The poet causes us to realize too much of what we do has too little to do with the Holy Spirit. Some have said, "Many churches are two-thirds Trinitarian." That is they emphasize the Father and Son, but forget or neglect the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus taught concerning the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We have this
portrait of Him as the teacher concerning this very important ministry.
He said the Holy Spirit would-1) Convict of Sin, 2) Convict of Righteousness,
3) Convict of Judgement, and 4) Guide into all Truth. Please follow as
these points are emphasized.
Note the reason given in the text for the "why" of this conviction. The why is "...because they do not believe in me;..." You see the root of all sin is unbelief and the Holy Spirit wants to lead us to believe. But, just think about that for a moment. If a person has a problem with stealing,
how does that relate to the sin of unbelief? They do not believe God can help them or they do not choose to believe the command "...thou shalt not steal..." You can follow the same argument for any sin, the root is unbelief. The Spirit has a ministry to convict of Sin because of unbelief.
How does the Spirit convict? First of all , He convicts through His own private ministry. All over this world people know of sin just because He told them. But, He also inspires preaching, teaching, and sharing from God's Word. Billy Graham is an example of one preaching and people coming under conviction. A third way the Spirit might bring conviction is through the people of God living lives of kindness and love. The attractive lifestyle of a dedicated Christian. Fourthly, when people of conviction stand up to be counted for righteousness, the Holy Spirit prods others also to stand.
What else is accomplished as the Spirit convicts? One area would certainly be the removal of self approval. The "I'm okay you okay' syndrome. You see, I'm not okay and your not okay but, Christ can make it okay. Another part of this ministry is to remove the idea of comparative sin. The "white lie- black lie" idea. The Catholic churches say there are venial and mortal sins. That idea is not promoted by the Spirit and His conviction would tend to change it. Of course, some sins affect more people than others, but all sin is bad. Jesus went to the cross because of our sin whether society calls them big or little. One look at the cross should eliminate the idea of big or little sins.
But, the primary motivation for the Spirit to convict of sin is to bring people to believe in Jesus. If they give their life to the Lord then the Spirit can empower them for the living of the Christian life.
This week, I read a story that took place in the early years of this country. "It was recorded by the Rev. Reuben Emerson of Wakefield, Mass. An organized band of infidels was broken up through prayer. No other means was used. The infidel club held regular meetings and attracted many young men of the city. The situation was alarming. It was felt that argument or force would be futile, so they resolved to pray down victory. They claimed the promises and prayed on. One day the infidel leader was brought under powerful conviction. He sought out a Christian and was saved. Then one after another came under the same conviction. Nearly every member was converted. The whole community acknowledged that it was the work of the divine Spirit."
We need to pray, work and trust, yielding to the Spirit. He can and
will convict of sin. This is greatly needed in our churched and communities.
Yes, it is the Spirit's ministry to convict. The Lord tells us more about
the ministry of the Spirit. Please notice the second part.
We do not have Christ in the flesh walking around today. But, we do have the Holy Spirit of righteousness. He speaks to all the people of the world about righteousness. "Thou shalt not
steal" is a law in perhaps every tribe or civilization. How can that be? The Spirit convicts of righteousness. Ask most lost people you know how they think a Christian should live and many can recite a standard of righteousness. How can they know that? The Spirit convicts of righteousness.
A righteous lifestyle is possible and the Holy Spirit will lead up to that place. We are instructed in the book of Ephesians about the whole armor of God. One piece of armor is the breast plate of righteousness. It seems tho be assumed that any serious child of God, doing battle against sin will put this armor on, for Paul says, "...having put on the breastplate of righteousness,..." This is the character and conduct of righteousness. As the soldier of the cross takes this warfare more seriously, the Spirit will guide them to an ever increasing sense of His righteousness. That's part of His ministry.
A few years ago, I met an editor of a Christian publication. He impressed me with his clear cut stand for what he believed was right. He shared with me about an editorial he wrote. This message caused two national Christian leaders to strongly oppose him and one even made a threat to use influence to get the man fired if he didn't retract his editorial. My friend simply said, "I have printed the truth and if this job is in jeopardy because I told the truth, I don't need the job." A few months later one of those men who threatened him called and apologized saying, "You were right and you helped me to see what I could not have seen otherwise."
Recently the West Virginia Baptist paper reported comments by Dr. Jess Moody, the pastor of First Baptist Church, Van Nuys, California, related to the picketing of the movie entitled, "The Last Temptation of Christ". He said, "Some good may come from the controversy, even though ...the movie was worse than the script circulated in advance.
It got millions of Christians off their 'Blessed Assurance'- something we have been trying to do for 30 years," said Moody.
"This should be called 'The Last Exploitation of Christ' because it truly is the last time Hollywood will get away with exploiting for profit Christian-bashing and exploitive films on Jesus Christ",added Moody.
A protest march involving an estimated 25,000 people had shocked the movie's producers and scored points by being unusually courteous, he said.
He quoted Tom Pollact, president of MCA, which owns Universal Studios, as saying the film has made more people in Hollywood talk about Jesus than at any time in the history of the motion picture industry.
Christians will stand for righteousness. The more they desire the fullness
of the Spirit daily in their lives the more this will be a reality. We
are commanded not to quench or grieve the Spirit, but to be filled with
Him. That happens as day by day we yield to His control. As it happens
in our life His ministry leads us into righteousness. Jesus instructs us
further related to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Please notice point
The Holy Spirit convicts of judgement. He wants you to be like the child of God, not like Satan. He draws and woos you to acknowledge Jesus as Lord. He would call you to acknowledge where you are and turn from sin, coming to Jesus. A story illustrates this truth.
"A lawyer had a caged starling in his office. The starling had learned to answer when he was called. One morning a boy entered the office. The lawyer went out for a few minutes, and when he returned the cage was empty.
"Where is the bird," he asked? The boy answered that he didn't know. "Sonny, that bird was in the cage when I went out. Where has it gone?"
The boy repeated that he didn't know about the bird; probably the door of the cage was open and the bird had flown away. At that the lawyer called out, "Starling, where are you?"
"Here I am", answered the starling, and the voice came from the boy's pocket."
That's our plot. Mankind may go about thinking they are just fine but
the Spirit would speak out and say we will face judgement. We can face
it with Christ or without Him. But, the Spirit will have convicted us of
the judgement. The Lord taught more concerning the Spirit. Please note
Today, there are movements that talk much about the Holy Spirit. I have personally had acquaintances brag to me about people in all kinds of denominations uniting under an emphasis of tongue speaking and healing services. I have asked, "...What about this doctrine or that doctrine?" My answer was, "We don't talk about doctrine." But, if the Holy Spirit is really in control, He guides into truth and he glorifies the Son. When there is more talk about the Spirit than the Son it cannot be that which is lead by the Spirit. He has a ministry to guide and glorify. But, He never glorifies Himself.
In recent days we have had people make private professions of faith. They agreed to make their decision public at our invitation time. Two different individuals said, "I don't want to be baptized now and possibly not ever." I asked them on separate occasions, "Will you read the Bible and ask God to lead you in this matter?" They agreed. One came the next Sunday and stated, "When can I get baptized?" The other person took about a month but, came requesting baptism.
Why did these people change their minds. The Holy Spirit led them into truth which glorifies the Son.
Perhaps you, this very day, need to acknowledge the Holy Spirit's leading
in your life. Don't delay.