Day 15 Study - Baptized and Filled

In the last chapter we read about a time when God put His Spirit on seventy elders, so that they could assist Moses in leading the nation of Israel. An interesting error occurred at this time. Two of the seventy elders did not make it to the "ordination" ceremony.  When the group of elders gathered, the Spirit of God came upon them and they prophesied. The two elders who remained in the camp also received the Spirit at the same time, and started prophesying right where they were. Someone ran and told Moses about this, and his faithful aide Joshua was very upset.

"Joshua, son of Nun, who had been Moses' aide since youth, spoke up and said, 'Moses, my lord, stop them!' But Moses replied, 'Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord's people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit on them!'"  (Numbers 11:28-29)

Moses seemed to know exactly what God's plan was. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil into the Most Holy Place in the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom, signifying that the way had been make for all people to come into the presence of God by the blood of Jesus. No more animal sacrifices or priestly intercession was necessary. Jesus is our Sacrifice and our High Priest forever. Along with the fulfillment of Jesus' ministry came the promise of the indwelling Spirit of God for all people, just as Moses longed to see so long ago.

"For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants." (Isaiah 44:3)

God revealed through Isaiah that future generations of the nation of Israel would know this blessing of God's Spirit poured out on all. Though the time of this prophecy was not specific, the Jews understood that this promise was somehow linked to the coming of the Messiah.

"And afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour our My Spirit in those days." (Joel 2:28-29)

Joel's specific prophecy about this outpouring of the Spirit began on the Day of Pentecost shortly after Jesus' ascension to heaven in glory.

Read Acts 2:1-47 carefully.

In verses 16-18, Peter explains that this outpouring of the Spirit was the fulfillment of what was spoken by the prophet Joel. At the end of verse 18, Peter again stresses the promise about prophesy (adding to what Joel originally spoke) to emphasize the explanation for what was happening in verse 11. The apostles were "declaring the wonders of God." This is actually a large part of New Testament prophecy. Revelation 19:10 tells us that "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."   In the Old Testament the  prophets' testimony about Jesus

always focused on what He was going to do, and this involved the foretelling of future events. In the New Testament, the prophets' testimony is largely based on what Jesus has already done for our salvation. The filling of the Spirit at Pentecost gave the believers great power to testify of Jesus and declare God's wonders to everyone.

In Acts 1:8, Jesus had spoken of this new witnessing power the apostles were going to receive.

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

This witnessing power brought great boldness, and ability to better communicate God's truth. But more than that - the Spirit gave the apostles a special anointing of power and authority to speak God's Word. These Spirit-filled men were not explaining their personal theological opinions or commenting on the day's events. They were speaking the message that God Himself gave them by His Spirit now indwelling them. This is the difference between prophesy and just talking about God. The prophet speaks what the Spirit has given them to say, whether in future fore-telling (as often seen in the Old Testament) or in present forth-telling (usually what is seen in the New Testament), the prophet speaks from God, as led by the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit confirmed that these prophetic declarations of the wonders of God were indeed given by Him, and not contrived by the speakers, by speaking through the apostles in languages which they had never spoken before! It was a well known fact that the apostles were simple and uneducated men - they were certainly not experts in a multitude of languages and dialects. Yet people from many different countries and regions heard these prophetic statements in their own native languages! There can be no doubt at all about Who was really speaking here!

We will study spiritual gifts, including prophecy and different tongues in a future chapter. As my good friend Pastor Bob Beeman would say - "Hold that thought!"

One other dramatic result of the filling of the Spirit at Pentecost was the great unity among the believers. In verses 42-47 we see a kind of love and devotion to God and to each other that is rarely seen today. This section is a wonderful Bible study all by itself.  We'll talk much more about this Spirit-filled unity later on in this book.

We have already learned that all believers receive the indwelling Holy Spirit when they are born again, and there is no exception to this rule. Yet all Christians are certainly not filled with the Spirit, as a trip to any local church will soon reveal. To better understand this, we need to clarify the difference between being "Baptized with the Holy Spirit", and being "Filled with the Holy Spirit." ON the Day of Pentecost, the apostles were both "baptized: and "filled" with the Holy Spirit at the same time. This is not always the case, however.

Spirit-Baptism and Spirit-Filling

Read the following Scriptures carefully:

"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." - John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11)

On one occasion, while He [Jesus] was eating with them, He gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 1:4-5)

"For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. - the apostle Paul (I Corinthians 12:13)

First let's clear up some translation confusion. Look back at the last three Scriptures. Notice that John and Jesus both speak of being baptized WITH the Spirit, but Paul speaks of being baptized BY the Spirit. You will also hear people speak of being IN the Spirit. All of these words (with, by, in) are the same Greek word.  There is no difference. It doesn't matter at all whether you say you're baptized with the Spirit, by the Spirit, or in the Spirit.

Next, look back at I Corinthians 12:13. The apostle Paul says that we were all baptized and all given the same Spirit. He does not refer only to certain special believers, but he clearly means all who have believed. This letter was written to a large church, and all of the members were not spiritually healthy at the time. Some of these people were way out of step with the Spirit, to say the least, and they were certainly far from being filled with the Spirit. Clearly this Spirit baptism is what includes us into the body of Christ, and is necessary to salvation. In Romans 8:9 it was also Paul the apostle who said:

"If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ."

