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Sunday, May 12, 2019

posted May 12, 2019, 5:02 PM by Site Administrator

WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT COMES…

 

John 16:1-33

Key Verse 16:8

 

When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:

 

First, He will convict the world of guilt (1-11). In the previous passage, Jesus told them about being hated by the world. Why do the world hate Jesus’ disciples? It does so not because the disciples have done anything wrong, but because simply they are not of the world any more, and also because it does not know the Father, but hates Him. When we are hated by the people of the world without any cause, it becomes obvious that we are not of the world any longer. Now in verse 1, Jesus says, All this I have told you so that you will not go astray.As Jesus was going to leave them in the world where they would be hated, he was pretty anxious, because he knew how dangerous it was for them to live in the world. They would be like sheep among wolves. That’s why he told them about the persecution in advance so that when it did happen, they would not be confused, but understand that it was happening to them just as Jesus had warned them about. When we are hated by the world, we must not be surprised or confused; instead, we just see it as a normal part of our Christian life. The apostle Paul says, In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2Ti 3:12) When it does happen to you, remember that Jesus is really concerned about you, saying, All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. People say, Once you are saved, you are saved forever. But we can see that it was never Jesus’ theology. He never wanted to see any of his beloved disciples go astray. So, he told them everything they needed to know so that when challenges came, when difficulties rose, they would stand firm in him.

 

In verses 2 and 3, Jesus mentions about the persecution from the Jewish leaders. They believed in the Bible; they believed that the God of the Bible is the only true God, and they struggled hard to serve him. But they would persecute Jesus’ disciples even in the name of serving God. Why? Jesus says, because they have not known the Father or me. What a painful truth it is that despite their desire for God, they turned out to be enemies of God when they did not know God personally. They were zealous to keep the laws, but they were not zealous to know God. Their Bible knowledge did not bring them to the fellowship with God. Today, still many people think that they are offering a service to God by attacking and persecuting other believers, especially, those who struggle to serve God wholeheartedly; but it is not God’s way – God’s way is the way of love and obedience; God wants people to lay down their life for others instead of attacking them viciously in the name of serving God; God wants them to be a kernel of wheat that falls to the ground and dies, instead of viciously attacking others. When people persecute you, don’t be so surprised; simply, they don’t know God. 

 

Look at verses 5 through 7. Jesus said to them, Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Because I have said these things you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Why did Jesus say that it was for their good that he was going away? It was because, once he went away, he would send them the Holy Spirit. Jesus says, Unless I go, the Counselor will not come; but if I go, I will send him to you. When Jesus was with them physically, they were confident and powerful, but when Jesus was not with them physically, they were fearful and powerless; without Jesus' physical presence, they could not do anything, because they were relying on the visible human Jesus. But when Jesus was gone, and when the Holy Spirit came to them, they would learn to rely on the Holy Spirit; they would pray, and do God's work mightily by relying on God; at that time, each of them would be like Jesus himself, doing great work of God through the Holy Spirit wherever they went. Indeed, it was for their good that Jesus was going away. Often, we envy those who lived in Jesus' time, and wish if we lived with him. But, Jesus, in the passage, shows that we have no reason to envy them, because it is for our good that Jesus is not with us physically. Now through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we can come to enjoy fellowship with him knowing him very personally, and moreover, we can be powerful in doing the work of God. Maybe, if we were in Jesus’ time, we would have a hard time to believe that he was God in flesh; maybe, some of us would throw stones at him. But now, by the dwelling of the Holy Spirit, we love Jesus and worship him as our God - no question about it. We pursue him. We accept everything he says in the Bible. Now it is Jesus’ will for us to rely on God through the Holy Spirit and become great. 

 

When the Holy Spirit comes, what does He do? Look at verses 8 through 11. Let’s read these verses responsively:

 

8When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

 

The main work of the Holy Spirit is to convict the people of the world of guilt. The word, convict is a legal term; it is to declare guilty of crimes, and thereby, blameworthy. No one feels good when he is convicted and declared guilty, especially, when God declares, You are guilty. Many people misunderstand this point; they have misconception about the work of the Holy Spirit and thereby, look for something mysterious such as feeling warm in their hearts, or vaguely expecting to hear mysterious voice of the Holy Spirit or to receive some fantastic visions. As a result, often, the demons have a chance to deceive and mislead them. We must remember that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, and that He is a truthful Person, and that He works through the truth, the word of God. If anyone wants to have fellowship with the Holy Spirit, he or she must be truthful, not self-seeking or sinful or deceptive; we must pursue the truth, the word of God. The Holy Spirit’s main job is to convict the people of the world of guilt, causing such fear, sorrow, depression and anxiety in their hearts. Because of the work of the Holy Spirit that convicts them of guilt, people find themselves as sinners before God, and thereby, have a chance to really repent. This is what the Holy Spirit does for the people in the world. The Holy Spirit leads people to repentance by convicting them of guilt. 

