Almost everyone in the church talks about being filled with the Holy Spirit. Some will say it happens when they confess Jesus is Lord and are baptized. Others will say being filled with the Holy Spirit happens when they speak in tongues or a second event separate from salvation. There is huge division in the church when it comes to the filling of the Holy Spirit. The answer to this problem is that both sides lack the power so actually neither side is actually filled with the Spirit since neither side is seeing the true power of the Holy Spirit as seen in scripture. Many say they are sealed for all eternity and nothing can take it away. They look at verses like these that say Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” 2 Corinthians 1:21 “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” Then you have the predestination group who misconstrue this verse. Ephesians 1:11 “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” As part of the plan, these apostles were chosen as first fruits but then others are included in the plan when they heard the message of truth. So here is the problem; people are not hearing the message of truth yet they are falsely told that they are sealed but most will not find out they are not filled until it is too late. Leaders have led them astray but if they just actually read scripture they would see the power is missing in their lives. Because the church is not testing the spirits as we are told to do, most are unaware they have been filled with a false spirit. 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Here is why you need to test the spirits. Reinhard Bonnke, a false prophet who recently died has led millions astray, especially in Africa. He made this false statement that said, “to wait on God is an Old Testament concept. The last ones who waited on God were the 120 in the upper room. Now God waits on us. Green means go. When the light turns green, you do not need a permit from the secretary of transportation, you just go.” This is a dangerous teaching as many are going but they do not know they have not been filled with the Holy Spirit. Again the sign of the true filling of the Holy Spirit is the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit; all of them. The 120 waiting in the upper room is not an Old Testament concept, as I believe you will find that in the New Testament. He should have included the yellow light as a caution and the red meaning to stop. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then your life will look like Jesus and the gifts of the Spirit will be present as they were with Jesus. These are described in 1 Corinthians 12:4 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” Not some of them but all of them.
As with everything Jesus did, He showed us how the church would work under His authority and power. Luke 3:21 “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” In this case the filling came at the same time as baptism but as we saw later with Peter and Cornelius, the filling came before water baptism. Acts 10:44 “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” We also see the filling after baptism. Acts 8:14 “When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” Acts 19:1 “There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.” Peter said they heard them speaking in tongues just as they did at Pentecost. This is not the gibberish you see in charismatic circles but a language just like at Pentecost.
The bottom line is this filling of the Holy Spirit is not happening in the church today the way it should be occurring as we saw with Jesus. The number one reason I can say this is there is no power, which again should look like scripture. The reason for no power is the church has turned away from God’s words to follow their own words, which are false gospels. So even though almost everyone will say they are filled with the Holy Spirit, when compared to Jesus most are not. You even have to question the salvation of most. This should send fear into our hearts but it doesn’t. Most will simply say of course I am saved, of course I am filled; they just don’t know with what spirit they are filled.
Jesus on the other hand was filled and His ministry displayed that filling. Luke 4:14 “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Matthew 4:17 “From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.” This was what it looked like to be clothed with power from on High.
We cannot serve Jesus Christ if we are not filled. Bonnke is not correct when he said we no longer wait. We wait because we need to be clothed with power once again. Once filled and when you have power, you then go where you are sent in the power and authority of Jesus name. The power Bonnke displayed like so many other false prophets / teachers was not God’s but satan’s power. In order to receive the true power of God, we repent, by turning from our wicked ways and doing what we are told to do from the beginning; so we wait. The disciples were told in Luke 24:8 “You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” And then in Acts 1:4 “On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Since God has turned His face from shining on us we are powerless. If we are going to do as Jesus called us to do, then we must be filled with the Holy Spirit.