February 25, 2024

Being Filled with the Spirit

Pastor: Wade Trimmer Series: Ephesians Scripture: Ephesians 5:18–21

Because being filled with the Spirit is the key to purposeful, powerful, fruitful living, one would expect the Devil to vehemently oppose the experience by confusing the truth and counterfeiting the experience. Observing the present condition of the church, one cannot but help see fingerprints of his pernicious workings. There are those in the church who are fiery with a counterfeit experience. At the other extreme there are the frozen chosen who are fearful of the person and work of the Holy Spirit because of all the confusion and craziness surrounding the Spirit's works and ways. Yet there are those who are not fiery with a counterfeit or frozen or fearful but filled as commanded.

I. The Interpretation of Being Filled with the Spirit

What does Paul mean when he speaks of “being filled with the Spirit”? It means, in contrast to being under the influence of alcoholic spirits, to be under the influence or control of the Holy Spirit. It means that the indwelling Holy Spirit is having His way unimpeded, ungrieved and unquenched in the life of the individual Christian, and that the believer is therefore fulfilling his role in the plan of God for him at that moment.

I love John Piper’s definition: “I think being filled with the Spirit means, basically, having great joy in God. And since the Bible teaches that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10), it also means there will be power in this joy for overcoming besetting sins and for boldness in witness.

II. The Illustrations of Persons Who were Filled

  1. The Biblical Record of Persons in the New Testament Who Were Filled with the Spirit There are fourteen references in the New Testament to the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Four of those are before the Day of Pentecost and all four are recorded in the Gospel of Luke. Ten of the fourteen references concern occurrences on or after the Day of Pentecost.  Nine of these are descriptive of experiences of the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and one (our text) is directive (that is, it commands the fullness, and suggests directions for receiving it).  Our text is literally a directive, giving a clear command to every believer to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:41-42, “Elizabeth was filled” with the Holy Spirit and she spoke out with a loud voice.”

Luke 1:67, “Zechariah was “filled” with the Holy Spirit and prophesied saying.”

Acts 2:4, “They were all filled” with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues.

Acts 4:8, “Then Peter, “filled” with the Holy Spirit, said…”

Acts 4:31, “They were all “filled” with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God with boldness."

Acts 13:9-10, “Paul, “filled” with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said,”

III. The Imperativeness of Being Filled with the Spirit

A. The Requisite of His Indwelling - Roms 8:9, You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

B. The Requirements for His Infilling - 5:18

  1. The truth is explained by comparison -v 18 - Don't be under the influence of the spirit of wine but be under the influence of the Holy Spirit. There is comparison and contrast.

The man under the influence of alcohol is a changed person. There is a loosening of the tongue. He feels equal to anything. Failure is unthinkable. His attitude, talk, and walk is affected. He is captivated, motivated, and activated by the spirit of alcohol.

  1. The truth is explained by contrast - v 18 - "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery,”. The KJV says,And do not get drunk with wine, wherein is excess." Excess means wantonness, wastefulness, exhaustion. Drunkenness robs of self-control, stimulates a false excitement, gives counterfeit pleasures, and leads to physical death, moral depravity, and mental derangement.

The Spirit-filled life on the other hand is productive instead of wasteful; controlled instead of confused. It doesn't exhaust but energizes. There is deep-seated gladness in the heart instead of warm, flushed, tinkling sensations in the body.

  1. The truth is explained by construction - v 18 - ...."be filled with the Spirit." Thayer says, "that which wholly takes possession of the mind is said to fill it."

Baptism in the Spirit - an immersion - focus on relationship - The baptism of the Spirit is initiatory and historical.
Anointing of the Spirit - an investment - focus on responsibility - The anointing is as the specific occasion demands.
Fullness of the Spirit - an infilling - focus on realization - The fullness of the Spirit is moment by moment.

(a) Four points concerning the verb:

  1. imperative in mood – There are two imperatives in 5:18 – (1) "don't be drunk”; (2) “be filled!" It is not a suggestion, a recommendation, or good advice, but a command to obeyed.
  2. plural in form – It is second person plural which means, not just “you”, but “you all”. Too many Christians have the mistaken idea that the fullness of the Holy Spirit is reserved for pastors, evangelists, missionaries, or others who have a more prominent place in the Lord’s work than they. This is a fatal fallacy. Each Christian has the same responsibility as any other Christian.
  3. a passive voice verb - Some translations say, “Let the Holy Spirit fill you,” and this captures the passive voice. The passive voice means that the recipient does not receive the fullness by self-effort or by engaging in activities that entice the Spirit to fill him. The fullness of the Holy Spirit is something that is done for us and to us, not something we can do ourselves. 
  4. a present tense verb – This means that it applies in every believer’s life at this very moment. Thus, it involves continuation through every second of every day. There is never a moment after salvation when a Christian is not to be filled with the Spirit. This involves daily, moment-by-moment surrender to the Holy Spirit’s control. Thus, no past filling is adequate for this moment, and no present filling will be adequate for tomorrow.

The late Stephen Olford used to say, " Go on being consciously, continuously, conspicuously filled with the Holy Spirit”. 

IV. The Indications of Being Filled with the Spirit

  1. Not trances, tongues, or tinkling emotions, but:
  2. A joyful life - 5:19, “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart...” Although we’re not for certain as to what Paul meant by psalm, hymns, and spiritual songs, we know it implied joyful expression toward one another and God.

My life flows on in endless song above earth's lamentation.
I hear the real- though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.
No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that rock I'm clinging.
It sounds an echo in my soul, How can I keep from singing?

Spirit-filled people overflow in song! This has been attested again and again in times of great spiritual blessing.

  1. A thankful life – Eph. 5:20, “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  2. A delightful life - Eph. 5:21,22,25, “submitting to one another”
  3. A peaceful life – Eph. 6:4
  4. A powerful life – Eph. 6:10
  5. A prayerful life – Eph. 6:18

V. The Implications of the Command to be Filled

How does one obey the command?
  1. We must be continually aspiring for the person of Christ - John 7:37 a, “if any man thirst”.
  2. We must be continually appropriating the promise of Christ - John 7:37 b, “come to Me and drink…”. Drink is in the present tense which means a continual thirsting, drinking, coming, believing!
  3. We will be continually attesting to the power of Christ – John 7:38, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  - Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me! Fill me, control me, mold me with the joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

other sermons in this series

Mar 24


Spiritual Warfare

Pastor: Wade Trimmer Scripture: Ephesians 6:10–20 Series: Ephesians

Mar 17


Spirit-filled Relationships - Part 3

Pastor: Wade Trimmer Scripture: Ephesians 6:5–9 Series: Ephesians

Mar 10


Spirit-filled Relationships - Part 2

Pastor: Wade Trimmer Scripture: Ephesians 6:1–4 Series: Ephesians