Today we return to our values series to look at our 4th value, to be a “Spirit-filled Community”. There’s quite a bit to cover on this value so we will be spreading it out over at least 2 posts.
When we speak of being a Spirit-filled Community I wonder what image comes to mind?
Maybe you think of people speaking in tongues? Perhaps someone fearlessly proclaiming the gospel? Or maybe even a crazy over the top church experience? You could find the idea exciting or perhaps you’re just unsure.
So what do we mean by being a Spirit-filled Community?
We’re what’s known as a charismatic or continuationist church. This simply means we believe that all the spiritual gifts recorded in the bible continue to be active throughout the church age – which includes right now today. We believe this passionately and are going to look at it in more detail in our next post but before we get there there’s something that’s more foundational that I want to spend time looking at.
You see amidst the discussion on spiritual gifts we can often overlook the chief role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
According to 1 Corinthians 12 verse 13, if you are a Christian then you have received the Holy Spirit into your life. It reads as follows…
“For in one Spirit we were all baptised into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
The receiving of the Holy Spirit is part and parcel of being joined into Christ’s body, the church.
We see this again in Ephesians 1:13-14:
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
When were we sealed with the Holy Spirit? When we believed.
Finally read this in Romans 8:15:
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'”
The Holy Spirit dwells within every Christian, he is the Spirit of adoption through whom we know God as our Father. This is the primary work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, he regenerates us, empowers us in our sanctification and testifies to us that we are now children of God.
Unfortunately the discussion on being Spirit-filled can lead to the messed up thinking that there are believers who have the Holy Spirit and others who do not. These scriptures clearly show that if you are a Christian then you have the Holy Spirit indwelling you – it’s part of God’s salvation package.
With that in mind we can now look at what it means when the bible says “be filled with the Spirit”.
Ephesians 5:18-19 says:
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.”
As has often been noted the phrase “be filled” comes from the greek “plērousthe” which is in the present imperative tense and carries the meaning of a continual state of filling.
We are therefore called to “be being filled”, an ongoing experience of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
I’ve often heard the question asked “why do I need to be filled?” and cringed as the answer has been returned “because I leak”. The Holy Spirit is not a substance that we could run out of, he is a person who lives in us.
A more helpful answer I once heard to this questions was as follows. We need to be filled continually in the same way that the sail of a sailing ship needs to be continually filled to enable it it keep moving forwards.
As we continue to be filled up with the Holy Spirit, he continues to produce fresh faith in and love for Jesus in our lives. He continues to give us strength to say no to sin and courage to stand for Christ in the face of opposition. And yes he continues to empower us in acts of service and blessing to those around us through his gifts in our lives.
So what does it mean to be a Spirit-filled Community?
It means we seek to be a people who are continually being empowered by God the Holy Spirit to live out godly lives. Who are daily spending time in his presence, not trusting in personal willpower or self-help techniques but instead relying fully on him to make us more like Jesus. Who ask him to illuminate our minds to his word and allow it to permeate every area of our lives, changing our hearts and shaping our thoughts. To be a people who, as a community together, continually seek him to fill us, causing us to display his glory more and more as his beautiful bride both through spiritual gifts and acts of love, compassion and grace.
So how about you? If you are a follower of Jesus then you already have his Spirit in you but each each of us need to daily raise our sail and allow him to fill us afresh to know his empowering grace in our lives.
Maybe however you don’t yet know Jesus, today you can ask him by his Holy Spirit to reveal his truth to you. You can experience new life, forgiveness and true freedom, what the bible calls life in abundance.
For more information about this life with Jesus or any other questions about Hope Community Church please send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.