“And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.” (Acts 6:8–10, ESV)
Whatever one is full of will show on the outside. Prior to receiving Jesus, I have joined with many people who imbibed in alcoholic beverages. On more than one occasion I have seen people who partook in excess. Frankly, I am ashamed to say that I was one of them. One night while I was in Germany, I ran into a guy who was going from bar-to-bar drinking and, in a loud voice that you could hear from the street, naming all the state capitals in our country. Of course, he got most of them wrong as he confused prominent cities with the capital cities. Alcohol, when taken in excess it makes a profound change in the way a person will act. Some begin talking, saying all sorts of silly things. Some will stagger. Others will slur their speech. Some become loud and boisterous. Others will have for no good reason a strange smile on their face.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians regarding a key work of the Holy Spirit.
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” (Ephesians 5:18–21, AV)
In this passage, Paul indicated that a person can be filled with many things that will have a profound influence on his or her actions. He exhorts believers not to be filled with wine, an alcoholic drink, in excess. The reasons are obvious. We cannot allow anything other than the Spirit of God to be in control of our lives. For this reason, Paul continues with the exhortation to be filled with the Spirit.
When a believer is filled with the Spirit, his or her actions will reflect it. Whatever one is full of will show on the outside. Here in this passage of the book of Acts, we see this truth. Stephen, one of the first deacons in the church, a man “full of faith and the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5) is now said to be “full of grace and power.” Stephen, being filled with the Spirit did mighty works for the glory of God. Moreover, he also verbally contended for the faith. His ministry was so effective that others who opposed the preaching of Jesus could not stand up against the wisdom of his teaching.
The question is this. “Are we so filled with the Spirit today? Are we as believers so filled with the Spirit that the grace and power of God are manifested in our lives? Personally, I long for such a filling of the Spirit in my life. The problem with us, I suspect, is that we are filled with all other kinds of stuff. Whatever fills us will be seen on the outside. May we who believe be not filled with stuff, but rather be filled with the Spirit so that people may see God at work in our lives.