Study 10 THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE
THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: John 14:15-16)
In our previous studies we have seen that the Spirit-filled life is to be the normal experience of all believers. We have seen why it is absolutely necessary for a child of God to be filled with the Spirit, and we have considered the possibility of the Spirit-filled life. Now we are to study the marks of a life that is filled with the Holy Spirit.
LET US BEGIN BY SAYING WHAT THE EVIDENCES ARE NOT.
- (1) If a man is filled with the Holy Spirit he will not necessarily be noisy, highly excited or full of physical strength. The Spirit-filled life is a life of calm poise and quiet confidence (Isaiah 30:15).
- (2) To be filled with the Holy Spirit is not to reach a state of sinless perfection or to attain a state where the old nature is eradicated (1 John 1:8,10).
- (3) The Spirit-filled life is not a life free from temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
- (4) The Spirit-filled life is not a life where further and fuller growth is impossible or unnecessary (2 Peter 3:18).
There are at least seven ways in which we may study the characteristics of the Spirit-filled life. It would take too long to expound these seven lines of study fully, but they are briefly mentioned here as a guide to individual study.
1. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE ARE SEEN IN THE LIFE OF OUR LORD.
The Christian life is the life of the Lord Jesus reproduced in us by the Holy Spirit. This means that the Spirit-filled life is a life filled with the characteristics of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Read through the four Gospels, and wherever you note a particular thing about His life, remember that that very thing should characterise your life if you are Spirit-filled.
2. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE ARE SEEN IN OUR LORD’S TEACHING ON THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
This teaching is particularly emphasised in the Gospel of John, chapters 14-16. Look up and study the following references:-
- He is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17), therefore He makes us truthful.
- He is our Teacher (John 14:26), therefore He gives us knowledge and wisdom.
- He is our Guide (John 16:13), therefore He leads us in the right path.
- He glorifies the Lord Jesus (John 16:14), therefore He hides us.
- He reveals things to come (John 16:13), making us wise concerning God’s future programme.
3. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE ARE SEEN IN THE LIVES OF THE APOSTLES AND THE EARLY CHRISTIANS.
Compare the experience of the Apostles before Pentecost and after Pentecost. Read through the Book of Acts at one sitting, and underline every reference to the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. Notice particularly the characteristics of those men of whom we are definitely told that they were filled with the Holy Spirit. (1) Peter (Acts 2:4,14); (2) the Church (Acts 4:31); (3) the first Deacons (Acts 6:3,5,7); (4) Stephen (Acts 6:15; 7:60); (5) Saul (Acts 9:17-18); (6) Paul (Acts 13:9,10); (7) the Disciples (Acts 13:52).
4. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE ARE SEEN IN GALATIANS 5:22-23.
In this passage we have the nine-fold fruit of the Holy Spirit. Do you want to know what a Spirit-filled life is like? It is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, gentle, good, trustful, meek, poised…Compare Galatians 5:16-21; 24-26.
5. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE ARE SEEN IN EPHESIANS CHAPTER 5, WHERE WE ARE COMMANDED TO BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT.
Read this chapter right through, and particularly notice verses 19,20,21,22,25; and in chapter 6 notice verses 1,4,5,9. Here we are told how Spirit-filled wives, husbands, children, fathers, masters and servants should act.
6. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE ARE SEEN BY A STUDY OF THE NAMES AND TITLES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
For example, He is the Spirit of:-
- LIFE – Romans 8:2; 2 Corinthians 3:6. Thus, when He fills us He will fill us with His life.
- HOLINESS – 1 Peter 1:2. Thus, when He fills us He will fill us with His holiness.
- GRACE – Hebrews 10:29. Thus, when He fills us we shall be gracious.
- TRUTH – John 14:13-17. Thus, when He fills us we shall be true and truthful.
- POWER – Zechariah 12:10. Thus, when He fills us we shall be men and women of power.
7. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE ARE SEEN BY A STUDY OF THE EMBLEMS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
There are at least fourteen of these. Look up some of them and see in them beautiful characteristics of the Spirit-filled life:-
- The Dove, indicating the beauty and gentleness of the Spirit’s character (Matthew 3:16; 10:16).
- The Seal, indicating the security of the Spirit’s grace (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30; 2 Timothy 2:19; Revelation 7:3-8).
- The Oil, indicating the Spirit’s grace and the illumination of His teaching (Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38; 2 Corinthians 1:21; 1 John 2:27).
- The Fire, indicating His work of purification (Matthew 3:11; Hebrews 12:29; Revelation 4:5).
- The Wind, indicating the searching nature of His power (John 3:8; Acts 2:2).
- The Dew, indicating the refreshing and fertilising grace of His presence (Psalm 133:3; Isaiah 18:4).
- The Water, indicating His sufficiency (John 4:14; 7:37-38).