Filled With The Spirit: What Does That Look Like?
Maybe not what you think.
1. The first mention of this idea we have is in reference to John The Baptizer. Luke 1:15 tells us he was to be filled with the Spirit, “even from his mother’s womb.”
And how did that manifest itself? This is an important point: His being filled with the Spirit was tied to his recognition and declaration of who Christ is, and what He came to do. John 1:19 & 36. So we are reminded in Joh 10:42 that “John did no sign, but everything he said about this man was true.”
John’s being filled with the Spirit had nothing to do with performing signs, wonders, miracles, etc. But with the declaration of Christ and His saving work.
2. Luke 1:41 Elizabeth’s being filled with the Spirit upon Mary’s visit. The key factor? Recognition of the baby in Mary’s womb as “Lord.” Once again, tied to the recognition and declaration of the person and work of Jesus.
3. Luke 1:67. John’s father Zechariah is filled with the Spirit and prophesies. And what is the core of his prophesy? That God has visited His people, raising up the horn of salvation to “show the mercy promised to our fathers.” Once again, a declaration regarding Christ. Added to it is John’s call, to be the one who marks out Christ in his generation.
4. Acts 2:4 & 11. The Day of Pentecost. The 120 were filled with the Spirit and spoke in tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. But what takes center stage is that vs. 11 tells us the content of what they spoke. “We hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And Christ was preached. Being filled with the Spirit was tied to declaring the person and work of Jesus.
5. Acts 4:31. Upon the release of Peter and John from prison. The people were “filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” And what was this “word” they continued to declare with boldness? What John and Peter were imprisoned for: “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12) Spirit filled declaration of Christ.
6. Acts 6:3-5. When the Church needed to respond to an inequity in the distribution of its resources to the Believing needy – they were told to pick 7 men “of good repute, full of the Spirit and wisdom.” Note, those filled with the Spirit are those who maintain a lifestyle of good repute – and they are marked by wisdom, not foolishness. As we see in the following examples both with Stephen and Phillip, once again this will be tied to a declaration of the person and work of Jesus.
7. Acts 7:54-56. This is at Stephen’s stoning. “Full of the Holy Spirit” he “gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God. And he said, “behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” What was his Spirit-filled declaration? That Christ has ascended and is at the right hand of the Father. A declaration of Christ.
8. Acts 9:17. Ananias is sent to pray for Paul that he might be filled with the Spirit. And the result is that Paul is immediately baptized in a declaration of salvation in Christ, and then engages in declaring the person and work of Christ in the synagogues.
9. Acts 11:22-24. A description of Barnabas. He was one who exhorted Christians to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose. And where did this impetus come from? “He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.” Spirit filled people are good, upright ones, who live trusting Christ. And in their speech, encourage Believers to remain steadfast in serving Christ.
10. Acts 13:9-10. Paul and Barnabas were preaching Christ in Cypress when opposed by Elymas the magician. Paul, “filled with the Holy Spirit” rebuked his hinderance of the preaching of the Gospel. Which in turn resulted in the proconsul giving ear to “the teaching of the Lord.” The proclamation of Christ.
11. Acts 13:52. When the Gentiles at Antioch Pisidia heard that the Gospel was for them, and not the Jews only – they were “filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit filled man or woman rejoices in the person and work of Christ preached to them and believed.
12. Rom. 15:13. The God of hope fills us with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we abound in hope. The Spirit filled person lives in joy and peace and hope because of the finished work of Christ. The verses immediately preceding these are the declaration of the “the root of Jesse.” The declaration of the person and work of Jesus.
13. Eph. 5:18-21. Being filled with the Spirit will bring us address one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs; make melody in our heart to the Lord; give thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; and humble submission to one another out of reverence of Christ. Once again, the Spirit filled life and experience, is one which magnifies Jesus, His Person and His work. Demonstrating the same Spirit He had. And it is the opposite of being drunk with wine where our faculties are impaired. Instead, it sharpens our focus upon Him.
What does the Spirit filled life look like:
1. A perpetual attitude of praise.
2. A perpetual attitude of thankfulness.
3. A perpetual attitude of humility.
4. A perpetual attitude of reverence for Christ – i.e. of concern about His Person, place and purposes.
Life FOR and IN – Him.
Stealing a simile from Dane Ortland: Being filled with the Spirit is like a balloon being filled with helium. It does not weigh down, but lifts up. Makes us lighter. Allows to escape the gravitational pull of sin.
If the declaration of the person and work of Christ by those brought into paths of righteousness for His namesake is not central – it is not a Spirit filled life. All supposed gifts or manifestations aside.