Sermon series: God, The Holy Spirit
Connection to unit theme
We learn more about who the Spirit is by understanding what He does. The Spirit reveals our disease (sin) and guides us to our remedy (Christ). Not only does he point us to Jesus initially, but He also continues his Christocentric work by purifying us (making us more like Christ) and empowering us for service.
In the fourth grade I confidently stood in line to take our class's annual eye exam. I was convinced that I would ace the test. Once I began the test, though, I realized that I was in trouble. I had to squint shortly after the big "E," but I got through the exam and still thought I did fairly well. Then the woman giving the vision test gave me the devastating verdict: I needed eyeglasses.
Once I began wearing the glasses, I realized how poor my eyesight had become. I thought I could see well, but in reality I could not. The Holy Spirit's role in the life of a believer is similar. The Spirit helps us to "see" with spiritual eyes to reveals our problem of sin. He also guides us to find true sight through the light of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. The Spirit reveals our disease (v. 8-11)
Most people have fairly good oral hygiene practices, thanks to good health education and access to dental care. But some may be surprised to learn just how difficult it is to maintain clean teeth. To illustrate this point, some dentists will ask patients to chew a harmless red tablet, then look at their teeth in a mirror. The red dye in the tablet soaks into plaque and tartar on the patient's teeth. What under normal conditions appears to be clean is, in fact, corrupted because of bacteria.
The Spirit's ministry to fallen humanity is similar. He exposes sin, assures of righteousness, and warns of the coming judgment of the world. This convicting work is gracious. "It is designed to bring men and women of the world to recognize their need, and so turn to Jesus, and thus stop being 'the world '." As the Spirit illuminates the Scriptures and reveals truth to us, we realize we aren't as "clean" as we assume. When we see the righteousness of Christ compared to our own, we become aware of just how far we have fallen. The only conclusion is we are under God's judgment.
Though these verses primarily speak of the Spirit's ministry toward the world of unbelief, He does continue to convict believers as He illuminates the truth. Until we are fully redeemed the Spirit's work of conviction is incomplete.
Application: Has the Spirit revealed your disease? What is your response? The Spirit drives us toward repentance. That will be the only cure for the conviction that He applies.
II. The Spirit guides us to our remedy (v. 12-15)
The Spirit not only exposes our disease, but He also shines a spotlight on our remedy, namely Jesus Christ. As Arturo Azurdia has rightly said, "Jesus will be the sum and substance of the Spirit's revelatory ministry. The predominant work of the Holy Spirit is to reveal and glorify Jesus Christ …"
Jesus told the disciples that the Spirit would guide them into all truth. He does this not by "speaking in his own authority" but by giving to them the Words of Christ Jesus. The Spirit guides us to Jesus. It is in the person of Jesus that the Spirit reveals truth. Matthew Henry expounds further:
To be led into a truth is more than barely to know it; it is to be intimately and experimentally acquainted with it; to be piously and strongly affected with it; not only to have the notion of it in our heads, but to relish and savor the power of it in our hearts.
The Spirit guides us to not only see Christ but also to savor Him.
Application: Have you found rescue in Jesus? Even as a believer, when the Spirit brings conviction it is to cause us to fly to Jesus. If He is exposing sin in your life, don't hesitate. Go to Jesus.
Because of the work of the Spirit we can see things as they actually are. To reveal our sin and its remedy the Spirit most often uses His Word and other believers. Surround yourself with opportunities to be broken by the Spirit and to approach the One who provides healing. The Spirit shines the light of truth into all areas of our lives, and simultaneously shines a spotlight on the completed work of Christ. May we follow His revealing light wherever it shines.