5 “But now I am going away to him who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Yet because I have told you these things, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth: It is good for you that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, about righteousness, and about judgment: 9 about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.John 16:5-11
His work was done. He was sent to win the victory and he went into the contest with everything he had. He focused on the goal with glaring intensity with cheers and jeers from the crowd. When others failed he persevered by striking out his opponents with superior skill. But he knew it was time for him to go. He would leave the rest to the closer who would come in for the save!
Oh, how we yearn to see these situations once again on the Ranger ball field! In baseball the closer is the relief pitcher. In the Bible that closer is the Holy Spirit who comes to share Jesus’ salvation with us. On Pentecost we emphasis the transition from God the Father’s saving plan, God the Son’s redeeming work complete, and God the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work of bringing people to faith. Jesus shared this game plan with his disciples, “5 “But now I am going away to him who sent me…. For if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” This promise to the disciples is also Jesus’ promise to us. It was fulfilled by the Pentecost Power of God. Today we rejoice that
When Christ Reigns The Holy Spirit Comes!
To Convict the World of Its Lies
Coaches love to have their starting pitchers stay on the mound for 6 or 7 innings. These pitchers deliver their best throws with full intensity to win the game—leaving it all on the field before leaving the mound. Jesus came to this earth and gave it all he had—his divinity, humanity, dignity, identity, humility, his life, death and love for the world. Jesus delivered his best to strike out sin, death and the devil before leaving this earth and ascending into heaven to reign over all things. Yes, when Christ left to reign the world from the throne of heaven, the Holy Spirit comes to take everything Jesus has done and put it into use in order to save sinners. Christ explained this work to this disciples: “14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you….. 16 “In a little while you are not going to see me anymore” (John 16). Yes, Jesus ascended into heaven where we cannot physically see him any longer, but he leaves behind a world that desperately needs to see him through their eyes of faith. For you see, the opponent was defeated by Jesus, but they continue to be at odds with God. The world still holds on to their fleshly, earthbound assumptions. The world still wants control and satisfaction over their own lives. Jesus told his disciples, “I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, about righteousness, and about judgment.” Because we are still in the world, we too, need the reminder of the world’s evil influence on our Christian hearts.
Jesus gave three examples of the lies the world brings to all people then and today. “9 about sin, because they do not believe in me;” Sin is a word that means, “missing the mark.” An easy example to remember is shooting an arrow at a bull’s eye. Unless you hit the bull’s eye, you miss the mark, you sin. The chief sin that damns one to hell is to refuse to believe in Jesus as the Savior. That sin is called unbelief. This isn’t just a sin, but it is the sin that condemns. Jesus said, “36 The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36). This sin involves rejecting the gift that the Holy Spirit brings to people. Again Jesus speaks about the seriousness of this sin, “Everything will be forgiven people, their sins and whatever blasphemies they may speak. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3:28,29).
The Holy Spirit comes to convict the world of the lie of unbelief. The world says there are many gods and many ways to heaven. This worldly thinking lies to suggest that it is acceptable for a person not to believe in Jesus as long as they believe in something. So there is a long list of movie stars and sports figures and TV personalities who have made it clear they don’t have to believe in Jesus to have peace. But, they are wrong according to God’s Word. It is a lie.
Jesus continues, “10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me;” Understand what righteousness is. The Bible speaks of righteousness as an attribute of God, what God demands from us, the relationship that God wants with us, and the gift that God gives to us. The only way to have righteousness (who we are and our relationship with God) with God is by meeting the perfect standards his righteousness (who he is) demands. Did I lose you? That’s because you’re not righteous (perfectly listening to me). Here’s an example: a .500 batting average is awesome; a .750 average is amazing; a .900 batting average will break records. But, none are perfect. Nobody trying to make perfect contact with God’s holy law has batted 1,000! Even the best people you know swing and miss! Sadly, some don’t even try and fail to step up to the plate at all. Those who claim to have righteousness apart from Christ are living the lie.
Those who have been given the spirit of discernment by the Holy Spirit know from God’s Word that we can’t make ourselves perfect in God’s sight. But, we also know that believers are right with God because our righteousness comes from God, from the redeeming work of Jesus, and channeled to us through the power of the Holy Spirit through the faith he created in our hearts. St. Paul gave this inspired explanation: “not having a righteousness of my own, which comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God by faith” (Phil 3:9).
