What Happens When You’re Filled with the Spirit

July 25, 2012  3 Comments

My kids and I get a kick out of the opening scene of Kung Pow.  After watching a baby in diapers fighting off a horde of bad guys, we laugh and quote the villain in his strange nasally voice.  

Oopen da mowth.

I can’t help think of those words as I write this blog.  According to the bible, the sign of the Spirit is an open mouth.

Well not just an open mouth but more specifically, a mouth opened in witness and praise.  Jesus says in Acts 1:8,

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…

And this is what we find in Luke’s Gospel and Acts (Luke’s sequel).  Those who are filled or receive or have the Holy Spirit come upon them OPEN THEIR MOUTHS.

  • Elizabeth exclaims in a loud voice. (Luke 1:42-43)
  • Zachariah prophecies. (Luke 1:67-79)
  • The 120 “speak in other tongues.” (Acts 2:4)
  • Peter testifies (Acts 4:8)
  • The believers “speak the word of God boldly.” (Acts 4:31)
  • Cornelius and his household speak in tongues (Acts 10:44-46)
  • Paul curses Elymas (Acts 13:9)
  • The Ephesian disciples speak in tongues and prophesy (Acts 19:6)

And its the same in the Old Testament.

  • In Numbers, the 70 elders prophecy. (11:25)
  • And in 1 Samuel 19:23-24, Saul too prophesies.

It’s interesting that the Spirit’s filling is often compared to having too much to drink.  For instance,

  • When the crowds heard the disciples speaking in tongues on the day of Pentecost they thought they were drunk. (Acts 2:13-15).
  • And Instead of getting drunk, Paul instructs the Ephesians to be “filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18)

How does inebriation compare with the Spirit?  

Once again its the open mouth.  A person who is drunk loses all inhebition to speak or even sing.  Think Karaoke bar.  But even before Karaoke, bars have always been a place of speaking and singing.

Note how Paul follows this call to be “filled with the Spirit.”

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.  Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19-20).

To speak and to sing praise to the Lord is to allow the Spirit to move in and through you.

Ok.  So if the filling of the Spirit is evidenced in the open mouth here’s what it’s not.

It not JUST tongues.  I for one speak in tongues.  And I believe those who speak in tongues have been filled with the Spirit.  But I also believe it’s simply wrong to reduce the Spirit’s filling to an “initial physical evidence.”  Can we as Pentecostals truly say that Billy Graham was not filled with the Spirit when we know the Spirit’s filling is empowerment for witness (Acts 1:8)?

It’s not JUST the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  The fruits of the Spirit are most definetly connected with the Spirit’s filling.  But the fruit of the Spirit is an inward condition of the heart.  It’s not the outward manifestation – specifically the open mouth.

Has you’re mouth be opened in inexhaustible witness and praise?  If not, then wait, pray and seek.  If it has, is your mouth still open today?

What do you think?

Matthew Scott Miller

Posts Twitter Facebook

Your comments make my day - the good, the bad and the ugly! I read each one and try to respond within a few hours. Please see the about page for the reason behind Logos Made Flesh and, if interested, 25 utterly random things about me.
  • http://gravatar.com/pastorjasonauburnbiblechapel Jason Wakefield

    This is good!
    This also made me think of two other passages in Acts that may add to this discussion:
    “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.” (Acts 8:35 ESV)
    “So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality,” (Acts 10:34 ESV)
    You are also right on in saying that the ‘initial physical evidence’ of the filling of the Spirit is not always evidenced by speaking in tongues (Sorry my A of G friends 🙂 ). For in both Philip and Peter’s case the evidence of the Spirit in their life was manifested as they proclaimed the gospel of Jesus! That means the evidence of the Spirits filling is also (maybe primarily) in a bold witness of the gospel!
    With this in mind – I wonder if any bold, and powerful non-charismatic proclaimers of the gospel might reconsider whether or not they can be filled with the Spirit AFTER conversion… I think the Spirit is bigger than our theology!

    • http://millemat.wordpress.com Matthew

      Thanks Jason. Good thoughts. I was also thinking about the relationship of the filling of the Spirit and conversion in writing this post. This and that definitely go hand in hand.

  • Pingback: What Happens When the Spirit is Taken From You | Logos Made Flesh