III. THE WAY TO BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
A. The Accomplishment of the Objective Fact
In order to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we need first to know that, as far as the objective fact is concerned, both aspects—the inward and the outward—have been accomplished by God. The Holy Spirit as life within was given on the night of the resurrection, while the Holy Spirit as power without descended on the day of Pentecost. The chorus of a hymn by A. B. Simpson* says, “Doubt not the Spirit, given long ago.” The descending of the Holy Spirit is like the crucifying of the Lord Jesus—both are accomplished facts. Today the Lord Jesus does not need to be crucified again; neither does the Holy Spirit need to descend again. God does not have to give the Lord Jesus to man again to be crucified for man; neither does God have to send down the Holy Spirit again to fill man within and without. God has already accomplished it all. The problem now is in our receiving it by faith. In order to gain Christ and experience Christ today, we need only to receive Him; likewise, in order to obtain the Holy Spirit, either inwardly or outwardly, we also need only to receive Him. To what extent we receive the Holy Spirit, to the same extent the Holy Spirit will fill us. We shall now study separately the two aspects of receiving the filling of the Holy Spirit.
B. The Way to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit Inwardly
The way to be filled with the Holy Spirit inwardly is as follows:
1. Empty Ourselves
In order to receive the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, we must first confess, repent, and accept the fact that Christ has died for us. Likewise, in order to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit, we must first accept the fact that we have died with Christ. Then we must deal with sin, the world, the flesh, our self-opinion, and our natural ability, to the end that we may completely empty ourselves of these, allowing none of them to have any more place in us, but rather allowing the Holy Spirit to gain all the ground in us. If we will respond to the demand of the Holy Spirit, removing that which must be removed and forsaking that which must be forsaken, thus emptying ourselves and letting the Holy Spirit have all the ground and authority in us, then automatically the Holy Spirit will fill us, and we will subjectively experience and enjoy the infilling of the Holy Spirit. For this reason we have placed this lesson of being filled with the Holy Spirit after all the experiences of the dealings.
After we have dealt with everything and emptied ourselves, we must believe that the Holy Spirit is filling us from within. We only need to believe in the filling of the Holy Spirit, without trying to feel whether or not we have been filled. Real faith does not depend on feeling. If we will only believe in this manner, the Lord will cause the filling of the Holy Spirit to become our practical experience.
C. The Way to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit Outwardly
The way to be filled with the Holy Spirit outwardly is as follows:
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)