The Fullness of the Holy Spirit

Title: The Fullness of the Holy Spirit

Bible Book: Ephesians 5 : 18

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Spiritual Infilling; Holy Spirit, Infilling of; Victory; Christian Living


The Fullness of the Holy Spirit

J. Mike Minnix

Ephesians 5:18 ...

"And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit"

In this passage we discover that the Christian has a power source which is available and necessary in order to live in a godly manner, to serve the Lord victoriously, and to stand for Christ faithfully in this world. So, it is vital that we consider the subject of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Baptists have on occasion been negligent in dealing with the subject of the fullness of the Holy Spirit. This may be due to our fear that we will be identified with those who have abused this subject or with those who have taken it out of context. The ministry of the Holy Spirit has been represented incorrectly and misunderstood by many well-meaning people through the years. This is all the more reason for us to take a serious look at what the command to be filled with the Holy Spirit actually means.

Let’s look properly at Ephesians 5:18 and the command to be filled with the Holy Spirit as presented in this text. Our duty is not to detail the broad aspects regarding the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Entire volumes have been written on this subject and it is much too broad for our consideration today. I will confine my remarks to investigating what it means to be filled with the Spirit. Let examine three great truths.

First, let's note ...

I. The Command To Be Filled

It is not an option for a Christian to deal with the issue of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Neither can we say that being filled with the Spirit is only intended for some Christians and not for all Christians. Our text today reveals that being filled with the Holy Spirit is a command - for all believers - in other words, it is without question a divine imperative.

Someone has said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to the power of the Holy Spirit within us.” I believe this is true. God gives the Christian His Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation and then commands that believer to continue experiencing the fullness of the Holy Spirit in the daily Christian walk. He intends for us to take this matter seriously, and it is apparent that Paul did so.

Just think of the work of the Holy Spirit in our salvation and in our lives as believers.

  • The Spirit of God called to us to Christ when we were lost.
  • The Spirit of God entered into our lives as the person of Christ at the point of our New Birth (the beginning of our Christian salvation).
  • The Spirit of God fills us.
  • The Spirit of God seals us so that we cannot be lost once we have been saved.
  • The Spirit of God empowers us to witness to others who are unsaved.
  • The Spirit of God gifts us for service to Christ and for Christ in this world.
  • The Holy Spirit comforts us in the difficult places we face as Christians.
  • The Holy Sprit enables us to worship and rejoice in our salvation.

Don't get me wrong, the Holy Spirit is not to be our focus. We are told that the Spirit of God will point us to Jesus (see John 14:15-27). God commanded us to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we might have the capacity to fulfill His purposes, to makes us faithful Christians, to guide us into divine truth, and so that God migh complete His work in us. So, you can see that this is a critical issue to the believer and must not ignored or taken lightly .

A. The Promise of being Filled

Jesus promised that the Spirit of God would be given to every believer - every Christian. It is God's will that the Christian be filled with (under the control) of the Holy Spirit. No Christian can honestly profess that he or she wanted to be filled with the Spirit of God and found it impossible to do so. Indeed, I believe every Chrisitian is filled with God's Spirit at the moment of Salvation. Subsequent to that moment Christians have all of the Spirit of God within that they are willing to make room for at any given time. In other words, the question is not how much of the Holy Spirit we have, but rather the question is how much of us does the Holy Spirit possess. God is willing to fill us if we are willing to be filled.

B. The Power in being Filled

We are commanded to be filled because God knows that we need His power in us in order to be faithful to Him in this world. Jesus promised this power to be availabe to us through the fullness of the Holy Spirit. The power to live a godly life is not within our flesh, since the flesh is in rebellion against God. We are not to walk in the flesh but to walk in the Spirit, as we are told in Galatians 2:6 and 5:25. Only through God's Spirit can we expect to have victory over sin, self, and Satan.

Anyone who has played golf using a electric golf cart for a number of years has had the awful experience of getting half way around the golf course only to find that the golf cart refuses to go any further. The problem is simple. An electric golf cart has no power of its own but draws its power from an outside source. Each night the cart is plugged in and charged so that it is equipped to be useful the next morning when golfers arrive to play. After being pluged in all night the golf cart is filled with power and will take two players around the course with no problems whatsoever. If a cart is missed in the recharging process, it may well fail to make the entire round the next day. So, the golfers start the round of golf but discover that they lack the power to make it to the end. How many Christians do the same thing in their Christian living - in their spiritual lives. Dear friend, if you and I don't re-charge with the power of the Holy Spirit on a regular basis, we will find ourselves lacking at the moment we need the power of God the most in our lives. That is the reason God commands us to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Just about everyone has a cell phone these days and you can experience the same problem with your phone. You are talking to someone on your cell phone, and then you hear a few short beeps before the conversation comes to an end. Your phone has 'died.' Well, it hasn't actually died, it has just gone to sleep because it is out of power. As soon as you re-charge it, it will be 'alive' again. Imagine the awful feeling of being in an accident and in need of medical help only to find at that moment that your cell phone is out of power. Your life may well depend on the strength of your cell phone battery at a time like that. How much more important it is for us to be filled with God's Spirit, for we never know when a demand will be made of us that only God can handle.

