The Fullness of the Spirit

Bible Book: Ephesians  5 : 18
Subject: Spiritual Infilling; Holy Spirit, Infilling of

The Infilling of the Holy Spirit

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

Ephesians 5:18

In this passage we discover that the Christian has a power source which is available and necessary in order to stand for Christ in this world. So, I want us to look at the subject of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Baptist have on occasion been negligent in dealing with the subject of the fullness of the Spirit. This may be due to our fear that we will be identified with those who have abused this subject or with those who have taken it out of context. The ministry of the Holy Spirit has been misstated and misunderstood by many well-meaning people through the years. This is all the more reason for us to take a serious look at what the command to be filled with the Spirit really means.

Let’s look at the infilling of the Holy Spirit as presented in Ephesians 5:18. Our duty is not to detail the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Entire volumes have been written on this subject and it is much too broad for our consideration. We will confine our remarks to investigating what it means to be filled with the Spirit. Let us see three great truths.

I. The Command To Be Filled

It is not an option for a Christian to deal with the issue of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Neither can we say that being filled with the Spirit is only intended for some Christians. Our text today reveals that being filled with the Holy Spirit is a command - it is a divine imperative.

Someone has said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to the power of the Holy Spirit within us!” Indeed, how true that really is. God gives us His Spirit at salvation and then commands us to continuing experiencing the fullness of the Spirit in our daily walk with Him. He intends for us to take this seriously, and it is apparent that Paul did so.

Just think of the work of the Holy Spirit in our salvation and lives as believers.

  • The Spirit of God called to us when we were lost.
  • The Spirit of God entered into our lives as the person of Christ at the point of the New Birth.
  • The Spirit of God fills us.
  • The Spirit of God seals us so that we cannot be lost once we have been saved.
  • The Spirit of God empowers us to witness (Acts 1:8).
  • The Spirit of God gifts us for service (1 Corinthians 12, et al).

Don't get me wrong, the Holy Spirit is not to be our focus. We are told that the Spirit of God will point us to Jesus (John 14). But, God commanded us to be filled with the Spirit so that He can fulfill His purposes in us and complete His will through us. This is a very important issue and must not be taken lightly by God's people.

A. The Promise of being Filled

Jesus promised that the Spirit of God would be given to His disciples. No one can say that he or she wanted to be filled with the Spirit of God and found it impossible. Indeed, I believe every Chrisitian is filled with God's Spirit at the moment of Salvation. And, in fact, we have all of the Spirit of God within us that we are willing to make room for at any given time from the moment we are saved. In other words, the question is not how much of the Spirit do we have, the question is how much of us does the Holy Spirit possess!

B. The Power in being Filled

We are commanded to be filled because God knows that we need the His power in us in order to be faithful to Him in this world. Jesus promised power in the fullness of the Spirit. The power to live a godly life is not within our flesh, since the flesh is in rebellion against God. We are not to walk in the flesh but to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 2:6; 5:25). Only through God's Spirit can we expect to have victory over sin, self and Satan.

Anyone who has played golf for a number of years has had the unusual experience of getting half way around the golf course only to find that the golf cart refuses to go forward. The problem is simple. An electric golf cart has no power of its own but draws its power from an outside source. Each night the cart is plugged in and charged so that it is equipped to be useful the next morning when golfers arrive to play. The next morning the golf cart is filled with power and will take two players around the course with no problems. If a cart is missed in the recharging process, it may well fail to make the entire round the next day. So, the golfers start the round of golf but discover they lack the power to make it to the end. How many Christians do the same thing in their Christian living - in their spiritual lives. Dear friend, if you and I don't re-charge with the power of the Holy Spirit, we will find ourselves lacking at the moment we need the power the most. That is the reason God commands us to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Just about everyone has a cell phone these days and you can experience the same problem with your phone. You are talking to someone on your cell phone, and then you hear a few short beeps before the conversation comes to an end. Your phone has 'died.' Well, it hasn't actually died; it has just gone to sleep because it is out of power. As soon as you re-charge it, it will be 'alive' again. Imagine the awful feeling to be in an accident and need medical help, but finding that your cell phone is out of power. Your life may well depend on the strength of your cell phone battery. How much more important it is for us to be filled with God Spirit, for we never know when a demand will be made of us that only God can handle.

