Mount Carmel Church (OPC)
I want to welcome you on behalf of the Elders and leadership at Mt Carmel Church OPC. Our goal at Mount Carmel is to love the Lord our God with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind and to love our neighbor as our self. (Matthew 22: 37-39). As the Presiding officer here, I take very seriously all our efforts in this direction, whether its teaching or preaching, prayer or worship, community service or sharing a meal, nursery or Sunday School, we seek to love God and neighbor through our Lord Jesus Christ.
He demonstrated the ultimate in love by laying down His life to save the eternal souls of those who would believe in him. That’s why Jesus said: “ Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). This is exactly what Jesus did for those who trust in his great sacrifice for them. And so we seek to serve Him and you in all we do, because He also said, “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Only Jesus by the sacrifice of Himself on the cross could redeem us and pay the immense penalty we owed to God because of our sin. Yet as Jesus served us in love, so we are called to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13b).
My hope is that you will know and receive God’s love for you in Christ and be enabled to share it with those around you. My prayer is that we would always be “Growing in Knowing God” (Colossians 1:10), through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Serving because Christ served us,
Pastor Gregory Pilato
Mount Carmel Church OPC
Honey & Oil from the Rock
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. Luke 4:1, 2a
And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:31
And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18
Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?
Christians are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). This is not optional, or a good suggestion or even a command directed at a select few ‘super’ Christians. It is the Biblical expectation for every true believer in Christ Jesus the Lord. It is a passive command. We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We are receiver of the action of God, who fills us with his Spirit. What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirt? To be filled with the Spirit is to be under the influence, control and leading of the Holy Spirit of God, the third Person of the Trinity.
We are exhorted, “don’t get drunk on wine” or “don’t be controlled by alcohol or other mind-altering substances”, but “be filled with the Spirit”. We are not to be under the influence of alcoholic spirits, but under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The Christian ought not to get a D.U.I. but ought to get a W.U.I: Walking Under the Influence of the Spirit.
Throughout Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus, he unpacks the doctrine of fullness. In Christ, the Church, the body of Christ is “the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:23). In some mysterious and miraculous God- glorifying way, the Church is declared to be and is the fullness of Christ who fills all and is in all. Paul prays for believers to: “know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).
His desire, expectation and prayer are that all believers be filled up with the fullness of God- that they would be under the influence and control of the Triune God who indwells them. Further, God has given gifts to everyone (Ephesians 4:6) in the whole body for his glory and the building up of the body into the full stature of Christ. We are to build one another up, “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”
(Ephesians 4:13). We ought to believe, repent, pray, worship, work and love God and one another, to the end that we all look less and less like our old Adamic selves (which is dead!) and more and more like the Spirit-filled (Ephesians 5:18) new creations (II Corinthians 5:17) we are in Christ.
Paul assures us that every believer has the Spirit: “no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:3). And every believer is indwelt by the Spirit: “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His“(Romans 8:9). Why then might we not be filled with the Spirit? It might be that we have offended or grieved the Holy Spirit in some way (Ephesians 4:30) and need to get right with God. This involves a yielding to the searching and knowing examination of the word of God and the Holy Spirit (Psalm 139:23, 24 Hebrews 4:12, 13). An excellent prayer to this end: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23, 24).
What happens when the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit? He or she is able to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14), just as Jesus did (Luke 4:1,2), and be victorious in temptation. The believer filled with the Holy Spirit is able to speak boldly for Christ (Acts 4:31). The Spirit-filled believer’s life is marked by wisdom (Ephesians 5:17), speaking encouragement through “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (5:19) and giving thanks always for all things (5:20).
Spirit-filled believers are able to submit to one another in the fear of the Lord (5:21). Wives, under the influence of the Spirit, submit to their own husbands as to Christ (5:22). Husbands, yielded to the Spirit, sacrificially love their wives (5:25), and nourish them with the word of Christ (5:26-29). Children under the influence of the Holy Spirit, obey their parents (6:1), in the Lord and receive the promise of a good and long life (6:2,3). Spirit-filled parents don’t provoke or exasperate their children, but nurture and warn them lovingly in the Lord (6:4). Employers and employees full of the Spirit, labor as unto the Lord (6:5-9), and in goodwill seek to do good to one another in their work relationships.
Finally, Spirit-filled believers are seriously engaged in spiritual warfare, not against people but against spiritual powers, principalities and rulers of darkness (6:13). They are victorious in battle as they stand strong in the Lord and His power (6:10, 13), utilizing gospel weaponry (6:13-18) against the wiles of the devil (6:11). The Church and the home (meant to be a mini church) would be much more peaceful places, if we warred against the right enemy and prayed at all times in the Spirit (6:18).
Our Father in heaven, You commanded that we be filled with your Holy Spirit. Help us to be willing and obedient. Lord Jesus, You exemplified being filled with the Spirit by praying, being filled and then being led in the wilderness by the Spirit. May we follow your lead and gain from your sacrifice and victory. May we take seriously the command to pray all times in the Spirit. May we yield to and follow the Spirit as He leads and influences us to follow your ways rather than the ways of the world. May we submit to one another in the fear of the Lord and live in wisdom, pleasing to you and obedient to your Scriptures. We thank You for causing your Spirit to dwell in us and desiring that we have what is best- being filled up with all the fulness of God. Grant that we would seek your face earnestly, till we are filled with the Spirit, and joy unspeakable.
In Jesus’ name Amen.