Robert Jeffress - The Second Blessing
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Last time we learned that every Christian receives the Holy Spirit at salvation. But once we've been saved our encounter with God's spirit goes even deeper. It occurs when we give the Holy Spirit full control, over our lives. So today I'm going to identify three truths about what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. My message is titled "The Second Blessing," on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
A number of years ago, I decided to go home for lunch. You may ask "Why in the world would you report such a mundane activity"? Well, the reason is because at that time in my life I never went home for lunch. But I just felt an urge to go home for lunch that day. In fact, it was such an unusual thing for me to do when I opened the front door, Amy just about jumped out of her stand and she said, "What are you doing here"? And she said, "Are you sick"? "Did you get fired"? "Why are you here"? And I said, "No I just had an urge to come home for lunch if that's okay".
And so I walked in and our daughter, Dorothy was a pre-schooler at that time. And she was seated at the table, eating her lunch. And I went over to the counter to make myself a sandwich. And Amy went back to the back room where she was working on a project. And as I was making the sandwich I all of a sudden heard Dorothy begin to choke. And I looked over there and she was grabbing her throat, turning red and then purple and I had heard about the Heimlich maneuver, didn't have a clue how to perform it but I had heard about it. So all I knew to do was to go over and just start beating on her back, pounding as hard as I could. And I pounded and I pounded and I pounded until the remnant of a piece of Ravioli rocketed from her mouth across the room. And she was okay.
Now she had never choked before like that. And I hadn't been home for lunch before, but I just happened to come on that day. Was that a coincidence or was it something more? Have you ever had an experience like that, you felt a prompting to do something you didn't know why you felt it, but only later did you discover the reason why or maybe you've been in a situation like this you get some terrible devastating news. And yet, inexplicably, you have a sense of calm about you. When normally you would collapse under the weight of that news, you feel a supernatural sense of peace inside of you. Or if you had this experience before you're in a conversation with somebody and you know what you need to say to them, you know they need a word from God.
And for some reason you feel the surge of courage come upon you. When normally you would remain quiet and you speak a bold word for God telling them exactly what they need to hear. Inner promptings in our spirit, inexplicable peace when the world's collapsing around us, unusual courage to speak God's truth. What do all of these phenomenal have in common? They are all evidences of the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, in our lives.
If you have your Bibles this morning, I want you to turn to Acts chapter 2, Acts chapter 2 we began a series several weeks ago called unleashed. We're looking at how to experience more of the Holy Spirit's power in our every day life. And you say, why do we need another experience with the Holy Spirit? Pastor you just said, we all were baptized with the Holy Spirit of God. Why do we need some additional experience with the Holy Spirit of God if he's inside of us, why do we need anything else?
R. A. Torrey, another evangelist, answered that question this way by using this analogy, listen to it carefully. He said "So it is clear that every regenerate man has the Holy Spirit, but in many of believer, the Holy Spirit dwells away back in some hidden sanctuary of his person a way back of conscious experience. So just as it is one thing to have a guest in your house living in some remote corner of the house where you're scarcely know that he's even there and quite another thing to have that guest taking entire possession of the house". "So it is one thing to have a Holy Spirit dwelling way back of consciousness in some other hidden sanctuary of our being and quite another thing to have the Holy Spirit taking entire possession of the house".
When we're talking about receiving the filling of the Holy Spirit, we're not talking about getting more of the Holy Spirit in our life. You see, when you become a Christian you have all of the Holy Spirit of God. The question is does the Holy Spirit have all of you? Does he have possession of every room in your life? Or is he stuck in some back corner? When we talk about receiving the filling of the Holy Spirit we're talking about allowing God's spirit to take full control of our life. To allow him free reign in every part of our life not just one room or two rooms or three rooms. Today we're going to talk about what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
Now I'm speaking to some of you this morning, who know as Christians, something is missing in your life right now. You don't have that joy. You don't have that ability to say no to sin. You're living a subnormal Christian experience. What is missing in your life is what we're talking about this morning, the filling of the Holy Spirit of God. Now first of all, I want us to define, what do we mean by being filled with the Holy Spirit? In the New Testament you'll discover that this phrase being filled with the spirit is used 15 different times. And the phrase be filled with the spirit is used in two very distinct ways. First of all, and write it down sometimes to be filled with the spirit means it is used to describe the baptism with the Holy Spirit. And that's what makes this confusing.
Sometimes Luke, for example, in the Book of Acts he uses the phrase filled with the spirit as a synonym for being baptized with the spirit. He's talking about that initial experience at the time of salvation. When we are baptized with the spirit that is the Holy Spirit, indwells us he changes us and he connects us to the body of Christ. Look at acts 2, verse 4, the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit first came look at verse 4 of Acts chapter 2, "And they were all filled," the all refers to the 11 apostles. It refers to the 120 who were gathered with them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak with other tongues, as the spirit was giving them utterance.
