Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: Here's Pastor Bill Elliff.

Bill Elliff: Brokenness is coming to the place where, with my mind, I am so renewing my mind that I understand it is fruitless and senseless to be in control of my life. And with my emotions, I'm bringing them into their proper place so that they don't run my life and so that I can come to the point with my will that I'm constantly saying, like Christ at Gethsemane, “Lord, not my will but Thine be done.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, November 21. All this week Nancy's been giving us a fresh look at what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It's part of a series called Seeking Him. We'll see today how living by the power of the Holy Spirit will affect your day-to-day life, and here's Nancy to introduce our guest.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: When you talk about the Spirit-filled life, that can be kind of hard to get your hands around. I know over the years, sometimes I've just wished that somebody could give me a really clear, understandable explanation of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Some time ago, our staff had the privilege of hearing Pastor Bill Elliff preach on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and I was so encouraged by his message. Many of our staff found it extremely helpful, so we want to share a part of that message with you today as part of this series on being filled with the Spirit.

Bill Elliff is the pastor of the Summit Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. You've heard Bill over the last several weeks on some of the Seeking Him prayer sessions that we've aired, and his wife, Holly, has been a guest on Revive Our Hearts many times in the past.

Bill and Holly have been long-time, dear friends, and I just so appreciate the way that their lives exemplify what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Let's listen as Pastor Bill Elliff helps us understand more about the important ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives as believers.

Bill: I want to talk with you very simply about the filling of the Holy Spirit, and so Ephesians five is the classic passage. I want you to turn with me there in your Bibles and begin reading in verse 15.

Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time [redeeming the time], because the days are evil.

So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and [be submissive,] be subject to one another in the fear of Christ (through verse 21).

Just ask the Lord to help us ask and answer two or three very simple questions this morning. Number one, what is it? What is the filling of the Holy Spirit?

Well, very simply the filling of the Holy Spirit is the continual control of God over my life. I mean, that's just very simple—the continual control of God over my life. If you've studied this passage, you know that the tense of the verb is literally—it could be translated like this—be being filled.

It's not just, “be filled.” It's that you would live in this constant state of continually being filled. Like a drunk man is controlled by his wine, we are to be filled with God. This part is really hard to understand exactly. When you say somebody is just filled with fear, what you say about that is that fear is just driving them. It consumes them. It absorbs them. In the same way, you are to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that it drives you. It consumes you.

The Bible teaches us that until we come to Christ, this old you, this B.C. person, "Before Christ" person—Christ is outside of your life, and so, the Bible says that in Christ is life. First John five says, “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life,” (verse 12). So Christ is outside of your life. You have a spirit, but it's just dead. There's no life. The life of God is not there.

My brother Tom is the firstborn, an entrepreneurial guy. He got in more trouble; he did more stuff than any of the rest of us thought about doing in my family, and he always had projects going in our backyard. Like one time, I remember there was a raccoon drying over here, a skin, and there was a boat that was some deal that none of us quite understood,

Then he had this old Model T, and he didn't have the body. He just had the chassis and the wheels on it and the steering wheel coming up. He had taken out the engine. The engine sat in the yard—it was a back yard—for about, oh, ten years in all these pieces.

What we boys would do—we had this inclined driveway coming around the back yard, and we would push that Model T up the hill. We would just die all the way up the hill. Then somebody would put their foot on brake. We'd all jump on, and we'd go down that hill.

Well, we'd do it again, but you can only do it about three times, and then you're just dead because it didn't have any engine. Now, if you took that engine, and you put it in that car, man, we could have gone anywhere effortlessly. But the reason that you can't be what God wants you to be before Christ is you don't have the engine.

You don't have any life. So what happens is: what your mind thinks and your emotions feel and your will decides, that's how you live. You just live your life. You go for all these years. So when something comes to your body, like when somebody runs out in front of you in traffic, your mind thinks, “Man, that guy's a real jerk.” Your emotions think, “I'm going to give that guy a piece of my mind. That really makes me mad,” and your will makes a decision of how you're going to respond.

You live your life on this soulish, carnal kind of plane. Now, what happens in salvation is that Christ comes to live inside of you in the Person of the Holy Spirit. What an unbelievable privilege! What a privilege!

Jesus said when he was going away in John 14, “Look, I'm going away, but don't be afraid. Don't worry about that. I will send One who will be with you and will be in you” (see verse 16). The Holy Spirit is the Person of God in spirit form.

Just think about that—Christ in me, which is, by the way, my hope of experiencing the glory of God—Christ in me! That means when I'm faced with a task that's bigger than me, and I say, “Man, I don't know what to do,” well, I have Christ in me. He is all wisdom. He does know what to do.

That means when I'm on the road or I'm at the headquarters or I'm at the ROH staff and I encounter somebody—and you're going to. I mean this is just life, folks. You encounter somebody that rubs you the wrong way, and they just keep doing it over and over again consistently (and by the way, you rub them the wrong way, too). There's this relational conflict, and you say, “Man, I don't know how to keep forgiving them, and I don't know how to really love them.” But this amazing thing happens, and that is Christ comes to live inside of you. 

