The Glory of Christ and His Church—Filled with the Spirit

The essence of our new life in Christ is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In fact, it was the Spirit who places us into the body of Christ at new birth. Paul writes that we are “…baptized by one Spirit into one body…” (1 Cor. 12:13 NKJV).

The precious blood of Christ pays the price for our sin and reconciles (or justifies) us with a Holy God. We are loved, forgiven, accepted, and adopted into God’s family. Such marvelous grace! But God has accomplished more than reconciling us through Christ.

The Father has restored our ability to live in Him through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. From our new life in Christ through the Spirit, we can learn to commune with God, live righteously, be empowered to operate in the gifts of the Spirit, and have power to be witnesses for Jesus.

Consider this reality for the Christian:

“No power on earth or in hell can conquer the Spirit of God in a human spirit; it is an inner unconquerableness.” [1]

These words were penned by twentieth-century minister and writer, Oswald Chambers, in his classic devotional, The Utmost for His Highest.

Our new-birth reality is that our spirit is reborn by God’s Spirit who is at work to mold us into the image of God and to empower us beyond the trials and circumstances of life. Yes, we go through struggles and difficulties, but—as we learn to rely upon the holy Spirit within—nothing can conquer us!

Let’s discuss what it means from Ephesians 5:18-21 to be “filled with the Spirit.”

Paul contrasts being drunk with wine with being filled with the Spirit.

Paul doesn’t say not to have a glass of wine; rather, he says to not get drunk. Some have claimed that even Jesus only drank grape juice. If that was the case, then why did His enemies accuse him of being a “drunkard or winebibber” (See Matt. 11:19)? His first miracle was turning water into wine (John 2). Yet, Scripture warns against drunkenness.

Ephesians 5:18 CEB states, “Don’t get drunk on wine, which produces depravity.” Simply stated, excessive drinking of alcohol opens one to temptation and depraved behavior.

Proverbs 23:29-33 states that those who “linger long over wine” will have “woe, sorrow, contentions, complaining and suffering” for no reason.

Rather, be filled with the Spirit!

Our desire should be to seek those things that are above and not of the earth. We are to be in the world, but not of it. We are citizens of a Heavenly Kingdom; our primary desire and passion should be toward Jesus and God’s Heaven.

To live a Spirit-filled life, you must be intentional to live in Christ and in the Spirit. Consider what Paul wrote the Ephesians in chapter one of his letter:

“And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him.” (Eph. 1:13-14 NLT)

Our new life in Christ begins with new birth, having our sins forgiven to be sure. But it is by the indwelling of the Spirit at new birth that creates new life. We are identified as God’s own by the Spirit! Our life in the Spirit is the essence of being a Christian. The Spirit is God’s guarantee of our eternal inheritance in Christ being realized today! The witness of the Holy Spirit in our lives is the evidence of the “down payment” of our eternal inheritance in Christ.

As we learn to commune with the Holy Spirit—abiding in His presence daily—new realms of living open. Creativity, inspiration, revelation, and power flows. Revelation is a springboard to faith. For example, prayer, bible reflection, solitude, and waiting in the Lord’s presence posture us for receiving strength, faith, and hope for the future. These all occur through our communion with the Spirit.

Baptism of Power

After the resurrection, Jesus breathed on the disciples, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).

Jesus then instructed the disciples to wait in Jerusalem, “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven” (Luke 24:49 NLT).

Luke elaborates, “For John baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with (in) the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5 NIV).

Since the time of Pentecost, receiving the Holy Spirit after new birth is to receive the baptism in the Spirit with power. How did they receive the baptism of the Spirit with power?

First, by consecrating themselves to the Lord’s mission and work.

Second, they continued in prayer (Acts 1:4) until the Holy Spirit fell on them on the day of Pentecost.

While there is only one Pentecost, God continues to pour His Spirit with power on those who are hungry and thirsty for Him. He pours His Spirit on those who have consecrated themselves to the Lord’s purposes.

However, there can be hinderances to living “filled with the Spirit.” Unconfessed sin, resisting conviction for sin, unforgiveness, criticalness, prejudice, bias, revengeful spirit, wrong motives, worldly ambitions, dishonesty, lying, grieving the Holy Spirit, and unbelief to name a few.

While it is simple to align ourselves for more of God and fresh infillings of the Spirit, the condition of our hearts affects whether we have the power of the Spirit.

Filled Again

We read in Acts how this original group of apostles and disciples were baptized or filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, yet sometime later during a prayer meeting, they are filled again with the Spirit.

“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” (Acts 4:29-31 NIV)

We see in Scripture the need to receive ongoing encounters with the Holy Spirit… a fresh touch or refilling so to speak. These disciples—now re-filled and consumed by the Spirit—speak God’s Word with confidence. Never underestimate the power of a prayer meeting!

Next week, I’ll continue with part two of this message and give practical steps to staying filled with the Spirit!

For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “Filled with the Spirit”:

[1] Oswald Chambers, The Utmost for His Highest, April 14.

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Bob Sawvelle

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