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Lesson 5: The Spirit-Filled Life (Part 2)

Written by: Biblical Studies Foundation    Posted on: 04/09/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN

                                            Lesson 5:                                       The Spirit-Filled Life                                             (Part 2)

                                  The Walk by Means of the Spirit

                            The Difference Between Indwelling and Filling

      The Indwelling of the Spirit

      As shown in the previous lesson, a number of New Testament passages call attention to the fact and nature of       the SpiritÆs indwelling of New Testament believers. Some examples are:

                John 7:37-39 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried                 out, saying, ôIf any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who                 believes in Me, as the Scripture said, æFrom his innermost being shall flow rivers of                 living water.Æö 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him                 were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet                 glorified.

                Romans 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been                 poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

                Romans 8:9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of                 God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not                 belong to Him.

                1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy                 Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20                 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

      In the ministry of indwelling, the New Testament describes the Holy Spirit as an anointing, a seal, a pledge, and       our Helper or Enabler. Regarding indwelling, Ryrie writes,

                The indwelling ministry of the Spirit is the heart of the distinctiveness of the SpiritÆs                 work in this Church Age. It is also the center of our LordÆs promises to His                 disciples concerning the ministry of the Spirit after His departure from earth. Too,                 the doctrine of the indwelling is foundational to the other ministries the Spirit                 performs today.55

      Indwelling is, however, distinct from the filling of the Spirit and the two should not be confused. There are a       number of biblical facts which demonstrate this distinction.

      (1) Indwelling is a distinctive ministry that is true of only believers in Christ. The only condition for indwelling is       the obedience of faith in Christ (John 7:37-39) whereas the filling of the Spirit is dependent upon faith in the       Spirit for His control.

                Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the                 gospel of your salvationùhaving also believed, you were sealed in Him with the                 Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view                 to the redemption of GodÆs own possession, to the praise of His glory.

      (2) Though all believers are indwelt regardless of their spiritual state (even when living in carnality as seen in 1       Corinthians 6:19-20), all believers are not filled with the Spirit.

      (3) This indwelling is declared as permanent and a declaration of a believerÆs security. It is described as       ôforeverö and ôunto the day of redemption.ö Romans 8:9 teaches us that indwelling is a proof of the believerÆs       salvation, ôà if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.ö

                John 14:16-17 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that                 He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot                 receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because                 He abides with you, and will be in you.

                Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were                 sealed for the day of redemption.

      The indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit is that ministry wherein the Holy Spirit comes to make the new       believer His permanent dwelling place, the place of His personal presence as the foundation for all the various       ministries He will have within the life of the believer.

      The Filling of the Spirit

      While believers are never commanded to be indwelt with the Spirit, they are commanded to be filled with the       Spirit. Because our perception of the word ôfillingö suggests the intake of something, many have equated the       filling of the Spirit with getting the Spirit within, or getting more of the Spirit. They have confused the filling of       the Spirit with His indwelling. This is false and leads to erroneous ideas about the filling of the Spirit.

      After the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, we have a number of references in the New Testament which refer       to the filling of the Spirit using such words as ôfullö or ôfillingö or ôfilled.ö A sample of these verses are Acts 2:4;       4:8, 31; 6:3-5; 7:55; 9:17; 13:9, 52; and Ephesians 5:18. The questions is, what does the concept of ôfullö or       ôfilledö mean?

      In the Acts passages only two Greek words occur, the noun plerhs, ôfull,ö and the verb pimplhmi, ôfill, be       filled.ö The noun form is also used of ôwisdom, rage, envy, power, grace,ö etc. As a noun it looks at a state or       condition which, however, refers to what takes control and possesses the person so that it becomes the       dominating force. When a person is full of rage, they are clearly out of control and the trait which characterizes       them is rage. A person who is full of the Spirit as mentioned in Acts 6:3 and 5, is one whose life is animated       and controlled by the Spirit.

      The use of the verb form in Acts as it pertains to the Holy Spirit seems to refer to a special filling that is a       sovereign work of God in contrast to the normal filling of the Spirit that is commanded in Ephesians 5:18.       Several things support this idea:

      Pimplhmi always occurs in the aorist tense and generally in the indicative mood (emphasizing an historical event       and not a state). Acts 4:8 is an aorist participle and could be translated, ôAnd Peter, having been filled by the       Holy Spirit, said àö The same idea applies to Paul in Acts 9:17 and 13:9.

      It is always in the passive voice (pointing to a sovereign work of God). No conditions of filling are mentioned,       only that the recipients were filled by the Spirit.

      The filling was for a specific task and was temporary. This can be seen by comparing Acts 2:4 with 4:8 and       31. Acts 4:8 seems to refer to PeterÆs normal walk under the control of the Spirit, but in the other two       passages, a special filling occurred for a special task.