We have already studied the absolute necessity of the Spirit for salvation in month 3, chapter 4, pages 51-53. As a result of this, and as a result of what we have studied in this chapter so far, we can make some conclusions: We have seen that (1) all true believers have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, (2) that this happens at the time of conversion, when we are born again, and (3) to be baptized by the Spirit does not necessarily mean that we are filled with the Spirit. All believers have the Spirit indwelling them, but most are not filled!

Many people today experience a wonderful filling of the Holy Spirit which happens at some time after conversion, and they often call this filling "the baptism of the Holy Spirit." Many people (including myself!) have had these powerful experiences, but it is probably more appropriate to call these occurrences "fillings" than it is to call them "baptisms." Paul the apostle made it clear that there is really only one baptism:

There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism: one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Some people teach that the baptism in the Spirit must happen some time after conversion. They point out that there was a time delay between the apostles' conversion and the baptism by the Holy Spirit. Yet the reason that the apostles were not baptized in the Spirit at the moment of their conversion is clearly explained in the Bible:

"Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this He (Jesus) meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive.  Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7:38-39)

We see here that Jesus had to be glorified before the promised indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus first had to ascend back to the Father and retake His rightful place in glory as Ruler of all. We also studied this in Month 3, chapter 4:  "...unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." - Jesus (John 16:7b)

In Acts 2:32-33, Peter also understood this, and explained it to the multitude on the day of Pentecost:  "God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear."

Now that Jesus had ascended and was glorified, the promise of the indwelling Holy Spirit became a reality for all believers. In the case of the apostles, they received the baptism (the indwelling) and the filling of the Holy Spirit at the same time - soon after Jesus was glorified. Today we do not have to wait for the baptism of the indwelling Spirit - it happens when we first believe. But the filling of the Holy Spirit may not happen at that time. Often it takes longer for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit! We'll talk about some of the reasons for this later.

Many Fillings

Another aspect of post-conversion filling experiences is that there are often many of them. If a believer only expects the filling of the Holy Spirit once, they're probably missing out! Many wonderful and transforming encounters with the Holy Spirit should characterize the Christian life. There is one baptism, but there are supposed to be many fillings! In Ephesians 5:18, the apostle  Paul encourages us to "Be filled with the Spirit." This is an ongoing instruction - Keep being filled!

Looking back again at the book of Acts, we see that the same disciples who were filled with the Spirit in Acts 2:4 were filled

again in Acts 4:31!

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)

We see conclusively that the Spirit's filling is not a one-time occurrence. Like the first Spirit-filling on Pentecost, the immediate result of this second filing was that the disciples had great boldness to proclaim the Word of God! This is one evidence of true Spirit-filling.

Another evidence of true Spirit-filling which we see here again is the great unity among the believers. We read about it in the next verse:

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. (Acts 4:32)

Lastly, remember the great anointing of power and authority that the apostles received at Pentecost to testify of Jesus Christ. We see this same grace given again at this second filling:

With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.  (Acts 4:33)

Looking Back at the Old Testament Saints

We saw (in the last chapter) that in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was rarely given on a permanent basis. The Spirit came upon chosen people at special times to enable them for difficult tasks.  But there were only a few special people who knew the Spirit's constant indwelling. These were the people who had made the Lord their dwelling place. They prized the indwelling of God's precious Holy Spirit as a greater treasure than anything the world had to offer. These devoted saints alone knew the permanence of the Spirit's indwelling.

The Spirit was not given to all believers in the Old Testament.  Many Old Testament saints who put their faith in God's coming provision for their salvation did not ever know this blessed indwelling They were "saved," it's true, but they looked anxiously forward to the promise of the Spirit being poured out on all flesh.  How they must have wished that they could be alive when that prophecy was fulfilled! How they must have wished that they could be one of the people who would know the outpouring of the Spirit!

As you read the following verses, think about the special treasure we were given as New Testament believers, and how we sometimes take it for granted. How much the Old Testament saints would have loved to be in your shoes!

"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him or knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you." (John 14:16-17)

...God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. (Romans 5:5b)

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.  (Romans 8:16)

...Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you ... (I Corinthians 6:19b)

Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance ... (Ephesians 1:13b-14a)

He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.   (Titus 3:5b-6

We know that we live in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.   (I John 4:13) 

The verses you've just read tell a wonderful story!  God's Spirit renews us and transforms us into living temples for Him to dwell in forever. The Spirit's abiding presence in our hearts is proof that we are truly one with God, and we will never be separated from Him. The Holy Spirit in us is God's seal of ownership and His guarantee that we are His possession. We can be certain of our salvation and our inheritance as His children. He pours out His Spirit generously on us, filling us with His boundless love. The indwelling Spirit produces a strong bond of love with our Eternal Father, and a kindred communion among our brothers and sisters that even the closest families on earth never know.

We'll be studying the Holy Spirit and His New Testament work during the daily devos this week!  Remember that you should also be reading through the New Testament everyday on your own! If you haven't read through it yet, get going! Also - if you haven't read the Acts of the Apostles by now, you're probably not understanding some of the things we're talking about!