THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST (9) – THE CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE (4)
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled “The Christian marriage (4)”. Her main scriptures are taken from the Books of Romans and Ephesians. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Rom 1:16, 17). “Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God” (Eph 5:18-21).
The Christian marriage is different than any other. It is a marriage ‘made in heaven’. It is a marriage between a man and a woman, who both are believers in Christ. The physical part of the marriage lasts ‘until death do us part’. But the spiritual effects abide forever, to bless the next generation. The marriage has God in the center. They recognize and honor the presence of God the Holy Spirit in their home. Both husband and wife are born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. Today, there is much abuse of power and ignorance of true love in the marriages. The devil takes advantage of the ignorance and attacks the marriages. But God desires to bless the Christian marriages. Marriage is designed by God to be a ministry. The Bible has clear marriage guidelines. These commands apply only to the believers. Unbelievers may try to apply the Biblical precepts to make their marriages better, but they are not able to obey God’s Word. For the children of God, the Bible is their Life Manual. God’s Word is written to us, sinners saved by grace.
In the marriage set up, there are two basic rules: Submission and Love! The wives submit to their own husbands (as Christ submitted to God the Father). The husbands love their wives, not in their own way, but ‘as Christ loves the church’. In Christ, the husband and wife are equal before God. Their salvation experience is the same. But in marriage, these simple rules must be obeyed for God to bless them as a couple. Both these actions are basic spiritual attitudes that abide until the end of their lives as a married couple. They both must glorify Christ, our Lord! Submission and love are inspired by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gives both the husband and wife the power to obey. Submission to the human authority is always done for Christ’ sake. In the area of marriage, the wife submits to her own husband ‘as unto the Lord and in everything’. Marriage is a great testing ground. The truth may be hidden outside but is revealed at home. No one can pretend when he (or she) is naked. The husband and the wife cannot totally deceive one another. The wife’s submission proves that she honors and loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and that she is saved. By her actions and words, a rebellious proud wife proves that she is not a child of God. The husband who is always selfish and harsh proves that he is not born again. Selah! Let us study the Word of God concerning marriages! Let us repent and be saved!
A Christian marriage implies that the husband and the wife are both born again, and Spirit filled. An unbeliever cannot obey God’s commands. Religion is useless in a marriage. The Bible commands all believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is a vital requirement in a Christian marriage. It is the will of God. It is wisdom from above. God commands the wives ‘to submit to their husbands as unto the Lord’. But the world tells the wives to be rebellious. God commands the husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church, sacrificially. But the world tells the husbands to commit adultery for fun. The world and the Bible have two different contrary voices. The world’s voice may sound as entertainment, but the price is sin and death. The Bible directs us to walk on the narrow road of holiness. It is the royal way of the Cross. It is a difficult, often lonely road. But its destination is sure! It is heaven! That road is eternal life, peace, and joy. A worldly marriage and a Christian marriage may look the same from the outside. But they are opposite in motives and methods. Each has a price to pay and a purpose to achieve.
The Bible commands the believer in Christ to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The effects of being filled with the Holy Spirit manifest in the believer’s life, in his marriage, in his relationships with his children and in his ministry. There is no substitute for being filled with the Holy Spirit. No amount of intelligence, level of education or wealth can replace the filling of the Holy Spirit. We need to study and understand the Person of God the Holy Spirit. All we need is found in the Word of God! Let us go to the basics: What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is God! He is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. The Holy Spirit is a Person! He is not an influence or an idea. Read the Book of John, chapters 14 to 17. There you find the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Before going to the Cross, our Lord told His disciples that He will die soon. But that they should not grieve for their loss. He said it is to their ‘advantage’ that He dies and goes back to heaven. From there, He will send to them the Holy Spirit who is called ‘The Comforter, the Helper or the Advocate’. The Holy Spirit was with them but later, He will be ‘in them’. In Greek, the Word ‘Comforter’ is ‘Paraklete’. It means an intimate friend who walks along the road of life with you, always ready and able to help you. A believer filled with the Holy Spirit is never alone and he never fills like ‘an orphan’. Our Lord did not pray for the world (Jn 17:9). The Holy Spirit never fills an unbeliever, no matter how religious he is. The unbeliever is not able to identify, desire or receive the Holy Spirit. Because we are talking about Christian marriages, this truth is extremely important. We are commanded not to marry unbelievers. This is because they can never be filled with the Holy Spirit! “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Cor 6:14). A marriage between a believer and an unbeliever has no true fellowship. They are both lonely together. Because there is no unity of the Spirit, that marriage is extremely painful to both. What is the solution? The believer should pray for God to have mercy and the spouse to be saved. Only God can change that marriage! Salvation is of God alone! All believers have the Holy Spirit. Once you become born again, the Holy Spirit becomes part of you. Without the Holy Spirit you cannot be saved. “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Rom 8:9). But the Holy Spirit in a new believer is like ‘a sample’, a deposit for more to come. God desires you to be filled with the Holy Spirit! Selah!