Look at Acts chapter 10 verse 44, the story of Cornelius, the Roman centurion who believed in Peter's message and was saved. Luke records "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon those who were listening to the message". They believed the message they were filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Sometimes the filling of the spirit refers to the baptism with the spirit, but more often than not, the word fill the filling with the spirit is used to describe being controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. That is the major way this phrase is used in the New Testament. It's talking about being controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. And in most instances that is how this phrase is being used. It's being used to describe being directed by, being controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Now, let me show you some instances in the New Testament where the word is used that way. In fact, when it says filled just substitute the word controlled and see if that doesn't make sense. For example, you don't have to look all of these up just look at them on the screen, Luke 4 verse 1 "And Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit that is being controlled by the Holy Spirit returned from Jordan and was about... And was led about by the spirit in the wilderness". Jesus was controlled, directed by the spirit to go into the wilderness for his time of temptation or Acts chapter 6 verse 3 the record of the selection of the first group of deacons in the church. "Therefore brethren select from among you seven men of good reputation who are full of the spirit".
That is their lives are controlled by the spirit and of wisdom whom we may put in charge of the task or Acts chapter 7 verse 55, the record of the death of Stephen the first Christian martyr, "But being full of that is being controlled by the Holy Spirit, Stephen gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand". Now turn over to Ephesians chapter 5 for a moment, the passage we read, this is the foundational passage for what it means to be filled with, be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. Paul says, "And do not get drunk with wine for this is dissipation instead be filled with," be controlled by, "The Holy Spirit of God". You see how that works there. What is wrong is for a Christian to allow anyone or anything other than God's spirit to control to direct his life.
I want you to notice from this short verse three truths about being filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Jot them down. First of all, being filled with, that is being controlled with a spirit is a command, not a promise. It is a command, not a promise. Now that's different than the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Did you know, in the seven times the phrase baptism with the spirit is used the Bible. Never is it used as a command. Never does God say to us as Christians be baptized with the Spirit of God. You know why he never commands us to be baptized with the Spirit of God, because there's nothing we can do to baptize ourselves with the spirit. That's something God has to do.
You know, be like God saying to me, Robert have brown eyes. Well, I don't care how hard I tried, I could never give myself a pair of brown eyes. That's something God does for me. It's the same thing with the baptism, with the spirit, Jesus is the one and the only one who can baptize us with his spirit. Remember the baptism with the spirit is the process by which the Holy Spirit changes us. He changes our spiritual color, remember that illustration, he changes us from being guilty, disobedient sinners, enemies of God. He turns us into forgiven, obedient disciples of Christ who are the friend of God. That's what the baptism of the Holy Spirit does. It changes us and it also connects us to Jesus Christ, the head and to other Christians in the body. That's something Jesus does for us.
However, when we come to Ephesians 5:18, we are commanded to be filled with the spirit. That is our responsibility, that is not God's responsibility. You and I have to choose whether or not we are going to be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. For example, have you ever had this experience? Somebody says something that just takes you off royally, maybe a work associate, maybe a mate and you have a string of words you're ready to unleash and you can't wait to let it fly. But then you had this inner prompting that says hold on, hold back, keep your cool, don't do that. You going to spend months cleaning this up if you do it, have you ever had that conflict before? See the choice is what's going to control your life in that incident, or you going to be controlled by anger? Or are you going to be controlled by the spirit?
It's a choice you make, or maybe you're sitting in front of the computer screen and something pops up on your screen, an image an invitation to join one of those internet sites you know you shouldn't go into and that moment you have a choice. You have a choice of whether to go ahead and click on, satisfy your curiosity. See what you know you shouldn't see, but you also have that inner voice speaking to you saying "Shut it down right now. Get up, walk away". And that instant you have a choice, are you going to be controlled by lust? Or are you going to be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God? The command to be controlled by the spirit is a command, it is not a promise.
Now leads to a second truth that we find from this verse being filled with the spirit is a continual experience, it is not a one-time action. Now the Bible says being baptized with the spirit when we're saved that's a one-time action Ephesians 4:5, there's one Lord, one faith and one baptism. Is there a second baptism of the spirit? Absolutely not. A third? No, there's one Lord, one faith, one baptism. However, the filling with the Holy Spirit of God that is a continual action. Again, remember that nautical illustration I used the word used play role was used to describe the filling of the sail of a ship for a long journey.
