“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
So, have you been filled with the Holy Spirit yet? Do you think it may be a little abrupt to start off with such a question, especially when there are so many other important topics in the Bible? The apostle Paul didn’t think so. That was the first question he asked the disciples he found in Ephesus.
“He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost” (Acts 19:2).
Evidently, it must be of the utmost importance for a saint of God to be filled with the Spirit for Paul to immediately ask this question. So again I ask, have you received the Spirit since you believed? I know some teach that you get all the Spirit you are going to get upon salvation. If that were true, then Paul would not have asked them this question. If that were so, then the elders in Jerusalem would not have sent Peter and John to lay hands on the new believers in Samaria that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
One day I was talking with another preacher about being filled with the Spirit. He then asked me, “How can you just have some of the Spirit?” I could not give him a suitable answer that day, but I do know the Bible speaks of this second work of God referred to as the baptism of the Spirit or being filled with the Spirit. Most of us know that baptism means immersion, so the baptism of the Spirit means an immersion into or of the Holy Spirit. Who can explain it? We don’t have to be able to explain something for it to be true. Who can explain the triune God? Who can explain that God always was? It is very clear in the Bible that Jesus commanded His disciples to wait until they receive this baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit before they went to make disciples of nations. The reason is because you can’t win souls unless you have an enduement of power from on high.
John 20:22 teaches us that the disciples received at least a measure of the Spirit when Jesus breathed on them.
“And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22).
What happened to those disciples when the resurrected Jesus came into their room that day is similar to what happened in the second chapter of Genesis.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).
Just as God breathed into the nostrils of Adam and he became a living soul, Jesus breathed on His disciples and their spirits came alive. They were the first people to be born again. They were the first to be a brand new creature. Adam was born on earth, the disciples were born from above. Adam was earthly, the disciples were heavenly. In the garden, flesh was born, in that room with Jesus, the spirit was born. Hallelujah! Fifty days later they became filled with the Spirit. May I remind you that ALL of those 120 were filled with the Spirit that day? That tells me there was not a wolf or goat in the room. There was only wheat, no tares. Since there was both men and women in the room it teaches us that the baptism is for both men and women. Since there were more people than just the apostles, it teaches us that all believers can be filled with the Spirit, not just ministers. Acts 2:4 says, “And they were ALL filled with the Holy Ghost….” That Spirit-filled church in the upper room is our ideal pattern. Do you believe the church can be like that again?
Jesus commanded His disciples to go and wait in Jerusalem until they receive power from on high. Before Jesus ascended to heaven he told His disciples:
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The disciples may have thought they were ready to take the gospel to the world, but Jesus knew that going forth with head knowledge, convincing arguments and eye witness reports was not enough. They needed a special power that can only come from the Spirit of God. Jesus said He needed to go so the Spirit could come. Peter could have said to those in that upper room something like this. “Now gang, you all know that Jesus told us to go and preach the good news, but now He wants us to hang around in this room. Doesn’t Jesus see that there are souls going to hell every minute? Doesn’t He see the urgency of the hour? What are we hanging around in this upper room for? We walked with the Lord, we know what to say to the lost.” We know Peter did not say such a thing. The disciples obeyed the Lord and assembled in that upper room in one accord in prayer. If there was anytime lost in the work of evangelism while they were waiting in that upper room, it was made up for in a few moments on the day of Pentecost. The Spirit came and baptized those 120. Peter preached a scorching message under the anointing of the Spirit and 3000 souls were saved.
Bible teachers have taught that the filling of the Spirit is needed for a lot of different reasons. I am not going to get in a dispute over that, but Acts 1:8 does teach us that the primary purpose of being filled with the Spirit is to have power to be a witness. Just a little side note here. Did you know that one of the meanings of the Greek word that witnesses is translated from means martyr? To be this kind of witness, you definitely need power.
I think it is pretty clear that if we are going to be effective “witness” for the kingdom of God, then we must be filled with the Spirit. Paul said don’t be drunk with wine. Don’t be under the influence of alcohol, but be filled with the Spirit and be under the influence of the Spirit. You may not think it is that important for you to be filled with the Spirit, but it is imperative for the lost. Anyone who preaches to them needs to be filled with the Spirit. When a Spirit filled believer ministers, then it is the Spirit of God bringing the conviction and the revelation. When a person preaches without being filled with the Spirit then they are just preaching a logical message to try to convince the mind of men. It takes the Spirit of God to minister to the spirit of men. It is the Spirit who gives life. If you want your message to be full of life, then you have no option, but to be filled with the Spirit. “HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?