Now, there's a problem when we get saved. The problem is that Christ is inside of you, but when you get saved, that part of you, your soul, is not automatically changed, right? This part is automatically changed—Christ in you. You'll never be the same.

That's why old things have passed away, and you've become completely new because you're never going to be a person that doesn't have the life of God in you again, ever again. You've been resurrected to a new life eternally, see?—Christ in you.

But the problem is your mind is un-renewed. Your emotions are untamed, and your will, in certain realms, is unbroken. For the rest of your life, there's this progressive process that has to go on for the renewing of your mind, the taming of your emotions so they don't rule you. You must put them in the proper place—the continual breaking of your will.

When you hear this ministry talk about brokenness, brokenness, brokenness, you say, “Why do they keep talking about brokenness?" Because, you see, brokenness is the door that takes you from one level to the next level. Brokenness is the surrender of my will.

Brokenness is coming to the place where  I am so renewing my mind that I understand it is fruitless and senseless to be in control of my life. With my emotions, I'm bringing them into their proper place so that they don't run my life and control my life and drive my life and so that I can come to the point with my will, I am constantly saying, like Christ at Gethsemane, “Lord, not my will but Thine be done.”

I surrender my will. My will is brought under control. That's why G. Campbell Morgan said, “Brokenness is a willingness to be governed by another.” It's coming to the point where I understand the value and more and more—in my finances and in my relationships and in my thought life and in what comes out of my mouth and what goes into my mouth and my body and all these different areas of my life—God is taking me through this process of renewing my mind, taming my emotions, and breaking my will.

The question, as many men have said before me, is not: How much of God do you have? The question is: How much of you does God have? Are you letting the Christ who lives within you control your life, and are you constantly on this level deferring to Christ within?

At every turn, all through the day, with every thought, with every idea, are you saying,

Lord, what do You want to do? Father, I know this is what I think and what I feel and what I want to do, but Father, I have enthroned You as the king of my heart. You are in control.

You are in charge, and so, Lord, my mind wants to do what You want. My emotions are subjective to You. Lord, my will is absolutely at Your disposal. I want Your will more than my life, and so, Lord, I want to live from the inside out. I want You to control my life.

The filling of the Holy Spirit is a matter of letting the Spirit of God who lives inside of me have that kind of rule, that kind of reign, that kind of lordship, that kind of leadership, that kind of control in my life all the time. Without this control, all I have, all that others have from me, and all that God has is my limited resources and sinful responses and a wasted life.

He says in verse 18, “Do not be drunk with wine that leads to dissipation” (Ephesians 5, paraphrase). You know what that word is in the Greek language? It is a word that means “to save.” Then it has a negative in front of it. So the word dissipation literally means “not to save.” The idea is to waste.

Do not get drunk with wine. It leads to dissipation. It just leads to all your talents, abilities, life, opportunities, moments being wasted. “But be filled and controlled by the Spirit of God” (paraphrase).

Look at the prodigal son. Until God brought a turn in his life, it was a wasted life. If you're controlled by yourself, you will waste your life. That's why He says in verse 16, “Make the most of your time.” 

Don't waste your time. Don't waste your life. Don't waste your energies. Don't waste your resources. It's not that we do nothing, but it's that what we do is driven and controlled and directed by self.

Therefore it's self-centered, selfish, self-directed, self-willed, sinful, destructive, but if you're under the Lordship and the control and the leadership of the Spirit of God, and He governs your life, it will count. It will matter. It will be saved. It will be used for its greatest purposes.

You say, “Well, okay, how can I experience this kind of control?” Let me give you just, very practically, how to do this. First of all, I need to continually acknowledge His presence. He is in me.

Can you imagine if George Bush walked into this room? You think we'd acknowledge that? Absolutely—because of who he is. Now, just think about this for a minute. Do you realize that for years and years and years the Spirit of God has been living inside your life, and there have been years and years and years, perhaps, where you haven't even acknowledged that He's there?

There must be this continual acknowledgment. As I acknowledge His presence, one of the things that's going to happen to me is I'm going to find myself humbly repenting over and over again—this humility leads to genuine repentance, turning from a desire for self-rule to God-rule.

Anytime that I have not acknowledged His presence, anytime I have moved away up into that self level where I'm letting my mind and my emotions and my will dictate, as I come back into the presence of the Lord, I say, “O God, please forgive me, and I want to turn from living on this self level to live on God's level. Lord, I want You to be in Your proper place in my heart.”

Every time that we sin, every time that we move away from Him, we need to come and acknowledge His presence. In His presence, it causes us to humbly repent. Then we need to deliberately yield. “Lord, I ask You to take control of my life. Lord, I want You to be in control. Would You fill me with Your Holy Spirit?”

What a prayer! Is that prayer, or some form of it, in the vocabulary of your life all through the day? I mean, is it? Is it?

