Terry Virgo- What do we mean by being filled with the Spirit?

Here is the video, downloads and my notes from Terry Virgo’s second session at this month’s 300 Leaders event:


Downloadsmp3, video

In his first session, Terry spoke about the Spirit-filled church. This requires Spirit-filled people. We need to help people come into understanding, so they will be clear. Terry will almost always explain the Bible to people before praying for them to receive.

Acts 1:4.

V8 is called the key to understanding the book of Acts. The disciples had fallen short in terms of understanding, and loyalty, having run away. How did this group turn the world upside down? “You shall receive power” was the key.

The idea of the Spirit coming upon people was not new to them. They knew about Gideon hiding in his cave, and God coming to him and clothing him with power. Samuel poured oil on David and the Spirit came on him. Samson was a normal guy empowered by the Spirit. They asked him, where do you get your power? You don’t ask Arnie where he gets his power because of his muscles. But for Samson it wasn’t muscles, it was other than him. It was a mystery. Elisha is desperate to have the same Spirit that Elijah has. Joshua is given of the same Spirit from Moses. It happened throughout the history. Jesus was himself clothed with power at age 30. He moved with the power of the Spirit.

Many modern day Christians are unclear about how they fit with that. Can we anticipate the power coming on us? Many of us feel so powerless.

Many tell us we receive the Spirit at conversion. Others would say there is another experience. Terry saw years ago that Stott and Lloyd-Jones disagreed on this and thought, how can I understand this? But he found himself getting more and more thirsty. So he found a Pentecostal and asked for prayer.

The Bible tells us that the men who had been with Jesus for three years needed to be empowered. Some say but they were unique. But after them, we also see what happens to others in Acts. Some say but you don’t get doctrine from narrative. But the Bible tells us that ALL Scripture is profitable for instruction. The gospels are looking forward to Jesus baptising with the Spirit. The epistles look back and take for granted that they had been baptised both with water and the Spirit. We need the book of Acts to tell us what happened.

In Acts 8 we are told that the people believe and were baptised in response to Philip. They are converted. Peter and John came from Jerusalem and it was only then that the Holy Spirit fell on them. Their testimony would be “I was saved when Phillip preached, sometime later the Apostles came and laid hands on me then the Spirit came.

In Acts 9 Saul was converted on the Damascus road, and was called a brother by Ananias, but it was through Ananias that he received the Spirit. Paul would have said, “I was saved then three days later I was filled with the Spirit.”

In Acts 10 faith arises in the hearts of gentiles at the house of Cornelius as they hear the gospel, and the Spirit fell on them.

In Acts 19 Paul asks “did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Then they believe, get baptised, then he lays hands on them and the Spirit fell on them.

In all of these verses we see a second step, though it can happen on the same day. Many say when you become a Christian you have automatically received. But in Acts this is not the case. With that teaching tends to come an idea that we will gradually grow into being filled with the Spirit. Most people don’t claim to be full of the Spirit. But the Bible says “Have you received?” They would have said after being laid hands on “Yeh!” No idea of a gradual growth. Lloyd-Jones used to challenge people “where is it all?

There is also a teaching that says years later, when you empty out God fills up. There is an idea of maturity, surrender to God. But that is not really what the Bible says about being filled with the Spirit. You don’t have to be mature first! It is like a general saying “go out and fight, and if you do really well next time we will give you a gun!” No, Jesus says get filled before you go out. Also the Pentecostal concept used to say that you had to “tarry.” People sometimes would say I have gone to tarrying meetings for years and just be waiting in meetings to speak in tongues. But that is not what the Scripture says. After Pentecost no one was ever told to do that! Peter and John didn’t tell the Samaritans to wait, they laid hands on him and they received.

John Wimber taught the release of the Spirt, saying you received it at conversion and later it is released in you. It is not spoken about in the Bible. They didn’t say “you obviously have everything, now wait and you will be released.” It is not release from within, it is falling upon!

The key verse is in John 7:37. It gives us the key about not having to tarry, and what our expectation should be. Jesus cries out “if anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink.” It doesn’t say the Spirit was not yet given because they were not yet holy enough. Rather because Jesus was not glorified yet. Peter basically exposits this verse on the day of Pentecost. He declares that the Jesus who died, rose again and was glorified has now poured out the Spirit. The Spirit is freely given. We can receive the Spirit. If someone says to you “I don’t think I am worthy” “No you are not! You will never be!” It is a free gift.

Laying on of hands is Biblical, but not in every case. Not necessary. The promise is to you! Come and drink! Come and receive! Give people expectation. We receive the Spirit through hearing with faith. The first thing is “if anyone is thirsty” That is the only pre-requisite. It is possible to get complacent about it. God will sometimes break your heart and you will say “I can’t bear this any more!” It doesn’t say if anyone is curious let him come. It says if you are thirsty, COME to me. Not come to a man. It is biblical to lay on hands, but don’t look to the man who is praying for you, look to Jesus! We come to Him and drink! Rivers of living water comes from within.

Speaking in tongues is frequently associated with receiving the Spirit. We cannot say more than that. When Terry lays hands on people he expects people usually to speak in tongues. Sometimes people don’t receive tongues because a million voices in their head tell them they are making it up. But there is a relaxing and allowing the Spirit to fall on us that is needed. There is a transformation that comes when the Spirit is on us. A boldness to witness.

We must teach people and give them understanding. We must explain that God doesn’t speak in tongues, it is something we do. If you dont speak in tongues you wont speak in tongues. We take the initiative in faith. It is like the widow who is told to gather her vessels. She doesn’t pray over them saying “come oil” she pours the vessel and the oil comes. Peter is told to come. He doesn’t sit waiting, he gets up and walks. It was only as he stepped off the boat that he entered another dimension. Your mind is unfruitful when you speak in tongues. Dont try and analyse it. Wesley said “O for a Thousand tongues to sing” Your spirit is praying. Paul said he thanked God he spoke in tongues more than anyone.

Don’t just explain it. Preach to them so their faith is rising.

Come and drink. The promise is to you. It is free. We are not merely aiming to build a contemporary church. We are aiming to build churches where the Holy Spirit is there in power. We are aiming to build Spirit-filled churches. There is an ongoing filling. Acts 4 the apostles are filled again. In Ephesians 5 we are told to be being filled with the Spirit. Enjoy the presence of the Spirit. Be a Spirit-filled community. We come together to be filled again and again. Jesus promised us he would not leave us as orphans. He is with us. On the day of Pentecost Peter could have shouted out “he is back!

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