John MacArthur on Ephesians 5:18

John MacArthur on “True Happiness”

You’ll notice that Ephesians 5:18 has a positive command: “Be filled with the Spirit.” What does that mean? First, let me tell you what that doesn’t mean. Being filled with the Spirit doesn’t mean to be indwelt with, to be baptized in, or to be sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Paul never says, “Be indwelt by the Spirit.” If you’re a Christian, the Spirit already lives in you (1 Cor. 6:19).

Paul never says, “Be baptized in the Spirit.” If you’re a Christian, you were baptized in Him at your conversion (1 Cor. 12:13).

Paul never says, “Be sealed with the Spirit.” If you’re a Christian, you’ve already been sealed with the Spirit (Eph. 1:13).

All three events occurred the moment you were saved.

Instead, Paul’s command has our sanctification in view. Though it sounds a little odd in English, the Greek verb means “be continually filled” or “be kept filled.” He is actually saying, “Be continually letting the Spirit of God — who is already in you — control you.” It isn’t a second work of grace, a one-time experience, or a step up to a higher level. It is the continual, ongoing experience of the Christian life.

JP: This is an excellent article. I encourage to read it in its entirety.

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Six Ways to Hinder Your Prayers

Six Ways to Hinder Your Prayers

It is the Lord’s delight to give us what we ask of Him in prayer. Like David, we should all pray, “O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth” (Psalm 54:2). If Christians did not believe in the efficacy of prayer, there would be no reason for us to ask anything of God. He is the one who tells us that we can have confidence that our prayers ascend to Him. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him” (1 John 5:14,15). While as Christians we pay lip-service to the superlatives in that sentence (“whatever” and “anything”), how often do we really believe it?

The fact is that our prayers are often hindered. There are times when it feels like our prayers are reaching the ceiling and going no further; times when we are lying face-down on the floor and feel that our prayers are rising no higher than the fibers of the carpet. While we can be sure that God does hear our prayers, there are times when He chooses not to heed or answer them. In this brief article we’ll go over six reasons God may not heed our prayers. This list is incomplete, for there may be other ways our prayers are hindered, but it contains the most likely and significant ways.

It is important to know from the outset that I am the only one who can hinder my prayers. You are the only one who can hinder your prayers. I cannot hinder your prayers anymore than you can hinder mine. And while we may have done much to hinder our prayers, we are not necessarily even aware of this. So let’s look at these as six warnings from Scripture.

  1. Selfish motives
  2. Turning away from Scripture
  3. Unforgiving hearts
  4. Family discord
  5. Unconfessed sin
  6. Doubt

The eighteenth chapter of Luke is premised with the following words: “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” Jesus goes on to share the parable of the persistent widow. It is a parable designed to teach the importance of persisting in prayer. It is God’s desire that we persist in our petitions before Him. When we ask and do not receive, we need to examine ourselves and question why our prayers are being hindered. Are we asking selfishly? Have we turned away from God, harbored unforgiveness in our hearts or ignored sin in our lives? Or have we allowed discord to creep into our families? These questions can lead us back to the Word of God, guide us to an examination of our hearts, and lead us back to sweet communion with the Lord.

JP: A worthwhile read. I only quoted the beginning and the conclusion!

Meg Tuttle Bridal Shower

Meg Tuttle will be honored at a walk-in bridal shower on Saturday, June 14th, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the home of Rhonda Stuckey in Maple Grove. Gift registry information and a sign-up sheet is available at the Church’s information desk.