      But because of the analogy and comparison used, and because it is the one passage where believers are       commanded to be filled with the Spirit, the meaning of ôfilledö is best seen in Ephesians 5:18, ôAnd do not get       drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.ö

      ôFilledö is the verb pleroo, ôto fill, make full, fill to the full.ö It is used of things such as sounds and odors (Acts       2:2; John 12:3), and of persons with powers or qualities like joy, righteousness, wisdom (Acts 2:28; 13:52;       Phil. 1:11; Col. 1:9). But how do we understand the word ôfilledö with regard to the Spirit? Is He the content       with which one is filled, or the means by which one is filled?

      Some understand the Spirit as the content with which one is filled like water in a jar, but grammatically this is       very unlikely. It is better to understand the Spirit as the means by which one is filled, not the content. Greek is       an inflectional language that uses various cases that determine how a word is being used in a clause or       sentence. And it is a rule of Greek grammar that a verb may be used with more than one case in order to       distinguish certain ideas or to make ideas clear.

      In the Greek text, ôwith the Spiritö represents the preposition en plus the noun pneuma in the dative case       (pneumati). To interpret this construction to refer to the Spirit as the content with which one is filled is       grammatically suspect since normally a verb of filling takes a noun in the genitive case to express the idea of       content, not the dative. Such a genitive is called a genitive of content.56 Let me illustrate it this way.

      With the genitive case, the noun in the genitive refers to the material, the content of filling, as when the house       was filled with the fragrance of the perfume when Mary anointed the feet of Jesus (John 12:3).

      With the dative case, the noun in the dative refers to the agent or instrument that causes the filling, i.e., ôbe filled       by means of the Spirit.ö

      With the accusative case, the noun in the accusative refers to the thing filled, as when grief fills the heart (John       16:6).

      In Ephesians 5:18, the contrast with wine shows that the obvious idea in ôfilledö is that of spiritual control by       means of the Spirit who already indwells and is present in believers. The analogy with a drunk person is       designed by the apostle to make the issue crystal clear: to be drunk with wine means to be controlled, brought       under the influence of wine. Visible behavior characteristics begin to take place as a person comes under the       influence of wine.

                In contrast, to be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit so the filled                 believer does things that are unnatural for him under the control of the Spirit even as                 the drunken individual does things that are unnatural for him under the control of the                 spirits.57

                The comparison is in the matter of control. A drunken person is controlled by the                 liquor which he has consumed. Because of this he thinks in ways normally unnatural                 to him. Likewise, the man who is Spirit-filled is controlled, and he too acts in ways                 that are unnatural to him. This is not to imply that these ways are erratic or                 abnormal, but they are not ways which belong to his old life. Thus being filled with                 the Spirit is simply being controlled by the Spirit.58

      The issue is not getting the Spirit within, but of allowing the indwelling Spirit to take charge and move into       every area of the believerÆs life.

                Reduced to its simplest terms, to be filled with the Spirit means that, through                 voluntary surrender and in response to appropriating faith, the human personality is                 filled, mastered, controlled by the Holy Spirit. The very word filled supports that                 meaning. The idea is not that of something being poured into a passive empty                 receptacle. ôThat which take possession of the mind is said to fill it,ö says Thayer,                 the great lexicographer. That usage of the word is found in Luke 5:26 (KJV): ôThey                 were filled with fear,ö and in John 16:6: ôBecause I have said these things to you,                 sorrow has filled your heart.ö Their fear and sorrow possessed them to the                 exclusion of other emotions; they mastered and controlled them.59

                                  The Nature and Purpose of the                                         Filling of the Spirit

      What exactly is the nature and purpose of the filling of the Spirit? Is it enablement for service, or is its design       the sanctification of the believer? In Acts the filling of the Spirit is clearly seen as GodÆs enablement for service       and for witness and proclamation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. also Acts 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52).

                Acts 1:8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and                 you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and                 even to the remotest part of the earth.

                Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ôRulers and elders of                 the people, àö

                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.

      In the book of Ephesians, the filling of the Spirit produces worship, submission, and changed relationships in       the home and on the job (cf. Ephesians 5:18-6:9).

                As in other similar situations the question arises, why make a choice? There is an                 evident connection between the character of the witness and the impact of the                 witness; furthermore, the call to be filled with the Spirit comes in a context of                 concern for the lost and the impact of believers on the world. There is a call for                 moral purity in Eph. 5:1-14 and a call for careful commitment in Eph. 5:15-16                 followed by the command to be filled with the Spirit, which results in the worship,                 submission, and relationships mentioned above.60

                It is evident that these results from the filling of the Spirit in Ephesians 5 occur in a                 setting of witness and testimony on the part of the church. As a result, the most                 effective way to resolve the issue is to answer that the filling of the Spirit is both an                 enduement of power for sanctification and service, and that there is a direct                 relationship between service and sanctification, since character confirms witness                 (note particularly the relationship between unity and witness in John 13:34-35 and                 John 17:21-23).61 (Emphasis mine.)

                                  The Walk by Means of the Spirit

      Is there any difference between the command to be filled with the Spirit and the command to walk by means of       the Spirit? Though they would seem to be basically synonymous, there does seem to be a difference in focus       or emphasis.

      Walking by the Spirit Described

                Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of                 the flesh.

