always giving thanks to God the Father for each other in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
(Ephesians 5:20 – NET)
(Ephesians 5:20 – NET)
We can see from this text (Ephesians 5:15-21) that being filled with the Spirit is God’s will, very easy to see, right? Well, let’s think about that because you cannot tell me you are filled with the Spirit if you don’t go to church. This passage makes it obvious that you are not. If you are not plugged in, you are losing power.
A person who wants to believe that they can stay away from church and grow might say, “Well I am living better than I ever have, I sin less, I am a better Christian”. No, you only think you are, this text teaches that you are foolish, you are using selfish measures, you are not living out your holiness in the midst of all us sandpaper people, you’re cheating, and your growth is just your head swelling ‘cause you don’t cuss no more.
You are cheating on us too, because you aren’t giving your gifts back to God’s people, the very gifts God has given you for others. It’s not only what you aren’t doing, but what you are doing. You might not be sinning by commission, but by omission, and really it’s both. You may not be cursing as much by staying home, but you are cursing God’s design for the sanctification of your life. You may not be getting drunk with alcohol, but you aren’t drinking deep at the fountain of God’s Spirit, you are wallowing in the shallow waters of kiddy-pool Christianity. Life in the Spirit is cultivated in the context of a local church community.
You need to follow God’s design because if not you will fall further away from the faith, guaranteed. You need to examine yourself in the light of this text, and in the light of His Word, not just the bits you enjoy. You see it is especially dangerous when your measure is your personal ideas about holiness, because especially if your personal, biblically under-examined experience convinces you that all is well, that is what truth becomes to you regardless of what judgment the Word of God says to that experience. You need to look at the light of this text.
Listen to me carefully; even if you seem to be doing worse when you consistently come to church, the biblical truth is that you are still being sanctified by it. It is just like having those rough patches in your marriage; it is all part of God using it to sanctify you and your spouse. Marriage will give you the butt whipping you need!
If you are not married this doesn’t exclude you, I was just using marriage as an illustration, and it still applies to singles, young people, widows and widowers, and everyone else. Eventually your Christianity has to work itself out in a certain place at a certain time. Regardless of where you end up, you will experience tension and have problems. The truth is that this imperfection may be precisely what you need in order to deepen in the knowledge of God.
You need to be filled with the Spirit, and it is done in the context of church and living a godly life in its community! Stop being a fake, and start getting filled; let the good times roll!