We have just posted a new sermon on the Keep Believing website called What Does It Mean to be Filled with the Spirit?  

Last week I sent this sermon out via email to over 5000 people. Since then I’ve revised the sermon a bit and added two new sections—one on the role emotions should play in the filling of the Holy Spirit and one on the fact that “Be filled with the Spirit” in Ephesians 5:18 is a plural command.

After I sent out the sermon, two friends (one in Chicago, one in Montreal) called my attention to the fact that this is a plural command, as if Paul were saying, “Let each and every one of you be filled with the Spirit.” On one hand, that means the command is for every Christian. God intends—and desires—that all his children be filled with the Holy Spirit.

My friends—who wrote independently of each other—both pointed out that there is a sense in which this is also a corporate command. The church as a church is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That is, the filling of the Spirit is not something for my own personal edification. God’s Spirit imparts life-giving power that transforms the church from a social club or a religious gathering into a living body of Christ. We can see that clearly in the verses that follow:

Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (v. 19).
Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (v. 21).

I am to be filled with the Spirit—but I am not to be filled alone. When the Holy Spirit fills us one by one, our corporate life will be transformed. Perhaps this one factor accounts for the difference between a church that is “alive” and a church that is “dead.” Both churches have the same Bible, the same rituals, they may sing the same songs, they may even have the same programs and the same schedule of services. Outwardly they may look very much alike.

But one is alive.
The other is dead.

What makes the difference? The Holy Spirit!

So we need this doctrine of the filling of the Spirit not simply for ourselves but for the reformation and revival of local churches everywhere.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com . Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.