Spirit-Filled Listening

By David J. Stewart | December 2014

The Missing Ingredient To The Spirit-Filled Life | MP3 (an incredible sermon by Evangelist Phil Kidd)

       Being “Spirit-filled” is not the same as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the time of salvation. The very moment that a person believes the Gospel (good news) of Christ's death on the cross for our sins, His burial and resurrection, that person is saved. Immediately, the Holy Spirit of God indwells (comes to live within) that person. 1st Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

Then as a believer we are expected by God to walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh. Romans 8:8-9, “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” I love the following Scripture, which helps us see the difference between the two. Galatians 5:25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” You can be saved (indwelt by the Holy Spirit), and yet not be filled with the Holy Spirit. Everyone gets the same Holy Spirit when they get saved. No one gets more or less of the Holy Spirit than anyone else when they get saved.

Thus, being Spirit-filled is a matter of emptying ourselves of self. You cannot fill a cup that is already full. Until we empty our heart of self, we will never be filled with the Holy Spirit. Amen! This means being crucified with Christ. Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” The Spirit-filled life means allowing Christ, Who lives in us, to live through us. How does this happen? 2nd Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” By abiding in the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit (the Godhead in us) will lead and guide us. John 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

Ladies and gentleman, we need Spirit-filled preachers in our church pulpits! They are rare to find these days. Most preachers are hen-pecked, milquetoast, wimpy and lacking authority (because they preach from a modern watered-down corrupt Bible version). Wimpy Bibles produce wimpy preachers! Oh, how we need preaching preachers today who are filled with the Holy Spirit. Most of today's pastors are filled with themselves, adhering to their own doctrinal ideas, upholding their own lax moral standards, and using their own corrupt Bible versions. Today's pastors are ecumenical led! They are internet blog led! They are New York Times Best-Seller List led! A Spirit-led preacher is a King James Bible led preacher! Jesus said that a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit. No preacher who uses a corrupt Bible version can be filled with the Spirit. How can you expect to be filled with the Holy Spirit when you are preaching from an UNholy Bible version like the New International Version (NIV)?

Spirit Filled Listening

Having laid the foundation, may I say, every Christian believer ought to be a Spirit-filled listener. Pastor Max Younce makes the following excellent statement...

“If you come to church with a bad attitude, you're not going to get a blessing, no matter how great a sermon is ever preached, because your attitude will not receive it!

SOURCE: Pastor Max D. Younce, a quote from the Bible study, Romans - Introduction.

It is equally important that a believer spiritually prepare their heart before church to receive a blessing when they get to church. Very few people are good listeners. It is tragic how so many people can sit through the best preaching and afterwards have no comprehension of what was spoken from the pulpit, because their mind was preoccupied with other things during the sermon. Why even attend church? I've seen adults surfing the internet during church, and their children playing video games while the pastor is preaching. It is wickedness!!! You're only going to benefit spiritually from a sermon if you desire to benefit from it.

I listen to hard-preaching, because such preachers are passionate about what they are saying. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not some superstitious thing. It simply means that you are in harmony with God as a born-again Christian. The Holy Spirit is always in you if you are truly born-again. Being Spirit-filled means being self-empty!!! How much does God have of you? If you want to be Spirit-filled, then you must be receptive to the Word of God. You must be filled with the inspired Words of God. You're not going to be TV filled and Spirit-filled at the same time. You're not going to watch all the unholy garbage on TV and then be soul-conscious concerning lost sinners as you ought. I guarantee you that to the same extent you watch television, to that same extent your heart is going to be cold toward the things of Jesus Christ. You can't have your eyes on the world and Jesus at the same time!!!

I encourage you as a child of God to be a Spirit-filled listener. You do this by walking in the Spirit, or in other words, allowing the Spirit of Christ to live through you. We do this through sincere prayer (talking to God) and abiding in the Holy Scriptures (God talking to you). This is much more than just reading your Bible, it means thinking about what you've read and applying it to your daily life. If you desire and seek fellowship with God, He promises to also draw near unto you. James 4:8, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” You're not going to draw near unto God by having a careless, lackadaisical and indifferent attitude toward the preaching in the pulpit from God's man.

