The Work of the Holy Spirit
The work of the Holy Spirit is testifying of Jesus, convicting the world of sin, and guiding believers into all truth.
Have you ever been reduced to one accomplishment or mistake?
Have you ever become associated with some episode from your past- whether good or bad, and find it frustrating that in many people’s minds you’re just the guy who did x, y, or z in high school?
Today we’ll be continuing our study of the Gospel of John, the life story of Jesus as told by His best friend. John is giving the us the farewell discourse, or as Pastor Eric aptly put last week, the “See You Later” discourse. Jesus is about to be arrested and executed. He would see the disciples again, but then He would ascend into heaven. This was the beginning of the end of their earthly ministry together.
So Jesus is introducing the disciples to the Holy Spirit. In Jesus introduction of the Holy Spirit He tells them a lot about the Holy Spirit. Who He is, what he’ll do, how he’ll help them, when and why He’ll be working…
However, Jesus mentions nothing of what people typically think of when they think of the Holy Spirit.
Several years ago, maybe close to 10 years ago, I answered the phone here at the church and the caller had some questions about our church. She was considering joining us for worship, but first she wanted to get an idea of what we are like. Her first question was, do you all believe in the Holy Spirit? Yes we do. We believe in the Trinity. All 3 persons of the Godhead, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. She then said something along the lines of, “no, what I mean is do you believe the Holy Spirit still does stuff?” I said, I think I understand what you’re asking. Yes we do believe in the Holy Spirit but we do not practice the signifying gifts like speaking in tongues in our worship services. Ok, so you’re not a Spirit filled church… I found this interaction very frustrating and it’s stuck with me all these years.
The Holy Spirit has been equated with just a few methods of accomplishing his work, instead of with His nature, essence or mission.
Jesus is introducing the disciples to the Holy Spirit who will give them comfort and aide in the coming difficult days, but Jesus does not mention any of the elements that many people have reduced the Holy Spirit down to…
Sadly, people will often refer to a church as “Spirit Filled” if the Holy Spirit brings about attention grabbing moments, but a church that merely lifts up Jesus and glorifies God is considered less Spirit filled, even though that’s why the Holy Spirit came!
To make Jesus known and Glorify the Father!
When the Holy Spirit would fall on these disciples in the book of Acts, He would do some miraculous and powerful signs. He would begin His work by establishing the authenticity of the disciples message about Jesus… However, in the minds of many Christians, the work of Holy Spirit is encapsulated in this initial event. I want this message to unravel the false ideas and assumptions, so that we can see with a much larger perspective the purpose and work of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is testifying of Jesus, convicting the world of sin, and guiding believers into all truth.
Let’s read the text together
John 15:15 – I am telling you all that the Father is doing.
John 15:18-20 – Life is going to be difficult… This is going to get harder…
John 15:26-27 – The comforter will come, He will help you by testifying of me..
John 16:1-2 – this is hard for the disciples to hear… The synagogue.
If you told me I’d be banned from Walmart, I would not be upset.
I would consider it a blessing. It’s not a place I go out of desire or for pleasure. It’s only out of necessity.
The synagogue was not a place of necessity for the disciples culture, it was the community center. It was the gathering place for family and friends. It was how the Jew found one another in far flung cities. On top of all this, Jesus says the people who will do these things will be convinced that they are doing God’s work. They won’t be doing this because they’re just mean, they’ll be convinced they are in the right. Then Jesus explains how that can be in verse 3.
John 16:3 – The problem is summed up in the fact that they don’t know Jesus. That’s why this will happen.
If you boil down the problems of our world down the most irreducible issue, it’s this… People don’t know Jesus.
The problems of our world are not sociological, they are theological.
1 John 3:13 – Do not be surprised if the world hates you.
After all, if not even Jesus could please everyone, you and I sure can’t… There is no situation in the world that can not be fixed by the people involved acting more like Jesus. So in a world of hate and animosity, Jesus sends the Spirit. We need the Spirit because the call of introducing everyone to Jesus, especially when they are convinced they are already doing God’s work, that calling is beyond us. The world is against us.
