Summary: Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a daily command and not a suggestion. It is not about emotions but about obedience

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Why is it that so many Christians feel there is something missing in their spiritual life? We read the NT accounts of believers and feel that our faith is just not that exciting, why? We read about the Holy Spirit coming upon individual believers and groups of believers with such power that they were able to make a dramatic impact on the community around them – then we look at our own lives and the life of our church and think – where did it all go wrong for me (us)? This morning if you feel that spiritually things have gone a bit flat or that you have lost that initial excitement and joy of the Lord Jesus then this is for you. Over the past number of weeks we have been looking at what the Bible teaches us about the Holy Spirit. This morning we are going to see what the Bible has to teach us concerning being filled with the Holy Spirit.

At the start of this sermon let me once again say that the Holy Spirit is a person. When we speak of being filled with the Holy Spirit we do not mean that the Holy Spirit is some sort of liquid that is poured into some empty vessel (which is us). Nor is the Holy Spirit some ‘force’ or ‘power’ like electricity which we get plugged into and filled with power. To use any of those terms is to affirm wrong ideas concerning what is meant by the phrase ‘being filled with the Holy Spirit.’ We must at all times remember the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity who brings us into a relationship with God the Father through Christ the Son.

The first thing I want to do this morning is to clear away some generally accepted but Biblically wrong teaching concerning being filled with the Holy Spirit. I have deliberately chosen the phrase ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ and not ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit.’ The latter generally has been taught for years in many churches as a second experience of the Holy Spirit which is accompanied with speaking in tongues. However it is interesting to note that 1 Corinthians 12.10 teaches us that God does not give the gift of tongues to everyone. Therefore it cannot be the mark of someone who has been ‘baptised in the Holy Spirit.’ Secondly those passages in Acts which have been used to support this teaching are in fact historically unique. Let me explain quickly.

Acts 2 The Day of Pentecost – is the fulfilling of the promise of Christ of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and the church in Jerusalem. It is the fulfilment of the promise made to Joel that God would pour out His Spirit upon His people. It is also important for us to recognise that the disciples had become believers in Christ before Pentecost whereas we are post-Pentecost believers.

Acts 8.12-17 Is the extension of the work of the Holy Spirit to the church in Samaria. In verse 16 it simply says the Spirit had not yet come to them – this was a divine decision. It was also to confirm the authority of the apostles in the gentile church.

Acts 19.1-6 the coming of the Holy Spirit on the believers at Ephesus was the fulfilment of the extension of the work of the Holy Spirit to the ends of the earth. Once again historically it was the affirming and establishing of the authority of the apostles in the wider church.

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