The Work of the Holy Spirit // Preach 7th July 2013

As usual am posting the notes from my talk today, and as always I will say they are my notes so may not make 100% sense!!

The Work of the Holy Spirit
I am one of those people who get very excited about the Holy Spirit. I was excited to be given this title today. I love Holy spirit led ministry, and you know we talk about the exciting, supernatural HS stuff, receiving power form the HS to go out and share with people, to see people healed, to see lives transformed and so on. 
But I think for some people that is a bit scary isn’t it? we like our safe lives where we don’t have to be afraid of anything crazy going on, we don’t want to be challenged or put in positions where God might ask us to do something a bit radical. Thats how some of us see it isn’t it? The HS is scary, wacky, outrageous. So what happens is, people shy away from that and think, well that kind of life, being led by the HS is not for me, I’m not confident enough, or I’m not gifted as an evangelist, or I’m called to something else…
Which is fine to one extent, of course we do all have different gifts and callings. BUT, and this is what I think we can learn from the passage today  – the Holy Spirit is there for ALL of us regardless of where we’re at or what our personality is or what gifts we have. IF THERES ONE THING YOU TAKE AWAY TODAY, TAKE AWAY THIS. THE HS IS FOR ALL!
The truth is, none of us can ‘do life’ without the HS and none of us are supposed to. 
The HS was sent to us, intentionally, as a gift for ALL of us. and whether you are a crazy out there, go up to people in the street kind of Christian, or a quiet contemplative, or someone who just interceeds for others, or maybe you’re just someone who comes to church on a Sunday. Whatever it is, whoever you are – you need the HS in your life! GOD is a trinity of people Father, Son and HS, and we need all 3!!
So…. this passage shows us specifically 4 things we can learn about the HS(and I’m going to go into this more but in a nutshell)
– that he is an intentional gift from God for us all (and therefore a very necessary part of our lives)
– That the HS convicts people of their need of God
– HE reveals to us the kingdom of God – ie: all truth
– and, and possibly this one could encompass all the others, he Brings glory to God
So this is not a let’s get excited about HS fire and people speaking in tongues, and wind howling kind of passage is it? so those of you who find that hard can breathe out now!
And yet it’s one of the few places that Jesus himself talks about the work of the HS, and so if this is what Jesus teaches directly, on the work of the HS, we need to take note, these are defining words.
So just to back up a little. This whole series has been about Jesus preparing his disciples for his death and therefore for their future without him. Don’t forget we are still on one evening, the same evening where he washed their feet, where be broke bread with them,  he’s predicted Judas’ betrayal and his own subsequent death. This all happened on that evening, they shared a meal and were hanging out together. And here still, he is still preparing them for what is to come. 
On the one hand Jesus is telling them of what is to come and what awful things that can expect, and yet at the same time he’s trying to comfort them, he’s saying its ok, Im not going to be here but this other thing, this advocate, its far better, and you’re going to do so much more with him guiding you…
So he is warning them:
1 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the hour is coming when those who kill you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their hour comes you will remember that I warned you about them.
they WILL be persecuted, they WILL be put out of the synagogue, in fact their lives will be in danger.
 I mean that’s not really what you want to hear is it? Yeah, so Im going away, and you’re going to have to deal with all this without me. And he says he’s warning them so that when these things happen they will already know. They will not ‘go astray’ or as it says here ‘fall away’, but they will know because Jesus himself has told them what will happen, like some kind of macabre comfort in a way. When they see these terrible things happening, that they will be reminded, ok well Jesus told us this would happen so we’re just going to deal with it. They can stand firm in the knowledge that he forewarned them with. 
And then he says to them, and this is the key bit
 it is for your good that I am going away. 
I do love that line – It is for your good? I am going to die, horribly and you will be persecuted, and at risk of death yourselves but, you know it’s for your own good.
How many of you remember your parents saying that to you as a child?  like when your mum makes you eat all your broad beans – it’s for your own good?  or you have been grounded, it’s for your own good, you won’t learn otherwise…. 
And as adults we can look back and think well actually my Mum was right, broad beans were good for me, being grounded because I had done something very stupid and likely to put myself at risk, was absolutely for my own good. And just like I was, the disciples are struggling to see how it can possibly be for their own good that he is going away. and Jesus can see this when he says ‘ you are filled with grief because I have said these things.’…. BUT he says:
 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you…
Jesus knows of course the awesome power of the HS and how it is not only for their good, but as we see here it is necessary that the HS comes to them. The HS is not a replacement for Jesus, he is a necessary Advocate, someone to plead Jesus’ cause, a partner if you like, someone who can continue the work Jesus has been doing, through them, and through us…
And so we see, then he begins to tell them of the work of the HS. It’s kind of in 2 parts. almost, the first part is about the HS working in non-believers and the second part is for them, and for those who believe.
8 When he comes, he will prove (or in some versions convict) the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
It’s 3 fold about sin, righteousness and judgment. In David Guziks commentary of the bible, he sums it up like this:
Sin is the truth about man, righteousness is the truth about God, judgment is the inevitable combination of these two truths. 
a very simple summary… I like this because it’s simple and because it refers to truth and Jesus has already and will refer to the HS as a spirit of truth.
In NIV it uses the word CONVICT. I like the word better. someone who is convicted in a legal sense is ‘found guilty of a criminal offense  or a convict is: ‘a person found guilty of a criminal offense and serving a sentence of imprisonment.’ which if you look at it in spiritual terms you might say
a convict:
‘A person found guilty of sin and serving a sentence of living enslaved to sin.’
which is exactly what we are before we have made a commitment to the Lord, enslaved sentenced, if you like, to live a life of sin.
So man alone cannot understand his sinfulness apart from the HS. Those who are unbelievers do not recognise their lack of faith as a sin. But it is the root of all sin. Without that belief we are misguided in our life choices. And of course even as believers we make wrong choices, but at least we know we are sinners.
For many I think the truth about a lack of faith is more about an unwillingness to want to face ones own failings. People think coming to church they will get judged and the truth is they will, but not by us, by God, through the HS. 
Its not nice is it? do we want to have our sins, our faults, our failings shown to us and to be convicted of them?  If you look at kids you can see that kind of unwillingness to see their faults. you ask them about something that has gone wrong and they say ‘it wasn’t me’ or ‘I didn’t’. Once we found blue crayon all over the inside of our wardrobe door. all 3 children denied it totally, even though it had to have been one of them. even when you know that is was them, they don’t like to face it, because they are afraid of the punishment, But for us the truth is that we don’t have to face the punishment, it’s almost back to front isn’t it. If we accept our faults we get rewarded! Its when we don’t that we’re in trouble…
It’s really interesting I think that Jesus says in vs 2-3;
They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the hour is coming when those who kill you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.
People will do these dreadful things, because they have not known God. And it’s dire, but a few verses later he says, almost, it’s ok because the HS will come and convince, not just them but the world of their sin.
It is common, on receiving Christ for the first time to be utterly aware of ones own sin and wretchedness, of how unworthy we are in the face of God.  Some people have really defining experiences of that. Have you ever had a moment like that?
For me personally, it was not an instant thing but gradual. There were things that were instant, like I stopped swearing overnight  and I used to swear like  trooper. But for the most part it was a gradual process and even now, and though I know I am forgiven I look back at some of the things I did in the past and I feel such shame at my actions. And I know that is the conviction of the HS. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong back then, I was just living my life as I wanted to live it. And sometimes I feel like God remind me of those times just to remind me of who I was and of who I am without him. 

