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The Holy Spirit: A Q&A with Jeff Chacon

May 18, 2020
The Holy Spirit

As we conclude our Fruit of the Spirit series, I thought it would be helpful to go over some of these questions about the Holy Spirit. Instead of trying to tackle this difficult topic by myself, I decided to reach out to Jeff Chacon, who ministers at Anchor Point Church in Tampa (he also happens to be my father-in-law and next-door neighbor!). His answers to these questions were deep, Bible-filled and clarifying. I hope they are helpful as you search for a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit.

What is the Holy Spirit? 

  • The Holy Spirit is not a “what” but a “who.” He is the third person of the Trinity – equal in nature and substance, but separate in person and role from God the Father and God the Son.
  • In love, God the Father sent his Son, Jesus, to die for us (1 John 4:9), and in love, the Father and Son sent the Holy Spirit to carry on Jesus’ work through his church after Jesus’ ascension to Heaven (John 16:7-15; Acts 1:8; Colossians 1:27-29)
  • The Holy Spirit carries on the work of Jesus through his church in many different ways, including: 
    • helping and comforting us (John 14:16)
    • teaching us (John 14:26)
    • testifying through us (Matthew 10:20; John 15:26)
    • filling us with courage and boldness for the work (Acts 4:31)
    • helping us make Disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20)
    • interceding for us in prayer (Romans 8:26-27; Jude 1:20).
    • connecting us emotionally to God (Galatians 4:6)
    • helping us to know God and His love better and better (Ephesians 1:17; 3:14-19)
    • sanctifying us (making us holy and helping us to grow) and transforming us into the image of Jesus with ever increasing glory (1 Peter 1:1-2; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18).
    • and functioning as a reassuring deposit of our rich inheritance in Heaven (Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Corinthians 5:5)

How do we get the Holy Spirit? 

  • We initially receive the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 7:38-39) when we are baptized into the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:3-4) by faith in him (Colossians 2:9-12) and are born again (John 3:5), having our sins washed away (Acts 2:38; 22:16).
  • We experience more of his power and presence in our daily lives as Christians by asking for the Spirit (Luke 11:13) and allowing him to fill our hearts and lives (Ephesians 5:18).

If I want to get the fruit of the Spirit, how can I “activate” the Spirit to work in me?

  • As redeemed Christians, we are set free from the penalty and slavery of sin, but we still have a free will to choose whether to indulge the flesh or serve others in love (Galatians 5:13).
  • These two competing desires within us (to please the flesh and be selfish or to please the Spirit and be loving) are in conflict with each other since we cannot be simultaneously selfish and loving, led by the flesh and led by the Spirit.
  • So, the key to “activating” the work of the Spirit in us is to make the daily (sometimes moment by moment) decision to “crucify the flesh” (Galatians 5:24) and “live by the Spirit…keep in step with the Spirit” (vs. 25).

What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? 

  • To “walk in the Spirit” is to “keep in step with the Spirit,” (Galatians 5:25) which is a way of saying:
    • don’t run ahead of him, and don’t lag behind him
    • follow his lead, like a dancer, keeping in step with her partner
    • seek his presence and guidance
    • listen for his voice
    • allow him to influence your daily life as a friend and confidant walking side by side through life together.
  • In the gospel of Luke, we see Jesus emerging from his baptism (3:21-22) full of the Holy Spirit (4:1), then led by the Holy Spirit (vs. 1b), and then walking in the power of the Holy Spirit (4:14). Thus, we notice a progression: those who are full of the Holy Spirit (through conversion and regular refilling) can then be led by the Holy Spirit (by keeping in step with him) and therefore walk in the power of the Holy Spirit (see supernatural power in their lives).

As a believer, am I supposed to be able to “feel” or “hear” the Spirit? How do I know if something is from the Spirit or not? 

  • Since God is Spirit, not flesh (John 4:24), his presence in us cannot be “felt” by our five senses, as we would feel something physical or material.
  • But since we too are spiritual beings occupying physical bodies (1 Thessalonians 5:23) the Spirit is able to coordinate communication with us, as we are open and receptive to him (1 Corinthians 2:12-14).
  • The key is to learn to identify the voice and guiding hand of the Spirit in our lives through the various ways he speaks to us and leads us:
    • through the beauty, power and wonder of the natural world he created (Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:20)
    • through his inspired Word (the Bible) (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-21)
    • through the life and words of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2; John 1:1-18; 10:27)
    • through prayer (Acts 13:2)
    • through other believers (Acts 7:2, 51; Romans 15:14)
    • through the consensus of a spiritual group of believers (Acts 15:28)
    • through spiritual songs and music (Colossians 3:16)
    • through circumstances (Acts 16:6-10)
    • through our consciences (Romans 2:15; 9:1)
    • through thoughts, promptings, and direct communication (Acts 8:29)
    • through visions and dreams (Matthew 2:12-13; Acts 2:17; 9:10-12; 10:3, 17-19; 11:5; 16:9; 18:9-10; 26:19)
    • through the anointing of the Holy Spirit who coordinates what we hear in all of the above ways so that we better understand (1 John 2:26-27; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 1 Corinthians 2:12-15)
  • Perhaps the most important component in hearing God’s voice is what Jesus called, “having ears to hear” (referring to our desire and willingness to hear what Jesus has to say) (Matthew 11:15; Mark 4:9, 23; Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22)
  • Of course, not every voice we hear is from the Holy Spirit. Satan, the father of lies (John 8:24), our Accuser and archenemy (Revelation 12:10, 17), who masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) is also a Spirit and speaks to us as well, trying to deceive us and lead us astray (2 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 12:9). So, we must:
    • “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1)
    • using the Word of God (Bible) as the litmus test of truth (Acts 17:10-11; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
    • By comparing what we hear to what is written in God’s Word we can learn to recognize God’s voice, and avoid being led astray by our feelings or other spirits.

What is the difference between the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit? 

  • Generally speaking, the “fruit” of the Spirit is what the Spirit produces in our lives:
  • Whereas the “gifts” of the Spirit describe the unique manifestations (expressions) of the Spirit that each of us is given for the building up of his church (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) in accordance with his grace (1 Peter 4:10).
    • There are two kinds of gifts:
      • “natural” gifts (strengths you were born with that find their highest fulfillment in the service of the kingdom), such as:
        • serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, and showing mercy (Romans 12:7-8)
      • “supernatural” gifts (which were important signs and confirmations of their message during the early days of the church before the New Testament was compiled: Mark 16:19-20; Hebrews 2:4; 1 Corinthians 13:10), such as:
        • miraculous wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, and speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 12:8-10).

I hope you found this article helpful about the Holy Spirit! If you have more questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me. Also, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to catch up on our Fruit of the Spirit series here.

In Him,

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