Filled With the Holy Spirit

July 2, 2017 Speaker: Reid Strahan Series: The Spirit Filled Church

Topic: Holy Spirit Passage: Luke 24:49, Acts 2:1–4

The Spirit filled church is filled with people who are filled with the Holy Spirit. God’s most basic desire for us, is to be filled up to all the fullness of God himself which is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. God lives in us by his Spirit.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit changed the disciples from weak and fearful men into bold and courageous witnesses. It was the Holy Spirit that caused the miraculous spread of the church to the ends of the earth. When the apostles and believers in Acts faced difficult and dangerous situations, they handled them by being filled with the Holy Spirit. They had the words they needed to say by being filled with the Spirit. The way God accomplishes things in YOUR life, is BY HIS SPIRIT.   If you want to be permeated with peace, filled with love and overflowing with hope, that all comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit. The power to bless and help and minister to other people, comes from allowing the Holy Spirit to fill you up!

Andrew Murray said, “Of all the questions in theology, there is none that leads us more deeply into the glory of God, (none) that is of more intense vital and practical importance for daily life than (this), “In what way and to what extent, God's Holy Spirit can dwell in, and can fill, ... the heart of his child, making it into a holy temple of God, with Christ reigning there as an Ever-present and Almighty Savior.” IE The big question is: In what way and to what extent can you be filled with the Spirit of God?  

One huge difference I see, between the Christianity I grew up around and what I see in the Bible, is the emphasis in the Bible on the Holy Spirit as someone to be experienced and known, AND who makes a real impact. Receiving the Spirit or being filled with the Spirit, was a definite experience that you know whether you had or not.

As a young man, if I was asked, “Have your received the Holy Spirit or are you filled with the Holy Spirit?”, I would have probably said, “I guess so, or I think so, or I hope so; the Bible says I am, doesn’t it?” The whole subject wasn’t really talked about much at all, but my impression was that being filled with the Holy Spirit was something that happened automatically, unconsciously, IE I was to be totally unaware of Him. He was to be like a book on a shelf – you know he is there but you have no real relationship with him. But that was NOT what I saw in the Bible. As John Piper said, “For them the Holy Spirit was a fact of experience – for many Christians today, it is a fact of doctrine”.  

In Acts 19 Paul took a back road to Ephesus from Corinth and ran into some disciples. And he asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”. I think I know all the different doctrinal positions on this verse but the one thing that is unmistakable to me here is that Paul’s first concern with people who he thinks are followers of Jesus, is their relationship and experience with the Holy Spirit - “Do you know about the Holy Spirit, to you know him personally, have you received him?” Somehow Paul sensed that they lacked something of the Holy Spirit. And he was right.

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit”. So Paul baptized them in the name of Jesus and laid his hands on them and the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. He led them from not knowing anything about the Holy Spirit to an unforgettable experience of the Holy Spirit. If anyone ever asked them again if they had received the Holy Spirit they would have confidently answered, YES!   Paul did not merely give them information ABOUT the Spirit, he brought them into the experience of the Spirit.

Each and every believer is to enjoy and experience what Jesus called the promise of the Father, or what the Father promised. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is from the Father. It is something for all his children. And it is something good.   The Father gives good gifts to his children!

And Jesus Christ himself is involved in this precious gift! Acts 2:33 says, “Exalted to the right hand of God, Jesus Christ has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear”. Jesus Christ received this promised gift from the Father and HE has poured him out! Both the Father and Jesus Christ give you this precious gift.

Throughout Jesus ministry he began to prepare his disciples for something profound, powerful and absolutely necessary that would happen after he ascended to heaven. Early in his ministry he told them rivers of living water would flow out of their innermost being. John said this referred to the Holy Spirit who would be poured out after Jesus returned to the Father. Instead of being dry and living on empty and having nothing to offer, Jesus said the Holy Spirit will flow out from you like a river of living water!

This was not something new. Hundreds of years before Jesus, through Isaiah, and Ezekiel and Zachariah and Joel, God said, “I am going to pour out my Spirit on my people”. Like water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground.

In the last days of Jesus life, he spoke more and more about his leaving and the Holy Spirit coming. He said the Spirit’s presence is so powerful, that it is to your advantage that I go and that he comes! Or as JD Greer put it, “The Spirit inside you is better than Jesus beside you”.

When Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, he zeroed in on this message about the Holy Spirit even more! In Luke 24:49 he said, “You are witnesses of my death and resurrection. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high!”.  