The Spirit helps us.
Jesus sends us the Spirit to help us, and he helps us by introducing people to Jesus. If the irreducible root problem is that people don’t know Jesus, the Spirit is going to give Himself to that work. So, that being said, Jesus tells the disciples exactly what the Spirit will do, what His work will be.
Read John 16:7-14
The Spirit testifies/bears witness (15:26-27)
A witness is not someone who has an opinion on the trial. They are someone who has an authoritative perspective on the event. They saw the crime take place, they saw what happened, they reviewed the evidence with their expertise, etc. The perspective of the Spirit is the perspective of God. The Spirit then takes the witness stand in our hearts and minds.
A witness is not just someone who see something, they are one who says something. The witness stand of our hearts and minds is where the Spirit takes us residence, pointing truth out to us, showing us facts and evidence and tugging at our emotions.
As a Pastor, I am like a lawyer with a star witness on the stand. If I do my job well, I just give the witness ample opportunities to speak. When I send postcards, texts, post online, send emails, stop and chat with someone in Kempers market, all of that is meaningless if the Spirit is not in the witness stand. But if He is, and my conversation, my invitation, my sermon clip begs a question the Spirit is always ready to answer…
The Spirit convicts of sin (16:8)
Sin not only corrupts our record, it corrupts our judgment. We are unable to rightly judge ourselves because sin has corrupted our view or ourselves… It’s for this reason that the most wicked people on the planet can judge others with contempt. It’s for this reason that we are so good and ignoring our sin and highlighting the sins of others.
The great work of the Holy Spirit is in convicting us of our own sin.
Eugene Peterson paraphrased verse 8-11 like this:
When the Spirit comes, he’ll expose the error of the godless world’s view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He’ll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin; that righteousness comes from above, where I am with the Father, out of their sight and control; that judgment takes place as the ruler of this godless world is brought to trial and convicted.
I’ve got a faulty gauge in my truck. Every so often, this bad gauge will cause a host of alarms and lights to go off in my truck. Making it seem like there’s a pretty major problem when there isn’t one.
When someone drives my truck, I have to give them a heads up that the gauge is bad, so they don’t think the truck has had a major meltdown while they were driving it…
So they don’t have a false alarm. Our problem is the reverse. We’ve got a faulty gauge of our soul and it gives us a false sense of calm. The Spirit points out our own sin, so that we recognize that we aren’t as well as we thought… If the Spirit shows us who Jesus is and shows us who we are, we come to the obvious result of those realizations.
God is good and I am not.
The Spirit guided into all truth (16:13)
Jesus had told the disciples that the Spirit would remind them of what He had taught them, but here He says the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth- not just reminded them of what they already knew, but help them discover or uncover new truth. Now, we know that scripture is of no private interpretation. We know that God is not giving special revelation to just a handful of believers, so what is Jesus talking about here?
Well specifically for the disciples there would be the divine enablement to write the ancient truths down into scripture, but the broader application for us is that God is constantly guiding us deeper and deeper into the goldmine of truth that is Jesus.
Jesus is the focal point of truth. Everything is revealed in Jesus.
However, the implications of the truth found in Jesus is robust and profound and many levels of depth. The Spirit would remind the disciples of the truth they learned from Jesus AND guide them into the many ramifications of this truth. Think of it this way, when you get startling news, there’s the initial facts about the diagnosis or the event, but then there are waves of ramifications that come, well what about so and so?
Has anyone told mom yet?
Have we thought about moving that trip back?
We need to reschedule that appointment…
The Spirit reveals Jesus and our sin to us, and then throughout the rest of our lives He guides us into the ramifications of this life altering truth…
What does this mean for my career?
For my family?
For my relationship with my daughter?
How does this impact my retirement?
For that reason, when you’re a new Christian or you’ve been following Jesus for 8 decades, there is some new beauty in how the truth about Jesus and the nature of you reflect off of one another.
Looking for a church in the Evansville area?
We’d love to have you join us for worship this Sunday at 9:30 or 11:00!
See how close we are and get directions in Google Maps.