3

In Ephesians 5:18-20 (ESV), Paul encourages Christians to seek to be filled with the Spirit:

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

And in Acts 4:29-31 (ESV) there appears to be an example of this:

29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Is Paul encouraging Christians to pursue an Acts 4:29-31 type of experience?

4

There is a rule of logic - "Do not let the particular color the general." Let me illustrate - If I tell a group of young people to go and get a job and one succeeds in getting a good job as (say) an engineer; then I use this piece of achievement to encourage others to get a job by telling them about it. This does NOT mean that all the rest must get the same job.

Here, I would understand Eph 5:18 to be the general case, "Be filled with the Spirit". The subsequent verses give examples of what that can mean, namely:

  • 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.

By quoting other verses we could gather more examples of how filling with the Spirit transforms human behavior such as:

  • Gal 5:22, 23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
  • 1 Cor 12: 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 the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in various tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, who apportions them to each one as He determines.
  • Eph 4:11-13 - And it was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for works of ministry and to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ.
  • Rom 12:6-8 - We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If one’s gift is prophecy, let him use it in proportion to his faith; if it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is giving, let him give generously; if it is leading, let him lead with diligence; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

We could find many more such references. See especially Rom 8.

Acts 4 is another example where being filled with the Spirit resulted in people who "speak the word of God with boldness."

That is, being filled with the Spirit completely transforms the person's purpose, work, actions and outlook on life. Unconverted persons do not preach the word of God with boldness - this might be labeled as the spiritual gift of preaching or teaching in 1 Cor 12; but the label is not important here. The important thing is to be motivated and animated by the Spirit to do His bidding.

2

In Ephesians 5:18 Paul compares the effect of being "filled with the spirit" with "getting drunk with wine" (of course to uphold the former and condemn the latter).

Interestingly, on the day of Pentecost, the effect of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles was mistaken by the bystanders with them being "drunk on new wine" (Acts 2:13). Even Peter felt the need to reassure the people present that the Apostles "are not drunk" (Acts 2:15).

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