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The Holy Spirit in the World
John 16:5-11
Skip Heitzig

John 16 (NKJV™)
5 "But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?'
6 "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.
7 "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
8 "And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 "of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
10 "of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;
11 "of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly

We are not alone in the universe! That’s the premise of most sci-fi documentaries, but I’m not referring to alien life from another galaxy, rather to the living God Himself. In particular, I am referring to the Holy Spirit. He has a particular role when it comes to working in this world, and that is to awaken people to their great need for Christ. In our series 20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly, we will turn in the next few weeks to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. What is His role in the life of the unbeliever and the life of the believer?

Over 175 million people in the United States need some sort of vision correction. From glasses to contacts and corneal reshaping to corrective surgery, there's no question that seeing clearly improves people's quality of life. But what about our spiritual vision? With so many religious, philosophical, and ideological lenses to look through, how do we find the right lens? In this series, Skip Heitzig brings the core doctrines of Christian faith into clear focus. These are the truths that define who God is, who we are, and the choices that every person has to make.

Outline

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  1. His Presence Is Needful (vv. 5-7)

    1. Jesus Would Be Leaving

    2. The Spirit Will Be Leading

  2. His Pressure Is Unmistakable (vv. 8-11)

    1. He Convicts the World of Sin

    2. He Convicts the World of Righteousness

    3. He Convicts the World of Judgment

  3. His People Are Instrumental (v. 7)

    1. He Works In Tandem with Us

    2. We Witness In Tandem with Him

Study Guide

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Connect Group Recap Notes: September 20, 2020
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "The Holy Spirit in the World"
Text: John 16:5-11

Path

We are not alone in the universe! That's the premise of most sci-fi documentaries, but in this message, Pastor Skip wasn't referring to alien life from another galaxy, rather to the living God Himself. In particular, he was referring to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit has a particular role when it comes to working in this world, and that is to awaken people to their great need for Christ. We'll turn in the next few weeks to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. What is His role in the life of the unbeliever and the life of the believer?

  1. His Presence Is Needful (vv. 5-7)
  2. His Pressure Is Unmistakable (vv. 8-11)
  3. His People Are Instrumental (v. 7)
Points

His Presence Is Needful (vv. 5-7)
  • The Holy Spirit can be found cover to cover in the Bible; the New Testament alone refers to the Holy Spirit about 260 times.
  • Because of this, we can't neglect the Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus Would Be Leaving
    • Before Jesus left His disciples, He gave them a gift: God's continual presence with His people, the Holy Spirit.
    • The task before the disciples (to "go into all the world," as Mark 16:15 puts it) was impossible to do alone; a Helper was needed, the Spirit.
  • The Spirit Will Be Leading
    • Jesus told the disciples they would receive power from the Holy Spirit and the Spirit would be upon them.
    • The Spirit would lead them to God's truth.
His Pressure Is Unmistakable (vv. 8-11)
  • What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the world? In short, to provide pressure to people to receive Jesus: "He will testify of Me" (John 15:26).
  • The Spirit does so in three ways.
  • He Convicts the World of Sin
    • The word convict means to convince, point out a fault, or show a need.
    • Before anyone receives the Savior, they need to know they need saving. This is one role of the Spirit: to convict people of sin.
    • Notice sin is singular, not plural. This refers to the sin of unbelief, rejecting the summons of the Spirit to Jesus.
  • He Convicts the World of Righteousness
    • The Spirit shows people they are not righteous and are in need of the righteousness of Jesus—His atonement.
    • The Holy Spirit convinces us we're sinners who need to meet the Messiah and surrender to the Savior.
  • He Convicts the World of Judgment
    • The Holy Spirit convicts the world of its accountability.
    • In other words, there is judgment if we reject Jesus.
His People Are Instrumental (v. 7)
  • He Works in Tandem with Us
    • While it's the Holy Spirit who does the convicting, often people are the channel through which He works.
    • Christians are witnesses in the world, the means by which God proclaims His gospel.
  • We Witness in Tandem with Him
    • When filled with and led by the Spirit, Christians work together with the Spirit.
    • Every conversion recorded in Acts was through the agency of Christian witness.
    • Though Christians can't convict or save anyone, we are part of the process through evangelism.
    • Those filled with and empowered by the Spirit will be used by the Spirit. This was the secret of the early church: Spirit-led lives.
    • Here are a few things to remember in our witnessing:
      • Christians are not manufacturers of the Spirit's work, but distributors.
      • It's the enormity of the work—preaching to the world—that keeps us going. It's not a small commission, but the Great Commission.
      • Great works are accomplished in small increments. Individually, you can't do it all, but we can all do our part.
Practice

Connect Up: What do the three persons within the Godhead have in common? Here are some points to get you started: free will, love, essence, and purpose. What other characteristics can you think of? Take time to read the Athanasian Creed below, an early statement of faith. What do you learn about the Holy Spirit from this creed?

