Switch to Audio

Listen to sermon audio here:

The Holy Spirit In Your Marriage

Ephesians 5:15-21 • January 12, 2022 • w1351

Pastor John Miller continues our study in the book of Ephesians with a message through Ephesians 5:15-21 titled, “The Holy Spirit In Your Marriage.”

Pastor Photo

Pastor John Miller

January 12, 2022

Sermon Scripture Reference

Follow with me beginning in Ephesians 5:15. Paul says, “See then that ye walk circumspectly,” we’re in the section of Ephesians which is speaking of the believer’s walk, so he tells us to “walk circumspectly,” in my King James Bible, “not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear,” or the reverence, “of God.”

If you are a Christian, you have a relationship not only with Christ and with God the Father, but with the third Person of the Godhead known as God the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches there is one God and that He’s three Persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We call that the Trinity or the triunity of God—one God in nature and essence, but three separate Persons. When you became a Christian, the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead, was the Person that convicted or convinced you of your sin and your need for a Savior. The Bible says He comes into the world to convince “…the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment,” so you came under conviction. You could’ve resisted the Holy Spirit, you could’ve said no to God, but you surrendered your heart to Him and invited Jesus Christ to come into your heart, to forgive your sins. You accepted Him, trusted Him, believed on Him (whatever you want to use as far as expression, they’re all kind of synonyms), but you put your faith in Christ and were born again by the Holy Spirit. It starts with Him convicting you, drawing you, and then regenerating you. That’s the theological term. It really means to give new life, and that’s what a Christian is. As a matter of fact, you’re not a Christian if you haven’t been born again, if you haven’t been regenerated.

I used that term because we don’t really understand quite often what it means to be born again or born from above. To be regenerated means that we were dead in our trespasses and sins, as we learned in Ephesians 2, and that Christ has given us new life, so we’ve been born of the Spirit. We have eternal life. It’s a new quality of life. We enter into a new dimension of living whereby before we were dead in our sins and separated from God. That moment you are regenerated, several things happen. First of all, you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. If you are a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit. It’s not a question of you seeking Him or praying for Him or asking God to give you the Spirit, you get the Holy Spirit the moment you are born again—He comes in and takes up residence in you. I believe that He takes up permanent residence in you.

The Holy Spirit lives inside every believer, but here’s the next thing: Not every believer is walking in the Spirit, and the Spirit doesn’t have every believer. I would say it like this: Every Christian has the Spirit, but the Spirit doesn’t have every Christian. By that, we’re going to lead into our topic tonight, not every believer is Spirit-filled. I believe that when you’re praying for the filling of the Holy Spirit, you’re not so much praying for the Holy Spirit to come into you or for more of the Spirit, you’re surrendering more of you to the Holy Spirit, letting Him control you. Listen to me very carefully. Almost everything I say has great implication, and I don’t want to get sidetracked. It’s not a question of do you have the Holy Spirit, it’s a matter of does the Holy Spirit have you. Does He control you? Does He animate you? Does He fill you? Simply stated, and I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, but to be filled with the Holy Spirit means to be controlled by the Spirit.

The word “filled” would seem to indicate that we get more of Him, like an empty glass and you pour the Spirit in, it fills up, and then overflows. We talk about overflowing with the Spirit, and I understand those concepts, but the reality is (and if you don’t understand this, you can be confused) you’re not really getting more of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is getting more of you. In that happening, in a sense, you are being controlled and empowered by Him, and then you can be led by Him, and you’re walking in the Spirit.

Write down Galatians 5:16. Paul says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” How’s that for a great verse for marriage? In a marriage relationship, if a husband and wife are born again and filled with the Spirit, they are walking in the Spirit, they will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. That’s a marriage that you can say is “made in Heaven”—the Holy Spirit comes to fill the husband’s heart and the wife’s heart, and they are not only knit together as one in marriage, but they have both the Holy Spirit to empower, to guide, and to lead them. This will unfold more as we get into this section of Scripture.

