There is never any commandment in the Bible to be baptized by the Spirit, or to be sealed by the Spirit, or to be indwelt by the Spirit. As I wrote in my last post, “The Work of the Holy Spirit in Redemption”, those things happen at conversion when the believer accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior, but there is a command and mandate to be be filled with the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:15-21 (KJV)15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
To be filled is to be completely controlled by the Holy Spirit. To be filled means that the Holy Spirit has the freedom to occupy every part of our lives, guiding and controlling us. The believer should be so completely yielded to the Holy Spirit that He can possess them fully and, in that sense, fill them. Because sin hampers complete control by the spirit, when they sin, they should immediately confess it to God and obey the commandment to be filled.
The believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit at conversion (salvation). Indwelling is one time and permanent but filling can happen multiple times. Some Christians describe this distinction by saying believers have all of the Holy Spirit but the Holy Spirit may not have all of them.
What Should Others See in Someone Filled With the Holy Spirit?
Ephesians 5:19 (KJV) 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
A Song in Their Heart
The first thing is that they will have a song in their heart. They have joy! They can sing when alone, or they and can speak or sing these songs and exhibit that joy to other believers.
Colossians 3:16 (KJV)16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
My Pastor is always coming up with and singing songs, during Praise and Worship and at other times during worship service, that nobody has ever heard before. You can often hear his wife humming something and she told me that she didn’t know she was doing it. One of the Psalms may just pop into your head. It happens to me often when I open praise and worship on Sunday morning. Have you ever been doing something and just all of a sudden say bless the Lord Oh my soul or something like that, just out of the blue? I do it a lot. People filled with the Spirit do things like that.
Giving Thanks to the Lord Always In the Name of Christ
When a believer is truly filled with the Spirit they will be thankful in all situations. Here is a quote from a Commentary on Ephesians "The expression of gratitude is therefore a most blessed response to favors undeserved. While it lasts, worries tend to disappear complaints vanish, courage to face the future is increased, virtuous resolutions are formed peace is experienced, and God is glorified".
Genuine thankfulness also sees beyond the tough circumstances to God's plan and purpose.
Romans 8:28-29 (KJV)28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
The Spirit-filled person will be thankful always and at all times because it’s God’s will.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 (KJV)16 Rejoice evermore.17 Pray without ceasing.18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.19 Quench not the Spirit.20 Despise not prophesyings.21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
This means even at times that are not so great, the Holy Spirit will enable you to be thankful no matter what. If you want to know how to do that read the manuscript of my sermon “Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart”.
The object of Spirit-filled thanksgiving is God the Father in the name of Jesus Those who are filled with the Spirit will give thanks “...in the name of Christ to God the Father”. That means that the Spirit-filled person is aware that if it without Jesus there would be no reason to be thankful because of what He as done for them. .
Ephesians 1:5-8, 11-12 (KJV)5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Hebrews 13:15 (KJV)15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Submitting to One Another
Ephesians 5:21 (KJV)21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
The world sees submission as weakness or giving in to a stronger overbearing authority. Here is the biblical perspective from Martyn Lloyd-Jones who was an influential in the last century.
It is the picture of soldiers in a regiment, soldiers in a line under an officer. The characteristic of a man in that position is this, that he is in a sense no longer an individual; he is now a member of a regiment; and all of them together are listening to the commands and the instructions which the officer is issuing to them. When a man joins the army he is as it were signing away his right to determine his own life and activity. That is an essential part of his contract. When he joins the army or air force or the navy, or whatever it is, he no longer governs and controls himself; he has to do what he is told. He cannot go on a holiday when he likes, he cannot get up at the hour in the morning when he likes. He is a man under authority, and the rules dictate to him; and if he begins to act on his own, and independently of the others, he is guilty of insubordination and will be punished accordingly.
Romans 12:5 (KJV)5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Romans 14:13 (KJV)13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
Philippians 2:3-4 (KJV)3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Hebrews 13:17 (KJV)17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
All of those traits, and many more, are parts of the normal, submissive lifestyle of the Spirit-filled Christian.
The only way to voluntarily and joyfully submit to the Lord and to one another is to be filled with the Spirit. He is the one who makes us willing submit and give up our wills for His.
The Spirit-filled Person Exhibits the Fruit of the Spirit.
When you surrender to the control of the Holy Spirit, He will do amazing things in you. The Apostle Paul calls those things the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:24-25 (KJV)24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
When these character traits are consistently seen in a believer, then the Holy Spirit’s control of them will be evident. To be filled with the Spirit is to fulfill your ultimate potential of your life on earth as one of God's children.
From a devotion by Charles Spurgeon.
Romans 8:23 (KJV)23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Present possession is declared. At this present moment we have the firstfruits of the Spirit. We have repentance, that gem of the first water; faith, that priceless pearl; hope, the heavenly emerald; and love, the glorious ruby. We are already made "new creatures in Christ Jesus," by the effectual working of God the Holy Ghost. This is called the firstfruit because it comes first. As the wave-sheaf was the first of the harvest, so the spiritual life, and all the graces which adorn that life, are the first operations of the Spirit of God in our souls. The firstfruits were the pledge of the harvest. As soon as the Israelite had plucked the first handful of ripe ears, he looked forward with glad anticipation to the time when the wain should creak beneath the sheaves. So, brethren, when God gives us things which are pure, lovely, and of good report, as the work of the Holy Spirit, these are to us the prognostics of the coming glory. The firstfruits were always holy to the Lord, and our new nature, with all its powers, is a consecrated thing. The new life is not ours that we should ascribe its excellence to our own merit; it is Christ's image and creation, and is ordained for His glory. But the firstfruits were not the harvest, and the works of the Spirit in us at this moment are not the consummation—the perfection is yet to come. We must not boast that we have attained, and so reckon the wave-sheaf to be all the produce of the year: we must hunger and thirst after righteousness, and pant for the day of full redemption. Dear reader, this evening open your mouth wide, and God will fill it. Let the boon in present possession excite in you a sacred avarice for more grace. Groan within yourself for higher degrees of consecration, and your Lord will grant them to you, for He is able to do exceeding abundantly above what we ask or even think.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.