15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I think it’s safe to say that, when we hear the story about Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1-4), most of us have this kind of reaction: “Well that’s cool, I guess. Good for them, with all those flames above their heads, and the Holy Spirit stuff.”
That was my reaction for a long time, anyway. I knew the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, was real, and that He gave the Apostles courage to do really intense evangelizing. But I never thought much more about it than that.
Weirdly, we Catholics don’t talk too much about the Holy Spirit and who He is in everyday conversation. Jesus we understand better; the Holy Spirit, less so. And any kind of talk about the gifts of the Holy Spirit just weirded me out.
Until I met the Holy Spirit as a real Person…and He did something very similar in me.
Without getting into every single detail of what happened, I’ll give you the nutshell version of my experience: I went on a retreat in college called “Fan Into Flame” (I ended up going on four of them), which was focused on encountering the Holy Spirit in a new and deeper way. As we got into who the Holy Spirit was on this retreat, I was uncomfortable at first — but throughout the retreat, I found myself opening up a little more, despite my discomfort. As I came to understand how the Holy Spirit works in our lives and grew more comfortable with worshipping God through song throughout the retreat, the idea of surrendering my life to Him in a deeper way didn’t scare me as much.
At one point in the retreat, our small groups prayed together to intercede for each other for particular requests: to be freed from things that kept us from God, to receive the Holy Spirit in a deeper way or to receive His gifts. I don’t remember what I prayed for — but I do remember that, as I was being prayed over, I had this gentle urge to rest, to just let go — and I experienced an overwhelming peace within me that resonated through my whole body. I couldn’t stop smiling because I couldn’t contain the joy inside me. It was bursting!
Words fall entirely short when I try to communicate what this experience actually was. All I can say is that I met the Person of the Holy Spirit in that moment.
When I stood up after what felt like hours, the time of prayer was over and, from what I could tell, almost every soul in the room had experienced the same thing I had, or at least something very similar.
We had just experienced our own Pentecost.
This it wasn’t just a one-time thing, though. Since that first encounter, I have on other occasions experienced the Holy Spirit in powerful ways, and I experience Him in a quieter way on a daily basis.
Pentecost was a real thing. The Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit was a real thing. But this outpouring of the Holy Spirit wasn’t just for the Apostles. We were all meant to receive the same thing. We are all meant to know Him, to walk with Him and to receive the graces we need for our daily lives from Him.
Charles Finney: “Great waves of liquid love flowing over my being.”
Tangible expressions of the power and presence of God that give life!
- Be Filled With the Holy Spirit
- Contrasted with drunkenness.
This is an expression that gives meaning to what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. If we are filled with wine, what happens? It has power over us, influencing behavior, it is a pursuit of life for some, and drunkenness is sin precisely because of this power.
Given over to the control or power of something.
Why do people get drunk? For pleasure. To relax. For life.
In what way does the Holy Spirit want to influence us? In a manner similar to drunkenness. Acts 2 filling: They were accused of being drunk because their behavior was unusual.
- What will be the result of the Spirit’s filling?
Look at verses 19-20
- Speaking to one another in Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Praise to God. Thanksgiving to God. The perspective of a person who really understands and sees God at work. This effusion of praise is exemplified by Paul in 1:3-12
Why speak to each other? Because joy is not completed until it is shared! What are we joyful about? God, His reality and His touch in our lives.
- Singing to God. Music as the natural response of abundant life. Only singing? What is singing? The perfect words: poetry combined with the perfect form of emotional communication: music
Handel wrote the Messiah in three weeks. He would not eat for long periods and they would find him writing and weeping with joy!
Charles Finney: Great waves of liquid love flowed over my being.
- Always giving thanks to God for everything in Jesus’ name. This is giving thanks for what God is doing because what God is doing is primary!
- In Jesus’ name: Seeing our lives from the perspective of what Jesus is doing in and through us in the world.
