling of the Spirit in an actual counseling session. The Filling of the Spirit is absolutely necessary if there is to be a Biblical relationship. However, at the time of a marriage crisis is not usually a good time to move into a theological dissertation on Pneumatology.
So we can have a proper Biblical relationship of any kind we are given instruction in Eph 5:15-21 as to things we must do or have in order to actively participate in a spiritual relationship with other humans. We are to have our walk circumspect. It should be of knowledge and should be accurate. We are to buy up the time, or else there will be no time for relationships. We are to have wisdom and understanding so that our life will be ordered and not just moving through life mindlessly. “If only I knew the will of God, then I would know what to do, and our marriage would be all right.” There is some truth in that statement. However, very few live according the what they already know of the will of God, anyway. God has provided us with the indwelling Holy Spirit so we can know the will of God. However, knowing the will of God is not some mystical hokey-pokey thing. For the most part, it is gaining knowledge, discerning that knowledge and applying that knowledge.
I Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
Spiritual life is not just a series of negatives. We are not spiritual because we do not do worldly things. If our motive, desire for living and purpose of life are only to have things of this world, we haven’t even made it to “first base”. Spirituality is an accomplishment in and through the Believer by the Holy Spirit. The major accomplishments in and through the Believer by the Holy Spirit have to do with attitude and motive. When our motive and attitudes have been changed by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, the purpose for and manner in which we perform physical activities will also be different. There are several ministries of the Holy Spirit in the Believer’s life. The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit happens at the moment of Salvation. This is a one time ministry that continues as long as we are in the body. Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. John 14:16 "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, 17 "even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
The Indwelling is also referred to as the Anointing of the Spirit. I John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I John 2:27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. This Indwelling involves the Baptism of the Holy Spirit by which we are placed into the Body of Christ. The Indwelling also involves the Sealing of the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. The Sealing is closely related to and is a part of the Earnest or Downpayment of Holy Spirit, Who is our assurance of the inheritance. All of these ministries of the Holy Spirit become ours at the moment of salvation and are a permanent aspect of our spiritual life. These aspects of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives come to us by faith and without any effort on our part except to receive Christ as Savior.
The Filling of the Spirit, or Walking in the Spirit, or being Led by the Spirit involves effort and action on our part. Please understand that our action is not the means that produces spirituality. Spirituality is produced by the Holy Spirit and by the Holy Spirit ONLY. Our action only removes hindrances to the work of the Spirit in our lives, or adds things that can be used by the Holy Spirit. Our actions demonstrate obedience on our part to the command of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God within our lives. So it is essential that we have that Word within our lives and are obedient to it.
I know that this overview of the Holy Spirit was sketchy at best, BUT we MUST have at least a base knowledge and understanding of His working in our lives if we are to know what it means to be Filled with the Spirit. If we are not being Filled with the Spirit, then there is no way we can know the spiritual reality of a Biblical marriage. If through this overview, I have left you in the dark, we’ll take a few minutes and try to light a candle or two through your questions.
After saying all of this, I need to caution you not to get too wrapped up in these terms. All of these are descriptive terms, and are overlapping in their function. This subject, like any other subject in the Bible must be seen as a whole. Departmentalization of any one of these subjects is for our benefit in study. After we have seen the parts and have a fair understanding of them, we must put them together and see them as a whole, IF the teaching is to be of any real meaning to us.
At Salvation, we obviously received all of the Holy Spirit. So the Filling is not obtaining MORE of the Holy Spirit. It is instead just what the word indicates. It is that more and more of our life is made open and available for the occupation of the Holy One. Even though our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, this is not talking about the Holy Spirit “getting into” more of our body. We are talking about the “life” or “soul”, the very essence of the person. The Filling is dependent on personal “adjustments” within the life of the Believer. Some of those “adjustments” will involve the removal of sinful practices that hinder or quench the Holy Spirit. Other “adjustments” will require that you add practices or attitudes which can be used by the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, This dying or living is not a reference to our salvation. It is a reference to living daily in the spiritual realm, or our not living within the spiritual realm. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God”.., has reference to the mature sons, also referenced in 19-22 in the “adoption process”, and is in contrast to the “children” vs 16. We will go back in Paul’s presentation and follow this theme of putting to death certain things so we can know this life in the Spirit.
II Peter 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Over and over again in the Scriptures, we are told to add certain qualities, actions and attitudes to our lives. This passage is very clear in this fact, and defines several areas that need to be in a constant state of being added to our life. This adding is a process, not a single transaction. As we eliminate or kill those things that would hinder or quench the Spirit, and we add those things that the Spirit can use to produce spiritual life within our mortal bodies, we are being Filled with the Spirit. We are not getting more of the Spirit.., BUT the Spirit is able to move into more and more areas of our life.
The Baptism, Sealing and Indwelling are a one time event with continuing results into eternity, and are not dependent on our actions. The Filling of the Spirit is something that requires our activity in conjunction with the Spirit, and to one degree or another transpires on many occasions. The Filling should not be an “event” that happens over and over again. It should be an “on going process” of continually greater and greater surrender to the Holy Spirit. However, because it is a spiritual process that requires our cooperation, like anything dependent on the human nature, it is spasmodically progressive at best.
Obviously, if we are to be Filled with the Spirit, we must not Quench the Spirit.
