FULL OF THE SPIRIT

Who is the Holy Spirit and what is our relationship with Him?  When the Bible talks about the Holy Spirit, it is never in terms of an “It” but always in recognition of His personality by calling Him, “He.”  When Jesus was about to be born the angel of the Lord told Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah and she was confused.  “How can I give birth when I’ve not have sexual relations with a man?”  The Angel told her, “The Holy Spirit would come upon her and what she would bear would be conceived from the Holy Spirit.  When Jesus was ready to launch his personal ministry he went to John the Baptist to be baptized and fulfill all righteousness.  When he came up out of the water the Father spoke from heaven to say, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”  The Holy Spirit came from heaven to earth to land upon Jesus as a dove.  After the baptism the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for 40 days and nights.

When the ministry was nearing completion Jesus promised that as he went away he would send another comforter, the Holy Spirit who would abide with the disciples till the end of time.  He promised he would go to the Father and the Father would send another comforter so that the disciples would not be left as orphans.  Jesus even said it was better for him to go away so the comforter could come and guide them into all truth.  he would not speak of himself but what He heard he would speak.

The signal of a change in God’s dealing with man was the Holy Spirit coming upon the apostles in baptismal measure and giving them ability to speak in languages they had never studied or learned.  Peter told the crowd it was the fulfillment of the prophesy of Joel that in the last days God would pour out of His Spirit on all flesh.  When Peter preached to the crowd and they were moved to cry out “What shall we do?” Peter answered, “Let everyone of you repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for the promise is for you and your children and all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

About thirty years later Paul would plead with the Christians in Ephesus to not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Getting drunk with wine leads to excess in life.  Being filled with the Holy Spirit leads to “Speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord.”  (Ephesians 5:18-19).  In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul would say the the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, godliness, kindness, goodness and self control.  We are sealed by the Holy Spirit and the Spirit is given us as a deposit on what we will receive from God in the next life.

But how is a person filled with the Holy Spirit?  In the Book of Acts when the problem arose in the Jerusalem church with some widows being neglected in the daily distribution, the apostles called the church together and told them that it wouldn’t be right for them to leave the ministry of the word to serve tables.  They were to look among themselves for seven men who were “Full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, men of good reputation whom we can appoint over this business.”  The first one they chose was Stephen who was full of the Holy Spirit.  Notice it was before the apostles laid hands on the seven and gave them miraculous powers that it was said of them that they were full of the Holy Spirit.  In Acts 11 when the disciples went to Antioch and preached to the Gentiles and many of them were converted, the apostles sent Barnabas down to check the situation out.  He is called a good man who was full of the Holy Spirit and he encouraged the brethren to continue in the faith.

Being full of the Spirit is something we have control over since it is commanded of us to “Be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  It isn’t just something done to us.  It has to do with being a spiritually minded person, of yielding to the Spirit’s lead in life and paying attention to what He says to us in His Word.  Since the Word of God is the message of the Holy Spirit according to Peter in I Peter 1:20-21 since holy men of God spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit, his message to us by any means must harmonize with what He says in the word.  Since the Holy Spirit is deity he doesn’t learn anything new through time.  He has been all knowing all along.  We should therefore test the things we think the Spirit is leading us to do by what is clearly taught by the Spirit in His word.

It is worthy of consideration that Paul tied being filled with the Spirit to singing to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs while at the same time singing to God by making melody in our heart to the Lord.  What we sing to each other is said to be “Teaching and admonishing one another” in Colossians 3:16.  With regard to this aspect of our spiritual work the primary thing is what is sung, not how it is sung.  Since we are teaching and admonishing each other it is fundamental that what we sing be right, in harmony with the word of God.  In the passage in Colossians he said that we should “Let the word dwell in us richly” and then sing.  The message is primary.  When we think of playing our hearts to the Lord it matters whether we are taking the message of truth to heart and being moved and changed by it.  It also matters that we have “Grace in our hearts” according to Colossians 3:16.

Be filled with the Spirit and worship.  It will bless those who hear and the God who looks at the heart.

About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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