Filled by the Spirit
Scan the whole of Ephesians 5. What is the main theme of this passage?
Paul is talking about living a Godly life; this is particularly in the context of the church....the Christian community. Notice how many of the instructions in this passage involve relationships with others. In the original Greek, verses 15-22 are written as one sentence, which is all about holiness.
What are the two commands in verse 18?
. Don't get drunk on wine.
. Do be filled with the Spirit.
The reason? : The days are evil.(v 16)
Therefore: do not be foolish but understand what the Lord's will is. (v 17)
And.....be filled with the Spirit. (v 18)
What are the four actions that show that someone is filled with the Spirit? (v 19-21)
. Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
. Singing and making music in your heart to the Lord.
. Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of Jesus.
. Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
What do these four things have in common?
They are not things that we would naturally do; all these actions focus away from ourselves towards God and others.
Why does Paul call these actions "being filled with the Spirit"?
We cannot do this without the Spirit, who helps us to please God. (Romans 8.8)
According to the passage, how is getting drunk on wine different to being filled with the Spirit?
Drunkenness leads to debauchery (v 18), that is uncontrolled and self-seeking indulgence. Getting filled with the Spirit leads to a right relationship with God and others.
How is getting drunk on wine similar to being filled with the Spirit?
They both lead to a dramatic change in behaviour. When we are controlled by something or someone else, we should make sure that we are controlled for godly and selfless purposes, not for destructive, selfish purposes.
A personal note here.....I knew two really nice people; one a young man who worked with me, and the other a young girl who was a friend of my daughter; if either of them had too much alcohol they became extremely violent, to the point of having to be restrained.
Read Colossians 3.16-17
What does this passage mention instead of being filled with the Spirit?
It instructs us to be filled with the Word of Christ. We have seen the close link between God's word and God's Spirit in study one. The implication here is....that if we let the word of Christ dwell in us richly, we shall be filled with the Spirit and that if we are filled with the Spirit,the word of Christ will dwell in us richly.
Notice that Ephesians 5.18 gives us a command. How can we obey it?
The fact that verses 18-20 are a single sentence in the original Greek indicates that we are actually filled with the Spirit when we do the actions listed here by Paul.....that is what is what being filled by the Spirit is all about. We don't have to pray to be filled with Him and then passively wait for some experience or spectacular event to occur. If you are speaking God's truth to others, singing to the Lord, giving thanks to Him for everything in the name of Jesus and submitting to others out of reverence for Christ......you are following the command to be filled with the Spirit. This is similar to walking.....or keeping in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5.25).
Look up the following verses and answer the following questions....
Who is filled with the Spirit?
For what purpose?
Luke 1.15 (v 16-17)
Luke 1.41(v 42-45)
Luke 1.67(v 68-69)
Acts 2.4(v 4, 11)
Acts 4.8(v 8-12)
Acts 9.17 (v 15)
Acts 13.9 (v10-11)
Acts 13.52 (v49-51)
Note that Luke, in his gospel, doesn't use "filled with the Spirit" to refer to being a "godly person" ,but rather to describe a special empowering at a particular time for a particular purpose. That purpose is always connected with speaking God's word, often in the context of opposition or persecution. On several occasions the filling of the Spirit gives Christians the courage to speak.
In contrast to Paul's writing, Luke says that being filled with the Spirit .....
Is not.....godly living in the Christian community (church).
It is........being empowered by the Spirit for the purpose of speaking God's word boldly, especially in situations of persecution and opposition.
So, according to Luke, someone who is filled with the Spirit you would expect to see proclaim the gospel boldly.
To think about. How are you involved in the Church's task of proclaiming the good news about Jesus? How do you feel about doing that? Has this study encouraged you?
Ask God to empower you by His Spirit to proclaim His message faithfully and boldly, no matter how difficult the situation.
Next week's study will be "Gifts of the Spirit" and we shall be looking at 1 Corinthians 12.4-31.
If you would like to join a zoom session to discuss this study do join us each week on a Wednesday at 10.30. ID 737 2295 9656 Password 3NZjXF
By the Spirit 30.5.2020
As in the last study, we need to find out exactly how the term "led by the Spirit" is used in the Bible. It is very easy to impose our own definition and end up reading the Bible incorrectly.
There are only 4 references to being led by the Spirit in the Bible and all of them are to be found in the New Testament; two of these verses are about Jesus and two are about Christians.
"Led by God" in the Old Testament.
"God" rather than "Spirit" is used in these verses, which give a biblical backdrop to the subject of being led by the Spirit in the New Testament.
