The RESULTS of
The chart above shows us the results of living in the Spirit. Listening to and uncovering (agreeing with) what the Spirit speaks to us about, brings freedom. We said that the bank robber covers up his sins and gets into further bondage. When we go to our friend, brother, or mother and admit that we have had a wrong attitude or behaviour, it leads to freedom from that sin. Always remember that God's ways sometimes cause short-term pain, but they will give us long-term gain. Ephesians 5:18 talks about being filled with the Spirit: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." This passage then goes on to give three evidences of a Spirit-filled Christian.
Verse 19 speaks of a "melody in the heart." "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." When everything is right in the life of a Christian, the Spirit of God gives love, joy, and peace which in turn give a song in the heart. The Christian is supposed to be one with a singing heart. Have you met a new Christian and seen the joy of the Lord on his face? Freedom from sin, a sense of God's presence and a bright future ahead are all to be a part of the life of the Christian. Today there are many who are suggesting all sorts of things as signs of being filled with the Spirit, but here in Ephesians 5 we have one of the three major signs declared to be evidences. "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."
In verse 20 we have the second evidence of a Spirit-filled Christian and that is "giving thanks always for all things." When Jesus is Lord we can expect God's blessing and know that Romans 8:28 comes true: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." More will be said about this later in Lesson 15, "Delighting in Life's Disciplines." It doesn't mean that everything will be easy, but the Christian doesn't look at the present but at the end result. The story of Paul and Silas in prison is a good illustration of this, as is also the story of Joseph.
Verse 21 gives us the third evidence of one who is Spirit filled. It says, "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." When we are self-centered instead of Christ-centered, we won't want to be submitting ourselves to God or to anyone else. This verse says "in the fear of God." We want to live in the right relationship to God so that we can expect His blessing on our lives. We put others first instead of ourselves. This is why it is a joy to be with truly Spirit-filled Christians, because they are "others-first" minded.
1. The Result of Living for Self
Covering - Bondage
2. The Answer to the Self Life
a) Agree with God
b) Take it to Calvary
c) Make Restitution
d) Walk in the Spirit
Show me someone with a melody in the heart, giving thanks for all things and submitting one toward another, and I'll show you a Spirit-filled Christian. May their tribe increase. If we are not experiencing this, we need to go back to Part 2 of the above chart, agree with what God is saying to us about our lack of joy, unthankfulness or lack of submission and then follow the other steps. God brings His blessings, not so much because of what we know, but rather what we do with what we know.
The RESULTS of
Part "B" of the above chart tells us the results of the Lordship of Christ or being filled with the Spirit. Relationships improve in three particular areas:
(a) In Ephesians 5:22 it says, "Wives, submit." In Ephesians 5:25 it says, "Husbands, love your wives." Today we have many broken homes and divorces. Reasons that are given are many, but without exception you will find husbands have not done what Ephesians 5:25 says, or wives have not done what Ephesians 5:22 says. If husbands would love as they should, wives would submit as they should. There could be a beautiful relationship instead of the other kind.
Many times husbands will say, "If my wife were more submissive I would be more loving," and wives will say, "If my husband were more loving I would be more submissive." Maybe we need to mind our own business. Do what we should do and let the Spirit of God show the other what they should do. What a beautiful thing it is to see a loving husband and a submissive wife. God can do it if we put Self off the throne and let Jesus Christ have His rightful place.
(b) Next we see another area that will be much better if Jesus Christ is Lord. It is the child-parent relationship. In Ephesians 6:1 it says, "Children obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right." In verse 4 it says, "And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath." It seems that apart from the Lordship of Christ and the Spirit-filled life, there is a natural tendency for children to be disobedient to their parents. And parents, through their self-will, provoke children to wrath. Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if the relationship between parents and children were consistently pleasant? It can be if we consistently practise the Spirit-filled life. Again, if we are children we should concentrate on being obedient; and if we are parents, we should concentrate on not provoking, but bringing "them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
(c) One other area of improved relationships when we are Spirit filled is the employer/employee. In Ephesians 6:5 we read, "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters..." And in verses 7-9 it suggests that masters should do good things for the servants. Without Christ it is everyone for himself. Thus, in this world we have a great deal of employer/employee unrest. The servant would like to get as much pay for as little work as possible, and the master would like to get as much work for as little pay as possible. What a difference it would be if Christ rather than Self were on the throne! Servants would be seeking to advance the master's cause and masters would be doing all they could to improve the servants' lot. When we talked about what happened when Lucifer fell, we said one of those things was that his wisdom became corrupted, or in other words, he and man moved away from God's wisdom to foolish wisdom. Isn't it sad that so much of the servant's and master's energy is spent fighting each other and in this way destroying each other? Instead it should be that they pray for God's wisdom day after day. God would like to save us, not only so we can go to heaven but I am convinced He wants to save us in the earthly situations as well.
