30 April 2013
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit but what does that even mean? We asked a few experts to give us their take.
Rev Paul Bradbury, pioneer minister for Poole Town Centre & Hamworthy and community leader of Poole Missional Communities
I am glad that we are perhaps moving away from doctrinal and interpretative differences on this phrase and exploring more and more the praxis of being spirit-filled. The 'Toronto Blessing' and all that focus on experience has now left us with the question: 'OK, but what difference does it make? How does it build the kingdom? 'Ultimately the Spirit is the agent of mission. Jesus breathed the Spirit on his disciples after the resurrection and they became agents of mission (John 20:23). Our own mission is about joining in with the directing and empowering ministry of God's missionary Spirit. We are therefore dependent on the Spirit. Times spent resting in, listening to and being filled again and again by the Spirit become indispensable to the task of mission.Without such times we risk turning mission into an enterprise of our own making. poolemc.org.uk
Lucy Peppiatt , dean of Westminster Theological College
I think that being filled with the Spirit begins when we yield to God's presence and power in our lives, and when we accept the gifts He wants to give us. Then it continues every time we do this. It requires trust and faith to allow God to shape us and mould us into the likeness of Jesus by the power of the Spirit. We'll change because we'll understand more about the Father's extraordinary love for us, who we are to Him, and how He sees other people.It will both break our hearts and deeply heal them as we learn to see God, ourselves, and the world through Jesus'seyes and heart. The Spirit begins the process of giving us the mind of Christ, and the courage and power to makehis love, his forgiveness and his healing known. wtctheology.org.uk
Pastor George Oppong, an elder at Ruach City Church
I'm reminded in Acts 1:7 of Jesus speaking to his disciples and saying they would be his witnesses when theSpirit came on them. Being filled causes us to be ambassadors of the living God. The Bible also talks about whenJesus after he had waited in consecration for 40 days came out and was filled with the Spirit and the Spirit beganto work through him mightily. Being Spirit-filled is a pre-requisite of our Christian walk – it's ultimately aboutspreading the love of Christ. I think being filled is more than just speaking in tongues. It's more than acting in away we charismatics sometimes do. I believe there's more to it. It's about showing the power and love of God toour dying world. The passion of the Holy Spirit causes us to move in ways that we wouldn't normally. The Holy isan enabler. He enables us to work in love, to minister to the people that are dying and hurting, to love those thatsociety says are unlovable. We need more of the Spirit. ruachcitychurch.org
Ian Buchanan, executive director , Langham Partnership
At a personal level being filled with the Holy Spirit is about the imparting of gifts that empower us for ministry.But this local event is part of a far more interesting global project. God wants to reverse the damage done bysin. To do this He pulls out and recreates a people. He reshapes them into the message they proclaim – theybecome like Jesus. So being filled with the Holy Spirit has a glorious practical purpose behind it. Through hisempowering we have an opportunity to bring authenticity to the gospel – people see it alive in us. 9aday.org.uk