Look up the following verses and answer these questions....
. Who was leading?
. Who was being led?
. Where were they being led?
Deut 8.2 & 15
All these OT references to being led by God are about the Exodus, when God rescued his people from Egypt to take them to the Promised Land. We can conclude from this that "led by God" in the OT refers to the whole people of God (Israel),who are led in keeping with His great plan and promises to Abraham; it doesn't refer to individuals who are led according to a personalised plan of God for their lives.
Jesus "led by the Spirit"
Read Luke 4.1-13 (see also Matthew 4.1-11;Mark 1;12-13
What similarities are there with the Exodus ?
. Both Israel and Jesus were led through the desert.
. Both passed through baptism before going into the desert.....Israel through the Red sea and Jesus baptised by John in the river Jordan.
. Israel spent 40 years in the desert and Jesus spent 40 days......both had difficult experiences in the desert.
What differences are there? (compare Hebrews 3.7-8 and 4.15)
. Israel failed the test and responded to hardship by grumbling and rebelling against God (Hebrews 3.7-8)
. Jesus passed the test and was found to be without sin despite being tempted in every way, just as we are (Hebrews 4:15)
Where did the Spirit lead Jesus ? Why?
The Spirit led Jesus into the desert so that, in resisting temptation, Jesus could be proved to be without sin and so qualified both to bear our sin on the cross and give Christians His righteousness. (2 Corinthians 5.21)
Christians "led by the Spirit "
Read Romans 8.12-17;Galatians 5.16-26
Note: the NIV translation of Galatians 5.16 & 25 is confusing because it uses the word "live" to mean separate things:
v16:"live" =" to be obedient to what the Spirit wants"
v25:"live" = "to be born again" i.e. "saved"
Both of these passages show us two ways to live.
For both passages list everything that you learn about the two ways to live........
. By the Flesh (sinful nature)
. By the Spirit.
Look at both passages. Who is being led by the Spirit?
. Romans 8: Christians -those who belong to Christ.
. Galatians 5: Christians-those who belong to Christ.
Look at Romans 8.12-17.
Where are these people led to?
. v13: struggle
. v13: life
. v14: sonship
. v17: suffering
. v17: glory
What does it then mean to be "led by the Spirit"?
It means to live the Christian life, experiencing both its hardships (the struggle with sin and suffering),and its blessings (the privilege of being children of God and the hope of eternal life and glory).
From what we have learned about being led by the Spirit, what should we expect the Christian life to be like?
One of both difficulty and blessing, struggle and joy, battle and peace. The old testament parallel with the life of the Christian in this world, is the 40 years when Israel wandered in the desert. However, we have the joyful hope of eternal glory and the presence of the Spirit leading us there. That the Christian life is a difficult path will come as a surprise to many, this is because of a misunderstanding of the term "led by the Spirit, when it is wrongly used to describe personal guidance and so becomes associated with ideas of fulfillment.
Look at Galatians 5.25. What command is given to those who are born again? What does that mean?
Those who "live by the Spirit"(are born again) are commanded to "keep in step with the Spirit". That means living in obedience to what the Spirit wants.
How does Galatians 5.17 describe the reality of what it means to keep in step with the Spirit?
If we keep in step with the Spirit, we will have to do what is contrary to the sinful nature; this will mean a battle. Similarly Romans 8.13 talks about putting to death the misdeeds of the body......clearly a painful process. In the same way Jesus, suffered when he was tempted in the desert, because he chose to do what was harder, in obedience to God, rather than take the easy way out as suggested by the devil.
To think about......
Have you realised that the Christian life in this world is not one of comfort and ease, but of struggle and hardship?
In which areas of your life do you need to do battle with your sinful nature? How will you do this?
. Praise God for Jesus, who has been tempted in every way, yet without sin.
. Do you need to confess to your heavenly Father times when you have given in to the sinful nature?
. How much of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5.22-23) can be seen in your life?
Ask God to grow and use this fruit for the blessing of everyone.
Next week’s topic is "Filled with the Spirit" and we shall be looking at Ephesians 5.15-22.
Following the study, if you would like to join in a discussion,or ask any questions on the topic, there will be a Zoom session on Wednesday June 3 at 10.30.
The meeting ID is: 207 656 2312 and Password: 2P5DAC. We are hoping to have one of these sessions each week while we cannot meet in the church hall and while the studies are on-line. The meeting ID and the password will remain the same.
The Gift of the Spirit 23.5.2020
This is another full study with plenty of texts to look up and consider; once again you might like to attempt the study in 2 sessions.
