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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Baptism with the Holy Spirit

Don Stewart :: What Is the Filling of the Holy Spirit?

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What Is the Filling of the Holy Spirit?

Baptism with the Holy Spirit – Question 15

One of the most important ministries of the Holy Spirit is that of “filling” of the believer. The filling of the Spirit gives the believer power to live the Christian life. The believer is commanded by God to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote to the Ephesians.

And do not get drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be filled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18 NET).

There are a number of things that we learn about the filling of the Holy Spirit. They include the following truths.

We Are Commanded to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit

The filling of the Holy Spirit is not something that is merely suggested by God. Indeed, it is a command. God orders His people to be constantly filled, or controlled, by the Holy Spirit of God. This is not a suggestion.

This Experience Is for All Believers

Furthermore, all believers are instructed to be filled with the Holy Spirit – it is not to be the experience of an elite few. The command given is therefore universal – everyone must be filled with the Spirit.

This Is Something That Is Directly Experienced

The believer directly experiences the filling of the Holy Spirit. This is in contrast to some ministries that the Holy Spirit performs in which the believer does not directly experience anything. This would include the sealing and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Filling Has the Idea of Control

The filling of the Holy Spirit is contrasted with drunkenness. The idea behind each concept is control. While the effects of alcohol control the drunken person, the effects of the Holy Spirit control the believer. Thus, when we speak of being filled with the Holy Spirit, we are speaking of being controlled by the Holy Spirit.

We Do Not Fill Ourselves

There is another important point. The filling of the Holy Spirit is something that the Holy Spirit does for us – we do not fill ourselves. We are to “be filled” with the Spirit. He fills us.

We Can Only Be Filled with the Spirit When We Submit to God’s Commands

The filling of the Spirit can only occur in the life of the believer when that person submits to the commands of the Lord. It is only then that the filling, or control, of the Holy Spirit can take place. Disobedience quenches the work of the Spirit in the life of the believer. The control, or filling, cannot take place when the believer is practicing sin.

We Need to Be Continually Filled

The idea behind the filling of the Holy Spirit is something continuous – it is not a once for all experience. It is a repeated experience. The command in Ephesians 5:18 is for the believer to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. Thus, there is more than one filling of the Holy Spirit. In other words, we are not just filled once in our lifetime and then the experience is over. We are to be filled over and over again.

There Are Numerous Examples of People Being Filled with God’s Spirit

Scripture gives numerous examples of people being filled with God’s Spirit. For example, the martyr Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit when he was about to be killed before a hostile crowd. We read in the Book of Acts.

But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:55 NRSV).

Stephen was full of the Spirit, or controlled by the Spirit, when he was about to be wrongfully stoned to death.

Barnabas was a man who was full of the Holy Spirit. He is described in this manner.

Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And large numbers of people were brought to the Lord.(Acts 11:24 NLT).

These are two of the many examples in Scripture of people who were full of, or controlled by, the Holy Spirit.

In sum, it is important that each believer in Jesus Christ submit to Him in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This filling is something which takes place again and again.

Summary – Question 15
What Is the Filling of the Holy Spirit?

The Bible speaks of the ministry of the Holy Spirit known as the “filling.” There are a number of things we learn from Scripture about the filling of the Spirit.

First, it is for a command. It is not a suggestion. Furthermore, it is not something for merely an elite few highly spiritual Christians. Indeed, the filling of the Holy Spirit is a work of God which all believers should experience.

In addition, believers directly experience the filling of the Spirit. It is an experiential ministry of God’s Spirit as opposed to other ministries of the Spirit which are non-experiential.

Filling has the idea of control. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. However, we do not control or fill ourselves. He fills and controls us.

While the filling of the Holy Spirit is the Spirit controlling us we have to give our consent for this to take place. Indeed, the filling of the Holy Spirit can only occur when we submit ourselves to the Lord and to His commands. This is how a person becomes filled; he or she submits to Jesus Christ.

Filling is something that must continually occur in the life of the believer. It is not a once and for all experience. Indeed, we are commanded to be continually filled, or controlled, by God’s Spirit.

The Bible gives many examples of people who were filled, or controlled, by the Holy Spirit. They are our example. Like them, we should seek to submit ourselves to Christ in order to be filled or controlled by the Spirit of God. This is how we will please the Lord.

Is the Baptism with the Holy Spirit the Same Thing as Regeneration or Spiritual Rebirth? ← Prior Section
Is the Baptism with the Spirit the Same as the Filling of the Spirit? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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