Now think about a sailboat going across the Atlantic ocean. How does the wind work? Does the wind come one time and fill those sails continually for the entire journey? The wind doesn't do that. The wind comes for a while and then it leaves, it comes back again, it may even change direction. It's the same way with the filling of the Holy Spirit. The tense of the command here could be translated keep on, be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. People ask me, pastor, do you believe in a second blessing? Absolutely I believe in a second blessing, I believe in a second, a third blessing, a fourth blessing, a fifth blessing. Those continual blessings are the continual filling of the Holy Spirit of God.
Now I need to stop here and say something that I know may offend some of our audience watching. Maybe some of you listening to this but I think it needs to be said. I mentioned it during our spiritual warfare series. We need to say it again. We need to be on guard against what I call deliverance theology. That is so rampant in the Christian church today. You know, we all want a shortcut to solve our problems, don't we? And there are some out there who say, you know, "If you're battling an addiction. If you're having difficulty saying no to sin, if there are some gigantic problem you're facing, if you will just strive for this particular religious experience, if you will just have this experience or you we'll just pray this magical prayer, then you can be free from all of your struggle".
Ladies and gentlemen, that is a lie. There is no one time experience. There is no one time prayer that will forever free you from your struggle with sin. If you don't believe that, listen to the testimony of the apostle Paul and here's the greatest missionary, the greatest evangelist the world has ever known. Listen to what he says about his struggle with a sin Romans 7 verses 18 and 19 . Paul said "For I know that nothing good dwells in me that is in my flesh, for the willingness present in me, but the doing of the good is not". "For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want".
Can you identify what Paul's words there? You want to do the right thing. And yet you find yourself not being able to, or you say I will never do this again. And then you find yourself doing it, 30 minutes later. That was the same struggle Paul had even as an apostle. The only day you will ever be free completely from your struggle with sin will be the day of your death. Not until then, will you be free from struggling with sin? You say, pastor that is the most depressing thought I've ever heard. You mean I'm going to struggle like this forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. Well here's the good news, even though you and I will always struggle with sin until we die. The fact is the struggle will get easier the more often you choose to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
You see choosing to be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God is a habit we develop. And the more often we say yes to the spirit and noticing the easier it becomes the next time to say yes to the spirit and no to sin. Let me illustrate for you this way. How many of you have ever taken a golf lesson before, if ever had a golf lesson before? When I was in the eighth grade, I took golf lessons. I remember exactly it was like yesterday, it happened. You know the instructor tells you, he says first of all he tells you how to grip the club. You know, you grip it just like this. And then he tells you how to position your feet. And then he talks to you about addressing the ball.
I remember the old Art Carney routine. Hello ball, that's not what he's talking about when he says address the ball here. It's talking about how you stand in relation to the ball. Then he says, you know, you're supposed to angle the head of your club in a certain way. And then on your back swing, you need to go just like this and so forth. I mean, detailed instructions. Whenever you go to a golf course, you can always tell the novice golfers, because there they are you know, just thinking about how they going to grip that club and making sure they're standing right and angling the club right. But a seasoned golfer, does he think about those things? No, there is second nature to him. He just goes up swings and drives that ball down the fairway, why? Because he's practiced over and over and over again. It's become second nature to him.
It is the same way with saying yes to the Spirit of God. Saying yes the first time makes it easier to say yes to the second time, the third time and the fourth time of being controlled by, being filled with the Holy Spirit of God. It is a continual experience, not a one-time action. The third truth we see in Ephesians 5, 18, is being filled with the Holy Spirit is God's desire for every Christian not just a select few. It's God's desire for every one of us that we be filled with controlled by the Holy Spirit. It is not reserved for a select few group of super saints.
The old preacher Vance Havner said one time, "Most Christians are so sub-normal that when they act normal, people think they're abnormal". Now that's really true. Most Christians are living such an inferior spiritual life. Most Christians are living so far away from the Holy Spirit of God that if anyone ever starts living under the spirit's control on a regular basis, people are like they're a fanatic, or they're a super saint, they're like Mother Teresa or somebody. It's hard to believe that that is God's desire for every Christian, but that's what he says in this verse. He says, "Be filled with the Holy Spirit of God". And that verb that he uses in Greek play row is constructed in such a way that it has a poorer audience.
If Paul were from the south and writing in English he would say, "You all be filled with the Holy Spirit of God" that's what that verb means, be filled means you all be filled. He wasn't just saying to one or two groups and the Ephesians church to be filled. He was saying everybody is to be filled. The filling of the Holy Spirit is not reserved just for a select few group. It is God's desire for every believer. Now, what are we seeing about being filled with the Holy Spirit? First of all, it is a command. It is a continual command. It is a continual command for everyone. But it's also a command that has some very real practical benefits in our life. And next week, we're going to look at four of those practical benefits in your everyday life of choosing to be filled with, controlled by the Holy Spirit of God.