The Book of ACTS
James J. Barker
FILLED WITH JOY AND THE HOLY GHOST
- My text is Acts 13:52 -- "And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost."
- The Christians in the New Testament were filled with joy and they were filled with the Holy Ghost. Therefore, this ought to characterize all believers today. But sadly this is not always the case.
- Our Lord said in John 15:11, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."
- "That my joy might remain in you" -- the joy of the Lord!
- "And that your joy might be full" -- full of joy! "And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost."
- This is my subject for tonight -- "And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost" (13:52).
- WHAT IT MEANS TO BE FILLED WITH JOY
- WHAT IT MEANS TO BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
- WHAT IT MEANS NOT TO BE FILLED
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE FILLED WITH JOY
- Joy is not the same thing as happiness. Happiness is the result of favorable circumstances. Happiness is often fleeting. Joy, on the other hand, is true contentment that comes from within.
- Happiness depends on what happens. But the Christian is to be joyful no matter what happens.
- For example, James 1:2 says, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (trials)"
- James is speaking to "brethren." Therefore, joy comes to those who are saved.
- Joy comes to those who are right with God. First Peter 1:8 says, "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
- Happiness depends upon what one has, but joy on what one is.
- True joy is everlasting and not dependent upon circumstances. The apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians while he was in a Roman prison. In this epistle, Paul uses the words “joy,” “rejoice,” and “joyful” sixteen times (cf. Acts 5:40-42; 16:23-25).
- True contentment comes from our position in Jesus Christ. A.T. Pierson said, "He who is in Christ Jesus has entered into the sphere of complete joy, where he finds full compensation for all self-denials and sufferings."
- Now if you are saved you have already entered that sphere of complete joy. If you do not understand that, you can claim it tonight by faith.
- Acts 13:52 says, "And the disciples were filled with joy..." We can be joyful because God has saved us and we know our sins are forgiven, and we have a home in heaven.
- This joy comes into our heart the moment we get saved. Acts 8:39 says that after he got saved and baptized, "the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."
- Joy gives us strength. Nehemiah 8:10 says, "For the joy of the LORD is your strength."
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
- When a person is filled with joy, he is also filled with the Holy Spirit. And when a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, he is also filled with joy (Acts 13:52).
- Galatians 5:22 says, "the fruit of the Spirit is joy."
- Ephesians 5:18 says, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." This is a command.
- The fullness of the Spirit is emphasized in the New Testament, but unfortunately it is overlooked and misunderstood by many Christians.
- Every true Christian has been indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and every true Christian has been sealed by the Holy Spirit, but not every Christian has been filled by the Holy Spirit.
- Tonight, if you recognize something is missing in your Christian life, if you sense your need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, all you need to do is ask (cf. Luke 11:9-13; John 7:37-39).
- The book of Acts emphasizes that the apostolic church was filled with joy and the Holy Ghost.
- Acts 2:4 says, "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost."
- Acts 4:8 says Peter was "filled with the Holy Ghost."
- Acts 4:31 says, "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost."
- Acts 6:3 says one of the requirements for the first deacons was that they be "full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom."
- One of those deacons was Stephen, "a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost."
- Acts 7:55 also refers to Stephen being "full of the Holy Ghost,"
- Acts 9:17 refers to Paul being "filled with the Holy Ghost."
- Acts 9:31 says, "Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied."
- The comfort of the Comforter!
- There are many other Scriptures describing how the Holy Ghost was "poured out," and how they received the "gift of the Holy Ghost," etc.
- If you are unsure about this, get it settled tonight.
WHAT IT MEANS NOT TO BE FILLED
- Deadness, dryness, defeat, failure, coldness, complacency, lukewarmness, carnality, worldliness, backsliding, disobedience -- all of this happens when Christians are not filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost.
- The Barna Research Group is a California-based Christian organization that annually conducts a nationwide study of American churches.
- A recent survey revealed that regular Bible reading and church attendance has dropped over the last decade. Volunteering at church has also declined over this same period.
- I believe the main problem here is many of these people that were surveyed were never genuinely born again.
- But there is another problem: many Christians are not "filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 13:52). They need revival.
- Psalm 85:6 says, "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?"
- Some professed believers cannot be revived because they were never saved to begin with. They need regeneration.
- But many believers need revival. They need to be "filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost."
- There is a booklet that I think every Christian should read. It was written by R.A. Torrey and it is entitled, Why God Used D. L. Moody.
- In this booklet, R.A. Torrey said God used D.L. Moody because Moody
- was a fully surrendered man
- was a man of prayer
- was a deep and practical student of the Bible
- was a humble man
- was free from the love of money
- had a consuming passion for the salvation of the lost.
- But it was his seventh, and final point that I want to emphasize tonight. R.A. Torrey said D.L. Moody was "definitely endued with power from on high."
- Have you been endued with power from on high?
- Are you filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost?
- If not, tonight is the night to ask the Lord for His joy and His fullness!