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The Filling of the Holy Spirit
(K. Payne)

Author's bias: Interpretation: conservative
Inclination: dispensational
Seminary: Western (Portland)

Welcome to disciple making:

This series on disciple making is Booklet 1 – Essentials, which is part of the program Transferable Cross Training (TCT) developed by Dr. Karl Payne. The purpose of TCT is to help equip men and women to be effective disciple makers. The materials are field tested with various proof verses that can be memorized, and each lesson is focused on transferability. It is our desire is for those who accept the challenge of discipleship that, with or without a Bible and notes in hand, each individual who has taken the time to master the concepts and principles in this series will have confidence to comfortably and biblically respond to common questions and comments from friends or enemies of Christ. By God’s grace we can make a difference in eternity by being actively involved in the most important job assignment entrusted to mankind. For more information about TCT or obtaining the booklet series, see www.KarlPayne.org

Please remember that the uniqueness of this discipleship series is its simple transferability. It is the expressed desire of the author that students actually use these materials after completing each booklet, by sharing them with others in a manner consistent with 2 Timothy 2:2.

God commands us to walk filled with the Holy Spirit - Ephesians 5:17-18. What is the filling of the Holy Spirit and why is it so important?

"So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit." (Ephesians 5:17-18)

The word translated "filled" in this verse has a variety of meanings, including: to fill, to complete, to fully possess, to fully influence and to control. As wine can control, fill or possess a drunk, so the Spirit of God should control, fill or possess a Christian. The results of this controlling, filling, or possessing should be just as obvious, although in this immediate parallelism, one response represents a negative tragedy and the other a positive triumph.

All true believers have been baptized and sealed by the Holy Spirit at the the time of conversion (1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 8:9 Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 4:30). These two events occur simultaneously and are dependent upon God's work for us whether we are conscious of it or not. It only happens once.

We are promised that when we walk controlled by the Holy Spirit, we can expect consistent victory over the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Christians are in a daily battle between the Spirit and the flesh (Galatians 5:17). When we fail to walk controlled by the Spirit, we can expect to exhibit the fruit of being controlled by the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). When we walk controlled by the Spirit we can expect to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

16) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

17) For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

19) Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,

20) idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,

21) envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:16-23)

The man without the Spirit cannot understand the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14). It is impossible to grow spiritually apart from the illuminating, teaching, comforting, correcting, convicting working of the Holy Spirit who lives within us (1 Corinthians 2:6-16, John 14:15-17, 25-26; John 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19-20).

The Holy Spirit is to a Christian what a combustible engine is to a car. You can sit in the garage and look the part sitting on blocks, but you will never move forward because there is no source of power. Too many religious people sit moth balled on blocks in their churches, never moving forward because they do not belong to Christ and therefore do not have the Holy Spirit Rom.8:9. How important is it to walk filled/controlled by the Holy Spirit? How important is it to continue growing spiritually 1 Corinthians 3:1-3?

"And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?" (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)


Here are some main points to keep in mind:

1. God's Command:

"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit." (Ephesians 5:18)

Since God has given the command we can safely assume this is according to His will.

2. God's Promise:

"And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him." (1 John 5:14-15)

3. Man's Response:

By faith in God and His work, ask God to fill and control your life, knowing that God always answers prayers that are according to His will. Appropriate these truths by faith in God and His unchanging character.

4. Man's Assurance:

"And Abraham being fully assured that what He [God] has promised, He [God] was also able to perform." (Romans 4:21)

Remember the same thing Abraham did when he was told he would have a son through Sarah after he and his wife were too old to have children. God can always be trusted to keep His promises. The confident assurance Christians can have regarding the filling and controlling of the Holy Spirit should ultimately be grounded upon God's promise rather than man's performance. Is it God's will that Christians walk filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit according to Ephesians 5:18? Has God promised to always answer prayers that are according to His will according to 1 John 5:14-15? It's time to walk by faith, not by sight, remembering that faith is supposed to trump feelings if or when our faith and feelings are on a collision course. Salvation from sin, assurance of salvation, forgiveness of sins, trials always working for the good, loving the unlovable and the filling of the Holy Spirit are all ultimately based upon the fact of God's word and His ability to always keep His promises, regardless of our personal performance or subjective feelings.

What are the evidences of a life controlled by the Holy Spirit?

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)

What are the evidences of a life controlled by the flesh?

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarnd you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:16-21)

What keeps a Christian from being controlled by the Holy Spirit?

1. Unconfessed sin (Psalm 66:18)

2. Selfish motive (James 4:3)

3. Indulging the flesh (Galatians 5:16-17)

4. Loving this world more than God (James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-17)

5. Biblical illiteracy and man made theology (2 Timothy 2:15)

REMEMBER

  • The filling (controlling) of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit describe different events, and should not be used as synonymous terms.
  • All true Christians have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 12:13, Romans 8:9, Ephesians 1:13-14). The baptism of the Holy Spirit only happens once in the life of each believer.
  • All true Christians do not walk filled (controlled) by the Holy Spirit on a moment-by-moment or daily basis (Acts 2:3; 4:8, 31; 13:9, 52; Galatians 5:16-17; Ephesians 5:18). The filling of the Holy Spirit happens numerous times in the life of each believer.
  • Specific New Testament evidences that help distinguish the difference between being filled (controlled) by the Holy Spirit or being controlled by the flesh are outlined in Galatians 5:19-23.
  • The filling (controlling) of the Holy Spirit, like salvation, assurance, forgiveness and loving our enemies, ultimately depends upon God's ability to always keep His promises, not our less than perfect performance.

