THE WAY TO BE FILLED INWARDLY
Now we must see the way to be filled. In order to fill a bottle or a cup with water, we must first empty it to make room for the water. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us; now it is a matter of whether or not we give Him the room within us. If we give Him the room, He will fill us. If we do not give Him the room, He will not fill us. The more we love the Lord and the more we give Him the room in us, the more the Holy Spirit will fill us.
Moreover, to be filled is not absolute; it is comparative. It is doubtful that we are absolutely filled within, but we may be filled to a comparative degree. Today we may feel that we are filled with the Holy Spirit within, but tomorrow we may realize that we are not yet filled; there is still some part not filled. Some part within us is occupied by something other than the Lord, something other than the Spirit.
The more room we give to the Lord, the more the Holy Spirit will fill us. We need to constantly be filled with the Holy Spirit. This means that we always need to give all the room within us to the Holy Spirit. We must have nothing other than the Lord occupying us, and we must not seek anything but the Lord Himself. Then we will be filled within. Why must we consecrate ourselves? It is simply to give all the room to the Lord. Why must we deal with so many sinful things? It is simply that we may give the room to the Lord so that He may fill us with the inward Spirit. Being filled depends on our giving room to the Holy Spirit.
THE WAY TO BE FILLED OUTWARDLY
By the Accomplished Baptism in the Holy Spirit
In two of the five cases in Acts—the first at Pentecost (2:4) and the fourth at the house of Cornelius (10:44-47)—there was no laying on of hands, but in three cases—the second, third, and fifth—there was the laying on of hands. The Spirit’s speaking in Acts is that what happened on the day of Pentecost was the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and what happened in the house of Cornelius was also the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1:5; 11:15-17). Only these two cases are called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The case on the day of Pentecost was the baptism of the Jewish believers, and the case in the house of Cornelius was the baptism of the Gentile believers. By these two cases the Lord as the Head of the Body baptized the entire Body into the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is absolutely an accomplished fact, just as the crucifixion of the Lord is an accomplished fact. After the Lord ascended to the heavens, He baptized the first part, the Jewish part, of His Body into the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Then in the house of Cornelius, He baptized the other part, the Gentile part, into the Spirit. By doing this, the Lord as the Head already has baptized His entire Body into the Holy Spirit. Thus, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is an accomplished fact.
When we preach the gospel, we must preach in this way. The Lord was incarnated as a man, bringing God into man. Then He was crucified on the cross to bear our sins so that we may be forgiven. Then He resurrected to impart His life to us so that we could have His life. After this, He ascended and poured down the Holy Spirit upon His Body so that we could have the baptism of the Holy Spirit. By His crucifixion and resurrection we have forgiveness of sins and eternal life, and by His ascension we have the Holy Spirit. The Lord has accomplished all these things, and this is the gospel.
By a Proper Standing with the Body
We must realize that the baptism in the Holy Spirit has been accomplished in the Body, the church. In order to share in this baptism as a member of the Body, we must be right with the Body. This is the principle of the laying on of hands. The Body has been baptized into the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is now upon the Body, and now we have become members of the Body. Therefore, we need a representative member of the Body to contact us so that the Holy Spirit on the Body can come upon us through that contact. This is why we need another member of the Body to lay hands on us. When a member representing the Body contacts us, the oil upon the Body flows onto us.
The principle here is that we must be right with the Body. If we simply get right with the Body, it is easy to experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Whenever we need it, we can simply claim it and take it. The baptism in the Spirit already has been accomplished on the Body, the Spirit is upon the Body, and we are members of the Body. If we are right with the Body, we can claim this baptism by faith.
Do not ask me what the evidences or manifestations of this fact will be. I do not want to tell you, because I do not know what they will be for you. However, I am sure that you will have certain manifestations. If we have a right relationship with the Body and if we stand in the right position, claiming it and receiving it by faith, we will experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This is the right way.
Sometimes we experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit with certain kinds of feelings. However, it is still a matter of faith. We may be about to minister, to preach. At that time we realize that the baptism of the Holy Spirit has been accomplished on the Body already. The Holy Spirit has poured Himself upon the Body, and we are members of the Body, so we make our relationship with the Body right, and we stand in this right position, claiming this baptism and taking it by faith. If we do this, then when we preach, we will preach in power. It does not matter whether or not we feel it; we will still preach powerfully. Sometimes the Lord does give us a feeling, and we can sense the baptism, but whether or not we sense it, we have the liberty and the release. When we are in the Holy Spirit and under the power of the Spirit, we have liberty, boldness, and release.
The laying on of hands is not a form. It is a principle. The principle is to get right with the Body. If we are not right with the Body, then even if someone comes and lays hands upon us, this will not work. In this case, it is only a form. The principle is to realize that the Holy Spirit has been poured down upon the Body, and today the Holy Spirit from the Lord as the Head is upon the Body already. Now we have become members of the Body, we are right with the Body, and we take this standing and claim it by faith. Then we will have the baptism. This is a matter of faith based upon what the Lord has accomplished.
In my many years of ministry, I can testify that at least once, while I was ministering on the platform in 1935, I did sense the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It was like a cloud coming down upon me. While I was ministering, I was in a room, but I was also in the cloud. Many times I have sensed something in a different way. However, there is no need to pay attention to this sense. We should simply get right with the Body and take the standing that we are members of the Body. We should claim this fact with the saints.
We have the outpouring. Do you believe this? Do not listen to the other voices, which say that we must tarry, fast, cry, or even roll, jump, or exercise our mouth to speak in tongues in order to receive the outpouring. Some say you must jump up and down before you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Others say you must roll, laugh, or twist your tongue to make strange utterances. I cannot find such things in the Scriptures. I know about these practices, and I have seen them. I am not against anything genuine or real, but I must tell you the truth. The right way to receive the outpouring is to have a proper standing with the Body and to claim it by faith.
All these things have been accomplished by the Lord. He died, resurrected, and ascended. By His death He dealt with our sins; by His resurrection He imparted Himself as life to us; and in His ascension He has poured down His Spirit upon His Body. This is the gospel. Now we must simply receive it by faith. If we say, “Lord, I thank You that You died for me on the cross,” all our sins are forgiven. If we say, “Lord, You have been resurrected, so I take You as my life,” we have eternal life. In the same way, we must take the fact, saying, “Lord, You have ascended to the heavens and have poured down Your Spirit upon the Body. Lord, I am a member of that Body, and I have the standing, the liberty, and the right to claim what You have poured down.” This is the gospel, and we should happily receive it by faith.
We must realize that all these things have been accomplished by the Lord. Everything is ours. There is no need to tarry, cry, shout, laugh, roll, jump, or dance. We simply take them by faith. However, in order to exercise faith, we must have the right position and stand upon it.
(The Work of the Holy Spirit, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)