Summary: Part of a 2 part series on the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
TEXT: John 16: 6-16
Sunday, May 26, 2002
Last week being Pentecost, we started teaching on the Holy Spirit. Scripture says that we can quench the spirit, that we can hold its outflowing in our lives. As part of salvation, God has promised the inflowing of the spirit into our lives.
Why do we need to talk about the work of the Holy Spirit? I think this is best illustrated through what happened recently in my home. For my daughter’s birthday, we bought a Furby. I have a rule in my family that we never buy faddish toys. We wait until the fad passes, and then we purchase them. At one time they were $30, and we bought this one for under $6 (but don’t tell my daughter that). We have this wonderful toy, and we read the directions very quickly. It does all kinds of things and it did exactly what the directions said it should do, at least the part of the directions that we read. It was funny to have this thing react to you. When you scratched his belly, he would make cute little noises. Then we wanted to go to bed, but it wouldn’t shut up. We couldn’t figure out how to get the thing to stop talking! At midnight our daughter comes into our room crying, “Mom, I can’t get to sleep. It won’t be quiet. What do I do?” If you follow the directions, there is a certain procedure to use and the Furby will go to sleep so that you can sleep yourself. Finally, about 1 a.m. we actually got to sleep ourselves.
What was the problem? Was there any problem with the Furby? No. The problem was that we just didn’t know what it could do and what it couldn’t do. In the process of re-reading the directions, we discovered there are a lot of other things that we didn’t know it could do that it would do if you do certain things with it. So, we were able to get a lot more enjoyment out of it, and it’s even cuter than I first thought.
The same thing is true of the Holy Spirit. There are a lot of things that the Holy Spirit will do for us, but we have to know what those things are so that we can recognize them and get all that we can out of the work of the Spirit in our lives. There are some things that the Holy Spirit will not do for us, and we need to know that too so that we are not frustrated in our lives. If we follow the directions, we can have a wonderful experience. It is good to have realistic expectations as well because if your expectations are not realistic, you can get angry and frustrated. By knowing that there are certain things that the Holy Spirit will do, you will know that your experience is normal and that it is the Spirit of God working and not other spirits because there are other spirits out there working as well. It’s like the experience with the Furby. If it did what the directions said it would do, we knew it was normal and that it wasn’t broken. Therefore, by knowing what the Holy Spirit will do, we are assured that it is God’s spirit working in our lives and not something else.
What will the Holy Spirit do for us? Let’s look at John 16:5-15. This tells us about three works of the Holy Spirit–two are obvious and one is hidden in the text:
The first work of the Holy Spirit is in regard to salvation. While we tend to think of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of believers, the first work of the Holy Spirit was actually in the lives of unbelievers or people who have not yet under-stood what Jesus is all about. Jesus mentions these things in verses 8-11. The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin and convince people of Christ’s righteousness and God’s judgment.
What does this mean? To convict the world of sin simply means that God will be our conscience. His spirit will work in our hearts and minds to convince us of our sinful we are. Why do we need to know that? Well, apart from God’s grace, all of us are convinced of our absolute goodness. Just ask the average American, “Are you a good person?” Ninety percent will say that they are very good people. If you ask your children who is responsible for the ink spilled on the downstairs rug, they will say, “Not me.” That means I have a villain running around my house called “Not me.” If you ask a woman how she stubbed her toe, she will say that she walked into a chair. If you ask a man the same question, he will say that some idiot put a chair in his way. All of us are convinced of our own inherent goodness. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to show us that we are not that good.