 and that’s a minor example but for some real radical transformations take place. Robbie Dawkins, in the Father of Lights film talks about drug dealers being convicted – spiritually not legally! and handing in guns and all sorts.
1 Sam example:
1 Samuel 10 – Samuel gives Saul a message from God – the spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power and you will prophesy with them, and you will be changed into a different person.
the HS POWER to CHANGE people. whatever you are facing…
the HS is not nasty, not wanting us to be covered in shame and guilt, but we need to be convicted of this in order to truly know God. It is conviction through love. And in realising that, being convicted of that we come to know God – the God of all righteousness
and in regard to righteousness…
Because Jesus is going to the Father where they will no longer see him. The only truly righteous person, without sin or guilt, is Jesus. The perfect lamb without defect, sinless, without blame, pure. 
If you think ‘well I’m doing ok thank you very much’, think you’re living a reasonably righteous life, try this from Isaiah 64:6
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
Because the truth is that in the face of Jesus righteousness, his sin-less-ness, his purity, we are like filthy rags…  It’s pretty stern stuff I know, but, and this is the truth of salvation:
in Isaiah 61:10-11 says this:
I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
   and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
    and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
    and praise spring up before all nations.
How beautiful is that! We and our filthy rags he will clothe in his righteousness – a robe of righteousness. We don’t deserve it, we are not worthy of it, but he will clothe us with it. Though we are convicted of guilt, the sentence is that we get to choose to receive the robe of righteousness. So which do we choose? the robe of condemnation and guilt or the choice that gives us freedom: the robe of righteousness?
and that’s it there is a choice, of course. We will be judged according to our choices, just as the devil, or as named here, the Prince of this World, ‘now stands condemned’. vs 8 he will prove the word to be wrong about.. judgment. The prince of this world, the one who condemns us, himself now stands condemned in the face of what Jesus is about to do.
He is condemned as the HS pours conviction on us, the conviction for the the devil, for evil, is that he will be condemned. His sentence: to spend eternity in hell or as Matthew 25 says, ‘in the eternal fire prepared for the devil and all his angels.’
I know we don’t often like to think about the consequences of making the other choice, but it’s there, not as a condemnation or a threat, and it’s not where God wants us – he wants us to be with him! And he gives us every opportunity to make that choice. He has sent the HS in order to do just that, so that we will be convicted, so that we will know, we will experience the truth of who God is….
and what is the truth? as we look at this second part, this is for believers. So first the HS will convict people of their need for a Saviour and then, he will guide them into all truth;
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the 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. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.
We could get all philosophical and start talking about ‘what is truth?’  It is a question philosophers have discussed for centuries, isn’t it? The bible mentions truth many times.. for example:
John 18:37 great scripture.. Jesus with Pilate before his death.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.
the age old question..
In a Christian perspective, Jesus stands for Truth, he says I testify to the truth, he testifies on behalf of God. He also says ‘I am the Way and the truth and the life…’
I think a good way to look at it is like this:
The revelation of truth, (or as the passage says: HS will guide you into all truth) means the revelation of God – ie: the fullness of the kingdom of God. If we equate truth, or the ultimate truth being God himself, then revealing truth is revealing the kingdom of God.
So when the spirit of Truth comes (the HS/advocate etc)  ‘he will guide you into all truth’
he will reveal the kingdom of God, more of God, more of the truth.
just as Jesus did the work of the Father, so does the HS…
He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
John 5
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
he will reveal what he hears from the Father. Prophecy…
and lastly: v14
4 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.
Thats the ultimate really isn’t it? the work of the HS is to glorify God… and through us, as he works through us we give the glory to God. That almost sums up everything else has has said doesn’t it….
I believe, what this passage tells us is that we cannot live without the Holy Spirit. It’s a bit like having your spiritual satnav turned off. The HS brings power and life into all we do.
I can stand up here and preach the best sermon ever heard but it won’t make any difference if the HS is not in it. The worship team can play the best set they have ever played but if the HS is not within what they are doing, we won’t be encountering God through it. 
You can tell your friends about Jesus but nothing will convict them of their sin and need for a Saviour without the HS resting on all what we say.
You can read the bible all you like, you can pray all you like but without the HS guiding you, it won’t guide you into the truth…
You can pray for people to be healed as much as you like, but if the HS is not going with you, not one will be healed.
And believe me I know! because for many years we lived without the HS in our lives. We went to church for years without knowing the truth, without fully knowing the truth of who Jesus is and without the HS.
I describe that time as being like having a jigsaw puzzle with lots of the pieces missing. I could see a general picture, I knew roughly what it would be like but I couldn’t see the details, the reality if you like.  And the truth is, now with the HS its not just that I can see the picture, but it’s like a movie! the reality of what is there for all of us is just so staggering I can’t believe I put up with just part of the picture before!
We all need to know the HS is part of Gods great plan, Jesus going and then God will send the HS. It’s not a substitute, or a replacement because they can’t yet be with God the Father, or because Jesus, the son, is going away, no it is intentional, a gift from God and not just to the disciples but to us all.
The HS is not just there for those who want to be doing crazy stuff, it’s for all of us. It’s what convinces us of the truth, convinces us that we need Jesus, convinces us that there is another way, a better way, that there’s a God who loves us more than we deserve.
Are you convicted of who you are in the sight of God? are you convicted of who God is? Are you being guided into all truth? These are questions this passage is prompting us with today. 

