The Holy Spirit and You – Session Four:
“The Holy Spirit – Baptising and Filling You”
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In our exploration of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives we turn today to the subject of the baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit.
We look at it under five headings:
1. The Centrality of the New Birth
Before we look in detail at the subject for today we have to re-cap by stating clearly and categorically that the defining moment in a person’s life is the new birth. It is that experience, that moment, that makes someone a citizen of heaven, that delivers them from darkness to light and puts the Holy Spirit into their lives. There are no second class citizens in the church. Everyone who has been born again is a part of the kingdom. Whatever experiences may happen subsequently, it is the new birth that makes all the difference in someone’s life.
2. The Promise of the Spirit
“I want here boldly to assert that it is my happy belief that every Christian can have a copious outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a measure far beyond that received at conversion.”
A.W. Tozer “The Divine Conquest”
Whilst we assert that the new birth brings someone to Christ, it is equally true that life does not stop at the new birth. There is much more for someone to experience, and it is that which are going to explore in this session. To pick a couple of examples each from the Gospels, the Epistles and the Acts (church history)
- The Gospels
– Luke 11 v 9-13 – here Jesus is encouraging those who are already addressing God as their Father, to ask Him for the Holy Spirit.
– John 7 v 37-39 – here Jesus tells his disciples that they can look forward to the day when from within each of his children will flow streams of water. This does not seem to imply a one-off experience, but rather an ongoing outpouring of life.
- The Epistles
– Ephesians 1 v 15-17 – here Paul is praying for believers, who are already indwelled by the Holy Spirit, to receive more of God’s Spirit
– I Corinthians 12 v 12-13 – Paul encourages the Corinthians that they have been given of one Spirit – “to drink”. Again, this does not seem like a one-off blessing but an ongoing experience.
- Church History
– Acts 2 v. 1-4 and Acts 4 v.31. The first church receives the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 – and the same group of people is filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 4. Clearly this is not a one – off experience.
3. The Variety of Experience
Reading through the book of Acts one has to be struck by the diversity of experiences that the early church had:
- Pentecost (Acts 2 v1-4) – tongues of fire, a wind and speaking in tongues
- The Release from Prison (Acts 4 v 31) – a shaking house
- Cornelius (Acts 10 v 44-46) – speaking in tongues and praising God
- Lydia (Acts 16 13-15) –a quiet response to God
- The Philippian Jailor (Acts 16 v 25-34) – an earthquake and a miracle
- You – every one of us who has experiences God would tall of an experience that was unique to us. We do the Holy Spirit and one another a big disservice if we try to impose on others a particular experience of God’s Spirit.
4. The Two Terms – “Baptised and Filled”
The two terms before us today are “baptised by/with/in the Spirit” and “filled with the Spirit” Which if these terms is it more appropriate to use, and when?
- Uses of “Baptised”:
– Matthew 3 v 11
– Mark 1 v 8
– Luke 3 v 16
– John 1 v 33
– Acts 1 v 5
– Acts 11 v 16
All the above references are either John the Baptist or Jesus pointing forward to a day when they would be baptised in the Spirit. They promise an event yet to come, but do not define it.
– 1 Corinthians 12 v.13 – in this verse Paul states that we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body. The Greek construction is virtually identical to the construction in the other verses, from which we can assume that Paul is saying all believers have been baptised in the Spirit.
- Uses of “Filled”:
Luke 1:15 John the Baptist
Luke 1:41 Elizabeth
Luke 1:67 Zechariah
Acts 2:4 Pentecost
Acts 4:8 Peter
Acts 4:31 Release from prison
Acts 9:17 Paul
Acts 9:16-18 Paul
Acts 13:9 Paul
Here we have a variety of individuals being described as “filled with the Holy Spirit”
So what conclusions should we draw from this?
The three main views can be summarised as below:
Classic Conservative Evangelical
– “everything available was given at conversion: we need to live in the good of it”
Classic Pentecostal and Charismatic
– “At conversion we are born again; following that we need to be baptised in the Spirit which will be accompanied by speaking in tongues”
“Third way” – (Wimber and others)
– “We are baptised in the Holy Spirit at conversion. God then has much more for us to experience – experiences which are best described as being “filled with the Spirit”. These give power for life and ministry and will vary from individual to individual in nature, intensity and manifestation”
It is my view that the most consistent biblical view to go with is the “third way” view as articulated by Wimber, Grudem and others. All believers should be encouraged to seek God for constant infilling of the Holy Spirit subsequent to conversion.
5. The Spirit –Filled Life
We may encourage all believers to seek:
- The Experience of being “Filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2 etc)
- The Lifestyle of being “full of the Holy Spirit”
– Luke 4 v 1 – Jesus was “full of the Spirit”
– Acts 6 v 3 – qualifications for service – the apostles looked to appoint people “full of the Spirit”
– Acts 7 v 55 – Stephen was “full of the Spirit”
– Acts 10 v 54 – Barnabus was full of the Spirit
– Ephesians 5 v 18 “be filled” – all believers were encouraged by Paul to be filled – literally to go on being filled with the Holy Spirit.
We should affirm that all genuine believers who are born again should seek to be experientially and experimentally filled with the Holy Spirit to empower them for life and service. This is the desired state for all Christians.
How Can I be Filled with the Holy Spirit?
- We should determine that we really want to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Are we prepared to pay whatever cost is necessary for |God’s Spirit to fill us?
- Are we prepared to be broken by the cross – to put aside our own wishes to surrender to the infilling of the Spirit?
- Are we asking God to fill us with his Spirit?
“Lord, fill your people with the Holy Spirit!”
Questions for Discussion
- What are the evidences that someone is filled with the Holy Spirit?
- How can I pursue the Spirit-filled life?
- How could I hinder the Spirit-filled life?