It's a Spirit Thing: John 16:1-15

Twice now in this series, we’ve seen Jesus point his followers to the impending arrival of the Holy Spirit. Twice, he’s pointed to the Spirit as a comforter in the face of persecution. In chapter 16, Jesus continues his teaching on the Spirit, but shifts gears to show the external work of the Spirit in the World in addition to some more points about the Spirit’s internal work in the believer.

Before he goes there though, Jesus makes this profound statement, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper [The Holy Spirit] will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7, parenthesis mine). The work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and in the world at large is so important that Jesus says his departure is actually an advantage because it makes way for the Spirit.
 
So, what does the Spirit do that’s so great?

“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” – John 16:8-11

What we see in this statement is just how Christocentric (Jesus-centered) is the work of the Holy Spirit. In each of these three areas mentioned here, the Spirit points the world to Jesus.

Concerning sin, because they do not believe in me…
First, the Spirit convicts of sin. Why? Because people don’t believe in Jesus. In other words, the reason for the conviction of sin is to show people that they need Jesus. This is profound because it means that God’s primary concern isn’t to make us into perfect moral creatures. He doesn’t convict us of sin in order to get us to behave better. No, the reason for conviction is because he wants to be in relationship with us. When we’re convicted of our sin, we see that we need him, and we move toward that relationship.

Concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you will see me no longer…
Second, the Spirit convicts concerning righteousness. What does this mean? It means that the Spirit communicates to people not just what sinfulness looks like but what it means to be righteous. How does he do this? Once again, by pointing people to Jesus. Jesus is our example of what it means to live righteously. In Jesus’ victory over temptation, compassion for the needy, and sacrifice on behalf of the broken, we see what righteousness looks like, but because Jesus is no longer here in earthly form, we need the Holy Spirit to point us to him, to keep that reminder in front of us. While we will still fall short, the Spirit gives us a target to aim for.

Concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged…
Third, the Holy Spirit points us to Christ’s work on the cross. Jesus’ sacrificial death on our behalf is the ultimate judgment on his enemy, whom Jesus here calls “the ruler of this world.” Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection completely disarmed the work of Satan against God and his people. He no longer has authority. The Holy Spirit points us consistently to the cross to remind the world that sin and evil has already been judged and defeated. This should give us great hope even as we navigate the brokenness around us. Final victory is assured in Christ.

As we round out this passage, we see an affirmation of Jesus as God to whom we owe our ultimate allegiance and surrender.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you." – John 16:12-15

Jesus is the embodiment of all that is in the Father and the Spirit teaches us everything that Jesus wants to teach us. It’s all about Jesus! Thank God that he has given us his Spirit to point us so fully to him.

Missions Spotlight:
Erica Blickens (Africa for Christ)

- Church services are allowed again in Mozambique!!! After a number of months of no church services, the government has finally opened up the church doors again, allowing indoor groups up to 50 people and outdoor groups up to 100. We praise God that Sunday May 2nd was a full house, as people jumped at the opportunity to meet together again!

- Our 2021 Missions Training School is pressing on. Unfortunately, one of our students who came from northeast of Mozambique had to leave the school after suffering a type of nervous breakdown which seems to have originated in some trauma he experienced before joining the school. After consultation with his parents and medical professionals, we all felt it would be best for him to go back to his parents to recover while surrounded by his family.

- Unrest in the northeast of Mozambique continues. Please pray for God’s mercy and intervention in the situation and also that He would use these circumstances to bring many, including the perpetrators of the violence, into His Kingdom.

- I am still waiting for my South African visa to be processed...five months and counting. Everything seems to be at a standstill and “covid” is blamed for it. Please join me in praying that God will cut through all of the red tape both for my South African visa and for our entire team’s Mozambican visas.

- “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
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