THE WORKS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is God. Nobody knows all the work the Holy Spirit does. But because we are talking about the filling of the Holy Spirit and His work in the marriage, we shall limit ourselves to His two main functions. The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ! The Holy Spirit teaches truth!
*THE HOLY SPIRIT GLORIFIES THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
“He (The Holy Spirit) will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore, I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you” (Jn 16:14, 15).
The Holy Spirit is God. He is the Witness of who Christ really is, both God and Man. Our Lord Jesus Christ was Baptized and Filled with the Holy Spirit as a Man of earth. All the words Christ spoke and all the works He did were by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why the Holy Spirit is the best Witness and Testifier of Christ’s sufferings on earth and eternal glory in heaven! The Lord Jesus is God but when He came to earth as a Man, He did not bring His words, His power, or His glory from heaven. He totally depended on God the Father and God the Holy Spirit for everything. He left His glory as God in heaven. The words He spoke, and all His works were done thru the power and the supply of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. As a Man, Jesus did not speak His own words and did not use His own power to do miracles. He showed us the way to live as children of God. He humbled Himself so much, that men took Him for granted and the devil was bold enough to kill Him on the Cross. But this was the plan of God for the salvation of men. Jesus died as a Substitute for sinners who will believe in Him. Here you see the love and cooperation of the Trinity. God the Father made the plan of salvation. He has the vision. God the Son agreed with it. He willingly agreed to come as a Man on earth and to pay the price for the salvation of men. God the Holy Spirit sustained God the Son. He now reveals the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ, helps us to believe the truth, so that we can be saved. The Holy Spirit has no other desire for men than they should know and worship Christ, the Lord.
By revealing the past sufferings and the present glory of Christ, the Holy Spirit helps people to understand authority and submission. Thru this revelation, the Holy Spirit keeps order and peace. It is especially important in the area of marriage! As Christ died for the Church, so the husband suffers presently in helping his wife become more spiritual. The husband leads even thru pain. Nobody likes pain but God recognizes it and redeems it. The husband’s suffering is like a seed that will become a harvest of joy in the latter days of marriage. In the natural, the ‘honeymoon’ is the most exciting time in a marriage. But in the spiritual realm, God’s law is this: suffering first and rejoicing later. It is the law of ‘delayed satisfaction’. Love is always patient, like a farmer waiting for his harvest. God keeps the best for the last (Jn 2:10). Husband, encourage yourself thru the Word of God! The same Holy Spirit helps the wife to submit to her husband, ‘as unto the Lord’. Without a clear vision of the humility and submission of Christ to the Father, the wife cannot submit herself to her husband. She will struggle and compete with her husband for leadership in the home. She will be afraid to submit to his vision for the marriage. She will cook his meals, wash his clothes, sleep with him, and have his children, but in her heart, she is still proud. That hidden pride creates friction. “God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints” (1 Cor 14:33). The Holy Spirit reveals Himself in the church as Peace. There is an order, a harmony, and a fellowship that creates beauty. In this environment of the unity of the Spirit, the anointing flows from the head to the feet. Every member of the Body of Christ benefits from this anointing. God has ordered it and God has commanded a blessing upon it (Psalm 133). Without the Holy Spirit, both the church and the marriage will lack peace, order, and beauty.
Because of Christ’ humility necessary in this plan of salvation, we are ignorant of His glory as God. We do not fear God enough! We do not reverence and honor Christ enough! The Holy Spirit comes in His name to reveal to us who Christ is in heaven now! The Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ by revealing to us that He has always been God, the Creator of all things, visible and invisible. We need to see both the shame of the Cross and His glory in heaven! The Holy Spirit helps us to see these marvelous truths. He helps us to go to the Cross, to truly repent of sin and believe in Christ. He helps us to see Christ now, as the King of kings in heaven, so that we can worship Him in Spirit and in Truth!
