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Chapter 9 and verse 17, When Ananias came to Saul of Tarsus to give him his sight brother Saul, he said, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit, as you look through the book of Acts. You cannot miss the fact that the everyday garden-variety Grassroots Christians were filled with the Holy Spirit. It wasn't simply the preachers and the prophets and the evangelists and the missionaries, every one filled with the Holy Spirit.
Now, this doesn't seem to be the typical experience today. The fullness of the Spirit simply means to be controlled by the Spirit. Now, you'll notice that command in verse 18 but be filled with the Spirit. It is a command if we are not filled with the Spirit, we're disobedient. It's a command; it's a command to all Christians not just to preachers and missionaries and deacons and Elders young and old alike. It is a command that involves constant experience. He's saying be he is filled with the Spirit.
He's saying let it be a constant experience, not just once a week, not only once a year, but moment by moment, and you'll notice it's in the passive voice. It doesn't say fill yourself with the Spirit. It says be filled, and which simply means make yourself available, God is the one who does the filling, which leads us to our question.
What is the evidence of the Spirit's fullness?
Paul did not say be filled with the Spirit, and when you are, you will speak in tongues, or when you are, you will perform Miracles. He doesn't say that. Paul tells us here that when a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, there are three pieces of evidence of it. He is Joyful. That's verse 19. He is thankful. That's verse 20. And he is submissive, that's verse 21.
You see, Paul is not talking about miracles or signs or wonders. He's talking about character. He's saying here that when a person truly is filled with the Spirit. The first evidence is Joy, speaking among yourselves, talking about a local fellowship of Believers in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, a joyful Christian.
Now in the Bible, Joy does not mean silly humor. Paul is not telling us to become comedians, for there is nothing wrong with a sense of humor. It gives a good balance to your life, a missionary executive that I knew very well who is now home with the Lord told me one day. I will never send a missionary to the field who doesn't have a sense of humor. You'll never make it, but Paul is not talking about that, Paul is talking about that deep confidence, that deep bubbling over of God's blessing that we have in spite of the way we feel, in spite of circumstances, in spite of difficulties the deepest Joy I have ever known, I think was lying in an intensive care ward in the hospital just a Razors Edge away from death.
My body hurt, but in my heart, there was such a joy I Can't describe. And one verse kept going through my heart, Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised and his greatness is unsearchable, and no human being can do that. The Holy Spirit has to do that.
There are some Christians who never smile. Who when they sing, sing as though they are in great emotional pain. Now, I know people have different personalities. I'm not saying that the Holy Spirit is going to radically change your personality. If you're filled with the Spirit, there's going to be a joy. And other people are going to know about it because it'll bubble over. He's talking here about sharing Joy in singing and testifying and praising God, making melody in our heart to the Lord. It comes from the heart. It's not just what we speak.
When a person is Spirit-filled, he is Joyful. Now verse 20 tells me that when a person is Spirit-filled. He's thankful. He doesn't go around griping and complaining.
You see, the opposite of Joyful is sad. What right do we have to be unhappy? What is there to be gloomy about, The Best Is Yet to Come? We may lose a few battles but were going to win the war. So what is there for us to complain about; lets us do all things without murmurings and complainings as Paul when the Holy Spirit of God controls us, we're joyful and we're thankful. Now he tells us we're thankful not for some things, but for all things, we're not thankful at sometimes we're thankful at all times.
That's a marvelous thing when something comes to our lives that hurt, and we're able to say, "Thank you, Lord." I don't understand this, and I don't enjoy it. But from my heart, I want to say thank you because you're working something out. I don't understand it. But thank you, Lord. You see, the Holy Spirit speaks to me if you let me control you always, for all things. You'll be thankful, and you'll be able to say well, I know all things are working together for good to them that love God.
