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Filled with the Spirit

Holy Spirit  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:54
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Last week we began our study on the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. We looked at who the Holy Spirit is, and what the Spirit offers to those who profess Jesus Christ as Lord. Essentially, we explored the theology of the Holy Spirit. The reason I began the series this way was to establish a theological baseline of understanding what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit. After all, what we think about something drives how we respond and behave.
Christianity is not all about our behaviors, one can attend church weekly, and still not live their lives in the freedom of the Spirit. One can be a very nice person, care for the poor, be charitable and be an all around great person and not know Jesus at all. So we have to be careful when we look for evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we look beyond just our behavior. Although, behavior is a key indicator. The scriptures tell us that if certain behaviors are obviously part of who a person is, they show the Spirit is present. Yet, scripture also tells us that when other behaviors are present the Holy Spirit is not as evident in our lives. I will unpack this concept as we go throughout this sermon.
Last week we also established that a person who is full of the Spirit is a person who has given up control of their lives because they profess Jesus as their Lord. It was also established that life in the Spirit as the apostle Paul calls it, is a life full of adventure, a life that isn’t boring or routine.
Scripture says, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is their is freedom”.
Today’s topic is related to what we talked about last week, only more refined. The Spirit lives in us upon salvation, last week I showed us the evidence of this in scripture. However, scripture is clear that being “Filled” with the Spirit is an ongoing thing that every Christian should seek. This doesn’t mean we keep receiving the Spirit over and over again. As I said already, we receive the Spirit when we first profess Jesus as Lord. It means we are able to receive something from the Spirit over and over again. And it’s not something that is for your benefit or status in faith, it’s something that shines light on Jesus to show others who He is.
So, today we are going to look at what scripture says about being “Filled” with the Holy Spirit. This is not a charismatic only subject, it is a subject that scripture teaches us. So please don’t write it off as something to do only with the charismatic church. I am going to show you what scripture teaches us, not what the charismatic’s teach us. Although depending on who you talk to they would argue they are one in the same. But, I don’t want to look at denominational belief's, I want to look at the evidence of scripture.

Filled with the Holy Spirit

An Apostolic Command

The apostle Paul gives us an apostolic command to be filled with the Spirit. IN his letter to the churches in Asia Minor Paul addresses how we as Christians should live.
Ephesians 5:15–20 NIV
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 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.
Paul contrast here the difference between being drunk and being filled with the Spirit. He commands us to be filled, to live a life that is full of the Holy Spirit. There are many other passages in scripture that also speak of this same thing. As I read you some pay attention to the context, what happening, there is a pattern that tells us something.
Luke 1:15 NIV
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.
Luke 1:41 NIV
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:67 NIV
His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
Luke 4:1 NIV
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
Acts 2:4 NIV
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 4:8 NIV
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!
Acts 4:31 NIV
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 7:55 NIV
But 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.
Acts 9:17 NIV
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.”
Acts 11:24 NIV
He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
Acts 13:9 NIV
Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said,
These are just a few examples of times in scripture where it is referenced that someone is full of the Holy Spirit. Paul commands us to be filled with the holy Spirit rather then drunk on wine.
So what is going on here? Some of these passages were when the person gave themselves to Christ for salvation, while some of these passages were long after the person had come to faith. What’s going on? What does scripture mean by being “Filled” with the Holy Spirit?
Well, the passages I just read give us the answer. Each time in scripture that we see the phrase “Filled with the Spirit” it is always associated with God’s power, with a boldness of faith. We see times where a person is empowered to live a life of faith, which can only be done through the Holy Spirit. We don’t come to faith because we choose it, the Spirit pushes us toward the choice. I know this personally, it explains why for twenty years of my life I didn’t much care about faith in Jesus, but after I read the scriptures I came to faith at twenty years old. The Spirit empowered this change in me. I couldn’t do it, the Spirit for whatever reason choose that moment for me in history.
We also see in these passages people being enabled to speak words of faith. In times when they didn’t know what to say, the Spirit filled them with the words they needed to profess Christ.
The Dictionary of Bible Themes describes it like this:
The Dictionary of Bible Themes To Be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be energized and controlled by the third person of the Godhead in such a way that under the acknowledged Lordship of Jesus Christ the full presence and power of God are experienced. Spirit-filling leads to renewal, obedience,, boldness in testimony an arresting quality in believers’ lives.
All through the book of Acts we see believers experience God’s power when they are filled with the Spirit. We see a consistent quality of character, of fruit in the persons life. We see those who were not bold become bold in their ability to speak words of witness, to give answers in difficult situations that only the Spirit could give.
I want you to notice something....notice being filled leads to quality of character, and the ability to share Christ with others. It never leads to empowering someone to be important, or special in the eyes of others. It is always about leading people to Jesus and believers living their lives like Jesus.

