Replenish: verb; To fill something that had previously been emptied.
When it comes to replenishing a human being there is of course the bizarre idea of how do you empty a human?
Have any of you ever been emptied? If you have you know it…
Nothing quite like it is there.
Which is easier to knock over a half full glass or a full glass? Seems to me a full glass goes over much easier. The bigger they are the harder they fall. Well of humans the more full of ourselves the easier it is to empty us.
A couple of weeks ago we talked about the Apostle Paul and his adventures with his partner Silos. We saw two men who were so filled with their mission for God that even when they were beaten, chained, and imprisoned their reaction was to sing of their deliverer, Jesus Christ.
But if we look at the early life of Paul we see a young man who was filled with something else. The Bible tells us that Paul as a young man was also called Saul. Saul of Tarsus was pretty full of himself and his religion.
Pharisee of Pharisee, No one knew more than him about God or the word of God than Saul. No one was considered to be more promising.
5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
This young man was standing at the apex of his career when Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death in Acts 7.
57 yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
8: 1And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.
Now Saul is sent out in this state of mind to destroy this wicked cult that has started from within in his religion.
3 Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.
Do you think Saul would have considered himself empty at this point in his life? Would he have considered himself full of something wrong or evil?
No, at this point in Saul’s life he would have considered himself to be full of the religion of the Most Mighty God, Yahweh. He would have considered that he was on the enlightened path.
But here is the thing…. It is possible for even religion to become a stumbling block when we fill ourselves with it at the loss of caring and compassionate eye toward the Spirit of God or of our fellow man. Religion can fill us even to the point of not having enough room for God.
Saul had become so filed with his religion, Judaism, that he stopped watching for what God was doing. While he stood in Jerusalem the Messiah he had been waiting for had come to him and he had watched Him come and missed it. The Christ had walked the same streets as the people who been longing for Him for 500 years and the ones who studied the chain of events that to led up to His coming had completely missed it. Because they had no room left for God. They were too busy with religion.
But God won’t let you go this route and deny He showed you the way home. As Saul marched down the road to destroy God’s new plan God met him.
3As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
5″Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6″Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
10In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13″Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
17Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God…
22Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.
Did Paul think he was filled with the wrong stuff when he set out? How could he be filled with the wrong stuff he had spent his whole life studying the religion of the Chosen people of God? Of course he didn’t. So what was wrong?
He was already full.
He was so full of his religion that he never allowed himself to be emptied and refilled by God. Have you become so full of your own ambition, even with Church, that you aren’t able to be filled by the Holy Spirit?
When is the last time you prayed without speaking?
When is that last time you touched someone who was hurting?
When is the last time you really listened to views of someone else about God?