That we worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity,
neither blending their persons
nor dividing their essence.
For the person of the Father is a distinct person,
the person of the Son is another,
and that of the Holy Spirit still another.
But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one,
their glory equal, their majesty coeternal….
The Father is eternal,
the Son is eternal,
the Holy Spirit is eternal.
And yet there are not three eternal beings;
there is but one eternal being.
So too there are not three uncreated or immeasurable beings;
there is but one uncreated and immeasurable being.
Connect In: Every Christian is the result of the Spirit's work of convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. How did the Holy Spirit convict you of your need for Christ? Did you resist or surrender immediately? If you resisted, how did the Holy Spirit act as a hound of heaven, not letting you off the hook in reminding you of your need for Jesus?

Connect Out: As Pastor Skip reminded us, Christians work in tandem with the Holy Spirit. Is there someone the Spirit may be leading you to love, show compassion to, or share the gospel with this week? Why do you believe you are being led? What are the signs or feelings? Take time to pray for this person.

Transcript

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The Holy Spirit in the World - John 16:5-11 - Skip Heitzig

[MUSIC PLAYING]

God isn't really something to worship.

He's just waiting to destroy all of us.

I guess there's a god out there somewhere.

I hope there is a god.

How is it really something to worship?

God is everywhere.

[APPLAUSE]

Good morning. Would you turn, in your Bibles, please, to the Gospel of John in your New Testament, John chapter 16? Some of us who grew up with the Apostles' Creed, reciting it in churches-- any of you here did that? So those of us who did, we remember, as kids-- if you remember the old form of that-- how awkward it was when they came to a certain part.

The creed, as you know, goes, I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord who conceived by the Holy Ghost. Now, when a kid hears that-- he was?

And then it goes on to say, crucified, died, and was buried. And then it says, I believe in the Holy Ghost. Now, when I was a kid, the only ghost I was familiar with was a guy by the name of Casper.

[LAUGHTER]

And he was a friendly ghost. And other than that, my parents basically said stay, away from ghosts. So as a kid, hearing in church that she was conceived by the Holy Ghost, a kid thinks, how can a ghost get Mary pregnant? I mean that, in the mind of a child, was so disconnecting.

I also think that for people today, the idea of the Holy Spirit Himself is disconnecting. That is, there's certain parts of God we understand. For instance, the Father part we get. A father is a leader, is a provider. God is a father. God is a provider. It makes sense.

The Son-- we don't have too much problem with that. Some of us are sons. We grew up trying to please dad, our fathers on earth. But the idea of the Holy Spirit-- so what does he do? What is he up to? What's all that about?

We already covered a whole message on the Trinity some weeks ago. And we want to look specifically at the Holy Spirit. Speaking of the Apostles' Creed, though, there was a Sunday school class. And the assignment was to memorize the Apostles' Creed.

So the way they did it is they assigned each student in the class a phrase. And they would come on Sunday and give their recitation. So on that Sunday, the first child stood up and said, I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. And he sat down.

The next little girl stood up and said, I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord. She sat down. And then there was a long silence, a long pause. Finally a little girl in the back of the room said, I'm sorry, sir, but the boy who believes in the Holy Ghost is absent today.

And I wonder if that couldn't be said of the church today, that those who believe in the Holy Spirit are absent today. I wonder if it couldn't be that our experience with the Holy Spirit, our knowledge of what he does, what he is about is sort of like what Paul encountered when he went to Ephesus in the 19th chapter of the book of Acts. He went to that church and asked them a question. Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? And their response is, we haven't even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is fuzzy to a lot of people, illusive to a lot of people. Oh, they grew up reciting the creeds, hearing the sermons, hearing preachers speak about Him, yet He seems elusive. While the New Testament refers to the Holy Spirit-- just the New Testament-- refers to the Holy Spirit 260 times-- 260 times by a number of different names. The most common name is the name we know, the Holy Spirit.

So if He has mentioned 260 times, He's certainly someone we cannot neglect. And that's just the New Testament. But He's all over the scripture, from the first book to the last book, from Genesis to Revelation, from cover to cover.

Genesis chapter 1, verse 2-- the spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Revelation 22, verse 17-- and the Spirit and the bride say come. So we have the Holy Spirit represented throughout the scripture. And in the next few weeks, we're going to look at the Holy Spirit-- who He is, what He does in the world, what He does in the church for us, how we are to respond to Him.

The problem is, where do you begin when you have 260 choices, 260 different scriptures in the New Testament? Where do you begin talking about the Holy Spirit? I've chosen to begin with the words of Jesus himself. It's as if we have the second person of the Trinity introducing to us the third person of the Trinity.

We are in John chapter 16. What I want you to know is John Chapter 13, 14, 15, and 16-- all four chapters-- happen at one time. It is in a setting called the Last Supper. It is the upper-room discourse, it is called. In a few hours, Jesus will be arrested. A few hours after that, he will be crucified. So he has a few hours left with his friends, with his men. And so he wants to prepare them and instruct them about very important events that are going to be on their radar screen in the coming hours, days, weeks, months, and years.

