Summary: To show that the Holy Spirit was given for the good of the gospel and the Church, not us as individuals. Being controlled by the Spirit is essential in our Christian life, but might make us unpopular.
For many generations, it seems, the coming of the Holy Spirit, his person and his work, were all but ignored by the Church. What the Bible taught about him was believed, but not put into practice very well. Certainly the idea that he is still active in the world and in the Church was not an every day reality for the average Christian. There was a proper regard and focus on the Father and the Son, but not the Spirit.
Over the last 100 years or so some of this has been corrected. We have rediscovered the promises to the Church. The Holy Spirit is back on the agenda. Some believers travel long distances seeking fresh blessings from the Holy Spirit, fresh infillings, new power. We often look to the Spirit to give us power, to give us special feelings and excitement. We look for the gifts that he brings, gifts that, perhaps, the Church for many generations would not receive.
But, I wonder if, perhaps, sometimes, the pendulum has swung to far. I wonder if our generation has over corrected the faults of previous generations, as has been done so often throughout history over different issues. We belong to the 'ME' generation, a generation that looks for self-fulfilment, self-actualisation, self-esteem. We look at ideas, at things, at people to see how they can benefit us, how they can make us feel better. I wonder if perhaps we have let these attitudes slip over into the way we view the Holy Spirit. Do we sometimes think of the Holy Spirit as being for our benefit, to make us feel better about ourselves, to give us more power, to make people look up to us more? Do we consciously our unconsciously think that the Holy Spirit is all about 'ME'?
Jesus promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come to them as he was warning them that a time would shortly come when he would no longer be with them. He give them the reasons the Spirit would come and what he would do in their lives and in the world. We read it in John 15:26-16:15. He told them 4 things that the Spirit would do, and also gave them a warning of what would happen to them when he did come. None of these would please the mindset of the 'ME' generation.
Testify of me (John 15:26-27)
The first job of the Spirit in the world is to testify of Jesus. The Holy Spirit was given to the disciples on the day of Pentecost to empower and enable them in their vital task of telling the world about the crucified Lord and the risen Saviour. Notice the first thing that happened when the Spirit came. They spoke in other languages, not in order to make themselves look good or clever or to give them a new experience, but so that they could reach people from all over the Mediterranean world.
That is still the task of the People of God today. We are called to let the world know about Jesus and all the great things he has done including the great salvation that he has given us. We are to do this as a Church, but also as individuals. There are many ways we can do this. It will be a bit different for each one of us. By telling people. A little word here or there. In our daily lives,by our life styles Gal 5:22. It will be different for each of us, but we are all to be witnesses of Jesus to people who don't know him. We can only do this by the power of the Holy Spirit.
But notice that this witnessing is not necessarily going to make us popular. The Holy Spirit controlling our lives may not win us a lot of friends. It can make us very unpopular, ridiculed, laughed at, or worse. We only have to look at the reaction of some of the crowd on the day of Pentecost – they mocked and ridiculed, accused them of being drunk.
The Holy Spirit will enable us to witness, but he will also enable us to deal with whatever gets thrown at us. 2 Tim 3:12 – everyone who desires to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Convict the world of sin (16:8)
The 2nd of the roles of the Spirit given by Jesus in this passage is perhaps not so popular these days. There was, perhaps, a time when many sermons were preached which were denunciations of sin. It is true that all sin is an offence against God, but it is here given as being the Holy Spirit's job to convict of sin, to speak to our hearts and tell us where we are wrong. It may sometimes be a human job to point things out, but only the Holy Spirit can speak deep into a person's mind, heart and soul.