Be Filled with the Spirit

Be Filled with the SpiritChristians are blessed to have the Holy Spirit within them, and the Holy Spirit is God. Christians might tend to sideline the Holy Spirit, since Jesus focused us on God as Father, and the Spirit points us to Jesus as Saviour and Lord.

However the Holy Spirit is equal to God the Father and God the Son. So we have God within us through the ministry and presence of the Spirit.

We see degrees of engagement with the Spirit throughout the Bible. The Spirit came onto people in the Old Testament. The Spirit fell on people in the New Testament. And we are commanded to “be filled with the Spirit”.

“Do not be drunk on wine, leading to reckless indiscretion. But be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18

Apostle Paul instructs us not to become drunk with wine but to keep drinking of the Holy Spirit until we are completed filled with Him. Paul gives some idea of what that would be like.

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19,20

Being ‘filled with the Spirit’ resonates with Paul’s instruction to Timothy to stir up the Spirit anointing in him.

“I remind you to stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the laying on of my hands.” 2Timothy 1:6

Paul laid hands on people to receive the Spirit.

“And when Paul had laid hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.” Acts 19:6

Similar impartation came through prayer by spiritual leaders.

“Neglect not the gift that is in you, given to you by prophecy, with laying on hands by the presbytery.” 1Timothy 4:14

So we see Paul instructing Christians to actively be ‘filled with the Spirit’ and instructing Timothy, his apprentice, not to neglect the spiritual impartations he received through prayer and the laying on of hands.

So we can access and activate the ministry of the Holy Spirit, or neglect it.

Paul speaks of people actually putting out the Holy Spirit’s flame.

“Do not quench the Spirit.” 1Thessalonians 5:19

The Bible reveals two key experiences of the Holy Spirit in the Church age, these ‘last days’. When people put their faith in Christ they receive the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit they do not belong to God.

“Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” Romans 8:9

God indwells us when we become a Christian by the Spirit within us.

Then there is the outpouring of the Spirit into a person, which John the Baptist called being baptised with the Holy Spirit.

“After me comes one more powerful than I, whose sandal I am not worthy to undo. I baptise with water, but He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:7,8

New believers in New Testament times expected the Holy Spirit to fall on them, and when it didn’t happen they were prayed with, with the laying on of hands, to receive the Spirit. That was separate to them having the Spirit within when they became Christians.

See when Peter and John were sent to Samaria to pray for the new believers.

“On arrival, they prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit. For the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen on them; they had simply been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Peter and John laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:15-17

Similarly Apostle Paul asked believers if they had received the Spirit yet. To Paul baptism in the Holy Spirit was something all Christians should experience after coming to faith in Christ.

“At Ephesus Paul found some disciples and asked them, Did you receive the Holy Spirit since you believed? No, they answered, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Acts 19:1,2

“When Paul laid his hands on them the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.” Acts 19:6

When Paul tells us to be filled with the Spirit he assumes we are believers with the Holy Spirit indwelling us and that we also received and outpouring of the Holy Spirit, either spontaneously with the Spirit falling on us, or by prayer and laying on of hands.

With the outpouring of the Spirit we are able to stir up the Spirit within us and access the anointing we have received. We do this by such things as praying tongues.

“He who speaks in an unknown tongue edifies (builds up) himself” 1Corinthians 14:4

“But you, beloved, build up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping yourselves in the love of God as you await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you eternal life.” Jude 1:20,21

We see that singing worshipful songs to God, even if silently in our heart, is part of our spiritual engagement with God.

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19,20

Note there that ‘spiritual songs’ includes singing in the unknown language given to you by the Holy Spirit, when you are baptised in the Spirit.

Paul explained contrasted singing and praying with his understanding and also with the Spirit.

“I will pray with my spirit, but also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but also sing with my understanding.” 1Corinthians 14:15

If singing with the Spirit was something his mind understood then Paul would not have listed it separately to singing with his understanding. Paul speaks here of singing without knowing what is sung, because it is by the unknown prayer language given by the Holy Spirit.

If you have not yet been baptised in the Spirit you are still commanded to be ‘filled with the Spirit’. If you have been baptised in the Holy Spirit, and given an unknown heavenly language, you are still commanded to be ‘filled with the Spirit’.

Being baptised in the Spirit is not the end experience, but a facility to be employed and stirred up, so we can live as virtually intoxicated by God’s Holy Spirit.

So, my friends, Be Filled With The Spirit!

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