PART 1 RECOGNIZING A SPIRIT-FILLED PASTOR
 PART 1 RECOGNIZING A SPIRIT-FILLED PASTOR

Introduction

How is a believer able to recognize if the pastor is Spirit-filled? Depending on who is asked will determine what kind of an answer will be forthcoming.

Some would say that a Spirit-filled pastor is one:

● Who wears a collar.

● Who is not married, thus being able to devote themselves entirely to God.

● Who speaks with lofty words, mesmerizing everyone who listens.

● Whose ministry is devoted to helping others.

● Whose salary is not extreme.

● Who teaches about the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

● Who observes and advocates ceremonial and ritualistic practices.

● Who greets the congregation at the door, both at the beginning and at the end of the service.

● Who marries others and presides at funerals.

I have even heard some say that a Spirit-filled pastor is one who has consumed a lot of spirits (alcohol), the recognition of which is evidenced by a red nose or slurred speech. While this outlook is indeed funny, I bet there are many believers who hold to this view. In my younger years, I was brought up in the Catholic faith. While I heard the words Holy Spirit, I can’t recall hearing the words Spirit-filled. At various Catholic festivities, I did notice the priest drinking alcohol, but I really didn’t think much of it.

While a Spirit-filled pastor might exhibit one or more of the qualities mentioned above, none of the qualities in and of themselves can allow us to determine beyond a shadow of a doubt that the pastor is Spirit-filled. So, what does it mean to be Spirit-filled? It is important that you, a believer, know not only what it means for a pastor to be Spirit-filled, but how your walk with God will be impacted by such. So, read along with me and learn about this important spiritual condition so that you will be better equipped to make decisions that will enhance your spiritual growth.

                       

CHAPTER 1                                                                   

What Does It Mean To Be Spirit-Filled?

Be filled with the Spirit:

Ephesians 5:18

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.

Paul is instructing the believers at Ephesus that they should not be continually controlled by the consumption of wine, but be continually filled with the Spirit. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? To be filled with the Spirit means the Holy Spirit fills the believer with Himself. This filling enables the believer to be able to experience the Spirit’s presence (power) and manifest His fruit (e.g. love, joy, peace, etc.). This fruit is a divine love, a divine joy, a divine peace, a divine longsuffering, a divine gentleness, a divine goodness, a divine faith, a divine meekness, and a divine temperance; and not a human love, a human joy, a human peace, etc.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:22-24)

This fruit expresses a Godly nature to others. Divine love evidences self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one loved. Divine joy is reflective of a rejoicing within that is not dependent on outward circumstances. Divine peace seeks reconciliation between offending parties. Divine longsuffering patiently endures wrong while under ill-treatment without anger or thought of revenge. Divine gentleness treats others with politeness, making them as happy as possible. Divine goodness gives graciously without strings attached. Divine faith is being faithful to God’s promises. Divine meekness involves compliance to the teaching of the word. Divine temperance involves a mastery of one’s desires and impulses.

Now that we know what being filled with the Spirit means there are three pre-requisites in order for any believer to be filled with the Spirit. Do you know what these three conditions are? Let’s find out in the next chapter.

 

CHAPTER 2                                                                   

What Are the Three Conditions That Could Cause a Believer to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit?

A.   They must have the Holy Spirit residing within.

How does an unbeliever receive the Holy Spirit?

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace:

Romans 10:13-14

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: (Acts 17:30)

That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:12-13)

In order for anyone to receive the Holy Spirit into their life, they must repent of (have a change of mind toward) their sins to God the Father and believe in his Son Jesus Christ as to who He is what He has accomplished. This is called the gospel (good news) message, which in order for a person to respond to it, they must hear about it either by audio tape, TV, book, someone proclaiming it, etc.

Here is the first condition concerning how do we know if the pastor is being directed by the Holy Spirit? The pastor must be born-again (having the Holy Spirit reside within). This same idea holds true for every member of the assembly. None of them can be filled with the Spirit without receiving Him into their life. So, if the pastor is born again one can assume there was a response to the gospel message; and as such we can further assume (hope) the pastor will be a proclaimer of this very gospel.

How does one know if the pastor is preaching the gospel? Simply by listening to what the pastor says.

Usually, but not always, the gospel news will be presented shortly after the teaching or message has been given. The pastor will let the listeners (unbelievers) know that God wants to come into their life and indwell by means of the person of the Holy Spirit. They should be made aware of their need to repent (turn from sin; to acknowledge one’s sins). This acknowledgement of sins means they agree that their lifestyle (e.g. adultery, lying, cheating, stealing, homosexuality, extortion, etc.) is sinful. Certain sins are not to be omitted from being mentioned by the pastor, because they are considered acceptable based on societal norms.

After which, they should be encouraged to make a profession of belief in Christ that he is one of the members of the trinity, who as God, pre-existed time; came to the earth and took on the form of a man, being born of a virgin (no sin nature); lived a sinless life; listened to and obeyed the directives of his Father; went to the cross and paid for the penalty of and forgave the sins of the whole world; rose from the dead after 3 days, never to die again; walked the earth in his resurrection body for 40 days witnessing to over 500 people; and ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God the Father. In most cases, repentance is to be made by the unbeliever silently to God the Father. In terms of the profession of belief usually this is made verbally in an overt manner.

