Question:

How does a person become filled with the Holy Spirit and know they are filled? Does everyone who is filled with the Holy Spirit have the gifts that Acts speaks on?


Answer:

A Christian receives the Spirit by the hearing of faith. "This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Galatians 3:2). In other words, it is through learning that is mixed with faith. Paul tells us exactly what has to be heard. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). What we call the Bible is the product of the Spirit's work. It was the Holy Spirit who gave men the words to record. "And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (II Peter 1:19-21).

This then is how we know we have the Spirit. "Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us" (I John 3:24). When we listen to the words the Spirit taught and obey them, then we know the Spirit lives in us.

Another way we know that Spirit is with us is by our attitude toward fellow Christians. "No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit" (I John 4:12-13). Not surprisingly, this brings us back to the same point. "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (I John 5:2-3). Love is listening to the Spirit of God and doing as the Spirit directs, directions that are recorded for us in God's book.

Paul also said that thorough singing we fill ourselves with the Spirit. "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:18-20). Paul told the Colossians a similar thing in slightly different words. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:16-17). In one place Paul said "be filled with the Spirit" in another he said, "let the word of Christ dwell in you richly;" both are the same thing expressed in different words. The Greek word "richly" is plousios which means abundantly or generously -- in other words being filled to the full with it. It is through the singing of songs based on the Bible that we lock the Spirit's words in our hearts.

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15).

The miraculous gifts of the Spirit that you are referring to came to an end a long time ago. See: Miraculous Gifts as They Are Designated in the Scriptures

Well, Thank you for taking the time out to read and write back, but with all due respect I completely disagree with what you have just sent. And I want to apologize, in my last email I wrote about gifts talked about in Acts. I meant I Corinthians 12:1-11.

I did some studying and praying about this. I want to point out Acts 19:5-6 "When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied." Here, the Spirit was received by the laying on of hands. I find it interesting that not one time in your response did you refer to Acts, being that Acts speaks on the Holy spirit coming as promised in Acts 1:4-5. I won't address the other points made in your response being that I have no scrptures to back me up as of now.

Now, you say that the gifts spoken of in I Corinthians are not for this day and age. Let's look at Mark 16:15-17, "And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe; in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues..." Let's also look a at I Corinthians 1:7-8, "So that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." I have personally seen men and women of God cast out demons, speak in tongues, and prophesy. If it wasn't for this day and age, I do not think that children of God would have any of these gifts manifested in them. That is why so many churches are dead. They claim to have the Holy spirit but show no signs of having the Holy Spirit.

The spiritual gifts were given by the laying on of the apostle's hands. "Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money" (Acts 8:17-18). Paul was an apostle and could give the Spirit's gifts to others. However, the apostles are no longer with us.

In Mark 16, those signs did follow the believers. But you assume that it was to be permanent and such was not promised by Jesus. And Paul clearly states that it would come to an end in I Corinthians 13:8-10. For more information see: Belief, Baptism, and Signs Following Still Today?

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:21-23).