Being filled with the Spirit.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.
Unfortunately, the Holy Spirit is often one of the most overlooked facets of our faith. By turning the Holy Spirit into a spooky modern day character, we have missed out on the powerful work that we can experience through His filling.The result of never experiencing a true filling of God’s Spirit is evident in our walk with God. When our relationship with God through Jesus Christ has become dry, boring, and redundant, we are operating in our own strength and not experiencing the refreshing filling of the Spirit.
In Ephesians 5:18, there are three concepts to experiencing a Spirit filled walk with God:
The Concept of a Consumption
The first part of verse eighteen teaches us that whatever consumes us is what will control us. Just as a drunkard is controlled by the consumption of alcohol, we are controlled by what consumes us. The Bible uses the illustration of a sinful consumption which will certainly hinder Spirit fullness. Although, many times we can become controlled by good things that have taken the place of the “God things.” There is nothing wrong with education, dating, friends, social media, to name a few, but if these good things begin to consume you and control your thoughts, actions, and lifestyle, they are not in the proper position.
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
The Bible teaches that we should chase after God and have a desire for the things of God. You cannot experience the true and complete filling of the Holy Spirit until you have become empty of the things of this world that consume and control you. What is controlling your life right now? What sin or vice rules your every action? Or what pleasure of this modern world has gotten out of order and taken the place of God? The good news is that once we are empty of the world, God offers an alternative.
The Concept of an Alternative
The Lord shows the concept of the consumption of the world and how it can control you, but He does not choose to leave us empty. Immediately following the counterfeit filling of the world in verse eighteen, God commands, “but be filled with the Spirit.” The world will always offer a knock-off of the things of God, but God always offers an alternative that is far better. It is our choice whether or not to be filled with the world or with the things of God.
The Concept of a Filling
If the filling of the Holy Spirit is a choice we make and we can operate without it, why would we want to be filled? Simply because the work and filling of the Holy Spirit changes us.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
24 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Christianity is the only “religion” or faith that not only changes your eternity, but also has the power to change your life until eternity. When filled with the Spirit of God while on this earth, we have the opportunity to change the make-up of our fleshly nature. The truth is that there are many Christians who never experience fruit (verses 23-24) because they are stuck in the flesh (verses 19-21). God never intended the Christian life to look like the same as a life without Him, but without the work of the Holy Spirit, we are working on producing fruit on our own.
So the question is not, “Why would I want to be filled with the Spirit?” The question should be, “Why would you not want to be filled with the Spirit?” Instead of shying away from the Holy Spirit, let’s choose to embrace Him and the power of His filling so that we can experience His transforming work.
Read John 16:7-15
The Holy Spirit has been sent by the Father and Son to indwell and guide believers. Many people profess to believe in the Holy Ghost but actually they believe in God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost as some sort of servant or errand boy. This is false; for the Holy Spirit is equal to and in no way inferior to the other two. Others reduce the Holy Spirit to an inanimate force such as electricity, which is very powerful but completely devoid of being a living person, much less God. We believe the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is a living Person; for He can be approached or shunned, trusted or doubted, loved or hated, adored or insulted. With these thoughts in mind, let us look at the personality of the Holy Spirit.
The importance of this doctrine of the Holy Spirit
If He is the Third Person of the Trinity, then He is co-equal with God and worthy of our attention and worship. When we fail to recognize the importance of the Holy Spirit, we miss out on the wonderful work that He is capable of doing in our lives as Christians. Rather than dismissing the Holy Spirit as a lesser part of the Trinity, let us be attentive to His working and leading in our lives because He is worthy.
Not only should we begin to focus our attention on Him, but we should begin to learn of Him. Just as God the Father and God the Son have feelings and emotions displayed in God’s Word, so does the Holy Spirit of God. The Bible mentions that He can be influenced by man just as the other two parts of the Trinity. Because of this, we should begin to learn what “grieves” Him, because we should desire His power in our lives.
The personal pronouns that reveal His personality
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit is included in the works of God. We see this by the use of the plural personal pronouns that indicates two or more persons were present at the time of the statement (See Genesis 1:2, 1:26, 6:3). We also see that the Spirit of God was on men like Moses, Joseph, and Daniel in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit’s presence in the Old Testament is important because it shows that He is eternal like God the Father and God the Son. The Holy Spirit played just as much a part in the Old Testament as He did in the New Testament, making Him just as much a part of the Trinity.