 

The Holy Spirit convicts the world of guilt in regard to three things – sin, righteousness and judgment. Being convicted of guilt in regard to sin means that they realize that they are guilty of sin. Before this conviction, comparing themselves to others who really have messed up, people say, I don’t use drug. I am not sexually immoral. I am not like those people.But sin is not relativistic, but absolute. What is sin? Jesus says, In regard to sin, because men do not believe in me. When the Holy Spirit convicts them of guilt in regard to sin, they realize that unbelief in Jesus is sin. Thus, they are given a chance to repent and believe in him.

 

The Holy Spirit convicts people of guilt in regard to righteousness, declaring to them, You are not righteous. You are guilty. Jesus says, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no more. Righteousness means right relationship with God. Jesus went to the Father, because he is right with God. People may think that they are righteous, due to their moralistic life, or religious life; maybe, they have been attending church worship service for 10 years or 20 years. Maybe, they have heard so many messages through Calvary chapel radio station. Maybe, they said to God, Lord, thank you so much for helping me to not be like those tax collectors and sinners. When we invite them to Bible study, they say, I am okay. Look for some lost sheep. When they come to Bible study, they want to study some more serious or mysterious books such as Romans or Revelation. They laugh and speak so confidently. Then, the Holy Spirit convicts them in their hearts, You are guilty; you are not righteous; you are rejected. At that time, they realize that all of their own righteousness such as Bible knowledge, or faithful church attendance, or even their zeal for God is not enough, and they are found as worthless sinners. At the conviction of the Holy Spirit, they realize that there is nothing that can make them right with God, except Jesus Christ who died on the cross. So, they stop bragging about themselves. If anyone is convicted by the Holy Spirit in regard to righteousness this way, such a person is truly blessed – his eyes are opened and he can truly accept Jesus Christ as his righteousness. This is what the Holy Spirit does. 

 

Being convicted of guilt in regard to judgment means that they come to realize that they stand condemned, and thereby, they will be sent to hell. Jesus talks about the prince of this world standing condemned. The prince of this world, Satan, was the very one who caused the death of the Son of God, so he is the worst sinner. When Jesus died on the cross, it was the time when the prince of this world was standing condemned for the terrible crime. Then, what about all his subjects that belong to him? Yes, of course, they too stand condemned, deserving eternal punishment. This is what they come to realize. Their souls are awakened to the reality of this eternal judgment. What a scary moment it must be when they are convicted to hell! They cannot say things confidently any more. They cannot eat freely any more. They cannot sleep well. Like sentenced criminals, waiting for the day of their execution in their cells, they go crazy, wailing and wailing, looking for any way to escape. Like Christian in the book of the Pilgrim’s Progress written by John Bunyan, they cry and cry, shouting, What shall I do? What shall I do? Even if their family members try to calm them down, they cannot. Before, they laughed loudly and sinned freely; before, they were confident about themselves, but not any longer. Their souls are awakened to the reality of their sins, their unrighteousness, and eternal judgment.

 

Jesus says, When he, the Holy Spirit comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment. When this happens, when they are convicted of guilt in regard to their sins, righteousness and judgment, they are fully aware of their true spiritual condition. Before this, they thought what they saw was everything there is – riches, pleasures, fame and success. But now, when the Holy Spirit convicts them, they suddenly see the reality of spiritual world, the existence of God, of eternal life, and of hell also. They become so fearful and scared to death. They become dead serious about everything. This is called, awakening of their souls, or awakened souls. The Holy Spirit convicts them of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment, and thereby, their souls are awakened to the true reality. It is very scary moment for them when they are declared guilty by God. But because of this, now they have a chance to truly turn to God for salvation in Christ. Once they turn to God, because they really know the reality, they pursue the kingdom of God all the way, living as holy pilgrims. 

 

During the second great awakening movement, that started at the beginning of the 19th century, Charles G. Finney was one of the two top leaders along with Francis Asbury, a Methodist preacher. He served the word of God so effectively that when people heard his message, they were convicted of their sins so terribly. After his message, some of them collapsed on the floor crying, and some people became frozen that others had to carry them home; or some people became literally speechless for a few days for the fear of judgment. The Holy Spirit was working powerfully through his messages, convicting so many people of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment. After the meeting was over, Finney encouraged all these awakened people to line up and come to him one by one, and helped them confess their sins, repent and turn to God – he was the first person who did the so-called altar call. Later, he secured first few rows of the chairs in the meeting hall for those awakened people to sit, and these seats were called, anxious seats. Those awakened souls sat there, and they were to make a decision either they would accept God’s challenge to repent their sins and turn to God or reject the work of God upon their life. God’s work went powerfully through Charles G. Finney. 