In the marriage, the Holy Spirit helps the husband to become like Jesus, humble in loving his wife and hopeful for the glory ahead. A Christian husband is patient in mentoring his wife. The hope of glory gives him the courage and strength to see his wife in the future ‘without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing’ (Eph 5:27). For a Christian husband, his wife never gets old and ugly. She becomes more and more beautiful, pure and youthful in his eyes. That keeps the love burning. To the wife, the glory of Jesus revealed by the Holy Spirit is an inspiration for her to easily submit to her husband. Helping he husband to fulfill his destiny is her joy. Thru this joy, she too will find fulfillment. She gets lost in him to find herself, her true self. This is a mystery. Hard to explain but true, nevertheless.
The Lord said that faith in Him, in His Gospel, Christ crucified and resurrected, will produce overflow of life in the believer. “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (Jn 7:37-39). This overpowering eternal life proceeds from the Spirit filled believer and from the Spirit filled marriage. The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ, and the same Holy Spirit produces life giving testimony. Glory! Just the way the wedding day cannot be separated from the marriage, so justification cannot be separated from the process of sanctification. Justification is God’s forensic declaration that this sinner is saved because His Son Jesus Christ died on his behalf. The sinner believes this declaration. The moment he believes, God places on him ‘a wedding gift robe’ called ‘the imputed Righteousness of Christ’. The sinner is not changed internally but God sees him as His child because of Christ. This is what you may call ‘the wedding gift’. Christ has married you. From this moment on, you are no more a sinner, but a sinner saved by Grace. You are the Bride, the Wife of Christ. From now on, the marriage proper starts. This process of changing to become more and more like your husband is called sanctification. Therefore, marriage is basically a process of sanctification. In the marriage, the husband who loves and the wife who submits to his love start to resemble each other more and more. With time, they both will look more and more like Christ. A beautiful mystery marriage is… Always exciting! Glory to God!
*THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE ONLY TEACHER WHO TEACHES TRUTH
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you … The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (Jn 14:15-17, 26).
From these scriptures we see that the Holy Spirit comes into His fulness to the obedient disciples of Christ. He is called the Helper. He is eternal. He comes from heaven. He abides with the believers forever. He is not a visitor but the Creator of the believer. The world (the unbelievers) cannot see or receive the Holy Spirit. For the baby Christian, the Holy Spirit is with him, or around him. After the baptism of the Holy Spirit, He goes inside the heart and fills the believers. The Holy Spirit is sent by God the Father. He comes in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. He does not come in His own name, for His own glory. He comes to testify about the Lord Jesus Christ. This is His main work. Without the Holy Spirit we cannot know the Lord Jesus Christ. He makes Christ real to us. The Holy Spirit is the most excellent Teacher of the Word of God. He helps us with our spiritual understanding and memory concerning the Word of God. He is the unfailing library and holy storage of all scriptures and revelations. He teaches us the Bible.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. There is no truth outside the Holy Spirit. The Bible is the Word of Truth. There is no truth outside the Bible. The Holy Spirit alone knows the truth and leads you to the truth. All unbelievers are deceived by appearances. They are slaves of the devil, also called the Liar. Truth is a Person. Truth is living. Our Lord is The Truth! In Christ alone there is Truth. The Holy Spirit leads you to Christ, to the Truth. The Word of God is Truth. The Holy Spirit is the Author of the Bible, and He will give you the desire to study the Word. Thru faith in the Word, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you change. This process of changing from inside out, by faith in the Word of God, which is truth, is called sanctification. God desires you to be sanctified, to be made holy as He is holy.
To survive and mature, the seed of marriage needs to grow in the soil of truth! The wedding day is the seed. The marriage partners should desire to change and become holy. There is a price to pay. Under the power of the Holy Spirit, under the influence of truth, the flesh will die. Selfish ambition, lies, lust, manipulation, selfishness, quarrels, and greed, like weeds under the heat of the sun, all these should dry and die. It is a painful process. It is called sanctification. Christ washes the Church by His Word. In the same way, the husband mentors his wife to become more spiritual. He needs to study the Bible so that he has enough water of the Word to wash his wife. This washing will make the wife clean from anxiety, inferiority complexes, guilt, and foolishness. God holds the husband responsible for the spiritual washing of his wife. The vision for the marriage is given to the husband who is the leader. The wife needs to agree with his vision and help him fulfill it. The husband functions in the capacity of a prophet, and the wife is the pastor who helps in fulfilling his vision. This cooperation, this unity of the Spirit, this agreement is vital in marriage. They cannot live happily as a couple, they cannot ‘walk’ and make progress in life, ‘except they have agreed’ (Am 3:3).
