The Baptism and Fillng of the Spirit


The Baptism and Fillng of the Spirit

February 6th, 1966 @ 8:15 AM

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Acts 2:4

2-06-66      8:15 a.m.


On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the message entitled What it is to be Filled with the Spirit.  This is the sermon toward which we have been preparing for many months and in the long series of sermons that have preceded; and it will be followed by a series of sermons concerning it.

As you fellow ministers know, there are many ways to prepare a sermon.  A sermon can be a homily; taking verses of Scripture one after another and commenting upon them, that is a homily.  A sermon can be textual: take a text and deliver a message concerning the meaning of that text.  A sermon can be topical; it can be made on a subject.  Most sermons are topical: how to win souls, how to be saved, the faith, the church, the future life.  Most sermons are topical.  Once in a great while—and some of you, maybe most of you have never heard such a sermon—once in a great while a sermon can be exegetical, an exegesis.  An exegesis is the taking of a passage—most of the times it would be short because of the time limit—taking a passage and looking at the words to see what God says.

And that is what we are going to do this morning.  Out of many ways to approach this subject, I have decided we shall let God say what He says.  A preparation for this message was delivered last Sunday morning.  We shall not put words in God’s mouth.  We shall let God say what He says.  So looking at what God says, we shall take the words of the Lord, for we believe that the Word of God is theopneusta, God-breathed [2 Timothy 3:16].  It is inspired.  It has in it the breath of God.  And if I could hold them, the original manuscript in my hands, the one that the prophet wrote, or the apostle wrote, we believe, all of us in this church, that every syllable of that original writing is inspired by the breath, the pneuma, the Spirit of God.  So we shall take this word from the Lord and exegete it.  We shall see exactly what God said.

Now the passage is in the fifth chapter of Ephesians and the eighteenth verse:  “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” [Ephesians 5:18].  There are several words in the Greek language that refers to “filling, to be filled.”  For example, there is a word that is applied only to being filled having been hungry, chortazō, chortazō.  And the word is only used with reference to being filled as one might be hungry.

  • In the fifth chapter of the First Gospel, in Matthew, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” [Matthew 5:6], there’s that word.
  • In the fourteenth chapter of the First Gospel, “After the multitudes had eaten of the five loaves and the two fishes, they were filled” [Matthew 14:20].
  • In the sixteenth chapter of Luke, “Lazarus,” the beggar at the rich man’s door, “fain would have filled his belly with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table” [Luke 15:16, 16:21].
  • In the second chapter of the Book of James, talking about faith and works, James says, “What good does it say to a man who is hungry and cold, Go in peace, be warmed and filled” [James 2:16].
  • The last verse in the nineteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation invites all the fowls of the heavens to “come and to eat the flesh of the slain armies, and be filled” [Revelation 19:17-18, 21].

That is the Greek word chortazō and used only with reference to being filled having been hungry.

Then there is a Greek word that is just factual.  It is used to refer to filling a thing with something; just the fact of filling, filling.  That word is plēthō, plēthō—the shortened form of empiplēmi—plēthō; just “to fill.”

  • In the fourth chapter of Luke, the countrymen, His fellow citizens in Nazareth, “were filled with wrath” [Luke 4:28], when Jesus got through preaching to them.
  • In the next chapter, the fifth chapter, Luke describes the miracle of the draft of fishes:  “And both of the boats were filled” [Luke 5:7].
  • In the nineteenth chapter of the Book of John, when Jesus was dying on the cross, “Those that were standing by took a sponge and filled it with vinegar, put it on hyssop, and raised it up for Jesus to drink” [John 19:29].  That is the word, the factual word, that is used when the story is told about the filling of the Spirit [Ephesians 5:18].
  • In the first chapter of Luke, Zacharias, the father of the young child John, prophesied that he will be “filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth” [Luke 1:15].
  • In that same chapter it says that Elizabeth was “filled with the Spirit” [Luke 1:41].  That’s the word I say that you find all through the narrative in the second chapter of the Book of Acts at Pentecost.
  • The Holy Spirit, the ascension gift of Christ, was poured out upon the earth, “and they were filled with the Holy Spirit” [Acts 2:4].  Then thereafter you will see that word again and again.  “They were filled with the Holy Spirit.”

A factual word of filling something with something else.

