The Holy Spirit Witnesses for Christ Through the Word of God from Your Mouth to the Lost World! (John 16:1-15)
John 15 = Jesus’ last teaching
John 16 = Jesus’ last sermon
John 17 = Jesus’ last prayer
John 18 = Arrested
John 19 = Crucified
John 20 = Resurrection
John 21 = Appearances
Even on the cross, Jesus asked God to “forgive them.”
How do you want to finish your earthly life with a prayer?
Last time, Jesus reminded them that the world would hate and persecute them because they (you) are not of this world.
Hating can be persecuting.
Persecuting can be killing.
From Jesus time up to now, there has been persecution of the children of God even in the name of God – they think they know God even when they don’t know God.
A clear example = Saul of Tarsus = he was a champion in persecuting God’s children. He thought that he was doing that for God, to glorify God, but after his sudden conversion on the way to Damascus, once again he became a champion for BEING persecuted for Christ.
He confessed, “I was once a blasphemer, violent man – I acted that way in unbelief.”
Jesus mentioned also his departure, and the Counselor, the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is Jesus’ substitute on earth for his continuing ministry for the salvation of the whole earth.
At that time, the disciples were so sorrowful because they thought that their hope would soon be gone – their Hope would depart.
But they didn’t understand that it would be a great blessing to all mankind. If Jesus’ did not depart, he would not be able to completely fulfill ALL prophecies about him, including his death (Isaiah 53), his resurrection (Psalms), his seating at the right hand of God, and his Second Coming.
If he didn’t depart, he also couldn’t send the Holy Spirit. This Age now is called the Church Age, the Age of the Holy Spirit. Now is the time of the HS.
v.8-15 = The ministry of the HS.
Since we are living in the Age of the HS, we must be careful to understand what the HS IS DOING through you and me and the church today.
There are many ministries of the HS today, but in these verses, the keyword is “convict”
This is one of the main ministries of the HS. At that time, convict = legal (court) term, which means, to bring to light, convince, reprove, announce, proclaim the verdict.
At times this world may think that they are judging the church, but actually it is the church that is passing judgment on the world. Believers are witnesses in this court. The HS is the prosecuting attorney. The lost world are criminals.
However, the purpose of this trial is not to condemn, but to save.
3 Areas in which the HS convicts:
#1 v.9 = sin
HS convicts in regard to sin. Which sin is the greatest sin? Actually the sin in Greek is hamatia = “missing the target”
In shooting, there is only ONE target.
Sin means, literally missing ONE target point.
For sin to be sin, there must be community, society. There must be mutual relationship, at least two parts – one part to judge, the other to be judged. Subject and Object.
Government vs. Civilian
To the govt, what is the greatest sin against govt? Rebellion, coup, denial of the govt.
Parents vs. Children
Which is the greatest sin from parents against children? Which is the greatest sin from children against parents?
I’m always father to my son – I do not want my son to sin, I want him to be perfect, if possible – but I’m ready to ALWAYS receive him as my son, even if he has grievous sin.
But, if he does not recognize me as his father, if he denies me as his father, does not believe me as father, says, “You are NOT my father!”
At that time, the relationship father and son is broken.
Similarly, God is our maker, our father, our creator. To God, the greatest sin is not to recognize him, not to believe in Jesus Christ, the image of God, the true God.
Do you agree?
If you agree from your hearts, the biggest sin is not to believe in Jesus Christ, then you are convicted and you are spiritual.
But, if you do not agree in your heart, “no, no there are greater sins than that” then you are not convicted by the HS and you are a natural person.
#2 v.10 = righteousness
Who’s righteousness? Jesus’!
When Jesus was here on this earth, he was often misunderstood, and accused by man as a law-breaker, blasphemer, demon.
But today the HS reveals the Savior of the World and glorifies Jesus in this way.
At the same time, the HS reveals Jesus as Savior in the lives of believers.
We know this world cannot receive, cannot see the HS. But this world CAN see the result of what the HS is doing in us, through us.
The world CAN see the work of the HS through the lives of dedicated believers.
We must be right, righteous enough to have a right relationship with God. We must be good to have a good relationship with a good God. We must be holy, we must be right, to have this kind of relationship with God because he is righteous all the time. However, we can NEVER reach the standard of God’s righteousness. Romans 3 “No one will be declared righteous by good works. But a new righteousness from God – by which the Law and Prophets testify, has been made known and comes through belief in Jesus Christ.”