The Holy Spirit comes to convict the world who lies by saying you’ll get to heaven if you have more good deeds than bad, or if you try hard to live a good life God will be pleased with you, or if God is going to take the top 50% of people into heaven, you’re better than most other people. However, the Bible tells us God rejects the righteousness of the world, but accepts the Holy Spirit-provided righteousness that comes as a gift from God’s grace for Jesus’ sake. What Good News this is for us all! If you’re batting average for following God’s law is low, we repent of those sins. Then we are turned by the Holy Spirit to Jesus who gave us the perfect life we need, the holiness God demands, the gift of forgiveness won on the cross and made our own through faith.
Thirdly, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to convict the world, “11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.” When Jesus was about to give up his life to save the world, he knew the evil plans of Satan would bring about his death. Jesus knew he would be separated from his disciples due to the evil works of the devil as he spoke to his disciples: “I will not speak with you much longer, because the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me” (John 14:30). All authority has been given to Jesus and he has all power. Yet, while Satan knows he cannot undo the salvation Jesus won for all on the cross and by his rising from the dead, Satan is working as hard as he can before the end of time to prevent the gospel from reaching the ears of people. Satan knows that all who die without faith in Jesus will spend eternity with him in hell. So, while Satan and his followers stand in judgment already, the Holy Spirit works to convict the world of their losing allegiance to Satan while living in the lie of false security. Yes, Jesus did return to reign all things for the benefit of his people, but he sent the Holy Spirit with his power through the Word. Therefore, the Holy Spirit Comes
To Counsel the Church With His Truth
It doesn’t seem to make sense to us Christians, but the people that we often see on the covers of magazines or the guests on the news or late night TV shows are the wacko movie stars, corrupt/misbehaving politicians, and the weird scientists that seem to be galaxies away from reality. You know what it is. It the gravity from the worldliness that pulls them down. But, that same worldliness exerts its force on us and sometimes successfully pulls us down, too. It did the disciples, too. Makes we wonder how Jesus spoke these words to the disciples? Was it with a deep sigh of disappointment? “5 “But now I am going away to him who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Yet because I have told you these things, sorrow has filled your heart.” It is true that the disciples did not have the perspective we have on Jesus’ life. They had little appreciation for what it meant that Jesus was going to leave them. Jesus’ words seem to indicate that they had little interest as well. They wanted Jesus to do things their way, the world’s way. And the lies of the world blinded them to the better way of God. But, Jesus rebuilds their faith with saving promises, “13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).
On Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to the disciples in a visible and miraculous way. This isn’t to say the Holy Spirit hadn’t been working in the hearts of his people all along. But, now God’s plan of salvation was completed. The victory was won. The Good News of this victory needed to be proclaimed. God the Holy Spirit empowered God’s people, the Church, to do just that. After Pentecost the disciples did share the gospel in Jerusalem, Samaria, Judea and all the world. The Holy Spirit also inspired these men to write down every word and thought to record God’s plan of salvation for us in order to give us the truth of God’s Word. God gave his truth to the Holy Christian Church on earth, and in turn, the Church has been sharing it with people ever since.
When a pitcher takes to the mound of a game, he does so not knowing if he will win or lose the game. However, he ascends the mound ready to give it his all in order that every pitch might made a difference in the game’s outcome. When Jesus came to our earth, he came knowing that he would win the souls of all people and defeat Satan. Jesus came and gave his all and won eternity in heaven for us on the cross. His resurrection proves it! Now look at the cross and if you see your salvation being won, then it is proof that the Holy Spirit has come to give you faith. And in turn, this proves that Jesus has ascended into heaven to reign over all things.
Dear Christian friends, let us not keep the highlights of Jesus’ victory closed up in our hearts. No, let’s joyfully proclaim the wonderful works of God to our family, relatives, acquaintances and neighbors. Let them join us in praise, cheers and alleluias for Jesus who reigns, and for the Holy Spirit who came to convict the world of its lies, and counsel the Church with the truth so we get to spend eternity in heaven! Amen!