- Sermon Notes
Living the Spirit Filled Life - 2
The victorious Christian life is lived by the filling of the Holy Spirit. How you live has everything to do with what is filling your heart. In these last chapters Paul is contrasting the defeated, broken life of those who live by the principles of the world and the victorious Christian life of those filled with the Holy Spirit. One of the best verses to see that contrast is chapter 5, verse 18, “Do not get drunk with wine, that is dissipation, but be filled by the Holy Spirit.”
In other words, don’t be ‘under the influence’ of the Spirit of the world, but be ‘under the influence’ of the Spirit. There are a lot of things in this world that you can take into your heart that will poison your soul. Worldly inputs are all around us. Therefore, the way you live your life has everything to do with what you put into your soul.
Paul’s prayer in Chapter 3 is a key to the victorious life; if we would be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man and rooted and grounded in love, if we could comprehend the breadth, the length, the height and depth, and to experience the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, and if we could be filled up to all the fullness of God, then we would know that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or even think according to the power that works within us, and then we would have the treasures in our heart that would bring forth what is good in our lives.
In these last chapters Paul wants us to see that living by the Holy Spirit will impact every area of our lives; it’s very practical. This is important because many people compartmentalize their lives. In other words, they go to church and have a relationship with God there, but don’t have a relationship with God anyplace else. They can have a relationship that is very God-honoring at church, but live a life that isn’t God honoring at all the rest of the week.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit affects your relationship to God so that you want to honor Him in your marriage and how you raise your kids; it should impact the quality of your work as an employee and the way you respect people who work under your leadership.
In our last study in Ephesians Paul gave us the principles of living the Spirit filled life in our marriages. The key is found in verse 21 where Paul said that we are subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Paul takes those same principles and applies them to the relationships of children and parents and then goes on to apply those same principles to how we are as employees or supervisors. In other words, being filled with the Holy Spirit should impact every area of our lives.
- The key is the phrase ‘in the Lord, for this is right.’
- In other words, do these things out of reverence for Christ because you want to honor Him in your life.
Illus – We had many conversations with our kids where I would say something like, “God wants me to lead, to use good wisdom, and to set good boundaries in your life. What does God want you to do in our relationship?”
- The word ‘obey’ means to come under. As Jesus was under the authority of His Father, He is directing children to come under their parents’ authority.
- But Jesus was under that authority very well. In other words, he didn’t chafe against it, He knew that God would give Him authority because He was
under His Father’s authority very well.
- Obedience is contrary to their natural condition. Children are born rebellious by nature. You don’t have to teach a child to be selfish, or to lie, you don’t have to teach a child to throw a temper tantrum.
- A child is disobedient, selfish and self-centered because it’s their nature. In other words, a dog is a dog, a cat is a cat, a horse is a horse…
Illus - The Minnesota Crime Commissioned published a report that describes this perfectly: Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self-centered. He wants what he wants, when he wants it – his bottle, his mother’s attention, his playmates toy. Deny him these wants and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness, which would be murderous, were he not so helpless. He is dirty, he has no morals, no knowledge, and no skills. This means that all children, not just certain children, are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in the self-centered world of his infancy, given free reign to his impulsive actions to satisfy his wants, every child will grow up to be a criminal, a thief, a killer, and a rapist.
- Paul wrote in another place that in the latter days this will only grow worse.
2 Timothy 3:1-4, Realized this; in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
- If children obey their parents, Paul says, a blessing comes with it, “That it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.”
- Rebellion and disrespect in a child will make for a very difficult and trouble-filled life. The school of hard knocks is the most painful way to learn.
- If a child can grow spiritually, filled up with all the fullness of God, there is a spiritual bearing that will bring God’s blessing on their lives.
- By the way, I believe a child should honor their father and mother all the days of their lives.
Illus - I believe God wanted me to honor my mother so I had lunch with her every week for many years and took care of her medical concerns. I honored my father by not holding a grudge against him and he later came to faith in Christ.
B. Fathers do not provoke your children
- It’s interesting that Paul starts with this admonition. Parents have authority in their children’s lives and we should be very careful with that authority.
- Parents need to be under the authority of Christ themselves so that they parent out of reverence for Christ.