 

As we struggle to do God’s work, we can be rest assured that the Holy Spirit is working with us. Think about the Holy Spirit standing right next to you to save souls, while you teach the Bible to your students. He encourages, “Be bold and very courageous! Just say the word, and I will convict them.” The Holy Spirit is the main figure in saving souls. But amazingly, he entrusts his most powerful weapon in our hands, the sword of the Holy Spirit, the word of God, with which he pierces many people’s hearts. Now our job is to sharpen our sword, and learn how to handle it properly and effectively – deep testimony writing so that we can truly grasp what God is talking about in each passage; sharpening our Bible study notes. Let’s do mighty works of God together with the Holy Spirit through our one to one Bible studies.

 

Second, He will guide you into all truth (12-16). Look at verses 12 through 16. Let’s read these verses responsively:

 

12I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. 16In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.

 

Jesus had much more to say to his disciples more than they could bear. But he did not bother to tell them everything because later, when the Holy Spirit came, he would tell them everything. Jesus said to them, He will guide you into all truth. This is what the Holy Spirit does for Jesus' disciples, showing them what is right and what is wrong, telling them what to do and what not to do. In this world, people do not know the truth - the truth is hidden, and people live based on outward appearance or present needs, which are all lies and deception. What is the truth? How should we live our life in this world and what must we do? All people are deceived, and thereby, the end result of such deceived life is emptiness, meaninglessness and depression. But the Holy Spirit, when he comes to the disciples of Jesus, guides them into all truth so that they can know the truth and live by the truth. Not only so, the Holy Spirit shows them the divine truth of God - God's word and God's kingdom, God's will and God's purpose, and God's plan. Indeed, the disciples are blessed because they come to know what the people of the world have not known, and see what others have not seen. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the disciples come to know the truth, and they can teach it to others. 

 

Jesus also says, He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. The Holy Spirit does not speak on his own, but speaks of what is Jesus’. The key point of the Holy Spirit’s teaching is what is Jesus’. He teaches the disciples about Jesus’ person, and what he did, especially the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit helps his disciples know who Jesus is and the spiritual meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Thus, He brings glory to Jesus – He is there to reveal the glory of Jesus. 

 

When the Son came into the world in the name of the Father, he didn’t live for himself, but lived for God even to the point of death taking a form of a slave to God the Father. Jesus says in John 12:49, For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. He submitted himself to God the Father. Now when the Holy Spirit came to the world in the name of Jesus, he did not speak on his own, but speaks only what he hears from Jesus. Even though He is the Almighty God, He submitted Himself to Jesus. The Trinity God, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, are so humble that they honor and respect each other so dearly, taking the form of a servant to each other, and thus, they form a beautiful unity of love – they are one in humility. On the contrary, humans have no power, no glory, but still speak on their own, insisting their own understanding, desires and styles – humans are really disgusting. Jesus’ prayer for us is that we too may be one with each other; how can it be possible? By following the example of the Trinity God, by humbly submitting ourselves to each other, taking the form of a slave to each other. 

 

And the Holy Spirit tells the disciples what is yet to come. Here, the expression, what is yet to come refers to plans of God that will be fulfilled in the future, such as the gospel being preached to the ends of the earth, Jesus’ second coming, judgment and eternal life in the kingdom of God. Also, it refers to God’s plans and visions for the disciples’ own life. By telling the disciples what is yet to come, the Holy Spirit helps the disciples set their minds on the glorious things of the future; as a result, the disciples of Jesus are not bound to the present reality; instead, they think about something glorious that will be done in the future; the disciples of Jesus are actually, dreamers.Often, the present reality seems so challenging – financially, academically, and even spiritually; but strangely, Jesus’ disciples talk about something very big and amazing, saying, I will be a father of many nations. I will be a mother of many nations. I will conquer the world. We remember how God helped Abraham in Genesis 16. When Abraham calculated what would be the outcome of his life of faith without having any son, he concluded that eventually, one of his slaves would inherit all of his estate; it seemed that he was working hard for his slave; he was completely depressed and troubled about this life of faith. He complained to God about this. Then, God said to him, Look up at the heavens and count stars – if indeed, you can count them. So shall your offspring be. God did not want him to look down on the earth and count the losses – the present reality; but God wanted him to look up at the heavens where God lived and count something beautiful, which God would do for him in the future. Our God is indeed the visionary; he enables us to live in the future.

 

When the Holy Spirit comes, He convicts the people of the world of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment. But when He comes to the disciples who love Jesus and obey His command, He guides them into all truth, and makes known what is Jesus’ to them. By the help of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ disciples grow to be true leaders for God’s flock and they serve powerful works of God.

