Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV) – And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
“Here, perhaps, is an even greater need—that God’s people collectively be so ‘full of God’ by his Spirit that our worship and our homes give full evidence of the Spirit’s presence: by song, praise, and thanksgiving that simultaneously praise and adore God and teach the community, and by the kind of submission of ourselves to one another in which the concern is not ‘who’s in charge around here,’ but how to love in the family as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” [G. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 722]
The beauty and power of this life in the Spirit is not just seen in us individually but in our corporate life and worship together. When God’s people praise him together with their whole hearts, something always happens. Let us worship to “Fill This Place“ by Red Rocks Worship (Click here) as we pray for our churches to be filled with the fullness of God, so as to be the people of his presence and the instruments of his love where he has placed us.
Prayer: “God, may our churches be filled with the fullness of your Spirit, that we may live out our calling as a worshipping community. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Psalms 103:1-2 (NLT) – Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.
“Paul called on the church at Ephesus to live a Spirit-filled life full of musical praise … Paul’s vision—his dream, we may call it—in this letter is of Christians living in sustained mutual love, always submitting to each other out of reverence for Christ their Lord, and singing as they go, with the music of praise prayer constantly on their lips because it is constantly in their hearts …” [JI Packer and C. Nystrom, Praying, 112]
One of the evidences of being filled with the Spirit is worship and praise. As the Spirit leads us into truth, we have much to sing about: praising God for who he is and giving thanks for what he has done, is doing and will do.
Today, lift up your own praise prayer using one or two phrases from Psalm 103. Sing and pray it to the Lord. Sing it also over your church, missional group and campus ministry.
Prayer: “Lord, let the words in the Psalms sink deep into my soul so that I sing and praise you with all that I am. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Ephesians 5:18b-21 (NIV) – Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
“The text does not ask us to be “religious” … the text calls instead for a sense of God’s presence that results in spontaneous and authentic joy. Such joy may be expressed in a variety of fashions.” [K. Snodgrass, NIVAC: Ephesians, 301]
This portion of Ephesians describes what a life that is filled with the Spirit looks like. To be filled with the Spirit results in speaking rightly to one another, singing and giving thanks to the Lord, and mutual submission. Rather than going through the motions or doing religious exercises in trying to fill what we’re missing, it is about us being filled by and with the Spirit, which overflows with joyful living.
Let us worship to the song “We Praise You” by Matt Redman (Click here). As you sing, sense God’s presence, freedom and joy over you and your church community to live like this.
Prayer: “Father, let your Spirit’s filling come into all areas of my life such that it overflows with joy even in the midst of challenges/difficulty. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Ephesians 5:18a (NIV) – Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.
“Of course (verse 18), there’s nothing like a few drinks to make opportunities slip by unobserved. Paul has nothing against wine; but against getting drunk he is adamant. That’s no way for a Christian to behave. If you want to celebrate – and why not? – then you know what to do. Let the Spirit fill your hearts and lives, particularly your minds and imaginations. Use all the resources of the rich Christian tradition – its poems, its pictures, its liturgies, its hymns – to help you do so.” [NT Wright, Ephesians for Everyone]
Many of us may not struggle with being drunk on wine, but we may be able to relate to being under the influence of other things. When we’re filled with wrong influences, we need to be emptied of them so as to make room. As Christians, we can instead choose to live in the pattern of receiving the Spirit’s filling and being renewed by the Spirit continually. In that way, there is no more room for the wrong influences. That’s the topped off, full life in the Spirit that God desires for us!
Let us worship to “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher (Click here) as we pray for the Spirit to be the dominating influence in our lives.
Prayer: “God, let the patterns of my thoughts be influenced more by your Holy Spirit. Let your kingdom and righteousness saturate and overflow in every area of my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV) – Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
“Wisdom involves considering all information in light of one’s relation to God and acting on what one knows … the focus is on the process of discerning what the Lord wants.” [K. Snodgrass, NIVAC: Ephesians, 300]
How is the wisdom described here different from what people around us define as wisdom? What makes the days ‘evil’?
Many of us know what it feels like to miss out on something so good because of a foolish decision. It’s never a waste of time to seek God’s perspective. As people who are awakened and brought into the light of Christ, we can now understand God’s will and live in the wisdom described here. Chaos and uncertainty might surround us, but God can navigate us through any storm. The simple and even small decisions that we make today with the Lord can usher in what is lasting and eternal.
Let us worship to the song “Endless Alleluia” by Bethel Music (Click here).
Prayer: “Lord, help me to make the most of my opportunities to be filled with the Spirit, so I may know how you want me to live. In Jesus’ name, amen.”