Stage Three – Being Filled With the Spirit and the Word
Once your mind is fixed on the Spirit, then the next logical step is to be filled with the Spirit. Fixing the mind on the Spirit is like turning on the power switch, but you have to let the power flow into you through the Spirit and the Word.
In this chapter, we will look at three closely related practical concepts:
- The baptism in the Holy Spirit – which is normally a one-time experience that endues us with spiritual gifts and with power to serve God as His witness.
- The infilling of the Spirit – which is daily and continuous work of the Spirit within us to produce wisdom, holiness and the fruit of the Spirit in our Christian character.
- Letting the Word of God dwell richly in us – which is closely parallel to the filling of the Holy Spirit and produces a life founded on the promises and prophecies of Scripture and the commandments of Jesus Christ and which has the result of effectiveness in prayer and teaching.
THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
Mark 1:8 I indeed have baptized you in water, but He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 3:11-12 I indeed baptize you with water to repentance. But He who comes after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire;
Here John the Baptist is telling us that the baptism Jesus would administer would be different in nature and in kind from his baptism. John’s baptism was ‘with water unto repentance” while Jesus would be the one who would baptize with ‘the Holy Spirit and fire’. Jesus Himself makes the difference plain at His Ascension:
Acts 1:4-5 And having met with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to await the promise of the Father which you heard from Me. (5) For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now.
A few verses later Jesus states the effect of this baptism in the Holy Spirit:
Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you. And you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Here we see that the baptism in the Holy Spirit in verse 5 is identical with ‘the Holy Spirit coming upon you’ in verse 8. This will prove a key observation later as we examine the difference between the Holy Spirit ‘in’ the believer and the Holy Spirit ‘upon’ us.
Now the disciples had already received the Holy Spirit within them after the resurrection:
John 20:22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Therefore, the Holy Spirit coming upon them to baptize them in power was another blessing in addition to the Holy Spirit within them, and they were to wait for this additional power in Jerusalem.
First, the distinction between baptism in water and baptism in the Holy Spirit:
Acts 8:14-17 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. (15) They went down and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit. (16) Before this he had not come on any of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (17) Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Up to the arrival of the apostles the Holy Spirit had not ‘come upon’ (baptized) any of them (v.16). The Samaritans who had accepted the gospel (v.14) had only been baptized in the name of Jesus (that is in water) (v.16). The Samaritans had believed and were baptized in water the name of Jesus but they were still missing something! So the apostles in Jerusalem sent Peter and John to them and they laid hands on the Samaritans and they received the Holy Spirit.
When Peter preaches the gospel at the house of the Gentile centurion Ananias things happen in the opposite order; with the baptism in the Holy Spirit coming first:
Acts 10:44-48 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all the people who were listening to his message. (45) Then the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too. (46) For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, (47) “No one can stop us from using water to baptize these people who have received the Holy Spirit in the same way that we did, can he?” (48) So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for several days.
The Holy Spirit falls upon them (v.44), they speak in tongues and praise God (v.46), and all the Jewish believers present acknowledge that the Gentiles had received the ‘gift of the Holy Spirit’ (v.45, 47). The Gentiles have already been baptized in the Spirit and Peter recognizes this and uses water (v.47) to baptize them ‘in the name of Jesus Christ’ (v.48).
So we see three separate related things: believing in Jesus, being baptized in water in Jesus’ name, and having the Holy Spirit come upon the believer in power.
A possible analogy is that it is similar to a marriage where:
Falling in love = Conversion
The marriage ceremony = Baptism in water
and Intimacy = the Holy Spirit coming upon us, power to witness and the ability to produce spiritual children).
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a baptism in the love of God where we praise and glorify His Name and receive the power to witness to Him among the nations of the world. Thus, it is often accompanied by the verbal spiritual gifts such as tongues and prophecy.
