"Being Filled with the Holy Spirit"–a Message by Dr. Wayne Grudem

Dr. Wayne Grudem was the guest preacher for our Sunday services this past Sunday at Bethlehem Baptist Church. He preached a powerful message on Eph. 5:18 that I want to share here. So the following are my notes on his message. May God spur you on to be more consistently filled by His gracious and glorious Spirit. [You can listen to that message by finding it on this list, and clicking on the mp3 link.]




Eph. 5:18 in the context of the book of Ephesians is a key and central point.

1) God chose us to be holy and blameless before Him (1:4).

2) Specifically, we are to be like God (5:1).

3) In order to be like Him, God wants us to understand His will and be wise (5:15-17).

4) An important way we fulfill God’s eternal purpose for our lives and bring Him glory is by being filled with the Spirit, continually (5:18).

  • The present tense of “be filled” implies a continuous action: “keep on being filled”.
  • The comparison with wine indicates this as well. If you were drunk yesterday, today you would need to be full of wine to get drunk again.
  • So, we need to be filled with the Spirit again and again, day by day.


Suggested Definition


Be filled with the Spirit means to be filled with the immediate presence of God to the extent that you are feeling what God Himself feels, desiring what God desires, doing what God wants, speaking by God’s power, praying and ministering in God’s strength, and knowing with the knowledge that God Himself gives.

  • We all remember times like this, when we really felt the presence of God.
  • What happened? Why did we lose this closeness to God?
    • Rom. 8:5–we have forgotten God’s work and had our minds involved in that of this world.
  • So How do you become filled with the Spirit? How do you recover this closeness to God?
    • Since this is a command, we can do something about it.
    • It is parallel to wine. You don’t just become drunk, you must put yourself in the way of wine–you must seek to become drunk by using wine, etc.
    • I do not believe that this is automatic–there is no magical prayer whereby we become filled, and we do not become filled by the laying on of hands automatically–because the Holy Spirit is a person.


How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit


  1. Ask. Luke 11:3
  2. Spend time in the presence of the Spirit. Rom. 8:5b
    • prayer and worship–publicly in Church
    • private Bible reading and prayer
    • prayer and Bible study in small groups
    • if you do not have time, this will not happen
    • the context contrasts believers’ lives with unbelievers’–they will be different and have a different focus (4:17, 5:8, 5:15)
    • Jesus had the Spirit without measure, and His example is long hours in prayer
  3. Read the Bible and obey it.
    • If we live in disobedience we cannot expect to be filled. Eph. 4:30; James 1:12
    • The context says we must be wise and understand the will of God–this certainly includes knowing and obeying the Bible.
  4. Yield your life to the influence and direction of the Spirit.
    • Parallel to the influence of wine–we yield ourselves to it, and it produces in us drunkenness and a lifestyle that leads to debauchery/reckless living.
    • We are commanded to be filled–this is passive. This implies we must yield to the Spirit and allow Him to fill us.
    • When we yield–we are led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14), and He convicts us and we must follow His direction.
    • God brings us to points in our lives, where we are asked to yield everything to Him again and to totally commit to His control (Ps. 73:25, Mt. 10:37).
  5. Wait.
    • Acts 1:4-5–the disciples were to wait, and yet they were already believers. This pattern applies to us today.
    • Many verses in the OT stress this point–Ps. 37:7, 62:1, 130:5
    • This is good for us spiritually, as it humbles our hearts and quiets us.
    • This means to be still and not necessarily do anything, but just wait on God.
  6. Keep on Being Filled with the Spirit. Eph. 5:18
    • This is the hardest thing to do. It is a great challenge to be filled with the Spirit at work and with our family during leisure times, etc.
    • When we leave our time with God in the morning, and go on to face the activity of the day–we must not forget about God–this would grieve the Holy Spirit.
    • A big part of the solution to this difficulty is fellowship with other believers. (This is why small groups are so important.)
    • Not many today, unfortunately, are marked by being continually filled with the Spirit (Acts 6:3, 11:24).


What would Happen If We were Continually Filled with the Spirit?


  • Spiritual counsel and edifying praise–5:19.
  • Frequent worship of God–5:19.
  • Constant attitude of thanksgiving–5:20.
  • Humility and submission to those in authority–5:21-6:9.
  • Greater victory over concentrated spiritual attack–6:10=19.
  • More spiritual gifts in the church–since the Spirit is the one who gives gifts.
  • More specific understanding of God’s will in the decisions which face us in life–Eph. 1:17, Gal. 5:18.
  • Greater holiness in life–Rom. 8:13.
  • More answers to prayer–Eph. 6:18.
  • Amazingly fruitful ministry–Zech. 4:6.
  • Much greater peace in our hearts–Rom. 8:6.
  • And many more effects.

∼striving for the unity of the faith for the glory of God∼ Eph. 4:3,13 \”¢ Rom. 15:5-7

  1. I thank God for this ministry. I pray the Lord will stand by you and use you for His glory Amen.

  2. Dear Brother:

    I liked your message…. But it would have been complete had you used JESUS name. No where you have used Jesus name in the message.

    And we know very well that NO-ONE can be filled with the HOLY SPIRIT without knowing JESES.

    Since 7 signifies the completion, I want to add 7th point for the above message.

    7. Above all 6 points are true in JESUS name.


    Sunil VK Gaddam