The Filling of the Spirit

Filling is a significant ministry of the Holy Spirit. It involves the Spirit’s empowering of people to do things they are incapable of doing by themselves.

For example, Spirit-filling empowered John the Baptist to “turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God” (Lk. 1:16) and be the forerunner of the Messiah “in the spirit and power of Elijah, to ‘turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (v. 17).

He filled Elizabeth to make inspired statements concerning Mary and the fruit of her womb (vv. 41–43), Zacharias the priest to prophesy concerning the Messiah (vv. 67–79), and believers on the Day of Pentecost to speak languages they had never learned (Acts 2:4). He also filled the apostle Peter to speak boldly to antagonistic rulers and elders of Israel (4:8–12), the apostles to speak God’s Word with boldness (v. 31), and the apostle Paul to rebuke and inflict blindness on a sorcerer who tried to block his ministry (13:8–11). He filled Paul and Barnabas with joy when they were persecuted and expelled from Antioch in Pisidia because of their ministry (vv. 49–52).

Paul’s Ephesians 5:18 exhortation to believers, “do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,” presents a contrasting analogy. People filled with wine are prompted to do foolish things that they otherwise would not do. Believers filled with the Holy Spirit are empowered to do significant things that otherwise they could not do.

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