The question I have for you tonight is: Are you born again, and are you filled with the Spirit? Are you walking in the Spirit? Not only do these things happen to the believer, and I don’t want to get too sidetracked, but you’re also sealed with the Spirit the moment you are born again. You don’t ask for it, you don’t seek it, you don’t pray for it, you just are sealed by the Holy Spirit; and the Bible tells us how long that seal will last, until the day of redemption, which is when you go to Heaven. It speaks of the security of the believer. It’s an indication of ownership and the security of the believer.

We want to focus on this concept of the Spirit filling the believer. This is not going to be true of an unbeliever. They don’t have the Spirit. They’re not born again, so they can’t be Spirit-filled. This is only referring to believers. The question is: Are you walking in the Spirit? It’s so important for the believer and so important in a marriage relationship, that we allow the Holy Spirit to control and animate us.

Paul has already told us earlier in Ephesians 4:1-16 to walk in unity. Secondly, he told us to walk in purity, Ephesians 4:17, and that goes all the way to Ephesians 5:20 as well. Tonight he’s now talking about walking in harmony, Ephesians 5:21-6:9, the home, the marriage, the children, and your job. Our text is a summary and a transition from walking in purity and unity to walking in harmony.

There are two things we need to do to walk in harmony, that is, we need to walk in wisdom and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Let’s look, first of all, verses 15-17, that we need to walk in wisdom. If you’re taking notes, there’s only two main points. The first is walking in wisdom and walking in the Spirit. Notice verse 15, “See then that ye walk circumspectly,” my King James Bible, I know that some of you think, Why do you keep reading from that old King James Bible and you have to correct it all the time? It’s basically a very accurate translation, but it is older English, so the English has changed over the years. You look up the word “circumspectly,” as used in my Bible, and you get the meaning. It means to look around. We get our word circumference or circle with it. To walk circumspectly—listen carefully—means that you are looking around. That doesn’t mean that Christians, everywhere they go, are literally looking all around, but it means carefully. It’s talking about the world that we live in, all the evil influence and all the sin and darkness in the world. It’s dangerous out there for the believer. It’s dangerous for married and single folks these days, so let’s look around. Let’s be aware of the times that we’re in. Let’s walk circumspectly.

The New International Version renders that, “Be very careful, then, how you live.” The word “walk” obviously isn’t talking about your physical walking, it’s talking about your living. He’s actually saying, “Live carefully. Look around. If you’re going to walk in wisdom, if you’re going to walk in harmony, if you’re going to have a successful marriage, then open your eyes, look around, be attentive to what is going on around you.” It’s so very important. Not all Christians are walking in this wisdom. They don’t pay close attention to their walk. It’s actually the idea that you should keep an eye on your Christian walk. How’s your walk with the Lord? You talk about New Year’s resolutions, you should resolve this year to walk closer to Jesus Christ—to walk after His will found in His Word. A wise walk accepts the truth of God’s Word found in the Bible and brings one’s life into conformity with it.

The first point for married couples tonight is open your eyes, examine your life, look around. Are you walking wisely with the Lord? Jesus, in Matthew 7, at the end of his famous Sermon on the Mount told the parable of a wise and a foolish builder. Are you familiar with that? The wise man built his house upon rock and the foolish man builds his house on sand. The short of the story is the foolish man built quickly, rapidly, haphazardly, carelessly, not wisely, on sand. He didn’t have a good foundation. When the storms came, the rain and the wind blew, his house fell. The wise man builds his house upon the rock and used wisdom. When the storms came and the wind blew, his house stood firm. I use that parable a lot in this passage when I’m officiating a wedding, and I’m leading into the vows for the couple. I exhort them, “Be wise builders. Build your house, your marriage, your home, your life on the solid Rock of Jesus Christ and the Scriptures.”

In the parable, Jesus interprets it and said that the foolish man heard His Word and didn’t do it; the wise man heard His Word and did it. In our individual, personal lives or in our marriage, what could be more important than knowing the Word of the Lord, which is wisdom, and then doing it? In doing that, you’re building your life and your marriage on the rock of God’s Word, and you’re building your life on the Rock of the Living Word, Jesus Christ, so when the storms come—and they will come—when the wind blows—and it will blow—and the floods come, your house will stand. It will stand the test of time. If you want a marriage that will last a lifetime, build it on the solid rock of Scripture. Amen? Be a wise builder. That’s the exhortation here. Are you building wisely? If you’re going to build a house, you’d be pretty foolish to build it without a foundation, right?—just to throw it up and not check the ground you’re building on. The most important part of a structure is the foundation, so be a wise builder.

