Gospel of John [Joh 16:12-15]. The Doctrine of the HS, part 31. Historical references to those filled with the Spirit.

Class Outline:

Title: Gospel of John [JOH 16:12-15]. The Doctrine of the HS, part 31. Historical references to those filled with the Spirit.


The nature of the filling of the Holy Spirit.


The work of the Holy Spirit in filling the believer may be simply defined as that ministry which is accomplished in the believer when he is fully yielded to the indwelling Holy Spirit.


There are fourteen references to the filling of the Spirit in the NT, including some in the gospels.


It is clear in each instance that the Spirit of God is ministering to the individuals concerned [14 times in Scripture] in entire freedom from hindrance.


It is never stated that the person has more of the Spirit than any other believer but that the Spirit has complete possession of the believer. And this leads us to an interesting contrast.


When God the Holy Spirit controls a believer, the believer's free-will is unhindered. When demons possess an unbeliever they take over completely.


In each instance of demon possession we saw in the gospels the person involved was practically absent. When the person spoke it was the demon that spoke. Not so when the Spirit fills us or controls us. He freely walks with us and we with Him in a fellowship or partnership of like mindedness and purpose. What a beautiful relationship He has enabled us to have with Him in this life.


So then, it is not a question of securing more of the presence of God but of entering into the reality of His presence and yielding to all the control and ministry for which He has come to indwell.


It is a sad age from some perspectives since all believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and not all know or enjoy the great blessings of allowing Him an unhindered ministry in their lives.


Since this is such a vital doctrine, a study of the various passages referring to the filling of the Spirit should be completed for greatest clarity.


Scriptural documentation:


Christ was filled with the Spirit continually.


LUK 4:1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness


LUK 4:2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil.


Christ was led around for the time He spent in the wilderness. No specifics are given. Likely, if they were there would be people imitating the specifics rather than relying on the Spirit to enable them to make good decisions. Yet we also see here that Christ was willing to go into the wilderness. He was sinless, but the application to us sinners is the same. Are we willing to go? If we are God the Holy Spirit is going to lead us. If we resist Him by being unwilling and desiring our own will above His perfect will then we cannot at all expect Him to be empowering us to make good decisions.


John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb, and Elizabeth, his mother, and Zacharias, his father, are on occasion filled with the Spirit, all in the character of His ministry in the OT.


LUK 1:15 "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in [eti ek = even from] his mother's womb.


We cannot conclude that this implies that John was continually filled with the Spirit. It is likely, as with those in the OT, that he was empowered by the Spirit in his ministry as it was necessary. Yet as with Christ, John was willing to go into the wilderness to perform the will of God and so the Spirit empowered him to do so.


LUK 1:39 Now at this time Mary arose and went with haste to the hill country, to a city of Judah,


LUK 1:40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.


LUK 1:41 And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.


LUK 1:67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:


The references to the filling of the Spirit in Acts and Ephesians all speak of the normal experience of this dispensation.


We see that every instance of the filling of the Spirit fully sustains the premise that this ministry is found only in Christians yielded to God.


ACT 1:4 And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me;


ACT 1:5 for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. "


ACT 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.


ACT 2:2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.


ACT 2:3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.


ACT 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.


This company of believers were waiting together as the Lord commanded them, i.e. they yielded to His command and were willing to stay despite the danger.


Peter sought to honor God before the Sanhedrin.


ACT 4:5 And it came about on the next day, that their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem;


ACT 4:6 and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent.


ACT 4:7 And when they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, "By what power, or in what name, have you done this?"


ACT 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit [no longer the cowering Peter but the bold Peter], said to them, "Rulers and elders of the people,


ACT 4:9 if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well,


ACT 4:10 let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead —  by this name this man stands here before you in good health.


ACT 4:11 "He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the very corner stone.


ACT 4:12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved."


When the disciples in Jerusalem had heard of Peter and his company's success before the Sanhedrin in the temple they all rejoiced and then they prayed. When the prayed the earth shook, likely as a sign to them by God to encourage and embolden them even more and they prayed filled with the Spirit.


ACT 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness.


The first deacons were to be men who were filled with the Spirit, meaning that they displayed the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. However, since we see that Steven had a gift for miracles (signs and wonders) this may have been the indication as well.  


ACT 6:1 Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.


ACT 6:2 And the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.


ACT 6:3 "But select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.


After an amazing speech before the Sanhedrin, the first deacon, Steven, was martyred and he was full of the Holy Spirit as he looked to the heavens to see the glory of God.


First, let's note how the Spirit gave Stephen the confidence and the use of the wisdom he possessed from Spirit filled study of the word of God.


ACT 6:8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.


ACT 6:9 But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.


ACT 6:10 And yet they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.


ACT 7:54 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him.


ACT 7:55 But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;


ACT 7:56 and he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."


ACT 7:57 But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears, and they rushed upon him with one impulse.


ACT 7:58 And when they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.


ACT 7:59 And they went on stoning Stephen as he called upon the Lord and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!"


ACT 7:60 And falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" And having said this, he fell asleep.