Before I finish this section I would like to clear up any alarm and confusion and also outline the difference between the Holy Spirit ‘in’ the believer (which happens at conversion) and the Holy Spirit ‘upon’ us (which may be a subsequent event).
The Holy Spirit within us is the internal work of God in our lives and is received at conversion. It is tied to our new Christian nature. The Holy Spirit within us produces the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience as well as imparting wisdom, revelation and a spirit of excellence and holiness. This is NOT a second experience. If you truly are a believer, then you must have the Holy Spirit within you.
The Holy Spirit upon us is the external anointing for works of power, witness and ministry (Acts 1:8). It is the enabling work of God that imparts boldness (Acts 4:31) and spiritual gifts as the Holy Spirit Himself decides (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).
Of course, these are not entirely separate! They meet in the person of the Holy Spirit. The ‘hinge’ that connects the Holy Spirit within us and the Holy Spirit upon us, is the filling of the Holy Spirit. This is where an external outpouring of the Holy Spirit also enters into us and fills us:
Acts 4:31 When they had prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken, and all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
Ephesians 5:18-20 Stop getting drunk with wine, which leads to wild living, but keep on being filled with the Spirit. (19) Then you will recite to one another psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. You will sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts. (20) You will always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit within us is primary and is essential for salvation. We need a new nature, holiness, love and the fruit of the Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit upon us, is essential for courage, joy and power in ministry. Together they join up as the daily filling with the Holy Spirit and the abundant Christian life.
So far we have seen that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is identical with the Holy Spirit coming upon a Christian (Acts 1:5,8) so that they are immersed in God and have power and boldness in ministry being equipped with spiritual gifts for the edification of the body of Christ.
We also saw there is a 3-part process that is found in the book of Acts:
a) Believing in the gospel and having the Holy Spirit placed within you at conversion to produce Christian character and good fruit.
- b) Being baptized in water in the name of Jesus.
c) Being baptized in the Holy Spirit for the purpose of Christian witness.
How do we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit? By faith in the Name of Jesus! The ascended Lord Jesus Christ, our heavenly High Priest is the one who baptizes with the Holy Ghost and He promises this blessing to all who believe!
Acts 2:38,39 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
Peter told the newly saved believers at Pentecost that they were to complete the 3-part process by a) getting baptized in water and b) being baptized in the Holy Spirit. He then adds that the promise of the Holy Spirit was for all believers, near and far, in all generations.
So seek God for the baptism in the Holy Spirit, ask for His power to come upon you, and believe that His promise will be true for you!
THE INFILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Now we will look a bit further at the difference between the Holy Spirit in us, and the Holy Spirit upon us. First the work of the Spirit within us:
Galatians 5:22-23 MKJV But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, (23) meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
These verses describe the work of the Holy Spirit in us – producing love, joy, peace and other internal qualities such as wisdom. The first bible character who is specifically called “Spirit-filled” is Bezalel the craftsman who built the tabernacle:
Exodus 31:1-5 MKJV And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, (2) Behold, I, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. (3) And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all workmanship, (4) to devise designs; to work in gold, and in silver, and in bronze, (5) and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all workmanship.
This filling is an internal work of God, which made Bezalel wise in his commissioned work. Later we find out that God also made him able to teach others also (Exodus 35:30-35) and that God gave wise hearts to those Bezalel instructed (Exodus 36:1,2).
The infilling of the Spirit combats the flesh and produces wisdom, character and spiritual fruit. While the Spirit upon us is for combat against the world and the devil and produces evangelism, prophecy, healing and church growth.
Let’s look at a lengthy passage from the book of Galatians:
Galatians 5:16-26 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,4 drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
The Galatians had a huge problem with legalism and with wanting to add Jewish laws and rituals such as circumcision to the Christian gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone. In this passage, Paul hits a home run with a few key truths:
- If you walk by the Spirit, you will not gratify the lusts of the flesh because we have crucified them with their passions and desires (v.16,24)
- If you walk by the Spirit, you are not under the Jewish Law (v. 18,22)
- If we don’t walk by the Spirit, we will end up with all the nasty works of the flesh in our lives (v. 19-21, 26)
- If we do walk by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit, we will end up with the wonderful fruit of the Spirit in our lives (V. 22,23,25)
To summarize again: The Spirit wars against the flesh and against legalism (trying to serve God via the flesh), He puts to death our evil desires and then produces the fruit of the Spirit!