We need to be wise in two ways. Look at the text, verse 16. First of all, by “Redeeming the time,” and secondly by understanding God’s will. Be wise, walk carefully, by buying up or redeeming the time and by knowing the will of the Lord. That phrase, “Redeeming the time,” the word time in the Greek is the word that we get our word seasons for. It’s not chronology, it’s the idea of seasons—what’s going on in the world at this time. In light of the season that we’re in in this world, we need to buy up opportunities to know God’s Word, to be wise, and to draw closer to the Lord. Again, the NIV renders that, “…making the most of every opportunity,” buying it up. Are you buying up opportunity?

One of the things that convicted me as I studied for this message tonight was the concept of buying up, in light of the season, is that the believer’s use of time. So often we disregard our time and we waste time. Time is a very precious thing. I don’t think we really value it as much as we should. We so carelessly, flippantly, and unwisely do not use our time, so start redeeming the time. Start using that time to walk with the Lord, to draw near to the Lord, to be filled with the Spirit. Don’t waste time on things that are of no value or benefit to your Christian life. Why? Verse 16, “…because the days are evil,” or morally corrupt. The “evil” there is a reference to moral corruptness. Again, we live in a world that is much like the Greco-Roman world of Paul’s day where the moral standards were almost nothing. It was pre-Christian, Christianity had just come onto the scene, and it was a very pagan culture, a very dark world.

If you’ve ever visited Greece and looked at some of the artifacts that are there, you know that they actually worshiped sex. They literally worshiped sex. When I say they worshiped sex, they worshiped sex. They saw it as a god—the reproductive system as a god. They had prostitutes in their temples, and they went there to worship their gods. These Christians were getting saved out of that, so they are to be wise about the evil and the times that is with them. Notice verse 16, “…the days are evil.” The darker the world gets though, the greater the opportunity for the believer to shine. The blacker the night, the more the light will shine for Christ. Amen?

I sometimes, with other believers, bemoan what is going on in our culture today and how dark the world is getting. But it’s an opportunity for us to stand out as lights in a dark place—the city set on a hill which cannot be hid—so let you life be a witness in this dark, wicked, evil world we live in. The darkness is not an obstacle, I believe that it is an opportunity. I know it’s challenging.

Notice the second way we’re to walk in wisdom, verse 17, by understanding God’s will. These are all verses transitioning into verses 18-21. A wise walk is redeeming the time, and it is understanding God’s will. Verse 17, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is,” therefore, know God’s will. When Paul starts with “Wherefore” in verse 17, he’s actually going back saying, “On account of this wise walk, you need to know God’s will. Verse 17, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” The will of God is revealed for us in the Word of God. This “will of the Lord,” here is not so much, who do I marry, what kind of a house do I buy, or what kind of car do I drive. These are the real big questions that Christians are so worried about today: Where do I live? What kind of job do I get? What kind of clothes do I buy? This “…will of the Lord,” is the universal will for all of us found in God’s Word.

God has individual wills for our lives, but I believe until we align ourselves with the revealed will of God in the Word of God, that we can’t expect God to lead us with: Who do we marry? How many kids do we have? Do we go to college? Do we not go to college? Where do I get my job? What state do I live in? Do I flee liberal California and run for my life? You need to first find God’s will for you laid out in God’s Word. Align yourself with the Word of God, and God will unfold in your life the will of God.

I sometimes have young people come to me, and they’re all hyped up and want to know God’s will for these little areas of their lives, as though I have a red phone on my desk that is a hotline to Heaven, “Oh wait. Let me go call God for you right now, and I’ll find out what God said,” and then tell them what God’s will is. I’ll ask them, “Are you reading your Bible?” “Well, I’m not reading my Bible right now. I’m too busy trying to find out God’s will for my life.” God’s will for your life is in black and white in the Bible, and we’re going to get it in a few weeks in our Sunday morning series in Thessalonians, but 1 Thessalonians 4, “For this is the will of God,” for you, “even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication,” sexual immorality. So, there’s no question there. God says it in His Word. It’s pretty black and white. That’s God’s will for you. If you’re living a sexually immoral life, don’t tell me you want to know God’s will, He already told you His will.