Before his earthly ministry, Jesus came to John to be baptized – John said, “no, no let me be baptized by you.” But Jesus said, “no, no, do this for me to fulfill all righteousness.”
After returning to the Father, through his death, suffering, resurrection, teaching, preaching, healing, proves he IS righteousness, the righteousness of God, OUR righteousness.
So the HS empowers us to proclaim that he is the only way to God, and the HS makes us righteous before God.
#3 v.11 = judgment
The HS is convicting, the judgment of the prince of this world (Satan).
Genesis 3:15 is the first curse in the Bible – cursing the serpent – emnity between your offspring and hers (the woman) and he will crush your head and you will strike his heal.
In this verse, the offspring of woman = Jesus Christ Messiah.
“When the time had come fully, God sent his Son, born of a woman”
serpent = Satan (Revelation)
“That ancient dragon was cast down who leads the whole world astray”
Jesus crushed his head on the cross. That’s why Jesus said, “It is finished.” GAME OVER
Finally (Revelation), Satan will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, Satan and his followers will be troubled and tormented day and night forever and ever.
Have you ever crushed the head of a serpent?
At the same time, the body and tail continue to flip and shake, writhe and wriggle. It looks dangerous, scary, but it is DEAD.
Likewise, the activity of Satan from the cross until the Second Coming is like this!
Satan knows his time is very short!
Satan’s ministry = 2 parts
1. Holding the lost to remain the lost
2. Attacking God’s children to NOT preach the word to the lost.
2 Cor. 4:4 “The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so that they cannot see the glory of God in Jesus Christ.”
Satan’s purpose = this
Jesus’ purpose = to destroy the works of Satan (1 John)
Therefore, OUR own purpose to remain in this world for a short time is to destroy the work of Satan.
So, we must be convicted, convinced, by the HS in us, the best way to experience the best, most blessed life = to live a life of witnessing to the lost.
Very serious verse…
Witnessing is a great privilege, but also a great responsibility.
“Son of Man, I’ve made you a watchman, so hear the word I speak and heed me. When I say, ‘you will surely die’ and you do not warn him, and he dies, I will hold you accountable for his sin. But if you warn him and he does not turn from his sin and he dies, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.”
If you do not warn your neighbor for his sin – and he goes to hell for his sin, YOU are responsible for his sin.
But if you warn him, and he goes to hell for his sin, you are NOT responsible.
Very serious verse = warn the lost of their sin
With great privilege comes great responsibility.
I have MUCH to say.
Jesus = The Truth
The Word of God = The Truth
The HS = the Spirit of Truth
The HS works, ministers for Christ through the Word of God ALL THE TIME.
The HS does not speak to the lost world directly. But he DOES speak to US through the Word, so that WE can speak to the world.
In Chapter 2, Acts, after Jesus’ ascension to heaven, and the HS came down to Jerusalem, and so many people from other countries gathered together who needed salvation. But the HS did not speak directly. The HS empowered the previously timid Peter to preach the Word, and the HS convicted them and made something wonderful happen among them.
The HS witnesses for Christ through the Word of God from your (my) mouth to the lost world.
The HS is very active in saving the lost world, but if we keep silent, if we do not open our mouths to speak the gospel, then the HS has NOTHING to do with us in saving the lost world.
Please do not make the HS in you jobless.
Make the HS active through your mouth in your witness to the lost world!
God bless us, and especially our mouths!
As long as we are in this world, we have mouths, not only to eat (second priority), but also to preach (first priority).
Last time, we knew that Jesus is the vine, we are the branches, God is the gardener, and Jesus is our best friend.
In the previous part of this chapter, Jesus has talked about love. (v.12 – My command is “love each other as I have loved you” v.17 – “Love each other” – Love is the greatest command).
Today, Jesus is talking about hatred – the opposite of love.
Do you like hatred?
In this passage, the word “hate” is found 7 times, and “persecute” is found 2 times.
v. 18 – the world hates you? hated me first.
v. 19 – I have chosen you, so it hates you
v. 23 – hate me? Then you hate my Father
v. 25 – why? no reason. “To fulfill the scriptures”
In John, many times we see the word “world” – Greek cosmo
It is used in 3 different ways:
1. The creation, created things, (John 1:10)
2. Humanity, world of humans (John 3:16)
3. Worldly pattern, earthly system, culture, standard, organizations, apart from God, opposed to God, run by Satan the (small letter) god of this age.