I Thessalonians 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit. Quench = (Greek) Extinguish i.e. to suppress, restrain or squelch. Ephesians 6:16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. This quenching is not a reference to putting out or loosing the Holy Spirit. The shield of faith is not a “wet” shield that put out the fire of the flaming darts. Instead, the shield restrains, suppresses, or deflects the darts from accomplishing their intended purpose. We are not to suppress or restrain the Holy Spirit from doing His job in our lives. There are certain actions and attitudes that do exactly that. Therefore, we are to remove or change those actions and attitudes so as not to Quench (restrain, squelch, deflect) the Holy Spirit. The manifestation or the Fruit of the Spirit must have certain physical actions and attitudes to be able to manifest that “fruit” through and by human flesh. Therefore, we must change or add those actions and attitudes to our lives.
There is the another activity that we are to stop or prevent within our lives in regards to the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you. Grieve = (Greek) To affect the scruple; To cause pain or grief; To distress. Scruple = (Webster) An ethical consideration; A moral principle.
The Holy Spirit seals until the day of redemption, and we are not to do or think in a manner that would place the Holy Spirit in an ethical or moral dilemma. The Holy Spirit is a permanent part of our being as long as we are on this earth. THEREFORE, any place we go, anything we say, whatever we think exposes the Holy Spirit to those things. He can’t leave us until after the “day of redemption”, so these actions of ours can and often do place the Holy Spirit in an ethical and moral dilemma. That would certainly have a dampening effect on the spiritual ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In the verses around this statement, Paul give us some positive and negative things we can do so that we will not be grieving the Holy Spirit.
Most Christians SAY they want to be Filled with the Spirit.., BUT very few of us are willing to do what is necessary to accomplish that fact. We will not be able to explore all aspects of this being Filled, because most of the New Testament deals with this subject to one degree or another. We will look at enough of that process to keep you busy for sometime to come. However, it is my guess that most do not REALLY want the filling. We only want the spiritual status that comes by the outward manifestation of the Filling. So for what it’s worth, let’s get started.
vs 29 tells of some things of which we are to rid ourselves, and some things we must add to our life. No surprise.., Paul starts with the MOUTH: (1) What (2) How and (3) Why we say what we do. By the way, this has a LOT to do with a Christian marriage, or a marriage of any kind. We are to PREVENT any corrupt communication from coming out of our mouth. This is not just a “nice” thing to do..., it is an absolute! We have already seen that what we say makes quite a difference in our marriage. This fact is true and keeps coming up over and over again in the Bible, AND is all important in any Biblical relationship. Corrupt = (Greek) Rotten i.e. worthless; Putrefying.
Already, I can imagine some pseudo spiritual person saying, “Well, I’ve made it on that point. I don’t do any of that rotten talking. Why, I hardly even use slang.” I hate to disappoint you, but it is not talking about dirty language. The Holy Spirit puts any kind of talking in the “corrupt” communication bracket that does not accomplish the purpose of the last part of this verse... “but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Check your mouth! Is what you are about to say “Good for Edification” of the one who will hear you? That doesn’t JUST mean, is it truthful? It means, will it help build them up and make them stronger in the Lord? If not! Shut-your-mouth! Hey! Don’t look at me like that. That’s what the Bible said. It may have been translated into different terms, but it said “don’t let it proceed out of your mouth”. If what you are going to say is not good for building up the one hearing it.., THEN “Don’t let that corrupt communication proceed our of you mouth”. In other words, “shut-your-mouth!!” It would be good if most Christian had “lock-jaw” far more of the time than we do.
Many Christians just open their mouth, and give no thought as to whether it is edifying or not. Some of the classic religious lies go something like...: “I just want to tell you this love.” OR “I’m only telling you this so you can pray for so and so.” Hog wash!! If a person needs praying for.., pray for ‘em! You don’t need to know why they need prayer. God know why, and He can take if from there. Somehow we seem to think we are so BIG that unless we explain why so-’n-so needs prayer.., God can’t figure it out. That is the height of egotism . Most generally communication of that nature is, at best, to let the hearer know how spiritual and “in the know” we are. At its worst, this type of communication is designed to tear down the hearer or the one we are talking about.
Either way, God says not to let that type of “corrupt” communication get out of your mouth. IT GRIEVES THE HOLY SPIRIT. Even with all that, we haven’t really started with the command of what we are to do, and not to do in order to NOT grieve the Holy Spirit. What we “let out” of our mouth is to be for the NECESSARY edification of the hearer. That means that we are to be in tune with the one we are talking with, AND know what is needed to be said so they will be edified. That will slow us down a little bit. We need to think about the other person, NOT just about what we have to say. We need to stop and think and pray so we will know “What is needed to be said so this person will be built up”. If we don’t, we are grieving the Holy Spirit, and can’t expect to get very far with this Filling of the Spirit.
Paul is not through, yet. There are some things that must be “put away from you”. Bitterness = (Greek) Pointed; Sharp; Pungent. This list of things obviously have a broad application throughout the life of the Believer. However in context, they are speaking of our speech. Other aspect of our lives are dealt with elsewhere. Don’t let your speech be pointed, sharp and pungent. Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Wrath = (Greek) Hot Anger; Passion as if breathing hard; An outburst from inward indignation.
Anger = (Greek) Originally any natural impulse, or desire, or disposition. Came to signify "anger," as the strongest of all passions. Violent, hot passion or desire usually with the intent of unjustifiable punishment. Can denote an internal motion, especially that of plants and fruits swelling with juice.
Clamor = (Greek) An out cry in notification (as a raven); A tumult of controversy.
Evil Speaking = (Greek) Vilification; To injure; Defamatory speech; Abusive speaking.
Malice = (Greek) Degenerate in character; (the opposite of excellence); Malignity.
Kind = (Greek) Employed; To furnish what is needed.
Tenderhearted = (Greek) Compassionate; (the translation is the definition).
Forgiving = (Greek) To bestow a favor unconditional.
© Clyde White
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