The Bible makes clear there are two types of people in the world: sinners and saints. Of the saints there are two types: those who are “Indwel tby the Spirit” and those who are “Filled with the Spirit.” What’s the difference? Which are you? Let’s find out as we continue our “Holy Spirit Is” series today.
The Indwelling Spirit
All genuine Christ followers have the HS indwelling in them. When did this happen? When we were born? No. When we were water baptized? No. When we became members of the church? No. The HS took residence in our hearts the moment we surrendered to Jesus Christ as Lord/Savior or as Jesus told Nicodemus, when we were “born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Here’s what happens when the Spirit indwells us:
- We are “baptized in the HS and with fire” (Matthew 3:11) which means we have been initiated into the spiritual “Body of Christ.” (water baptism is the initiation into the physical body of Christ i.e., the local church)
- We receive power to become the children of God (John 1:12)..
- Our physical bodies become, “Temples of the HS” (I Corinthians 6:19).
- We are being shaped in to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29)
- God’s power is at work in us to regenerate our souls (Philippians 2:13). .
- We receive the “down payment” of future glory (Ephesians 1:14).
The Filling Spirit
As amazing as being indwelt by the HS is there’s more, much much more. The more is being continually “filled with the HS. Listen to Ephesians 5:18
Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Being indwelt by the HS is a one-time phenomenon while being filled with the Spirit is a many-times phenomena (drink refills). For instance, the disciples were filled with the HS at Pentecost and then multiple times thereafter. Listen to Acts 13:52, “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” As he was being stoned to death for preaching Jesus, Stephen was “full of the HS” before he was killed (Acts 7:55). Paul was “blinded by the light” (i.e., resurrected Jesus) on the Damascus Road. A few days after his “crisis conversion,” Ananias comes not only to restore Paul’s sight but to command him to be “filled with the HS” (Acts 9:17). Paul, and his ministry partner Barnabas, were “filled with the Spirit” on numerous occasions.
The Purpose of the Being Filled with the HS
The purpose of being filled with the HS is to experience the “fullness of God.” Paul explained in Ephesians 3:14-19.
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
The “fullness of God” means many things but here it is experiencing God’s power, having Jesus live in our hearts by faith, and the ability to grasp the ungraspable i.e., the “width, length, height, and depth” of God’s love for us. His love for us is so amazing that we need supernatural help to comprehend it!
Before we see a very easy and practical way to be filled with the Spirit, I think saints that are continually filled with the Spirit are more in the minority than the majority. Why is that? Because of the 3 Cs.
#1 Commitment (Lack)
The 1st “C” is commitment or lack thereof. We will not be filled with the Spirit if we are not deeply committed to Christ. As a disappointed Paul said to the saints in Philippi (2:21),
Everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
If we’re not really interested in the things of God, i.e., the mission and ministry of his church, how much of the HS do we really need? That’s like saying, “I need a $200,000 sports car to drive a few blocks to Walmart.” No you don’t, any old Honda will do. The good news however is that the more we are committed to Christ the more of the Spirit we get
Undoubtedly, lack of commitment fuels the 2nd “C” which is compromise. If we compromise the vision-values, ethic-morality of the Kingdom of God as revealed in Scripture, not only will we not be filled with the Spirt we will end up “grieving” him and “stymieing” his work in our lives. (Ephesians 4:30, I Thessalonians 5:19). And we never, ever, want to do that.
If lack of commitment fuels compromise then compromise leads us smack dab into carnality, the 3rd “C.” Carnality is caving into worldly lusts and passions. Paul called the saints in Corinth “carnal” because they kept engaging in behaviors that were far more pagan than Christian. Therefore, he scolds them (I Corinthians 3:1-3)
1 I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly.
The Focus Factor
Another reason only the minority of the saints are filled with the Spirt is because of the “focus factor.” There’s a principle in life which states that “We become what we focus on.” Thus, if we focus on:
Money we will be filled with materialism.
Sexual images we will be filled with lust.
Grudges/hurts we will be filled with unforgiveness, bitterness, and anger.
Problems we will be filled with anxiety.
Drugs we will be filled with addiction.
Alcohol we will be filled with drunkenness.
These things will end up dominating us so if we rather be dominated with the Spirit we need to stay focused on Jesus, “The author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) and avoid the 3Cs like the Virus!
Conclusion: How to Be Filled With the Spirit“
“Be filled with the Spirit” is a command; therefore we must be able to do it. How? It’s so easy any saint can do it at any time. Ephesians 5:19-20 tells us:
19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Singing “psalms, hymns and spirit songs,” with hearts full of gratitude is the easiest and most practical way to be filled with the Spirit. But why? Like nothing else, singing opens up our emotions to God much like preaching opens our minds to God. When our emotions are opened up the Spirit fills our spirits with healing, hope, love, joy, peace and the fullness of God. This is why Christianity was, is, and always will be, the foremost singing religion. It is the best way not only to be continually filled with the Spirit but to be flooded with the Spirit! So church, let’s sing and never stop singing!