(Acts 2:4) “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus had fulfilled His promise to the disciples. They had received the Promise of the Father and had been baptised with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:48-49) (Acts 1:4-5) (Acts 1:8) Peter along with the others had been filled and baptised with the Spirit yet in Acts 4:31 we read where Peter was again filled with the Spirit. In this verse we are told that Peter experienced a new filling with the Holy Spirit. Now if you look again in Acts 4:31 Peter was again filled with the Holy Spirit for the third time. According to verses 19 & 23 of the same chapter he was part of that company of believers that were also filled with the Spirit. It seems that as new emergencies or new avenues of service presented themselves to the first century believers they were refilled with the Holy Spirit.
Now if we have received the Baptism with the Holy Spirit we must not rely upon that initial infilling but go on being continuously filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 literally reads, “Be ye always being filled (controlled, empowered) with Holy Spirit.” There are three things that we can understand from the Greek text.
Firstly, it is a command and not optional.
God expects us to walk continuously and at all times under the control of the Spirit. The reason it is to be continuously available to us because there are times when we are not filled with the Holy Spirit and need to be “topped up.”
Secondly, the article “the” is missing in the Greek text.
When this occurs the emphases is not primarily on the person of the Holy Spirit but on an outward and visible demonstration of His power.
Thirdly, Paul commands us to go on being filled with the Holy Spirit.
He says this on the basis that we have already received an initial in filling i.e. the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. According to Acts 2: 39 The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is for every believer in every age and according to Ephesians 5:18 we are to be continuously filled with, controlled by, and empowered with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit filled life is a lifestyle of joy, discipline, testimony and service for Christ. This is clearly seen in the lives of the apostles. Despite persecution, opposition and unfavourable circumstances they were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 4:13, 20) (Acts 5: 40-42) (Acts 13: 49-52) (1Peter 4:14) The Lord Jesus Himself said that His followers would be persecuted. (Mathew 10:18-20)
If we are filled with the Spirit we will have boldness and joy in our witnessing and service for Jesus. This is the mark of every Spirit filled believer. The Spirit filled experience will also express itself in other ways. In Ephesians 5:18-21 we are told that when we are filled with the Spirit we will be speaking to each other in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing with joy in our hearts to the Lord. We will be giving thanks always for all things and submitting one to another out of reverence for God.
After this we find that the Spirit filled experience will also affect relationships between husbands and wives, between parents and children and between servants and masters. After this we are told to put on the whole armour of God and to take our stand against the devil through faithfulness. If we are to maintain the Spirit filled life then it must incorporate regular fellowship, Bible study and prayer. Above everything it is only through prayer that we can really be filled up with the power of the Spirit. Where there is no prayer there is no power!
For every new emergency during the day, for every new avenue of service that presents itself, for every new person we witness to we must make sure that we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Failure to realize this truth has led many believers, once full of God’s power, into becoming infective and powerless in their ministry and service.
Maybe at one time in your life you knew the power of the Holy Spirit upon your Christian life and service but now the fire has gone out, you have become cold and bogged down in your progress. You have lost your spiritual freshness and impact on others.
You may still be preaching the word but you are like a boxer beating the air verbally but the old power and freedom has gone. The warmth and life giving power that once characterized your Christian life and service has gone. Now there are two reasons why this has happened. Firstly, you have failed to realize your need to be constantly filled with the Spirit for every new situation or avenue of service and have relied on the anointing in the past. Secondly, the power has been lost through some other influence; something has come between you and the Lord that needs to be put right.
Whatever it is that needs to be dealt with must be confessed and put away and the power of the Holy Spirit appropriated again through faith. We must not look to our past experiences or failures because we need to be filled with the Spirit moment by moment of everyday. Being filled with the Spirit is a daily choice. Sometimes we will need to be specifically filled several times in one day. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is the initial filling which launches us into the Spirit filled life. If we are to maintain spiritual power in our lives then we need subsequent fillings with the Holy Spirit apart from the initial Baptism with the Holy Spirit.
For each new service to be conducted, for each new person to be spoken to, for every new avenue of service to be undertaken, for each new day and for every situation and circumstance we should pray to be filled with the Spirit of God. There is no other way to receive spiritual power and effectiveness in our Christian life and service.
Every morning we need to pray like this…“Lord, take control of my day today. Let your will and purposes be done through me. Please fill me with your Spirit so that I can do everything you have asked me to do. Amen!” After you have done this put on the armour of God piece by piece especially taking up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit and the weapon of prayer.
God has promised us spiritual power through the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8) (Acts 2:39) God has commanded us to be constantly filled with the spirit. (Ephesians 5:18) God has promised to give us whatever is in line with His will. (1 John 5:14-15) (1 John 3:22) God will give us what He has promised through faith. (Mark 11:24) (Hebrews 11:6) The believers in the book of Acts lived in step with the Spirit of God and saw great results in their witnessing and service for Jesus. May we, like them, experience righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit moment by moment of everyday.