V. THE OUTWARD FILLING OF THE SPIRIT FOR POWER
In Luke 24:49 the Lord Jesus said, “I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you…until you are clothed with power from on high.’’ In Acts 1:4-8 He also said, “Wait for the promise of the Father…you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.’’ He talked about the promised Spirit of power after His resurrection, before His ascension. Although the disciples had already received the Holy Spirit to be their life and life supply, they still needed the power of the Holy Spirit to work for God. In order to preach the gospel, they needed to bind the devil and loose the sinners, they needed boldness, and they needed various manifestations of gifts. Therefore, they must wait for the clothing of power by the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost according to Acts:2:1-4, “And when the day of Pentecost was being fulfilled…they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.’’ The Greek word used here for “filled’’ is pletho meaning filling outwardly. They were empowered by the outward filling. Right after that, they went out to preach the gospel with boldness and power. We all need this type of experience in our daily church life.
VI. THE WAY TO BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
How can we be filled with the Holy Spirit? According to the incorrect concepts of many Christians today, to be filled by the Spirit is very special and hard to obtain. They think that you need to pray and ask the Father to grant you this special experience. They may fast and pray for days. Sometimes, when they do not believe they have received it, they may pretend to have it and do things they claim are manifestations of the Spirit, such as speaking in tongues, rolling on the floor, crying and shouting loudly, etc.
Firstly, we must understand that we have already received the Spirit on the day of our regeneration as seen in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized, each one of you, upon the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’’ 1 Cor. 12:13 also tells us that we have been baptized in one Spirit. Therefore, after we are regenerated, we do not need to ask the Father to give us the Spirit that we have already received.
How can we be filled?
We can be filled by calling. Calling on the name of the Lord is the easiest and the fastest way to be filled by the Spirit. First Corinthians 12:3 says, “No one can say, Lord Jesus, except in the Holy Spirit.’’ When we call on the Lord, we are in the Spirit. The more you call, the more you get the Spirit. The Spirit is like the air. Calling is like breathing. The more you call, the more you get filled. Call until you are filled. The Lord is rich to all those who call upon Him. He will save us from ourselves when we call upon Him (Rom. 10:12-13). Call everyday; call all the day.
We can be filled by repenting and confessing. We may have sins that are not confessed. We may have been rebellious to our father, criticized saints in the church, taken things from friends, used abusive words to hurt one another, lusted after things in department stores, had some “boy-girl’’ relationships, and done many other similar things. As a result, our conscience became offended; the arteries of our heart became clogged; our body became defiled, and our fellowship with God was cut off. How then can we be filled with the Spirit? O Lord Jesus! Save us! If we would call on the Lord and pray to turn our hearts back to the Lord and confess our sins as He exposes us, the automatic result would be the filling of the Holy Spirit. This is to exercise our spirit.
We can be filled by praying in one accord. This may be our greatest lack. The first time in church history that the disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit was in Acts one and two, after they had prayed together in one accord for ten days. Since then, any time we would pray together in one accord, the Spirit would be poured upon us.
We can be filled by believing. We need to believe the word that when we repent and confess, He will forgive and cleanse, and we will receive the Spirit and have the fellowship (flowing of the Spirit) restored (Acts 2:38; 1 John 1:7-9).
We can be filled by speaking. Speaking is a way to be filled and is a result of being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18b-19a; Acts 2:38; 4:31). After repenting and confessing, we must exercise our faith and speak. Speak to the Lord, yourself, the devil, others, even your cat, dog, and table. Speak to anybody and anything. You will find that the more you speak this way, the more you will be filled with the Spirit, and the more you will have faith and boldness. The more you go to preach the gospel, the more you will experience the outward filling of the Spirit. You will go with the love of God, the authority of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Many will be saved through you and will be baptized by you. You will be doing the work of God for His economy by the power of the Spirit.
(Lesson Book, Level 4: Life—Knowing and Experiencing Life, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)