If you’re a Christian and contemplating marrying a non-Christian, don’t tell me you want to know God’s will because God has already said, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers,” so it’s just a done deal. You don’t really have to pray about it or seek the Lord about it, God has laid it out in His Word. That’s like saying, “I’m really praying right now if it’s the Lord’s will for me to rob a bank this Saturday. I’m praying if it’s His will that He’ll really speak to my heart and just lead me if I should rob the bank.” I don’t think that’s God’s will for you. It’s pretty clear in His Word, “Thou shalt not steal,” right? So, it’s not God’s will. Make your focus to begin reading, studying, learning the Bible, and then you will begin to discover how marvelously, wonderfully, miraculously God will begin to lead, guide, and direct your life.

We have God’s will in God’s Word, the Bible. We also have God’s Spirit to illuminate, to lead, to guide, and to transform us. We can get up every day and say, “Holy Spirit, guide me and lead me.” If you’re a married individual, “Lead me to love my wife,” or “Lead me to love my husband.” “Lead me, Holy Spirit. Bear Your fruit in my life, and be energizing me in my marriage relationship.” Are you using your mind to understand and do the will of God? There’s nothing more important as a single or married individual or contemplating marriage or in marriage than for you to know God’s Word and to align yourself with God’s Word. What is wisdom? It’s looking around carefully, buying up that time and opportunity to seek the Lord, and it’s also understanding what God’s will is for your life.

I want you to hold your finger here real quick, and I want you to turn to Genesis 2. I was just going to relate it to you, but rather than relate it, I want to read this foundational passage of the foundation, the beginning, of marriage before we start getting into the Holy Spirit found in verses 18-19. Look at Genesis 2. I know many of you read it a hundred times and know it well, but let’s read it beginning in verse 18. This is the foundation of marriage. “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone,” God has already created man. This is kind of rehashing what happened in Genesis 1. He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him,” a helper suitable for him. Marriage is God’s idea. Marriage is a divine institution. God instituted marriage. It’s not man’s idea. It’s not cultural. It doesn’t change. It’s God’s idea. Any attack on marriage as God has designed and ordained it, is an attack on God Himself.

Verse 19, “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet,” or helper, suitable, “for him. All day long he’s naming all these animals and thinking, Where’s my companion? He could look up to God or down at the animals, but he couldn’t look around and see anybody like him that he could have by his side that was compatible to him.

Verse 21, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” The first wedding was officiated by God—Adam went to sleep, woke up, and found out he was married. He’s been naming animals all day long. He’s tired and takes a nap. He wakes up, BOOM! “I’ve been looking at aardvarks and giraffes, but man, this is pretty good what I’m looking at right now!” He actually said, “Wow, man!” so he called her woman. It’s from the Hebrew.

Verse 23, “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh,” so these animals he couldn’t say that, “she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Don’t miss verses 24-25. We have the narrative. It’s Moses’ commentary on the narrative. This is his explanation, and it is quoted repeatedly in the New Testament, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

I have a couple different series that I’ve done that you can go on the website and listen to. I have one called, “The Bible and Marriage.” I do a whole sermon on what I’ve just read here out of Genesis. I go into great depth on verses 24-25. Notice it says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother,” this is the first step in marriage, leaving your parents. The parent-child relationship is different than the husband-wife relationship. When you get married, the focus shifts from your mom and your dad to your spouse. Though you love and support your parents, you never allow your parents to become number one in your focus or your life. You don’t let your parents get in the way of your marriage. Your priority is your husband or your wife, so you leave.

The second focus is “cleave.” The Hebrew indicates that you’re glued together. It speaks of a bond that is forever, an eternal bond. God glues the two together, and they become “one flesh,” one individual not two. “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed,” speaks of intimacy and honesty in the marriage relationship.

