July 16, 2017 – Ephesians 5:15-21

Lesson Date: July 16, 2017

Focal Scripture Passage: Ephesians 5:15-21

AIM: To lead students to learn why, how, and the results of being filled with the Spirit, and to encourage them to seek the Spirit’s filling every day this week.


Before class: Read the notes on Ephesians 5:15-21 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Bring a coat, jacket, or glove to class. Lay the article of clothing on a chair or lectern in front of the class.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the class’ attention to the coat, jacket, or glove you have brought to class. Tell them you want them to witness your amazing article of clothing. Tell them the coat, jacket, or glove can move around the room and do amazing things.

In a commanding voice, tell the article of clothing to move around the room. Place something on the floor and tell the article of clothing to bend over and pick it up. When nothing happens, assure the class that the amazing clothing item really can do the things you said. Tell it once again to do those things.

When nothing happens, tell the students that you forgot the most important part. Put on the article of clothing and then command it to do the things you did. Point out to the class that now the article of clothing can do everything you tell it to do and that it is completely obedient to your commands.

Ask: “What made the difference?” (the clothing item could do nothing on its own, but when you filled it you gave it the power it needed to do the things you told it). Tell them today’s lesson is about being filled with the Holy Spirit of God.



  1. Review.
    • Remind the class that we are studying the New Testament book of Ephesians. Locate Ephesus on the map.
    • Remind them that chapters 1, 2, and 3 are primarily doctrinal, while chapters 4, 5, and 6 contain very practical instructions for living the Christian life.
    • Ask: “What do you remember from chapter 4?” (answers will vary).
    • Read Ephesians 5:1-14.
    • Ask: “What do those verses tell us?” (to be followers of God, abstaining from the works of the flesh, but walking as children of light).
  2. Don’t Be Foolish – Be Wise.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 5:15.
    • Explain that the word circumspectly means carefully, cautiously, and diligently.
    • Tell the class that the Lord gives us instructions in the Bible about how we ought to behave (some of these instructions are found in Eph. 4:24 – 5:14).
    • Stress the fact that anyone who ignores the Bible’s teachings is a fool.
    • For example, tell the class to think of the person in the military who is responsible for clearing a minefield. He will work carefully, accurately, exactly, and diligently, so he will live. The fool will run carelessly into the minefield and be killed.
    • That is a good picture of the dangers of living the Christian life in this wicked world: if we walk circumspectly through this wicked world we will live, but if we walk carelessly we will get hurt.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 5:16.
    • Ask: “Why are we supposed to redeem (make the best use of) the time?” (because the days in which we live are evil and our time on earth is limited).
    • Tell the class this verse teaches that we shouldn’t waste our lives in wickedness – we should live every day for the Lord!
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 5:17.
    • This verse teaches that we shouldn’t be unwise, but we should understand God’s will.
    • Tell the class many people claim to be searching for God’s will. This chapter is one of many places in the Bible where God’s will for us is clearly stated.
    • Tell the class God’s will for His children is that we behave like Christians and avoid sinful behaviors such as those we’ve read about in recent lessons.
  3. Don’t Be Drunk – Be Filled with the Holy Spirit.
    • Read Ephesians 5:18.
    • Ask: “What are we NOT supposed to be drunk with?” (alcoholic beverages).
    • Explain that ancient people (including Jesus Himself) drank a watered down form of “wine” because their drinking water was impure; that was the only way to avoid intestinal diseases, which could easily prove fatal. We in the industrialized world do not have that problem today, making watered down “wine” unnecessary.
    • Stress the fact that the Bible DOES NOT condone drunkenness or social drinking. In fact, the Bible says those who drink alcoholic beverages are fools (Prov. 20:1, see also Prov. 23:29-35).
    • Explain that alcohol controls a person’s thoughts, speech, perception of the world around him, and actions.
    • Ask: “What are we SUPPOSED to be filled with?” (the Spirit).