You'll hardly hear anything from preachers these days about Spirit-filled preaching, let alone Spirit-filled listening. Please notice that I've deliberately been using a capital “S” for Spirit, because I am referring to God's Holy Spirit which indwells every Christian believer. No unsaved person can be filled with the Holy Spirit, because they don't even have the Holy Spirit. My friend, life is short, a one shot deal, and then it's all over for eternity. Job 14:14, “If a man die, shall he live again? ...” I don't know about you, but I want to get it right as much as possible while I can. Even if your life is a complete disaster, a trainwreck, God can still use you and very much wants to use you if you will let Him. The only thing keeping God from working through anyone is our self.

If you draw nigh unto God, He promises to do the same. God will not draw near to those who are too proud to draw near to Him (James 4:6). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Part of drawing near to God is desiring to learn as much as you can from preaching, by listening to the Spirit-filled man of God. You can tell if a pastor is full of the Holy Spirit by his attitude toward soul-winning, sin, truth, corrupt Bible versions and the things of God. No man who shirks off the Bible version debate is filled with the Holy Spirit. These unholy counterfeit Bible versions which have infested our churches these days need to be exposed! I am not so much concerned where a pastor is at spiritually as I am about which direction he is moving. I'd much rather stick with a growing pastor who is hungry to get it right, than I would with a complacent pastor who is at ease on Zion, unwilling to change when he learns that he is wrong. A Spirit-filled man is willing to repent (change his mind) when he finds out that he is wrong on an issue.

You Cannot Fill a Cup That is Already Full

As I said earlier, you cannot fill a cup that is already filled. As simple as that sounds, this is the key to being filled with the Holy Spirit which indwells you as a child of God. You already have as much of the Holy Spirit as you're ever going to get, and it's the same amount that everyone else gets at salvation. Being filled with the Spirit means first becoming empty of yourself. I speak to Christians. No unsaved person can be filled with the Holy Spirit, for you must first have the Holy Spirit, Who lives inside every born-again person (1st Corinthians 3:16). 1st John 3:24, “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” If you are saved, then you have the Holy Spirit living in you, Who will never forsake you nor leave you (Hebrews 13:5).

Trusting Jesus is the saved life. Then as a new believer God wants us to die with Christ, which is the crucified life (Galatians 2:20). Then we raise up with Christ in newness of life, which is the resurrected life (Romans 6:4). And then finally, the pinnacle of the Christian life is to ascend with Christ into Heaven in sweet fellowship, which is the ascended life (Colossians 3:1-2). Dr. Jack Hyles wonderfully explains this truth in detail in his classic MP3 sermon, “Steps To Sanctification (Or, The Root Of All Heresy).”

I've been in many Baptist churches which were dead, going through the motions, lacking the power of the Spirit of God. Concerning the power of God, our talents are our disabilities, and our weaknesses are our strengths in the Lord. God doesn't need our intelligence, talent, money nor abilities; but rather, God needs our sufferings, our infirmities, our weaknesses, our short-comings and our bodily afflictions. 2nd Corinthians 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

A godly pastor will CONTINUALLY make mention of the need for the Holy Spirit to work in the church services, during the singing, during the invitation, during soul-winning, while preaching and within all the church ministries. I've heard godly preachers stop right in the middle of a sermon and pray for God's Holy Spirit power! That's my kind of preacher, whose mind is focused on man's weakness and the need for God's Spirit to reach others in the Lord. This is why Pastor Jack Hyles had a plaque on his desk that read, “PRAY FOR POWER!” Brother Hyles put that same message on his bathroom mirror at home, in his briefcase, in his car and everywhere he went daily, to remind him of the Lord's words in John 15:5, “FOR WITHOUT ME YE CAN DO NOTHING.” John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” Most churches are baby churches, who haven't been taught to constantly seek the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray for it! Teach it! Desire it!