Then, I simply trust that God is doing what He said He'd do for His humble child if we'd turn to Him in dependence, in faith that He would fill us and control us and take charge of our life. Bill Bright said it like this. He said,

You don't have to beg God to fill you with His Holy Spirit. You don't have to barter with Him.

Suppose you want to cash a check for a hundred dollars. Would you go to the bank where you have several thousand dollars on deposit, place the check on the counter, get down on your knees and beg, "Oh please, Mrs. teller, cash my check"? Millions of Christians are begging God, as I once did, for something that is readily available, just waiting to be appropriated by faith.

They are seeking some kind of emotional experience, not realizing that such an attitude on their part is an insult to God and a denial of faith, and faith is the only thing that can please God.

We come to the Lord, and we believe that He is. He's the source, and He's a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6, paraphrase). We say,

Lord, here I am, and Lord, forgive me for not allowing You to be in control. I acknowledge Your presence, and Lord, I ask You to take control once again; Your rightful place.

Fill me, Lord. I'm simply trusting as I walk out here to speak, as I go out here to sing, as I walk out here to counsel, as I go to do my job, as I go to raise my children. Lord, I simply am trusting that Your Spirit is in control of my life.

That's faith, and then here's a final thing we do. We instantly, aggressively obey the promptings of His Spirit, the leadership, illumination of His Word. There are two things that abort the filling of the Holy Spirit. Number one is what the Bible calls “grieving the Spirit.” That's choosing to do things that displease Him.

Don't grieve the Spirit by saying things that the Spirit of God says, “Don't say that. Keep your mouth shut. Don't go there. Don't watch that.” When we go ahead and disobey the rule of God in our life, it just grieves the heart of God.

The other thing the Bible talks about is quenching the Spirit. That's choosing not to do the things that He asks. He says, “Don't despise prophetic utterances and quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20, paraphrase). If God's telling you certain things to do in life, and you say, “I'm not going there,” it's just like water on a fire. You quench the Holy Spirit and grieve the Holy Spirit.

When I was a 17-year-old boy, I had had 6 years of real rebellion against God. God finally brought me to the end of myself in my junior year of high school. It was a moment of absolute surrender to the Lord. I was so sick of the way I was living, and God brought two things into my life at that moment.

One was a tape of a testimony by Major Ian Thomas about the filling of the Holy Spirit, and it changed my life! The other thing was: We had a visiting missionary coming home to our church. He was a man named Bud Fray.

That may mean nothing to you. In Southern Baptist life, this guy is one of the great heroes of the faith, and Bud Fray came home. I don't know how this happened, but apparently somewhere he said, “Could I teach the teenagers about the Spirit-filled life?”

All summer I sat there and listened to this man talk about how to live under the control of God. I'll never forget looking at him, and I thought, “I've never seen anybody that looks more like Jesus than that man. I want to be like that!

Why, it's so intriguing! That's so enticing! That's so liberating! That's so fresh! That's so beautiful! I want to be like that!”

It was only years later that I understood what was happening because one day Jesus said, “I'm going to the Father.” Philip said, “Lord, just show us the Father.” Then Jesus explained His life in a nutshell. He said it like this, “Philip, if you've seen Me, you've seen the Father” (John 14 paraphrase).

Wouldn't it be something if this year, not just occasionally, but that in your home, your children would say about their mother, about their father, about their brother, their sister, “Well, when you see him, when you see her, you see the Father.”

And when the Life Action teams are on the road, people say, “Man, we're so engaged by this. It's so beautiful—the life—it's so incredible, the wisdom and the—I don't know how to describe it—the life! What is that? They look so much like Jesus”? What's happening? It is Jesus. “If you've seen Me, you've seen the Father.”

Leslie: That's Bill Elliff, pastor of the Summit Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. You've heard his wife, Holly, on Revive Our Hearts a number of times talking with our host, Nancy Leigh DeMoss. You can get a copy of Bill's message when you order this week's Revive Our Hearts programs on CD. It will provide an informative, helpful look at what it means to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Order this week's teaching by itself, or better yet, order the entire series, called Seeking Him. When you listen to the Seeking Him CDs, you'll find out what personal revival means. You'll find freedom from actions you wish you hadn't taken and from actions others have taken against you. You'll find out what kind of behaviors produce joy in your life. And in this week's program on the Holy Spirit, you'll find out how to have the ability and strength to see real change in your life.

Order the Seeking Him series on audio CD or as an MP3 CD. For more details, call 1-800-569-5959 or visit

It's sad, but your daughter, your granddaughter, or the young ladies in your church are being lied to. Their friends and the media are full of dangerous misinformation, and they need you to help them evaluate the messages they hear.

Nancy's co-writing a book with Dannah Gresh that will help the young women in your life think through important issues from a biblical perspective. It's called Lies Young Women Believe. You'll see it hit shelves this spring. We just wanted to give you a heads-up.

Don't resist the Holy Spirit. Have you ever heard that command? Well, what does it mean exactly? Nancy will show women the difference between surrendering to the Spirit and resisting the Spirit. That's tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Learn more about the Holy Spirit next time on Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scriptures are from the New American Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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