We must operate on a Spiritual level with the understanding that we lack sufficiency in ourselves to do divine work - to carry out spiritual duties. In fact, a great danger lies in thinking that we know enough, have been saved long enough, or have carnal gifts capable of aiding us in accompishing God's duties. All of our power to live for and serve God comes from an outside source, and that source is the Spirit of God. You need to be recharged daily with the overflowing power of the Holy Spirit. The strength to live the Christian life comes from the One who gave you your Christian life - from the Lord - through His Spirit.

C. The Peace through being Filled

We have peace when the Spirit is in control. The Spirit of God brings peace to our hearts and minds, and the fullness of the Spirit brings the fullness of joy, love, peace, etc. Galatians 5:22-25 states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Just listen to that list of wonderful attributes that are ours through the Spirit of God. Without the infilling of the Holy Spirit we cannot possibly obtain those qualities and characteristics. Perhaps that is why so few of these of seen in God's people today. Maybe this is why we are not winning people to Jesus as those did in times gone by. We simply must return to the reality that only God's Spirit can do in us and through us what is required of us in the Christian life.

We forfeit peace when we fail to be filled, for the Holy Spirit can help us control our temperament. He can help us know when, where and how to share our faith with others. He can help us love our family as we should. He can help us be kind and gentle, even with our enemies. To put it bluntly, He can make us more like Jesus. In fact, that is part of God's goal in our life - to conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).

The Spirit of God provides the power for us to have the attitude of the Lord and to act in accordance with His will for our lives. Without being filled, we are depending largely on our own abilities and are greatly affected by our culture rather than being conformed to Jesus.

D. The Person by which we are Filled

The Holy Spirit is a person - He is the person of God in us. The Spirit is not an aura, a sensation or an impression. He is a Person. He is God in us - Christ in us (John 14:15-18).

Zig Ziglar spoke of the Spirit's work in our lives in a unique way. Though I don't have the reference to his remarks, I can remember them enough to share them with you. If you were invited to house-sit, you could not make any substantial changes in the house while you were there because the house does not belong to you. Even if you found the color of the paint highly objectionable and didn't like the floor plan or the way the furniture was arranged you could do nothing about it because the house is not yours. The Holy Spirit is in the same position. He might not like a thousand different things you do, but there is nothing He will do about them until you give your life to Jesus Christ. When you "sell out to Jesus" by turning your life completely over to Him and give Him total ownership, He will make you like He wants you to be. Then you and He will like be more pleased! You will truly be changed. Ziglar thoughts help us grasp how important it is for the Spirit to be allowed to take control of our hearts and minds. What he was saying is simply this: You can't be what God wants you to be till you give full control to Him through the infilling of God's Holy Spirit!

Have you ever seen a bumper sticker that reads, "God Is My Co-Pilot." I hope you don't have one of those on your car or truck. You see, God doesn't need a co-pilot, He desires to be in full control. The fullness of the Spirit speaks of Him as your HGPS - your Heavenly Global Positioning Software. He will guide you. But, it speaks of more than that. He will not only give you directions, He will give you the power, strength, grace and gifts to accomplish His will.

II. The Contrast In Being Filled

Paul contrasts the infilling of the Holy Spirit with that of a person who is filled with distilled spirits. It is a powerful analogy. There was a young preacher that was having throat problems. He asked an old country preacher what to do and the country preacher recommended that he get some brandy and pour a little in a glass and fill the rest with water. The old preacher assured the young pastor that doing so was not actually drinking but was merely using the brandy as a medicine. So, he said to the young preacher, "Take it to the pulpit and sip it occasionally and your voice will clear up even as you preach.

So, the young preacher tried it. After the sermon he asked the old preacher how he liked his message.

The old preacher said, "I didn't like it at all."

"Why?" asked the young preacher."

“In the first place, I said ‘sip it,’ not gulp it. Secondly, the sermon on the mount was not preached in New York City. Thirdly, there are 10 commandments and not 14. And last of all, when David killed Goliath, he used a sling.”

Being filled with alcoholic spirits will make us do strange, ridiculous and often evil things. Being filled with God’s Spirit will make us do smart things, good things - Spiritual things.