The husband should encourage the wife to cooperate with the process of sanctification. He should help her to run this holy race. The wife should help the husband too. Both should appreciate the deep work of the Holy Spirit in their lives and rejoice in the wonderful future together. Each one should make a vow to God and to one another that they will never lie or deceive each other. This vow must be kept no matter the price. Each lie gives the devil a foothold in the marriage. To lie is always a sin. Lies can be vocal or silent. When you speak an untruth, that is a lie. When you keep quiet and you cover deception, that is also a lie. In both instances the Holy Spirit is grieved. Lying is a common sin in many marriages. Lies are not little sins. Lies are poisonous arrows that try to kill their victims. Flattery is a lying compliment, insincere praise. The flatterer is a romantic criminal. (In Nigeria he is called ‘A Yahoo boy’). Flattering silly lonely women to make money is sin, a crime against true love. “A lying tongue hates those it wounds and crushes, and a flattering mouth works ruin” (PV 26:28; AMP). There are many women too who are skillful in the unholy art of seduction, flattery and lies. The Word of God will “keep you from the evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a seductress” (PV 6:24). This woman speaks sweet words to inflame your flesh. Do not marry her! Her tongue will burn you to death! Be careful! For as long as you continue to lie, your marriage cannot be blessed by God. Truth is always painful in its first appearance. But Truth is Life, Health, and Freedom, to you, and to your marriage! Amen!
The Holy Spirit gives a desire to know the truth. He directs you to the Bible. He reveals to you the truth about the character of God, and the sinfulness of sin. The flesh hates truth and loves lies. There is a battle within between the Holy Spirit and the flesh. This battle exists only in the child of God. The unbeliever does not experience this tension because the Holy Spirit is not inside his heart. A believer needs to be sensitive to the two forces in his heart: the flesh and the Spirit. He is to deny the flesh so that the Spirit can lead. “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal 5:16, 17). This battle manifests in a marriage when only one of the partners is born again or one is backsliding. There is constant tension and division. There is no peace. It takes great love, wisdom, and patience to continue in an unequally yoked marriage. The Holy Spirit is jealous and will punish every act of sin and rebellion. “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? (Jam 4:4, 5). As a husband is jealous over his wife when she makes friends with wicked people, so the Holy Spirit reacts and disciplines any child of God who refuses to submit to Him. When the husband is jealous, he will not make peace until the wife has truly repented. “Jealousy is a husband’s fury; therefore, he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will accept no recompense, nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts” (PV 6:34, 35). This jealousy in marriage is part of its romance. “Close your heart to every love but mine; hold no one in your arms but me. Love is as powerful as death; passion, jealousy, is as strong as death itself. It bursts into flame and burns like a raging fire, the very flame of God” (SS 8:6). This is part of the price, passion, and purity of Christian marriage. Love changes people. Love welds two into one. This is the mystery of marriage, a reflection of Christ and His Bride.
The Holy Spirit is God. He is the best teachers in all things pertaining to life and marriage. He humbles Himself to teach you. Appreciate His ministry. Because He is God, He alone knows everything in every situation. The husband and the wife need to see themselves as students in the classroom where the Holy Spirit is the Teacher. Christian Marriage is a difficult subject. Many have failed that class. They took the ‘easy’ way of getting a divorce. Which is never easy! The Holy Spirit alone knows the secret to a successful and happy marriage. He disciplines and directs. He will not permit foolishness and rebellion. If you listen and obey Him, you will pass the class called ‘Marriage and Life’. You will be rewarded with a wonderful life on earth and in glory in heaven! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!