The gift of the Spirit must not be confused with the gifts of the Spirit, which we will be looking at in another study.
In Acts 2.38 Peter talks about "the gift of the Holy Spirit". In the last session we saw that what Peter was speaking of in this verse could also be referred to as "baptism with the Spirit" (compare Acts2.38 with what is explained in 1 Corinthians 12.13). Is it always true that "baptism with the Spirit = "the gift of the Spirit"? This study aims to answer that question.
There are a number of terms that are used for the giving of the Spirit........
Here are a number of texts from the book of Acts; look up each one and ask yourself the following questions.....
. What words describe the giving of the Spirit?
. Who is the Spirit given to?
. What led to this?
. Are there any other events connected to this?
Acts 2.33 and v 33-36
Acts 2.37-38 and v 41
Acts 8.12 and v15-17
Acts 9. 4-6 and v17-18
Acts 11.15 and v18
What do you notice about the words used for the giving of the Spirit?
There are a number of terms.......gift/baptised,/with/came on/filled with/poured out/and received. They all refer to the giving of the Spirit and are used interchangeably throughout the book of Acts.
In each incident what happens before the gift of the Spirit? (Apart from the first 3)
Christians are preaching, explaining, or witnessing to the good news about Christ.
What is always the response from others?
Among those who hear the good news there are always people who repent, accept the message, and are baptised, ie. become Christians.
Which features occur only sometimes?
. Wind and tongues of fire (Acts 2.2-3)
. Speaking in tongues/prophesying (Acts 2.4,10.46,Acts 19.6)
. Laying on of hands (Acts 8.170
. Physical healing (Acts 9.18)
What does this tell us?
Not to automatically equate these things with the gift of the Spirit; sometimes they occur and sometimes not. The Spirit may be given without any of these special signs taking place.
A personal note here; the wife of an Anglican vicar friend of mine told me some years ago, that when the Spirit filled her daughter's church (on the Isle of Skye),He came as a wonderful perfume and filled the whole building. We cannot limit our glorious God and He delights to surprise us!
What we have found in Acts is a description of events. Remember that a description is not the same as an explanation. We need to read other parts of the New Testament (Gospels and Letters),for a fuller explanation of these events.
Read Titus 3.4-7
What is being explained in these verses?
What happens when someone repents and believes in Jesus. (v5)
What is similar to the passages from Acts?
v 5-6"the Holy Spirit ,whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour"
What else do we learn bout what the Holy Spirit does for us?
Paul tells us that by the Holy Spirit, those of us who are saved....
. receive the washing of rebirth and renewal.
. have been justified by God's grace.
. can become heirs with the hope of eternal life.
Read John 3.16
How do these words of Jesus fit with what we have read in Acts?
According to the words of Jesus, to be born of the Spirit is to become a member of the Kingdom of God, which is to become a Christian. Similarly, in the book of Acts, we have seen that when the Spirit is given, people repent and are baptised, which means that they become a Christian.
To be born again of the Spirit = to receive the gift/baptism/outpouring of the Spirit = to become a Christian.
Has this session changed your view of what a Christian is?
Can you rejoice that you have received the Holy Spirit in your life?
Look again at Titus 3.4-7
. Praise and thank God, especially for the gift of the Spirit.
. Confess and sins.
. Ask for help in living as a true Christian.
Next week's study is entitled "Led by the Spirit" and we shall be looking at
Romans 8.12-17 and Galatians 5. 16-26
Baptised with the Spirit 16.5.2020
The next part of this course looks at some of the most common terms that are used about the Spirit and the Bible
is important to discover precisely what the bible means when it uses a
Read Acts 2.1-14
There are only 7 verses in the New Testament that mention "baptism with (or by) the Holy Spirit".....
These 4 announce that Jesus is the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit. As we saw in the last study, Jesus is the "Spirit Person" who will give the Spirit to the promised "Spirit People" (the church).
The 3 remaining verses....
1 Corinthians 12.13
......will be investigated in this study.
Read Acts 1.5 and 11.15-17
What do these 2 verses tell us about when the baptism with the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus took place?
Acts 1.5. Looks forward to the baptism with the Holy Spirit ....in "a few days".
Acts 11 15-17. Here Peter is explaining to the other apostles how the first non-Jews had come to faith in Christ, and looks back to the baptism with the Holy Spirit that the apostles had received......"God gave them the same gift as he gave us". So the first baptism with the Spirit occurred between these 2 Bible references.
Scan the chapters of Acts, between 1.v 5 and 11. v 15-17 and find out exactly when this event took place.
