Fill ‘er up

Ephesians 5: 18

[B]e filled with the Spirit.

God does not only want you to have a little bit of His Spirit, He wants you to be full to overflowing. Well, that is His nature after all, isn’t it? In everything He does He likes to fill us and more so that our every need is met with plenty left over for others. He never leaves the smallest portion of us unfilled or unfulfilled.

After promising the Holy Spirit for many years, it is not a surprise to me that He wants to completely fill us with this promise. There is no part of us that God, our Father, does not want to inhabit with us. He wants to be a part of everything that is important to you, but He also wants to participate in all of the small things of life with you. To Him, they are all important because they are all a part of you and your life. That is why He wants to fill you to the utmost with Himself. And that is what His Spirit is, His inner being, and He wants to share that most intimate part of Himself with you. God is not a small God and He does not do things in a small way. He gives you His best and He gives you all you can hold and a bit more so that you will have some to share with others. It is God’s intention that you be filled with the Holy Spirit. Make it your ambition to be filled with His Holy Spirit until He, the Holy Spirit, bubbles out of you in your abundance.

For he will be great in the sight of the Lord and … he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb.  Luke 1: 15

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Luke 1: 41

And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Luke 1: 67

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan.  Luke 4: 1

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2: 4

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit …. Acts 4: 8

And when they had prayed the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.  Acts 4: 31

But select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.  Acts 7: 3

And the statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy SpiritActs 6: 5

But being full of the Holy Spirit …. Acts 7: 55

[F]or he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.  Acts 11: 24

But Saul who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze upon him.  Acts 13: 9

And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.  Acts 13: 32

Filling Station

Acts 2: 4

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.

Back in the old days, we called gas stations, filling stations. You drove your car into the station and someone would come out and fill it up with gasoline. It was good. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a Holy Spirit filling station, a place where we could pull in and be topped off with the Spirit?

Yesterday, we looked at Ephesians 5, verses eighteen and nineteen. In verse eighteen, Paul tells us to “be filled” with the Spirit. His directive is a bit challenging. He writes “be filled” as if there is a filling station we can visit to fill us up with the Holy Spirit. It would have been good for us if he would have continued to write, how we should be filled. Was it so simple for the believers of that day that instruction was not needed?

Today’s passage is from the account of the Day of Pentecost. Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received this promised pouring out from God. The Bible says, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place” (Acts 2: 1). The first thing we learn is that they obeyed the Word of the Lord. That is always a good starting point. Secondly, what were they doing? This was a Jewish feast day therefore, we might safely assume they gathered together to worship and honor the Lord. They gathered in his name. And they were filled. It seems the key to their being filled by the Spirit was obeying Jesus’ word.

Another good example comes from Acts 4: 31, “And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.” Here we find believers gathered together, praying.

God sent Peter to Joppa to the home of Cornelius, A Roman soldier. Even though Cornelius and his household were all gentiles, the Holy Spirit fell upon all of them even while Peter was still preaching (Acts 10: 44).

While I am not saying that the Holy Spirit can only fill you when you are assembled with other believers, I am saying that being in a Spirit filled environment certainly does recharge your batteries. An atmosphere of praise and worship invites the presence of the Holy Spirit. I believe the early church celebrated Christ with such enthusiasm and spoke so boldly about Christ, the anointed one, that the Holy Spirit was constantly being poured out. Praise and worship are powerful tools that many of us overlook far too often. As you immerse yourself in the Spirit you will find your faith grow stronger, your ability to hear improved and you will immerge renewed in your faith.

The Holy Spirit Speaks

1 Corinthians 14: 18

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all.

Speaking in tongues is not something we discuss often and I have decided that is error. No one wants to offend others so we avoid topics which are not understood or which are easily misunderstood. This is a topic, however, which we must not hide under the rock any longer. To do so is utter foolishness and simply the result of fear. We fear that someone will become upset with us because we open up a subject with which they are unfamiliar. Well, let us be unfamiliar with the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues no longer.

Tongues is a language God gave us so that we can communicate with Him. One of the most significant aspects of speaking in tongues is that this ability is a gift which we gain through the Holy Spirit of God. It was prophesied about in the Old Testament. Paul recounted this old prophecy from Isaiah in 1 Corinthians 14: 21 where he wrote, “IN THE LAW IT IS WRITTEN, ‘BY MEN OF STRANGE TONGUES AND BY THE LIPS OF STRANGERS I WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE.” This verse is only a couple of verses after the one where Paul says that he thanks God that he speaks in tongues more than anyone. The immediately following verse reads, “So then tongues are for a sign” (v. 22). My point is that he is still writing about tongues throughout these verses. In the second verse of this fourteenth chapter Paul gives us more insight into speaking in tongues. He wrote, “For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.” Whoa! That is fabulous. God gave us a language so that we can speak to Him. Perhaps it is God’s own language which He gave to us. We are led by the Holy Spirit to speak from our spirits rather than from our minds. Praise God! Now ask yourself, “Why would God do that?” Well, Paul must have had the same question because he gave this answer, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8: 26).

