The Promises of God - Lesson 23 To Be Filled with the Spirit
1. We learn from 2 Peter 1:4 that God's promises are "exceeding great and precious." 2. Because God's promises are so special, they deserve our careful attention. 3. One of God's promises is revealed in Joel 2:28-32 -- He promised to send His Spirit. 4. According to the Scriptures,: a. God kept His promise (Acts 2:16-21) b. God has given people various measures of the Holy Spirit, including: 1) the baptism of the Holy Spirit [received by the apostles (Acts 2) and the household of Cornelius (Acts 10)] 2) the miraculous indwelling of the Holy Spirit, accompanied by spiritual gifts [imparted by the laying on of the apostles' hands (Acts 8:14-17; 19:5-6)] 3) the non-miraculous indwelling of the Holy Spirit [received by those who obey the Gospel (Acts 2:38; 5:32)]. 5. Because the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is conditional (Romans 8:9-11), we must comply with the instructions that relate to Him. 6. In this lesson we are concentrating on the instruction for Christians to "be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). a. The expressions "filled with the Holy Spirit" and "full of the Holy Spirit" are found in many passages. b. A careful study of these passages indicates that: 1) certain individuals have been filled with the Spirit in a miraculous sense 2) there is a non-miraculous sense in which Christians are to be filled with the Spirit.
I. CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS HAVE BEEN FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT IN A MIRACULOUS SENSE
A. John (Luke 1:15), Elisabeth (Luke 1:41-42), and Zacharias (Luke 1:67) were "filled with the Holy Spirit." 1. They received a special anointing of the Holy Spirit. 2. This occurred before Christianity was established. B. Jesus was "full of the Holy Spirit" (Luke 4:1). 1. The Spirit descended upon Jesus when He was baptized (Luke 3:21-22). 2. Jesus received the Spirit without "measure" (John 3:34). C. The apostles were "filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9). D. In the early church Christians were able to receive the Spirit when the apostles laid hands on them (Acts 8:12-17; 19:5-6). E. Stephen's situation is interesting. 1. Being "full of the Holy Spirit" was a requirement of the seven men who would serve the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:3). 2. One of the men, Stephen, was full "of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 6:5). 3. (Acts 6:6) The apostles laid their hands on Stephen and the other men. 4. Stephen was then able to perform miracles (Acts 6:8). 5. Just before Stephen was killed he was "full of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 7:55). F. These are cases where individuals were filled with the Holy Spirit in a miraculous sense.
II. OTHERS WERE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT IN A NON-MIRACULOUS SENSE
A. Stephen was "full of the Holy Spirit" before the apostles laid their hands on him. B. Barnabas was "full of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 11:22-24). 1. This is mentioned in connection with his conduct. 2. He was also a great encourager. C. The disciples in Iconium were "filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 13:51-52). D. To "be filled with the Spirit," let us fulfill our responsibilities that relate to Him.