3 July 2022 PM – Ephesians 5:18-21 – Music22 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Man is not an animal. God has created man in His own image. He has given man an appreciation for music. Through words and music, we express the feelings of our hearts. The sensual beat and filthy music of our culture reveal the filthy hearts of humanity. God has given to Christians His Holy Spirit, enabling them to overflow with music that truly glorifies God, not their carnal flesh.
Transition: This evening I want us to begin a study of “The Music of a Spirit-filled Christian”. In tonight’s message, I want us to see from Ephesians 5:18-21 that such music is evidence of Spirit-filling.
1. Paul first gives us an Illustration of Filling
a. Being filled with alcohol controls, v.18
1) The verb is a passive imperative. It is a command.
2) This command then is “do not allow yourself to be intoxicated by wine.”
a) Two of the clearest Bible warnings about alcohol direct us to abstain from all drinking. (Proverbs 20:1) “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Proverbs 23:31-32) “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”
1) Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess. Many people think that “excess” simply means do not drink too much. However, that is not the case.
2) The Greek word is very rich in meaning.
a) It is being recklessly extravagant, squandering, or a wasteful way of life. The life of the prodigal son.
b) It describes an abandoned, dissolute life.
3) Allowing oneself to be deceived by alcohol leads to a life controlled by the evil substance. God uses this controlling substance to illustrate a life controlled by the Holy Spirit.
2. Paul then gives us an Application of Filling
a. Being filled by the Spirit controls, v.18
1) This verb is also a passive imperative. It is a command to allow the action to be done to us.
2) God is commanding us to allow ourselves to be filled by the Spirit. Being filled by the Spirit is not an optional luxury. It is a command. The Holy Spirit wants to fill you. He is commanding you to let Him fill you.
3) What do we know about this passive command?
a) The Holy Spirit must live in us before we can let Him control us. He lives in every true believer (Rom 8:9).
b) Spirit filling is not getting more of the Holy Spirit, but letting Him have more of us. A person filled with alcohol is controlled by alcohol. A person filled with the Spirit is controlled by the Holy Spirit.
c) We cannot fill ourselves with the Spirit.
d) To get the Holy Spirit to fill us, we must let Him. We must turn our lives over to Him.
4) The Holy Spirit wants to fill us, but He cannot without our cooperation.
a) We must follow the guidance He gives us in the Bible. (John 16:13) “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.“
b) The Spirit of God is Holy. He cannot tolerate any sin. Our sin often grieves Him, hindering His filling. (Ephesians 4:29-30) “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.“
c) Our sin may even quench the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19) “Quench not the Spirit.” To quench is to extinguish. It is like pouring water on a fire. Any worldliness or sinfulness in our lives will quench the Spirit, who is pure and holy. 1John 1:9 is the solution.
d) We must walk in harmony with Him. (Galatians 5:16) “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” To do this, we must yield to His leadership and obey His word.
Just as an electric train is powerless if it is not connected to the above power line, so a Christian cannot be filled with the Spirit’s power if he is not in close contact with God.
b. Being filled by the Spirit changes us, v.19-21
When we are filled with the Spirit, God tells us that there will be outward evidence. When this evidence is missing, we can be sure that we are not filled by the Spirit. God describes this evidence with five Greek participles (underline them). Notice carefully that three of the five involved music.
1) Speaking to yourselves (lit. to each other) in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. This stresses the words of music. Their words must be doctrinally sound, as the parallel passage underlines. (Colossians 3:16) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Spirit-filled Christians openly share the joy of their salvation with one another through this godly music.
a) Psalms are Scripture songs. Eadie calls a Psalm “a sacred song chanted to the accompaniment of instrumental music.”
b) Hymns are songs of praise to God. Eadie identifies them as “sacred poetical compositions, the primary purpose of which is to praise.”
c) Spiritual songs convey spiritual truth. Kimberly Smith, in her book, Oh, Be Careful Little Ears, p.33, comments, “Why would Paul also indicate “spiritual songs” when the other two are so clear? Because, though the early Christians were free to use music in their worship services, there was certain music in their culture he did not want them to imitate.”
d) Spiritual songs are the opposite of carnal songs. Barnes adds that they were “in contradistinction from those which were sung in places of festivity and revelry.”
e) Smith adds, “Therefore, the interpretation and application of the word “spiritual” (non-carnal) would indicate that the Christian’s music should be non-worldly (meaning different), and non-carnal (meaning that it nourishes the renewed spirit and does not stir up nor appeal to our old, carnal sin nature).” Ibid. p. 34 “How can we discern? Two ways – by “listening” with our bodies, as well as with our ears.” Ibid. p.39
2) Singing is praise to God with the voice.
3) Making melody in your heart to the Lord. This word describes instrumental music. All these forms of Spirit-filled music come from a Spirit-filled heart.
4) Giving thanks always for all things … Thankfulness to the Lord is another way to honour Him. He allows all things, so we ought to thank Him for all things.
5) Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. This is passive, thus allowing ourselves to be arranged under each other. We are to do this to fear or honour God, who humbled Himself for us.
If the Holy Spirit is filling us, He will put in our hearts a new song that verbalises Biblical praise to God, rings from our lips, and vibrates in our hearts. We will be quick to thank God for all things. We will unselfishly allow ourselves to be arranged under others.
Conclusion: God said that three of the clearest evidences of Spirit-filling involve music. If you are filled by the Spirit of God, the music you sing, play or listen to will reflect the holiness of God. As we study the Music of a Spirit-filled Christian, I urge you to ask God to give you a clear ability to discern between spiritual and carnal music and a willingness to reject all music that fails the test.