“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God” (Eph 5:18-21). “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc 4:12)
God commands all His children to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When you get saved, the Holy Spirit comes into you as a ‘sample’, a deposit guaranteeing the fullness later. But once you are filled with the Holy Spirit your life will radically change. Your marriage will change. It will become ‘a threefold cord not quickly broken’. That is the perfect marriage ‘ministry’: husband, wife, and the Holy Spirit. It is a picture of the Holy Trinity! The devil cannot break that marriage. Do you want to be free from the fear of divorce? Then both of you be filled with the Holy Spirit and let your union be in the presence of the Holy Spirit! You will talk and sing about Jesus. You have the confidence to witness about the testimony of the Lord in your life. Despite difficulties, you become full of joy. You become spiritually focused! You become a grateful person, giving thanks to God always. A proud man in the past, you now become humble, joyfully submitting to others. People will notice that. They will be attracted to you. You start to minister grace to them. You become a source of inspiration to many! The born-again believer who is Spirit filled makes an excellent husband and a wonderful wife! This is an ideal marriage! But many believers are too complacent. Once they have received the deposit of the Holy Spirit they do not press unto fullness. They are saved but they lack this authority and power to witness for Christ. Without the fulness of the Spirit, their lives, their ministries, and they marriages remain a struggle. They lack this peculiar glorious confident powerful joy, the source of all godly success. Therefore, child of God, be filled with the Holy Spirit!
BE DRUNK WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
Apostle Paul compares being drunk with wine and being filled with the Holy Spirit. There are some similarities. This comparison is to help us understand what being filled with the Holy Spirit is. Alcohol stimulates a man. It makes him relax, losing his anxieties and doubts. Losing his inhibitions, the man feels happy and free. Suddenly, a shy man becomes talkative and friendly. That is why men drink alcohol. That is why they get addicted to it. The negative side of alcohol is that it leads to ‘dissipation’. The happiness and freedom are only temporary. Once the effect of alcohol is gone, the anxiety comes back full force. Depression sets in. Things are getting worse. Alcohol produces ‘dissipation’. This word means loose wild living. It means wasted efforts and failing dreams. The price to pay for the freedom alcohol brings is foolishness, shame, and regret. It also leads to depression and sickness of the body. It is not worth it! At the beginning of time, the earth was without form. There was darkness over it. “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen 1:2). Like a dove with mighty wings, the Holy Spirit moved into the darkens and chaos. Suddenly, The Holy Spirit changed the earth. He made it to be round, as a planet! In the same way, once you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the ignorance and confusion in your heart will be transformed into spiritual beauty and peace! Glory!
Most people understand this filling with the Holy Spirit as pouring water into a cup. But this picture is not totally accurate. This is because the cup is passive in receiving the water poured in. A better picture of being filled and led by the Holy Spirit is looking at a sailboat on the sea. The wind blows the sails. It is said that the sails ‘are filled’ with the wind. The Holy Spirit is the Holy Wind (Jn 3:8). Because of the pressure of the wind, the boat moves on. Power is released by the wind blowing on the sails. A believer filled with the Holy Spirit glides fast on the sea of troubles in this world. Another way to describe being filled with the Holy Spirit is to be drunk with wine. We say that a drunkard is a man is under ‘an influence’. Alcohol controls and dominates a drunkard, so that he is not himself again. In the same way, the Holy Spirit fills a believer, controlling his mind, emotions and will. When they someone extremely happy people say that he is ‘full of life’. In the same way, a believer is full of the Holy Spirit. God is influencing him. He thinks like God, speaks like God, and loves like God. He loses all his anxieties and his inferiority complexes. His mind is strong. He remembers the Word of God and he is able to apply it daily. His memory is sharp. His decisions are all based on the Word of God. Therefore, he makes no mistakes. He makes progress daily. People see that progress! It is not hidden! That progress is true success in life! He has no fear of rejection. Therefore, he makes friends easily. He is a blessing to many people. Because of his freedom and boldness, he looks like an acrobat who takes extreme risks, who can fail and fall any time. But he does not fall! That is the wonder! He glides like a champion on the ice, jumping and dancing. His enemies are sure that he will kill himself in the game of life. They are sure he will be disqualified by the judges. But miracle or miracles… he continues to take risks, bold and strong, without falling! A man filled with the Holy Spirit is a wonder to behold! He is balanced mentally and emotionally. His actions reveal great self-control. He is also fearless. He is not an ordinary person. He is supernatural in speech and more than a conqueror in actions! The secret of such a man is that God sustains and empowers him. This is how God wants us to be, as believers, ministers, even as husbands and wives. Selah!
