Study 8 THE NECESSITY OF THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE
THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Galatians 5:1-26)
The title of this study might well be called, ‘Every Christian’s Greatest Need’, for there is no greater need today than that every real Christian should be obedient to the command found in Ephesians 5:18, which indicates the necessity of a Spirit-filled life; it is not optional, for it is God’s command. Notice that:-
- To be filled with the Holy Spirit is the CHRISTIAN’s greatest need. The subject has no reference to the person who is not a Christian.
- To be filled with the Holy Spirit is EVERY Christian’s need. It is the privilege and responsibility of every believer to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
- To be filled with the Holy Spirit is every Christian’s NEED. It is not a luxury but a necessity for all.
- To be filled with the Holy Spirit is every Christian’s GREATEST need. Just as the greatest need of the lost is to be saved, so the greatest need of the saved person is to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
It will save us from very much confusion in connection with this subject if we lay hold of the simple but fundamental fact that: WHILE EVERY CHRISTIAN POSSESSES THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES NOT POSSESS EVERY CHRISTIAN.
It is one thing to have the Holy Spirit indwelling the life; it is quite another thing to have Him filling and controlling the life. Every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit - look up Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 1 Corinthians 12:13; every Christian is sealed with the Holy Spirit - look up Ephesians 1:13; 4:30. But every Christian should be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
Consider the following reasons why it is necessary not only to be indwelt but filled with the Holy Spirit:-
1. ‘BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT’, so that you can live in OBEDIENCE TO THE WILL OF GOD.
The point is that Ephesians 5:18 contains a two-fold command - and the positive command is as binding as the negative command. We are horrified at the thought of being drunk with wine. Are we horrified also at the thought of not being filled with the Spirit? What is our response to God’s command to us to be filled with the Spirit?
2. ’BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT’, so that you can experience an ABUNDANT LIFE.
Look up John 10:10. There is a great difference between ‘life’ and ‘abundant life’ (KJV). The Lord Jesus offers us His own life - His life of abundant joy (John 15:11); abundant peace (John 14:27); abundant love (John 13:1); abundant power (Matthew 28:18); abundant victory (John 16:33) - and the only way we can experience His abundant life is by the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
3. ‘BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT’, so that you can engage in EFFECTIVE SERVICE.
Before the Day of Pentecost, the disciples were ineffective, failing servants of the Lord Jesus, but after the Day of Pentecost the disciples were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to serve the Lord effectively (Acts 2:1-4). It is only when we work in the power of His anointing that anything is accomplished for His glory. All work rendered in the energy of the flesh or in the wisdom of man is bound to fail. Look up Zechariah 4:6; and compare Acts 1:8.
4. ‘BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT’, so that you can be KEPT FROM BACKSLIDING.
Here is God’s remedy for that all-too-common up-and-down experience of the Christian life. Are you living a switchback life - rejoicing in the things of God one day, and down in the valley of defeat and humiliation the next day? God’s remedy for this is the filling of the Holy Spirit. While we remain Spirit-filled we shall not, cannot, backslide. The way to experience 1 Corinthians 15:58 is by Ephesians 5:18!
5. ‘BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT’, so that you can know THE BLESSING OF A GUIDED LIFE.
Look up Romans 8:14. It is when the Holy Spirit fills us that we are led in the way of God’s choosing for us. It is when we are filled with the Spirit that we are able to acknowledge Him, and this is the one essential condition for a God-guided life. Look up Proverbs 3:6. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit we can say - look up Genesis 24:27!
6. ‘BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT’, so that your life can be one of FRUITFULNESS.
God’s will for each one of His children is that they should bring forth fruit (John 15:2); more fruit (John 15:2); much fruit (John 15:5,8); and the nine-fold cluster of fruit that they are to bring forth is given in Galatians 5:22-23. We are all bringing forth either the fruit of the Spirit or the works of the flesh - look up Galatians 5:19-21. How necessary it is to be filled with the Holy Spirit if we are to be fruitful Christians to the glory of God! - look up Colossians 1:10.
7. ‘BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT’, so that the DIVINE LIFE CAN BE FULLY REPRODUCED IN US.
As Christians, our great desire should be to be like our Lord. How can we be like Him? - only as the Holy Spirit reproduces His life within us. We can never be like Him by striving, straining and struggling. The Christian life is not imitation; it is the giving of His life to us, and the reproduction of His life within us, by the Holy Spirit; thus, the measure in which the Holy Spirit fills and floods our lives determines the measure in which we become truly Christ-like.