"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." NIV
In this passage following the lesson on living wisely and understanding the Lord's will, Paul contrasts drunkenness with being filled with the Spirit. Obviously, it is making a choice as to what or whom we will be under the influence -- an over-abundance of alcohol or the Spirit of God. Hmmm, when you put it that way, this should be a no-brainer. Think about it, smashed out of my brain to the point I don't remember where I live, or filled with the Spirit of the Almighty Creator of the universe. Now Paul is using drunkenness as an example here; he could have used anything from the previous list of things to avoid, and filling our lives with any one of them would be in direct contrast to being filled with the Spirit.
When we receive Christ as our Savior, His Spirit comes to live within us. So what does being filled with the Spirit of God again do? According to the NIV study notes, the Greek present tense verb used here does not imply a one-time action. Being filled is an on-going process as the need arises. And the following verses, 19-20, would be some of the times we need empowered with more of the Spirit - to witness and worship. And that's where it is defined -- an empowering by God. We saw it in Acts 2:1-4 where the believers received the Holy Spirit and were "empowered" to speak in other languages that they had never learned before so they could share the truth of Jesus Christ. There were people gathered in Jerusalem from different nations and language groups for Pentecost. After the pouring out of God's Spirit, the believers were able to communicate with the foreign visitors the gift of salvation.
I may not walk up to a Frenchman today and suddenly be able to speak in French (unless the Holy Spirit wants to give that to me) but I do experience His power all the time in various ways. I can't imagine living without Him and His power enabling me to complete the calling God has placed on my life. I need His strength from simple tasks to complex ones; and He always provides when I ask. We serve a faithful God with a generous Spirit. He gives us of Himself over and over again if we will only ask, receive, and be thankful. Walk in His will, and He will provide the resources and power you need. He's promised.
- Where is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit prophesied in the Old Testament? (IF YOU WANT A HINT: Look in "Hidden book." Short book, you'll find it.)
- What does John the Baptist say about the Holy Spirit? (See Matthew 3:11 and Mark 1:7-8)
- Using a concordance, look up some Old Testament passages about the Spirit of God. When and for what purpose does God give His Spirit?
- Read through other passages in Acts where the Holy Spirit came on the people. What happened?
- How is the work of the Spirit related to faith? Support with Scripture.
- The same Spirit that led the people of the Old and New Testaments is the same Spirit that fills us today. Why do you think we, in the United States, don't see some of the same dramatic results as they saw then or as some believers see in other countries now?