    • Remind the class that the Holy Spirit of God comes to live within every genuine Christian at the moment of salvation. As we learned last quarter, the Holy Spirit seals us and is the earnest (promise) of our future inheritance ( 1:13-14).
    • Tell the class that being filled with the Spirit is like what happened to your article of clothing when you put it on. When you are filled with the Spirit you have power to do right and to resist sin.
    • Tell the class Evangelist Sam Cathey gave the following steps to be filled with the Spirit:
      • Want to be filled.
      • Empty yourself of your self will (do the opposite of what your flesh desires).
      • Forsake all known sin.
      • Submit to the will of God.
      • Ask God to fill you (and control you) with His Holy Spirit.
      • Use the filling immediately (follow the Spirit’s leading to serve others in the church).
  4. Results of Being Filled with the Spirit.
    • Tell the class that just as alcohol controls a person in a bad way, the Christian who is filled with the Holy Spirit is under the Spirit’s control.
    • The Holy Spirit controls one’s thoughts, speech, perception of the world around him, and actions.
    • Ask: “What are the results of being filled with the Holy Spirit?” Some answers are found in the next three verses.
    • Read Ephesians 5:19.
    • Ask: “What kind of music does this verse say a Christian should listen to? Rock? Country? Contemporary? Old favorites? Christian music?” (the Christian should fill his mind with “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” – in other words, Christian music).
    • Result Number One of being filled with the Spirit is listening to and singing the right kind of music.
    • Explain that music is a very powerful tool, either for good or evil. The devil often uses music to lure Christians away from the things of God. The sad thing in our modern day is that even some preachers publicly endorse ungodly music. By doing so they lead their church members astray.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Ephesians 5:20.
    • Ask: “What should characterize the life of a Spirit-filled Christian?” (thankfulness).
    • Ask: “When are we supposed to be thankful?” (always).
    • Ask: “What are we supposed to be thankful for?” (all things).
    • Result Number Two of being filled with the Spirit is thankfulness.
    • Tell the class that a third result of being filled with the Spirit is named in Ephesians 5:21. Read that verse.
    • Ask the class to identify that result (submission to one another).
    • Explain that without being Spirit-filled it is impossible for us to submit our will to others.
    • The filling of the Holy Spirit enables us to submit to one another “in the fear of God.”
    • Result Number Three of being filled with the Spirit is submission.
    • Tell the class that without Spirit-filled submission it is impossible to do the things described in the following verses (5:22 – 6:4) that produce a happy home.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the class being filled with the Holy Spirit means to be controlled, motivated, and empowered by God’s Spirit who lives within us.

Ask: Why should we be filled with the Spirit?” (because God commands us to – see Eph. 5:18).

Ask: How can we be filled with the Spirit?” (review the six steps listed above).

Ask: “What are some of the results of being filled with the Spirit?” (review the three results listed above).

Encourage everyone present to seek the Spirit’s filling right now. If anyone present is not saved, he or she cannot be filled with the Spirit because the Holy Spirit of God does not live within. Urge any who are unsaved to turn from their sins and place their faith in Jesus Christ right now.

Lead a closing prayer time, giving students time to silently confess their sin and ask God to fill them with His Spirit.


CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Ephesians 5:18. Tell them that being filled with the Spirit is not a one-time thing. Every time we sin we retake control of a portion of our life from the Holy Spirit. Encourage the students to ask God to fill them with His Spirit every day this week, and then to behave like Christians should.


NOTE: Being filled with the Holy Spirit is NOT some kind of a “second blessing” reserved for certain spiritual people who speak in tongues. That is false doctrine. Speaking in tongues is NOT the evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit. EVERY PERSON WHO HAS TRULY BEEN SAVED RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT AT THE MOMENT HE OR SHE BELIEVED (see Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:13; 2:18; and 1 John 4:13). Any other belief about the Holy Spirit is false.

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