Friday, November 11, 2005

Be Filled with the Spirit

In the whole debate on cessationism that is currently keeping bloggers busy in the existence of blogdom I thought that I'd point you to a sermon that John Piper preached on Eph 5:18.
The apostle Paul commands in Ephesians 5:18 that we be filled with the Spirit. Therefore, I want to try to answer two questions today. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? And, How can we be filled with the Spirit? I think it might help you follow me if I tell you at the outset where I am going. So I'll start with my conclusions and then give the Biblical support. I think being filled with the Spirit means basically having great joy in God. And since the Bible teaches that "the joy of the Lord is our strength" (Nehemiah 8:10), it also means there will be power in this joy for overcoming besetting sins and for boldness in witness. But basically it means radiant joy because the Spirit who fills us is the Spirit of joy that flows between God the Father and God the Son because of the delight they have in each other. Therefore, to be filled with the Spirit means to be caught into the joy that flows among the Holy Trinity and to love God the Father and God the Son with the very love with which they love each other. And then, in answer to the second question, the way to be filled with the Spirit is by trusting that the God of hope really reigns—that not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from His will (Matthew 10:29)—and that He runs the world for you and for all who trust His word. In believing that, you will be filled with the Holy Spirit and with joy.
With the spread of Pentecostalism in this country and in the third world there has been a lot of discussion about the New Testament phrases "filled with the Spirit" and "baptized with the Spirit." I feel some obligation therefore today not merely to interpret Ephesians 5:18 in its immediate context but also to orient what I say in the wider New Testament teaching.
Continue reading Piper's sermon called Be Filled with the Spirit.
Just thinking...

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