2018 09 09 Gordon Green  Filled with the Spirit
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Acts 6:3-6; Ephesians 5:18

Redhill. 9 September  2018. Presented by Gordon Green

 Filled with the Spirit

An expression that is found often in Acts is “Filled with the Spirit.” Understanding what this expression means could be the key to Acts, to everything that happens – and a key to your life. It is  part of the main qualification for deacons helping the widows at that time (Acts 6:3-5). The same was said of Barnabas (Acts 11:24) and the disciples (Acts 13:52). To clarify; this sermon is not about being anointed or sealed or baptised with the Spirit or filled with the Spirit for a special purpose.

What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? What does it mean for you today? For you personally, and for all of us as the church. How can you be filled with the Holy Spirit?

A key or the key scripture to understand this subject and one of the most important verses in the New Testament is Ephesians 5:18. Paul was extremely concerned about exposition but he was just as concerned about application because Christianity is a life that is to be lived – the practical.

“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

This verse tells us how to live an authentic, genuine, empowered Christian life. This is a command. The only way to live the Christian life - to be filled with Spirit. When you read the book of Acts it’s very clear that the only way the Christians could be defined was they were people who were “Filled with the Spirit.” It’s the only way you could explain them.

The correct way of saying this is “Go on being filled.” So a more accurate translation would be:  “Don’t get drunk with wine. It will ruin your life. But go on being filled with the Spirit, be continually filled with the Spirit. Let it go on, let it continue, let it be your constant condition.” It’s  a continuous state or  condition in which we should always be. Don’t t let alcohol change you into an animal but let the Holy Spirit go on transforming you into the image of Christ. That’s how we are meant to be. It is a continuous appropriation, not some high and mighty once in a lifetime moment where you experience the fullness of the Spirit and from then on you are on an all time high that never fades.

It doesn’t mean that God fills us progressively - some today, a little more tomorrow until we are full. It doesn’t mean that we are like a car with an empty tank of petrol. We don’t need more fuel. We have all the fuel we need for all the power, insight, comfort, guidance and courage that we will ever need.  You have the Holy Spirit now avail yourself of it. The question is how do we get the fuel flowing so we can operate our lives as God intended.

 

How can we be filled with the Holy Spirit?

I think the first thing we need to do is remind ourselves that the Holy Spirit is a Person - with a capital P. But He is not only a person. He is a divine person.  He is the 3rd person of the trinity. He has a will – you could say “he has a brain” – he has intelligence and feeling and knowledge and sympathy and ability to love and see and think and hear and speak and desire. And just as important: realise that the Holy Spirit is in us. He is stimulating us, giving us ideas, producing thoughts, making suggestions. Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6:19; 3:16). We forget this. It is so helpful to start your day with something like this: “Holy Spirit, you are living within me. You are  in my body. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Please enable me to remember that.”  Repeat 1Cor 6:19; 3:16  to yourself often. But there is more.

In 1Corinthians 13:14 we learn about fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit. This is about communion and friendship. I must talk to him and consult him. Share my life with Him. Ask him to manifest himself more and more to us. Obey him. For example, I must not grieve the Spirit. If we yield to anything opposed to the Holy Spirit we won’t be filled with the Holy Spirit. If I allow my desires, lusts, passions to control me then He is not leading, guiding me. I must resist the Devil. You can’t grieve everybody. There are very few people who can cause you to grieve. You have to love someone very deeply before they can grieve you. He so deeply loves us that it’s possible to say no to him and grieve him.

Another way of saying this and summarising what being filled with the Spirit is:  to personally live in the presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s a choice – empowered by the Holy Spirit. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is a choice. It is like getting drunk. You choose to take out the bottle and drink more than you should.

It can be likened to the word “abide” that Jesus used – “Abide in me.” On the road to Emmaus the disciples invited Jesus into their home and stay with them – abide with them. Jesus acted as if he was going on. He made a choice to stay on. “Abide” could be translated “to be present to”. Jesus says choose to be present to me, to the Spirit. It is possible to be in His presence and not be present to Him. We can have the Holy Spirit and not respond to him. The question is not is the Holy Spirit with us – of course He is – but are we present to Him?

We are present to him by remembering who He is, that he is in us, fellowshipping with him and  obeying him.  Also, listen to him. Listen carefully to his promptings. In Revelation 2,3 we read of letters that were written to the churches – to Christians. At the end of every letter are these words; “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” We learn in Acts that the Holy Spirit is in the midst of the church and the church lives in the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Body of Christ is the church only because it is filled with the Spirit. In the midst of His church the Holy Spirit  is guiding, directing, nurturing, speaking. Are you listening?

Being filled with the Spirit is not an experience. It is about a personal relationship and we have a responsibility. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is about submission, voluntarily surrendering our whole lives to God.  It’s not about being passive, you do not wait for an experience to happen.. This is not an experience. We must be willing for the Holy Spirit to do what He wants to do in our lives.  Can you say “I don’t care what you do but Holy Spirit. You can have everything there is to have and for the rest of my life I will be present to you.”  (Song: “Holy Spirit Have Your Way”)

The person who is filled with the Spirit is someone who shows and displays the fruit of the Spirit. When we do this the fruit of the Spirit will manifest in us. The only one who can do this is the one who is filled with the Spirit. Where the Holy Spirit is influencing and guiding us His fruit is evident and obvious. Apart from the Holy Spirit the Christian life is impossible! The Spirit is not the optional add-on to the gospel; He is the presence of God-in-us. What Jesus has accomplished for us the Holy Spirit works out within us.

In the morning you could pray something like this:

Thank you for this new day. I surrender to you. Throughout this day I am yours. Help me to be a branch that abides in the vine, enable me to draw strength from you. Please fill my mind and thoughts, I want to participate in what you are doing. Without you I can accomplish nothing. Fill me with your Spirit today. Take my eyes, my tongue, my emotions, my will and use me, Lord because I want to be under you and totally dependent on you on a continuing basis.

Are you ready to open your life to let the Holy Spirit come and do what He wants to do within you?

Are you willing?



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