The Greek word 'Pleroma', in Eph. 1. 22, 23, translated 'fullness' suggests the picture of a Greek warship which contained three ranks of rowers. When the man-of-war was fully equipped, the boatswain, naval commander and rowers ready and on the alert, it had its full complement. The rowers were needed to make up its 'Pleroma'.
(Eph. 1. 22, 23; 5. 18).
In the north of Ireland there is a little town called Ballymena. It is pretty rough on Roman Catholics in Ballymena—there are not very many of them. One lady I heard of there held a series of cottage meetings, and her next-door neighbor was one of the few Roman Catholics in the town. One night she said, 'We are having a cottage meeting tomorrow: will you come?' No,' she said, 'I'm not allowed to.' But the day after the cottage meeting the Roman Catholic was interested enough to find out how she had been getting on. And the lady said, 'Oh, we had a wonderful time. We had thirty-five in my little cottage and it was full.' ‘Oh!' said the Catholic, 'that's interesting.' They had another meeting the following week and the next morning the same conversation. 'We had fifty-one in the cottage, and the place was full."Oh, really!"We are having another meeting the third week; that'll be the last one. Would you come?' Oh no,' said the Roman Catholic, 'can't come!' But the next morning she was curious enough to say, 'Did you have a good meeting last night?' 'Wonderful!' 'How many did you have?"Sixty-two! and the place was full.' Now listen,' said this lady, 'that's a sheer impossibility.' Not impossible: nothing of the kind,' said her neighbor. 'But how did you get them in?' Oh!' she said, 'it was perfectly simple. We simply got rid of every stick of furniture and put it out in the garden! We emptied the house of everything that cluttered it up, and it was filled with people.'
Now listen, Christian, if you mean business, there's to be some furniture kicked out of your life in the name of the Lord. Stuff that clutters up your life.—Alan Redpath
Emptied that Thou shouldest fill me,
A clean vessel in Thy hand
With no power but as Thou givest
Graciously with each command.
(Neh. 13. 8, 9; 2 Cor. 7. 1; Eph. 5. 18).
Bishop Taylor Smith, when Chaplain-General, was passing a number of convalescent men seated in a corridor of a hospital. Seeing that they recognized him, he looked to God for a message, as was his wont.
There was an inverted bowl on the table. `See that bowl!' he said. 'Turned down as it is, it is full of darkness, empty, useless. But convert it, turn it right way up, and immediately it is full of light, the sun shines in, and it can be useful, filled with whatever the bowl is used for. Just so are we. Until the Sun of righteousness shines into our hearts, all is darkness, and our lives are empty and useless!
(Eph. 5. 17-19).
I remember one summer morning sitting with Moody in his home (I went there ten or eleven times from England) and he told me this. He said, 'I opened a hall on Sunday nights for everybody and the place used to be crowded every Sunday. Four old ladies sat right in front. They used to sit there and say, "Very good, very good, Mr. Moody, but there is something you haven't got." I never quite understood what they meant until one day I was going along Fifth Avenue, New York, and God seemed to come very near and I felt I must get alone. I knew a man living on the avenue and I went to him and said, "I want to have a room to be alone." To humor me the key was given.'
Moody told me that he first sat on the sofa, and God came very near to him. Finally he found himself on the very floor, entreating God to fill him with the Holy Spirit. This is almost too sacred a story to tell and yet I tell it to you because there are men and women who need to know that there is a face to face contact with the Eternal. I remember Moody saying, 'I would rather give up my right hand any day than to have missed that experience.' He told me that the next Sunday when he came back to Chicago, the old ladies in front were laughing and crying together, and they said, 'Oh, Mr. Moody, you have got it now.'—Dr. F. B. Meyer
(John 7. 38, 39; Acts 4. 31; Eph. 5. 18; Col. 3. 16).
'The fullness of the Holy Spirit is a continuous appropriation of a continuous supply from Jesus Christ Himself; a moment-by-moment faith in a moment-by-moment filling and moment-bymoment cleansing. The moment I begin to believe, that moment I begin to receive, and as long as I go on believing, praise the Lord! I go on receiving.'—Dr. Charles Inwood
(Eph. 5. 18).