Summary: Prepared originally for Pentecost Sunday, this is a message on how to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Be Filled with the Spirit
--by R. David Reynolds
Are you happy with you relationship with Jesus Christ? Is it fruitful, fulfilled? Are you “growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” or does you spiritual journey with Him seem stagnant? Are you only going through the motions of being a Christian? There is much more to the Christian life than simply being saved and then going to Church the rest of your life. We all need “to be filled with the Spirit.”
We are commanded in Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit. . .” It is clear in the original text that this is a commandment intended for all Christians. The subject of the sentence is plural meaning that it is intended for all disciples of Jesus Christ, not just for a few spiritual saints who may choose to go this extra mile with Jesus. It is meant for all Christians, no believer is exempt from this command.
How are you filled with the Holy Spirit? There is an initial experience of being baptized or filled with the spirit. It is a time in the life of the believer when he or she makes a full dedication of their life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, a time of surrender whereby the disciple let’s the Holy Spirit take absolute control of all he is and all he does. In this initial experience one receives the “infilling” of the Holy Spirit by faith.
The sense of the commandment, however, in our text is not limited to a one time, initial “infilling.” A better translation of this verse would be,
“Go on, or continue being filled with the Spirit.”? Being filled with the Spirit is a day-by-day experience, but I can not continue to be filled with the Spirit unless I have had an initial filling. The Spirit filled, Spirit controlled life has a beginning, but then it is to continue throughout the rest of the disciple’s lifetime.
We clearly see this in the experience of the Apostles. They had an initial filling with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:4 where Scripture testifies, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” A few days later in Acts 4:31 they had another filling with the Spirit, “When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.” This followed the healing of the lame man at the Temple through the ministry of Peter and John.
Immediately the leadership in the Jewish community protested! The Jewish Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin that had condemned Jesus to death some fifty days earlier, commanded Peter and John “not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus.” They then made further threats against the Apostles. Peter, John, and their fellow disciples needed another filling, so they prayed; they were filled again with the Holy Spirit and empowered to speak the word of God with boldness with no regard for the threats hurled at them by the enemies of Jesus.
We have the same need as did Peter, John, and their companions. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to fill us up day-by-day and moment-by-moment for ministry in His Name and by His power. Yesterday’s filling is insufficient for today’s trials, tribulations, burdens, sorrows, problems, pressures, heartaches, and needs.
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? It does not mean that you just then at that moment receive the Holy Spirit. All Christians receive the Holy spirit at the time of our conversion, as we are clearly promised in Ephesians 1:13, “In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit. . .” Paul makes it clear that when the Ephesians first heard the gospel of truth and salvation and trusted Christ as their Saviour they received the Holy Spirit. This took place at the time of their conversion, when they were “born again.” Jesus explains that being born again means to be born of the Spirit in John 3:6, “What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
At the moment of our conversion, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our lives. The Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of all Christians, but He does not necessarily fill all Christians. To be filled with the Holy Spirit I must be completely yielded to God’s will for my life. To be filled with the Spirit calls for absolute, total obedience to God on the part of the believer. Romans 6:16 makes it clear that being Spirit filled is a matter of obedience to God,