Spirit-Filled Souls Are Sanctified Souls

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

Romans 6:22

This is the will of God, even your sanctification.

1 Thessalonians 4:3

Sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit which delivers us from the control of sin and transforms us into the likeness of Jesus Christ. God takes worldly thinking, fleshly habits, and unrighteousness behavior and convicts us of our wrongful thoughts, breaks our selfish patterns, and transforms our sinful actions through the Word of God, sacraments, prayer, circumstances, and Spirit-filled worship.

Sanctification is the progressive work of the Holy Spirit which creates Spirit-filled souls. He removes sinful imperfections as we are daily enabled to put off the bondages of sin and put on the life of Christ. Walking in the Spirit is actively attained for it involves continuous choices of faith and obedience. We passively receive the empowering of the Holy Spirit, but we purposely choose to appropriate his power for victory over the world, the flesh, sin, death, and the devil.

Fire is the chosen symbol of Heaven for moral passion. It is emotion aflame. God is love; God is fire. The two are one. The Holy Spirit baptizes in fire. Spirit-filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They believe with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with a fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the Fire of God. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Acts 2:1-4).

Samuel Chadwick, The Way of Pentecost (Berne, Indiana: Light and Hope, 1937), 21.

HT: Holiness Data Ministry

Immersed in the Holy Spirit

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Acts 4:31 (NIV)

The baptism (in, with, or by) of the Holy Spirit is an overwhelming experience of the Spirit’s presence, power, and purity: a total submergence within the person of the Holy Spirit. This individual experience is instantaneous and may be reoccurring. The baptism refers to the initial work of the Spirit in uniting believers to Christ as well as on-going encounters with the Spirit bringing refreshment and strengthening in the Christian life. The baptism of the Holy Spirit brings intimacy with God, illumination of the Word of God, power for ministry, and hunger for holiness.

Question: The same day as your conversion you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Answer: Yes, it happened like this: After dinner we were moving books and furniture to another law office. The thought took possession of my mind that as soon as I was alone in the new office, I would try to pray again.

Later, I made up a good fire in an open fireplace and accompanied Squire W. to the door. As I closed the door and turned around, my heart seemed to be liquid within me. All my feelings seemed to rise and flow out, and the utterance of my heart was, I want to pour our my whole soul out to God. The rising of my soul was so great that I rushed into the room back of the front office to pray.

There was no fire there and no light; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly light. As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face-to-face. It did not occur to me then, nor did it for some time afterward, that it was wholly a mental state. On the contrary, it seemed to me that I saw Him as I would see any other man. He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at His feet.

I have always since regarded this as a most remarkable state of mind, for it seemed to me a reality that He stood right before me, and I feel down at His feet and poured out my soul to Him. I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance. It seemed to me that I bathed His feet with my tears, and yet I had no distinct impression that I touched Him, that I recollect.

Charles G. Finney, Evangelist. Popular books: Lectures on Revival, Autobiography, and Systematic Theology.

Leona Frances Choy, Powerlines: What Great Evangelicals Believed About the Holy Spirit 1850-1930 (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1990), 79.

The Holy Spirit on a Person

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

John 20:22

As a pastor, I rarely feel the anointing of the Holy Spirit when preaching to my own congregation. I trust that the Spirit is working irrespective of my mood, the listening audience’s engagement, or the excitement level of the listeners. The prophet Isaiah said that God’s Word never returns void (Isa. 55:11), thus I trust that the Holy Spirit is affecting hearts as I preach. The Holy Spirit is upon the audience encouraging them to trust God entirely, love Christ throughly, and hunger for holiness completely.

I always believe that the Holy Spirit is upon a person when I preach to that person. I do not mean that the Spirit is within the hearts of unbelievers, but that He is outside. What is He doing? He is waiting, waiting to bring Christ into their hearts. He is like the light. Open the window-shutters even a little, and it will flood in and illuminate the interior. Let there be a cry from the heart to God, and at that moment the Spirit will enter and begin His transforming work of conviction and repentance and faith.

Watchman Nee, What Shall This Man Do? 

The Filling of the Spirit

 

Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph. 5:18–20 NLT

The filling of the Holy Spirit is a state of being totally overwhelmed in the presence of Jesus Christ both within and without. To be “filled” for the believer means that he or she is under the controlling influence of the Spirit: the believer is motivated, encouraged, and directed by God.

“Being filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18) refers to God’s presence fully saturating the believer’s heart, soul, mind, and spirit. A “filled” Christian walks in union and communion with God. An individual who is filled with the Spirit is dominated in their person by the Spirit’s presence being a description how they live and love (Luke 4:1; Acts 6:3-5, 7:55, 11:24). The filling of the Spirit is to be a life lived in God’s presence.