In Acts 1:4,5 Jesus said, “...wait for the gift my Father promised, which you heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Just as they were immersed in water by John the Baptist, soon they will be immersed in the Holy Spirit.

He said when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will receive power, and you will be my witnesses here in Jerusalem......and to the ends of the earth”. These are fishermen, uneducated people, not leaders in their society. They must have been stunned at this promise! The Holy Spirit would make the impossible, possible!

There are several different phrases used to describe this phenomenon. In Luke Jesus said “You will be CLOTHED with power from on high”. In Acts 1 he said “You will be BAPTIZED with the Spirit”. In Acts 2, it says they were all FILLED with the Holy Spirit. Acts 10 says the Holy Spirit FELL upon all who heard the message. And Peter said the gift of the Holy Spirit has been POURED OUT! So were the believers clothed with power, or baptized, or filled with the Spirit,...or did the Holy Spirit fall on them? I think it is clear that all of these phrases describe this same thing.

They all describe the impact of the Spirit on those who receive the promise of the Father. It clothes you and immerses you, and fills you and falls on you, and poured out on you. Could any more dramatic words be used to describe this?

This gift is not for a select few, or for pastors and evangelists. It was not just for the 120 in the upper room -that was a unique one time event but the same gift and the effects of that gift extend to you and me. Acts 2:39 “THE PROMISE is for you and your children and for all who are far off- for all whom the Lord our God will call.” All that the outpouring of the Spirit means, it is for you!

The filling of the Holy Spirit is an ongoing experience.

Acts 13:52 Says, “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit”. The same people who were filled with the Spirit in Acts 2 are filled with the Spirit again in Acts 4:31. They needed to be filled again for another day another situation. Again and again throughout the story of the early church it tells us people were filled with the Spirit, in various situations.

Acts 13:52 Says, “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit”. The same people who were filled with the Spirit in Acts 2 are filled with the Spirit again in Acts 4:31. They needed to be filled again for another day another situation. Again and again throughout the story of the early church it tells us people were filled with the Spirit, in various situations.

Acts 6:3,5 When giving instructions for choosing some men to serve and distribute food, the apostles said, “Brothers, choose seven men, who are known to be filled with the Holy Spirit”. Some people are so consistently filled with the Spirit that they are known for that. That’s how it should be!

Certainly the Spirit indwells all believers at the moment of salvation. And ideally being filled with the Spirit should come at that same time, just like water baptism, but it often comes later, and can also come at any time, again and again, as a continual experience.

We are called to be Spirit-filled people, not just good moral people. I know of a Christian mother who was so distressed by her son who was into drugs and immoral living, that she was barely functioning herself. She rarely made it to church, really did not put God first in much of anything that I could see. Yet she told me, “I just want God to get a hold of my son’s life”. The thought came to me, I think from the Holy Spirit, What she really wanted was for God to stop her son from doing bad things; she want him to be a good boy. Which is a good thing, but the more I talked to her, her passion was NOT for herself OR her son to be on fire for God! It is one thing to want to be a good person, or to want your kids to be good people; it is another to want to be clothed with power from on high, to want your kids to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

We are called to a life that is empowered by the Spirit!! Not just to be nice people.

Some people are wary of the gifts and workings of the Spirit because they view that as threatening the authority of the Bible. But it is the Bible that tells us about the promise of the Spirit. Peter said, what you see going on here, was spoken by the prophet Joel: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will dream dreams”.   The experience of the Holy Spirit and our expectation of being filled and empowered comes from the BIBLE!

The Holy Spirit’s activity and leading and speaking to us do not change our view of God’s Word being our unchanging final authority in all things. Jim Cymbala said, “It’s not new truth that he brings. We already have God’s unchangeable truth in scripture, but what we need is the Spirit’s life and power”.

What a Spirit filled version of you looks like – just as there was a normal version of Peter and there was a Spirit-filled version of Peter – there is a Spirit-filled version of you!

*Being filled with the Spirit results in you being thrilled with God, and the gospel! It results in you talking about God’s goodness and greatness. In Acts chapter 2 they spoke in tongues declaring the wonders of God! In Acts 10 the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles gathered at Cornelius’s house. “They heard them speaking in tongues and praising God”. In Luke 1:41 When “Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, “In a loud voice she exclaimed, “Blessed are you among woman and blessed is the child you will bear”. In Luke 1:67 John the Baptist’s father Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and he prophesied: “Praise be to the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people….”.