What I wanted to point out in the area of the foundation for marriage is that Jesus quoted verse 24 in the book of Matthew 19:4. Actually, if you read the first 8-10 verses, if you’re taking notes write it down, you’re going to get some amazing insight into marriage from the very lips of Jesus Christ the Son of God. They came to Jesus, tempting Him in Matthew 19, and wanted to trap Him in a debate on the subject of divorce. They asked, “Is it okay for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?” Jesus said, “What saith the Scripture?” Isn’t it interesting that Jesus actually answered them by saying, ‘What does the Bible say? What does the Scripture say?’” He wanted to bring them back to the Word. Jesus then quoted to them the Scriptures that they were so ignorant of from verse 24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife,” but when Jesus quoted it, He changed it a bit. He changed it to not, “…man…and his wife,” but to “male and female.”

I went out of the way to make you see or know that marriage is a woman and a man. We’re about this close in America to getting arrested for saying that, as hate speech or unacceptable. The day the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage was, in my opinion, the end of America. Marriage is the building block, the foundation, of a nation. There’s no government here yet, there’s not even a church here yet, but God actually instituted one man-one woman, glued together. Marriage is God’s idea. If you want to change or rearrange it, you can do that only to your hurt and your wound, and as a nation, it’s the most foolish thing we can do. But Jesus said, “…God made them male and female,” and said, “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.” There’s a lot of implications there in what Jesus said. Then, He added something, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder,” Matthew 19.

Now, flip back with me to our passage in Ephesians 5. Make a note that Genesis 2 is foundational, “…leave…cleave…and they shall be one flesh,” and intimacy is for the marriage relationship as God has designed and ordained that. God created marriage, Genesis 2; in Genesis 3, Satan corrupted marriage. Polygamy, adultery, incest, and all kinds of sexual perversion comes in and brings destruction on the culture around us. We live in a fallen world. The closer we align ourselves with the Bible, the better off we’re going to be as the world we live in.

We need to walk in wisdom, verses 15-17, by redeeming the time and knowing God’s will found in God’s Word, but that’s basically wisdom. Now, we need to be filled with the Spirit, verse 18. Paul says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Technically, this text would read like this, “Walk in wisdom by doing three things: redeeming the time, understanding God’s will, and being filled with the Spirit.” That’s the way the text unfolds. Walk in wisdom, and if I’m speaking to married people or it applies to single people, here’s the way you walk in wisdom. You walk by redeeming the times, by understanding God’s will, and by being filled with the Spirit. Not being drunk on wine, “but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

What we have in verse 18 is the classic passage where we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. Let me break it down. I’ve done it before, but I’m going to do it again. Notice first of all the contrast, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is,” the phrase is debauchery. Again, when I do a wedding ceremony, you should see the people’s eyes get big when I get here. Whenever I do a wedding, it varies from wedding to wedding, but a lot of times there are a lot of non-Christians there. It’s an opportunity for me to share the gospel. I can almost see on their faces what they’re thinking, I didn’t come here to hear that I’m a sinner and need to get saved and get right with God. I respect that. They came for a wedding and I don’t preach hellfire, “You’re going to hell right now!” “Whoa! What a wedding this is!” I do mention, and sometimes I have the reception in mind because I know where they’re going and I know what people like to do at receptions. I read this verse, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is,” debauchery. They’re like, “Whoa! This dude just messed up the reception for me. Bummer! Who would want this guy to do their wedding? We were going to go get drunk.”

I don’t want to get on a whole issue of Christians and alcohol. My theory is: Why alcohol? Paul says, “…I will not be brought under the power of any.” I might be able to strictly state, speaking biblically, it doesn’t forbid total abstinence but does black and white say, “You should not be drunk. You should not be intoxicated.” It’s a very dangerous road to begin to go down, and alcohol has been the destruction of many a marriage. Many marriages have been destroyed by alcohol, and some of you painfully are aware of that. Lives have been ruined.

In the city of Ephesus they not only worshiped sexual immorality, they worshiped a god called Bacchus. The Bacchanalian cult worshiped wine, and they worshiped being intoxicated. They would actually worship the god Bacchus, the god of wine, by drinking wine and getting drunk. Again, he’s saying, “And be not drunk with wine,” that’s debauchery. You know, when you’re drunk on wine, you lose self control. You do things you wouldn’t normally do, say things you wouldn’t normally say. You think in ways unwise that you wouldn’t normally think. This is an intended contrast, “And be not drunk with wine…but,” here’s the positive side, “be filled with the Spirit.” That is clearly a reference to the Holy Spirit.