We must operate on a Spiritual level with the understanding that we lack sufficiency in ourselves to do divine work - to carry out spiritual duties. In fact, a great danger lies in thinking that we know enough, have been saved long enough, or have carnal gifts capable of aiding us in accomplishing God's duties. All of our power to live for and serve God comes from an outside source, and that source is the Holy Spirit of God. You need to be recharged daily with the overflowing power of the Holy Spirit. The strength to live the Christian life comes from the One who gave you your Christian life - from the Lord - through His Spirit.

C. The Peace through being Filled

We have peace when the Spirit is in control. The Spirit of God brings peace to our hearts and minds, and the fullness of the Spirit brings the fullness of joy, love, peace, and other godly attributes as mention in  Galatians 5:22-25, which states ...

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Just listen to that list of wonderful attributes that are ours through the Spirit of God. Without the infilling of the Holy Spirit we cannot possibly obtain and maintain those qualities and characteristics in our daily lives. Perhaps that is why so few of these attributes are seen in God's people today. Maybe this is why we are not winning people to Jesus as those did in prior generations. We simply must return to the reality that only God's Spirit can do in us and through us what is required of us in the Christian life.

We forfeit peace when we fail to be filled, for only the Holy Spirit can help us totally control our temperament - our emotions - and especially our words. He can help us know when, where and how to share our faith with others. He can help us love our family as we should. He can help us be kind and gentle, even with our enemies. To put it bluntly, He can make us more like Jesus. In fact, that is part of God's goal in our lives - to conform us to the image of Christ (see Romans 8:29).

The Spirit of God provides the power for us to have the attitude of the Lord and to act in accordance with His will for our lives. Without being filled, we are depending largely on our own abilities and are greatly affected by our culture, our upbringing, and our human weaknesses. The only way to be conformed to Jesus is through the indwelling love and power provided through the Holy Spirit.

D. The Person by which we are Filled

Now there is one thing we need to great straight regarding this subject. The Holy Spirit is not a thing, a midst in the air, or some funny feeling we get in a worship service. The Holy Spirit is a person - He is the person of God in us. The Spirit is not an aura, a sensation, or an impression. He is a Person. He is God in us - Christ in us (John 14:15-18). Don't get me wrong, the Holy Spirit can produce wonderful things in us, like tears of regret when we have sinned and joy unspeakable and fully of glory in common things, but those are simply reactions to the Holy Spirit's work within us. The real issue is that the Holy Spirit is Christ in us. He can be powerful in the Christian, even when the believer is tired, lonely, or disappointed about something. Jesus was disappointed in His disciples at times, wept over Jerusalem in disappointment regarding the coming judgment, and sweat drops of blood while praying at Gethsemane, but He was never absent the fulness of God's Spirit in His life. In other words, the Holy Spirit can be at work in the believer in times of sadness, difficulty, and loneliness.

Zig Ziglar spoke of the Spirit's work in our lives in a unique way. Though I don't have the reference to his remarks, I can remember them enough to share them with you. If you were invited to house-sit, you could not make any substantial changes in the house while you were there because the house does not belong to you. Even if you found the color of the paint highly objectionable and didn't like the floor plan or the way the furniture was arranged, you could do nothing about it because the house is not yours. The Holy Spirit is in the same position. He might not like a thousand different things you do, but there is nothing He will do about them until you give your life to Jesus Christ. When you "sell out to Jesus" by turning your life completely over to Him and give Him total ownership, He will make you like He wants you to be. Then you and He will be more pleased! You will truly be changed. Ziglar thoughts help us grasp how important it is for the Spirit to be allowed to take control of our hearts and minds. What he was saying is simply this: You can't be what God wants you to be till you give full control to Him through the infilling of God's Holy Spirit.

Have you ever seen a bumper sticker that reads, "God Is My Co-Pilot." I hope you don't have one of those on your car or truck. You see, God doesn't desire to be your co-pilot, but rather He intends to be in full control of your life. The fullness of the Spirit speaks of Him as your HGPS - your Heavenly Global Positioning Software. He will guide you. But, it speaks of more than that. He will not only give you directions, He will give you the power, strength, grace and gifts to accomplish His will.

Further, let's think about ...

II. The Contrast In Being Filled

Paul contrasts the infilling of the Holy Spirit with that of a person who is filled with distilled spirits. It is a powerful analogy. There was a young preacher that was having throat problems. He asked an old country preacher what to do and the country preacher recommended that he get some brandy and pour a little in a glass and fill the rest with water. The old preacher assured the young pastor that doing so was not actually drinking but was merely using the brandy as a medicine. So, he said to the young preacher, "Take it to the pulpit and sip it occasionally and your voice will clear up even as you preach.

So, the young preacher tried it. After the sermon he asked the old preacher how he liked his message.

The old preacher said, "I didn't like it at all."

"Why?" asked the young preacher.