The infilling of the Holy Spirit is not confined to a one time experience at conversion or just a singular dramatic encounter occurring later in the Christian life. The infilling of the Spirit is a crisis, a one-time encounter, and a process, an on-going experience: sometimes described as one baptism and many fillings.

The filling of the Spirit should be a moment by moment experience of the constant, conscious presence of Christ.  “Being constantly filled,” with the Holy Spirit is freedom to enjoy Christ and his presence on a daily, if not, hourly, and even possibly, minute-by minute basis. The filling of the Spirit is described by the Apostle Paul as a daily “walking in the Spirit” or a “keeping in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25). The Lord desires something better for us; a continual abiding in the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9) as we perform the daily tasks of life.

The promise of the Spirit is not for great or exceptional Christians, but for any Christian who yields himself to God. Paul addressed everyday Christian believers at Ephesus: husband, wife, parent, child, master, slave. He encouraged all to live lives full of the divine Holy Spirit, full from within.

What this command to be filled with the Spirit meant in Ephesus, it means in England, it means to the one who is writing these words in his study at Cambridge, and to his brother in Christ who reads them, wherever and whenever God has bid him dwell.

H. C. G. Moule quoted in His Victorious Indwelling, ed., Nick Harrison (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 158.

A Prayer for Pentecost Sunday

 

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

John 20:22 ESV

O’ Heavenly Father, the Triune God of grace, be pleased to visit us this day with the personal presence and power of your Holy Spirit. Renew the day of Pentecost in our midst, may there come a powerful downfall of holy fire and a wonderful uprising of heavenly wind.

Wash away the impurity of our sins that we might worship your Holy Name in sincerity and truth. Let the oil of your presence bathe our wounds with love that we may be healed of our inward waywardness. Come and set us free from besetting sins that we might serve you in purity and holiness. Fill us afresh that our hearts might burn with the living flame of love.

Let your family likeness be found in us, O’ Lord. We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The business of faith is to convert Truth into reality. What do you really believe? take time and catalogue it up; are you converting your belief into reality? You say, “I believe God has sanctified me”—does your actual life prove He has? “I believe God has baptised me with the Holy Ghost”—why? Because you had cold shivers and visions and marvellous times of prayer? The proof that we are baptised with the Holy Ghost is that we bear a strong family likeness to Jesus, and men take knowledge of us, as they did of the disciples after Pentecost, that we have been with Jesus, they recognise the family likeness at once.

Oswald Chambers, Conformed to His Image (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1996).

 

 

Charismata (Spiritual Gifts)

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts (Greek: charismata). Use them well to serve one another.

1 Peter 4:10 NLT

We need supernatural power to fight and win a supernatural war, therefore the Father gives us spiritual tools and grace-filled weapons for the battle–the spiritual gifts. These weapons are concrete expressions of grace, charismata, which enable and empower every believer to do the words and perform the works of Jesus. The word explains the reason for the works and the works demonstrate the power of the word.

It is not enough to believe in the spiritual gifts or even occasionally participate in their practice; we must intensely hunger for their manifestation. The Apostle Paul admonishes us to “eagerly desire the spiritual gifts” (1 Cor. 14:1). The phrase “seek not, forbid not” concerning the gifts of the Spirit is an unbiblical aphorism (1 Cor. 1:7, 12:31, 14:39; Heb. 2:3-4).

But while indeed the Church’s sacramental and apostolic order witnesses to the historical givenness of gospel and Church, there is need to remember the continuing lively action of the Spirit whereby alone the believers are Christ’s body. The many charismata shared among the Church’s members are not personal qualities or possessions so much as constant actions of the Spirit in which the liveliness of God touches human lives.

Michael Ramsey, Holy Spirit: A Biblical Study (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1977), 127-128.

Wholehearted Devotion

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.

Col. 3:16 NLT

Wholehearted devotion toward the Lord Jesus Christ is to be filled with intense passionate love for our precious Savior. This Spirit-empowered dedication involves a love that cannot be explained, a passion that cannot be squelched, and a service that will not cease. To be wholehearted is to desire God’s heart, be fervent for God’s will, and be possessed by God’s Spirit. Wholeheartedness is the mind, will, and emotions on fire for the living God. In turn, our motivation is to please Christ, our ambition is to serve him, and our commitment is to love him.

Our natural heart does not love God; the Holy Ghost is the only Lover of God, and immediately He comes in, He will make our hearts the centre of love for God, the centre of personal, passionate, overwhelming devotion to Jesus Christ. (God and Jesus Christ are synonymous terms in practical experience.) When the Holy Spirit comes in and sin and self-interest are in the road, He will instantly detect them and clear them out as soon as we give our consent, until we become incandescent with the very love of God.