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Steve Finnell
    October 18, 2013 at 10:46 am


    When do Christians receive the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit? In other words when do believers in Christ receive the person of the Holy Spirit? Do men receive the gift of the Holy Spirit the moment they believe in Jesus or is it after they-believe-repent- confess-and are baptized in water?

    Except for the special case of Cornelius, his family, and friends, believers do not receive the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit until they are baptized in water as the apostle Peter commanded. Cornelius received the Holy Spirit to prove to Jewish Christians that salvation was for the Gentiles as well.

    The apostle Paul found some disciples of Christ and asked this question. (Acts 19:2 He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.")

    Contrary to what some Bible commentaries say, Paul did ask them if they had spoken in tongues or received other spiritual gifts since they believed.

    Point: These disciples of Christ were already believers. They not only had not received the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit, they had not even heard that there was a Holy Spirit.

    Acts 19:3-4 And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John's baptism." 4 Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who, was coming after him, that is, in Jesus."

    John's baptism was not valid after the Day of Pentecost. Even though they believed in Jesus they did not receive the Holy Spirit.

    Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    They needed to be baptized as Jesus instructed (In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit Matt.28:19) and as the apostle Peter implemented, in order to receive forgiveness of sins and to receive the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

    After they were baptized in water Paul laid his hands on them and they spoke in tongues and began prophesying.(Acts 19:6)
    Paul did not impart the indwelling gift of the person of the Holy Spirit. They received the Holy Spirit Himself at the time of their being baptized in the name of the Lord.

    Romans 1:11 For I long to see you so, that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established;

    The apostle Paul and the rest of the apostles could impart spiritual gifts, to Christians, through the laying on of hands, however, they did not have the power to give the person of the Holy Spirit to others.


    John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.


    Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration [water baptism] and renewing by the Holy Spirit.


    The three thousand souls on the Day of Pentecost did not receive the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit until there were baptized in the name of the Lord.

    The twelve men at Ephesus did not receive the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit until they were baptized in the name of the Lord.



    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. htpp:/steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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