 

Third, You believe at last! (17-33). Look at verses 17 and 18. Because Jesus said, In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me, the disciples were confused, and they wanted to ask him about it. SoJesus explained to them about his death and resurrection. His death on the cross was like birth-pains to the disciples. They would experience great pain. But they would have great joy when Jesus rose again. When the hope of resurrection was planted in them through Jesus’ resurrection, nothing, and no one would be able to take away their joy. Then, they would devote themselves to God fully, and as the Holy Spirit resides in them, they would pray to do God’s work effectively. Jesus says, I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. While Jesus was with them, they didn't pray, because, whenever they needed anything, they ran to Jesus and asked for help, and sure thing, Jesus always helped them. But when Jesus was not physically with them any longer, they would rely on God through prayer. When they see God answering their prayer, they would be overjoyed. 

 

Look at verse 25. Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father.Jesus knew that human speech was not enough to reveal the things of God. But after his resurrection, they would understand all the secrets of spiritual things. Then, they would know about the Father very personally. Finally, Jesus said to them in verse 28, I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father. Jesus now plainly disclosed the meaning of his death on the cross, that was, as he came from the Father, now he was going back to Him. Look at verses 29 and 30. Let’s read these verses together:

 

29Then Jesus' disciples said, Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.

 

His disciples finally understood what Jesus said. They said, …This makes us believe that you came from God. When Jesus told them that he would go away, they were sad; they understood that Jesus would die and that it was the end of everything. So they were troubled in heart; they felt like a whole bunch of orphans; they felt like crying. But Jesus told them about its meaning over and over, and tried to comfort them with the promise of the Holy Spirit. And in this passage, finally, they understood that his death was not a tragic event, or not the end of everything, but simply his departure to his Father’s house. Finally, they understood that as he had come into the world, now he was going back to the Father through his death. It is amazing that finally they grasped the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It was not separation or failure but him going back home, and his departure would bring them the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. This realization made them see shining glory through the death and resurrection of Jesus; a bright heavenly light was shining into their heartsThen, their separation anxiety and fear of the Jews all disappeared, and heavenly joy smeared into their souls. Matthew’s gospel records that after this meeting, they sang a hymn and went to the Mount of Olives, showing their joy and thanks. (Mt 26:30)

 

Look at verses 31 and 32. Jesus said to them, You believe at last! Throughout the whole upper room dialogue, Jesus struggled hard to tell them the true meaning of his death and resurrection; he struggled hard to comfort them with the hope of the Father's house, with the promise of the Holy Spirit; but their response was not so great; instead of accepting his message, they kept talking back, and came up with many questions and requests to prove his words; the time was ticking, and Jesus had only a few hours to go, but his disciples were not cooperative; Jesus must have been anxious; with such a burden in his heart, Jesus, like an anxious mother, taught the truth continually. Then, finally, they opened their hearts and accepted and grasped his message. How happy Jesus must have been! He said to them, You believe at last! Then, it was the time for them to be scattered and Jesus would be left alone. But God was with him.

 

Many years ago, while we were in darkness, Jesus had the same struggle with us; we rejected his love many times, but Jesus kept struggling with us through his servants. Then, finally, we opened our hearts and accepted his love. There we were changed. Indeed, on that day, Jesus shouted, “You believe at last!” Today, maybe, due to some doubt, maybe, due to some mistrust, maybe, due to our own worldly or fleshly desires, Jesus has the same struggle with us, struggling to help us to open our hearts to him and truly believe. When we do so, all darkness disappears and anxieties and fears are gone; instead, heavenly light shines into our hearts that we can see everything clearly and we can confidently entrust everything in God’s hands and do whatever he wants us to do. This is what Jesus wants to see. When we do so, Jesus shouts, “You believe at last!”

How do you respond to his efforts for you? 

 

Look at verse 33. Let's read this verse together:

 

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

 

We often pray that God may give us a smooth, problem free life. But Jesus says that he cannot guarantee it; instead, he confirms that we will have trouble in this world. So, Christian life is not about a problem free life; instead, we have trouble in this world - trouble with sheep, trouble with shepherd, trouble with school, trouble with money, trouble with friends, and trouble with enemies. But while we go through all these troublesome conditions, we still have deep joy in our hearts by remaining in Jesus' love by obeying his command, and by renewing our true hope in the kingdom of God. This is what real Christian life is about. 

 

Jesus too had trouble - all challenges and difficulties, persecutions and temptations - but he overcame the world. How? By remaining in God's love by obeying his command despite all challenges. At that time, he was victorious, saying, I have overcome the world. Now by following Jesus' example, we too can overcome the world and live as God's children. Also, since he experienced all challenges, difficulties, persecutions and temptations, he understands our agonies and struggles and thereby, knows what we need and how he can help us. Together with him, certainly, we too can overcome the world and fulfill God's mission upon our life. Jesus says to us, In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

 

One Word: The Holy Spirit Will Guide You Into All Truth

 

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