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Finding Success [9-8-19]

When our parents would go out for a Friday night with friends, they left three things for me and my brother:

  1. The phone # where they could be reached in an emergency.

  2. Money for dinner.

  3. The time we had to go to bed.

Jesus tells the disciples a Helper is going to come to them when he goes to be with the Father. Here are three things the Holy Spirit is going to do for you.

First, the Holy Spirit will be in you.

The Holy Spirit will be in you. When Jesus said this, it was a radical new understanding of the presence of God. All we have to do is go back to John 14:17 where Jesus says:

Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Up until the time Jesus said this, people knew the Holy Spirit would come upon a person. But they never believed the Holy Spirit dwelt in a person. In the Old Testament, the presence of God dwelt in the tabernacle…in the temple. That's where you would experience the Spirit of God. But now, in the New Testament, Jesus says the Holy Spirit is moving out of the tabernacle to live in you.

Here's something interesting that happens later. It's a sign of what Jesus is teaching here. When Jesus died, the curtain in the Holy of Holies in the temple, where the Spirit dwelt, was ripped in two from top to bottom. God was saying He's moving out of the temple and into people's lives. The holy Spirit is in you.

Listen to what Jesus promises in John 14:16:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.

Again, as we've seen throughout our study of John, things are clear and simple. When Jesus departs to go to the Father, the Spirit is going to live in you.

Here's something important to understand. Some people think you have to have a separate, supernaturally-filled experience in order to be a Spirit-filled Christian. Not true:

The Holy Spirit comes into your life the moment you say to Jesus Christ, "You are my Savior."

The Holy Spirit comes to live in you the moment you believe.

Here's what that means. It means you are never alone. That's the relational result of the Holy Spirit being in your life. You are never alone.

Now, I know we all need some kind of human companionship. I would never minimize that. Just never forget the companionship of the Holy Spirit. During the most lonely moments in your life, the Holy Spirit is closer to you than any friend. You will never be alone. That's what the Holy Spirit does in your life.

Here's something that might be helpful. Especially when you're feeling particularly alone. Have you ever heard of square breathing? It's a great calming technique:

  • Exhale.

  • Breathe in for 4 seconds.

  • Hold it for 4 seconds.

  • Exhale again.

  • Repeat.

Here's a simple variation of that. Once-in-a-while, as you breathe {we all have to do it, right?}, with each breath, think about the Holy Spirit. While focusing on your breathing - count to four with each inhale and exhale - focus on the Holy Spirit dwelling in you and with you.

Remember, you are never alone.

Second, the Holy Spirit will convict the world.

In John 16:8, Jesus says, "And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment." The word convict is challenging to translate into English. It's only used once in the New Testament. It means to bring to light, to expose, to refute, to convict, to convince.

The best way to get at its meaning is the hyphenated word, cross-examine. Have you ever watched one of those courtroom dramas where everything gets settled through the clever cross-examination of an attorney? That's what the Holy Spirit does in our hearts. He doesn't let go. The Holy Spirit convicts the world. He's letting the world know that sin is real and righteousness is real and judgment is real. And so people need to get right with God, through Jesus Christ. That's how the Holy Spirit convicts the world. The Holy Spirit helps us see that we are doomed to eternal death and destruction without Jesus Christ.

People need to know that.

Years ago, American rock band Pearl Jam had a song, "Last Exit," that captured the mindset of many in our culture. Here are the opening verses:

Lives opened and trashed…"Look ma, watch me crash…"

No time to question…why'd nothing last…

Grasp and hold on…hold tight and fast…

Soon be over…and I will relent…

Let the ocean swell dissolve 'way my past.

That is the attitude of so many in our culture today. They understand the heartache and pain in life. But they cannot find a way out of the futility they feel. They are trapped in an inevitability of nothingness.

That is the lost and broken heart to which the Holy Spirit speaks. The tragedy is people know they are sinful. They know they are broken. And unless they embrace the Savior who wants to embrace them, they can never find peace. Without Christ they will never be saved from sin and death.

The Holy Spirit convicts the world. And in that conviction, many are driven into the arms of Christ.

The good news for us is it's the Holy Spirit who does the convicting. We are not prosecutor, judge, and jury. Our job is to speak the truth about Jesus. Our job is show the love of Jesus. Our job is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Our job is to worship and glorify Jesus. Do you see a pattern here? We are witnesses. That's one of the most refreshing truths you know as a believer. You don't have to convict people of their sin. You don't have to put anyone on trial. That's what the Holy Spirit does. It's not our job. And when Christians think it is their job, people get mad at them, and they get the wrong idea of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. But when we let the Holy Spirit convict people of their sin and we are a witness to the truth, it draws people to Jesus Christ. Remember, Jesus said you shall be my witnesses…not my prosecuting attorneys or judges or jury or even the person on trial. Go out and be a witness.

Third, the Holy Spirit will guide the believer.

In verses 12-13, Jesus says, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot hear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come." The Book of Acts covers what happens when Jesus sends the Spirit. He will guide you in the truth. Specifically, as verse 14 says, "He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you." That is a beautiful thing. The Spirit will guide you. You don't make things up. You don't conjure up some new truth. Everything we need to know is in the Bible. Everything we need to know is what Jesus taught. The Holy Spirit is your personal guide.

Here's something you might want to write down:

The Holy Spirit will always guide me toward the truth.

To put it in the negative, if what you say or believe doesn't conform to the Bible, then you are listening to the wrong guide. In a world where we are surrounded by so many lies, the Spirit comes to tell us the truth and convince us of the truth. So when you're at a place where your thoughts are cloudy on something, you need to ask the Spirit to convince you of the truth. Ask Him. That's why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. To keep going what Jesus started.

That leads us to one last point. It's the most important point. As the Holy Spirit guides you to the truth, He will always guide you toward Jesus. Always. In fact, Jesus says he's going to take what is his and share it with you. How good is that? In a very real sense, you didn't need to be alive 2000 years ago and be one of the disciples walking with Jesus in order to gain his insight and guidance. Right here, in John 16, Jesus says you already have it through the Holy Spirit. You are learning from and walking with Jesus right now. {That needs an "Amen."}

More than anything else, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to both reveal and glorify Jesus Christ. We are here as witnesses to the love of Jesus Christ and we are here to glorify Jesus Christ. That is the best place to end, with the affirmation of those two primary things we do. Witness and glorify.

Let's pray:

Father, we thank you for sending your Holy Spirit into our lives. Forgive us for getting so caught up in the routines of life that we forget. We forget the Spirit is present in our lives. We forget that we can depend on you. Jesus, as we're reminded of what you say about your Spirit in our lives, we come to you and we depend on you. We depend on you to fill our lives. We depend on you to empower our witness. We depend on you, Christ Jesus, to guide us. Thank you for your Spirit, Lord. Forgive us for the times we try to depend on ourselves. Help us to learn more and more to depend on you. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.

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