John 16:5 – 16
Last week was Pentecost (we celebrated Memorial Day). This week is “Trinity Sunday” when the church explores the concept of the Trinity and what that means.
The most confusing thing in theology for many people is the Holy Spirit. In practice the Holy Spirit is the most misunderstood concept in the church.
I. What’s what?
1. Misunderstanding #1: The Holy Spirit is a “force” or “power.”
2. Misunderstanding #2: The Holy Spirit’s presence is emotional.
3. Misunderstanding #3: The Holy Spirit shows up in “signs” or “sign gifts.”
B. The result of our misunderstandings:
1. We have a fuzzy image of the Trinity.
2. We judge “worship” in the style that we feel is “presence.”
3. We reduce the Holy Spirit’s work to an experience.
II. What does Jesus say?
A. The reality of the Trinity:
1. [v 5] Jesus talks about “Father” and “Son” as distinct yet one entity.
a. Entity – “being or existence, especially when considered as distinct, independent or self-contained” [dictionary.com]
b. Person – “The composite of characteristics that make up an individual personality; the self.” [The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary from dictionary.com]
c. Legally speaking, a person has rights and obligations.
**** A human is a person but God is the only one who can be independent or self-contained. Therefore, God is three in one, one in three. Each person of the Trinity has distinct place and obligations. None act independently of the others.
B. What are the duties and responsibilities of the Holy Spirit?
1. CONVICT [v 8]
a. Convict (to impress with a sense of guilt… dictionary.com) of sin.
1.) The goal is to bring belief [v 9].
2.) We are uncomfortable with a sense of guilt and will react…
3.) We will repent or reject this action of the Holy Spirit.
b. Impress the need for righteousness. [v 10]
1.) Righteousness is both a right standing before God. (Forgiven and cleansed)
2.) Righteousness is also the life experience of ACTING like we are forgiven and cleansed.
3.) This comes ONLY through the INDWELLING presence of the Holy Spirit. (a.k.a. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”)
c. Impress the results of the final judgment.
1.) The future is set…
2.) Satan and his minions are judged.
3.) Question: who are you aligned with?
2. GUIDE [v 13]
a. Truth. (Independent of the person determining “what is truth”… based ONLY on God.)
(Ill. Baseball play… players look to the umpire Bill Klem and asked “what is it?” His famous answer “It ain’t nothin’ till I call it.)
b. The Holy Spirit does NOT speak on His own. (The Bible.)
3. GLORY [v 14]
a. Make Jesus known.
b. Jesus makes the Father Known.
***** God the Father gave Jesus (God the Son) the center stage. What Jesus does is reflect back the glory to the Father while behaving and acting the way the Father would act. The Holy Spirit is then sent as the indwelling presence of the Father and the Son in a real and meaningful way.
III. What is this supposed to do for and to us?
A. Conviction creates emotions…
1. There is an awful feeling of battle or helplessness as the Spirit wages war on our sinful nature and it’s desires.
2. It is a very difficult line to cross to repent and abandon our sin.
B. Once we surrender/yield to the controlling power and administration of the Holy Spirit there is a sense of joy.
1. The joy comes from being clean.
2. There is also a sense of power that comes from faith that God can and will do anything without the struggle against God.
C. The Holy Spirit guidance gives us the confidence of a light house.
1. The fixed point of direction.
2. The fixed point of unwavering and unchanging truth.
***** Youth played a game of “stock market.” They were given different pieces of paper with different symbols. The values kept changing, randomly. Finally they started to get mad at me for changing the values. Object lesson: the values of this world are constantly changing.
D. Knowing God’s glory will result in:
1. Awe and gratefulness.
(Ill. We have a new dog. He’s very smart. He’s figured out two things… First, he’s dependent on me for his food, water, and attention. Second, he’s safe when he obeys me. Last week he started to run across the road in front of a car. I called him back in time. He looked up to me, body shaking, as if to say “thank you.”
IV. What does this mean?
A. The Holy Spirit is a radical revolution of our lives (not gradual evolution).
1. CHANGE in the temper of the mind.
2. CHANGE in the disposition of the heart.
3. CHANGE in the bent of the will.
***** The indwelling and overcoming power of the Holy Spirit is NOT a slow struggle BUT the free gift for the surrendered and believing heart, mind, and will.
B. The Holy Spirit institutes a “two-step” process.
1. Salvation through faith. (Conviction à repentance)
2. Growth in salvation to living a Christ-centered life. (Salvation à sanctification)
C. Small detail. While God has taken the initiative you must co-operate.
1. Grace is resistible. (God does not create mindless slaves or robots.)
2. The Bible says “Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” [James 4:10 CEB]
3. Grace can be wasted… disobedience has a way of resetting us back to “square one.” (Ill. Playing the childhood game “Chutes and Ladders”
4. Yielded means filled and at peace.
(Christ-centered life rather than a self-centered life)