We go from the contrast to the command, verse 18, “…be filled with the Spirit.” First, it’s called what is an imperative in the Greek. That’s a command. It’s not an option, it’s a command. God actually commands all believers to be filled, to let the Holy Spirit fill them. It would be disobedience to not be a Spirit-filled believer and let God’s Spirit fill you, and that it’s commanded supports and indicates that not all Christians are filled. In Acts 6, when they were picking out spiritual leaders to wait on the tables for widows, they were instructed to pick seven men full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, the same thing we read about in this text, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Why would those stipulations be given for leaders if everybody was already full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom? They’re not, so be wise and full of the Holy Spirit. It’s a command, not an option.

Secondly, the command is plural in the Greek, so it’s all inclusive. All Christians are commanded to be filled, not just for the pastors or the spiritual leaders or the super saints but for all Christians. Thirdly, it’s in the passive voice. I won’t say a lot about that because I’ll touch on it again. The passive voice in the Greek, all this is indicated in the Greek grammar, means that you let the Holy Spirit fill you. You can’t fill yourself. It’s not trying hard or working hard or trying to muster it up, you yield to the Spirit. You surrender to Him. You say, “Forgive me, fill me, have Your way in me. Let me be obedient to Your will and Your Word,” and you surrender your life to the Spirit and He fills you. You can’t fill yourself. It’s in the passive voice, so it’s involving surrender.

We all have heard this many times, and then it’s also in what’s called the present tense. It’s hard to render it in the English language, but if you were to do that, it would actually be, “Be being filled with the Spirit.” It means be constantly, continually, ongoingly, moment-by-moment, letting the Holy Spirit fill you. If you get up in the morning and surrender your life to the Holy Spirit, and He fills you, you’re going to need to do that another hour later, another hour after that, at lunch, after your lunch break when you go back to work with some weird people. You’re going to need to do that when you come home from your job and you meet your spouse and deal with the kids and all the crazy things that are going on in the house. You’re going to have to say, “Holy Spirit, fill me.” It’s continual. It’s not one filling. It’s an ongoing, continual appropriating of the Holy Spirit’s power.

What are the conditions for being filled? We’ve already alluded to some. It starts with the desire. Jesus said in John 7:37, “…If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” If anyone’s thirsty, come to Me and drink, so you must thirst. You must come to Jesus and drink. Secondly, it moves to denouncing sin or confessing and repenting of sin, 1 John 1:9, or putting off the works of the flesh. Thirdly, it involves dedication. You yield yourself to God, Romans 12, “…present your bodies a living sacrifice.” Fourthly, I have the word “depend.” I put it all in these (alliterated it): desire, denounce sin, dedicate yourself, and depend on the Spirit daily. In Galatians 5:16, “Walk in the Spirit,” that’s depending on the Spirit, “and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh,” and to walk is one step at a time. It’s repetition and reliance on the Holy Spirit not on self.

What are the consequences of being filled? This is where we wrap it up and see the benefit and blessing of the Spirit-filled marriage. If I do premarital counseling or counsel a couple that’s married: 1) are you born again? 2) Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? 3) Are you reading God’s Word? Are you surrendering to God’s Spirit and God’s Word on a daily basis? Those are so important for your marriage relationship.

I want you to notice here the consequences. They are threefold. First of all there will be joyfulness, verse 19; there will be thankfulness, verse 20; there will be submissiveness, verse 21. You’ll have a joyful marriage, you’ll have a thankful home and marriage, and you’ll have a submissive home and marriage, verse 21. That’s the consequences.

Write down Galatians 5:22, and notice in our text, verse 19, “Speaking to yourselves,” is literally one to another, “in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,” so the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 brings “…love, joy, peace, longsuffering,” patience, “gentleness,” kindness, “goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance,” self control. They’re all tied in with this joy. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,” so there will be joyfulness in your home. Many times people testify, “Well, I got married and I was looking for the ideal, and it became an ordeal, and now, I want a new deal; and it certainly isn’t a blessing. It’s a bummer.” If the Holy Spirit is filling your heart, there’ll be singing in your home and joy in your heart. Someone said, “Joy is the flag flown from the castle of your heart when the King is in residence there.” Many times when the king was in the castle, they would have a special flag flying; and when you saw that flag, you’d know the king was in the castle. Joy is the flag that flies high from the castle of your heart when the King is in residence in your heart.

