Pentecost and being Filled with the Spirit (Acts 1:8; Eph 5:18)

  • The goal for this talk is: Clarity in understanding what the Bible teaches about being filled with the Spirit,
  • and how to be filled ourselves.

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

Pentecost and being Filled with the Spirit (Acts 1:8; Eph 5:18)

  1. Truth, and Misunderstanding re. the Spirit
  2. Receiving & being Filled
  3. We should always be desiring MORE of the Spirit

1. Truth, and Misunderstanding re. the Spirit

Normal Order—Acts 2

  1. 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.
Born again by the Spirit
New Life
Receiving the
in power
  • Same sequence with: Samaria, Ethiopian, Paul, the 12 Ephesians
  • If water baptism is delayed, it does not block receiving the Spirit in power
    • This is just the normal order
  • Note that I have not used the term “Baptized in the Spirit”
  • Misunderstanding of this expression has caused horrible divisions in the history of the church.
  • It is another word for 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.
  • Let me show you the only place in the N.T. where the term Baptized in the Spirit is clarified:

1 Corinthians 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.
  • So the body of Christ, the true church, is all those who are baptized in the Spirit and take in the Spirit.
  • 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”


  • I did a full New Testament word study Download it here
    • 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 clearly refers to 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
  • Christians 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
  • Once we disentangle these two expressions, then the Bible has a very clear teaching
    • All Christians are born of the Spirit, but not all Christians are empowered by the Spirit

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


  • At the moment you become a Christian you receive the Spirit.
  • “Baptism with the Spirit” happens at the point of conversion.
  • “Empowering” and “gifts” may come immediately or later but all Christians have the Spirit
  • All of us should be earnestly desiring to be “Filled with the Spirit” more and more

Two Wrong Views:

  1. Since the Scripture clearly teaches that everyone who is a member of the body of Christ is “baptized in the Spirit”, there is nothing more.
  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)

The Bible teaches:

  • All Christians have been baptized in the Spirit
  • Not all Christians have received the Spirit’s empowering
  • This is not a once for all experience. We should keep desiring more filling

Sequence of events

  1. Born/Baptized in the Spirit makes us a Christian
  2. Baptized in water as a public testimony
  3. Receiving & being filled (does not happen automatically)
    %At Pentecost 1 and 3 happened at the same time%
    %We need to desire and pursue more of the Spirit%
    • There are a wide range of manifestations, but always empowerment
  4. It is not all or nothing—we can all have more

2. Receiving & being Filled

Receiving the Spirit: Acts

  • 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you
  • 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
  • 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.
    %-Note the sequence of three things%
  • 8:15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
  • 8:17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
  • 8:19 “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
  • 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.”
  • 10:47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
  • 19:2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

Receiving the Spirit cont’d

  • 2 Cor 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?
  • What is the result of receiving the Spirit, and being filled with the Spirit
    • It is about Empowerment for the Kingdom

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.”
  • 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.
  • This was the effect of the Spirit empowering Jesus in a radical new way.
  • Manifestations have been quite contentious—what do we see in the Bible


  • Jesus: a dove, 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

3. We should always be desiring MORE of the Spirit

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)

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
    %This is not for your own benefit, but for the body%
  • It is pointless to analyze our experience to know if we have been filled
  • The Bible never tells us to do this, but always to desire more
  • 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!”
  • Often it comes with others praying over us, (Occasionally “Laying on of hands” but 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.
  • If you are not yet a follower of Jesus, then Peter’s words at Pentecost are for you
    • Repent (turn the opposite way, so you are trusting Jesus, not yourself)
    • Be Baptized—a public commitment
  • 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
  • If you are a follower of Jesus, and you want more the the Spirit

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,