Looking at the section headings you will find that the first baptism with the Spirit is in Acts 2.
Before we look at the events of the day of Pentecost in detail we need to understand the difference between an event and its interpretation.....
An account of an event simply describes what happens.
The interpretation, which explains the significance of the event, comes later.
Read Acts 2.1-13, 41: The Event
List everything that happened......
. A sound like a violent wind. (v2)
. Tongues of fire. (v3)
. Jesus' followers speaking in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them (v4) and declaring the wonders of God in many languages (v11)
. People who heard them were amazed (v7,12)
. Some people made fun of them (v13)
. People, who accepted Peter's message (about 3,000 of them) were baptised and joined the church.
What did people at the time understand o be the meaning of the events that they had witnessed? (v 12-13)
Before Peter stood up and gave an explanation some were perplexed (v 12), others thought that the apostles must be drunk (v13).
Read Acts 2.14-21: The Interpretation (Part 1)
How do the events of the day fulfill the promises found in Joel 2.28-32,that Peter quotes in Acts 2.14-21?
The believers prophesied, and people called on the name of the Lord and were saved. Joel continues in apocalyptic language pointing to all kinds of people being able to speak the truth about Jesus (Hebrew 1.1-2).It was a fulfillment of the desire of Moses (Numbers 11.29),that not just prophets and leaders ,but that everyone of God's people would have the Spirit.
Read Acts 2 .22-37: The Interpretation (Part 2)
What does Peter talk about? List the main points of his sermon.
. Jesus was accredited by God through his miracles (v 22)
. Jesus was handed over to the Jews in accordance with God's plan (v 23)
. The Jews were responsible for Jesus' death. (v 23)
. God raised Jesus from death (v 24)
. Jesus' resurrection was predicted in the OT (v25-31)
. The apostles are witnesses of Jesus' resurrection.
. Jesus is exalted at God' right hand (v 33)
. Jesus has poured out the Spirit (v 33)
. Jesus' exaltation was predicted in the OT (v 34-35)
. God had made Jesus both Lord and Christ (v36)
What event,according to Peter shows that Jesus is now alive and exalted in Heaven ,even though the audience cannot see him?
Jesus receives the Spirit from the Father and pours Him out on His followers (v 33). This happened when Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God. The visible and audible wonders that accompanied the Spirit's arrival were signs that the enthronement of Jesus had taken place; just as in the time of the Exodus, the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire signified that God was with His people. At Jesus' baptism, the dove showed that God's Spirit had come down upon him. In Acts 4, the shaking of the building showed that God had heard the believers' prayer and that the Spirit had come to help them. At times the Spirit gives demonstrations of His presence and power that can be seen, heard or felt. At other times nothing like that happens.
Read Acts 2.37-40 The Interpretation (Part 3)
Why were the people cut to the heart?
They understood that they were responsible for crucifying the one that God had made both Lord and Christ.
Why was Peter's message good news?
If they repented and were baptised in the name of Jesus ,they would receive forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
What is promised in verses 38-39? Who is this for?
Forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Spirit is for everyone who repents( v39)
What do the events of the day of Pentecost show us about the work of the Spirit........
. in regard to Jesus?
The Holy Spirit shows the glory of Christ, demonstrating that He has been exalted to God's right hand and made Lord and Christ.
in regard to the apostles ?
The Holy Spirit helps them proclaim the truth about Jesus. Notice the difference it made to Peter, an uneducated fisherman; notice his boldness (v36). The baptism of the HS transformed him.
in regard to the audience?
3,000 people who originally were a mocking crowd,(v12-13) repented and believed in Jesus.
Read 1 Corinthians 12.13
After the day of Pentecost who is baptised with the the Spirit? What is the effect of baptism with the Spirit?(see also v3)
All Christians are baptised with the Spirit. The result is to unite many different kinds of people into one body, the church (v13) under the lordship of Christ (v3).
Baptism with the Spirit = becoming a Christian (repenting and believing in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins)
As we come to the end of this study, it is important to remember that the feast of Pentecost (Shavuot) was one of the 3 major Jewish festivals celebrated every year; the name reflects that it was held 50 days after Passover. It was primarily a thanksgiving for the first fruits of the wheat harvest. Note the significance here, that in Acts 2 we celebrate the first fruits of the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the accompanying harvest.....the birth of the church.
.Ask God to help you live and speak boldly for Jesus.
.Pray for your church and leaders, that your Christian ministry to the local community may be used by the Spirit to bring many to Christ.
Next week we will be looking at lots of texts in Acts on the subject "The Gift of the Spirit".