vendredi 25 janvier 2013

Be Filled with the Holy Spirit

Be Filled with the Holy Spirit

By W. Frank Walton

Christians are commanded, "be filled with the Spirit" (Eph 5:18). The phrase "filled with the Holy Spirit" is found several times in Acts (Acts 2:4, 4:8, 6:3, 7:55, 9:17, 13:9, 52), as well as other parts of Scripture (Ex 31:3, Lk 1:15). How this applies is an exercise in contextual Bible study, since there are various manifestations of the Spirit's work, either miraculous or non-miraculous, by influencing men.

In the Bible, various individuals being "filled" with: anger (Acts 19:28), jealously (Act 5:17), unrighteousness (Rom 1:29), joy (Acts 13:52), knowledge (Rom 15:14) or comfort (2 Cor 7:4). This "filling" is being overcome, controlled, or strongly influenced by the aforesaid responses to various external sources. It was a self-chosen reaction to allow oneself to be so controlled. Ananias' heart was "filled" by Satan when he gave into temptation to lie and deceive (Acts 5:3-4). This "filling" was nothing miraculous but a free-will choice to be overcome by an external inducement.

In the Spirit's filling (controlling, influencing) someone, the Spirit acts either (1) miraculously or (2) providentially. This means He acts either (1) immediately (directly) by miraculous power or (2) mediatorily (indirectly through a medium) by providence. God has always chosen various methods or means in order to do His work, but it is not less powerful because God is acting either directly or indirectly.

1. Miraculous Power and Direct Guidance From the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, artisans on the tabernacle where given direct, divine aid to perfectly craft the tabernacle (Ex 31:3; 35:31,35). They were said to be "filled with the Spirit and wisdom." In the NT, prophesying (miraculous direct revelation from the Holy Spirit) is called being "filled with the Spirit" (Lk 1:67, Acts 13:9). The Spirit, as part of process of "inspiration," controlled the very words they spoke (2 Pet 1:21).

The apostles particularly were promised this guidance "into all truth" by the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:13-15). This was fulfilled in the preaching of Peter (Acts 4:8) and Paul (Acts 9:17). Also, this "filling" of the Spirit is the miraculous gift of tongue-speaking given to the apostles to speak "the mighty deeds of God" in foreign languages (Acts 2:4,6,8). The miraculous "filling" of the Holy, either by the direct baptism of the Spirit power on the apostles or the miraculous gifts bestowed the apostles' hands, was predicted by the Holy Spirit to cease after the passing of the apostolic age (Zech 13:1-2, Jn 16:13, 1 Cor 13:8-13). One should not expect to be miraculously filled by the Spirit today. The Spirit's revelation in the NT is complete and stands confirmed without the need of further miraculous attestation (2 Pet 1:3, Ju 3, Mk 16:20).

2. Direction by the Holy Spirit's Written Revelation. All Christians receive a common or ordinary measure of the Holy Spirit at baptism (Acts 5:32, Jn 7:37-39). This simply is a close, spiritual relationship with the Spirit, which by metonymy stands for all blessings and privileges as a child of God. This "gift of the Holy Spirit," by parallel construction in the blessing of conversion, is also called "times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 2:38, 3:19).

The Spirit is the "seal" (mark of divine ownership) and "earnest" (down payment to insure future blessings) of our salvation (Eph 1:13-14). Stephen, before he began performing miracles from the apostles' laying their hands on him, was already "full of faith and of the Spirit" (Acts 6:5). He was "full of the Spirit
and of wisdom" (Acts 6:3), which indicates practical application of spiritual truth. The Gentile believers, upon receiving the gospel revealed by the Spirit, were "filled with joy and the Holy Spirit" (Acts 13:52). This was their response to the Spirit's revelation through the preaching of Paul and Barnabas (Acts

Instead of being controlled by alcohol or drunkenness (Eph 5:18), Christians for all time are commanded to "be filled with the Spirit." How is this done? Paul explains that is by engaging in the spiritual exercise of "singing...and making melody in our hearts unto the Lord" (Eph 5:19). The parallel passage in Col 3:16
makes clear that "be filled with the Spirit" is the same thing as "let the word of Christ dwell in your richly." Hence, as the Word revealed by the Spirit "dwells" in or influences our life, then we are being filled or controlled by the Spirit. This is the same thing as being "filled with knowledge of the will of God" ( Col 1:9). The disciples were filled with the "comfort of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 9:31), which is the comfort and strength from the Spirit's revealed promises and direction (Acts 16:4-5). The person of the Spirit dwells
in us (has a close, personal relationship), in conjunction with how His revelation influences and controls us. The Spirit's sword or instrument by which He works in the conviction, conversion and sanctification of people is by the medium of "the word of God" (Eph 6:17).

3. Spiritual Dedication to the Holy Spirit's Work. Interestingly, we note that John the Baptist was "filled with the Holy Spirit," while in his mother's womb (Lk 1:15). This was before he could speak or act, but he was marked for dedication to a divine work. Although this prophet and forerunner of Christ was "filled with the Spirit," he did not perform miraculous signs (Jn 10:41). This to mean he was "dedicated" or controlled from birth by the Spirit in doing his God-ordained work. The Holy Spirit's main work is to point men to God's will and to glorify Jesus' saving work (Jn 16:13-15).

Practically, we have the Spirit's divine revelation in Scripture, which was first given to men miraculously by the Spirit's filling them with prophetic oracles. Also, we can be "filled with the Spirit," as well as "worship in the Spirit" (Phil 3:3) and be "led by the Spirit" (Rom 8:14), as we are guided by the means or instrument of the Spirit's revelation of truth through the apostles (Jn 16:13, 14:17). "God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth" (2 Thess 2:13). Here the Spirit works in our growth in holiness, in conjunction with our belief in His truth revealed. Carnal, shallow, worldly-minded Christians are "devoid of the Spirit" (Jude 19). Deeply spiritual Christians follow the Spirit's leading through His Word, which how we "walk by the Spirit." Therein, we wondrously bear "the fruit of the Spirit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…" (Gal 5:22-25).


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