We need first to understand the difference between the INDWELLING of the Holy Spirit and the FILLING of the Holy Spirit:
*THE INDWELLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT*
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT PERIOD the Holy Spirit would come upon someone for a time then leave when the mission of the prophet was finished or when the man of God would sin (see Samson Jud13:7,25;14:6,19; 15:14;16:20); David in Ps51:11 prayed that God would not remove His Spirit from him; but in Ps.89:28-34 God foretold David about the new covenant in which God will chastise sin but will not forsake the believers; see also Is59:21: ”My Spirit will not leave them…”, Heb13:5;
IN THE NEW TESTAMENT PERIOD all believers in Jesus Christ have God’s Spirit living within them continually, being under a new covenant through the blood of Jesus (Jer31:31, Lk22:20, Heb8:8), a new covenant that replaces the old covenant made between God and Israel (Heb7:12,18,19,9:15). The old covenant with its over 670 laws and animal sacrifices was an image or shadow or symbol of the new covenant in Christ (Col2:17,Heb8:5;10:1), new covenant in which the HS does not leave the believer.
(Allow me to use shortcut ”HS” for the ”Holy Spirit”)
–Jn14:16: Jesus promised the H.S. would ‘ABIDE’, remain, stay with us forever; in Greek verb is in continual action mode;
–Eph1:13 also 2Cor1:22: Paul says the believer is SEALED with the HS, or stamped; THE HS IS THE SEAL; letters and objects were sealed or stamped as a sign of royal possession. Seal was made of hot wax that could only be removed by the royal authority, and that only by destroying the seal – and nobody can destroy the HS who is God, not even the Father or Jesus!
–Eph4:30 says you are SEALED UNTIL OR FOR THE DAY OF REDEMPTION or the day when you will finally be with Jesus, not until you sin then the seal be destroyed and removed from you.
–2 Cor1:22: Paul says the HS is given unto us as an EARNEST, or a deposit, or down payment, or pledge or guarantee of salvation; 2000 years ago, just as today, when you would purchase something you would give a deposit that you can not take back: if you change your mind about the purchase you loose the deposit.
–1Cor3:16, 6:19 and 2Cor.6:16 says that the BELIEVER’S BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HS in which the HS ”dwells”, not ”visits” when you are not sinning and leaves when you sin;
–Rom8:9 says that IF YOU DONT HAVE THE HS THEN YOU DONT BELONG TO JESUS; the conclusion is that if you belong to Jesus you also have the HS; how can you be sure that you belong to Jesus? Just believe in Jesus as your Savior, Jn1:12;3:16;6:47;7:39;
–In the Book of Acts we have a few situations in which the HS was received when the apostles LAID HANDS on the new believers, this happened so that those believers would accept the authority of the apostles, see especially the case of the Samaritans that had no connection with the Jews, or John the Baptist’s disciples that continued to follow John during Jesus’ ministry and even after John’s death and Jesus’ resurrection: Acts8:17, 9:17, 19:6. But in other cases the HS came without laying of hands: Acts2:4, 10:44. Laying of hands was a symbol of identification where the greater laid hands on the lesser, often used in the Old Testament and continued in the New Testament: Mat19:15, Lk13:13, 24:50, Acts6:6;8:17; 13:3;19:6;28:8, 1Tim5:22, 2Tim1:6 (at ordination). In English verses like Acts5:18;21:27, translated ‘laid hands on him’ (to put one in prison) literal translation should be ”throw hands upon”.
*THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT*
–All believers have the HS living in them but not all believers live filled or controlled by the Spirit.
A believer has all of the Holy Spirit but the Holy Spirit may not have all of him. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at the time of our salvation but we are filled by Him when we submit to Him, the degree of our submission is the degree of our HS filling.
The indwelling of HS happens once for all but the filling of HS should happen continually or many times, as we loose the filling through sin but we don’t loose the indwelling of HS.
–An important portion of Scripture that refers to the filling of the Holy Spirit is Eph5:17-21:
”Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 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, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
–In these verses being filled with the Spirit is contrasted with being filled or drunk with wine. The idea is one of being CONTROLLED BY GOD’S SPIRIT RATHER THAN BY OTHER FORCES.
*HOW CAN A PERSON BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?*
–A believer in Christ can “quench” or “grieve” the Holy Spirit (1Thess5:19; Eph4:30). Sinful actions can hinder the work of God’s Spirit in our lives. In contrast, when a believer in Christ lives in obedience to God’s will, he can expect to experience the leading or filling of the HS.