Then there is another word.  When you look in Thayer’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament at these previous words, there would be little discussions, little short discussions in the presentation of their meanings.  But when you look up the word pleroō in Thayer’s Greek New Testament, you’ll find a long involved and learned discussion, a very long one.  Pleroō; plērōma is the substantival form of it, plērōma, the fullness of God.  And you could preach a sermon any day, and a magnificent one, if you followed the Word of God on the plērōma of the Lord.  “Pleroō,” applied to promises and to prophesies, pleroō means “to bring to fruition, to accomplish, to bring to pass, to fulfill.”  You see that word.  Oh! It is so often used.  You see that word as in the first chapter of the Book of Matthew.  “And all of this was done, that the word of the prophet might be fulfilled, when he says,” then quote the prophecy [Matthew 1:22-23].  Now that’s the word, pleroō; when applied to promises and prophecies, it means “to bring to pass, to accomplish, to fulfill.”

The word is used with regard to ministries, the works, the services, to accomplish it, to fulfill it as unto the Lord.

  • In the twelfth chapter of the Book of Acts, after the church at Antioch had sent Barnabas and Saul down to Jerusalem with a gift for the brethren there, it says that, “After they had fulfilled,” that word, “they had fulfilled their ministry, they returned to Antioch” [Acts 12:25].
  • In the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Acts, after Barnabas and Saul were sent on their first missionary journey, it says, “And after they had fulfilled the work whereunto God had sent them, they returned again to Antioch” [Acts 14:26]; to fulfill, to accomplish.
  • In the last verses of the Book of Colossians, Paul says to the church at Colossae, “And say to Archippus,” who is the pastor of the church, “And say to Archippus, Fulfill the ministry which thou hast received from the hand of the Lord, accomplish it, fulfill it, bring it to fruition, make it strong and great and mighty for God, pleroō” [Colossians 4:17].


Now we are coming down to the use of the word in the fifth chapter of the Book of Ephesians, in our text.  When that word pleroō is applied to God, to the Lord, whether Father, Son, or Holy Spirit, when that word is applied to God it refers to the fullness of God in His presence and in His active moving power, pleroō [Ephesians 5:18].  Now you’ll find it used in the first chapter of Ephesians and the last verse, speaking of the church, “God gave Christ to be the head over all things: to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all” [Ephesians 1:22-23].  Christ who heads our church [Ephesians 5:23] is the great, mighty, enthroned deity who fills with His presence and power the whole universe.

You know, sometimes when I get to thinking about modern science and the Lord God, I wonder if He that sits in the heavens doesn’t laugh at the puniness of men.  “Oh, we have disproved the existence of God,” say some of these scientists.  In our little, teeny, weensy, insignificant, inconsequential minutiae of a capsule, we have gone a hundred miles above the earth.  And we’re just about to get ready, by maybe 1970, to go about three hundred thousand miles in that direction and land on the moon.  Why, my friend, this universe that God fills—even with the eye we can see stars that are so far away that the speed of light, the light beam takes trillions, not millions, not billions, trillions, and trillions, and multiplied trillions of miles to reach us!  Light that you see from that star was as that star was trillions, and trillions, and trillions of years ago!  That’s not even where God is.  That’s not His throne.  That’s just the second heaven.  The first heaven is above us, where the clouds are and the birds fly.  The second heaven is where the starry universe is.  The third heaven is where God’s throne is set!  And an inconsequential man made out of dust flies around this earth a hundred miles, and he says, “We have proved there is no God.”  The plērōma of Him that pleroō, “the fullness of Him that filleth all in all!” [Ephesians 1:23].

You have the presentation of that glorious Christ in the fourth chapter of the Book of Ephesians when Paul says that marvelous word that, “He hath ascended on high, and given gifts unto men; and He that descended, went down into that grave, is the same that ascended, that He might fill all things” [Ephesians 4:8-10].  Isn’t that amazing?  There’s that word again pleroō.  He ascended far above all heavens, the first heaven, the second heaven, and now the third heaven where the throne of God is set.  Our Lord is enthroned there.  He is sat down there that He might fill all things: the starry universe, the earth, one of His little planets, and the souls and lives of men who live herein, and history, and destiny, and the future, “That He might fill all things” [Ephesians 4:10].

