I remember thinking, “I’ve accepted Christ as Savior and Lord. I know that the Holy Spirit came into my life. Why does my daily experience reflect so little power – no true transformation?” God directed me to His Word where I discovered a powerful promise: “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; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” Romans 8:26-27 (NASB). This promise changed the rest of my life and ministry!
J. Hampton Keathley III, former pastor and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, wrote, “Far too many Christians are not experiencing the enabling power of God. For these believers it is simply a matter of doing the best they can to conform to certain expected standards. On the surface, some appear to be more successful at conforming to the rules than others, but if they are honest with themselves, and this is no easy task because of our bent for self-deception, there is the ever present awareness that something is wrong.”1
Biblical wisdom is the ability to live with extraordinary skill – with insight, integrity, and intensity. The Scriptures exalt wisdom as the highest blessing a person can attain (Proverbs 3:13-15). Because wisdom is so valuable, becoming wise requires effort (Proverbs 2:1-6). To start on the path of wisdom, we must be intentional in our pursuit to know God – fearing and revering Him (Proverbs 9:10) and we can do so only as we walk in His Spirit.
After the Last Supper, Jesus told the disciples, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever” (John 14:6). As He ascended into the clouds, the Lord reminded His followers they would receive power from the Holy Spirit. They would soon be supernaturally enabled to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, in the surrounding districts, and into the remote regions of the earth (Acts 1:8).
How can we experience the power of His Holy Spirit today?
John McArthur, pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church and president of The Master’s College, provides this insight: “Ephesians 5:18 contains this imperative from the Apostle Paul: ‘Be filled with the Spirit.’ This concise, straightforward injunction is loaded with significance for you if you’re a believer. However, that significance is often misunderstood, misapplied, or missed altogether … A literal translation of the verb would read something like ‘be being kept filled.’ The idea is one of keeping yourself constantly filled, as you yield moment by moment to the leading of the Spirit. It fits perfectly with the process of walking by the Spirit.”2
Chuck Swindoll, Senior Pastor of Stonebriar Community Church and Chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary, penned this wonderful illustration: “The Christian life is like a car. One needs at least two important things to drive it: a key and fuel. When an individual comes to faith in Christ, he or she is given the key—salvation. But the car of the Christian life doesn’t get very far without fuel—the divine enablement of the Holy Spirit, what the Bible calls being ‘filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18). Once we realize that we need to keep our spiritual tanks full every day, we’ll live lives of true authenticity.”3
Colossians 2:6 explains it like this: “As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” As you have received Christ (the key), so walk in Him (the fuel).
By faith, we receive the benefits of Jesus’ death, including justification and the promise of His Holy Spirit. Just as we received Christ by faith, we learn that the Holy Spirit will empower us as we walk in faith. When we submit to the Holy Spirit and actively walk in obedience, He enables us to die to the flesh (Gal. 5:16-17), delivers us from the oppression of the Law (Gal. 5:18), and causes spiritual fruit to grow (Gal. 5:22-23).
Living in the power of the Holy Spirit is an exciting adventure! As we are filled and keep in step with the Spirit, He supernaturally supercharges the potential of our lives and ministry to children.
Scripture for additional study: Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:18-20, 2:10, 3:16-17, 3:20-21; Philippians 4:13; 2 Peter 1:3; 1 John 5:14-15
What Does It Mean to Be Filled with the Spirit? Charles Swindoll Sermon
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1 – Keathley III, J. Hampton. “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit.” Bible.Org. ND. Web. 13 Oct. 2011.
2 – MacArthur, John. “What Does It Mean to be Filled with the Spirit?” GTY.Org. ND. Web. 13 Oct. 2011.
3 – Swindoll, Charles. “What Does Being ‘Filled with the Spirit’ Mean?” Insight.org. ND. Web. 13 Oct. 2011.