So What is the Filling of the Holy Spirit?

Being filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit. It is living God’s will rather the your own will. This is why Paul says instead of letting wine control you, let the Holy Spirit control you. Actually, you should be praying and seeking for the Spirit to control you lives.
The Holy Spirit lives in us upon salvation, but many of us are not controlled by the Spirit. When we let our sinful control go, we open the door to be filled with the Spirit. This is what every believer should be seeking, to be controlled by the Spirit of God. If the Spirit controls my thoughts, my thoughts become pure, if the Spirit controls my actions, my actions show the fruit of the Spirit in my life:
Galatians 5:22–23 NIV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
These things are evident in my character when the Spirit is controlling me.
If I am in control my life is full of the flesh:
Galatians 5:19–21 NIV
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Those who live by the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God, but those who live by the Spirit are living in God’s kingdom now and forever. In other words filled by the Spirit you are living a Spirit filled life, not filled you are living a flesh filled life. Even if you are saved…professing Christ gives you your ticket to heaven, but it doesn’t empower you to live the way Christ has called us to, only the filling of the Spirit in ones life accomplishes that life.

How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit

So how do we lived a life filled with the Holy Spirit, a Spirit filled life? Firstly, let me explain how we end up living our faith without the power of the Spirit.
The two most common barriers to a life in the Spirit are:
Grieving the Holy Spirit
Quenching the Spirit.
The first I talked about last week when I pointed out that the Holy Spirit is a person with feelings. The apostle Paul’s says this:
Ephesians 4:30 NIV
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
There are things many of us do in our lives that deeply grieve God.
Ephesians 4:31 NIV
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
You cannot be filled with bitterness and be filled with the Spirit.
You cannot be filled with anger and be filled with the Spirit.
You cannot be filled with malice, the desire to harm someone or have ill will against anyone and be filled with the Spirit.
You cannot be filled with hatred and be filled with the Spirit.
The second common issue in believes lives that holds them back from the Spirit filled life is quenching the Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 NIV
Do not quench the Spirit.
To quench the Spirit is to stifle or suppress His work in you. To resist the change that the Spirit is calling you to because it might disrupt your comfort. Essentially to quench the Spirit means you resist the Spirit in your life. is means you worry, you struggle with fear, you easily effected by the world around you. You life is full of greed, pride, gossip, and you always want things your way. Quenching the Spirit means you are living life by your terms and control, not God’s.
The scary part about grieving the Spirit and quenching the Spirit is we are often convinced it’s everyone else. We don’t even notice we are living in a way that God grieves. This is especially scary because many people living this way are regular attenders of church and claim to follow Jesus. Hence why the world sees many in the church as hypocrites.
This is exactly why Paul commands us to seek life in the Spirit, to be Filled with the Holy Spirit.

Life in the Spirit

Galatians 5:16 NIV
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
If you start to notice that the things I just listed are part of your life, then you have the opportunity to live in the Spirit. All you have to do is repent, ask for forgiveness and God will pour out His Spirit upon you.
How to Be Filled by the Spirit.
Stop grieving the Holy Spirit.
Stop quenching the Holy Spirit.
Start walking in the Spirit.


Life in the Spirit is what all believers should be seeking. It is attainable, it is possible to live how Jesus calls us to live. But, we need the Spirit to empower us to live this way.
A Spirit filled life is a life on the edge, a life that allows God to control you.
Last week I shared a quote with you that I would like to share again.
Stanley Hauerwas - “The modern world enjoys thinking that we have at last come to the point in human development when we live under no control other then self control. At Pentecost we discover that the lives we are living are not our own. Because the Holy Spirit not only enters our time, but, also commandeers our lives, we can hope for lives that are adventuresome - even wild and unpredictable”.
When we give up our live to Jesus, we become more like Jesus through the power of his Spirit. If we hold on to control, we continue to live life in the flesh, grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit.
Big Idea: The Spirit filled life demands full surrender to Jesus Christ. It means we have to give up our lives so we can start to live life. The Holy Spirit is the life-giving power that is able to create, sanctify and grow every believer if they are willing to give their whole self to God.
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