Sermon Detail

The Holy Spirit The Filling of the Holy Spirit

June 02, 2024 | Buster Brown

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."  Ephesians 5:15-21

“The Ephesian culture worshiped Baccus/Dionysiu, the god of wine. They believed that to commune with their god and to be led by him they had to be inebriated. In this state of intoxication, they could determine the will of their god and determine how to best serve and obey him…Paul draws a contrast by stating that in the biblical context, instead of being drunk with wine, you are filled with the Spirit. Being drunk with wine leads to immorality and darkness, but by being filled with the Spirit, you can determine God’s will and serve him faithfully in community and moral living.”  Max Anders, Holman New Testament Commentary

Spirit-baptism is a metaphor that describes our reception of the Holy Spirit at the moment of our conversion to Jesus in faith and repentance. When we hear the gospel and believe the reality of the work of the cross, we are justified and we are sealed by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 1:13-14).

Therefore, being baptized in the Spirit is instantaneous, simultaneous with conversion, universally given to all believers, unrepeatable (a one-time event), and permanent (it cannot be lost or forfeited).

Spirit-filling is a metaphor describing our continuous, ongoing experience and empowering by the Holy Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit is to come under progressively more intense and intimate influence of the Holy Spirit. Spirit-filling admits to degrees it can be forfeited or lost. It happens on multiple occasions in the life of a believer.


1. There is one baptism/by the Holy Spirit but multiple fillings.

2. To be filled by the Holy Spirit is a command.

“This is a duty resting on all, to be sought by all believers.”  John R. W. Stott

Regarding the anointing/filling of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer: “It is their duty to pray continually for his increase and farther manifestations of his power in them: It is their duty to labor that their prayers for him may be both fervent and effective; for the more of this experience they receive, the more fresh and plentiful is their unction (power).”  John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Vol 4, p. 398

3. The exhortation to be filled involves rich community life: in worship, strengthened relationships, and God-honoring daily living. 

4. This should be a continuous pursuit in the life of a believer.

“This command…is relevant to all believers throughout the whole of their lives. No believer may presume to have experienced a definitive filling of the Spirit so that the command of Ephesians 5:18 no longer applies. Short of death or the Lord's return, it continues in effect for every believer.”  Richard Gaffin, Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary 

“It is not sufficient to commune with the truth, for truth is impersonal. We must commune with the God of truth. It is not enough to study and ponder the contents of religious books, or even the Bible itself. We must actually address the Author of the Bible, in entreaties and petition.”  W.G.T. Shedd, The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, p. 366


1. Speaking spiritual truth to one another (19a).

2. Singing in your heart to the Lord (a life of worship) (19b).

3. Gratitude/thanksgiving (20).

“A quiet disposition and a heart giving thanks is the real test of the extent to which we love and trust God at that moment. I would like to give some strong words to you from the Bible to remind us that this is God’s own standard for Christians. ‘But fornication and all uncleanness of covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient; but rather, giving of thanks’ (Ephesians 5:3,5). Thus, the ‘giving thanks’ is in contrast to the whole black list that stands above. In Ephesians 5:20 it is even stronger: ‘giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.'"  Francis Schaeffer, The Complete Works of Francis A Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview, Vol 3

4. Mutual submission (versus self-assertive or demanding).

“But that same great love which led him from the manger to the cross is still beating in his bosom. It is as keen in the administration (of daily empowerment) as it was in the achievement of redemption. The appeal of the living sinner is not merely to a great by-gone and finished work of a dead Redeemer, but also to a living love and a living power in a living Savior to a love as much more tender and vehement that the warmest of mere human and Christian sympathies as his infinite heart is more capacious of the generous affection.”  C.R. Vaughan, The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, p. 358