Today, we're going to look at what the Holy Spirit does in the world with unbelievers. And I mentioned our text is chapter 16 of John. What I'd like to do, just to get the whole context, is have you go back and see with me how Jesus introduces this Holy Spirit to his disciples back in chapter 14. John chapter 14, beginning in verse 15, is where He, Jesus, begins the thread of that thought.

He said, if you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father. And He will give you another helper, that He may abide with you forever-- the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you.

Go down to the 25th verse. These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring into your remembrance all things that I said to you. That's how we account for the New Testament.

Now go to chapter 15, toward the very end, verse 26. When the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness because you have been with Me from the beginning.

Now go down to verse 5 of chapter 16. But now I go away to Him who sent Me. But none of you asked Me, where are You going? But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment-- of sin because they do not believe in Me, of righteousness because I go to My Father and you see me no more, of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged.

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth, for He will not speak on His own authority. But whatever He hears, He will speak. And He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

Now, I'm going to confine my thoughts to the 16th chapter of John, verses 5 through 11. I'm going to show you three aspects of the relationship the Holy Spirit has to the world-- three aspects. They are His presence, His pressure, and His people. His presence, His pressure, and His people-- and in each case, I'm going to make a simple statement.

The first is His presence is needful. Now in verse 5, where we began-- I really should have began in verse 1. But I'll just explain to you what went before that to get to this point. In verse 5, Jesus says, now I go away to Him who sent Me. I'm going back to the Father. I'm going to ascend back to heaven.

And none of you asked Me, where are You going? But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I depart, I will send Him to you.

Now, at this moment, in the upper-room discourse in the Last Supper, the disciples are shocked. They're disappointed, to say the least. Jesus has been able to watch their body language as they went from excited at the beginning to very, very depressed at this moment. And here's why.

What Jesus has told them is not what they expected. What they have expected all along is a kingdom to be established on the earth. If this is the Messiah, He is going to establish a kingdom.

2000 years ago, the Jews in Israel, the Jews in Judea, had a pretty simple, straightforward eschatology-- that is, belief in the end-time events of the Messiah. Number one, there is going to be a time of turmoil, national turmoil. And that's going to get us all ready for desiring the Messiah to come. It's going to fuel an expectation.

So check-- that has happened. The Romans have come and occupied the land. Everybody's oppressed. Everybody wants the Messiah to come. They're crying for it. They're yearning for it. They're looking for it.

Phase two-- after that national expectation because of oppression, Elijah is going to come, or an Elijah-like forerunner is going to come and say, ladies and gentlemen, here's the Messiah.

Check-- John the Baptist came on the scene and said about Jesus, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Follow Him. That's why people were so interested in John the Baptist. Are you Elijah? Are you that prophet? Who exactly are you? Because they knew that.

The third phase that they expected is the Messiah will set up his kingdom. So the disciples at this point are thinking, one and two have already happened. Number three is going to happen at any moment. The only problem is the Last Supper.

Jesus brings him in a room. And beginning in chapter 13, He tells them the news-- I'm leaving. You're what? I'm leaving. And as the discourse goes on-- chapter 13, 14, 15, 16-- the news goes from bad to worse. I'm leaving. I'm dying. And I'm going to suffer greatly before I die.

That is not what they expected. Now, sorrow is growing in their hearts because of this. But that's not all. It actually gets worse. In chapter 16, beginning in verse 1-- we haven't even read that part-- He says, not only am I dying, not only am I going to suffer, you, because you believe in me, will suffer and die also.

Oh, great. That's not at all what they expected. So He says, now I go away to Him who sent me. And none of you asked Me, where are You going? But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has dominated your heart. That's the idea of the word filled. It's the Greek word It means to fill something up so completely that there's room for nothing else.

So emotionally, they are filled to the brim with anxiety. That's what this means, sorrow has filled your heart. Because I said, I'm leaving, sorrow has filled your heart.

You know, it's interesting because Jesus says, none of you asked me where I'm going. Because you are so focused on what you're losing, you're not even looking at this from My side. I get to go back home to My Father. But you're so consumed about what you're losing, you're not thinking about what I'm gaining.

And look at verse 7. Here's really the crux of this. Nevertheless, I'm telling you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away. What-- what? Now, if you're a disciple and you hear that, you're thinking, I don't believe that. It's not to my advantage that you go away.

Here's a better translation. It's actually better for you that I go away. Or the best thing that could happen to you is that I leave you. That's a disconnect for them. They hear that and they go, why would that be good? You're the guy who calms storms on lakes. You're the guy who heals our relatives.

You're the guy who gives lunch to a whole crowd at the Sea of Galilee. You're the one who turns water into wine. And you're the guy who reached into a fish's mouth on tax day and got enough tax for all of us to pay. You are pretty handy to have around. And now you're saying it's better if you go?

You see, they are so focused on what they're about to lose, they're not even thinking about what they're about to gain. What they're about to gain is the Holy Spirit's presence. And here's why. They don't know how much they're going to need the Holy Spirit in days ahead. So nothing could be better than having Jesus around.

