Ephesians 5:18,19: Colossians 3:16
Think for a moment…what if there had been no Pentecost? Waiting in the upper room, those 120 disciples of Jesus would have never experienced ‘tongues of fire’ coming upon them. Christ’s followers, full of excitement and enthusiasm for the risen Lord, would have been powerless to threaten Satan’s domain. Weak and withering without the aid of the Holy Spirit, the church would have gradually faded away.
But, the Holy Spirit did come! Christ’s followers were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. The reality of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence changed everything.
Now, the joy of belonging to Christ guarantees the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit for all true believers. That is the essence of saving faith. But, not all Christians manifest the power and blessing of the Spirit’s presence because they are not "filled with the Spirit". That is, they are not controlled by God’s Spirit. ‘Indwelling’ and ‘filling’ are not the same. To be "filled", a believer must be under the control and command of the Holy Spirit through God’s Word.
Our second proof text, Colossians 3:16 begins,
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…
The controlling power of the Spirit can only take place when God’s Word permeates the being of His saints. Being "filled with the Spirit" focuses the mind on who God is and what He wants us to do. Sin is confessed, self is defeated and submission to the Spirit is a reality.
And then one begins to sing. Song, especially a good hymn, enables the mind (and soul!) to be saturated with the teaching of God’s Word—theology, doctrine and all of the necessary elements of holiness. As we sing, hymns aid the mind in focusing on God’s Word!
What a wonderful gift of God. Why be controlled by fear, anger or other destructive emotions? Sing and allow the Spirit of God to make His thoughts your thoughts.
In the Bible, we continually see a nexus between God’s presence and song. In the Old Testament, 2 Chronicles 5:12-14 describes God’s glory falling upon His people when the priests played and sang their songs of praise to God. Written under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the New Testament writers included direct quotations from the Psalms, the hymnbook of Israel, over 280 times.
As we think of the church, let us pray for a return to godliness that expresses itself in a Spirit-controlled life and the recovery of great singing. As we related in an earlier essay, the ancient church believed that "to sing is to pray twice." Let the words to this beautiful hymn express your song and your prayer this day:
May the mind of Christ my Savior, live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling, all I do and say.
May the power of Pentecost be a reality in our lives today!