SIGNS OF BEING SPIRIT-FILLED
All of us have probably seen a drunken person. How did we know that the person was drunk? The person acted like it, looked like it, or smelled like it. Perhaps the person exhibited all of these. It was obvious that the person was drunk. It is the same with being Spirit-filled. When we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we look and act differently.
"BE NOT DRUNK WITH WINE, WHEREIN IS EXCESS,
BUT BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT."
Spirit-filled believers are more obvious than drunks. People see and feel a difference about "filled" saints. Sometimes they don't know what they sense, but they know that they sense something. The Spirit-filled saint doesn't need to hang a sign up that they are being used of God. People will call or visit them to seek advice and prayer. They will seek counsel from this "filled" Christian without the person ever seeking to be a counselor. Sick people will invite them over to pray for them. Convicted sinners will seek their company. Hardened sinners will avoid them like a plague. Sinners will clean up their language, while the "filled" saint is near. The presence of the Spirit-filled person will change the situation.
In too many churches, the demonstration of the Gospel power in these ways is lacking. We need a demonstration of power in the churches and in the lives of the Christians. If saints are Spirit-filled, with a present tense filling, there will be signs and wonders occurring. If the baptism experience has been lost, or not stirred up to be fresh -- then the church can be dull, dead, and lifeless. Too many churches have a "FORM OF GODLINESS, BUT DENYING THE POWER THEREOF." Some churches, and Christians, proudly proclaim the gospel message; yet, there is an obvious lack of demonstrative power of the gospel. Paul's ministry came with demonstration -- not just proclamation.
I Thessalonians 1:5
"FOR OUR GOSPEL CAME NOT UNTO YOU IN WORD ONLY,
BUT ALSO IN POWER, AND IN THE HOLY GHOST..."
To have that kind of power, and demonstration of the Spirit in your life, and in the church -- you must have a present tense filling. Not a "I was filled long ago in 1978..." type filling. No, but you need a "I am still continuing to be filled with the Spirit..." type filling.
"...THEN PETER, FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST,
SAID UNTO THEM..."
The verse, according to the actual Greek, should have been translated as - " Then Peter, still in the process of being filled with the Holy Spirit..." The verb, "filled," is a present, continuing action word in this verse.
Many Christians, and many churches are like sail boats upon which the wind has ceased blowing. They sit dead in the water, unaware that the boat is no longer being pushed along by the wind. The Spirit wants more than to give Christians a "one-time" blessed experience. He wants to continue to work in and through their lives.
How do we get a present tense filling in our lives ? How do we know we are still being filled with the Spirit ? What manifestations indicate that the wind of the Spirit is still making our boat move ? How do we get these gifts and manifestations to work and operate in our lives and in our churches ?
The first obstacle to eliminate is the thought that the reception of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the end product of God. It is not ! It is like opening a door to a new and vast expanse. We can now enter in and begin to experience many more wonderful events because of the event we call the "baptism of the Holy Spirit." Many Christians have received the baptism of the Spirit and gone off to stray back to the dead, lifeless, and powerless ministry they had before. That is not God's plan or desire.
Secondly, let's have some goals to seek and expect.
1. We should expect to progressively become free from sin and the death that the devil wanted us to experience.
"THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION TO THEM WHICH ARE IN CHRIST JESUS, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT. FOR THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HATH MADE ME FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH."
2. We should expect to progressively have a new way of thinking about things. Our old sinful pattern of thinking should progressively be replaced with a pattern of thinking that is from the Spirit.
"FOR THEY THAT ARE AFTER THE FLESH, DO MIND THE THINGS OF THE FLESH; BUT THEY THAT ARE AFTER THE SPIRIT, THE THINGS OF THE SPIRIT. FOR TO BE CARNALLY MINDED IS DEATH; BUT TO BE SPIRITUALLY MINDED IS LIFE AND PEACE..."
3. Righteousness should be steadily increasing in your life. This does not mean we will be perfect. This does not mean we will not struggle with temptation. However, as the Spirit continues to fill us, we should see progress made against the struggle with sin and temptation.
