Our Bible passage today is Ephesians Chapter 5 verses 8 to 21, where Paul continues his instructions as well as warnings about how we should live, indeed must live as a follower of Jesus Christ.
But again this isn’t just empty piety but there is a theological reason which he outlines in vs.8-14. If we are a Christian, we have passed from darkness to light – Paul’s words are quite striking, ‘For you were once darkness (not in darkness), but now you are light in the Lord’. And therefore we must have nothing to do with deeds of darkness, we must avoid them, even expose them. This isn’t just Paul’s teaching, but the Lord Jesus Himself said much about light and darkness, particularly as recorded in John’s Gospel, and He too spoke about hidden things being exposed.
So Paul calls his readers to be careful not foolish, wise not unwise in the way we live. And the one specific example he uses here is not to get drunk on wine, but instead be filled with the Spirit – again that alternative we have seen before. The original Greek word for ‘be filled’ indicates that the filling of the Spirit is not a once-for-all experience, but something that is ongoing. I have heard preachers in the past say, ‘be being filled…’, and as one of my spiritual heroes of my younger days, the late David Watson, used to say, ‘I need to keep being filled up with the Holy Spirit, because I so easily leak!!’
The contrast between being filled with wine and filled with the Spirit is obvious. But there is something in common that enables Paul to make the contrast, namely, that one can be under an influence that affects him or her, whether of wine or of the Spirit.
It would be good to ask the Lord again today to fill us afresh with His Holy Spirit, so that we might live rightly for Him.
In our prayers today, let us pray for our growth as a church, and in particular, think of those who have been on the fringe of our church in recent times – Tracey, Sally, Terry, Mikala and family.