The Holy Spirit part 2
Can I Be Filled with the Holy Spirit?
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
June 7, 2009
Last week we started a
new message series here at Sunrise talking about the Holy Spirit. We
started out by explaining how the Holy Spirit is not an “it”, not a
“force”, not a power… the Holy Spirit is a person. We know Him as the
third person of the Trinity, co-equal with God the Father and God the
Son, Jesus Christ.
And we talked about how after the
resurrection, Jesus spent time with his followers, appeared to
individuals and to groups of people, even hundreds of people, and then
He ascended back into Heaven. And He promised that when He went, He
would send the Holy Spirit in His place. Why? To carry on His work on
earth… to live with and live in Christ-followers, guiding us and
shaping us and making us more like Jesus.
Today, as we continue with this series, we’re going to talk about what
it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Because really, there are three kinds of people in this world… those
who can count and those who can’t.
No, there are three kinds of people in this world….
Kinds of People:
Those living apart from God
they are still a long ways away from God or if they are seeking Him,
they are living apart from Him. They haven’t experienced salvation,
they haven’t discovered what it means to living in relationship with
Him… they are living apart from God. That’s one kind of person.
Believers who are still dominated by their sinful nature
are people who have decided to live for Jesus, but they are still
struggling everyday to live lives that are good and pure and pleasing
to God. They are still living under the power and influence of sinful
desires and sinful impulses.
Spirit-filled Christ-followers living in victory
may still be possible for them to experience temptation and even to
give into that temptation and sin, but that inclination toward sin is
no longer the primary influence in their lives. Instead, they are
living lives that are empowered by the Holy Spirit, they are confident
and secure in their relationship with God, and they know what it’s like
to live in fellowship with Him each and every day.
actually see all three of these referenced in Paul’s writing in 1
Corinthians 2:12 through 3:3 where Paul writes about spiritual people
who are living victory and freedom, he writes about the unspiritual
people who are far from God, and he writes about the believers in
Corinth who were Christians but were still controlled by their sinful
[See 1 Corinthians 2:12-3:3]
goal for every Christ-follower is to move into that third group. We
don’t want to live defeated lives enslaved by sin, we want to be set
free and live victorious lives.
In fact, let me say this… living
lives like that is actually normal for a Christ-follower. It may not be
common, but it is normal. It’s the way it’s meant to be. You might tend
to look at other people who are living a Spirit-filled life and you
might think about how they are living an extraordinary Christian life,
but the truth is they are living the normal Christian life. It’s the
kind of life that is not reserved for just a few… it’s for all of us.
Every one of us here this morning can experience what it means to be
filled by the Holy Spirit and to live lives that are empowered by Him.
That’s the normal Christian life.
Now, maybe it sounds to you
like I’ve been speaking in code so far this morning. What do I mean,
“filled by the Holy Spirit?” I mean, that’s kind of an abstract term.
And if you’ve never heard it before, you’ve never heard it explained,
and you’ve never experienced it yourself… well, it can sound kind of
So before we get to how we can be filled with the Holy Spirit, let’s
talk about what it means in the first place.
does it mean to be filled by the Holy Spirit?
I want you to understand first of all that our understanding of being
filled by the Holy Spirit comes right out of Scripture. It’s not as if
a group of theologians had nothing better to do so they got together
and came up with a new doctrine. No, this idea of being filled comes
straight out of the pages of the Bible.
Ephesians 5:18 (NLT)
Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be
filled with the Holy Spirit…
you see words like that repeated a number of times. So it is a Biblical
principle, and therefore something each one of us needs to explore a
Now, we do use different terms to describe it. You
may have heard it referred to as the filling of the Holy Spirit, or you
may have heard it called the indwelling of the Spirit, or holiness, or
Christian perfection, or entire sanctification. You may have even heard
it referred to as a second work of grace… kind of a theological term.