Oswald Chambers, Biblical Psychology: A Treasure Chest for Christian Counselors (London: Marshall, 1996), 189.

A Life Shot Through with the Holy Spirit

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:4

The Holy Spirit is the Lord and giver of life: fully God working in the world bestowing life, empowering for service, purifying hearts, providing God’s presence, and guiding God’s people. Personally, the Holy Spirit does in us what Christ did for us on the cross. The Spirit makes Christ known by allowing Christ’s life to flow in and through us. We no longer have to ask the question, “What would Jesus do?” for all believers can know will of God by the personal presence, purity, and power of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit has been given; Jesus has been glorified; the waiting depends upon our fitness, not upon God’s providence. The reception of the Holy Ghost depends entirely upon moral preparation. I must abide in the light which the Holy Ghost sheds and be obedient to the word of God; then when the power of God comes upon such obedience there will be the manifestation of a strong family likeness to Jesus.

It is easier to be swayed by emotions than to live a life shot through with the Holy Spirit, a life in which Jesus is glorified. The Holy Spirit is absolutely honest, He indicates the things that are right and the things that are wrong.

Oswald Chambers, The Love of God (Hants UK: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1996) [paragraphing mine].

Casper, the Friendly Ghost (A Prophetic Word)

If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

Matt 10:38-39 NLT

Many believers have adopted an entitlement mentality: we wrongly think that God owes us something. We believe that God is obligated to give us a life free from disappointment, struggle, emotional hardship, and chronic physical pain. We will not admit it, but we feel that God ought to bless us with the good life, a life where all our middle-class dreams come true. Especially if we pray, tithe, and attend church regularly, God should make sure all our hopes and desires happen exactly as we have planned.

If our life plans and expectations don’t materialize according to our timetable, we feel that we have been wronged by God. We demand an explanation, and that explanation better come right now and be a good one. If an explanation does not arrive (and it never does), we grow angrier and angrier with God. We feel that we have been wronged, terribly wronged by God.

We see ourselves as victims of God’s unfaithfulness. We stagnate spiritually, we fail to trust his promises, we are easily swayed by the world. We stop growing spiritually and refuse to trust God with the simplest of matters. We wallow in our self-pity.

What is the answer? Repentance is the answer. The problem is not God, the problem is our selfish hearts. We expect God, others, and the church to cater to our every need. We expect an easy life instead of the disciple’s call to be a Jesus-follower through the pain and disappointments of life (Matt. 10:37-39). Christ bids us to “come and die” to ourselves, the world, and all our expectations (John 12:24). We must stop whining, complaining, and pitying ourselves (Phil. 2:14). We must take up Christ’s cross and follow him wherever he desires to lead (Rev. 14:4).

We should stop pretending that the Holy Spirit is Casper, the friendly ghost, who is here to meet all our needs, wants, and desires. We must fall on our knees and ask the Holy Spirit to overwhelm us by purging us with his purifying fire. We need the Holy Spirit to cleanse our hearts, check our motives, and mature us on the path of self-denial and suffering (Rom. 5:1-5; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 4:12-13).

The church for too long has followed Casper, the friendly ghost, instead of seeking the fire of the Holy Ghost. We have turned limp at the thought of our own cross; we faint when we think of suffering, sacrifice or self-denial. Beloved, it is time to embrace the fire of God’s Presence. It is the fire that purifies our sacrifice.

Francis Frangipane, “Francis Frangipane Quotes” 

God’s Power Is Available Power

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.

Acts 1:8

On this blog, I have shared my experiences of fresh fillings of the Holy Spirit. I can say without hesitation and equivocation that without these very personal and deeply intimate encounters with the Holy Spirit, I would not have stayed in Christian ministry for over thirty years. Ministry is a hard-fought, supernatural battle: preaching the gospel, encouraging others to trust Christ, standing against Satan’s schemes, etc. I need, we all need, God’s power to see hearts changed, souls encouraged, and Satan defeated.

Ministry requires that we walk in supernatural power to fight and win a supernatural war. Our Heavenly Father gives us spiritual tools and supernatural weapons for the battle—the spiritual gifts.  These weapons are concrete expressions of grace, charismata, which enable and empower us as believers to do the words and perform the works of Jesus. This power, God’s power, is available to everyone of us, all need to do is ask (Luke 11:13).

God’s power is available power. We are supernatural people, born again by a supernatural birth, kept by a supernatural power, sustained on supernatural food, taught by the supernatural Teacher from a supernatural Book. We are led by a supernatural Captain in right paths to assured victories.

J. Hudson Taylor, Hudson Taylor on Spiritual Secrets: A 30 Day Devotional Treasury, compiled by Lance Wubbels (Lynnwood, WA: Emerald Books, 1998), Day 2.