–Some think that the filling of the Holy Spirit is an emotional experience that takes place only at certain moments, but the concept of “filling” in Scripture is one of being controlled or influenced by the Holy Spirit. At times living a Spirit-filled life may include emotional or mountain-top experiences. But the idea of being filled by the Spirit is more about an ongoing sense of God’s Spirit working in a person’s life, not a one-time experience. As the believer lives out his faith in submission to Christ, the Holy Spirit increasingly controls or fills his life; this leads to joy, thankfulness, and right relationships.
–To be filled with the Spirit implies FREEDOM FOR HS TO OCCUPY EVERY PART OF OUR LIVES, guiding and controlling us. Then His power can be exerted through us so that what we do is fruitful to God. The filling of the Spirit does not apply to outward acts alone; it also applies to the INNERMOST THOUGHTS AND MOTIVES OF OUR ACTIONS.
Ps19:14 says, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
–It is not praying for the filling of the Holy Spirit that accomplishes the filling. Luke11:13 Jesus’ words, ‘The Father gives the HS to those who ask him’ speaks of asking for the HS through their heart submission, not through the lips: God looks at the heart 1Sam.16:7; Mat.15:8.
Only our obedience to God’s commands allows the Spirit freedom to work within us. Because we are still infected with sin, it is impossible to be filled with the Spirit all of the time, 1Jn1:7-10. When we sin, we should immediately confess it to God and thus renew our commitment to being Spirit-filled and Spirit-led.
HOW DO I KNOW THAT I AM FILLED BY THE Holy Spirit?
I know that I am filled by the HS when:
–when I ELEVATE CHRIST, speaking from Him, as the HS lifts up Christ and does not speak from Himself but Christ’s things: Jn16:13-15
–WHEN I HAVE THE FRUIT OF THE HS, see Gal.5:22-25: ”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also WALK IN [in obedience to] THE SPIRIT.”
–when I love and honor THE TEMPLE OF THE HS, WHICH IS MY BODY, so I place by body in the service of God: mouth to be filled with God’s Word and praises, I bring my ears to hear the Word, I allow the HS to lead my feet and hands, eyes, thoughts and tongue; Rom12:2, 2Cor10:5; decent dressed, no piercings, sexual purity and so on.
–when I LOVE AND HONOR THE BODY OF CHRIST in which the HS has placed me to be one with, 1Cor.12:13, resulting in loving the Church which is formed of all believers in Jesus, Eph2:22;4:2-4
–I am filled by the HS when I love, study and apply in faith the BOOK INSPIRED BY THE HS: 2Pet1:20-21; Eph6:17 the Bible is called ‘the sword of the Spirit’; Rev2:7,11,17,29; 3:13,22; 22:17; 1Pet1:22
–when I WITNESS FOR CHRIST: Acts1:8; we see the apostles and disciples often evangelizing immediately after being filled by the HS: Acts2:14;4:8,31;5:32;6:10; 7:55;8:29;9:17,20;13:4-5; 16:6-10
–when I WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH BUT AFTER THE THINGS OF THE SPIRIT: Rom8:4-5,13, 1Cor2:14;
–when I LIVE IN THE LOVE OF GOD, NOT BEING AFRAID OF GOD (1Jn4:18) or fearing death, evil, demons, future, Rev21:8; ”fear OF God” in Hebrew is an expression meaning ”reverence towards God”.
–when I LOOK FORWARD TO THE RESURRECTION, not to the things of this world: Rom8:23
–when I PRAY ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD, just as the HS does, Rom8:27
–when I am FERVENT IN THE SPIRIT IN SERVING THE LORD, Rom12:11
–when I WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY WORKS, Gal3:2,3
–when I DON’T FULFILL THE LUSTS OF THE FLESH, Gal5:16,17,25
–when I LIVE IN THE SANCTIFICATION OF THE SPIRIT; sanctification means to be set apart for God’s use and fellowship with God: 2Thes2:13, Jn17:19, 1Pet.1:2
*WHAT SPIRIT FILLING IS NOT:*
–Spirit filling is not speaking in angels’ language; in Acts 2 the apostles spoke in national languages not angelic languages
–Spirit filling is not speaking loud and proud; it could be a still small voice, 1Kings19:12
–Spirit filling is not always miracles and healing: Mat7:22, 2Cor12:7-10
–Spirit filling is not foretelling the future beyond what the Bible foretells, nor always knowing secret things about people, Acts16:16.