- Giving thanks for everything: A perspective of life that throws a blanket over it all and declares that God is… Ephesians 4: 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
I Thes 5: 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually,
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
So, give yourself over to the Holy Spirit!
- Biblical examples of what to expect happened when people were filled with the Holy Spirit:
- Boldness to speak to others about God and how to know Him. Acts 4: 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
- Spiritual gifts given. This is especially true at the beginning. There were signs of the spirit. The sound of wind, visual flames resting on people, the ability to speak in tongues. Miracles, healing, deliverance etc.
I Cor 12: 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
gifts or abilities, working: calling to a job, service: responsible positions
- A pursuit of spiritual input to maintain the flow of life from the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2: 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
Love and Service time
- Character of Christ as evidence of the Holy Spirit’s power
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Self Control
Full of hope!
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Do not settle for less!
The command is an opportunity!!
The Holy Spirit is the promise of God for this covenant. The promise of God always relates to blessing. Blessing always relates to abundant life.
We settle when we pursue life elsewhere or fail to believe that the Holy Spirit will manifest in our lives.
- An experience process
Therefore, I John 5: 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
If you are not filled by the Holy Spirit, what are you filled by? What energizes your days?
Drunkenness: This is just ONE EXAMPLE!
- Greed: The desire to acquire more money or stuff.
- Sensuality: The desire for pleasure/ comfort.
- Pride: The desire for personal accomplishment.
The whole process then of put off, be renewed and put on is the process of being filled by the Holy Spirit!
Exercise some faith and confidence and Walk after the Spirit! Gal 5:16
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
- An experience event
It is God’s will that you be filled by the Holy Spirit right now!
We experience God in a new way! How?
19 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when[a] you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
So how you can you encounter the Holy Spirit in a deeper way and experience a more profound outpouring of His gifts in your own life?
- Pray to the Holy Spirit.Begin your prayers by saying, “Come, Holy Spirit.” Ask for help in difficult situations, or just start by saying this simple prayer every day:“Oh Holy Spirit, soul of my soul, I adore you. Enlighten, guide, strengthen and console me. Tell me what I ought to do, and command me to do it. I promise to be submissive in whatever you ask of me and whatever you permit to happen to me. Only show me what is your will.”
2. Listen to promptings/inspirations when they come.Sometimes you will sense urges to do something you might not have thought of yourself. This is called an “inspiration.” The way to tell when it’s the Holy Spirit’s inspiration is that it’s always something good, and it’s usually something you’d rather not do. See Acts 9:10-19 for the perfect example of that.
None of us will ever follow inspirations perfectly. But the more we do it, the more they will come. Listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit is how we grow in holiness.
- Stick to prayer and the positive inputs of Acts 2:42-45.If you want to get closer to God in any way, this is pretty much the way to do it. And the more you do invest in these activities, the more you will notice the Holy Spirit in your life.
- Pray to be freed from any lies or attachments that are keeping you from experiencing the fullness of the Spirit.Simply put, our sin, attachments or lies we believe against God or ourselves can keep us from experiencing the Holy Spirit in a more meaningful way. It’s powerful to pray to be freed from these things! But it’s not a game of hide and seek. You don’t have to be digging around, asking yourself, “What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I feel close to God?” (How many of us have done that?) Simply ask God to reveal what He wants you to be free of, and pray with that and trust that He will free you of it over time and give you more of Himself.
- Know that the gifts (and fruits) of the Holy Spirit are for you. Ask for them. God gives us spiritual gifts for the edification of the Church (I Corinthians 14:12), to build up the Body of Christ in love and unity, “that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (I Peter 4:11).You can pray to receive greater gifts.
knowledge, counsel, piety, fortitude, fear of the Lord (awe), understanding and wisdom.
The fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, generosity, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity.
OK, who would like to be prayed for for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit? Now, some of you here today have already had the Holy Spirit speak to you about sin in your life. So let’s deal with that first.
Secondly, let’s deal with the issue of trust. Will you trust and obey the leading of the Holy Spirit. He will call you to His will and ways.