Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Filling of the Holy Spirit

The Filling of the Holy Spirit
Acts 2:1-13; Eph. 5:15-20

Key Verse: “Be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph. 5:18)

The Baptism of the Spirit / The Filling of the Spirit

Happens once as salvation/ Happens throughout the Christian life
A past event/ A present reality
For every believer/ For obedient believers
Never commanded/ Commanded
Positional truth/ Experiential practice
Places the believer into the Body of Christ / Enables the believer to live for Christ
Spirit is resident in one’s life/ Spirit is president of one’s life

NT references to fullness or filling:

1. To be filled was a normal characteristic of every growing Christian (Acts 6:3,5; 11:24; 13:52).
2. Indicates an endowment for a particular ministry or office (Lk. 1:15-17; Acts 9:17; 22:12-15).
3. Given to equip people for an immediate task (Lk. 1:5-8,41,67; Acts 4:8; 7:55; 13:9).

The failures of many Christians are evidenced not in their need to be baptized with the Spirit but to recover the fullness of the Spirit which they have lost through sin or unbelief, thus becoming what the Corinthians Christians were, “unspiritual” or “carnal.”

We confuse character and gifts, fruit with flesh.

The chief evidence is moral not miraculous and lies in the Spirit’s fruit not the Spirit’s gifts. – John Stott

It is no accident that the fruit of the Spirit is not elevated in our ranks as the highest test of righteousness. There abides so much flesh in us that we prefer another standard. The fruit test is too high; we cannot attain it. So within our Christian subcultures we prefer to elevate some lesser test by which we can measure ourselves with more success. We can compete with each other with greater facility if we mix some flesh together with the Spirit. – R. C. Sproul, The Mystery of the Holy Spirit

Evidences of being filled (Eph. 5:18-21):
1) Speaking –

a. Very first evidence is how we speak to each other.
b. Parallel passage about teaching one another with wisdom (Col. 3:16).
c. The first sign of fullness is fellowship.
d. True fellowship does not only address each other in worldly chit-chat.
e. True fellowship is expressed in common worship.
f. Speaking in ways that please God and edify each other.

2) Singing –

a. The Spirit loves to glorify the Lord Jesus.
b. Spirit-filled people love to sing God’s praises.
c. “With all your heart.” – not only in your heart
d. Exhorts us not to silent, but to heartfelt, worship.

3) Giving thanks –

a. Thanksgiving is directly related to trust.
b. Grumbling a serious sin because it is a symptom of unbelief.
c. Spirit-filled believers learn to continuously thank God.

4) Submitting to one another –

b. Paul begins by making this the general duty of all Christians to each other.
c. Humble submission an essential part of the Christian experience.
d. Word occurs 32x in the NT.
e. Not self-assertion, but self-submission, is the hallmark of the Spirit-filled Christian.
f. Submit to Christ first, then others.
g. This attitude toward your brother shows reverence for Christ.
h. Not reverencing a church building – but brothers and sisters.

The Command to Be Filled (Eph. 5:18-21)

• Verb is in the imperative mood – not a suggestion but a command.
• Verb is in the plural form, written to all Christians.
• Verb is in the passive voice – in other words, “let the Spirit fill you.”
• Verb is in the present tense – continuous action. (as compared to Jn. 2:7). Does not refer to a dramatic experience but a continuous appropriation.
• All believers are sealed, but not all are filled, for the sealing is past and finished, while the filling should be present and continuous.

Obstacles to being filled with the Holy Spirit:

a) Prideful self-reliance (a “me first” attitude)
b) Worldliness (living for pleasure, fame, and riches)
c) The approval of others (undue concern for popular opinion)
d) Lack of faith (lack of trust in God)
e) Unbelief (unwillingness to believe Him)
f) Unconfessed sin (holding on to that which harms you and displeases God)

Steps to Being Filled with the Spirit:

1. Desire to be controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 7:37-39).
2. Confess all disobedience to God (1 Jn. 1:9).
3. Surrender control of every area of your life to our Lord Jesus Christ (Ro. 12:1-2).
4. Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit (1 Jn. 5:14).
5. Expect the Holy Spirit to work in and through you regardless of how you feel (2 Cor. 5:7).