Acts 2:1-4 (New Revised Standard Version)
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
It was unusually hot out today with a high temperature of 97°F, so I seized the opportunity to take my family out for ice cream after dinner. While sitting in the restaurant, I quickly noticed a big guy sitting at the table next to me as he devoured a painfully enormous sundae: 3 scoops of ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry on top. His wife and son offered him no help with his task as they munched on their own ice cream cones. Suddenly, the man picked up a tall glass filled with a white liquid, which he sucked down between spoonfuls of ice cream. “Is that… milk?” Yes! Yes it was. After finishing his lactose charged meal, he sat back and patted his stomach. He was filled to the brim and there was no room for anything else.
In the Scripture passage above, Luke describes how the Apostle Peter and the 120 believers who were gathered together became “filled with the Holy Spirit” on the day we know and celebrate as “Pentecost Sunday”. 20th Century pastor, author, and theologian, A. W. Tozer, shared in his sermon “How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit” the idea that many Christians want to be FULL of the Holy Spirit, but few desire to be FILLED with the Holy Spirit. This means that many Christians desire certain benefits that come with experiencing God’s presence, such as a sensation of power, the thrill of victory, the stillness of inner peace, and the usefulness of knowledge and wisdom, but few Christians desire the Spirit to be Lord of their life, who requires obedience to God’s Word, who does not tolerate our selfishness and self indulgences, who humbles us when we want to boast, who takes away our selfish goals for our life and puts us through spiritual boot camp, who strips away our beloved objects of affection which secretly harm our souls, and other challenging things.
Unless you eagerly seek the Holy Spirit’s entire work of making you into a new creation, you do not want to be filled. How can we prepare our hearts so they can be FILLED with His most Holy Presence? Tozer offers this Biblical response:
I Beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him? (Luke 11:13)
We are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him. (Acts 5:32)
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (Galatians 3:2)
Speaking to a large audience, D.L. Moody held up a glass and asked, “How can I get the air out of this glass?” One man shouted, “Suck it out with a pump!” Moody replied, “That would create a vacuum and shatter the glass.” After numerous other suggestions Moody smiled, picked up a pitcher of water, and filled the glass. “There,” he said, “all the air is now removed.” He then went on to explain that victory in the Christian life is not accomplished by “sucking out a sin here and there,” but by being filled with the Holy Spirit. -Today in the Word, September 1991, p. 30.
Do you seek to be FILLED with the Holy Spirit today? I encourage you to take a moment right now to close your eyes and prayerfully ask Him to guide you as you SURRENDER, ASK, OBEY, and BELIEVE.
Rev. Lincoln Skinner, Interim Senior Minister