"BUT YE ARE NOT IN THE FLESH, BUT IN THE SPIRIT, IF SO BE THAT THE SPIRIT OF GOD DWELL IN YOU... THE SPIRIT IS LIFE BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS."
The flow of pure water will cleanse and purify that over which it flows. The Spirit is that purest water, that if we allow Him to keep flowing through us will keep purifying us.
"...FROM OUR INNERMOST BEING FLOWS
RIVERS OF LIVING WATERS."
4. As the Spirit continues to fill us each day, we should see a progressive death to our selfish desires, and a new Spiritual creation arising within our bodies. This stronger, new person, will be more and more able to say "no" to self.
"...WE ARE DEBTORS, NOT TO THE FLESH, TO LIVE AFTER THE FLESH. FOR IF YE LIVE AFTER THE FLESH, YE SHALL DIE; BUT IF YE THROUGH THE SPIRIT DO MORTIFY THE DEEDS OF THE BODY, YE SHALL LIVE. FOR AS MANY AS ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, THEY ARE THE SONS OF GOD."
5. Our relationship with God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit should be always on the increase. The work of the Spirit in one that is continuing to be filled with the Spirit, includes the encouragement of relationship with the Trinity.
"...YE HAVE RECEIVED THE SPIRIT OF ADOPTION, WHEREBY YE CRY, 'ABBA FATHER'. THE SPIRIT HIMSELF BEARS WITNESS WITH OUR SPIRIT THAT WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD."
Fellowship between the Spirit and the saint will increase. It will become more and more common to hear directly from God. Fellowship is vital. God never meant for us to have to await a message in tongues on Sunday to hear from the Lord. He wishes to speak with us daily. This fellowship will renew us on a daily basis. Our daily use of the prayer language, and of our own language, to worship the Lord will also edify us on a daily basis.
II Corinthians 4:16
"EVEN THOUGH OUR OUTWARD MAN IS PERISHING, YET THE INWARD MAN IS BEING RENEWED DAY BY DAY."
6. Speech, vocabulary, and conversation will increasingly be different for the Spirit-filled person. The person, who is still in the process of being filled with the Spirit, will speak differently. "PRAISE THE LORD." (Psalms 150:1) will replace the cursings, gripings, and complaints. The old songs that once held such appeal will be replaced with songs to the Lord
"...SINGING AND MAKING MELODY
IN YOUR HEART TO THE LORD."
Conversations will include often the mention of what God has been doing for the person.
"GIVING THANKS ALWAYS FOR ALL THINGS TO GOD THE FATHER
IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST."
7. The Spirit-filled saint will seek to serve, not rule.
"SUBMITTING YOURSELVES TO ONE ANOTHER
IN THE FEAR OF THE LORD."
This service is not given grudgingly, but in love for the ones we serve.
I Peter 1:22
"SINCE YOU HAVE PURIFIED YOUR SOULS IN OBEYING THE TRUTH THROUGH THE SPIRIT, IN SINCERE LOVE OF THE BRETHREN, LOVE ONE ANOTHER FERVENTLY WITH A PURE HEART."
8. Prayer and intercession will keep increasing. The Spirit-filled saint will often confess to the Lord, give supplications to the Lord, give adoration to the Lord, intercede for loved ones and even for the enemies, give thanks to God for His blessings, and praise the Lord for Who He is. The new prayer language will continue in all these saints. The gift of tongues is a separate gift that is given to some saints, but the prayer language is for all Spirit-filled saints to use on a daily basis.
9. The entire life of a Spirit-filled saint will be enriched by this experience. The Spirit will enrich the study life.
"...GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH...SHOW YOU THINGS TO COME..."
He will enrich our emotional life. Our lives will show more and more peace in the midst of storms, more love in the midst of hatred, more joy in the midst of misery, more ability to live righteously in the midst of temptation.
"...KINGDOM OF GOD IS NOT MEAT AND DRINK,
BUT RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND PEACE,
AND JOY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT."