If you don’t hear the gospel being mentioned at any time during the church service, it could mean the pastor is not born again. However, I caution concerning this assumption until you have attended the assembly a few more times to see if this continues to be the case. In a small assembly, the pastor should know whether any new people are in attendance and if this is not the case then why proclaim the gospel when all those in attendance are believers. If when attending a large assembly the gospel is still not heard, then not only is it likely that the pastor is not born again, but it is also likely that most of the assembly of church goers are not born again. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit there can be no filling of the Spirit.

And by the way, if someone says the gospel means: a person must be baptized in water; everyone is a child of God; Jesus is an angel; Jesus is a prophet, teacher, the Son of God, but not one of the members of the trinity, each one having the same essence; belief in any god will result in the receiving of the Holy Spirit; etc. then what you have is another gospel.

In this religious assembly, pleasing God will be confined to pleasing those in the hierarchy. Entrance to heaven will be determined by your obedience to the do’s and don’ts of the church. Instead of having a personal relationship with God all you will have is a relationship with the leadership and a hope that someday God will accept you into the place where He resides. Don’t be fooled by this nonsense. Recognize it for what it is – religion, and get out of there as fast as you can.

The next question to consider is, if any person including the pastor has received the Holy Spirit, how do they become filled with (controlled by) the Spirit? Now that the Spirit is residing in the believer they have an opportunity to experience his power and fruit. But this is not automatic. There are two conditions which must be met in order for the filling to take place. The next condition relates to the teaching of those in leadership.

How does the teaching of the pastor procure the filling of the Spirit in the lives of the assembly of believers?

B.  The content of the teaching should be centered on more than just talking about certain biblical people or biblical topics.

What should the content of the pastor’s teaching be about in order to provide an opportunity for the assembly (including the pastor) to be Spirit-filled? In most churches, the leadership will teach on certain people in the bible (e.g. Moses, King David, Timothy, etc.), and at other times on a biblical topic (e.g. forgiveness, sanctification, redemption, etc.).

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (Ephesians 4:22)

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (Colossians 3:10)

What usually follows these teachings is a declaration by the leadership that the members should get involved in the activities (e.g. Bible study, youth ministry, Sunday school, fundraising, etc.) of the church. This they say evidences the Spirit’s working (filling) in their life. It is true that confession of sin can restore a believer’s fellowship with God the Father. However, in most cases after a believer confesses their sin the same sinful patterns of thought will reappear in their mind thus inhibiting the Spirit’s filling (influences). At this point, the believer’s walk with God is characterized by committing sin, losing the filling of the Spirit, confessing sin again, regaining the filling of the Spirit for a short period of time, volunteering to participate in church activities, and starting this whole process over and over again.

What is it that is missing which if added could help the believer walk in the filling (influences) of the Spirit on a more consistent basis? What is missing is the teaching on putting off the old man and putting on the new man. Putting off the old man can be described as being aware of sin (mental, emotional, and physical) and confessing it to God the Father. Putting on the new man can be described as being transformed by the renewing of the mind. Being renewed in one’s mind means to think with God’s perspective in our area of weakness.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

Let’s give you an example. In 1 Corinthians 6, some of the sinful actions which a believer is told to put off (to no longer engage in) are fornication (sex outside of marriage), idolatry (worshiping the image of a deity; a worshipper of false gods), adultery (sex with someone other than your husband or wife), effeminate (the passive male partner in homosexual intercourse), and abusers of themselves with mankind (the active male partner in homosexual intercourse).

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: (1 Peter 1:22)

Let’s say the believer has committed fornication, and subsequently has confessed this sinful behavior to God the Father. In order for the believer to no longer be ruled by the passions of their sin nature and be ruled by the spiritual qualities of the Holy Spirit, they will need to be made aware of what the appropriate spiritual mindset should be concerning this area of weakness. A couple of verses come to mind. The first one reminds the believer to desire (be focused on) the salvation of the other person, if they are an unbeliever, and not to be focused on their flesh for sexual gratification. The second verse reminds the believer to know others (fellow believers) after Jesus Christ for their spiritual growth (welfare), and to love them with a pure (genuine, free from evil thoughts and feelings; clean thoughts) heart fervently (continually).

Now that you know what the second condition is, which would allow the believer, including the pastor, to recover the filling the Spirit, there remains one final condition that can inhibit the pastor and/or believer from being filled with the Spirit.

Do you know what this is?

C.  Appropriating divine prescriptions.

How does a believer or the pastor appropriate the divine prescriptions, which have been provided for sinful thoughts, speech, and actions?

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (1 John 2:5)

Initially, when you hear about what verses were to be appropriated for a particular area of weakness, write them down. After which, read these verses over and over to yourself out loud on a daily basis until you have memorized them. Next, meditate on these verses throughout your day. When temptations arise from within or without you will have at your disposal the divine perspective to apply which if entertained mentally will assist you from entertaining sinful thoughts. As you focus on the divine prescription, this will activate the influences of the Holy Spirit to be operational in your life.

Now that you know what the three conditions are which will assist a pastor or any believer to become filled with (directed by; influenced by) the Holy Spirit, what we are going to take a look at next in the following chapters are some of the hindrances that cause a pastor or any believer to lose the filling of the Spirit.

Endnotes

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What does it meant to be Spirit-filled?
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