When Paul commanded the Ephesian believers to not get drunk with wine but to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), he obviously had benefits in mind. What benefit in Godly living would the Ephesians experience? What blessing would the church receive because they were filled with the Spirit?
Paul used the next three verses to answer the question. The context is clear that when the church practices daily submission to the leadership of God through the Holy Spirit four practical and powerful benefits will accrue to the church. When you think of what being filled with the Spirit means, you should think of these four blessings.
These four begin and end with the benefit that believers experience among themselves. The two middle benefits relate to the believers’ relationship to God.
1. Being filled with the Spirit provides fellowship for the church in the context of public worship. Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (which are not easily distinguishable) are amazingly spoken to “one another.” This is public worship, something which the church cannot do without and with which the church must not do without (Hebrews 10:25). We sing praises to God and exhortation to one another. All of it together makes for fellowship and encouragement to love and good works.
2. Being filled with the Spirit provides worship as we sing and make melody to the Lord in our hearts. The church needs the inward worship of God which is sincere, genuine, and comes from the heart. Spirit-filled believers have a joy in their hearts (Galatians 5:22), and Spirit-filled worship rejoices in God’s blessings.
3. Being filled with the Spirit provokes gratitude toward God, the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Paul placed a special emphasis on thanksgiving and demonstrated it even while in chains (Ephesians 6:20). One of my favorite quotes says: “If Paul could sing in prison, you can at least whistle a few measures wherever you are.” When we are filled with the Spirit we do not grumble about God or His church. Surly attitudes and bitter resentments are the works of the flesh. Being filled with the Spirit resolves the issue of the grumbling spirit.
4. Being filled with the Spirit leads us to humble attitudes toward one another. We should not be surprised that the One often identified as the “Spirit of Jesus” leads God’s people to gentle attitudes characterized by humility. Those who are filled with the Spirit have put on the mind of Christ and have rejected the ways of the world. They look out for the interests of others and do nothing out of vain conceit (Philippians 2:1-11).
The result of being filled with the Spirit is an “one another” kind of faith that worships God with all our hearts. It loves God and loves others. When we seek to obey the Spirit and to thus take on the mind of Christ, His church will be a blessed assembly.