Notes compiled by Marty Zide and Steve McAtee
While all believers experience the regeneration, the baptism, the indwelling, and the sealing of the Holy Spirit, at the time of their salvation, (never to be repeated again) not all believers experience the filling of the Holy Spirit all of the time. The filling of the Holy Spirit is a ministry of His that can be experienced at one moment and then not be experienced at another moment.
Eph. 5:18 is a key verse in helping us define and better understand this very important ministry of the Holy Spirit. The verse presents a comparison between being drunk and being filled with the Holy Spirit. The comparison is in a matter of control. A drunk person is controlled by the liquor which he has consumed. As a result, he acts in ways that are unnatural to him. Likewise, the person who is filled with the Spirit is controlled, and he also acts in ways that are unnatural to him.
This is not to imply that these ways are erratic or abnormal, but they are not ways that belong to the life he had before he was a believer who is filled with the Spirit. So, being filled with the Holy Spirit is to be controlled by Him.
Eph 5:18 -21 - And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus the Messiah to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Messiah.
Why believers need to be filled with the Holy Spirit
It is essential for the believer’s maturity and it is essential for the believer’s service.
1 Cor 3:1-3 - And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Messiah. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?
One of the things that hinder the growth and maturity of a believer is to walk in the flesh. This is what the Corinthians were doing.
Gal 5:16-17 - But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
The solution to carnality and walking according to the flesh is to be controlled or filled by the Spirit. The filling of the Holy Spirit is also essential for the believer’s service for the Lord.
Acts 4:31 - And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
It was the filling of the Spirit that enabled the believers to speak the Word of God with boldness. When Paul was filled with the Spirit he began to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God.
Acts 9:17, 20 - So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. And immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, He is the Son of God.
Conditions that are necessary for being filled with the Holy Spirit Even though it is a command to be filled with the Spirit, there are certain conditions that need to be met in order for this to be a reality. It is important to note that there is no command in the Bible to pray for the filling of the Spirit. But there are several conditions that must be met.
1. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit
Eph. 4:30 speaks to this issue. The context of grieving the Spirit relates to exhortations concerning sin. In the context of this verse, believers are warned not to lie, not to prolong anger, and not to be bitter and unforgiving. To do these and the like will grieve Him.
Eph 4:30 - Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
The word “grieve” carries with it the idea of grief, pain, sorrow, and distress. This is what we do to the Holy Spirit when we are walking in the flesh. This certainly will hinder the filling work of the Holy Spirit.
2. Do not quench the Holy Spirit
1 Thes. 5:19 speaks to this issue. The context of quenching the Spirit relates to ministry. In the context of this verse, believers are exhorted pray, be thankful, and not to despise prophetic utterances - the Word proclaimed by Godly gifted teachers.
1 Thess 5:19 - Do not quench the Spirit.
3. Walk by the Holy Spirit
Gal. 5:16 speaks to this issue. The idea behind walking by the Holy Spirit refers to how one conducts their life. Rather than living in the flesh, a believer is exhorted to conduct their life in the sphere of the Holy Spirit.
Gal 5:16 - But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
How does one know if they are filled with the Holy Spirit or walking in the flesh? There are manifestations of both. A simple test can be done by reading the most precise portion that deals with this subject. It is found in Gal. 5.
Gal 5:19-23 - Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The thing that distinguishes this ministry from the previous four that we took a look at is, the filling of the Holy Spirit is repeatable. Once it is interrupted by quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit, it needs to be reestablished.
Coming Next – The Holy Spirit’s Ministry Throughout the Believer's Life