Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 5:18 Paul charges us to “be filled in spirit.” As members of the Body of Christ, we need to be filled in our spirit unto all the fullness of God. If we are filled in spirit, that with which we are filled will overflow from within us.
Verse 19 refers to this overflow: “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and psalming with your heart to the Lord.” We do not overflow by meditating or by sitting silently in the meetings of the church. On the contrary, we overflow by speaking to one another. If we are filled in spirit unto all the fullness of God, we shall spontaneously speak to one another concerning Christ. Speaking, therefore, is the way to overflow.
Christians must be a speaking people. We should not be dumb, or silent, for the God we worship is the speaking God. Idols, on the contrary, do not speak; they are dumb. In 1 Corinthians 12:2 Paul mentions “dumb idols.” Because idols cannot speak, those who worship idols are also dumb. A dumb god needs dumb worshippers. If you visit a country where there is the practice of idol worship, you can see that idol worshippers worship their gods in a dumb way. But our God is not dumb; He is the speaking God. Therefore, those who worship Him must also speak. However, many who attend the so-called services in Christianity do not speak. Instead, they worship the Lord in a dumb way. What is our situation in the meetings of the church? Are we silent, or are we bubbling over with words about the Christ we have experienced in our daily life? In the meetings we should praise the Lord and speak of what He is to us in our experience.
Many Christians realize that their religious services should not be altogether silent. Therefore, they arrange to have soloists, quartets, and choirs to provide music. They also may hire outstanding preachers to speak. Nevertheless, most of the people sit silently in the pews, and, for the most part, are dumb worshippers.
The very architecture of many places of Christian worship is conducive to silence. For example, many spontaneously become quiet when they enter Catholic cathedrals. The steep roof, the dimly-lighted atmosphere, and the stained glass windows all encourage dumbness. Some worshippers may burn candles before images or pray in front of statues. How devilish! In principle, this is the same as the idol worship practiced in pagan countries. Much of Christianity has been permeated by the concept of silent worship. In effect, many who attend the Christian services are dumb worshippers.
Since our God is a speaking God, we as His worshippers must also speak. At times, we should even make a joyful noise to the Lord, as we are charged to do in Psalm 100:1. In a number of other verses we are told to do the same thing (Psa. 66:1; 81:1; 95:2; 98:4, 6). Often when we come together we should make joyful noise to the Lord.
As we speak to one another of our experiences of Christ, we should not wait for some kind of formal beginning of the meetings. To do this is to remain under the influence of traditional Christianity. If we have been set free from tradition, we shall speak spontaneously as we come together in the meetings of the church. Some may even begin to speak on the way to the meeting. The meetings need to be filled with speaking concerning the riches of Christ.
Ephesians 5:19 also refers to “singing and psalming” to the Lord. Such singing and psalming are not only the overflow of being filled in spirit, but also the way to be filled in spirit. Whenever we are filled in our spirit unto all the fullness of God, the first thing we shall do is speak. Then we shall sing and psalm with our heart to the Lord.
Many pride themselves on being scriptural. I wonder, however, if they are scriptural according to 5:19. This verse, found in a book that deals with the church, tells us that after we have been filled in our spirit unto all the fullness of God, we need to speak. Many who regard themselves as scriptural are scriptural only in a traditional way. They are not scriptural according to Paul’s word in verse 19.
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