What is a Spirit-filled church? What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? And if you feel empty of the Spirit, what sort of ‘magic’ does it take to feel full again?
On Sunday, I sought to answer that question from Ephesians 5:15–21, as we considered the last of Paul’s instructions to walk worthy. In some ways this is the pinnacle of his instructions, going back to Ephesians 4:1. In another way, it is the hinge passage that turns from the general instructions (Ephesians 4:1–5:15) to the specific applications (Ephesians 5:15–6:9).
In any case, there are many helpful points of applications for us Ephesians 5:15–21. You can listen to the sermon online or read the sermon notes. Discussion questions and additional resources are below.
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
- In general, how comfortable are you talking about the Holy Spirit? In other words, what teaching have your received? What questions remain? If someone stopped you on the street and asked about the Holy Spirit, what would you say?
- What does Ephesians say about the Holy Spirit? (See Ephesians 1:13–14; 1:16–18; 2:19; 2:22; 3:16–17; 4:3; 4:30; 5:18; 6:19).
- What does Jesus say about the Holy Spirit? (Read John 14–16, esp. 14:26; 15:25–26; 16:13–14).
- How do these verses inform (or reform) the way you think about the Holy Spirit? What else should we consider about the Holy Spirit?
- What does it mean to be filled by the Spirit? See notes on Ephesians 5:18. Compare with Colossians 3:16.
- Look at Ephesians 5:15–21. What is the relationship between wisdom and the Holy Spirit? What is the relationship between the Holy Spirit and worship?
- What do we learn from Paul about walking in wisdom? What aspects of worship does the Holy Spirit prompt?
- What else would you add? What other questions remain?
On the Holy Spirit
- The Holy Spirit by Sinclair Ferguson — The best modern work on the Holy Spirit I’ve read.
- Engaging with the Holy Spirit: Real Questions, Practical Answers by Graham Cole — A short, accessible introduction to the Holy Spirit.
- The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit by George Smeaton — An older but immensely biblical treatment of the Holy Spirit.
On Decision Making
- Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen — the modern classic on decision making; this is a helpful book but longish.
- Just Do Something A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung — DeYoung takes the principles of Friesen and presents them in a more reader-friendly and accessible format.
- Step by Step: Divine Guidance for Ordinary Christians by James Petty — recommended by Bruce Forsee, a book that contains book theological reflection on God’s will and a case study to show how to apply Scripture to decision-making. He has also authored a shorter CCEF volume Guidance.
- The Sevenfold Spirit of God: Seven Truths About the Doctrine of Illumination by David Schrock
- Spirit-Filled Worship is Christ-Centered Worship by David Schrock
- Six Ways We Experience the Holy Spirit by J. D. Greear — A short post reflecting on the way Christ’s experience the Holy Spirit.
- Christ is Best by Richard Sibbes — In this funeral sermon for a public servant, Sibbes speaks passionately about Christ’s grace and the goodness with which all Christians should strive for in their short lives.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds