Summary: A sermon on the Holy Spirit's work in the world.

"The Third Person" Pt 2

John 16:7-8

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

Introduction: Last week as a part of our lesson on the Holy Spirit we quoted from John 16 and stated that verses 7-11 were a declaration of the Spirit's work in the world. That is primarily in the area of reproof or (conviction) of sin. First, let's examine:


a. The source of conviction

Jesus said that "...when he is come, he will reprove..." The Holy Spirit is the reprover, the agent of conviction. His work in the world is absolutely essential especially where the call and claims of the Gospel are concerned. Several things about His work are apparent. First, conviction is critical to salvation. The Scriptures teach that we cannot be saved unless we are drawn to Jesus and the Holy Spirit is the one who draws us.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him...

The Father draws us to Christ through the work of the Spirit! Second, conviction leads us to repentance which is also essential to salvation.

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

2 Corinthians 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

b. The scope for conviction

He is to reprove "...the world..." His minister and work is global in it's focus. If God is not willing for any to perish then it goes without saying the He has sent the Holy Spirit to deal with the entire world and this will be true of the Holy Spirit until the coming of Christ and the close of the probation of man. A very dear friend of mine and one of the most effective soul-winners I know made a statement many years ago that is rooted in this truth. He said, "I believe that God is dealing with people everywhere all the time."

c. The substance of conviction

In respect of sin (peri hamartias). Concerning the reality of sin as missing the mark and as wronging God and man, and not a mere slip or animal instinct or devoid of moral responsibility or evil.

And of righteousness (kai peri dikaiosunēs). The opposite of "sin" and to be yearned for after conviction. Cf. Rom 1:19-3:21 about the necessity of the God-kind of righteousness and the Sermon on the Mount for Christ's idea of righteousness.

And of judgment (kai peri kriseōs). As certain to come as condemnation because of sin and the lack of righteousness. These are not played out motives in human life, but basal. For this ministry we have the help of the Paraclete. The Paraclete is here spoken of "not as man's advocate with God (1 John_2:1), but as Christ's advocate with the world" (Bernard).

Robertson's Word Studies


Nowhere in Scripture is the process of conviction illustrated better than in the life of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-24. There are so many things we could say about the life of this young man this morning. There is one in particular that I would like to share: It concerns the young man's request for his inheritance.

Kenneth Bailey, in his penetrating explanation of Luke's story, shows that the son's manner of leaving is tantamount to wishing his father dead. Bailey writes:

For over fifteen years I have been asking people of all walks of life from Morocco to India and from Turkey to the Sudan about the implications of a son's request for his inheritance while the father is still living. The answer has always been emphatically the same . . . the conversation runs as follows:

Has anyone ever made such a request in your village?


Could anyone ever make such a request?


If anyone ever did, what would happen?

His father would beat him, of course!


The request means--he wants his father to die.

Bailey explains that the son asks not only for the division of the inheritance, but also for the right to dispose of his part. "After signing over his possessions to his son, the father still has the right to live off the proceeds . . . as long as he is alive. Here the younger son gets, and thus is assumed to have demanded, disposition to which, even more explicitly, he has no right until the death of his father. The implication of 'Father, I cannot wait for you to die' underlies both requests."

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