#558 (16/3/22) WHAT IS FILLING WITH THE SPIRIT?
This week, as we continue our 6-week study on the person of the Holy Spirit, we will be looking at the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
Yesterday we looked at what the term baptism in the Spirit means. Today, let’s look at another term that it’s important that we understand - that of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
i) FILLING CAN REFER TO A POST-CONVERSION EXPERIENCE
‘All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.’ (Acts 2:4)
On this occasion, it refers to their initial, post-conversion experience of the Spirit. Filling and baptism with the Spirit can, in this sense, be used interchangeably.
ii) IT ALSO REFERS TO AN ONGOING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SPIRIT
‘After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.’(Acts 4:31)
This is an experience of the Spirit after Pentecost and shows that the Pentecost experience is to be repeated in our lives – We, like the early church, need to be regularly filled with the Spirit.
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18)
‘Be filled’, in Ephesians 5, could be translated as ‘go on being filled’. So this term can also be used for the ongoing experiences and a lifestyle that is filled with the Spirit. (See also Acts 4:31; 6:3; 7:55; 13:52)
This passage is also interesting in that it’s hard to know whether one is filled with the Spirit and speaks, sings and gives thanks as a response, or whether one sings etc. in order to be filled with the Spirit. I’m inclined to hold both. An individual or community that sings and thanks God richly is a community that is filled and will be filled with the Spirit.
As important as “were you filled?” is “Are you going on being filled?” Being filled is vital to ongoing fruitfulness in life. How will you make this a reality in your life? Acts 6 tells us something of the sort of person and leader that you need to become,
‘Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.’ (Acts 6:3)
Maybe you’d like to pray Acts 6:3 - that this would become your ‘biography’ and the biography of the leaders in your church and the church more generally - she needs this more than ever!