The Proof is in the Pudding
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18
The secret of a Christian life is not a changed life but an exchanged life. It is not that we simply take on a few new sets of moral standards and attempt to change our attitudes and our activities. Instead, at the moment of conversion, we give God our old life, He puts it away, and He comes to live in us in the person of the Holy Spirit. God’s promise to us is that He will abide there, never to leave us, filling us and empowering us for service.
Paul made a contrast here between being “drunk on wine” and being “filled with the Spirit.” The former causes one to be out of control; the other enables one to be in control. One is counterproductive; the other is productive. One makes one powerless; the other empowers. One often brings sorrow; the other brings joy. he admonition of this verse is a mandate, the command to “be filled with the Spirit.” God does not leave this as an option for the believer. Think of how every verb has a number, a tense, a voice, and a mood. When this command to “be filled” is broken down, it is of interest to note that the number is plural. The tense is present; that is, continuous action is involved here. The voice is passive, which means the subject doesn’t act; it is acted upon by some outside force. The mood is imperative. It is a command. Thus, properly translated, the Bible is saying, “All of us must always be being filled with the Holy Spirit.” How can we know that we are being filled with God’s Spirit? Better still, how will others know? Some contend it is in the reception and use of certain gifts of the Spirit. However, Scripture teaches quite the opposite in very context of this command. As the old adage says, “The proof is in the pudding.” The three verses following reveal to us the evidence by which we can know that Ephesians 5:18 is fulfilled in our lives. Yes, the proof is in the pudding.
THERE IS AN INWARD EVIDENCE “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19)
The first evidence that we are being filled and led by God’s Spirit is that we will have a song in our heart. This is the inward evidence. Buddhists may have their impressive temples, but they have no song in their hearts. Muslims may pride themselves in almsgiving and perceived morality, but where is the song?
Notice that the Bible says we are not making rhythm in our hearts. Rhythm generally appeals to the flesh. Nor does it say we are making harmony, which appeals to the soulish realm of our emotions. It is the melody that gives us song and appeals to the inner Spirit. Like Paul and Silas in a Philippian jail at midnight, we can also have a song in our hearts regardless of our circumstances.
THERE IS UPWARD EVIDENCE “giving thanks always for all things to God” (Ephesians 5:20)
Here is found an attitude of gratitude to God. The individual being filled with the Spirit continues in a spirit of giving thanks always and is thankful for all things at the same time. While we have the confidence personally that we are being filled through the inward evidence of a song in our hearts, God sees it in our continual attitude of thanksgiving of all things. That’s the upward evidence.
THERE IS OUTWARD EVIDENCE “submitting to one another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21)
There is finally outward evidence that manifests itself in our relationship with others. This element of submission does not involve any sense of a lack of superiority. It is what the apostle was driving at when he said we should “esteem others better than ourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
This was never more beautifully illustrated than in the Upper Room when our Lord Himself became the servant of all and washed His disciples’ feet. The believers who are being controlled by God’s Spirit within will have a song in their hearts, will be thankful always for all things, and will be submissive in dealing with others. How can we be filled with the Spirit who lives in us through the new birth? Step 1 is to confess. We must come clean with God. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The next step is to crown Jesus the Lord of our life. Romans 14:9 says, “to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.” Finally, we are to claim all of this by faith. Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you will have them.” Confess! Crown! Claim! And “be filled with the Spirit.” Once you are, then the proof will be in the pudding.
Your servant in Christ, From “The Joshua Code” by O.S. Hawkins
Pastor Jack 2012, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN
The Scripture readings and sermon titles for worship in June are:
June 2nd: The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper
Acts 16:16-34; Psalm 97; John 17:20-26
Sermon Title – “That All of Them May Be One”
June 9th: Day of Pentecost
Genesis 11:1-9; Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; Acts 2:1-8
Sermon Title – “The Purpose and Power of Pentecost”
June 16th: Proverbs 8:1-6, 22-31; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15
Sermon Title – “Redemptive Suffering”
June 23rd: 1 Kings 19:1-15a; Psalm 42 and 43; Galatians 3:23-29
Sermon Title – “Freedom’s Relationships”
June 30th: 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14; Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20; Galatians 5:1, 12-25
Sermon Title – “Freedom’s Fruit”