In John 15 and 16, the Holy Spirit is referenced four times. All four times He is referenced, the pronoun used is in the masculine tense and not the neuter tense. This is significant because it shows that He has personality and is not simply an object. Because the Holy Spirit has gender and masculinity, we can derive that He has personality like all other parts of the Godhead.
The personal characteristics of the Holy Spirit
Throughout the Bible, we see the characteristics of God the Father and God the Son, but we must not neglect the personal characteristics of the Holy Spirit. The following are a list of attributes and references that show the personality of the Holy Spirit.
- Will power (I Corinthians 12:11)
- Intelligence (Nehemiah 9:20)
- Knowledge (I Corinthians 2:10-12)
- Power (Acts 1:8)
- Love (Romans 15:30)
- Grief (Ephesians 4:30)
The Holy Spirit is a Person because He thinks, feels, purposes, knows, wills, loves and grieves. The Spirit is certainly not merely an influence for He has abilities of intelligence and emotions which are foreign to inanimate forces. Because the Holy Spirit is a Person we should never shun, doubt, or insult the Spirit. We should continuously approach Him with faith, love and adoration as we would God the Father.
The official duties of the Holy Spirit as a part of the Godhead
While the Holy Spirit is as much of a person with feelings and emotions, He is just as much a part of the Godhead because He hold duties from God. The following is a brief list of this things that God has delegated to Him to fulfill in the life of a Christian:
- He comforts (John 14:16)
- He inspires (II Peter 1:21)
- He illuminates (I Corinthians 2:10)
Because He is God and because He has human characteristics, when we offend the Holy Spirit of God, He demonstrates emotion. Consider the thought that your actions can evoke emotion from the Godhead! As a Christian, we should be mindful of the fact that our lives effect our relationship with God. The following are several emotions to consider from the Holy Spirit:
- He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30)
- He can be resisted (Acts 7:51)
- He can be quenched (I Thessalonians 5:19)
- He can be lied to (Acts 5:3)
- He can be blasphemed (Matthew 12:31)
We believe that He is a Person because He possesses all the necessary qualities of intellect, emotion, will, knowledge and actions, but we also believe He is God because of His God-given duties and attributes. Because of these beliefs, may we choose to learn of the Holy Spirit and be filled with His working in our lives. May we learn to make Him our constant companion!
Oftentimes in our churches, pastors are confronted with those who have blown it spiritually. These folks feel like “leftovers” or “has-beens.” Sometimes people mess their lives up to the point that they feel useless to God or anyone else.
Many folks get saved young in life and then take the wheel away from God and steer their own life into all kinds of trouble. Eventually they wake up and start to take their Christian life seriously, but they have so many scars from the world—drugs, alcoholism, financial failure, jail-time, adultery, failed marriages, and bad reputations.
The questions come, “What can I do, now?” “Can God still use me?” The answer is yes! There are no leftovers with God. Adam plunged the human race into sin. Moses was a murderer. Jacob was a liar. Samson lusted after heathen women. Rahab was a harlot. Peter denied the Saviour. God used them all.
REALIZE YOU ARE SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
According to Ephesians 1:13 the moment you get saved, the Holy Spirit comes inside to live and seals you until the day of redemption, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”
Because you are saved, you have an Advocate—Jesus Christ! He is your lawyer. You have His help if you want it!
REMEMBER TO KEEP COOL
This is not the time to “jump off the deep end.” Repent and make things right with God. You must forsake your sins and wait on God. This stops the spread of sin in your life.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. Psalm 27:7–10
CREATE NEW IDEAS TO SERVE GOD
We must realize that although God forgives, certain sins limit what service a person can have. Those who have had DUI convictions, cannot drive a bus. Some people would not be permitted to work with children. These limitations do not give one the right to quit and do nothing for God. We must look for fresh new ways to serve. There are hundreds of ways to serve God!
Early in my ministry my wife and I were shopping and ran into a man who used to be a faithful and vital part of our church before I was the pastor. He had been a deacon and had helped build the church. He and his wife had marriage problems which eventually led to him getting out of church. He had remarried an unsaved woman and ran from God.
On this day, he asked me to come see him in his home. As he left he whispered to me that his wife was not saved and he thought he could get his life back on track if she would get saved. I visited a few days later, and she was gloriously saved. She was so excited as a new Christian that she dragged that man to everything at the church.
That man is so happy today. He is not a deacon. He is not out front leading. He still has the scars of sin, but he is winning souls. He has a contagious smile. He is singing. He helps in ways that he can in the church.
Let us never write off a church member as having too much baggage. Our God is standing ready to help these folks in our churches. As pastors, let us allow God to use us to encourage them to serve Him in some way.
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