Almost every time it says someone was filled with the Spirit they break forth in this effusive praise and joy in God.

Ephesians 5:19,20 says, “BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT!” Speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God for everything!” Being filled with the Spirit results in the total makeover of our attitudes, and opens our eyes to what a great thing it is to be a Christian! And so we sing and overflow with thanksgiving. This really can be you!

*Being filled with the Spirit makes you effective in getting things done that need to be done and saying things that need to be said in crucial situations. It results in boldness to identify yourself as a Christian, and to speak up for his name.

Jesus told the disciples that they would be arrested and brought to trial. He said, “Do not worry beforehand about what to say, just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking but the Holy Spirit”. Mark 13:11

In Acts 4 Peter and John were seized, put in jail overnight and brought in before the rulers, elders and teachers of the law to be questioned. In this very tense situation, verse 8 says, “Then Peter filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them...the man you crucified; it is his name who healed this man... and there is no other name under heaven, given to men, by which we must be saved”. The next verse says, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished...” It was the Holy Spirit who gave them this courage and these words!

*He equips you to minister to others.   1Corinthians 12: 7 “To each one the manifestation OF THE SPIRIT is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit, the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophesy, to another distinguishing of spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. ALL THESE ARE THE WORK OF ONE AND THE SAME SPIRIT, and he gives them to each one just as he determines.   This passage makes clear that your ability to affect others comes from the Spirit. Your abilities will be different from others but it is the Spirit who equips you, and causes you to have an effect on others.

*The filling of the Holy Spirit gives you special grace in your most extreme suffering and trials. Acts 7:55 Just before Stephen was stoned, it tells us “Stephen full of the Holy Spirit looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God”. Many believers went to terrible deaths singing hymns of praise. They has grace that can only be explained by the power of the Holy Spirit in times of extreme suffering.

It was during the time my wife was dying of ovarian cancer, given 2 weeks to live, 90 pounds bald, with a colostomy that Cindy and I had some of the most comforting and real experiences with the Holy Spirit.

*Being filled with the Spirit brings you greater revelation of the love of God. In Ephesians 3 Paul prayed that the Ephesians would be strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit, in order to comprehend the love of Christ, to know its breadth and length and height and depth so that they may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Knowing the love of Christ, comprehending that and appreciating that was connected to being filled up with God.

Romans 5 says God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. God pours his love into our hearts by pouring his Spirit into our hearts. The Holy Spirit emphasizes the love of God to us and bring us to the full experience of that love.

We are not filled with the Holy Spirit according to a formula. But how are we filled with the Spirit?

*See it as something desirable and wonderful! God rarely gives us things we don’t want. The promise of the Father is good! Do you want to be filled?

*Hear the promise of the Father and believe it is for you. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit by observing the law, or by hearing with faith?”. Part of the problem is that we do not make the promise of the Holy Spirit part of the gospel, and people don’t know about him, or to have faith in this promise. I heard someone once say, “we should tell people to believe on Jesus and to receive the Holy Spirit. That’s what Peter did.

*There must be a complete open armed reception of God’s Spirit without reservation. Repent means to turn utterly from yourselves toward God. You must be willing to give up your reputation, and worldly ambition, you love of security, and surrender your life to the Spirit of God. Being filled with him inherently means we are not filled with ourselves, or with anything that is opposed to God; not with anger, hatred, bitterness. When a glass is filled with water there is nothing else in it. The Holy Spirit is a person who lives in you. You are a person. To be filled with the Spirit means HE is the dominant person. It means HE is personally there with you, and overshadowing who you are and what you are.

Holy Spirit I’m calling on you; come and fill me up and leave no space at all. My heart is opened and I am determined to be consumed by you and you alone. Teach me, show me, guide me, know me, live in me, Holy Spirit. Like a blazing fire and a raging sea, ignite this passion, stir up this gift in me. Release your power here in this place. You’re invited to come and have your way. Lead me, use me, testify through me, live in me Holy Spirit.

Father, I believe that you have poured out your Spirit, that you have gladly given him as a gift to your sons and daughters. I welcome and receive this gift with wonder and happiness and deep gratitude. Come and fill me, immerse me. May my greatest ambition each day, be to always be full of your Spirit and know and experience the fullness of this gift as much as is possible in this life. Amen.

More in The Spirit Filled Church

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June 25, 2017

Equipped By the Spirit

June 18, 2017

Grow Part 4: Sanctified in the Truth

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