      Galatians 5:16 commands Christians to walk by the Spirit. It is an imperative of the daily lifeùnot an option.       The verb ôwalkö is in a tense (continuous present) that stresses a continuous, moment-by-moment       responsibility and need. In essence, all believers are responsible to walk by the Spirit. Failure to do so       constitutes a sin of negative volition to GodÆs grace, an act of failing to walk by faith in GodÆs resources. Just       as a person who walks with the aid of a cane, leans on and depends on the cane so to walk by the Spirit is to       be faith-dependent on the Spirit for each step of oneÆs daily life. The promised result that comes from walking       by the Spirit is simply that the believer begins to experience behavioral changes: growing deliverance from the       control of the flesh or from the reign of sin, but also the positive production of the fruit of the Spirit.

      Galatians 5:16 stresses that the alternative to walking by the Spirit is the control of the flesh. Unless the believer       walks by the Spirit, he will fulfill the desires of the flesh. In essence, then, the believer is either controlled by the       Spirit or controlled by the flesh. That which he depends on as his resource for daily living determines who or       what controls his life and the direction his life will take.

      Walking by the Spirit Defined

      Walking by the Spirit is a Spirit-dependent walk which means a conscious determination to trust or rely only       on the resources of the indwelling Spirit for strength to obey God and overcome the desires of the flesh. It is       negative, a turning away from, and positive, a turning to, i.e., the believer chooses to turn away from self and       turn to the Holy Spirit for ability to live the Christian life. This is accomplished through faith (cf. Gal. 5:5). But       vital to an attitude of moment-by-moment dependence is the study of the Word, prayer, worship, fellowship       with others, and keeping short accounts with God through bonafide, honest to God confession that seeks to       maintain a right relationship with God. The results will be the fruit of the Spirit rather than the works of the       flesh.

                Galatians 5:18-26 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19                 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,                 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes,                 dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of                 which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such                 things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,                 peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control;                 against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have                 crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also                 walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying                 one another.

      Distinction Between the Filling of the Spirit       and Walking by the Spirit

      The filling of the Spirit initiates the SpiritÆs control through submission, whereas walking by the Spirit maintains       the SpiritÆs control through step-by-step dependence. In filling we submit or yield to the Spiritùin walking we       depend on the Spirit. As we saw, to walk by means of anything is to depend on that element in order to walk.       In that sense, walking by the Spirit means depending on the Spirit for daily living. However, in the Greek text,       both commands are present imperatives of continuous action; both are the products of faith and obviously       occur simultaneously. The main difference is in the meaning of the verbs and in their voice.

      ôFilledö is the passive voice while ôwalkö is active. The idea of ôfilledö meaning ôcontrolö and the passive voice       suggest the concept of submission or being yielded. We are volitionally to continue to release control of our       lives to the Spirit. He is allowed to take control and make Christ at home in the believerÆs life (Eph. 3:16-17).       In the filling of the Spirit, we give up the right to run our lives; we submit to Him. The filling of the Spirit is very       much parallel with Romans 6:12-13.

                Ephesians 3:16-17 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to                 be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that Christ                 may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in                 love,

                Romans 6:12-13 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should                 obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as                 instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from                 the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

      The active voice plus the basic meaning of the word ôwalkö places stress on actively choosing to take each       step by faith in the Spirit as the means of walking. The goal is to maintain the SpiritÆs control along with an       attitude of submission or yieldedness. In reality, the two commands are just two ways of saying the same thing,       but with a different focus.

      Why We Must Be Filled With and       Walk by the Spirit

            It is commanded in the Word

      God would not give us these commands if they were not necessities. The fact God has commanded it, settles       it. This is not a matter for debate nor an option that can be ignored without serious consequences.

                Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled                 with the Spirit,

                Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of                 the flesh.

            There can be no production without it

      Since the flesh (our human resources) profits nothing and gives no capacity for real spiritual life, we desperately       need GodÆs resourcesùthe filling of the Holy Spirit. The great necessity of the filling (control) of the Spirit is       evident by the many ministries He alone can accomplish in our lives. As the Lord reminds us, ôIt is the Spirit       who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are lifeö (John 6:63).

                Romans 7:15-18 For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not                 practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I                 do the very thing I do not wish to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that it is                 good. 17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me. 18                 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is                 present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

                Romans 8:3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God                 did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He                 condemned sin in the flesh,

            We cannot please God without it

      The opposite of the filling of the Spirit is to be fleshly minded. To be fleshly minded is to have a       flesh-dominated life, one that is concerned with self-centered pursuits, with the earthly, and with the temporal       at the expense of the spiritual, the heavenly, and the eternal. We are in the world, we can use the world and       enjoy the blessings God gives, but this is not to be our focus or that which controls us. Take time to read and       think on Matthew 6:19-33; and 1 Timothy 6:6-19 as well as the passage below.

                Romans 8:5-8 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things                 of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For                 the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7                 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself                 to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; 8 and those who are in the flesh                 cannot please God.

            There is no spiritual growth without it

      A casual reading of John 16:7-15; 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:3; Galatians 3:1-3; Ephesians 3:16-19 show how       involved the Holy Spir

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