The command to be filled with the Holy Spirit refers to continuous present action. It is not something that happened once, in the past. It is something that happens continuously, in the present. The Holy Spirit pours now on and on. A better translation is this: Go on being filled with the Holy Spirit! It is a continuous command! For example: an empty glass bottle, closed by a cork, floats on top of the ocean. Once you remove the stopper, the bottle sinks in the ocean. The water goes inside and outside. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is like this bottle that has no stopper. The glass bottle has become one with the ocean. Because the bottle is transparent, you cannot see it. In other words, the bottle is lost in the ocean. The bottle’s identity is now found in the mighty ocean of Grace!
The most important lesson about being filled with the Spirit is to remember that the Holy Spirit is a Person. He is not just an influence. Once inside, the Holy Spirit controls that believer. There is a spiritual chemistry going on. The Holy Spirit does not destroy. It strengthens and beautifies! The believer’s personality is not annihilated. It is enhanced. For example, Peter was a fisherman. Paul was a lawyer. After they became saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, they still retained their personalities. You can see the difference reading their letters. An intelligent man filled with the Holy Spirit will still be intelligent. Even more so. The true, often hidden personality with manifest, to the glory of God who created him! The difference is that now, the personality is spiritual, controlled by the Holy Spirit!
THE LORD WAS BAPTIZED AND FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Lord Jesus Christ is our best example on the search to be filled with the Holy Spirit. At the River Jordan, He was baptized, filled, led, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the work of the Father. “When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” … Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted forty days by the devil… Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all” (Lk 3:21, 22; 4:1,2,14, 15). You can see that the Lord did warfare against the devil thru the Holy Spirit. He won the battle thru the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. He did not depend on His own power as God. He was filled with the Holy Spirit to do ministry. This should be our pattern too! As a Man, the Lord Jesus Christ received the Holy Spirit and the words of the Father without measure, without limitation. “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand” (Jn 4:34, 35). The Lord promised that once He goes back to heaven, He will pour out on the believers the same limitless Holy Spirit and the eternal revelation of the Word of God. The promised was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came from heaven on the believers, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They received the power to understand, believe and preach the Word of God. Thru the same power they did many miracles! Every revival in the history of the church is a type of Pentecost. We should pray and desire the filling of the Holy Spirit.
This is another picture to understand the filling with the Holy Spirit. A man starts a little roadside ‘restaurant’ called ‘Mama put’. Let’s say that he makes good pizza. But he struggles with his business. He lacks strength, wisdom, and resources. It is hard to find new customers and to satisfy them all. Then one day, Domino Pizza company tells him to become part of its organization. They will train him and sponsor him. He agrees with them. The little ‘Mama put’ changes signboard and now it becomes a branch of the international chain called Domino Pizza. Immediately his business is better and makes great profit. The customers of this organization come to his restaurant because they trust the name. His little effort to make pizza has been swallowed by a great organization. The man is not passive. He is not lazy. He still bakes pizza but now, the impact, the profit is so much greater! In the same way once the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, he becomes part of the eternally blessed Work of God. His little vision of success in life and marriage has been absorbed by the greater vision that never fails! Filled with the Spirit he now learns to listen to the voice inside him. He listens and obeys. The world will continue to lie and deceive. But the believer learns how to reject the outside voice and obeys the internal voice. In the same way, you need to become blind to the visible, temporary things of the world. And you need to see the reality of the Spiritual things, invisible to the natural eyes, but so clear and wonderful to the eyes of the Spirit! Our Lord said: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Your life will change! Your ministry will change! Your marriage will change! From Faith to Faith! From Grace to Grace! From Glory to Glory! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!
THE MIRACLE AT THE WEDDING
“On the third day there was a wedding at Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine was all gone, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no more wine.” Jesus said to her, “[Dear] woman, what is that to you and to Me? My time [to act and to be revealed] has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification (ceremonial washing), containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the waterpots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim. Then He said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter [of the banquet].” So they took it to him. And when the headwaiter tasted the water which had turned into wine, not knowing where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew) he called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Everyone else serves his best wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then he serves that which is not so good; but you have kept back the good wine until now.” This, the first of His signs (attesting miracles), Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed His glory [displaying His deity and His great power openly], and His disciples believed [confidently] in Him [as the Messiah—they adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Him]. After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother and brothers and His disciples; and they stayed there a few days” (Jn 2:1-12; AMP).