The old preacher, “In the first place, I said for you to sip the mixture and not to gulp it. Secondly, the sermon on the mount was not preached in New York City. Thirdly, there are 10 commandments and not 14. And last of all, when David killed Goliath, he used a sling.”

That's not a true story of course, but it makes a point. Don't fill your life with the wrong spirit - an illicit drug - or anything that subplants the work on God's SPIRIT. Only the Holy Spirit can accomplish in you and through you that which God has planned for you.

Being filled with alcoholic spirits will make us do strange, ridiculous and often evil things. Being filled with God’s Spirit will make us do good things, divine things - spiritual things.

Acts 2:13-18 reads ...

“Some, however, made fun of them and said, 'They have had too much wine.' Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: 'Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.'"

At Pentecost the people observing the Christians complained that the believers were drunk on wine. Peter corrected them by pointing out that the Christians were simply filled with the Holy Spirit. Be assured that Pentecost was a one-time experience, but being filled with the Spirit is something God intended for every Christian to experience on a regular basis. We must to be filled with the Spirit in order to properly impact our world for Christ. Actually it is difficult in our world today to differentiate the Christian from the non-Christian. Only God's Spirit can reflect the Light of Jesus through us to a dark world.

A. Indwelled by the Spirit

A person who is drunk is indwelt by an outside force which controls his life. He acts, talks, and thinks in a different way than he normally would because of this outside force. That is what the Spirit of God is to do to us. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit we are different. We will act more like Jesus. We talk like He would have us to talk. We will live like He would have us to live. We are filled with His Spirit we are not acting naturally but rather we are acting supernaturally.

B. Intoxicated through the Spirit

Note that Paul uses the idea of being filled or drunk on wine. When a person is drunk, he is saturated with alcohol. The alcohol intoxicates and controls his behavior. We are to be drunk, intoxicated on the Spirit of God. A person who is intoxicated takes no thought for whether he is accepted or rejected, he acts under the influence of the alcohol. We are to be intoxicated on the Spirit of God and this will free our tongues to witness, our hearts to praise, our wills to surrender, and our human spirits to worship God in Spirit and in truth.

Now we come to the fact that every Christian needs to face ...

III. The Constancy of Being Filled

This condition of being filled with the Spirit must be maintained. We can see that from three things in our text.

A. Language Tells Us

The language in our text is very clear, “Be always being filled with the Spirit.” We are told that we should be 'continually' filled with the Spirit of God. It is not a one time event. It requires daily surrender to the Lord.

B. Life Tells Us

Life itself reveals to us that circumstances are often beyond our control. We need a powerful, internal force to help us cope with such difficulties and to help us magnify Christ as we endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

C. Lordship Tells Us

There is no way under heaven that Jesus can really be Lord of our lives unless we have a power beyond ourselves to help us yield to Him. Otherwise, we will succumb to self-will and thus we fail at the point of self-weakness. If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all. This requires a power beyond ourselves. The power needed is the infilling of the Holy Spirit of God.

Three reasons why so many Christians are not filled with God's Spirit in daily life:

1. Ignorance

Many simply do not know about or have not considered this subject. Ignorance is no excuse under the law or under grace. Any student of the Word of God will face this subject seriously and personally.

2. Indifference

Some know about the subject but are apathetic toward it. We must not be indifferent to the things God tells us in His Word are important - in fact, He tells us that this is something required.

3. Iniquity

Some are not filled because they are living in a state of rebellion toward God.

Which is it for us? Are we ignorant, indifferent or living in iniquity? It may be a small dose of all these issues that hinders us from experiencing the full power of God in our lives. It is certainly not because God is unwilling to fill us. Luke 11:13 reads ...

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

How can I be filled? First, I must know that I am saved; then, there must be:

1. Craving.

You have not because you ask not! You must desire God's infilling and submit to Him.

2. Cleansing.

God will not fill an unclean vessel. We need to be honest with God by confessing our personal sins and turning from them.

3. Claiming.

We must claim by faith what God promised through His grace.


A French inventor, Bernard Palissy, was seeking the secret of making fine china with its translucence and indestructible ornamentation. But he was poor and sought for help. "Give me only fire enough," he told the people around him, "and these colors will become part and parcel of the china."

His neighbors replied saying, "He's crazy."

"More fire," Palissy said, as he threw his furniture into the oven and even tore up the floor under him to get more heat from the fire. And he succeeded. He created the beautiful China that existed in the world.

"More fire," is the needed cry for all of us as Christians. We need the fire of the Spirit to fill us. He will refine us and create a translucent picture of Jesus through us. We cannot do that alone. We must have the fire of God's Spirit to cleanse us and embolden us in His service.

How many of us are willing to admit that our service for Christ is lacking, not because it is hard but because we are depending too much on ourselves? Are you willing to submit yourself to God's fullness? Do you need that in your marriage, your parenting, your career, your Christian service, and in your moral lives? Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes is the answer for almost everyone of us. Then let us turn to Him and ask Him to fill us - not just in this service, but seek His infilling each day - each hour.

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