There are many scriptures instructing believers to be filled with the Spirit. As mentioned previously in Ephesians 5:18, the Apostle Paul instructs believers to be filled with the spirit instead of getting drunk with wine.
In Acts 13:52, believers are instructed to be “continually filled with the Spirit”. According to Webster’s dictionary, continually means “indefinitely in time without interruption, recurring in steady usually rapid succession”. So we are instructed to be filled with the Spirit all the time. This is not something we do only on Sunday or only when we are gathered together in church meetings. This is something every believer should do all the time without stopping. The bar is always open and the heavenly wine never stops flowing to those who are thirsty.
In Ephesians 3:19, the Apostle Paul instructs believers to be filled with all the fullness of God. How filled would that be? All the fullness of God sounds pretty filled. It sounds like none of us are ever in danger of getting too filled with the Spirit.
So if you consider all of the above scriptures, believers are instructed to drink up and get drunk! Anyone who obeys the scriptures to get filled continually with all the fullness of God is going to eventually get drunk because that is what happens to anyone who keeps getting more and more filled.
By contrast, there are no scriptures telling us not to get filled or to be filled only at certain times or to be careful not to get too filled. The scriptures never warn us about getting too filled with the Spirit. The scriptures never present us with a choice between getting filled with the Spirit or doing other things to serve God. No matter what we choose to do to serve God, everything we do should be done filled with the Spirit.
There are several scriptures telling believers to be sober. However, these scriptures are instructing us to be sober with regards to the spirit of the world, not sober with the Spirit of God. When it comes to being filled with the Spirit of God we should be filled continually, but when it comes to being filled with the spirit of the world we should be cold sober.
In the scripture passage below, the word sober means we should be watchful, awake, on the alert, and not be sleeping, which is the condition of others. Sleep is the condition of people who are drunk with the spirit of the world.
So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8)
The Greek word translated as sober is the word “nepho”, which is defined as:
- to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit
- to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect
The Apostle Peter used this same word in his letter to believers:
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13)
Again the scriptural command to be sober is a command to be alert and not asleep. Peter uses it with a warning to be prepared for action. People who are asleep are not prepared for action. This is another warning to avoid being filled with the spirit of the world. It is not a warning to avoid being filled with the Spirit of God.
Most people on earth are filled with the spirit of the world, not with the Spirit of God. Not only are they filled, but they are actually drunk with that spirit, which is the spirit of the devil. That spirit causes people to move farther away from the Spirit of God because these two are opposites like light and dark. The spirit of the world causes people to be so distracted by other things that they are effectively blind to what God is doing and deaf to what God is saying. Spiritually speaking they are like people who are dead or asleep because they are separated from the source of all life. They are not sensitive or sharp or aware of what God is doing because their attention is so distracted by other things. The Thessalonian believers were being warned to avoid this condition by being alert and awake.
People who are filled with the spirit of the world are of the night, like people who sleep at night and get drunk at night. But people who are filled with the Spirit of God are of the day, completely the opposite. So the people of God should be cold sober when it comes to drinking from the spirit of this world.
By contrast, getting filled with the Spirit of God causes people to be far more sensitive, more awakened, more alert to the things of God. When there is a move of God in the earth it is often called an awakening. The Spirit of God in us causes us to be more interested in what God is doing so we pay more attention to those things and less attention to other things that could be a distraction to us.
The more filled we get with the Spirit of God the more we wake up from the sleep that has gripped most of the world. The Thessalonian believers were not being told to avoid getting filled with the Spirit of God. They were being warned to avoid getting filled with the spirit of the world. In the same way, all believers should stay sober when it comes to drinking from the spirit of the world but stay filled up when it comes to drinking from the Spirit of God.
Believers first started getting drunk in the Spirit shortly after Jesus was raised from the dead. Before He ascended into heaven, He commanded his followers not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised. He was referring to what God had spoken to the prophet Joel when he said:
It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. (Joel 2:28-29)
Jesus knew the time for the fulfillment of Joel’s prophesy had come, so he commanded his followers to wait for it. So they were all gathered together in one place on the day of Pentecost, which is when the Holy Spirit came upon them. This outpouring had a far greater purpose than just making people feel drunk. It was all about receiving power from heaven. Jesus had instructed them:
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
So it happened on the day of Pentecost just like Jesus told them it would.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues (other languages) as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs – we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” (Acts 2:1-13)
When these men were filled with the Spirit, there were unusual manifestations that caused quite a commotion in Jerusalem that day. It was not only the people in the meeting who heard a loud noise that sounded like a violent rushing wind. People who were nearby also heard it and came together quite bewildered. When they did they also heard these Jewish believers speaking in the languages of the surrounding nations. Since many of the people present were from those countries, they were hearing the believers speaking in their own language! Amazingly, the things they were saying in those languages were all about the mighty deeds of God.
As if all of that was not enough, there was another manifestation. Verse 13 says some of the people were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” The only logical reason why the unbelievers accused the believers of being full of wine is they must have had many of the same symptoms as drunk people!
Peter recognized what it looked like to the unbelievers so he spoke up to try to explain that these men were not drunk with wine, as the people had supposed. Peter did not deny they were drunk, only that they were not drunk with wine. Peter explained their odd behavior was not from drinking wine because it was only the third hour of the day. Peter told them the source of their drunken condition was from the Spirit of God being poured out on them, the fulfillment of what was spoken by the prophet Joel.
But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; Acts 2:14-17
God had planned these things long before the day of Pentecost and finally it had come. It was the will of God for believers in the last days to receive his Spirit in ways no previous generations had ever experienced.
“It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” Joel 2:28-29
So the Bible confirms it is possible for believers to get drunk in the Holy Spirit and that the symptoms are remarkably similar to getting drunk with wine. What started on the day of Pentecost is still available to us today. It was not just for Joel and Peter and the men who were with Peter on the day of Pentecost.
So getting filled with the Spirit is clearly supported by scripture. Getting drunk is also clearly supported by scripture beginning with the day of Pentecost and continuing with all the scriptures instructing believers to continually be filled with the Spirit, filled with all the fullness of God. Anyone who continues to get more and more filled with the Spirit eventually gets drunk with the Spirit.
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