- Notice also that he specifically speaks to fathers. God wants fathers to be engaged in raising up their children. Many delegate this to their wives. I can’t tell you how many wives are asking for their husbands to be invested in their family.
Illus - When we got pregnant with our first child, I decided I wanted to be involved as much as possible. I even wanted to help deliver the children. That was interesting
- Don’t provoke your children, Paul wrote, raise them up in the instruction of the Lord. There’s a great difference.
- There are many ways to provoke a child; teasing a child by holding out a treat and then pulling it back, thinking it’s funny, but it only aggravates them.
- Another way is by tearing them down or breaking their Spirit. God’s heart is always to build up and edify, never to tear down or aggravate.
- Parents can also provoke their children by using consequences as a way to intimidate or break their will. Consequences are part of training ‘up’ a child to grow in maturity.
- “Raise them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,” Paul wrote. Correcting a child is a spiritual opportunity. We should look for those opportunities to teach spiritual character lessons.
- Notice, though, that this is parenting that comes out of being filled with the Spirit, having the heart of God, doing it out of reverence for Him.
Malachi 4:6, “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers…”
- These verses actually referred to slaves and masters; some historians have said that almost half of the population of the Roman empire was actually slaves.
- Praise God that this practice is almost completely nonexistent around the world today. But the same principles can apply to employees and managers.
A. Work with sincerity of heart
- Our attitude and perspective at work is a reflection of our faith. Work sincerely from your heart, as if you were working for Christ.
Illus - This is a problem all over the world. I remember on one of my first trips to Russia I was amazed at the unhelpful attitude of many workers. Finally, I asked someone to explain and they said, “They pretend to pay us, so we pretend to work.”
- Paul’s point is that Christians should be the best employees a manager has because their work is a reflection of their faith. Because they are working as if for Christ, they should be honest, hard-working, have a great “work ethic,” they should be servant hearted to those around them and respectful to managers. In other words, they are great workers with great attitudes. That is highly valued.
- One of the difficulties back then, but also even now, is that some managers are extremely difficult to work for. Your faith and the principles of God’s Word are a great help in navigating turbulent waters.
Illus - When I was in Bible College I worked as a server in high-class restaurants and one of my managers was from Egypt and was a slave driver. I used to say that if he ever asked me to make bricks without straw, “I’m outta here.” One day, I ran into severe turbulence, but I felt God’s Spirit giving me wisdom.
- Paul also said to work sincerely, and not by way of eye service, as men pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.
- Doing ‘eye service’ is when people only work hard because the boss is watching, but as soon as he is not watching, they slack off their work.
Illus - There was a foreman in Africa that found those working under him had the problem of ‘eye service.’ However, he was the proud owner of a glass eye and found that he could take it out and place it on a stump… Interestingly, companies that use an honesty box in the lunchroom found that a picture of someone’s face next to it made it much more effective.
- Work with good will, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing a person does, this he will receive back from the Lord.
Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
- Strong faith believes that our success is in the hands of the Lord and that He is the one who blesses our diligence and faithfulness and steadfast character.
- One of the best examples in the Bible is that of Joseph; betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery, God blessed his faithfulness over and over.
Genesis 39:3-4, Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper. So Joseph found favor in his sight.
- It’s a question of faith…
Psalm 1:3, He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in it season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.
- Verse 9 – There is no partiality with God, Paul wrote, your master and theirs is in heaven.
- Give up threatening, Paul wrote. In other words, show respect to everyone, regardless of their position. Don’t look down on others simply because you have a position of authority; that’s the way the world works, but you are to be different.
- There’s a theme that runs through the last couple of chapters; if you are filled with the Spirit, you have an attitude of humility. The closer you are to God, the more you respect Him and that causes you to see others the way He sees them.
Matthew 9:36, Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited; like sheep without a shepherd.
- Jesus gave us the heart of ‘servant-leadership.’
Matthew 20:28, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
- If you are filled with the Holy Spirit that causes you to be different than the world.
Mark 10:42-44, “You know that those who are rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them… But it is not this way among you, whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be the servant of all.”
Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
Ephesians 6:1-9 NASB
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honoryourfather and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 so that it may be well withyou, and that you may live long on the earth. 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; 6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7 With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. 9 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him