Two weeks ago, we began looking at who the Holy Spirit is, and then last week, we looked at the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. This week we’ll focus on what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
One of the more misunderstood topics when it comes to the Holy Spirit is this: What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Are there multiple “fillings” of the Spirit or only one? Must we be baptized by the Spirit?
As you can imagine, when I was a new believer, I struggled with these concepts. I had friends who were in both camps. Well-meaning Christians who were pressuring me to “be baptized with the Holy Spirit” so that I could get some gift or have some experience that would “supercharge” my spiritual life. But then on the other side, I had other friends that were assuring me that when I had received Christ, He came to live within me in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. It then was just a matter of allowing Him to strengthen and empower me to live a life that would glorify God.
In my research and study, I ran across a small book by John Stott called “Baptism and Fullness.” (This book was very helpful to me because it took me to the scriptures and helped me to rightly divide truth about the Holy Spirit. It helped me to see passages about the Holy Spirit in their proper context.
As I considered the whole counsel of the Word of God, here is what I discovered about the issue of being filled with the Holy Spirit and baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Baptism Of The Holy Spirit
At the moment you are saved (justification) the believer is baptized with the Holy Spirit. Notice in Ephesians what the Apostle Paul says happens when a person places their faith in Jesus:
13 In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. 14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14, CSB)
In addition, every believer has been baptized (placed) by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. Notice what Paul says in 1 Corinthians:
12 For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all given one Spirit to drink. 14 Indeed, the body is not one part but many. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14, CSB)
John expresses this truth in a similar way, notice what 1 John says:
13 This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. (1 John 4:13, CSB)
Being baptized with the Holy Spirit is one of the “birthmarks” of a believer and therefore is true of everyone who has been born from above.Being baptized with the Holy Spirit is one of the “birthmarks” of a believer and therefore is true of everyone who has been born from above. Click To Tweet
Filled With The Holy Spirit
Although every authentic believer has been baptized with the Holy Spirit, not all believers are walking in His fullness. Notice what Paul says in the book of Ephesians:
18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18, CSB)
The phrase I want you to focus on is “be filled by the Spirit.” To be filled is to allow the Spirit of God to guide and direct, to control and empower us in every area of our life.
Why be filled with the Holy Spirit? Because He gives us the power we must rely on to live the Christian life! The Holy Spirit gives us power to witness (Acts 1:8, 4:31), strength to do ministry and serve through gifts (1 Corinthians 12), and is an inexhaustive source of life (John 7:37-39).
To experience all of this, you must be filled by the Holy Spirit!
How To “Be Filled”
Going back to Ephesians 5:18, “be filled”is in the imperative mode, that means that it is a command. Not only is it a command, it is in the present tense and therefore a continuous action. That means that we should seek to always or continually“be filled” by the Holy Spirit.
So how are we filled? First we must realize that the Holy Spirit is inside of us. Look at what the Apostle Paul tells us in these passages from Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Ephesians:
14 For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. (Romans 8:14, CSB)
19 Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own. (1 Corinthians 6:19, CSB)
13 In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. (Ephesians 1:13, CSB)
Second you must be intentional to confess and forsake sin. Sin grieves and quenches the Holy Spirit, so you must confess and forsake your sin! God promises to forgive our sins if we confess them. God will not use or fill a dirty vessel.Sin grieves and quenches the Holy Spirit, so you must confess and forsake your sin! God promises to forgive our sins if we confess them. God will not use or fill a dirty vessel. Click To Tweet
Look at what the bible says:
8 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10, CSB)
13 The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy. (Proverbs 28:13, CSB)
29 No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. (Ephesians 4:29-32, CSB)
Third, you must submit to the Holy Spirit’s control of your life. Do not resist the Holy Spirit, but rather submit to His work in your life. Walk in the Holy Spirit every day, seeking to follow as He leads and guides you.
Finally, repeat these steps every time sin places itself back in control. We must remember that our sanctification, our being made and molded more and more each day into the image of Jesus Christ is a process. We will sin, and when we do we must be quick to repent of it and forsake it, remembering that Christianity is a relationship that we have with our Heavenly Father.