So they don't know what's coming. They don't know how much they're going to need the Holy Spirit. What is coming? Why did they need him so much? In a word, because of the task. You know what the task is-- the great commission. You know the great commission, right? Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Well, that's a pretty big task. In fact, that's an impossible task to do alone. They're going to face persecution in Judea. They're going to face persecution in Greece. They're going to face persecution in Asia Minor. They're going to face persecution in Rome.

And then all of them, except for John, will die a martyr's death because they believe in Jesus Christ. Well, that sounds pretty impossible to me to do alone. Now, here's my segue. The task is still the same. And it is still as impossible today for these present disciples as it was for those disciples. And here's why. Because most people do not believe. Most people are unsaved. The large majority of people in the world do not believe in Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation.

This might help. It helped me visually. If you were to line up all of the unsaved people in the world, roughly, and put them shoulder-to-shoulder, lined him up shoulder-to-shoulder, no social distancing, you could form a line that would go all the way around the Earth 30 times. And the line is growing 20 miles longer every single day. It's a pretty big task.

But Jesus never said, go at it, boys, do your best. You're on your own, hope you don't get beat up too bad. What he did tell them is go, but don't go until you are filled with power from on high. That's the Gospel of Luke, chapter 24.

We get to Acts, chapter 1. And Jesus said, when the Holy Spirit has come, you will receive power. And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Sumeria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. So go, but don't go on your own. Don't go without the power of the Holy Spirit.

DM Dawson wrote this-- without the power of the Holy Spirit, all human efforts, methods, and plans are as futile as attempting to propel a boat by puffing at the sails with our own breath. It's a good picture. You're in a sailboat in Newport Beach, California. You want to get to Catalina Island. It's 25 miles away. What do you do? [RAPID PUFFING]

Well, that's kind of stupid. You're going to need a wind much more powerful than [RAPID PUFFING]. And so to go into all the world and share the gospel with every creature on your own is [RAPID PUFFING]. So His presence is needful. It is to your advantage that I go away. Because when I go, I'm going to send the Holy Spirit. And boys, you're going to need that.

Let's look at His pressure now, number two. The second aspect is His pressure. His pressure is unmistakable, verse 8. When He-- He who? The Holy Spirit. When He, the Holy Spirit, has come, He, the Holy Spirit, will convict the world of sin, and righteousness, and judgment-- of sin because they do not believe in Me, of righteousness because I go to my Father and you see Me no more, of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged.

In short, it's the Holy Spirit that pursues people, that chases people, that comes after people. We have a vision statement in our church. And it says, we pursue the God who passionately pursues a lost world. You know how God passionately pursues the lost world? His Holy Spirit, by sending His Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit has been called the Hound of Heaven. I don't know if you've ever heard that description of Him, the Hound of Heaven. It's a phrase that comes from the 1800s. A man by the name of Francis Thompson wrote a poem about God, the Holy Spirit, called the Hound of Heaven.

And his story, Francis Thompson, he was a medical school student in London. He dropped out of medical school. He became addicted to opium. He attempted suicide. And all the while, he ran from God, ran from God, ran from God till God caught up with him.

And so he wrote a poem. Here's some of the lyrics. I fled Him-- that's the old way of saying, I ran away from Him. I fled Him down the nights and down the days. I fled Him down the arches of the years. I fled Him through the labyrinthine ways of my own mind.

But then, in the poem, he talks about how God pursues him. And he writes this-- but with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace. I love that description, the unrelenting conviction, chasing, pursuing of the Holy Spirit.

Did you happen to notice when we read it in chapter 15, verse 26, Jesus says, concerning the Holy Spirit, he will testify of Me? That is, He is going to come and speak very plainly about Me. He, the Holy Spirit, will be the one who will open up people's understanding of who I am, open up their hearts to Jesus.

You would not be here today as a believer in Christ were it not for the pressure of the Holy Spirit in your life. Some of you can still remember vividly when that happened. I do. I remember the day I gave my life to Christ. I remember the pressure. I remember feeling that holy conviction of heart. I need to do this.

So what will the Holy Spirit do exactly? Jesus said He'll do three things. In verse 8 through 11, he's going to convict the world of sin, and righteousness, and judgment. The word convict could be translated-- in fact, it is in some of your translations-- as convince. He will convince the world. Or He will point out the fault of the world. Or He will show the world their need of me.

In other words, it is the Holy Spirit who convinces people in the world that they are sinners in need of a Savior. Before any person can receive a Savior, they need to realize they need to be saved. Unless you realize, I need to be saved, you don't look for a Save-ior. That's the job of a Savior, to save people who need to be saved.

So it's the Holy Spirit that does that. It's the Holy Spirit that produces guilt in people. Now, I've heard psychologists say, well, guilt is a very unhealthy emotion. Unless you're guilty-- if you're guilty, you need to get your guilt alleviated. And you can try to talk it away and pretend you don't have it.

Or you can get forgiven because it's something else that is causing that guilt. Now, that's what the Holy Spirit does. He brings you to the place where you can be forgiven and that guilt taken away. It is the Holy Spirit that produces that.

