"Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38
How is your church 'Filling?'
Key point: We must be excited for, teach and point to who Christ is and what He has done for us, thus giving great joy and gratitude through our commitment to God and, in context, the courage to witness. We are to have joy, meaning confidence in our Lord, in our collective faith and fruit, so it will overflow from us to others around us and then into our neighborhood and then the world! This joy grows in us as we mature in the faith and as we are filled with His Word. It is also the power to enjoy Him in worship and as a lifestyle that will affect all aspects of our lives as well as that of others around us in His service and glory. Because of Christ, His Word and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit will bring us joy (Ruth 3:2-7; Isa. 9:3; Neh. 8:10; Eccl. 2:18; Matt. 24:21-22, 30; Luke 15:7-10, 32; 17:30; John 14:16-26; 16:12-15; 17:17; Acts 28:16-30; Rom. 13:11-14; 1 Cor. 7:29; 2 Cor. 2:15-16; 4:7-12; Eph. 1:13-14; 6:16; 4:30; Phil. 2:12-13; Col. 3:15-16; James 1:2; 1 Pet. 5:8-9).
We are called and empowered for works!
Not so much with miracles; rather what is more important, we are called to righteous deeds and a greater number of them in amounts, cultures, and regions of people transformed. Jesus was limited to Palestine as He walked this earth; we have had the whole world to go with the full force of the Church for many centuries--over 20 so far! When Jesus went to the Father and sent us the Holy Spirit, the work began at Pentecost. Now, we will have a greater Kingdom impact and expansion than when Jesus walked the earth. As Christians, our work is multiplied by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and, thus, an exponential increase of followers and opportunities. This was predicted in the Old Testament, Pour out my Spirit, the God's fulfillment of Joel's Pentecost prophecy. This was not just about the coming of the Holy Spirit, but what the Holy Spirit was to do, point to Christ, give us newness of life and restore us (1 Kings 17:22; Matt. 28:18-19; John 2:11; 5:17; 7:21, 39; 8:39; 10:32; 14:16-17, 26; 15:13, 26; 16:7; 19:30; Acts 1-2).
The central point, reason, and purpose for us to have the Holy Spirit working in us is to be empowered for ministry.
That is what is described as a FILLING. This is always associated, in Scripture, with extraordinary power for ministry, doing something to further the Gospel and the cause of Christ. It is never meant to draw attention to us or to put on some kind of show (Joel 2:28-31; John 13:10; 15:3; Romans 8:9; John 3:5; Acts 2).
Before Christ came, the Holy Spirit was not available to all, nor was He omnipresent, or "everywhere" (John 13:10; 15:3; Romans 8:9; John 3:5)! The Holy Spirit now is working in us to empower our faith and ministry. It is never meant to draw attention to us or to put on some kind of entertainment! The Christians who came to faith in Christ after Pentecost receive the Holy Spirit even before they accepted Christ by faith (John 3:3-6; 16; 16:13-14; 1 Cor. 12:3).
The Holy Spirit introduces us to Christ's work before we are even evangelized, so we are able and willing to believe and accept Him. He may give to you extra gifts and power for His glory in ministry when He deems it necessary and/or when we yield ourselves to Him, and are mature enough to handle it (Num. 11; Psalm 51:11; Isa. 63:10-11; Acts 1:4-8; John 7:37-39; Acts 2:1-11; 1 Cori. 1; 14:26-33; Joel 2:28-29).
The first Holy Spirit manifestation to the early church are to Jews in Acts 1:8, then to the Gentile world in a step-by-step manner. We see three more episodes of the coming of the Holy Spirit, with the Samaritans (Acts 8), the Cornelius household (Acts 10), and the Ephesians (Acts 19). It started with the 'chosen ones,' the Jews, because they held the responsibility of being evangelists to the world (Gen 12:1-3). The God-fearing Greeks, Samaritans, and the rest of the Gentile world were next (Psalm 51:11; Isa 63:10-11; Acts 2).
We have The Great Empowerment, The Holy Spirit!
As Christians, we Receive the Holy Spirit, and continually have Him living within us so that we are equipped to work and speak for Him! Before Christ came, the Holy Spirit was not available to all, nor was He omnipresent, or "everywhere." This is not a conversion or some kind of rebirth (John 13:10; 15:3; Romans 8:9; John 3:5)!
Being filled with the Holy Spirit basically means having great joy from our commitment to God (Nehemiah 8:10).
It also means we are to seek His power with joy, for the overcoming of our sins, for the courage to witness, and for the job of ministry, even to people we do not like. This joy means radiant joy, meaning we can be filled up with the joy that flows among the Persons of the Holy Trinity. That is the very love God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit (One God with three personalities or manifestations, not three Gods) have for one another. This Joy, our dedicated commitment in Christ will overflow from us to the others around us! This Joy becomes sealed in us as we mature in the faith and as we are filled with His Word. It is the power to enjoy Christ in worship, as a lifestyle that will affect all aspects of our life as well as the others around us, and then will empower us for His service, for His glory. This is what we are to seek so it can be repeated; we are not to seek it for our betterment or attention, rather for Christ's sake! We are to be filled with Joy, by being in His Word, because we are in Christ! This is the extra power He gives us to glorify and serve Him (John 14:16-26; 16:12-15; 17:17; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30; Col. 3:15-16)!
Now, it is God's role and work that is empowering and saving; we merely respond.
Our faith is a response, not a work; we recognize Christ because He reveals Himself to us. All the blessings and wonders that we experience are in Christ; He gives us faith that we can turn into more faith by our commitment and obedience (John 3:30; Rom. 6:12; Gal. 2:20-21; Eph. 2:8-9; 5:15-17; Phil. 3:1-21; Col. 1: 3-6, 10-12, 15-29).
Taken in our Lord's Words, I am sending you.
This is the "Great Commission," the marching orders for our faith and practice! As the Father sent me, now I send you to continue the work, with empowerment to His ambassadors and representatives here on earth the Holy Spirit, and asked them to do unto others as He has done to them: Show the world the Gospel (Daniel 7:13-14; Matt. 4:17; 28:16-20; Luke 24:44-53; John 17:18; 20:19-31; Acts 1-2; Eph. 1:3-14; 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 1:18-2:16; 15:1-8)!
Following Christ will also cost us, and require effort and consistency. This can cast fear and trepidation amongst most Christians. How can you develop an attitude to embrace what society, family, friends, or even people in your church fail to see and do?
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/