Some observers of the early Christians made fun of them and said: “They have had too much wine.” (Would you use the word “drunk” to describe a gathering of Christians, nowadays?)
Here’s the response to that accusation, given by Jesus’ disciple, Peter, in the Book of Acts: “These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days and they will prophesy.’”
Paul of Tarsus wrote to the believers at the city of Ephesus: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Several places throughout the Bible, the Holy Spirit is called “new wine.”
It appears that being under the influence of the Spirit is an alternative to being under the influence of alcohol and produces some of the same characteristics — a buzz, a loss of self-consciousness, weakened muscle coordination, loudness, inebriation, freedom from propriety. A casual observer could confuse the two conditions — being drunk with alcohol and being drunk in the Spirit.
So, if you ever want to get drunk, why booze it up when you can get drunk on new wine — the Holy Spirit? Here are some advantages to getting drunk in the Spirit versus the more common way of drunkenness:
* There is no negative hangover to spiritual drunkenness.
* You won’t do anything morally wrong while inebriated by the Spirit. And you won’t feel guilty when you sober up.
* There is no law against driving under the influence of the Holy Spirit — no spiritual DUI.
* When you sober up, rather than feeling shame and guilt, you will be overwhelmed with an awesome sense of God’s peace.
* Spiritual drunkenness is both contagious and life-changing. Here’ an example:
Last Sunday at The Salvation Army Berry Street in Nashville, a woman (I’ll call N) shared this testimony:
N didn’t want anything to do with God, but one day she saw a woman staggering in the street. She went over to help the woman and the woman was drunk in the Holy Spirit, praising Jesus and stumbling around.
N found out that the woman lived in an apartment building across the street and decided to help her get home. As N got the woman into the elevator, the Holy Spirit fell on N and she began to feel and act like she was drunk — she was overcome by the Presence of the Living God.
N was never the same. From that moment on, she has had an undying passion to follow and obey Jesus.
Here are two quotations I found on the web: ”In their disbelief they assumed that ‘These men are drunk, full of new wine.’ Amazingly, the people weren’t that far off; they were drunk, filled with a new wine, the consuming, inebriating, presence of the Holy Spirit. Strange things happen when the Holy Spirit gets involved. Normal, uninteresting people, filled with this new power, come alive. Alive to Christ, that is.” — Lisa S. Arnold
”Though those drunk and those filled with the Spirit are ‘carried out of themselves into an abnormal sense of freedom and expressiveness,’ the cause and the end results are entirely different.” –BibleGateway.com