by Tony Nester

Filled with the Spirit
Tony R. Nester
John 20:19-23

In Ephesians 5:18 the Bible instructs us: "Be not drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit."

I recently heard Dr. Charles Chaney of the Southern Baptist Convention comment on this verse. He was speaking to a group of pastors at Northwestern College (Orange City, Iowa) on the subject of the Holy Spirit. Commenting on Ephesians 5:18 Dr. Chaney said that he knew that many people had been put out of Baptist churches for getting drunk with alcohol -- violating the first part of the verse; but that he didn't know of anyone who had been put out of a Baptist church because they had failed to follow the second part of the verse -- of being filled with the Spirit. Then he added, "But I've known some people who been thrown out because they have been filled with the Spirit!" The same could be said about The United Methodist Church.

In today's Scripture (John 20:19-23) Jesus bestows the Holy Spirit upon his disciples. {22} When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."

Christians have argued about the Holy Spirit. One of the great sins of the Church is that we have made the Holy Spirit a source of division among us -- the very Spirit that desires to unite us: (Ephesians 4:3-6) "make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. {4} There is one body and one Spirit . . . {5} one Lord, one faith, one baptism, {6} one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all."

What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

Does being filled with the Holy Spirit mean that you have to speak in tongues? No.

Speaking in tongues is a legitimate gift of the Spirit. There have been times when I have spoken in tongues in my own prayer life. I have also been blessed by hearing tongues spoken during times of praise and worship. But, the truth is that speaking in tongues is no big deal unless we make it into a big deal. Paul teac ...

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