Friday, January 14, 2005

Let’s Have a Symposium

Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)
On the day of Pentecost, 120 disciples were all with one accord in one place, when suddenly “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). Jews from every nation were staying in Jerusalem for the festival, and were startled at what was happening:
“Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear each in our own language in which we were born? …We hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” So they were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raises his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, … These men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and you daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see vision,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
(Acts 2:7-18)
Here was a wonderful thing happening to the people of God, and extending to all flesh — and it looked just like drunkenness! But what a powerful kind of “drunkenness” it was. Not at all like being drunk with wine, which leads to everything falling apart.

[GreekSpeak Alert] Actually, the Greek word for “dissipation” in Ephesians 5:18 is asotia is a form of the Greek word for “save” but with the “alpha privative” (the “a” which deprives the word of its usual meaning in order to create an opposite). So the word asotia means the opposite of salvation. That is, there is no redeeming quality to it. It does not bring about deliverance or healing. It does not lead to wholeness, but only brings about disintegration.

The reason getting drunk with wine is so useless and destructive is because the senses are impaired and self-control quickly fades. The wine is now in charge, and it was never meant for that role.

But it is not drinking that is really the problem, nor even being drunk. The real problem is the substance to which one is yielding himself.

“But be filled with the Spirit.” Paul’s readers were using wine for a role which really calls for the Holy Spirit. So he told them to be filled with the Spirit. There are three things to note about this:
  1. We are to be filled, not just a little, but all the way to overflowing. So full, in fact, that there is no room for anything else. In other words, yield to the control of the Holy Spirit and let Him have His way with you completely.
  2. We are to be filled, not just on occasion, but all the time. The tense of this verb in the Greek signifies a continual action. That is, keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit.
  3. We cannot do anything at all to fill ourselves with the Holy Spirit. Paul did not say, “Fill yourselves with the Spirit.” It is the work of the Father. As in all good things, He initiates, we respond. And it is the role of the Spirit to do the filling, and not just be the substance with which we are filled. Our role is simply to yield to His work in us.
Well, what does all this have to do with a symposium? Quite a bit, as it turns out. You see, [GreekSpeak Alert] the word “symposium” ultimately derives from the Greek word sumpotes, which literally means “drinking companion.” That leads to the Greek sumposion, people coming together to partake of inebriating potables — that is, to drink.

So, let’s have a symposium. Come and be my drinking companion, and let us partake of the Holy Spirit, yielding ourselves completely to Him.

Get drunk on the Spirit, the promise of the Father to all those who receive the Son. Soak in His love and marinate in His goodness. Let Him inebriate you and fill you with His utterances, prophesies, dreams, visions, and all the outworkings of the great salvation you have received in the Lord Jesus Christ.