Andrew Fountain - Filled with the Spirit

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Sermon notes - Filled with the Spirit

The Spirit

The Spirit

Image source: Ian Britton


  • Clarity in understanding what the Bible teaches about being filled with the Spirit
  • Clearly understanding how to respond

Two Views:

  1. At the moment you become a Christian you receive the Spirit.
    • “Baptism with the Spirit” happens at the point of conversion.
    • There may be later “re-fillings” but all Christians have the Spirit
    • (Third-wave Charismatics, non-Charismatic evangelicals)
  2. “Baptism with the Spirit” is a second experience after conversion
    • There are two kinds of Christians, those who have been and those who have not
    • (Traditional Pentecostals say you must speak in tongues)
  • This has been very divisive.
    • My Mom was radically saved in a Pentecostal church
    • She had an ecstatic filling of joy for two weeks and became fearless in telling people about Jesus
    • But because she didn’t speak in tongues, she was made to feel a 2nd-class Christian and ended up leaving that particular church
  • Good arguments on both sides
  • Let’s look at what actually happened

Replacing myths with the Bible

  1. “Baptized” is the wrong word
  2. Receiving & being filled does not happen automatically
  3. There are a wide range of manifestations, but always empowerment
  4. It is not all or nothing—we can all have more

1. Baptism with the Holy Spirit

John the Baptist:

  • “I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. Mark 1:8
  • John was the last of the Old-Testament prophets
  • Baptism was a rite of entry
  • John the Baptist effectively categorized all of Israel as outside of God’s covenant and then re-admitted them to the People of God through his baptism.
  • But he prophesied a new Baptism which would admit people into the new people of God.
  • Before Jesus ascended, he said to the disciples:


  • I did a full New Testament word study
    • About 150 references to Spirit filling/baptism/receiving/giving/pouring out
  • Only 7 “Baptism of the Spirit”
    • 6 are from John the Baptist’s prophecy, 1 is all Christians
  • It is not used for what is happening in any of the stories:
    • Pentecost, Samaritans, Paul, Cornelius, Ephesian 12
  • The phrase that is consistently used is receive the Spirit or be filled
  • We are never told to be baptized in the Spirit, we are told to be filled!
    • The problem is that we are using the wrong terminology —confusion of terms
  • Let me show you the real problem with this confusion:

1Corinthians 12

  1. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
  2. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.…
  3. As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.…
  4. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
  5. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
  • People who want to deny that there is a need to receive the Holy Spirit point out that
    • Baptism in the Spirit = being part of the body
    • In fact it means the same as being “born of the Spirit”

John 3:5,6

  1. Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
  2. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
  • The confusion comes that at Pentecost both things happened
    1. It was the birth of the church
      • The beginning of the New Creation
    2. The Spirit was poured out with power, filling them all
  • Once we disentagle these two expressions, then the Bible has a very clear teaching

All Christians have the Spirit

  • All of us have the Spirit living in us
  • Rom 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
  • Rom 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
  • Having the Spirit = new life
  • Receiving an empowerment of the Spirit = equipping for the Kingdom

2. Receiving & being filled

Receiving the Spirit

  • Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you
  • Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
  • Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • Acts 8:15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
  • Acts 8:17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
  • Acts 8:19 “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Receiving the Spirit cont’d

  • Acts 9:17 …laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
  • Acts 10:47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
  • Acts 19:2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
  • 2Cor 11:4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received
  • Gal 3:2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?
  • But not baptized

Was Pentecost unique?

  • There is no doubt that this was a unique event in salvation-history
  • Never again are people told just to wait

3. Empowerment

Luke 24 & Acts 1

  1. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
  2. …But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
  • in Acts 12:21 the king is arrayed in royal garments. A soldier is clothed with armour.
  • So Pentecost was primarily about receiving power for spreading the kingdom
  • Following after Jesus
    • He was empowered immediately after his baptism at the beginning of his ministry
    • The Spirit came down like a dove
    • Up to that point he had lived a quiet life—suddenly he was doing mighty miracles

Luke 4 —Jesus empowered by the Spirit

  1. And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness
  2. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country.

Normal Sequence Acts 2:38

  • And Peter said to them,
  1. “Repent
  2. and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,
  3. and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
  • Same sequence with: Samaria, Ethiopian, Paul, the 12 Ephesians

Acts 19

  1. …Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples.
  2. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
  3. And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.”
  4. And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.”

Acts 19 cont’d

  1. On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
  2. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.
  3. There were about twelve men in all.
  • The early church practised this as the norm
    • Empowerment came after they were baptized
  • The sequence was different with Cornelius
  • The norm in the New Testament is to have received the Spirit!


  • Jesus: supernatural signs and wonders
  • Pentecost: flames, foreign languages (tongues) & boldness to speak
  • Acts 4: Building shaken, boldness to speak, “great power”
  • Paul: “scales” fell from his eyes, boldness to preach
  • Cornelius: foreign languages (tongues)
  • Ethiopian: filled with joy
  • My own experience

4. We can have more

Filling and re-filling

  • Acts 2:4 (Pentecost) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
  • Acts 4:31 (Later) And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
  • What is the difference? Were they not all already Spirit-filled at Pentecost?
  • The difference was that Pentecost was the first time
    • They initially received the Spirit
    • But needed to be refilled (Old man who had been filled 50 years ago)
  • So does every Christian now have the Spirit?
    • It’s not an all or nothing
    • All of us need more!

Acts 6

  1. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.

Refilling: Ephesians 5

  1. And do not get drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be (continually) filled by the Spirit,
    • (Greek tense indicates a continual action)
  • Nobody is ever told to examine themselves to see if they are spirit-filled!


  1. “Baptized” is the wrong word
  2. Receiving & being filled does not happen automatically
  3. There are a wide range of manifestations, but always empowerment
  4. It is not all or nothing—we can all have more
  5. How do I get more?

5. Getting More

Getting more

  • It is possible to be a Christian yet not to have received the Spirit as an empowerment
  • This empowering is simply the first filling that needs to be continually repeated
  • It is pointless to analyze our experience to know if we have been filled
    • In some circles, this question divides people into two
  • Simply ask to be filled again! (and again—it’s free!)
  • don’t put God in a box—the man who prayed all night and then went for a walk

What do I do?

  • Believe (and be baptized) -Peter tells them to “repent” —what does that mean?
  • Be humble enough to recognize your need
  • Ask: Luke 11:13 …how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
  • Laying on of hands (does not need a “bishop”)
  • Trust in God’s timing but keep asking
  • We are going to pray now for everyone here who believes in Jesus as their saviour to be filled with the Spirit and empowered.
  • This may be your first filling, in which case you are receiving the Spirit
  • You may already be Spirit-filled and so this will be an opportunity to get more
  • Everybody stand and I am going to pray

Ephesians 3

  1. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
  2. from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
  3. that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

Updated on 2017-05-30 by Andrew Fountain