Now he uses that word in the third chapter and the nineteenth verse, in the incomparable prayer of the apostle Paul, “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God” [Ephesians 3:19].  You just try to think of that.  Put that in word and language.  The great Mighty who fills the universe, all praise, that we might be filled also with the fullness of God [Ephesians 3:19].  “O what is a man, that Thou art mindful of him?” [Psalm 8:4].  But he has destiny in his soul; he has immortality in his spirit [Ecclesiastes 3:11].  He has resurrection in his body [Romans 8:11].  He is a fellow heir with the Lord Jesus Christ that we might be filled with all the fullness of God [Ephesians 3:6].  “Christ made like unto His brethren, a man, we made like unto God; our brother Jesus” [Hebrews 2:17].

Well, we’re not going to get to our sermon at all.  I didn’t intend to say a word of that.

That is the word that is used here in the text:  “Be filled, pleroō, be filled with the Spirit” [Ephesians 5:18].  First, that verb pleroō is in the imperative mode.  Imperative, it is a command.  We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit [Ephesians 5:18].  It is in the imperative.  There is no commandment to be baptized by the Spirit.  It isn’t in the Bible.  There’s nothing that approaches it in the Word of God.  There is no commandment to be sealed by the Spirit.  There is no commandment that we be indwelt by the Spirit.  These are things God does for us.  Like the Lord “born” us again [John 3:3, 5-7].  No man could born himself.  No man could regenerate himself [Titus 3:5].  No man could add himself to the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:13].  No man could write his name in the Lamb’s Book of Life [Revelation 17:8, 20:12, 15, 21:27].  There are some things that God must do for us.

Now we call those things “positional” things.  They define our relationship to God, and the baptism by the Holy Spirit is positional.  First Corinthians 12:13, “By the Holy Spirit of God, by one Spirit,” en pneumati, the same phrase used here, en pneumati “by the Spirit, we are baptized into the body of Christ.”  There is no commandment anywhere that we be baptized by the Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:13], or sealed by the Spirit [Ephesians 4:30], or indwelt by the Spirit [Romans 8:9].  These things I say refer to our position before God, our relationship before the Lord.  But there is a mandate, an imperative command, that we be filled, pleroō that we “be filled by the Spirit” [Ephesians 5:18].  And that command refers to our service, and our walk, and our life, and our deeds, and our words.

Well you see, a Christian can be a carnal and fleshly and unfruitful child of God.  One of the most interesting passages in the Bible is the second and third chapters of First Corinthians.  You will find Paul in all of his writings presenting a man as a trichotomy.  A dichotomy would be soma and let’s say pneuma, could say psyche, body and soul.  In the song I noticed you sing, that one of dedication, “We offer to the Lord our body and soul.”  That is looking upon a man as a dichotomy.  He is body and soul.  That’s all right.  But Paul in his writings will present a man as a trichotomy.  He is a somatikos man; he has a body.  He is a psuchikos man; “psyche,” your word “psychic, psychology” comes from it.  A psuchikos man refers to a man in his mind and in his sensuous feeling, his volition, his being alive; a sensuous person, a thinking person.  Then the third is a pneumatikōs man, a spiritual man, a man who has in him the image and the mind of God.

Now Paul will use those two words, “But the natural man, the psuchikos man, receiveth not the things of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned [1 Corinthians 2:14].  But the pneumatikos man”—in the last verses of the second chapter of 1 Corinthians, he makes a distinction there between the natural man, the man of the world, the unsaved man, the lost man, and the pneumatikos man, the spiritual man, the born-again man [1 Corinthians 2:12-16].  Then he continues in the third chapter: a born-again man can also be a sarkikos man.  Sarx refers to the flesh.  And he pleads with these, and he uses that word one, two, three times, one after another.  He refers to those Corinthians in their divisiveness, and in their false pride and ambition, and in their doctrines, and in their habits, and in their discipline, he refers to the Corinthians as sarkikos people, sarkikoi people, a sarkikos man.  A Christian can be a sarkikos man.  He can be a fleshly man.  He can be a carnal man.  He can be a worldly man [1 Corinthians 3:1-4].  You find those two—the pneuma and the sarx, the body and the spirit, the flesh and the spirit—you will find that in Galatians 5:16-17, where Paul says that “The sarx, the flesh, lusteth against the pneuma, the Spirit, and the Spirit lusteth against the flesh, and these two are contrary, the one to the other.”

