Chapter Five: Being Filled Up to the Fullness of God

“and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”

Ephesians 3:19

Redemption is a beautiful word. It means, “to buy out of the market, to redeem from, never to be sold again. The word redemption is also used of purchasing a slave and giving him his freedom, to release by paying a price, forgiveness by forgiving the debt, as well as deliverance from guilt and sin, and to release on a receipt of a ransom.”

Scripture tells us we “have been bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). It also tells us that we were redeemed “not with perishable things like silver and gold… but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ(1 Peter 1:18-19). If you are a believer, you have been redeemed! As we saw last week, you have also received the “love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).

We cannot begin to experience God’s fullness apart from surrendering to His Spirit. We “must understand there is no ability to live the Christian life apart from His Spirit. The presence of His Spirit in each believer is the guarantee of his redemption, of his being purchased out of the futile way of life apart from Christ. The believer has been purchased out of the slavery to flesh, delivered from the guilt of sin, and released on the receipt of the ransom being paid in full.”

“Christ has provided the way out of slavery to our flesh. As believers, we need to understand what it means that Christ has bought, purchased, and redeemed us. We need to know not only what we have in Christ, but how to tap into what we have in Christ.” How do we tap in? One of the first things we need to remember is that “He is interested in relationship, not religious activity. Relationship comes only through being in participation with this Person, Jesus Christ.” God’s Word is essential in this process because His Word is how we begin to know Him better! But it’s not just knowing His Word, but surrendering to it that we “get into the groove of being strengthened by the Spirit of God in the inner man.”

“When a believer is not being strengthened with the divine ability within his life, it is very obvious to everyone around that person. We either live like we’ve been redeemed, bought out of slavery to the flesh, or we live like we’re in bondage to the flesh.” Galatians tells us that the deeds of the flesh “are obvious” (Galatians 5:19-21). These deeds are listed as sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery (‘from the Greek word ‘pharmakeia’ meaning drugs’), enmities (‘taking out vengeance on another person’), strife (‘a contentious attitude toward others which constantly keeps things stirred up and confused’), jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes (‘seeking your own interests at the expense of others’), dissensions, factions (‘heresies or sects built around man, not God’), envying (‘this takes jealousy a step further and involves seeking to take from others what you feel you deserve’), drunkenness, and carousing (‘frivolous partying’).

“Paul doesn’t finish the list but simply extends the list by saying, ‘…and things like these…’ The list goes on and on because there is no limit to what man will come up with to satisfy his flesh.” You see, “the difference in a believer and a non-believer is that a non-believer has no inner strength to control the flesh. Both believers and non-believers have the same potential for deeds of the flesh, but the believer has been bought out of, redeemed from, slavery to the flesh. The believer now has a choice to rely on his strength or ‘be strengthened with power (divine ability) …in the inner man.”

“The normal Christian life is a daily abandonment to whatever accommodates Christ in my life and allowing His divine strength to do in and through me what I cannot do for myself. With the deeds of the flesh in mind, let’s return to Paul’s prayer which totally reflects the characteristics of the normal Christian life. The phrase which sums up Paul’s prayer is, ‘…that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.’ This phrase is key to understanding that a believer does not have to fulfill the deeds of the flesh.”

“Whatever fills you, dominates you.”

Wayne A. Barber

Every relationship we have is directly impacted by what dominates us. “Paul is praying that all of God would dominate all of you. Being filled implies ‘to dominate.’ It is the Greek word ‘pleroo’ and means to be filled to the brim.” Satisfaction is also a part of this idea. “When a believer is empty of sin, empty of self, and filled up with the fullness of God, then we experience satisfaction.” What are we allowing to fill or dominate us? Fear? Selfishness? (You can fill in the blank). Whatever you allow to fill you is what will dominate your life.

“This word “pleroo” is used approximately 29 times in the New Testament.” We see Paul being dominated (or filled) by the Spirit and exemplifying boldness and joy in the midst of unimaginable circumstances. We also see instances where people are filled with other things such as jealousy, love of money, confusion, and all unrighteousness. When we are not choosing to be filled with the Spirit, we are choosing to give the devil an opportunity and allowing ourselves to be enslaved again to that from which Christ set us free.

Why do people choose to be filled with other things rather than being filled with the Spirit? “Because ‘they did not see fit to acknowledge God’ (Romans 1:28). Acknowledge means to bow down to. In the language of Ephesians, it means to allow Christ to dwell in every room of your house. You are ‘being strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…’ and so that you might ‘know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge’ so that ‘you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”

We worship that which fills us, and this directly impacts everyone around us. “Are you allowing Christ to dwell in every room of your heart, allowing Christ to be your life? Bowing before Him, surrendered to His rule and reign in your life? My prayer is that you will allow the Lord Jesus Christ to dominate every room of your life. He has redeemed you out of slavery to the futile way of life in the flesh, never to be sold again into that slavery.”

Chapter 5: Daily Reflections

Day One: Redeemed

  1. Read 1 Peter 1:18-19 and list everything you learn about your redemption.
  2. What has Christ redeemed us from according to Galatians 3:13-14?
  3. Read Ephesians 1:7 and note how this verse explains our redemption?

Day Two: Importance of the Word of God

  1. Read Psalm 19: 7-14. List everything you learn about the Word of God (hint: look for words like testimony, law, precepts, commandments as synonyms for the Word of God).
  2. Read Psalm 119:9-11. What do you see here about what the Word keeps us from? Read Hebrews 4:12. What does God’s Word have the power to do?
  3. Why is God’s Word important to abiding in Christ according to John 15:1-7? What do you think it means for His Words to abide (dwell, feel at home) in you? How does this compare to Colossians 3:16?

Day Three: Deeds of the Flesh

  1. Read Galatians 5:1. Why did Christ set us free? What were we freed from?
  2. Now read Galatians 5:13-15. If we are not being strengthened in the inner man, what can we turn our freedom into? How does this opportunity for the flesh reveal itself in Galatians 5:15 and Galatians 5:19-21?
  3. Read Romans 6:8-23. What do you learn about being a slave to sin? How does verse 16 remind you of the statement, “Whatever fills you, dominates you?”

Day Four: Filled with His Spirit

  1. Read Galatians 5:22-23. What are the evidences of being filled with the Spirit?
  2. Read Acts 4:1-10. How did Paul demonstrate boldness in being filled with the Spirit?
  3. Read Acts 13:44-52. What did the Holy Spirit enable Paul and Barnabas to do despite the persecution of the Jews? What does verse 52 say they were filled with? How does this encourage your heart that God will enable you with His power when you surrender to Him?

Day Five: Where Revival Starts

  1. How does Galatians 5:17 describe the war raging between the flesh and the Spirit? What is the outcome of walking by the Spirit in verse 16?
  2. True revival takes place when we choose to walk by the Spirit. Part of being filled up to all the fullness of God is emptying ourselves of our own wills and agendas. This involves a death to self. Read John 3:30 and record it in your journal.
  3. Read Psalm 51:1-17. What type of heart does God accept? How does having a right heart before God help you have a right relationship with Him?
All italicized quotes that are not Scripture quotes or cited from an author, are direct quotes by Wayne A. Barber from the book, "The Surrendered Life."

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