Being filled with the Holy Spirit does not come by living a self-righteous religious life by abstaining from sin; but rather, we (as Christians) are filled with the Holy Spirit as we die to self, live for others and walk in sweet fellowship with our Savior. Literally, being Spirit-filled means getting out of the way so that God's Spirit (Who lives within us) can live the Christian life through us. A Spirit-filled man has a consuming desire to preach the Gospel to get folks saved. A Spirit-filled man loves righteousness and equally hates sin. A Spirit-filled man makes a fuss over which version of the Bible we use, because he knows that only the beloved King James Bible honors the Lord Jesus Christ and proclaims His deity, Godhead and preeminence!!! A Spirit-filled man is a Bible-led man! A Spirit-filled man does not serve money (mammon). He cannot be bought off as was the false prophet Balaam (the prophet for hire).

Ladies are Expected to Be Spirit-Filled Too!

And may I say, women ought to seek the power of the Holy Spirit just as much as men. We need Spirit-filled mothers, grandmothers, daughters and wives. Although women are forbidden to have authority over men in the Church and home, they are permitted to do everything else. Ladies may preach to other ladies, but should always be done in a feminine manner, so as to set an example of a meek and shamefaced demeanor. There's nothing worse than women with bad attitudes, who have a look of disrespect (impudent, improperly bold) on their face.

Spirit-filled women dress appropriately, wearing modest clothing as the Bible teaches (1st Timothy 2:9). No woman who publicly wears sexy attire, a mini-skirt, a halter top or blue jeans is filled with the Holy Spirit. And women ought not dress that way at home in front of their children or relatives. Living holy begins with little things. Big sins always start with little thoughts in the mind. A woman who wears men's clothing is self-willed, disobeying God (Deuteronomy 22:5). God cares very much about how we treat others. Women who wear provocative clothing are hurting families by causing men to lust. It is not a coincidence that America's sexually perverted society has resulted in half of all marriages ending in divorce (and marriage is now at an all-time low). Hollywood is the biggest promoter of sexual immorality, lewdness and nudity. People are shacking-up nowadays instead of getting married, because our society no longer values courtship and marriage vows. Godless and greedy lawyers and judges have turned marriage into a mockery, doing everything in their power to encourage, cause and promote divorce to make money. Hell will be hot enough!

In Matthew 7:1-5, God says that He will judge every person in eternity by the same measure that they treated others here on earth. Women who are careless in their clothing will also be careless as wives and mothers. God will show them the same lack of concern. Americans are a shame to the world. Sexual perversion abounds! No wonder fornication, adultery, abortion, feminism and homosexuality are epidemic in America! It all begins with attitude. Teenagers are not taught anything about God in the classroom. In August of 2014 a Tennessee high school senior was suspended for saying “Bless You” to a fellow student who sneezed in class. Nutty High School Teacher Suspends Student For Saying “Bless You!” | No Rights in This Classroom? America's family has gone to hell.

Anyway, I could easily get off topic and preach a whole lot on this subject. Ladies and gentlemen, do you want to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God? It's free to those who want God's power. Simon the former sorcerer in Acts 8:18 tried to buy the power of the Holy Spirit with money. Simon meant well, but didn't understand. You cannot buy God's power. And by the way, never refer to the Holy Spirit as “it,” because the Holy Spirit is an actual person, called “He” (masculine) in John 16:13 (if you have a trustworthy King James Bible). The Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead. There is only one true and living God (Deuteronomy 6:4), but He exists in three persons of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (Colossians 2:2; Matthew 28:19-20). I encourage you to get to know the Holy Spirit, for He indwells you if you are God's child.

Be Ye Filled With the Holy Spirit!

Spirit-filled listening isn't just for church. Mothers and wives ought to be Spirit-filled listeners at home as well. In everything that we do we should seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit. If you'll empty yourself of your own ambitions, selfish goals for your life, and your own ideas; and then search the Scriptures as the Lord commanded in John 5:39, desiring to be Christlike in all that you think, say or do; then God's Holy Spirit will control your mind, heart and will, and you'll be filled with the Holy Spirit. Don't ever forget that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9), and of God the Father (Ephesians 4:30). So when we talk of being filled with the Spirit, we are literally speaking of being filled with God. I pray to God that something in this article has helped you.