As the fruit of the Spirit are produced we enjoy a joyful, singing, celebratory and thankful Spirit-filled life (see Ephesians 5:18-20 above).
So how do we do this? How do we get filled with the Spirit? Jesus gives us some sound advice in Luke chapter 11:
Luke 11: 9-13 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
We need to ask persistently, like the annoying neighbor in Luke 11, and we need to ask confidently with the assurance that our Heavenly father who gives good gifts to His children will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!
So when you get up in the morning ask Jesus to fill you with the Holy Spirit! Make it a request like this: “Lord, you have commanded me to be filled with the Spirit, I cannot do that in my own strength, please fill me now, in Jesus Name Amen!”
There is a natural correlation between being filled with the Spirit and having our minds set on the Spirit (see chapter two). It is as we set our minds on spiritual things then the switch is opened, and we are naturally filled with the Holy Spirit!
LET THE WORD OF CHRIST DWELL RICHLY IN YOU
In the first part of this chapter we looked at the baptism of the Holy Spirit, in the second part we saw the infilling of the Holy Spirit and now in this section we will look at the relationship between the Spirit and the Word.
Colossians 3:16,17 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
The word of Christ here is the “logos of Christ”, the deep words, the truths and prophecies of Scripture and the commands of Christ Himself. What do we do with them? We teach and admonish one another in all wisdom.
The rest of these verses are strikingly similar to the result of being filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18-21. The Spirit of God is also the Wisdom of God; they are equivalent. When we are filled with Wisdom, then we are also filled with the Spirit!
Serious bible study and in-depth application of the Word of God are very much part of living the Spirit-filled Christian life. The wisdom of God, flows from the Word of God and brings joy and gladness to our hearts!
The admonition to “let the Word of Christ dwell richly” reminds us of the good soil in the parable of the Sower in Matthew 13, where the good soil brings forth 30, 60 and 100-fold what was sown!
Matthew 13:23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
The joyful, fruitful Spirit-filled Christian is the one who “hears the Word and understands it”. Sometimes this is automatic but at other times, it requires serious inquiry, bible study and research. Every serious Christian who can afford it should have the following:
- A good study bible e.g. the NKJV Study Bible
- A concordance or some bible software for easily finding relevant bible verses. Some good free bible study programs include YouVersion (app), E-Sword and The Word
- A bible dictionary such as the New Bible Dictionary for all the cultural aspects e.g to find out what a “breastplate” or a “sycamore tree” is you look up in a bible dictionary.
- A set of commentaries on the books of the Bible. e.g. Tyndale commentaries, IVP or similar.
This will help you to study the Bible deeply and you will grow in Christ as a result. You might also want to try some of the bible reading plans from Into Thy Word ministries.
Studying the Bible is a very important part of growing as a Spirit-filled Christian and it is often easier to study in a group than alone. Consider joining in a good bible study group, bible class or going to a good local bible college which is accredited and biblical in its teaching.
As I conclude chapter three I want you to do three things:
- Get baptized in the Holy Spirit
- Be filled with the Holy Spirit
- Let the word of Christ dwell richly in you.
You will be able to do these things if you are born-again and are setting your mind on the things of the Spirit! Being filled with the Spirit and the Word will give you the joy, peace and inner energy to live the Spirit-filled Christian life!
- What is the difference between the baptism of the Spirit and the infilling of the Spirit?
- How can Christians let the Word of God dwell richly in them?
- What point in this chapter made the most sense to you?
Is there anything in the chapter that you will apply to your life immediately?