The first work of grace is salvation, the second work of grace is this
filling of the Holy Spirit. But it’s all basically referring to the
same thing… having the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life so
strongly that it’s palpable, and your response to His presence is to
trust Him, to obey Him, to live in fellowship with Him, and to allow
Him to work in your life making you more like Jesus. It’s basically
allowing the Holy Spirit to have full control and full reign in your
Take another look at this verse on the screen. What’s the
comparison that Paul is drawing for us here? He’s comparing being
filled with the Holy Spirit with being drunk.
Now, I made a
commitment when I was a teenager that I would never get drunk. And I
never have. In fact, I’ve never even had a drink of any kind of
alcoholic beverage. So please, don’t spike my punch at the Christmas
But I’ve never allowed myself to become drunk mostly
because it’s a commitment I made to God, but also because I don’t like
what it means to be drunk. To be drunk with alcohol means that you’re
under the influence of that alcohol. You’re under its control. You’re
under its power.
And I don’t want that kind of relationship with
alcohol. But it’s exactly the kind of relationship I want with the Holy
Spirit. I want to live under His influence. I want to live under His
leadership… under His control. I want to live under His power and be
empowered by Him.
Galatians 5:25 (NLT)
Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading
in every part of our lives.
Romans 8:9-10 (NLT)
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.) And Christ lives within you…
I want you to
notice the progress in these verses. First you have the Spirit, then
the Spirit of God. Then it changes to the Spirit of Christ, and finally
it’s just Christ. Those terms are essentially used interchangeably…
that’s how intimately tied together the mission of God the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Spirit are. Now, this passage talks about being
controlled by the Spirit.
This is in your notes…
you become a Christ-follower, you have all of the Holy Spirit. When you
are filled with the Spirit, He has all of you.
kind of like if you have a propane stove, you might have a pilot light
that’s always on. But it’s not really doing anything, you’re not
benefiting from it… it’s just kind of there. But then you turn the
stove on, and the flames come to life.
You don’t want to be a
Christian who is satisfied with just the pilot light. You want to be on
fire for God. You want to be empowered by the Spirit.
So how does this happen? How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?
Can I Be Filled?
Understanding that ultimately it’s the work of the Holy Spirit, I
that this isn’t about you controlling the Holy Spirit. It’s about Him
controlling you. It’s about you submitting to Him and trusting Him.
the filling of the Holy Spirit is not something you earn, it’s not
something you deserve, it’s not something you manipulate. It’s a work
in your life that is accomplished by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
it is something you need to prepare yourself for. And you do that first
of all by desiring it. You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to want Him.
You’ve got to hunger and thirst for Him. It’s got to be the cry of your
heart. You’re not just seeking after the experience; you’re seeking
after the Person.
Matthew 5:6 (NIV)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they
will be filled.
John 7:37-39 (NLT)
the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to
the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes
in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living
water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was
speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in
So do you desire it? Do you desire the filling of the Holy
Spirit? If that is truly the cry of your heart, then I believe God is
ready and able to respond to that desire and pour out His grace on you.
So ask Him for it.
However, if you’re not there yet, it’s going
to take a little longer. It’s going to take some soul-searching. It’s
going to take some more prayer. It’s going to take some more time
preparing your heart.
As long as the filling of the Holy
Spirit is not the cry of your heart, you will probably not be filled.
As long as you treat it as something that may be desirable, but are
still willing to continue as you are without it, you will not receive
“No man ever got this blessing who felt that he could get
along without it.”
~ R.A. Torrey
2 Chronicles 15:15 (NLT)
They earnestly sought after God, and they found him.
The literal Hebrew is “They sought God with their whole desire.”
Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT)
“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
you seeking Him with all your heart? Is it truly your desire that the
Holy Spirit come to you and fill you? That’s where it begins.
Surrendering everything I have and everything I am to Jesus Christ.
Were you paying attention to what you were singing earlier this morning?
“Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord, to Thee.
Here I am, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for Thee.”
Those are some pretty serious words. Did you mean them, or were you
just singing along?
prepare yourself for the filling of the Holy Spirit means that you make
a total consecration… a total dedication of everything you are,
everything you have, and everything you’re every going to be. In order
to experience the filling of the Spirit, it has to be preceded by an
emptying of self.
