Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com
The Bible teaching about the filling of the Holy Spirit gives tremendous insight on the successful Christian life. It is really quite remarkable. I am not talking about feats of magic, a secret formula, passing into perfection, or exuberant flights of emotional outbursts.
I am talking about the down to earth, visibly concrete, power packed, reality based, and biblical grounded Christian experience. God is real. God loves you and me. He knows about us. God is for our best interests. He directly and personally interacts with our lives. I speak of the filling of The Holy Spirit. Come with me as I explain.
You and I first must realize the problem confronting us. It is impossible for Christians to live the Christian life on their own. Impossible. The odds are stacked against us. We have our old sin nature that wars against the Holy Spirit within us (Galatians 5:16-26).
There is the world system that confronts us on every side, blasting against us with every temptation (1 John 2:15-17). Then, there is slithering Satan who seeks to destroy, distract, and deceive you and me (Matthew 13:18-23; Ephesians 6:10-20; 1 Peter 5:8-10).
This struggle persists through all of this life. There is no secret formula that will fully erase all your shortcomings, and make life pleasant and perfect. That thinking is a myth. Paul struggled even to his dying day, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (1 Timothy 1:15; cf. Romans 7:15-25).
Actually, the Christian life involves a great deal of suffering and hardship (2 Timothy 1:12; 2:3, 9, 10). Paul reminded Timothy, “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Someone jokingly said, “If I don’t meet Satan several times a day, I must be going the same direction he is!”
Don’t despair! God knows the problems of you and me (Hebrews 4:15, 16). We can live a victorious life. Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
To live that life, God has given us a new nature, which is a capacity and desire to please God, and do well for man and ourselves (1 Corinthians 2:14). In Christ we have literally become a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:4; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:10; 4:24; Colossians 3:10).
God has also granted to us the Holy Spirit who indwells (link) every believer. Thirdly, He has provided us with a unique experience called the filling of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible commands us, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The key concept in this vitally important truth is control or influence. As a drunken person is under the control or influence of alcohol, we are to be under the control or influence of the Holy Spirit.
This infilling of the Holy Spirit can be broken. It is not a one time event that is good for a lifetime. It can be quenched by sin; consequently, we need many fillings. It takes constant nurture.
Since you and I can see the effects of alcohol on a person who has imbibed too much, we can also see the effects on a person experiencing the infilling of the Holy Spirit. There are at least six benefits.
Effects of the Filling
How to Be Filled
Here I approach a difficult subject. People have different ideas, but here are mine as I understand the Bible. Four steps are involved in the filling of the Holy Spirit.
1. First, we renew our mind through the Bible (Ephesians 3:14-19; 4:22-24; Colossians 3:16; Romans 8:4-7; 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18). You and I must know what the will of God is. The Holy Spirit speaks through the Bible and gives us God’s viewpoint on life. Our knowledge of correct attitudes, emotions, and actions comes from the Bible.
There is a significant equivalent Scripture to the injunction on the filling of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 5:18. That parallel verse is, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you” (Colossians 3:16). The consequent effects are the same in both places; thus, both Scriptures are speaking of the same experience. The result is you can see the tight connection between knowing and feasting upon the Bible, and being filled with the Holy Spirit.
2. Second, we confess and forsake our known sin and maladaptive behavior (1 John 1:5-9; Proverbs 28:13). Sin breaks fellowship with God. We lose that intimate closeness with God, like the special bond between parents and a rebellious youth is broken. We sin and fall many times in life. Some bad habits linger for years.
The good news is that fellowship and companionship can be restored. But not by punishing ourselves or being consumed in remorse. It is by the simple act of coming to God with a tender, humble, repentant heart and confess to Him our sin, sorrows and struggles. Then, we believe and accept that God has forgiven and cleansed us.
3. Third, we make the decision to quit walking in sin, and surrender in obedience to God. We dedicate, by choice, our self unto God’s service and ways. We believe that His path is the best, and will bring about the greatest success, meaning, purpose and happiness in our live (Romans 12:1, 2; Galatians 5:18).
4. Fourth, we walk our life by faith and prayer (Galatians 2:20; 5:16, 18, 25; Ephesians 3:14-17; Acts 4:31). You and I permit ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit. We believe, talk, commune and fellowship with God. We step out in the direction the Holy Spirit has indicated, believing He will empower us as we go, and correct us as needed.
With this study on the infilling of The Holy Spirit, Esmie and I leave you with our sincere desire that you experience to the fullest the empowering influence of God.
Dr. Willis and Esmie Newman
BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS
1. Why do you think we need the filling of The Holy Spirit?
2. List several things that happen to us when we confess our sins (1 John 1:5-10)?
3. How important do you think Romans 12:1, 2 is to the filling of the Holy Spirit? Explain.
4. What is the advantage that Ephesians 3:14-19 teaches? How does that affect you personally?
5. Study Ephesians 5:18-33. List at least five outcomes of being filled. In other words, how does
it work out in every day life?
6. Do you believe that Christians can be perfect and never sin in this life?
(cf. 1 John 1:8-10). Explain your position.
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