The "FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT," that is detailed in Galatians 5, is manifested greatly in the life of a Spirit-filled saint. God has intended that these be the identifying sign of our relationship with God.
"I HAVE CHOSEN YOU, AND ORDAINED YOU, THAT YE SHOULD GO AND BRING FORTH FRUIT, AND THAT YOUR FRUIT SHOULD REMAIN."
10. Gifts of the Spirit will be manifested more and more. The Spirit wishes to impart to each Spirit-filled saint gifts that will edify the body of believers. Each one is to have at least one.
Usually God will impart one to start and as the saint continues to receive the infilling, more will be added. Many gifts were found in the life of Paul. God is not a respecter of persons and He wants to give each of us many gifts.
These gifts are set in the church for the purpose of "PERFECTING THE SAINTS, AND FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY, FOR THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST, TILL WE ALL COME IN THE UNITY OF THE FAITH."
(Ephesians 4:12) These divine gifts are the demonstration of power that the church and the world see in our lives. Without them we may have the correct doctrines, but we are supposed to have "SIGNS AND WONDERS" following our message.
"BUT TO EACH ONE OF US GRACE WAS GIVEN ACCORDING TO THE MEASURE OF CHRIST'S GIFT."
I Corinthians 12:7
"BUT TO EACH ONE IS GIVEN THE MANIFESTATION OF THE SPIRIT FOR THE COMMON GOOD
I Corinthians 12:11
"BUT ONE AND THE SAME SPIRIT WORKS ALL THESE THINGS, DISTRIBUTING TO EACH ONE INDIVIDUALLY JUST AS HE WILLS."
I Peter 4:10
"AS EACH ONE HAS RECEIVED A SPECIAL GIFT, EMPLOY IT IN SERVING ONE ANOTHER, AS GOOD STEWARDS OF THE MANIFOLD GRACE OF GOD."
These signs should constantly be seen in the lives of a person that is still being filled with the Spirit. Yet, though these similarities will be evident, there will be diversities amidst Spirit-filled Christians.
Some will have high standards of conduct. Others will still have some old habits hanging onto them. Many Pentecostals have been startled to see other new charismatics still smoking, occasionally drinking, etc.
Why can there be such diversity ? The answer is that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an inner work that does not come in response to a perfect outer conduct. All of us are still growing in holy living.
While the one Spirit-filled saint may still smoke, another who thinks that is a terrible sin and that the Spirit should not have filled them yet, is displaying a judgmental, critical, Pharisaical attitude that the Lord is trying to purge. Yet both may be Spirit-filled.
We did not receive the baptism of the Spirit because of worthiness. As "SONS OF GOD," we are to be "LED OF THE SPIRIT." His leading will eventually, if we allow, bring us to unity of the faith and holy living. The Spirit does not fill us because of how far along we are in the walk of holiness. He fills us because we want to walk in the right direction, and He wants to walk with us.
"AND GRIEVE NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD..."
This verse is enveloped in verses that show that what "grieves" the Spirit is bitterness, unforgiveness, malice, speaking against others, etc. The Spirit-filled saint that criticizes another filled saint, that has a lack of holiness in some way, is more likely to "GRIEVE" the Spirit than the saint that is striving but yet unable to overcome their battle with an old habit.
There are still doctrinal differences amidst the Spirit-filled saints. Even in the early church who first experienced this baptism of the Spirit, there were misconceptions of the truth. They argued over whether the Gentiles should be allowed to have this same baptism. They argued over whether they should eat certain meats. They argued over which day to worship. In our day, there are many doctrinal differences amidst Spirit-filled saints. Some are Calvinists, some are Arminians. Some argue over the mode of water baptism. Some are Pre-tribulation believers, and others are mid-trib, or post-trib believers. Being filled with the Spirit does not make one doctrinally perfect.
However, though we have doctrinal differences, and differences in standards of conduct, we should have many similarities by the working of the same Spirit in our lives. If we allow the same Spirit to work our lives, the Spirit will have us concentrating on how we can be used of this Spirit. The Spirit will equip all of us with power to change ourselves, and to change the world in which we live.