The normal life for every believer is the "Spirit filled life." It is not the result of some erratic second blessing as some would suppose, but rather the result of meeting the conditions of faith and obedience to the plain simple teaching of the Word of God. The possibility of the Spirit filled life for every believer began at the day of Pentecost when believers where historically baptized by the Spirit into the "one body" of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) and at the same time indwelled and filled with His presence. Ever since then each believer enters into that baptism of the Spirit by the new birth and is placed into that same "one body" and it is the privilege of his "birthright" to be filled with Him. Being "baptized by the Spirit" and "filled with the Spirit" are not synonymous, although they may well be as to time, as a believer when he is born of the Spirit is indwelled with Him and may at the same time be filled with Him. Usually, however, the child of God has not been so taught, so that he must come to know the truth of being "filled with the Spirit."
Note that there is "one baptism" but there may be many fillings. The believers were baptized on the day of Pentecost and "all filled" (Acts 2:4), and "all filled" again in Acts 4:31, although not baptized again. The normal Bible word, since Pentecost is "filled" with the Spirit. This each believer should know, understand and experience. The question is the "how" which is the subject of this Bible study.
Note that the expression "be filled with the Spirit" is a command, not a suggestion or matter of choice. It is "be filled," which is not something that you do of yourself, but rather it is of God; and it is in a tense which means a present continuous action and could read "be being filled." The Holy Spirit fills when the believer meets the conditions of the "how."
I. Acknowledge His Presence by Faith (1 Cor. 6:19,20).
Accept the fact that the Holy Spirit is in your heart because the Word of God says so and stop ignoring Him. Acknowledge Him as God's heavenly guest.
II. Stop Sinning Against Him.
Your body is His temple which He indwells, so give the Holy Spirit His rightful place.
1. "Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." (Eph. 4:30). Note the sins of the flesh in the context.
2. "Quench not the Spirit" (1 Thess. 5:19).
3. Do not "lie to the Holy Ghost" (Acts 5:3). Check from the context what this sin was that Ananias committed.
4. Do not "tempt" Him (Acts 5:9). The context likewise indicates the nature of this sin.
5. Do not "resist the Holy Ghost" (Acts 7:51).
III. Present Your Body a Clean, Yielded, Empty Vessel to Him As a Living Sacrifice and Do Not Be Molded by the World, But Transformed from Within by Him.
1. Note the reason for this in 1 Cor. 6:19,20 and Romans 12:1,2.
2. Note also what God calls "a vessel...sanctified, and meet for the master's use" in 2 Tim. 2:21.
IV. "Let the Word of God Dwell in You Richly" Col. 3:16.
Note that the results for doing this are the same as those mentioned in Eph. 5:18-20 which indicates that "the Spirit filled life" and the "Word of God filled life" are synonymous. A believer cannot be Spirit filled if he does not give time to eating, studying, meditating, and doing the Word of God. Neglect of the daily diet of the Word of God will rob one of the Spirit filled life. One cannot be "Spirit filled' and ignore "the Book".
V. Obey Him (Acts 5:32).
Study the verse and notice that the Holy Ghost is given to them that obey Him. The Spirit filled life is not a "special" that God gives at "bargain prices." It is "obey," and there is no substitute. One may read the Bible all he wishes, attend church, and pray occasionally, and still not "obey."
VI. Pray in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18).
Prayer is the vital life line of fellowship with God. One must pray "in the Spirit" positionally and also in practice. One cannot be in the Spirit in position and have his practice in the flesh and expect God to fill Him. The believer's prayer life is most essential to the "Spirit filled" life. If you cannot and do not pray, you will not be filled with the Spirit. Neglect of this wonderful exercise of vital contact and walking with God will rob you of the Spirit filled life. Prayer and Bible meditation plus obedience should go together. The Word of God without prayer will make you an academic, cold Christian filled with facts with no warmth or heart—doctrinally sound, but cold of heart. Prayer without the Word will make you an emotional Christian with no doctrinal footing.
Conclusion: One may ask, "How can you tell when one is Spirit filled?"
There are three Bible ways of telling that one is Spirit filled.
1. The Spirit filled believer should be conscious of His presence by faith. Study again 1
2. The Spirit filled believer should reveal the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Notice the evidence is not any physical sign. It is not the gifts of the Spirit that makes one spiritual, but the control of the Spirit.
3. The Spirit filled life manifests the power of the Spirit. (Acts 1:8, Gal. 5:16) There is a change of life when the Holy Spirit controls and His power is to be experienced.
Copied with permission of the author for WholesomeWords.org from "Bible Studies," Quarterly Notes, "Bible Studies," by Al Troester.