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November 11, 2018

Spirit's Filling

How are we filled with the Spirit and why does it matter? Listen or read to find out.
Duration:36:48

Mike Gerhardt, 11-11-18, Beginning Well, Spirit's Filling, Ephesians 5:18. We have spoken about belief, repentance, assurance, commitment, baptism and today we address the Spirit's filling. What are you afraid of? Arachibutyrophobia: Fear of peanut butter sticking to mouth’s roof; Sesquipedalophobia: Fear of long words; Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia: Fear of very long words; Dextrophobia: Fear of having objects to your right; Siderophobia: Fear of stars; Arithmophobia: Fear of numbers -good excuse for bad math scores; Geliophobia: Fear of laughter; Gelotophobia, the fear of being laughed at; Kinemortophobia: Fear of zombies – say away from the walking dead; Pogonophobia: Fear of beards -bad for no shave November; Somniphobia: Fear of sleep; Metro-phobia: Fear of poetry -sounds more like fear of riding the subway; I feared: phonophobia or ligyrophobia loud noise, nyctophobia the dark, hydrophobia being underwater, claustrophobia closed spaces and acrophobia. I was afraid of climbing Bowman's Tower, Washington's Crossing, PA. Acrophobia is the extreme or irrational fear of heights. From Greek acron meaning peak, summit, edge, and phobos meaning fear. No doubt I had other fears but when I received the Holy Spirit, God delivered me from fear. Different people and their experiences. Pilot light Christians vs Full flame Christians. Maybe you've never said this, but I have heard someone describe a believer as really on fire for the Lord. John the Baptist may have been described that way, he said: I baptize you with water, He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Matthew 3:11. Somehow Jesus would baptize his followers with the Holy Spirit and with fire. We are to have the ruach of God, the breath of God. They were longing. Acts 2:2-4 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Pentecost, 120 in the upper room. Acts 1:5 Jesus: John baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. A few days turned into ten. They had to be very patient. They were receptive. Acts 8:14-17 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Samaritans and the Jews hated each other. Samaria had accepted the word of God, but the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon them. Instead of developing into another sect of Christianity, God sent Peter and John to Samaria to place their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit, and to connect as a family with believers in Jerusalem. They were hostile. Ananias is told to go to Saul. Ananias reminds God in verse 13: Lord I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints (can you send someone else). Acts 9:17-19 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Ananias was a brave servant of God, placed his hand on Saul, someone totally antagonistic and hostile to the Way said: be filled with the Holy Spirit. They were uninformed. Acts 19:1-7 Paul encounters some of John's disciples and asked: Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? They said no. He told them to believe in Jesus and baptized them with water and then laid hands on them. Then the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. They were unlikely. Acts 10:44-46 Cornelius a Gentile centurion had a vision where God told him to send men to get Peter. Peter, who was hungry and also had a vision, and a sheet full of unclean foods like pork, snakes, and buzzards were presented. God said: Kill and eat. Peter said: Surely not, LORD. This happened 3 times. Then three men showed up from Cornelius. Peter invited the Gentiles in, which was against Jewish custom. Next day Peter and some Jewish Christians go to visit Cornelius. Cornelius and his family. The passage tells us that Cornelius was a devout and God-fearing man who gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. It does not say he knew Jesus as Savior. It dawns on Peter that God does not show favoritism but will accept people from every nation. So, he starts preaching. While Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. Peter didn't even get to the invitation and the last hymn. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Cornelius, his family, and his household experienced something when the Holy Spirit came upon them. This is not recorded for everyone who trusted Jesus. Some had a manifestation like speaking in tongues and some did not. Yet others recognized the change. In this case, they were astonished that God would pour out the Holy Spirit even on these Gentile pigs! They were realizing that the Gospel is no longer about me and my clan, but it is about God's love for the world (and it always has been). God wants us to experience Him in community as well as in our prayer closet. Filling of the Spirit is likened to being drunk with wine. If you've never been drunk with wine, then you don't know the feeling of being somehow controlled by another substance from within. When you first heard your child say I love you, how did that make you feel? I hope you are not completely stoic. Most humans have some emotion. I wonder if I proposed to Janet stoically by saying: there are at least 10 intellectual reasons for us to marry, she would have responded there's only one intellectual response: no way. Young couples experience many emotional things: he makes me weak in the knees, she makes my head swirl, my palms sweat when I am around her, he makes me giggle and smile from ear to ear. It is drugs, alcohol or love? They were released in praise. They were freed indeed to worship God. Peter in a knee-jerk reaction just like at Pentecost, suggested that they be water baptized. You mean they weren't baptized in water and yet the Holy Spirit filled them? How can that be? As you would discover, God does not have a step by step, check off this and that conversion program. Each individual trusts Jesus to save them and becomes transform according to God, not according to manmade list. They received a new language. They spoke in tongues. The Jewish believers who had experienced the same thing at Pentecost recognized it. In the next chapter of Acts, Peter had a lot of explaining to do to the apostles in Jerusalem who questioned whether Gentiles could even be redeemed. There are hindrances to being filled with Holy Spirit. Doubt. Luke 11:9-13 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Fear. What if the Holy Spirit moves me to start dancing in church or putting my hands up in worship or start shouting amen and praise the Lord? What if the Spirit of God overwhelms me to speak to my neighbor about Jesus or gives me the passion to give away money to the needed or to invite someone to live in my house who is homeless? What if… What does it matter? Paul writes be filled with the Spirit. Trust God to move in you to do His will. Inadequacy. Why me? Normative for the child of God to be humbled by the experience that God the Father because of Jesus' sacrifice sends the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer. So, be filled with the Spirit. Not an all or nothing experience. It is not found in the extremes that are found in different cultures of Christianity. It is found in a relationship with God. Fan into flame the fire that little light of yours and not hide it under a bushel. Let us move from being pilot light believers and experience the filling of the Holy Spirit and His leading each day of our lives.