Now, I've discovered most people need convincing. They need convincing. Most people don't admit they're sinners. Most people I meet in the world don't even believe in the idea of sin. They're out blaming everybody else for the way they are.

They want to blame their environment. I am the way I am because when I was a kid, my dad forced me to eat spinach. And I've hated him ever since. And now I've gotten an angry attitude because of that. So they're the reason I am the way I am.

Or they want to blame their genetic structure. I am biologically prone and predisposed to a certain behavior. I have no choice at all. Listen, this game has gone all the way back to the Garden of Eden. That's exactly what Adam did. When God busted him for his choice, he blamed his wife. In fact, he blamed God. He said, it's the woman You gave me!

But the Holy Spirit does have a way of convincing the human heart of the need of the human heart, shining the bright light of truth into that life. By the way, convicting, convincing is not your job. It's the Holy Spirit's job. We get into trouble when we try to take that job over because it usually doesn't come out as conviction. It usually comes out as condemnation. It just makes people feel really bad.

It's like the little girl who sold Girl Scout cookies. She sold hundreds of boxes of Girl Scout cookies. And so they asked her, how were you successful in selling so many? She said, actually, it's quite easy. You've got to look people right in the eye and make them feel guilty. She said it works every time.

It might work selling Girl Scout cookies. It does not work in sharing the gospel. Jesus said, no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws them. And the way He draws them is by the Holy Spirit. So He's going to convict the world.

And notice in verse 9, the sin is singular-- of sin, not sins. He's not going to come along and say, you spoke badly to your neighbor, or you were speeding-- like you are always speeding-- this morning, or you stole something when you were younger. Your conscience usually does a pretty good job of that.

No, the Holy Spirit will convict people of sin, singular. That is a very particular type of sin that their conscience would never convict them of-- ever. Now, what is that sin? It says unbelief of sin because they do not believe in Me. That's the sin the Holy Spirit convicts people of-- unbelief.

People in the world on their own do not see unbelief as a sin. Heck, it's a badge of honor for them. It's a badge of honor. They'll say things like, I don't believe in Jesus. I'm not as weak as you are. I don't need to believe in something other than myself, outside of myself. I don't need to believe in God. I am much more enlightened and intelligent than you are.

They don't see unbelief as the thing that separates them from God forever. But the Holy Spirit will convince them of that. It's the worst sin because it prevents forgiveness of all other sins. John, chapter 3-- he who believes in the Son is not condemned. He who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

John, chapter 5-- Jesus said, you do not believe. John, chapter 8-- you do not believe in Me. John, chapter 14-- you do not believe in Me. It's that sin. He'll convict the world of sin because they don't believe in Me.

The second thing He'll do is convict the world of righteousness. Verse 10-- because I go to my Father and you see Me no more. What on earth does that mean? Well, most people think if there is a God, if there's a heaven, I'm probably good enough to go there. I may not be perfect, I may not be 100% righteous, but I have a righteousness. I'm better than a lot of people. And I believe that in the end, my good deeds will outweigh my bad deeds.

That's how most people live their lives, by a relative righteousness. But then Jesus came into the world. And suddenly, you have the perfect standard of righteousness. Suddenly, no matter who you are, next to Jesus, you ain't much. Imperfection next to perfection simply accentuates imperfection. That's why Isaiah the prophet-- though he was a prophet-- when he saw God, said, woe is me, I'm undone. I'm not that special next to God.

Years ago, I had the opportunity to speak at the Billy Graham training center at The Cove. I've spoken there for many times. But on one particular occasion, I got really nervous. Because I happened to be at lunch that day with Dr. Billy Graham at his house. And he smiled. And he said, I'm going to come to hear you speak tonight.

And I'm hoping that something happens where he's busy and he doesn't come because it's not easy to give a message in front of Billy Graham. To make it worse, the topic I was assigned to speak on that night was evangelism.

[LAUGHTER]

Yeah. This Skip's going to tell Billy Graham how to do evangelism. This is not good.

[LAUGHTER]

You see, when you know a little bit about evangelism but you're speaking to the world's most effective evangelist ever born, who has led more people to Christ in history than anyone else, It's a little daunting. So you have a perfect standard of righteousness in Jesus Christ.

So yeah, you've got people saying, you know, I think I'm going to go to heaven. If there's a God, I'll be there because I think my good deeds will outweigh my bad deeds. No. This is what Jesus said-- He's going to convict the world of righteousness because I go to My Father and you see Me no more.

Let me explain that. There's only one person who ever walked this earth who, at the end of his life, had the right to go directly, on his own merit, into the presence of God-- only one person-- and that's Jesus Christ.

He died. He ascended into heaven. God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name Lord above all other names. So unless you possess the righteousness of Jesus Christ, you will never see God. You will never see God unless you are that righteous.

Didn't Jesus say, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of God? Unless you possess the righteousness of Jesus, you will never see God. So the sin that condemns you is unbelief. The righteousness that saves you is the righteousness that only Jesus possesses.

And folks, that happens to be the gospel. The gospel is, you come convicted of your sin, admit that you're a sinner, ask Jesus to save you by simple belief. And then God gives to you the righteousness of his son, imputes that to your account.