The third evidence of the Holy Spirit is in verse 21 when a person is Spirit-filled. He's submissive. Now this word submits bothers some people and the very fact that it bothers them proves, they don't know much about the fullness of the Holy Spirit because when a person is joyful, when a person is thankful and when a person is submissive, he's glorifying God Jesus was joyful, or he was a Man of Sorrows, but he rejoiced, and he said to his disciples my Joy, I want to give to you. Had he never been a man of Joy? They would have said what Joy, we've been living with you for three years. We've never seen you have Joy. They didn't say that they said thank you. We want your Joyfulness, and he was thankful over and over again. You find Jesus saying thank you, Father. Thank you. And he was submissive even unto the death of the cross. He was Spirit-filled.
Now the carnal person doesn't want to submit a notice. It says in verse 21, submitting yourselves one to another in fear of God when a person is Spirit-filled. He submits to God and having submitted to God, and he has no problem submitting to others. They know what Paul does. Paul says the first place you're going to discover the Spirit's fullness is at home. Husbands and wives submitted to the Lord and each other that's verses 22 through 33. Then he says children, chapter 6 verse 1, down to verse 4, he says husbands and wives submitted to the Lord and each other. Children submitted to the Lord and their parent's Servants, verses 5, 6, 7, 8, submitted to the Lord. He's talking about Christian servants and to their masters. Masters verse 9 submitted to the Lord and their servants, here is a fantastic thing, here is true spiritual Unity.
You don't have a wife saying, well, I'm going to do it my way. They both say we'll do it God's way. We don't have children saying you can just do it your way, I'm going to do it my way. No, they say they will do it God's way. But it all begins with the Holy Spirit.
My friend, if you try to practice submission without the fullness of the Spirit, you'll have more trouble than you had before. Is it rather interesting that the Holy Spirit of God wants to begin to work in our homes? He's not talking about the church. He is not saying deacons be submitted elders, missionaries, Sunday school teachers, choir members are sure, No, No, he says if your Spirit is filled, it will show up where you live in your heart and soul.
Now you may not have a husband or a wife, may have a roommate. There may be some abrasion there maybe like two pieces of sandpaper. What is the evidence of the Spirit's fullness? You're joyful, thankful, and submissive, and that submission begins at home, and it moves out to work that it moves out to the church. He does that in chapter 6, what must we do to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
So what do we do to be filled with the Spirit? Number one, you can't be filled until you're empty. This doesn't mean empty of cell in the sense that you cease to be a human being, you can't do that. Remember, in John Chapter 2, when Jesus turned water into wine, here sat these six waterpots empty. We can't fill that which is already filled. And so I have to come and say, father. Here's my pride. I want you to take away my pride, and here is my appetite that you don't approve up and just come to him and get clean, a cleansing. The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit.
First, we must be saved. Secondly, we must be cleansed and empty. Thirdly. Our motives have to be right. Why do you want to be filled with the Spirit? We should want to be filled with the Holy Spirit for the reason that the Holy Spirit was given. Why was he given? You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me. The only valid motive for the fullness of the Spirit of God is to glorify Jesus Christ.
So we must be saved, and we must be cleansed and empty, and our motive must be right. We must realize that we don't get the fullness of the Holy Spirit as a spiritual luxury for us to enjoy. No, No, the fullness of the Holy Spirit is a necessity. It's an absolute essential if we're going to serve God. Jesus said without me, and you can do nothing, not some things, not a few things, but nothing.
I think we must yield to him. I don't know how the Holy Spirit of God can take possession of me. If I don't yield to him, this is why at the beginning of each day. We say now, and Lord takes my heart. I want the Spirit of God for love through me and take my body.
I want him to live through me and take my mind. I want him to teach me and take my will. I want him to work in my life, take all of me that there is here I am, and just by faith, ask the Holy Spirit to feel.
I don't read here that it's any evidence of the spirits fullness that your face shines, although Stevens did. Maybe if someday you're facing a mob about the stone you, your face will shine too. I don't read that any ecstatic voices were heard. No, but I'll tell you, my friend, If as you go through the day, you find yourself, Joyful despite circumstances, and thankful, despite circumstances and submissive. You find a deep joy in yielding to others and helping others not going through life saying, what are they going to do for me but saying, what I do for others if this is your experience, you know what? You're filled with the Spirit.