Be Filled with the Spirit
Shortly before His arrest, Jesus prepared the apostles for the coming of Holy Spirit. “He dwells with you,” He declared, “and will be in you.” (John 14:17) It was after His resurrection when the Lord breathed upon the apostles saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22) With the Spirit now “in” them, Jesus commanded the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for the baptism of Holy Spirit.
This is similar to how the Holy Spirit moves in our lives. First He draws near, convincing us of our need for a Savior. That’s the “with” experience. Once we accept Christ as savior, the Holy Spirit is “in” us – we become His temple. Finally, there is the “baptism” or “filling” of the Spirit. That’s when we’re under His influence.
To help illustrate this idea, think of a man buying a bottle of wine at 7-11. First, he takes it home “with” him. Once settled, he pops the cork and drinks a glass. At this point the wine is “in” him. Finally, he chugs down the entire bottle. Now he is filled – and under the influence.
This analogy serves only to demonstrate how the Holy Spirit is with us, in us and fills us. For the record, I do not recommend being filled with wine or any other intoxicating spirit. The Bible teaches, “Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) The reason for this command is obvious. When filled with wine we stumble. When filled with the Spirit, we remain upright and walk straight.
One particular denomination teaches that the filling of Spirit happens through water baptism. However, in the Book of Acts, we meet disciples who received the filling of the Spirit before getting dunked in water. Others got filled many days afterward. Jesus also makes a clear distinction between water baptism and baptism of the Spirit. So did John the Baptist:
“I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:8)
The word “baptism” means immersed or submerged. If you’ve ever filled up at KFC, the chicken you ate was baptized in grease – loads of it. However, dunking a person in hot grease doesn’t mean they’ll come up filled with chicken. On the contrary, they’ll come up fried!
By the same token, we don’t get filled with the Spirit by being held down in H2O. I’m proof of that. Perhaps it was something in the water, but I came up fried after my baptism. I was just a young squirt, not old enough to drive. When my ride didn’t show up, I cussed up a storm. No doubt, I was filled with something, but it wasn’t the Holy Spirit.
I also do water baptisms. I can do that. Anyone can. However, when it comes to baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Lord does the immersing. Now, you might have someone lay hands on you and pray. However, there is no one on the face of this planet that can fill you with God’s Spirit. For that you must look to the Lord.
If you are truly born again, you’ve already received His Spirit, just as the apostles did when Jesus breathed on them. Yes, you have the Spirit, but the real question is – does the Spirit have you? Are you under His influence?
One of the best comparisons I’ve heard for being filled with the Spirit has to do with a sponge. When a sponge is in water, the water is also in the sponge. So it is when we’re filled with the Spirit. He’s submerged in us and we’re submerged in Him. And like a sponge, we soak up everything God is. That’s when we drip with love, grace, kindness and righteousness. Even when the world puts the squeeze on us, God’s goodness gushes out, if we’re truly filled.
I suppose we are all sponges. But a sponge can also soak up dirty water or be dropped in the mire. This is why God commands us to be filled with His Spirit. He knows what we’ll fill up on if we don’t! Soak up the Living Water, my friend. The alternative stinks.
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Calvary Chapel of Austin Church
1601 Pecan St., Pflugerville, TX 78660