1 John 2
Friendship with the world = hatred to this world
Do not love the world, or anything in this world. Everything in this world, cravings, lusts, boasting comes from the world, NOT God – this world and desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lasts forever.
Romans 12:1 – Don’t conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, then you can test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.
Remember: This world HATES us.
The more we love the objects (Jesus) we should love, the more hated we are.
The less we love the objects we should love, the more accepted by the world we are.
Matthew – to us, all believers, all men will hate you because of me, but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved.
2 Timothy – anyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted.
If Black/White = World/Church
There are two great entities – there is no fellowship between them. A man is either of the world, or of Christ.
Perhaps this is why some Christians are hesitant to act like Christians – because they are afraid of being hated, persecuted.
“If anyone would follow me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
v. 25 – “they hated me without reason”
Jesus did nothing wrong, but from the beginning, he was hated, even as a BABY – he was hated – King Herod hated him and tried to kill him – so he escaped to Egypt until Herod died.
He was hated as he grew, by his own brothers, the crowds he fed and healed, the religious leaders.
On this earth, totally, Jesus was HATED for no reason – for nothing.
Think, imagine, Jesus is the Lord, our Savior, our King, our Best Friend, the Vine, the Head – we are the extension of Jesus Christ (the branches, the body) – therefore, we must be treated the same way by the same people.
Imagine, someone says, “I love your head, but I hate your body. I love your left hand, but I hate your right hand.”
If he is the vine and we are the branches, then we must be treated in the same way by the same people. So, if we confess Jesus and we are embraced openly by this world, we must reexamine our lifestyles and attitudes.
If we are accepted and loved by this world, we are making cowardly compromises, bad negotiations with this world.
May God bless all of us.
We can do it, because the Holy Spirit is in us, enabling us, encouraging us, empowering us, to withstand the power and the persecution of this world.
v. 26 – When the Counselor comes, he will testify about me (the Spirit of Truth)
Jesus also mentioned the HS in chp 14:26
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
In chp 14:26, Jesus mentioned HS
In chp 15:26, Jesus mentioned HS again
14:26 – Father God will send the HS
15:26 – I will send the HS
In church history, there was a time when they debated about “who sent the HS?”
One group said “God the Father”
One group said “Jesus the Son”
Who is right? BOTH are right. There is no contradiction, they compliment each other.
Through these two verses, we can see that Father and Son God sent the third person of the Trinity, HS God. HS is a person, has a mind, will.
The HS testifies with us that we are God’s children, he intercedes for the saints in accordance with the will of God, helps us in our weakness – many times we don’t know what we pray for, but the HS intercedes with groans we cannot express (Abba Prayer like this)
We can stand and withstand the middle of the hatred and persecution of this world because of the ministries of the HS.
Still now, the HS testifies about Jesus Christ, so the first ministry of the HS is testifying about Jesus in us.
The doctrine of the Trinity God is the mystery of mysteries: “He who would try to understand fully the doctrine of the Trinity would lose his mind, but he who would deny the doctrine of the Trinity would lose his soul.”
Even though we don’t understand fully the doctrine of the HS and Trinity, we can get many principles.
HS enables eternal love – love needs an object – love is flowing in the persons of the Trinity God – love was from everlasting to everlasting – He is teaching us, leading us, guiding us to put his word into practice. If he testifies for us, he also enables us to testify. (Acts 1:8 – When the HS comes upon you, you will receive power and by my witnesses to all the ends of the earth.)
v. 27 – As the HS testifies about Jesus, so we must also testify. Why? “Because you have been with me from the beginning.”
How long have you been with Jesus as your Lord?
Usually we say, “10 years, 20 years”
Sometimes, “When I was 5 years old, etc”
If we are really with God, saved by God, ALL of us have been with Jesus from the beginning – “You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear much fruit” – “I have chosen you out of the world” – Eph 5:1? – “God chose us from before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight – predestined us to be adopted as his sons in accordance with his pleasure and will.”
So, no matter how you became Christian, or when, you became Christians BEFORE the Creation of the World in God’s mind, redemptive project.
So, we can testify.