Do you want a joyful marriage? Then, be filled with the Holy Spirit with joy in your hearts outward, one to another, and to the Lord. I love verse 19, “Speaking,” or singing, “in psalms and hymns.” The word phrase, “making melody in your heart,” literally means that the Holy Spirit plucks the strings of your heart. It’s likening your heart unto a musical instrument. The Holy Spirit’s plucking the strings, and the joy is overflowing.

Notice verse 20, there will also be thanksgiving in your heart and in your home. “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Some people aren’t so thankful for their husband; they’re not so thankful for their wife; they’re not so thankful for their marriage. They’re not giving thanks to God. There’s no joy; there’s no thanksgiving.

Thirdly, and lastly, there’s submission, verse 21. “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” I am convinced that the greatest need in our Christian homes and marriages is for the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts.

In Colossians, Paul says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” and no sooner has he said those words that he goes on to say the very thing Paul says here, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord: 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father…Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” It goes like this: To be Spirit-filled is to be joyful, thankful, and submissive; to be filled with the Word of God is to be joyful, thankful, and submissive. A Spirit-filled home is a Word-filled home. You can’t get rid of the Bible and have the fruit of the Spirit in your life. The two are interlinked. If you want a blessed and happy marriage, a strong marriage, then you need the Spirit of God and the Word of God. If a wife stops reading her Bible, if she stops yielding to the Holy Spirit, if a husband stops reading his Bible and stops yielding to the Holy Spirit, you’re headed for disaster. You’re building on sand, and when the storm comes, your house is going to fall. It won’t take long before you want to bail out of that relationship instead of honoring God and being obedient to His Word, walking in wisdom.

So, joyful, thankful, and submissive in the marriage relationship, and there’s so much more that can be said, but I want to point out how this text ends in verse 21, “…in the fear of God.” Submission is mutual, one to another, so even though next Wednesday night we’re going to look at, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands,” I know it’s going to be hard for the women to show up next week, and you don’t want your husbands either to come because you don’t want him to read those verses. I found out in marriage counseling the husbands know the wife’s verse, and the wives know the husband’s verse. They never look at their own. Before he says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands…Husbands, love your wives,” he says, “Submitting yourselves one to another,” but what is the foundation for that mutual submission? The fear of the Lord.

We probably should spend a whole night on that statement, “the fear of the Lord.” “The fear of the LORD,” Proverbs 9:10, “is the beginning of wisdom.” How did the passage start? Walk wisely. Don’t be a fool. Look around. Have your eyes open. Don’t let your life be destroyed by Satan, by the world, or by the flesh. Open your eyes. Get into God’s Word. Let the Spirit fill you. Walk in wisdom by redeeming the time, understanding God’s will, and surrendering to God’s Holy Spirit. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”

The foundation for your marriage is the fear of the Lord. Let me tell you something. This may sound kind of oversimplified, and believe me I’ve been a pastor a long time and I know that problems in marriage can be multiple and intense and radical, but if you have a husband and a wife that both fear the Lord, you have a marriage that’s unshakable and immovable. Do you know what it means to fear the Lord? It means that you don’t want to do anything that would grieve or pain or hurt the heart of God. You don’t want to do anything that would dishonor God or grieve God or cause Him pain. You love Him so much, you fear Him so much, you respect Him so much that you’re going to love your wife, you’re going to submit to your husband, you’re going to work it out, and you’re going to forgive one another because you fear the Lord. That’s the foundation of a marriage. Let’s pray.

Pastor Photo

About Pastor John Miller

Pastor John Miller is the Senior Pastor of Revival Christian Fellowship in Menifee, California. He began his pastoral ministry in 1973 by leading a Bible study of six people. God eventually grew that study into Calvary Chapel of San Bernardino, and after pastoring there for 39 years, Pastor John became the Senior Pastor of Revival in June of 2012. Learn more about Pastor John

Sermon Summary

Pastor John Miller continues our study in the book of Ephesians with a message through Ephesians 5:15-21 titled, “The Holy Spirit In Your Marriage.”

Pastor Photo

Pastor John Miller

January 12, 2022