Our Lord performed His first miracle during a wedding at Cana, a small village, six miles from Nazareth, where He grew up. Even today, weddings are the greatest celebrations in the lives of people. Because of the high expectations of success, weddings come with a lot of anxiety. This wedding was not different. The only special thing was the fact that the Son of God was invented as a Guest. His mother and His siblings were all there. The Lord came along with His new disciples. At that time, Jesus was not yet famous. The parents of the newly wedded couple were probably family friends. It was a happy occasion. In those days the wedding celebration lasted up to a week. There was food and wine free for all. At this wedding, it happened that the wine got finished. This was a social emergency. Wine is a symbol of joy. “Wine makes glad the heart of man” (Ps 104:15). For the wine to finish during the weeding feast, it meant that the marriage will not be a happy one. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was told about the situation. She went to Jesus and told Him about the need. He rebuked her mildly. She did not take offense. She ordered the servants to obey Jesus. The Lord commanded the servants to fill the six empty waterpots with water. They did so. Then Jesus told them to take the water to the table and to serve it as if it was wine. Despite their anxieties, they did so. As they poured the liquid into the glasses, it was wine!!! The Headwaiter was surprised and told the bridegroom: “Everyone else serves his best wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then he serves that which is not so good; but you have kept back the good wine until now.” This was the first miracle that Jesus performed and thru it, He revealed His glory.
What are some of the lessons?
*The first lesson is this: Jesus Christ of Nazareth is 100% God and 100% Man. His presence in a family, in a marriage, in a church is the greatest blessing of all. There is no substitute for the presence of God. Invite the Lord into your heart, into your marriage and into your home!
*This miracle happened ‘on the third day’ (Jn 2:1). It is a sign pointing to Christ’ resurrection! This is the Gospel! Wine (Joy) died and rose again!
*Jesus performed this miracle in response to a need. Remember prayer! “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Ps 50:15)
*He did the miracle just by the power of His presence. Jesus said: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Mt 19:26)
*The old wine got finished. Despite wealth or fame, a life without Christ is sad. Religion without Christ is joyless. Only Christ brings peace and joy into man’s heart. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (Jn 6:63).
*When Jesus performed the miracle, the new wine was much better, both its quality and quantity. Jesus supplied 180 gallons of wine to that wedding. That is enough for the whole village! This is a reminder that God’s works are greater than our imagination. “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19).
*Jesus made wine! That should not surprise us. All things, in heaven and on earth, natural and spiritual, were made by Christ and for Christ.
“All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (Jn 1:3). “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Col 1:15, 16). In other words, Jesus made the wine at the wedding for Himself. Then He shared it to men.
*The people who benefited most from the miracle are not the guests who drank the wine. It was the servants and the disciples who witnessed the power of Christ! May we humble ourselves! May we desire the revelation of Christ thru God’s Word and prayer! Give Him all the glory!
*It is only Christ that can revive a marriage! That is why we are commanded to be filled, not with wine, but with the Holy Spirit! (Eph 5:18)
*The miracle at Cana is a sign that our Lord honors the institution of marriage! Any wedding celebration on earth is a symbol of the Marriage Feast of the Lord in heaven (Rev 19:17-19). All cultures that dishonor the wedding ceremony in the presence of God do not prosper. Living together without making vows and praying in the presence of God is sin!
*The miracle was a sign to display His glory. Secondly, it was for the happiness of men. This is always the order. When praying for a miracle, remember that the answer is always for the glory of Christ and secondly, for your own good!
*Be drunk with the Holy Spirit! Let the Holy Spirit influence your mind, emotions and will! Be led by Him!
Oh, the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives and marriages! You may have seen a sinner’s den. The husband is a drunkard or an adulterer. The wife is foolish and rebellious. The children suffer in that home. They learn the ways of the devil to practice them when they grow up. Then one day, they hear the Word of God. The Holy Spirit convicts them of sin. One by one they become born again and Spirit filled. What a change in that home! The violent husband becomes like a lamb. The foolish wife becomes a princess with God. The stubborn children become jewels that decorate the table. The quarrels have ceased and now you hear prayers and songs of praise. They now go to church and serve God together. For the first time they know the meaning of ‘family’. The neighbors testify of the change! Only the Holy Spirit can do this miracle! Never be ashamed to preach the Gospel! The Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead! He can change any heart and any home! Like rivers flowing in the wilderness, changing it into a garden, this is the revival we are praying for! Glory to God! Worship the Lord!