And every child of God has that civil war going on in his soul.  There is no exception, ever.  If you are a child of God you fight a war all the days of your life.  You agonize, you plead, you pray, you look to heaven, and most of the times we live in some kind of a fleshly, carnal, backslidden condition.  This appeal of the apostle Paul: we are not to give rein to the flesh, the lusts, and the evil desires and the worldly visions and dreams and ambitions of our lives, but we are to be pneumatikoi men, a pneumatikōs man, a spiritual man, listening to the voice of the Lord [1 Corinthians 2:14-16].

We must hasten—oh, we must!  Not only is that word plerousthe, pleroō, not only is it in the imperative mood, but it is in the present tense.  Now to us tense is time in our language.  But in the Greek language tense is kinds of action.  And plerousthe is in the present tense, imperative mood.  And it means “be continually filled by the Spirit” [Ephesians 5:18].  Not just one time, nor just twice––and my next sermon is going to be on Is There a Second Blessing?  Is there a second work of grace?  Not only one time, or two times, not only three times and four times, but if I were to translate that plerousthe exactly, “Be ye constantly being filled by the Spirit” [Ephesians 5:18].  The child of God who moment by moment yields himself to the Lord God will moment by moment be filled with the Spirit of the Lord.  Now in that range of fillings, one after another, one after another, repeated, repeated, God’s gracious gift for us, we never reach a plateau where we have finally arrived.  There’s always more that God has for us.  And there’s still more, and there’s still more, and there’s yet more.

Now in that great range of fillings, sometimes there’ll be a mountain like the Kilimanjaro, the greatest in Africa; sometimes there’ll be a mountain peak like the Fujiyama in Japan.  And if you’ve seen these mountain peaks––oh, how they stand out!  And that explains the experience of a John Wesley, or a Dwight L. Moody, or a Charles E. Finney, or an R.A. Torrey, great mountain peaks.  Most of us do not have such a tremendous mountain peak in our lives.  Most of us experience like a mountain range:  a peak, one after another, after another, after another, after another, a divine infilling.  This is the word plerousthe, present tense, continuous action, repeated action, again, and again, and again, and again.  We are to be filled by the Spirit of God [Ephesians 5:18].

Will you notice it is in the plural number, plerousthe, plural, addressed not just to the preacher, or just to the deacon, or just to a Sunday school teacher, or just to a businessman who has come all the way over here from California to help us in this lay institute week of evangelism.  It is addressed to all Christians everywhere.  I think every scholar will agree that the Book of Ephesians is a circular letter.  In the ancient manuscripts, some of them, “in Ephesus,” en ephesō—in Ephesus is left out.  Paul wrote the letter as a circular letter, and they filled in the name of the church to which it was read after the church received the manuscript.  And the manuscript we happen to have in the New Testament was the one in Ephesus.  So you see en ephesōin that place, but there are ancient manuscripts where the name is left out and some of them where other churches are placed there like Laodicea.  The address, the mandate is to all God’s people.  It isn’t just a preacher to be filled.  It isn’t just a deacon to be filled but all of God’s people are to be filled.  We are to be filled.  “Be ye,” plural, addressed to all the Lord’s people, “filled with the Holy Spirit” [Ephesians 5:18].

Notice that it is in the passive voice:  “Be ye filled with the Spirit.”  That is, the subject is acted upon, passive voice.  You who study grammar, if I say, “He was carried away or carried off,” that’s the passive voice.  The subject is being acted upon.  “He was crucified,” or “he was killed,” or “he was hurt.”  All of those are passive.  The subject is being acted upon.  This is passive:  “Be ye filled with the Spirit” [Ephesians 5:18].  The subject is being acted upon.  He is being directed and controlled by something else.  He is being acted upon.  Now this is the illustration that Paul uses in that.  “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is asōtia, abandonment” [Ephesians 5:18].  Now that’s not a contrast.  He is using that as an illustration.  A man who is under the influence of the spirits of alcohol, a man who is under the influence of the Spirit of God is acting according to some power and some domination outside of himself.  And he uses that as an illustration:  “Drunk with the spirits of alcohol, wherein asōtia, the abandonment” [Ephesians 5:18].

