While some Christians overemphasize the Holy Spirit, many overlook Him. Our study of what some have called the “Shy Member of the Trinity” has already shown that as a Person we can have a relationship with Him. And as God, we can and should worship Him.
There are many ministries that the Holy Spirit has to the follower of Jesus. In our previous post we noticed His indwelling ministry. As the “other Comforter” (or “Advocate”), the Spirit of God comes alongside us to help us or to put His divine finger on something in our lives that needs to change.
Let’s notice in today’s post the Holy Spirit’s ministry of filling the believer. There are many verses in the book of Acts showing the Spirit’s filling of the early Christians:
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!
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.
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said,
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
While the filling of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost was unique, the Bible does not teach that all believers should speak in other tongues (Acts 2).
In our other passages we learn that the Holy Spirit’s filling enables believers to speak clearly before those in authority (Acts 4:8) and with boldness (Acts 4:31; 13:9).
Frequently being filled with the Spirit is coupled with another characteristic (joy, Acts 13:52; full of the Spirit and wisdom, Acts 6:3; full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, Acts 6:5; full of God’s grace and power, Acts 6:8, power to die, Acts 7:55; full of the Holy Spirit and faith, Acts 11:24).
Ephesians 5:18 says, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. It is interesting that this verse (including the verses above) doesn’t tell the believer HOW to be filled with the Spirit. In his article entitled “How to Be Filled with the Spirit” (found here), Pastor John Piper suggests what he calls the closest parallel: “Don’t be drunk with wine; be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). How do you get drunk with wine? You drink it. Lots of it. The wine of Paul’s day was so weak you would have to drink for hours to get drunk. So how then shall we get drunk (filled) with the Spirit? Drink it! Lots of it. Paul said in I Corinthians 12:13, ‘We were all . . . made to drink of one Spirit.’ Jesus said, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Then John writes, ‘Now this he said about the Spirit.’ (John 7:37-39).”
How do you drink of the Spirit? You set your mind on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5). We set our minds on things above (Col. 3:1-2). “So drinking the Spirit means seeking the things of the Spirit, directing your attention to the things of the Spirit, being devoted to the things of the Spirit.”
The things of the Spirit refers to the teachings of the apostles about God and to the words of Jesus. Doing this long enough will get us drunk with the Spirit. We will develop a wonderful Spirit-dependency.
Lastly, Piper says, “The Holy Spirit is not like wine because he is a person and is free to come and go where he wills (John 3:8). Therefore Luke 11:13 must be added. Jesus said to his disciples, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” If we want to be filled with the Spirit, we must pray for it. And that is just what Paul does for the Ephesians in 3:19. He asks his Father in heaven (verse 14) that the believers might be “filled with all the fullness of God.” Drink and pray. Drink and pray. Drink and pray.”
The Challenge: What a helpful article! Today ask God the Holy Spirit to fill you, control you, to do His will.