In closing – 3 points:
1. Our witness of Christ comes from a LONG fellowship with Christ, because we have been with him for a LONG time. A witness says, “Oh, this is true, I know this.”
Without personal experience, being a witness is wrong. Also, WITH personal experience, NOT to be a witness is wrong – a sin, cowardly conduct – if we hesitate to witness, he will be ashamed of us.
2. Our witness comes from inner conviction, power. If we REALLY believe in Hell/Kingdom – why can we not talk about that? If we REALLY believe Jesus is our Lord, why can we not say that to those who are controlled by Satan? If we REALLY believe that Jesus is “the Answer to the Question” – every question, why can we not say that to others?
3. A witness is prepared to say the truth. Likewise, we WANT others to know the truth – it is our privilege and holy duty to be a witness for Christ in this evil world.
We cannot be a witness without:
1. relationship, personal experience
2. inner conviction
3. outward testimony, expression
Every single Christian IS already a witness for Christ. Question is: are you a good witness or bad witness? Are you cowardly, fearful, or convicted and passionate?
That is why we stay in this world only a short time, even though our citizenship is in heaven.
Bless us with Jesus’ living voice.
John 11:25-26 – Memory Verse on the bulletin cover.
Previously, Jesus raised Lazarus after 4 days and smelling badly. Jesus called to him in a loud voice “COME OUT!” And he came out still bound by his grave clothes. “Take off those dead clothes, let him go – I give him new life, new chance, new opportunity.”
Today is the continuation.
What a BIG difference!
Chp 11 – Death, bad smell, funeral.
Chp 12 – Life, table, fellowship, reclining, excellent smell.
We have something to learn from every person. Mary, Martha, Judas. But, let us focus on the story of Lazarus. He is one of the key people in the book of John.
Raising Lazarus from death to life is the GREATEST of all of Jesus’ miracles on earth. Why is it so important? Today, Lazarus is not here, but with God in heaven.
At that time, Jesus raised Lazarus to proclaim a timeless truth for them and for coming generations. John 11:25-26.
Lazarus’ Story is the visible picture of the invisible story of children of God today. If we are saved, yours is Lazarus’ Story.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Jesus is UNchanging in changing something bad in your life.
9 common themes between Lazarus and you (things Jesus does in your life).
#1 – Lazarus was DEAD when he was away from Jesus, with a bad smell, making others sad. Nobody ever lived in the absence of Jesus Christ. At the same time nobody ever died in the presence of Jesus Christ.
When we were far from Christ, we were completely dead. Even Christians say, “At that time, I almost died! I should have died! But because of Jesus, I do not need to die!” NO NO NO. We WERE completely DEAD at that time! Not ALMOST dead! (Ephesians 2:1)
No dead person died more than another dead person. No difference in death. But one dead person can smell worse than other dead people. We WERE ALL dead! We were all stinky! We were all shameful.
#2 – Even though Lazarus was dead, making a bad smell, Jesus loved him so much – personally, individually.
Like this, even when we were totally dead, smelling badly, harming others, God loved each of us individually, personally (John 3:16).
(Eph 3:18-19) How wide, how long, how deep is the love of Christ. The width, height, depth, length of his love is far beyond our understanding – even if we study our whole lives.
Jesus knew us each by name, before birth, before Creation.
#3 – Lazarus was raised from death. He did NOTHING to rise from death. Only, he smelled badly, made others sad. He was totally hopeless, helpless, useless. He did not/could not go to Jesus and ask him to save him. But Jesus CAME to Bethany to save him.
Likewise, Jesus CAME to Earth to save us.
Jesus approached the entrance of the tomb and called “Lazarus!”
Likewise, Jesus approached our hearts and calls “Aaron!” (Rev 3:23).
Romans? It is by grace you have been saved…
How long have you been Christian?
If you say, “Oh yeah! I did it!” to be saved, it SHOWS you are still NOT saved by his grace.
At that time, we were totally, totally powerless, and helpless. We are saved by Jesus power ALONE! All things necessary to raise Lazarus, Jesus did.
#4 – After being raised, Lazarus had immediate, intimate fellowship with Jesus. (v. 2) even reclining with Jesus, fellowshipping at the table.
Likewise, we have immediate, intimate, personal fellowship with Jesus after he saves us.
