Living The Spirit Filled Life “And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13:52
Acts 13 is a story from the earliest days of what we now refer to as the church. In this story two apostles Barnabas and Paul are called to go on a special assignment. This comes to them after much prayer and fasting. They are commissioned by some of the other men in ministry and sent off with to follow God’s leading.
All throughout this story there are references made to the Holy Spirit and the fact that they were filled with this Spirit. Basically they travel into areas not yet reached with the message of Christ and after preaching and teaching in the Jewish synagogues they experience mighty moves of people accepting Christ and having their lives transformed.
The verse above is the last one in the chapter and reiterates the language throughout the whole text.
Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus began talking about the coming Holy Spirit. In John’s gospel we find many references to the Spirit of God and what He would bring to the life of the Christ follower.
“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” John 14:15-17
“Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” John 14:23-25
There is no greater need in the life of a Christfollower than to understand and grasp the truth about the Holy Spirit. Not understanding and embracing this teaching of Jesus produces a low grade or low level brand of Christianity. It is joyless, powerless and more often than not ineffective in service or producing the kind of fruit promised in the life of a spirit filled man or woman.
God is made up of three persons or personalities: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. In theology this is referred to as the Trinity. Today we are looking at the Spirit of God.
Some things you need to know about being filled with the Holy Spirit:
Being filled is a definite experience
After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:31
So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. 3 And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” Acts 6:2-4
So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 9:17
This is an experience that every Christfollower will eventually get to or they will go backwards in their relationship with Christ. There will come points in the life of every Christfollower where we will be called upon to surrender our lives anew. This is real and it is a definite experience.
Being filled is an indwelling
But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) Romans 8:9
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19
The Holy Spirit will indwell or dwell in our lives if we allow Him to. He will not go where He is not wanted. He will not abide in a life that always makes the wrong choices or damaging decisions. The Holy Spirit will not cohabitate with sinfulness. He is a convicting force in our lives but will only continue to serve in that capacity if we allow Him free access into our most personal areas.
Being filled is normal!
There are some who would like to believe that the Holy Spirit is only for the super Christians. First of all there is no such thing as “super Christians” and every Christfollower must have the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
We are called to live our lives in the power and fullness of the Spirit. This is what gives us guidance, power to overcome sin and the fuel we need to live a normal Christfollowing life.
The power of the Holy Spirit is not just for salvation, but transformation, a process that might be slow and gradual. The difference might look like this: You can take ten gallons of gasoline and release a tremendous amount of power and energy by just dropping a lighted match into it. It makes a dramatic onetime impact. But there is another way to release the energy in that gasoline. Place it in the fuel tank of a new Honda, designed to get 30 miles to the gallon. The high tech engine will use that ten gallons of gasoline to take a person 300 miles or more. Explosions may be spectacular, but the sustained, controlled burn has staying power. You don’t want to be a flash in the pan, you want to make a difference in this world over time. You want to last for the long haul. You don’t want the Holy Spirit to just save you for heaven, you want Him to use His power to transform your life. You want Him to use you in this world for kingdom purposes.
Being filled is about making room
This is just a simple truth but very profound if you follow it. The more room you make for God in your life the more of the Holy Spirit’s purity and power you will have. If you are content with the current condition of your spiritual journey then I guess you can tune out now.
Let me ask you some questions:
“Can you think of any area of your life that could use the power of the Holy Spirit?”
“Can you think of any area of your life that could use the purifying power of the Holy Spirit?”
“Are you willing to completely empty yourself of all the things that take you away from God and His purposes?”
“Will you make room in your life to be filled with God’s Spirit?”
Some characteristics of a Spirit filled life:
The Holy Spirit makes you effective in spreading the Message
Jesus clearly send His disciples and followers out into the world to share the message of transformation and holiness but He also clearly teaches that we are not to do any ministry without waiting and receiving the power and purity of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Jesus told the disciples that they must wait upon the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The word translated “power” here is the Greek word dunamis. “The Greek word dunamis entered the English language when the Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833-96) made the discovery that became his fortune. He discovered a power stronger than anything the world had known up to that time. He asked a friend of his who was a Greek scholar what the word for ‘explosive power’ was in Greek. His friend answered, ‘Dunamis”. Nobel said. ‘Well, I am going to call my discovery by that name.’ So called his ‘explosive power' dynamite.
Would you like to be more effective in the ministry you are doing? Wouldn’t you like to be used by God in a way greater than you could even imagine?
"How little chance the Holy Spirit has nowadays. The churches and missionary societies have so bound Him in red tape that they practically ask Him to sit in a corner while they do the work themselves." Studd, C.T.
Get out of the way. Surrender your giant sized ego and do what you do for God and God alone. Every time we do something and worry about whether we are going to get the credit or not we are overshadowing God’s work and He won’t be in what we do in the future.