2 Corinthians 5:21, God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. It's the exchange. So now God, if you believe, will see you as if you are as perfect as Jesus was. That's righteousness.

And He'll convict the world of judgment-- verse 11-- because the ruler of this world is judged. The Holy Spirit will convince people that there is, indeed, a coming judgment, a time of accountability, and that if you reject Jesus Christ, you will face that judgment.

But he says this-- of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged. When Jesus died on the cross, Satan's kingdom was effectively over. I know he's had a lot of free time since then. And that chain is pretty long, and he's done a lot of damage. But his fate is sealed. The cross ruined him.

That's Genesis chapter 3, verse 15. There's coming a seed, a male child who will be born and crush the head of Satan. It's Colossians, chapter 2-- at the cross, he disarmed principalities and powers. It's Hebrews, chapter 2-- he destroyed him who had the power of death-- that is, the devil.

So when Jesus says, of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged, He is arguing from greater to lesser. He's saying that if God destroyed the most powerful evil force in the universe, you will not escape. You will not escape.

If he judged the devil, then anyone less than the devil who rejects Christ will face judgment. You know, I've always seen it as a healthy sign when people are thinking about future judgment. I've always seen it as good.

A few years ago, I had an FBI agent who wanted to come and meet with me. And he sat in my office. And he was kind of shuffling his feet. He was really embarrassed. He said, you know, I was on the airplane the other day, and I'm flying. And I started thinking, what happens if this plane goes down? And he thought, I'm going to die. And he goes, suddenly, I was overcome with a fear of death.

And he looked at me and goes, that's weird, huh? I said, that's not weird, that's smart. That's a healthy thing to be afraid of. He said, no. No, you don't understand. I'm an FBI agent. I've faced death many times. I've had guns pointed at me. I've shot people. They've shot me. I've been on SWAT teams. I've learned to deal with fear.

I said, let me ask you a question. Are you right with God? Do you have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, his Son? I explained what that meant. He said no. And I said, you should be very afraid-- very afraid.

Because there is a coming judgment, a coming reckoning. If you think you're going to approach God in that condition, you ought to be afraid to die. I said, you want to be unafraid to die? You want to be unafraid of bullets, and viruses, and anything else? Receive Christ right now. Let him clothe you with His righteousness and walk out of here a bold, saved human being.

And he did. He prayed right there to receive Christ. His life changed forever. That's the Holy Spirit's job, to do that, convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

But there's a third component-- not only His presence, not only His pressure, but also His people. And my statement is this-- His people are instrumental. So what I mean by that is the Spirit of God and the people of God work in tandem together. They work in tandem together.

Again, look at verse 7-- nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It's to your advantage that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Helper will not come. What are the next two words? To you, disciples, to you-- He's coming to you. But if I depart, I will send Him to you, disciples.

Verse 8-- and when He has come-- implied in that is when He has come to you-- He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. He is coming to you so that when you are involved in this process, He will be behind the scenes working. But you are very much a part of it.

So if you don't mind, look back in chapter 15 at verse 26 and 27 again. When the Helper comes, whom I will send from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father-- look at this. He will testify of Me.

But wait. Look at the next verse. And you also will bear witness because you have been with Me from the beginning. Who's going to testify? The Holy Spirit and Me, together in tandem, working together.

Yes, it's the Holy Spirit who does the convicting. But He always does it through human channels. He works through people. We are God's instruments.

Virtually every conversion in the book of Acts was the Holy Spirit working through a Christian witness. Who preached a sermon on the day of Pentecost? Peter. Peter preached-- Peter! Peter wasn't a seasoned sermon-izer, sermon-ator.

[LAUGHTER]

Peter's up there preaching. And you know what it says? The people were cut to the heart. Cut to the heart-- that's conviction. How did they get convicted? It wasn't Peter. But God used Peter, the Holy Spirit through the message of Peter, both together-- both together.

You say, well, what about Saul of Tarsus? He didn't have a Christian witness. He was on the road to Damascus. Oh, he did. Yeah, the Lord spoke to him on the Damascus road. But do remember what the Lord said to him? He said, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It's hard for you to kick against the goads, prods.

That's the conviction. Something in his heart was goading him, prodding him, convicting him, convincing him. He had just watched Stephan die a martyr's death with joy in his heart. And ever since he saw that and heard him testify of Jesus, that has been eating away at his soul. And so the Lord said, it's hard for you to kick against those goads, that conviction that the Holy Spirit placed through the martyrdom of Stephen.

Then there was Cornelius in the book of Acts. And Cornelius had an angel appear to him. So you've got an unbelieving Roman soldier having a conversation with an angel. That ought to be interesting.

And you would think once the angel has the unbeliever's attention, he's going to preach the gospel to the unbeliever. He doesn't do it. He doesn't do it! The angel says to Cornelius, go call for Peter. And when he has come, he is going to tell you and your family how to get saved.

Well, why don't you just do it? Because God always uses human instruments. So if you look in God's tool box, it's pretty unimpressive tools-- us.