Well haven’t you seen that all your life?  Here is a fellow and he’s just so nice.  He combs his hair, and his tie is just so, and his shoes are shined, and his clothes are so beautifully arranged.  Then he gets inebriated, and his hair is disheveled, and his tie is awry, and his clothes look like he has slept in them for a week.  Abandonment; he’s under the power of the spirits of alcohol.  Or here is a fellow who’s very shy and timid.  And now, why, he’d talk a blue streak.  You can’t stop him.  Or he never sings, and now he sings at the top of his voice.  And he’s bold.  He attempts anything under the spirits of alcohol.  There were two drunks, and one of them jumped out the window, to fly around the block and come back in the window.  And when his other friend went to see him in the hospital, the fellow that had jumped out the window to fly around the block said to his fellow friend, he said, “Why didn’t you stop me?”  And his friend said, “Well, I thought you could do it.”  Paul uses that as an illustration, as an illustration.  The personality, the life, the will, the motive is influenced by some dominant force outside.

Now he uses that as an illustration of our lives.  We are to be dominated and directed and influenced by a force outside of ourselves.  And that force is the holy presence and Spirit of God.  And under the power and aegis of the Holy Spirit of God, a man will say things he never dreamed that he could say.  He will testify in areas he never dreamed he could testify.  He will believe things and accept things of God, the promises; he never dreamed he could accept.  And he will attempt things for God he never dreamed that he could attempt.  He is a new personality.  He is under the influence of the Spirit of God.  “Be ye plerousthe,” passive voice, “filled with the Spirit of the Lord” [Ephesians 5:18]; a new personality, a new creation in Christ Jesus, a different kind of a man.

And that is the earnest prayer of the Holy Spirit of the Lord.  Did you ever look at this verse and wonder what it meant? [James 4:5]: “The Spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy.”  What in the world does that mean?  “The Spirit that dwelleth in us, the Spirit of God that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy.”  What throws you off in reading the passage is the word translated “lust,” epipotheō, epipotheō.  To us lust is evil, an evil thing, lust.  But in 1611 when the King James Version was translated, that was a very fine translation.  For epipotheō means “earnestly desire, earnestly to desire.”  And lust in 1611 meant that, “earnestly to desire.”  And what the pastor of the church in Jerusalem is writing there in [James 4:5], “The Holy Spirit of God in us, earnestly desires us, and so much so, that He does it even to envy.”  The Holy Spirit of God, when He sees you give your mind to the world, He envies the world, He wishes He had that mind for God.  When the Holy Spirit of God sees you give your love to the world, He envies the world.  He wishes He had that love in your heart for God––when the Holy Spirit of God sees you in all of these sarkikoi things, fleshly things, the Holy Spirit so desires you that He envies, so wanting you for God.

You know, I almost entitled this sermon Not I, but Christ: Galatians 2:20, “crucified with Christ, yet I live; but not I, but Christ.”  That’s what it is to be filled with the Spirit of God, a cup emptied, emptied of self, emptied of the world, emptied of everything, and God fills it; our hands turning loose of everything in the world, that our hands might be filled with God; our hearts emptied of everything, that our hearts might be filled with the Lord.  It may be to start with, “all of self and none of Thee,” but as we come before the Lord in prayer and dedication, maybe it will be “some of self, and some of Thee.”  Then as we stay before the Lord, it may be, “less of self, and more of Thee,” and as we tarry before the Lord, maybe someday it can be, “none of self, and all of Thee.”  That’s what it is to be filled with the Spirit of God––none of self, give it all up, Lord, give it all up––none of self, and all of Thee.  Plerousthe, “Be ye, being constantly filled with the Spirit of God” [Ephesians 5:18].

Now we’ve gone beyond our time.  We sing our hymn and our song, and on the first note of that first song, come, come, come.  You, a couple, a family, when you stand up in a moment, stand up coming: “Here I am, pastor, and here I come.”  Down a stairway, down one of these aisles, here to the front: “Here I am, preacher.  Today I give my heart to God, take Him as my Savior.  Today I open my heart to the fullness of the Spirit of Jesus,” or “Today I am putting my life in the fellowship of this dear church.”  On the first note of the first stanza, come.  Make it now, while we stand and while we sing.