God gave us the Holy Spirit to lead us, to guide us and to be our teacher. He is able to pray for us, and through us which is great because, honestly, most of the time we really don’t know what or how to pray. He leads us in our prayers and helps us to pray the deep things of our heart. It is such powerful prayer because it does not have to go through the filter of your mind which is full of rules and regulations and ego and questions. You are able to pray right out of your spirit, right from the deepest place of who you are. You can be completely honest with God, with yourself and with your emotions because there is no judgment being levied by the mind. It is like having a direct pipeline between you and God. That pipeline is the Holy Spirit.

Paul taught about the gift of speaking in tongues and also the ministry gift of tongues which is different but the same. Paul said that praying in tongues for our personal prayer builds us up (1 Corinthians 14: 4). The ministry gift of tongues is for edifying the church.

The clearest demonstration of the gift of tongues in operation can be found in Acts 2. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the followers of Christ who had gathered together. The scripture says tongues as of fire rested on them and “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (Acts 2: 4). There were witnesses from many different regions all about who, when they heard them speaking in tongues, marveled that they heard them speaking in their own languages even though the men were Jews. You will be so blessed to read the account and try to imagine yourself there witnessing this divine event.

This gift of speaking in tongues is such an important expression of the grace, power and love of God. It flows through the integration of our will and spirit with that of the Holy Spirit. It is high time we learned more about this third person of the trinity who is, in fact, God and it is so important that we learn his role and how we can cooperate with him. Additionally, it is really vital that we learn about this gift of speaking in tongues but really not so much learn as participate in. It is not important that you be able to teach a class on speaking in tongues, just that you do it. Paul said, “I wish that you all spoke in tongues (1 Corinthians 14: 5). I second Paul’s wish. There are too few people who are following this leading of the Holy Spirit and teaching of the Apostle Paul. We need to teach it in our churches, facilitate other’s learning and receiving and most of all never downplay or minimize its significance in the modern church, and as Paul said, “Do not forbid to speak in tongues” (1 Corinthians 14: 39).

All My Birthday Presents

1 Corinthians 1: 7

[S]o that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Imagine that it is your birthday. The dining room table is decorated beautifully and upon it you see a good-looking cake with your name on it, but that’s not all. The table is laden with festively wrapped packages. There must be twenty or more and they all have your name on them too. Wow! Now, here is the question – which one do you want? What is your answer?

Well, I am just a kid. I love birthdays, especially mine and I will confess I love getting presents. I love opening the presents and seeing what is inside them. So, since I am just a kid and pretty unrestrained when it comes to my birthday my answer is, “I WANT ALL MY BIRTHDAY PRESENTS!”

That is the way I approach my relationship with Jesus, Dad and the Holy Spirit. I very much think of Jesus having provided me with another birthday. Through him we have all been born again. His death, blood, crucifixion, but mostly his victory have provided us with so many wonderful gifts like salvation, redemption, grace and so on. Now which one of his many gifts would I choose not to receive? How about this one, “Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2: 38). I want that one most of all. How shall I leave off the third person of the trinity? The Spirit is the power of God first unto salvation but then for victory in every area of life.

How about this one? “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (Acts 2: 4). Boy, this one makes people flip out and it did me too. I had no understanding about tongues at all and it just freaked me out. But here is the thing, I was not about to let one of Jesus’ gifts to me go unclaimed. So, I sought out wise counsel and guess what? It was all over the Bible. I had no arguments left and I absolutely will not be left out of anything Jesus has for me. I want it all so if it is of Jesus, then I mean to have it!

What about you? What are you leaving on the table? Have you failed to receive his gift of forgiveness? How about the bestowment of grace? Maybe like me you stumbled over tongues. Well, here is my advice. Consult with Jesus about all of these things. Consult with your pastor. Call me. Find out to what you are entitled and then begin unwrapping all those presents. Don’t let one single thing slip through your fingers. Jesus’ ministry is and was all about providing you with birthday presents. Let us not make his sacrifice of no consequence. Rather let us be enraptured with all Jesus did for us and make the fullest use of it all. Do not deny yourself the Holy Spirit, do not deny yourself praying in tongues through the Holy Spirit. Don’t let grace pass you by. Be vigilant to receive the good things of God which he has provided you through the person of Jesus Christ. For goodness sake, open all your birthday presents and enjoy them with the joy of a child. This is why Jesus came, why he died and why he sent the Holy Spirit to us. Be a child and receive.