Now, I hope that didn't offend you. Because that's right out of scripture, right? 1 Corinthians, 1-- you see your calling brethren, not many mighty, not many noble, now many wiser called, for God has chosen the foolish things of this world. That's my life verse, by the way. That's my life verse. When people ask, that's it.

God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. So you open up God's tool box-- not brilliant, not impressive, just us. But us filled with the Holy Spirit, us empowered by the Holy Spirit, us used by the Holy Spirit, us instruments of the Holy Spirit-- that's a winning combo. And that's how the Holy Spirit works in the world.

Now, as we close this and we get back to the task-- same task, different generations. It's 2020. Some of us are wearing masks. We've got a COVID thing going on. So it's not 2000 years ago.

But it's the same task-- go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. When you hear that, you might immediately think, too big of a task, too hard, too many unsaved people. I want to give you a few takeaways.

Number one, you and I are called not to be manufacturers, just distributors. You know the difference? You're not called to save anybody. You can't manufacture their salvation. I've had people say to me, I remember two years ago, you saved me.

I didn't save anybody. I'm just a distributor. I may have said something that the Lord used, but it's His message. It's His gospel. I didn't make this up. I'm not the manufacturer. I'm just the distributor. You plant the seed. You give the message. And God takes it and does great things with it. So that's number one.

Number two, I think the enormity of this task is what keeps us going, not the smallness of the task. Fact check-- it's called the Great Commission. It's not called a mediocre commission or the small commission. It's called the Great Commission. It's a great task.

The communist party in Soviet Russia, years ago, learned that they could recruit more people to their endeavor by telling them that the task is huge, almost impossible, but worth them giving their lives for. They said, we had more young people sign on because we discovered people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. There's nothing bigger than this. Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, and whoever believes will be saved.

And number three-- I want to close with this last little tidbit. Great works are done by the combination of smaller parts. Great works are done by the combination of smaller parts. You can't do it all. I can't do it all. But together, we put our parts together-- great things can happen.

You say, well, I can't go into all the world, I'm raising kids at home. That's your part. You are depositing truth into those little hearts so they will grow up and be able to withstand the onslaught of weirdness and falseness that will be their culture. You think it's bad now? Wait till they grow up. That's a great, noble task. We just need to see that whatever we do, it's worth it.

A man was at a construction site, and there were a group of stone masons all working on stone. They were all doing exactly the same task. The man asked one of them, what are you doing? And the reply was, I'm chipping stone. He said it like that. He was just, like, I hate my job-- I'm chipping stone.

He asked a second man, what are you doing? He said, I'm making a wall. He was doing the same thing. One's chipping stone. The other's making a wall.

He asked a third, what are you doing? He said, I'm building a cathedral. Guess what? We're building a Kingdom. The Holy Spirit and us, together on this earth, we are building a Kingdom. How's that for a noble task?

[APPLAUSE]

Father, thank you that your Holy Spirit is in this world, convicting the world of the sin of unbelief, of a righteousness that can only be the righteousness of Jesus to get somebody into heaven, and of the guarantee of future judgment. Oh, how we need Him at work in our lives, at work in the world around us, in our relatives or friends, at work, neighbors.

I pray, Lord, that we would be faithful to distribute what only You can manufacture. By Your grace, help us. In Jesus' name, Amen. Let's all stand and we'll sing together.

We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church. We'd love to know how this message impacted you. Email us at mystory@calvarynm.church.

And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.

