Sermon series: The Trinity: God the Father
Connection to Unit Theme: Because creation points to the existence of God, Scripture points to the nature of God. All humans have an inner sense that God exists. Every Christian needs to know how to take every human being from their present knowledge to the gospel.
Imagine living hundreds of years ago in a medieval kingdom, with a castle at the center and citizens living as servants to their sovereign King. Imagine your King making an appearance once a week to verbally address his kingdom from the castle's third-floor balcony. Remember, whatever the King says is law for his kingdom and life for his citizens. All would listen intently! The doctrine of revelation is about God revealing Himself, His character, and His purposes through the Word He speaks to all people.
The doctrine of revelation is divided up into two parts: general and special revelation. Special revelation is how God has specifically revealed Himself through Jesus' incarnation, the Scriptures, and His audible voice to the prophets. On the other hand, General revelation is what God reveals through creation and conscience. Therein lies the question: "How can a Christian take a non-Christian on a journey from general to specific revelation?" How can we witness to people who don't believe the Bible, or even in God?
I. Speak to an unbeliever's lack of faith (v. 8, 9)
How do we talk to unbelievers who don't believe the Bible is true or that God exists? God has given us an extremely helpful truth: The Holy Spirit speaks to and convicts everyone one in the world of three very specific things. We will deal with one of these in each point of this message.
Conviction of sin - Sin is not just things that we do that are against God's Word or character, but also good works not ultimately done for the glory of God's Son. The world has a huge worship problem. Every false religion exists because of the human need to worship something. Therefore, the Holy Spirit convicts every sinner of their unbelief and lack of worshiping Jesus.
Application: When you talk to unbelievers, connect with them in conversation based on the conviction the Holy Spirit has on them. Try to help them identify who or what they worshiping. From there, share with them how Jesus is the only One they can worship who will bring them the satisfaction and fulfillment they seek.
II. Speak to an unbeliever's unrighteousness (v. 8, 10)
Unrighteousness - The Holy Spirit also convicts every unbeliever in the world of personal unrighteousness. Jesus is the standard of righteousness. God sent His Son into the world to not only die and rise, but also to live in perfect righteousness toward His law (Matt. 5:17). As Christians, we know right from wrong because we have believed in, become partakers with, and studied the righteousness of Jesus. While unbelievers have the law of God written on their hearts (Rom 2:14-16), they are still unaware of the true standard of righteousness. They hear the whisper of the law but can't find the source of the voice. Therefore, the Holy Spirit must enlighten each person as to the truth behind unrighteousness. Unbelievers may know they are sinners. They may even have a desire for righteousness. But they lack the knowledge of how to obtain saving righteousness.
Application: You can be confident that the Holy Spirit works in your unbelieving friends and acquaintances in this area of unrighteousness. All people known they are living in the wrong, so we should be willing to talk with them about their sin. We need to ask them questions, probe, and dig when it comes so they will feel the weight of their conviction. This may lead to their asking more questions.
III. Speak to an unbeliever's certain eternity (v. 8, 11)
Every unbeliever in the world experiences conviction from the Holy Spirit in terms of the final judgment. They may not openly admit it, but deep down they fear what they will face in death. They fear the judgment because the one to whom they are subject under bondage has already been promised judgment. Satan has a sure and final judgment fixed in his future, and those under his rule will be judged along with him. Therefore, the Holy Spirit convicts unbelievers of their certain eternity of punishment for sin.
Application: It would be very beneficial for you to talk about the final judgment and eternity with those unbelievers to whom you desire to witness. They may resist at first, but you can be sure the Holy Spirit will convict them and that they will be thinking about it. Talk honestly with them about their thoughts of eternity. Explain your personal beliefs as well, backed up with Scripture. The Holy Spirit will use that conversation to move them into a desire for more truth and clarity.
The Holy Spirit is already convicting the entire world in these ways. Doesn't it therefore make sense to talk to people about sin, righteousness, and judgment, and then move into a gospel-centered conversation about Jesus and salvation? God has given us this passage of Scripture for the purpose of tapping into the Holy Spirit's work of conviction.