Acts 2:13-18 “Some, however, made fun of them and said, 'They have had too much wine.' Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: 'Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.'"

At Pentecost the people observing the Christians complained that the believers were drunk on wine. Peter corrected them by pointing out that the Christians were simply filled with the Holy Spirit. Be assured that Pentecost was a one-time experience, but being filled with the Spirit is something God intended for every Christian to experience on a regular basis. We need to be filled to impact our world for Christ. It is hard today to tell the Christian from the non-Christian. Only God's Spirit can reflect the Light of Jesus through us to a dark world.

A. Indwelled by the Spirit

A person who is drunk is indwelt by an outside force which controls his life. He acts, talks, walks and converses in a different way than he normally would because of this outside force. That is what the Spirit of God is to do to us. When we are filled with the Spirit, we are different. We act more like Jesus. We talk like He would have us to talk. We live like He would have us to live. We are not acting naturally; we are acting supernaturally.

B. Intoxicated through the Spirit

Note that Paul uses the idea of being filled or drunk on wine. When a person is drunk, he is saturated with alcohol. The alcohol intoxicates and controls his behavior. We are to be drunk, intoxicated on the Spirit of God. A person who is intoxicated takes no thought for whether he is accepted or rejected, he acts under the influence of the alcohol. We are to be intoxicated on the Spirit of God and this will free our tongues to witness, our hearts to praise, our wills to surrender and our human spirits to worship God in Spirit and in truth.

III. The Constancy of Being Filled

This condition of being filled with the Spirit must be maintained. We can see that from three things in our text.

A. Language Tells Us

The language in our text is very clear, “Be always being filled with the Spirit.” We are told that we should be continually filled with the Spirit of God. It is not a one time event. It requires daily surrender.

B. Life Tells Us

Life itself reveals to us that circumstances are sometimes beyond our control. We need a powerful, internal force to help us cope with such difficulties and to help us magnify Christ as we endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

C. Lordship Tells Us

There is no way under heaven that Jesus can really be Lord of our lives unless we have a power beyond ourselves to help us yield to Him. Otherwise, we will succumb to self-will and we fail at the point of self-weakness. If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all! This requires a power beyond our selves. That power is the infilling of the Holy Spirit of God.

Three reasons why we are not filled:

1. Ignorance

Many simply do not know about or have not considered this subject. Ignorance is no excuse under the law or under grace. Any student of the Word of God will face this subject personally.

2. Indifference

Some know about the subject but are apathetic toward it. We must not be indifferent to the things God tells us in His Word are important.

3. Iniquity

Some are not filled because they are living in a state of rebellion toward God.

Which is it for us? Are we ignorant, indifferent or living in iniquity? It may be a small dose of all these issues that hinders us from experiencing the full power of God in our lives through the infilling of the Holy Spirit. It is certainly not because God is unwilling to fill us. Luke 11:13 reads, “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!"

How can I be filled? First, I must know that I am saved; then, there must be:

1. Craving.

You have not because you ask not! You must desire God's infilling and submit to Him.

2. Cleansing.

God will not fill an unclean vessel. We need to be honest with God by confessing our personal sins and turning from them.

3. Claiming.

We must claim by faith what God promised through His grace.


A French inventor, Bernard Palissy, was seeking the secret of making fine china with its translucence and indestructible ornamentation. But he was poor and sought for help. "Give me only fire enough," he told the people around him, "and these colors will become part and parcel of the china."

His neighbors replied saying, "He's crazy."

"More fire," Palissy said, as he threw his furniture into the oven and even tore up the floor under him to get more hear from the fire. And he succeeded.

"More fire," is the need of true Christians. We need the fire of the Spirit to fill us. He will refine us and create a translucent picture of Jesus through us. We cannot do that alone. We must have the fire of God's Spirit to cleanse us and embolden us in His service.

How many of us are willing to admit that our service for Christ is lacking, not because it is hard but because we are depending too much on ourselves? Are you willing to submit yourself to God's fullness? Do you need that in your marriage, parenting, career, Christian service and moral lives? Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes! Then let us turn to Him and ask Him to fill us - not just in this service, but seek His infilling each day - each hour!