Part "C" of the above chart speaks of "the Fruit of the Spirit is Evident" (Galatians 5:22, 23). This fruit is listed below.
THE FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
LOVE JOY PEACE
It is not something that we strive to produce through the Flesh or self-effort. When the heart is right within, the Spirit of God produces this fruit. Many are constantly seeking to produce the fruit of the Spirit instead of dealing with their sin (which the Spirit of God keeps speaking to them about.) If we would deal with sin and Self, God will produce love, joy, and peace in us; but if we don't deal with what the Spirit is speaking to us about, then how can we expect Him to produce his fruit? Farmers know if they deal with the weeds after the crop is sown, God will grow the crop. They can't do much about the sunshine and the rain, but they must control the weeds. It is the same in our Spiritual lives. Like most things, the enemy would rather side-track us, having us worry about what God will do instead of doing what we should do. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, and peace. These three wonderful things are what He gives the inner man. We concentrate on outer love, joy and peace, but the Spirit of God wants to give us a well of love, joy and peace. In other words it is inside, and what you see on the outside is just the overflow. The world says, "Put on a happy face." The Spirit-filled Christian will have a happy heart.
Next we have "long suffering, gentleness, goodness" as part of the fruit of the Spirit. This has to do with our conduct towards others. It isn't any wonder that all Christians seem to wish they had the fruit of the Spirit, because they are wonderful things. If we are filled with the Spirit, we will not only have a beautiful spirit within but will also be showing long suffering, gentleness, and goodness to others around us.
Lastly, we will also have "faith, meekness, and temperance." This has to do with character. A Spirit-filled Christian will be seen as a person of faith. Others looking at him will put this down as a character description. He is a person of faith, a person of meekness, and a person of self-control. Verse 23 says, ". . . against such there is no law"-- against such fruit no one is writing any laws. If all that has been written thus far is dependent on our dealing with the Spirit, how important it is that we do just this. We all would like to change our world, but are we willing to take the steps necessary in order to accomplish this. May God give you the fruit of the Spirit.
In the large chart above, part "D" speaks of a "New Power in the Life." Acts 1:8 says, "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." My, how the world is seeking power, political power, dictatorial power! But the greatest power in the universe is the power of God. I've often wondered why the Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as the Holy Ghost. I now believe that just as a ghost is unexplainable in human terms, the working of the Spirit of God is unexplainable in human terms.
Have you ever been in a true revival? I had often heard of revival being like a prairie fire (burning at will, where the wind drove it.) Some years ago in revival I've seen the Holy Spirit moving like a prairie fire from assembly to assembly convicting of sin. People repented of sin and their self-will, then the Spirit of God filled them with love, joy, and peace. No one could tell where He was going to work next. In fact He often worked in several assemblies at the same time. The Holy Spirit was at work and His power and working were awesome. May we have more of it.
Have you ever heard of the white heat of revival? What is it? The Spirit of God would convict one person of things in their life and they would confess it and make restitution and be given freedom from it. But then a strange thing would happen in the meeting: someone else's face would turn white with the conviction of the Holy Spirit. They in turn would deal with their sin and God would give them release. The Holy Spirit was at work in an unexplainable, powerful way. In those days there was tremendous honesty and tremendous love. So often we have little honesty and little love. May we come into the right relationship with God so that we will have the power of the Holy Ghost in our midst.
Perhaps a good illustration of the power of the Holy Spirit at work is in the story of the Philippian jailer. The fruit was evident in Paul and Silas, and the power of the Spirit of God was at work in the heart of the jailer.
Again with reference to our main chart in this lesson, part "E" states that there is a new way of living for the Spirit-filled Christian. The new way is a life of faith, not just to get to heaven, but in everyday situations. It is faith in the fact that Jesus saves. All true Christians say that this is their cardinal doctrine, but in everyday situations there often is very little evidence. The opposite to 'Jesus saves' is 'save yourself'.
We have just presented the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the save-yourself life is to be found in this chart. Every one of these sins is evidence of living the save-yourself life. This chart isn't a complete list of sins, but it does show us many of the sins of self-saving. Meditate on this. Do you see Self in stubbornness, rebellion, arguing, etc.? When we repent of these things and learn to rest in the Lord, the exciting thing is that He begins to save, maybe not as fast as we would like, but oh so much better! Joseph, David, and Daniel are wonderful pictures of this.