Sometimes, only when it’s time to move on to another passage, do I have my fullest (yet) understanding of the passage I’m having to leave. It’s that way with this months’s dig in John 16. So many of my friends say things like “I made this decision and I feel a peace about it.” (Sometimes the decision is in direct opposition to the Word of God.) From John 16, I understand that my peace (or lack of it) is not the test of my righteousness or even of the wisdom in my decisions. The test is whether or not my decision accords with the Spirit. That clarity shines from the teachings about the Holy Spirit in John 16. As we leave this study for another one that we will love as much, let’s take some blockbuster truths that help us decisively overcome our sorrows in this life, because He has already overcome the world (John 16:33).
- The Holy Spirit’s new work, as the Comforter promised to the apostles, began in Acts 2.
- That work was to convict men of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16: 8-11. Here, the reason for each prong of the Holy Spirit’s convicting message is given.)
- Signs (miracles) brought attention to and verified the message of the Holy Spirit and were completed when the apostles no longer were laying hands on Christians to impart them (Acts 8:10-15; 1 Corinthians 13).
- The message of salvation—the convicting of sin, righteousness and judgment— was always communicated in words (I Corinthians 2:6-14).
- The message did not cease when the miracles ceased, because it was preserved in words in Scripture for all time (2 Timothy 3:16).
- In every instance in the book of Acts where detail is given about the preaching or teaching, we see these three tenets of the convicting message of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2, Acts 3-5, Acts 7, Acts 24, etc.)…
- Thus, prior to receiving the comfort, the gladness, the boldness that the Spirit brings, we must heed the words of the three fold message; being convicted of personal sin, believing that Jesus is righteous and accepting his method of making us righteous (the washing of baptism and faithful living), and being sure in our conviction of impending judgment on those who reject Christ. (This last one is one of the strongest motivators to spread the gospel.)