PFOA : John 16:4-15

John 16:4 – 15

During this period of reconstruction of the building, Grace Baptist Church is indeed blessed to have the use of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. Much thanks to God and to the leaders and members of CHS.

It is also an opportune time to have a clear understanding of what Jesus says about the work of the Holy Spirit. How often have we wished that Jesus is here on earth with us, teaching and guiding us. We long for his presence, to enjoy fellowship with him. Many have visited Palestine to better appreciate what it was like in the days of Christ on earth. The lyrics of the hymn expresses our heart felt desires, “I walked today where Jesus walked, in days of long ago / I knelt today where Jesus knelt, where all alone He prayed.”

But Jesus said, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you” (16:7). How is it advantageous that Jesus went away? Because he emptied himself, took on the form of a servant and was born in the likeness of men”, (Php. 2:7) he was limited by his human body in time and space. He was on earth for just 33 years, did not travel beyond the borders of first century Israel, and was subject to human frailties of hunger and weariness.

In sending the Holy Spirit, the eternal God in the person of the Holy Spirit can have a constant and abiding presence in every believer in every generation. Jesus did not cram everything into the disciples in 3 short years (16:12), but the Holy Spirit is there to teach and remind us (14:26) at every situation and moment of decision we encounter. Jesus calls him the Helper (15:26) and indeed the Holy Spirit is our ever-present helper. He helps us in our weaknesses, especially when we recognise our helplessness in prayer (Rom. 8:26). And when Jesus departed this earth by way of the cross and his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, the Holy Spirit is the guarantor of our salvation and redemption (Eph. 4:30).

Jesus identified the work of the Holy Spirit as to “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement” (16:8). This primary ministry of the Holy Spirit in the world seems to be overlooked today, despite the widespread interest about the Holy Spirit among the churches. The threefold task of the Holy Spirit is to convict this fallen world of sin, righteousness and judgement. Let us think for a moment how the Holy Spirit does this. In the previous verse (16:7), Jesus said, “if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to the disciples. The Holy Spirit is in the world because he is in the disciples. Today, the Holy Spirit is in the world because he is in each of us, the believers, and together in the church. John 15:26 says the same thing, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me”, and John 14:16-17 makes it quite clear that the unbelieving world cannot know or receive him. What this means is that the work of the Holy Spirit is going to be accomplished by him working through us, individually and corporately as the church.

He will convict the world of sin because they do not believe in Jesus Christ (v.9). More than just breaking the law, sin is rebellion against the Almighty God our creator. What does the world see when it looks at the church? Is it a beautiful building with the latest in audio-visual technology? Is it groups of people talking about children’s school, vacations and good food? Or the many wonderful programs the church runs? What must the church be, so that the world looking at us is convicted of sin? Are we talking about Jesus Christ and showing in our lives, that we obey him because he has redeemed us? Does the world see us as people with sins forgiven, hope of eternal life and reconciled with God whom we can call Father?

He will convict the world of righteousness (v.10) because Christ has been resurrected and is with the Father. The world no longer sees Jesus, only the church. Today in a free and tolerant world, absolute truth and righteousness are no longer accepted. Everything is relative. The church must take its stand for holiness and righteousness. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in God’s people enables them to live righteous lives, thus convicting the world of the righteousness it does not have.

He will convict the world of judgement because the ruler of this world is judged. We believe there is coming a day when everyone will stand before Almighty God. After 2000 years, this has not happened; does this mean that it is not coming? We look at world events and say we are living in the last days. But how will the way we live change if we truly believe the ruler of this world will be judged? Yes, he has been defeated and has no claim on our lives. We must know and demonstrate this victory over the evil one and his tools of deceit, disputes and dissension to live in love and harmony with one another as God’s people. Then we will convict the world that the ruler of this world is defeated and will be judged.

John 16:8-11 wonderfully tells us what the ministry of the Holy Spirit is in the world and how he will accomplish this ministry through us. Let’s reflect on how, as his church, we will convict the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgement. I have just touched on a few ideas and will be glad to hear your thoughts at: tonykychan@gmail.com.