Study 12 THE TESTIMONY OF A SPIRIT-FILLED MAN
BREAD ENOUGH AND TO SPARE
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Acts 7: 54-60)
At the heart of Micah chapter 3 the prophet gives a striking personal testimony (verse 8): “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord.” Micah wrote these words nearly 800 years before Pentecost, and his short testimony emphasises the true meaning and significance of all that was to happen on that great day, and the spiritual fullness of power which would be available to every Christian. Remember that it is God’s plan, purpose and provision for all His children to be “filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord”. It is His command (Ephesians 5:18), and only then can we live the Christian life effectively and serve God fruitfully. What does this statement tell us about being filled with the Spirit?
1. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is a definite experience
Micah’s statement leaves us in no doubt about this. Something has happened. Look up the following references in Acts to those who were filled with the Holy Spirit, and notice how definite their experience was: Acts 4:8; 4:31; 6:3-5; 7:54-55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9; 13:52. This experience is so definite, that it can be said of some people that they are filled with the Spirit and others are not!
2. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is a personal experience
We learn this from the fact that Micah was able to say, “I am filled
…” Was he boasting? No, because a Spirit-filled man will never boast. Why then does Micah give this testimony here? Because he is speaking in the Lord’s name, and he is contrasting himself with the false prophets who were void of the Spirit. He was declaring his authority, his credentials, and in so doing he was giving his personal experience. Turn again to the above references in Acts and notice that in each case the statements referred to a personal experience. The disciples in the upper room were filled with the Holy Spirit - so was Peter, so was Paul, so were Barnabas and Stephen, and so on. Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? If it is God’s purpose for His children to live Spirit-filled lives, then they should live Spirit-filled lives, and know it!
3. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is a revolutionary experience
Notice that Micah said, “I am filled
…“ and it is quite obvious that he must have been emptied of sin, self and of everything that is contrary to the presence and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of holiness (Romans 1:4). It is a revolutionary experience for a man when he faces up to all the sin in his life, the doubtful things, the displeasing things, things which grieve the Holy Spirit, in order that he might be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). But before we can be filled we must seek grace to get rid of sinful things such as pride, jealousy, criticism, anger, impurity or deceit. The dictionary defines a revolution as being ‘a great upheaval’ - read Acts 19:18-19 for an illustration of this.
4. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is a necessary experience
God commands it (Ephesians 5:18). But notice the word ‘power’ in Micah’s statement, which describes the greatest need of God’s people. Think of some ways in which we need power:-
- 1. To live for the Lord. We need power to live the Christian life in our home or workplace; power to be effective, to be holy, joyful and victorious (Acts 4:13). The power of the Holy Spirit is not primarily for working, but for daily living (Ephesians 5:18 again), and notice the setting of this command.
- 2. To speak for the Lord. We need power to witness, to tell others of the Lord Jesus and to testify to His saving grace and keeping power; power to stir us out of our complacency so that we may be vital, effective missionaries where God has placed us (2 Kings 5:1-4). We so often rely upon ourselves to do it instead of relying upon the Holy Spirit to empower us.
- 3. To work for the Lord. We need power to pray (James 5:16); to preach (Acts 4:33); to teach (Acts 5:41-42); and to work (Haggai 2:4). The cry that arises from many hungry hearts is, ‘Where can we get this power?’ The prophet Micah found the answer, and so may we.
- 4. To endure for the Lord. We need power to glorify Him during times of trial and suffering (1 Peter 4:12-14). One of the most moving illustrations of endurance in trial is the record of Stephen (Acts 7:54-60). How was he sustained in his ordeal? Acts 7:55 supplies the answer.
- 5. To die for the Lord. In Acts 7:54-60 we have the illustration of a man dying victoriously (compare 2 Corinthians 5:8; Romans 14:8). A Spirit-filled man dies with a song of triumph!
5. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is a supernatural experience
See what Micah says: “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord” - there is the secret. Look up Zechariah 4:6; Acts 1:8.
Every Christian needs constantly to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Have you learned the secret of spiritual power? Will you do so and move from weakness, poverty and ineffectiveness into the place of strength and enrichment?