Ephesians 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Please read the Scriptures which follow Ephesians 5:18, up to verse 33 (which is the end of the chapter). The Bible speaks of wives obeying their husband, and husbands loving their wife. These are the fruit of being filled with the Spirit. A sure sign that a Christian is NOT filled with the Holy Spirit is when wives disobey their husbands, file for divorce and wreak havoc in the home. Likewise, husbands who deal treacherously toward their wives by refusing to love them are NOT filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Bible also speaks of being thankful to God at all times, and of singing songs and melodies (music without words) in our heart to the Lord. Bitter, grumpy, gossiping and hateful believers are not filled with the Holy Spirit. Walking with God doesn't make life any easier, but it makes life better by being able to claim the peace of God which passeth all understanding, when we place our burdens into God's hands by prayer. Philippians 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Oh, how wonderful it is to walk with God. I can tell you from personal experience that if you'll walk with God in fair weather that you'll feel a lot closer to Him during the stormy weather.

Albeit, if you only come running to God in the storms, He'll still welcome you with open arms and a willing Spirit to help you if you are saved. If you're not saved, well good night my friend, GET SAVED! It's totally free. All you have to do is realize that you are a sinner in God's eyes, because you have broken God's commandments. Jesus is the Son of God, the Christ, Who died on the cross in your place to pay for all your sins (John 3:16). Jesus was buried and then miraculously raised up three days later (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). If you'll place your trust in Christ, by believing the Gospel (good news) by faith, then you are saved. Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9). You have nothing to do with saving yourself. God does the saving, all of it, otherwise you cannot be saved! Your part and mine is simply to believe on the name of Jesus Christ, receiving the Gospel as payment for our sins.

Don't base your Christian walk upon feelings. When problems arise in my life, or even small concerns, or something that is on my mind, I take it to the Lord in prayer as Philippians 4:6-7 teach. Then I can claim the promise that God cares about me (1st Peter 5:7) and always hears my prayers (Hebrews 4:15-16). Whether things get better or worse, it doesn't matter, just so long as I have cast my cares upon the Lord through prayer. You only need to pray once concerning your problems, concerns and needs. You are welcomed and encouraged to pray more than once, but God only requires that you pray once for your own personal needs (Matthew 6:7-8).

Be a Spirit-Filled Hearer!

May we all, as born-again Christians, seek to always be filled with the Holy Spirit Who indwells us. Although we ought to pray for God's power upon our ministry to reach OTHERS for Christ, we don't need to pray for the fulness of the Spirit. You already have the Holy Spirit in you. If you empty yourself of SELF, and yield your spirit, mind and body to the Holy Spirit, then He will guide, teach, comfort, rebuke, chastise and empower you. We ought to pray as Jesus taught, for God's will to be done daily in our lives. A Spirit-filled Christian is an obedient Christian. Don't ever forget that the Holy Spirit NEVER leads anyone contrary or apart from the inspired Words of God in the King James Bible. Don't believe anyone who claims that God is leading them to go against the Scriptures. It will never happen!

So the next time you listen to a sermon at home, or in your car, or at church on Sunday, remember to prepare your heart to receive a blessing. Pray and ask God to work in your heart and give you wisdom. Expect to receive a blessing by learning some truth(s) that will change your life. Being filled with the Spirit is not just for preachers, but also for Christian laymen in the pew, and Christian ladies. Let me ask you friend, how in tune with the Spirit of God are you? Do you love righteousness like God does? Do you hate evil and sin as God does? Do you care about little things to the extent that God does? Do you desire to have a spirit of excellence as does the Lord? Do you love sinners and view them as broken rather than bad, as God does? Does honor, integrity and honesty mean as much to you as they do to the Lord? Certainly, all men fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), but as believers the Words of the Lord ought to burn as a fire in our soul to please the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is precious!

Meet The Holy Spirit (an excellent book by Dr. Jack Hyles)

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