The Holy Spirit keeps you in God’s playbook
Churches and individuals really struggle with this one at times. Normally we will settle for doing church and ministry in a way that is comfortable and similar to the way it was when we were children. The problem with that is as the culture changes there must be changes in the way we communicate the message of Christ. Too often you will find whole churches and even denominations that will do almost anything to avoid a conversation about what the church or ministry should look like.
Being surrendered to the Holy Spirit will ensure that you are doing it in a way that pleases God and in a way that He can and will work through. Sometimes this is incredibly painful and will be misunderstood by people that would rather die than change.
Let the Spirit keep you in God’s playbook.
A committee of ministers in a certain city was discussing the possibility of having D. L. Moody to serve as the evangelist during a city-wide evangelistic campaign. Finally, one young minister who did not want to invite Moody stood up and said: “Why Moody? Does he have a monopoly of the Holy Spirit?” There was silence. Then an old, godly minister spoke up: “No, he does not have a monopoly of the Holy Spirit; but the Holy Spirit has a monopoly of D. L. Moody.” Does the Holy Spirit have a monopoly on your life?
The Holy Spirit bears in you the fruit of the Spirit
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:16-23
“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” Ephesians 5:18
If a man is filled with anger, than anger controls his life. If a man is filled with greed, then greed dominates his life. If a man is filled with lust, then lust governs his life. If a man is filled with love, then love influences all he does. And if a man is filled with the Holy Spirit, he is controlled by the Spirit - it is, if you will, "control by consent."
In essence what I have been talking about is living a Spirit driven life. Our lives will be led, guided and shaped by the level of our surrender to the Spirit of God.
Millions of people all over the world read The Purpose-Driven life by Rick Warren. The interesting thing about the book was that there was nothing very new or different. It was basic Christianity 101. It sells because of the way it is “packaged
Church people are notorious for running after the next easy fix. We love to find the easy way and get there in shortest route possible. How do you think these books would sell?
Two Steps to Marital Bliss
The One Minute Prayer Manager
Holiness for Dummies
Fasting while eating as much as you want!
The Five Minute Small Group Experience
Working for Jesus while sitting in your Recliner!
Rick Warren suggested taking forty days for experiencing purpose in our lives and I know he was thinking if we would do it for forty it might become a habit and a part of our lives.
We want forty days of purpose when Christ from the time the Great Commission was given has wanted us to fulfill our purpose every day of our life. So if you accept Christ at twenty and die at eighty that is approximately 14,590 days of purpose. Our focus and our purpose are directly tied to our connection to the Spirit of God.
Who is the Holy Spirit to you?
How much time do you give to the Spirit in your life?
Have you surrendered yourself to the God and are you allowing His Spirit to guide you on a daily basis?
Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ tells this story of a famous oil field called Yates Pool: During the depression this field was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Yates. Mr. Yates wasn’t able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his ranch. With little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) had to live on government subsidy. Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling West Texas hills, he was no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills. Then a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he signed a lease contract. At 1,115 feet they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day. And Mr. Yates owned it all. The day he purchased the land he had received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he’d been living on relief. A multimillionaire living in poverty. The problem? He didn’t know the oil was there even though he owned it. Many Christians live in spiritual poverty. They are entitled to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and his energizing power, but they are not aware of their birthright. SOURCE: Untapped Spiritual Resources, by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois. Citation: Bill Bright, "How to Be Filled with the Spirit"
A.W. Tozer said, “God dwells in a state of perpetual enthusiasm. He is delighted with all that is good and lovingly concerned about all that is wrong. He pursues His labors always in a fullness of holy zeal. No wonder the Spirit came at Pentecost as a sound of a rushing mighty wind and sat in tongues of fire on every forehead. ... Whatever else happened at Pentecost, one thing that cannot be missed by the most casual observer was the sudden upsurging of moral enthusiasm. Those first disciples burned with a steady, inward fire.
They were enthusiastic to the point of complete abandon.”
Let us this day pursue the fullness of the Spirit of God.
Let us pursue God’s holiness and righteousness and His power for service.
1. Is our vision so big that we obviously can’t accomplish it without God?
2. Am I doing ministry from memory or from fresh direction from God?
3. What ministry (or program or meeting) has lost its effectiveness and should be stopped?
4. Is there a person who needs to be moved to another role (or removed), and I haven’t done it?
5. What faith risk is God calling me to take?
6. Have I repented to my team at least once in the last year for a failure in leadership?
7. Have I done everything in my power to make sure my team is living without unconfessed sin?
8. Am I expressing love and care for my team members’ families?
9. Am I living with delayed obedience toward God in any area of leadership?
10. If Jesus my sole motivation for ministry or has my motivation become clouded?