Karl Payne's personal note: I grew up in a home that would have been considered moral and ethical, but not religious. Both of my parents were teachers. Dad was a Mathematics / Science specialist for the Sacramento City School District and my mom taught grade school. My Dad would occasionally pray for our food, but we did not read the Bible or discuss religious topics. I decided my first Sunday of seventh grade that I had no real interest in church or Sunday school and informed my parents that I would no longer attend either. I assumed I was a Christian because I had been baptized as a child at my mom's request, but my primary interests were baseball, football and music.

On June 17th, 1970 I became a Christian while attending a youth retreat sponsored by Young Life, a Christian ministry focused upon reaching high school students. The two biggest hurdles I faced in that decision both related to honest assumptions. My first assumption related to what I had understood it meant to be a Christian. I assumed that I was a Christian because I had been baptized. Christians get baptized, I had been baptized, therefore, I was a Christian. I also thought that heaven, if it was real, was attained by being a nice person. I reasoned that since on a moral and ethical scale which had the Pope on one end and Hitler on the other, that my live style was closer to the Pope's than Hitler's, thus making me a shoe in for heaven if God was fair.

The second assumption I had made related to education. In eighth grade my science teacher told our class that "religious people were mental cripples who needed a crutch to get through life." I was very impressed by this teacher and took to heart what he said. In the eleventh grade, my physiology teacher told our class that "educated people believed in evolution." As I grew older my education had become more important to me. As a result of several teacher's comments I assumed that it was not possible to think deeply and still be a Christian. Religion in my mind was therefore something for nice people who were not too concerned about an academic education. My first assumption was to confuse churchianity with Christianity. Churchianity represents men and women making their best efforts to reach up to God and receive His approval, based upon their individual efforts to be found worthy in His eyes. Biblical Christianity is a message explaining how God has chosen to reach down to mankind through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, providing salvation by His grace as a free gift to all who believe, in spite of our unworthiness. Religion is essentially a message of man reaching up to God. Christianity is a message detailing how God has reached down to man. Religion exalts man. Christianity exalts God. I had received just enough religious training to confuse religion with Christianity and had rejected an honest consideration of Christianity in the process. My second assumption was to confuse naturalism, dialectical materialism and the suppositional baggage assumed to be true by both philosophical world views, with actual empirical data and good science, which provides conclusions based upon testing, observation and repetition rather than wishful thinking and naturalist / atheistic suppositional indoctrination.

On the 17th of June, 1970 at 8:00 P.M., I listened to a gentleman clearly explain that God's plan is that I have eternal life (John 3:16, John 10:10, Romans 5:1), but that my problem with sin (to miss the mark in word, thought or deed) had separated me from Him (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23). This sounded more like bad news to me than good news. He went on to say that God had provided a remedy for my sin by sending His only son Jesus Christ to die on a cross as a payment for my penalty (2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 2:4-10, 1 Timothy 2:5, Romans 5:8, John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9), but that it was absolutely necessary for me to respond to His remedy for the remedy to be effective (John 1:12, Romans 10:9-10, Revelation 3:20). I bowed my head in that room and quietly asked Jesus Christ to become my Savior and Lord. Jesus came into my life and has made me a new person, from the inside out (2 Corinthians 5:17). That was nearly thirty-one years ago. Knowing Jesus is more than religious activism or academic curiosity. It is a real relationship. Spiritual maturity is a process (1 John 2:12-14) that should continue to develop and grow as long as we are alive.

God used a Campus Crusade for Christ high school ministry to teach me that aggressive, reproductive Christianity (2 Timothy 2:2) should be considered normal Christianity. Sincerity is necessary for Christian living, but it is not sufficient for impacting our world for Christ (Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, 2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Peter 3:15). He has used several godly men, seminary and nearly twenty-five years of serving in church ministry to teach me that making disciples means far more than leading people to Christ and asking them to pray and read their Bibles. It is impossible to give what you do not have or share what you do not know. When people tell me that their Christian faith is boring, what they are really telling me is that they do not pray, they do not study and they do not give away what they have been given. The Christian life is an adventure that is exciting to live and share. To judge Christianity by people who sit on their hands, criticize others and turn a living faith into dead religion is to misrepresent Biblical Christianity. Christianity was never meant to be lived as a passive spectator sport.

Dr. Karl Payne, at heart, is an apologist who loves to train and equip Christians for spiritual service and warfare (Eph.4:11-16). He enjoys preaching, writing and retreat / conference / seminar speaking. He derives his greatest pleasure tackling the challenge of teaching Christian workers, interns and budding preachers / teachers at both the Bible College and Seminary levels. In addition, he has co-authored two books: A just Defense and Cross Training through Multnomah Press.



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