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The Coming of the Spirit
Peter’s dad was going to take him to a park on Saturday. When Saturday rolled around it was a beautiful day. Peter got up early and was getting ready to go with him when the phone rang. It was for his dad and his boss was calling him to tell him a machine had broken down and now he would have to come in to work to fix the machinery and it would take about 12 hours to repair. As soon as he got off the phone Peter knew something was up and in a whining tone asked, “Aw Dad where are you going?” The question was not so concerned about the destination but the hurt of not being able to spend the day with dad. The child is not concerned about the father’s loss and work but rather about his own loss. His dad promises because the day can’t be spent together that the money he makes on the overtime will be used to get a new bike which he has wanted to have for the last year. How do you think Peter felt?
How do you think the disciples felt when Jesus announced he was leaving them? Do you think they thought about Jesus and where he was going? Not at all! They were only concerned about themselves and they were filled with grief because they would miss Him.
How do we compare with the disciples. Don’t many of us have the same selfish idea of our relationship with God? Are we Christians for what we can get from it; salvation, forgiveness, rewards, heaven, eternal life, good times and God’s blessings? Or are we thinking about how we can please God, praise Him, glorify Him and give Him worship and honor. We seldom concern ourselves with the latter but expect the blessings from God.
While the disciples moped Jesus lifted their saddened, selfish hearts by a magnanimous promise. The promise of the Holy Spirit coming to be ever present with every believer and working in this world. We wish to look more closely at this Promise and the functions of the Holy Spirit found in this passage.
Christ prepared his disciples for the time when he would depart and it is good He departs to go to the Father - to shed the limitations of a man. Like a butterfly in the caterpillar stage, vision and movement is limited but then the pupa or cocoon stage came with his death. He became liberated as a butterfly when He rose from the dead to be omnipresent once again - to be everywhere.
The Lord explained he would then send the paraclete to help. Generally the word paraclete, means counselor, helper, a friend “called alongside to help” us with problems, trials, and temptations. Legally, the term is used as one who stands beside the accused to answer on his behalf in court. Luke 12:10,11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rules and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” As an advocate the Holy Spirit also makes intercession to the Father for the saints (Rom 8:27)
Pastorally, the word paraclete is related to exhortation, counseling, encouragement. Barnabas full of the Holy Spirit was called the son of encouragement for he was one who always came alongside weaker souls to up lift and strengthen them. (Acts 15:37-39; 9:26) As we are comforted and encouraged by the Holy Spirit we are in turn to comfort and strengthen others.
In verse 8, we read that the Holy Spirit will have a ministry of conviction. To whom does the Spirit come? He comes to the believer. How then does the Spirit work? He works through the believer.
Do you every wonder why there are still so many in our community that are lost, living in their trespasses and sin? Do we expect God to work in the lives of these unbelievers while we sit at home or even here in church and lament the way the world is going? By NO MEANS. God sends the Holy Spirit into the spirit of the believer and through the believers he convicts the world. You are the means God uses to save the world. If God were depending on this congregation to bring the world to an understand of what Christ did on the cross how many would be saved?
It doesn’t have to remain that way! The disciples weren’t very bold nor faithful when Christ was taken captive and put on the cross. When they received the filling of the Holy Spirit they went out with boldness and power and people were converted. Do you think the same thing could happen in our community with this group of dedicated Christians? I believe it can and I know it will if we get serious with God and instead of playing church we get down to doing the work of God! Get out and share our faith so that the world will realize its sin of rebellion, lack of righteousness and poor judgment.
Spiritual forces of good and evil influence every person. The Holy Spirit works in the life of the unbeliever just like the forces of evil do. The Holy Spirit has one major task in the life of the one who has not yet believed that Jesus Christ is Saviour. The Spirit convicts the world of sin. Notice the word sin is in singular and not plural. Until a person is saved, only one sin is important to God. The sin of rebellion and unbelief. There is only one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ.
The Spirit convicts the world of righteousness. Is 64:6 says “All our righteousness is as filthy rags.” We are all unclean, that is until we are cleansed by God through the confession of our sins.
The Pharisees were devout, diligent and religious. They even tithed on the herbs in their garden - they were so concerned about keeping the law. Jesus said in Matt 5:20 “The most devout will not even enter the Kingdom of heaven. Sincerity and self-righteousness cannot make us good enough to get into Heaven. Rom 3:23 Eph 2:8,9
The third area the Spirit convicts is in judgment. This can be understood two ways. The Holy Spirit convicts people they have faulty judgment. The world has poor judgment when they believe material things bring security, when they think alcohol brings joy or the military brings peace.
The second way this judgment is understood is that God has judged everyone and if they do not believe, his wrath abides on them. The world is judged just as Satan is judged. Satan was defeated on the cross. Satan thought he had the victory. He had gotten the Son of God crucified. But his victory was turned to defeat; glee turned to fear, triumph to destruction when Christ rose from the dead. No one has depicted this so well as CS Lewis is the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I would encourage you to try to read it.
Christ rose from the dead and now also indwells the believer convicting the world that Jesus Christ is alive and working.
In the mining town of Northern English an atheist Joseph Barker concluded his lecture against Christianity by saying “Now I hope I have succeeded in explaining to you that the existence of Jesus Christ is a myth.” He had hardly finished when a miner in his grimy work clothes stood up and said, “ Sir, I’m only a working man, and I don’t know what you mean by the word, “myth” but can you explain me? Three years ago I had a miserable home, I neglected my wife and children, I cursed and swore, I drank all my wages, till someone came along and showed me the love of God and of His Son Jesus Christ. And now all is different. We have a happy home, I love my wife and kids, I feel better in every way myself, and I’ve given up the drink. A new power has taken possession of me since Christ came into my life. Sir, “his face was all aglow” can you explain this to me?
The lecturer had no explanation. Everyone who is a born again believer should be a miracle of God’s love and forgiveness. We should be demonstrating a changed life in a broken world.
Has God convicted you this morning of your sin? Are there Christians who have not been living the way you should? Won’t you come forward during our last hymn and publicly confess that you want things do be different from today onward. May God work in our lives and may we be obedient to His call.
Close with vs. 12 I have much more to say to you, more than you can bear now. So we’ll leave here for today.
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