The Holy Spirit's Mission for Unbelievers
23 Aug 2003, Pr George Porter
(George is Thornleigh's Church Pastor)
TITLE: THE HOLY SPIRIT'S MISSION FOR UNBELIEVERS
Scripture Reading John 16: 7-8
Previously we established the Divine Personality of the Holy Spirit as the third person of the heavenly trio. In our last sermon we surveyed the work and mission of the Holy Spirit in and for the believers. Today we study the Scriptural evidence for the mission of the Spirit for unbelievers.
THE SPIRIT OF CONVICTION
In John 16:7-11 Jesus Christ explained the work and mission of the Holy Spirit.
His mission after coming to the believers is to, "convict the world of sin, and of righteousness and also of judgment." His work is to first work in the believers. Then through them he executes His public labour and witness to Christ Jesus and the Truth. This vital union of presence with and in the believer is crucial for His work and mission. The Spirit of Conviction's witness is via His witnesses to unbelievers.
THE HOLY SPIRIT CONVICTS OF SIN
Scripture records Christ as giving the reason for the Spirit's conviction. Where the truth is shared and proclaimed it brings with it the conviction of sin, "because they believe not on me;", verse 9. Wherever Christ is presented He "draws" humanity to himself through the Spirit.
THE HOLY SPIRIT CONVICTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Christ explains that this is so, "because I go to my Father, and you see me no more." Christ emphasizes again the fact that the Holy Spirit is His Vicar or earthly representative working through believers to groom convicted sinners in the righteous ways of Christian living. Christ is in heaven working as our High priest on our behalf. (see Hebrews ) He is absent in body but present with us through the Spirit by faith.
THE HOLY SPIRIT CONVICTS OF JUDGMENT
This conviction comes because Satan has been already judged by the death and resurrection of Christ. By the crucifixion of Christ Satan is already condemned.
So the OUTLOOK for the sinner is Sin, Righteousness and Judgment. This covers his past present and future. The Holy Spirit's three pronged conviction mission brings these into focus for the sinner. All three are inseparably connected. Sin is in the past after conviction. The present brings righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ and forgiveness covers the past. The future portrays the final execution of final judgment on Satan and sinners who refuse the love of Christ and His truth as revealed by the Holy Spirit. So we see mankind and Christ involved in this salvation controversy with the devil Satan. Final victory is promised by the Spirit and guaranteed by Christ.
Look at verse 9 again. "Of sin, because they, (unbelievers) believe not in me." The Spirit brings with conviction a sense of sin in the sinner's mind. He convicts minds of lost souls. ( Also Saints) The conviction of sin always preceeds conviction of righteousness. One must see the sinfulness of sin before one will understand the beauty of Christ's righteous loving offer.
Even though the Holy Spirit is in the believers who are working for the unbelievers, believers cannot of themselves convict men or women of sin. ONLY the Holy Spirit has power to execute a conviction. That is His mission through us. Wow!, What a responsibility. Without us His work is in jeopardy. Our utter inability to convince men should make us totally subservient to the Spirit.
"Without the divine working, man could do no good thing. God calls every man to repentance, yet man can not even repent unless the Holy Spirit works upon his heart." E. G. White Testimonies to the Church, vol. 8, p. 64. We may share the truth but the change can only be achieved by the Spirit.
Again E.G. White says, "None is so vile, none have fallen so low, as to be beyond the working of this power. In all who will submit themselves to the Holy Spirit a new principle of life is to be implanted; the lost image of God is restored in humanity. …man cannot transform himself by the exercise of his will. He possesses no power by which this change can be effected. … The renewing energy must come from God. The change can be made only by the Holy Spirit. All who would be saved, high or low rich or poor, must submit to the working of this power." Christ's Object Lessons, pp. 96, 97.
Conviction of what sin? The issue is stated in verse 9. The cardinal and fatal sin is, "not believing in me," the Christ. The believer plays an important role in the Spirit's mission. When He comes to you, the believer, He will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment because of your sharing and witness to the truth the Spirit reveals.
The CONVICTION of righteousness follows that of sin. The sinner becomes aware of his hoplessness and despair. We all have sinned. Romans 6:23. But the Holy Spirit becomes to the convicted the conviction of HOPE. The sinner learns that Christ was made sin for him 2 Cor 5:21 ; crucified for , "our offenses" (sins) and "raised for our justification." Romans 4:25. Conviction also brings hope in the knowledge that Christ in heaven as the sinner's High Priest makes intercession for us. He is our Advocate. Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; and 1 John 2:2.
He gives to us His righteousness to cover our past, present and future. Without His righteousness we will not see God. It is imperative that we accept His grace, Hebrews 12: 14. The heavenly sanctuary truth convicts the souls of righteousness and judgment and convicts us of HOPE in our wonderful Saviour's salvation. Sinners see their need of a Saviour and are satisfied Christ is worthy to perform it in us by His Spirit.
The CONVICTION of judgment verse 11, is because Christ's victory at Calvary has condemned Satan and sin forever. The prophetic books of Daniel and Revelation highlight the process of God's judgment against sin and in favour of the believing saints Daniel 7: 27 and Revelation 14:7. The judgment is in the final stages. This gives hope to the repentant sinners. Hope of a new era in a sinless world.
Believers must share this HOPE with unbelievers. The Spirit does the convicting. Without us He fails. I believe we are in the final stages of this world's history. Closing down time. When God is about to step onto the stage of this world and say, "It is enough. It is finished."
We need to be aggressive in this battle with evil. We need to share this hope we have. We need to make a concerted effort to reach our friends, relatives, aquaintances and workmates with the Spirit's conviction of HOPE and Salvation. The reason being, "The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving..", 2 Cor 4: 3-4. He needs you to help the blind to see.
Christ's work and mission with and through the Holy Spirit is threefold.
Christ as Prophet uses the Holy Spirit to point out sin. The past.
Christ as Priest through the Spirit effects our atonement. He gifts to us His righteousness. The present daily life.
Christ as Judge and King condemns Satan and sin and acquits the saints. Future and final.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Jesus Christ." Romans 8:1. "For as many as are led by the Sprit of God, they are the sons (children) of God." Romans 8:14
Thank God for the privilege of being part of His ministry. Friend how are you dealing with the triple conviction of the Holy Spirit?
Accept Christ through the Holy Spirit and:
Cover your past.
Empower your present.
Ensure your future.
Copyright © 2015 Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church