Who is God the Holy Spirit? And what does it mean to be filled, or baptised, with him?
Read the following Bible verses and note what stands out to you.
Acts 2:1-41 (The Holy Spirit is poured out on the church for the first time).
What do you make of the early disciples’ experience of being filled with God’s Spirit?
What do you learn from Peter’s speech about the relevance of this experience for you?
A former member of our church shares his experiences of being filled with God’s Spirit:
‘I grew up hearing about following Jesus and being filled with the Spirit of God. I chose to follow Jesus when I was 10 and a few months later I was baptised in water. A few months after that I was visiting a pen-friend and there was a speaker at his church who was talking about the baptism in the Spirit. He invited anyone forward who wanted to receive prayer to be filled with the Spirit of God. My pen-friend and I were among those who went forward. We stayed in that prayer meeting from 11am-4pm and we all received the infilling of God’s Spirit. There was crying, laughing and people started speaking in heavenly languages as they were filled. I was one of the last to be filled, at about 3pm that day. I remember lying on the floor, laughing, crying and using the new language that God had given me. Later that evening I phoned home to my parents and I recall not being able to speak English because every time I spoke, the new language came out. When I returned home I started praying for my friends to receive the Holy Spirit and about 5 of them, aged between 8 and 11 years old, got filled the same way we had. This was a real life-changer for me and my friends. It changed my ability to worship, it opened up Scripture to me and it gave me a real hunger for the Bible. When I look at that group of friends I can see how each one was empowered to serve Jesus faithfully from that moment on.’
What strikes you about this person’s experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit?
In what way was his experience similar to, and how did it differ from, the story of the first disciples in Acts 2?
In Acts 2:1-41, we not only learned about being filled with the Holy Spirit but about the relationship between the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit.
‘God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear’ (Acts 2:32-33).
God is one, and yet God is also three. These three parts of the one God, this triple unity (or ‘Trinity’), is a deep mystery and believers have been considering it for thousands of years. We are not about to sum it all up here, but the Trinity Diagram below illustrates some basic things that we know about God’s one-ness and three-ness.
This diagram shows the three persons that make up God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
They are separate and distinct from one another. The Father is not the Son, The Son is not the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. This describes their distinctness.
And yet all three are united in that they make up the one God. The Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God.
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit we are filled with God himself!
In smaller groups take some time to discuss the following questions:
Is being filled with the Holy Spirit something that has already happened to you? If so, bring the details of this experience to mind and give thanks to God for this precious gift.
Are you unsure whether this has happened to you yet or not? If so, is this an experience that you desire? Do you feel any uncertainty about receiving God’s Spirit?
Spend some time as a community praying, worshipping and seeking God. Pray particularly for those who have not yet been filled with God’s Spirit and encourage them to pray and seek God for this incredible gift.
‘But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.’
Other Bible passages:
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