Jesus does not say, “Oh, no problem, it’s my job” and walks away. No, they became more intimate, more close. We have an unbreakable spiritual union for eternity with Jesus. (Eph. 2:6)
If you are saved, do you know where you are NOW? You are IN heaven NOW, with Jesus! Our real identity is in heaven with Jesus NOW! Even if you don’t understand, believe!
Predestined – called – justified – glorified!
We can therefore believe that God is always working for the good of those that love him! (Romans 8:28).
When did God love you? Predestine you? Call you? Foreknew you? Justified you? Glorified you? Sometime before Creation, he predestined us. In our lifetimes, he has called us. In the future, he HAS glorified us. This is human understanding of the sequence of events.
But, in God’s time, ALL happened in the same time.
In our understanding, we WILL be glorified in the future with Christ. In God’s time, we already ARE.
#5 – After new life, it’s still life. It is impossible, unthinkable for Lazarus to return to the same tomb with the same bad smell. Totally impossible!
Our salvation does not guarantee always safe, easy ways, sinless ways. BUT, no matter what we face, narrow ways, difficulties, suffering, it is IMPOSSIBLE to be saved and then lost again and go back to being dead.
Jesus says, “I give you eternal life – you will NEVER perish – NEVER be condemned – you have already crossed over from death to life.” From this place, we can never again cross from eternal life back to death.
#6 – Among Jesus’ miracles, this miracle is the culmination of all miracles! To Lazarus personally, this experience was the greatest turning point in his whole life. This was the miracle of miracles to Lazarus. Before and after, Lazarus never experienced anything greater than this.
The world is divided – not by war, not religion, not politics, but by JESUS. (BC – AD).
The Bible is divided – not by Abram, not Moses, not David, but by JESUS. (OT – NT)
Our lives are divided – not by suffering, not by hardship, but by JESUS.
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation! The old has gone, the new has come!”
If somebody never meets Jesus in his whole life, no matter how much he works, there is no life.
If somebody meets Jesus ONLY ONCE, no matter how short his life, there is life.
#7 – Lazarus got new life by changing nothing – no payment.
Lazarus had nothing to lose, nothing to complain about.
Likewise, if we are saved really, we have NOTHING to lose, nothing to complain about!
Why do people worry, fear, be troubled and dismayed?
We do it to NOT lose something. Bible COMMANDS us to not fear (Joshua 1) and not worry (Luke 6?)
We actually have NOTHING to lose on this earth! Even if we lose everything on this earth, it means we get the best thing~
#8 – Be blessed in this. There is yet persecution. (v. 10)
Chief priests decided to try to kill Lazarus, even before Jesus.
Killing the body is the highest persecution on earth – there is none greater.
When Lazarus was dead, nobody tried to kill him, nobody persecuted him. The fact that somebody tried to kill him means, he was alive.
If somebody hates you, persecutes you, makes you suffer, it means you are alive! Hallelujah~
If there is trouble from Satan, it means, you are alive! Spiritually alive!
2 Timothy 2:3 – In fact, everyone who wants to be like Jesus, will have trouble.
Matthew 23:16? – In this world, you will have troubles of many kinds, but take heart, I have overcome this world!
“If this world hates you, this world hated me first. You do not belong to this world because I have chosen you out of this world.”
Persecution because of Jesus Christ is a wonderful blessing! In heaven.
#9 – Lazarus became automatically, willingly, a living witness of Jesus’ life-giving power. (v.9,11).
Many people, everyone! Knew what had happened to Lazarus, so everyone came to see!
Challenge: If you are saved, from that time up to now, how many are saved because of your life? Because of your life change? How many came to church, came to God, came to heaven, because of you?
For Lazarus, it was IMPOSSIBLE to go on living without testifying, talking about it.
Imagine: In April, 100 years ago, if you were in the Titanic, on that terrible night. You ALMOST died, but were SO lucky to survive. Would it be possible to live afterward without witnessing about it? Testifying about it? No way!
But all those who came before, Titanic survivors, Lazarus, are gone now. Ours is much greater because it is NOW!
September 11, if you were sleeping on the 100th story of the World Trade Tower in New York. The whole tower collapsed! You were SO lucky, blessed, to be alive – completely uninjured. After that, would it be possible to live the next life without talking about it? NO WAY!
Our salvation experience is so much MORE powerful than these! It is the miracle of miracles we can experience in this life!
Acts 1? – When the Spirit comes on you, you will receive power. You will be witnesses.