On the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) one hundred and twenty believers were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began speaking in languages or tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Many believe that the languages or tongues were used by God to testify of the Spirit’s control (due to the tongue being the member of the body that no man can tame—see James 3:8).
By enabling them to speak, the Holy Spirit was testifying that He was in control of the person and of the person’s unruliest member. Later, after the Church gathered for prayer due to the threatening’s of the Sanhedrin, believers were again filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Again, their boldness testifies of the fullness of the Spirit. Their boldness was a result of them submitting to the Spirit’s control and the Spirit manifesting His Presence.
We cannot appropriate the control of the Spirit unless we desire Him to control us. A desire for His control will include, among other things, a desire that He put sin out of our lives and keep it out, a desire that He dethrone our self-life and enthrone the Lord Jesus as absolute Master and Lord, as well as a desire to produce His own fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) and administrate His gifts for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7).5
Paul’s command to the Ephesian believers was that they be full of the Spirit instead of being in a state of intoxication with wine. The very fact that they were urged to do something, stresses as a logical accompaniment that the action of them being filled with the Spirit would be the result of them making the decision to be filled. This tells us that the believer is not controlled by the Spirit because the Spirit indwells him.6 There must be a continuous and conscious dependence upon and definite subjection to the Holy Spirit by the believer. Each of us must continuously, constantly and consciously yield to His ministry and be relentless in our leaning upon the Spirit for guidance and power.
The results of “being filled with the Holy Spirit” start, as stated previously, with the Spirit breaking the power of our sin nature, followed by the isolation, suppression, defeat and overwhelming victory over that nature. Such is followed by the person living by the guidance and sustaining energy of the Spirit.
The workings of the Holy Spirit are invisible, glorious, and gentle, and within them, He never tells us about Himself. He comes to glorify Jesus—helping us to see Jesus and His Church more, to understand better, to respond to the Lord more obediently, and to love Jesus and the Church with a deeper heart of commitment.7
The Spirit filled life is a matter of trust. Trust enables the Spirit filled believer to depend upon the Spirit for all needed guidance, wisdom, strength, and aid. He proceeds from the Father and the Son to assist us the moment we avail ourselves to His help. There are just two things which the believer must do to be controlled by the Spirit. He must desire that control and trust the Lord Jesus for that control.8
If we ask the Father to fill us with the Spirit and believe that He heard and answered our prayer, we need not ask again and again for the Spirit to fill us. The level of His fullness is dependent on the level of our yielded life and not upon the number of times we ask. Jesus said, “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!”9
The Holy Spirit comes to penetrate us, which is the invisible penetrating the visible. His penetration, direction and control should not be spasmodic. Paul’s imperative command speaks of a continuous process or state of being. Believers are to be constantly, moment by moment, filled and filled-full to overflowing with and by the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit filled life is God’s plan for a normal Christian life. The Spirit filled life enables us to live victoriously over sin, radiate the beauty, fragrance and character of the Lord Jesus Christ, understand the will of God for our lives, live a life of prayer and possess an understanding of the Word of God as we should. A believer who does not have and maintain an interest and hunger for God’s Word is not cooperating with the Spirit. The Spirit desires to work through the Word of God that we have stored within our hearts, not apart from it (Psalm 119:11).
The Holy Spirit’s fullness is to provide help to us. When we are sensitive and submissive to the Holy Spirit, we will easily (the yoke is easy) follow His direction (the burden is light). How does He direct our lives?
• He guides us into all truth (Christ Jesus): John 16:13
• He quickens and convinces us: Romans 8:11-16
• He reveals the deep things of God: 1 Corinthians 2:10
• He empowers us to witness: Acts 1:8
• He testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children: Romans 8:16
• He intercedes for and through us: Jude 1:20 & Romans 8:26
• He produces fruit through our lives: Galatians 5:22-23
• He administrates His gifts: 1 Corinthians 12:1-28
• He gives us righteousness, peace and joy. Romans 14:17
- He sets us free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2
- He searches all things, even the deep things of God: 1 Corinthians 2:10
- He gives life: 2 Corinthians 3:6
- He sanctifies us through belief in the truth: 2 Thessalonians 2:13
5. Untranslatable Riches from the Greek New Testament, Kenneth Wuest. Pages 103-104
6. 1 Corinthians 14:1
7. Jack Hayford, Symbols of the Holy Spirit, Article.
9. Luke 11:13