Galatians 2:20 (NLT)
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me.
Romans 6:11-13 (NLT)
So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin
and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.
Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve
sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but
now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do
what is right for the glory of God.
There’s an old hymn that says…
All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.
Bu that blessing… the blessing of the Holy Spirit… only comes when
you’ve completely surrendered yourself to Him.
so your primary desire is to be filled by the Holy Spirit, you’ve
prepared yourself by surrendering and devoting and consecrating
everything to Him… what’s next?
son Nate will be 16 months old tomorrow. So he’s at the stage now where
he’s learning to say words and is just beginning to be able to express
what he wants to say. You can make out a word here or there.
one of the things he’s going to have to learn to do is ask for what he
wants. If he throws a fit and has a temper tantrum, but never actually
asks for what he wants, then the last thing I should do is give in and
reward his behaviour.
Now, I think I’m a pretty good father. And
I love my son. So as he learns to express himself and begins to ask for
what he wants, I think what he’ll discover is that I will either
provide what he asks for or I’ll have a good reason why I don’t. But
he’s going to have to ask politely.
And I think this is such a
critical but easily overlooked step in being filled with the Holy
Spirit. You’ve got to make the ask. Jesus said…
Luke 11:13 (NLT)
if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how
much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who
In other words, God is just waiting for you to ask.
He’s not going to make you beg… He wants to pour out the blessing of
the Holy Spirit. If that’s really your desire and if you’ve truly
surrendered yourself to Jesus Christ and to His will in your life, then
I believe God’s is eagerly waiting for you to ask so He can bless you.
Receiving the filling of the Holy Spirit.
VIDEO – Plug In
longs to fill you with His Spirit. He wants you to be all He created
you to be. There’s nothing that would thrill Him more than to see you
filled not just with knowledge but with the presence and the power of
the Holy Spirit. That is God’s wonderful plan for you! So when you’re
ready for it, He will fill you with His presence.
Ephesians 4:21-24 (NLT)
you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from
him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life…
Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your
new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NIV)
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.
those are four necessary steps in being filled by the Holy Spirit. The
last couple may happened almost instantaneously. The first couple may
take some time before you get to that point. But it’s well worth the
time, the effort, the soul-searching.
Now, before we finish up, I want to look at one more question.
is the evidence of this filling of the Holy Spirit?
may seem like an obvious question, but what is the evidence? I mean,
it’s not like we can split you open and see the Holy Spirit moving into
a condo inside. You know… moving van out front, guy there hooking up
No, being filled with the Spirit is basically a
metaphor for sensing His presence in your life in a deeply personal
way, walking in fellowship with the Spirit, and experiencing His power
and His leadership in your life.
But what is the evidence of this?
some people think the evidence of this filling will be some grand
emotional experience. And you may have an experience like that. A lot
of people do. But I don’t believe that’s always the case, because God
deals with each one of us differently, according to how He has wired
us. So that may be the experience of some people, but it’s not the
evidence of the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Other people… and
I’ve had people tell me this… would say that the evidence of the
filling of the Holy Spirit is the expression of spiritual gifts in your
life. And typically what they mean is, do you speak in tongues? I
actually have a different understanding of what that gift is than they
do, but that’s not important for what we’re talking about here this
morning. And we will be talking about spiritual gifts in a couple weeks.
are spiritual gifts the evidence of the filling of the Holy Spirit?
Well, no, because every Christ-follower, Spirit-filled or not, is given
at least one spiritual gift. And besides, in the New Testament, the
church where you see spiritual gifts used the most is the church in
Corinth, which is also where you find the most carnal and most
dysfunctional Christians. There doesn’t seem to be a correlation there
between spiritual gifts and the filling of the Holy Spirit.
So what is the evidence? The evidence of the filling of the Holy Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and
That’s the evidence of the Holy Spirit. That’s the
fruit the Spirit produces in your life. And that’s what we’re going to
talk about next week.
So as we finish up here this morning…