Additional Messages in this Series

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6/14/2020
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Seeing Truth Clearly
2 Timothy 4:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Hiram Johnson said, "The first casualty in war is truth." God’s people have been in a cosmic battle since the fall. Satan’s first allegation against truth was in Genesis 3:1: "Has God indeed said...?" Deception regarding truth is Satan's primary occupation. We now live in what might be dubbed a post-truth culture wherein the very idea of absolute truth is considered archaic and even offensive. In this series, we will look to the "Scripture of Truth" (Daniel 10:21) to reinforce our foundation and engender biblical literacy. Here at the end of Paul's life, he could foresee the abandonment of truth, and he gave Timothy this antidote: "Preach the Word!"
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6/21/2020
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Seeing God as Father
Luke 11:2
Skip Heitzig
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God is presented in Scripture by a variety of images. He is called our Rock, our Refuge, our Warrior, our Shepherd, our Shield, our Hiding Place, our Redeemer, our Fountain, our Husband, and our Vinedresser. But no motif is as powerful and personal as seeing God as our Father. With this title, the invisible God becomes the intimate God. Today, on Father’s Day, we consider the singular phrase "Our Father in heaven" as an introduction to the doctrine of God. Let’s turn over each word and mine the depths of the riches contained in this great verse.
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6/28/2020
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How Can I Relate to God?
Exodus 32-34
Skip Heitzig
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The subject of God is the loftiest of all themes and the pinnacle of all pursuits. For some people, the idea of God is absurd because He is not readily perceived by the senses, like a flower or another person. But as we learn who God is and how perceptible He is to us, I think we’ll be both lifted up and humbled all at the same time. Today we trace the journey that every person must take who wants to relate to the God of the universe. Let’s examine five stages of this relationship.
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7/5/2020
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Biblical History: Fact or Fancy?
Dr. Steven Collins
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Dr. Steven Collins serves as the dean of the College of Archaeology at Veritas International University and a consulting research professor at Trinity Southwest University. He is also the director of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project in Jordan, which is believed to be the location of Sodom.
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7/12/2020
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Hello, I’m God!
Exodus 34:5-9
Skip Heitzig
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People have written and spoken about God for millennia. It’s what I have done for nearly four decades. But today we get to hear from God Himself as He gives to Moses His own autobiography. Here He introduces Himself by stating His name and His occupation as God. He states His primary character traits, thus framing what our relationship with Him is going to be like. This is a primary passage of Scripture, meaning other biblical authors make reference to it later on in their writings. Let’s find out what God says about Himself.
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7/19/2020
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Knowing the God Who Knows You
Psalm 139:1-6, 23-24
Skip Heitzig
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A person with knowledge can be intimidating. They spew facts and figures and can dizzy us with information and understanding. But rightly seen, a study of God’s comprehensive knowledge can be a source of great comfort to us. In this series, 20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly, we come to grips with the fact that God sees everything most clearly. His knowledge is vast, infinite, comprehensive, specific, and personal. But let’s observe how God’s omniscience can become inspiring rather than intimidating.
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7/26/2020
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Here, There, and Everywhere
Psalm 139:7-12
Skip Heitzig
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One of the Beatles’ most melodic hits expressed a couple’s romantic desire to be together at all times and in all places and was simply titled, “Here, There and Everywhere.” This title also expresses a unique attribute of God (what theologians call an incommunicable attribute). He is everywhere present in the totality of His being! This may be one of the hardest-to-understand characteristics of God, but one that brings great comfort to us.
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8/2/2020
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The Unrivaled Power of God
Psalm 139:13-18
Skip Heitzig
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God is called Almighty fifty-seven times in Scripture. It means that the resources of His power are boundless. He is unlimited in His ability and unconstrained in His capacity. God’s attribute of omnipotence is helpful for us to remember when we are feeling overwhelmed with threatening circumstances. Just as we feel confident when our mobile devices have plenty of battery power to spare, we can live confidently knowing that our great God has power for any of our problems.
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8/9/2020
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Holy, Holy, Holy!
Isaiah 6:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Holiness sounds scary. Thoughts of dusty, cloistered halls of a monastery fill our minds when we hear the word. We might think of chants and long prayers rather than anthems and short prayers. It hardly seems like an appropriate word for the twenty-first century! But according to one theologian, God’s holiness is the one attribute that binds all His other attributes together. This is the characteristic that most uniquely describes God. Let’s consider it today.
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8/16/2020
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One Plus One Plus One Equals One?
John 14:1-18
Skip Heitzig
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One of the most fundamental yet challenging truths in Scripture is the doctrine of the Trinity. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Try to explain it and you might lose your mind, but try to explain it away and you might lose your soul. The Bible openly teaches the plurality within the Godhead—three persons who are distinct from one another yet perfectly One in essence. How are we to think about this? And how should it affect us personally?
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8/23/2020
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Pain: God’s Biggest Problem
John 9:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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Perhaps the biggest impediment to believing in God (as stated by those who don’t) is the presence of pain and suffering in the world. How can there be a God who is benevolent and omnipotent with the sheer volume of grief, misery, travail, and torment at any given moment? Today we explore the theme of a loving God in a universe pockmarked by pain. As Jesus was in Jerusalem with His disciples, they came across a blind man. I’d like to show you four features of this most common and universal of human experiences.
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8/30/2020
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Christ Jesus Our Lord
Philippians 2:5-11
Skip Heitzig
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At the very center of history’s stage stands Jesus Christ. He has no peers. The Father in heaven sent Him on the mission of redemption and He humbly surrendered. When it was accomplished, He conquered death itself by resurrection and returned to glory. In what is considered by many to be the greatest single statement about Jesus Christ in the New Testament, Paul succinctly framed His humiliation, His exaltation, and His example to us.
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9/6/2020
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The Atonement: His Death, Our Life
John 12:20-33
Skip Heitzig
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Wasn’t there any other way for God to save human beings than by sending His Son to die? The very idea of a bloody crucifixion sounds brutal and barbarous to some, yet it is the centerpiece of our faith. What is the big deal about the atonement? Why the cross? Why had it been the plan of God through the ages? Today we examine the death of Christ for us and, in His own words, His own estimation of its necessity and consequence.
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9/13/2020
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He’s Alive! Proofs of the Resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:3-8
Skip Heitzig
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Just as your own heart is the pump that brings life-giving blood to your entire body, so is the resurrection of Jesus that gives life to the gospel message. Without it, our faith would be totally useless; our message would be utterly powerless. The resurrection is also what separates Jesus Christ from every other spiritual leader and would-be messiah. It validates His teaching. It authenticates His claims. It substantiates His promises. And it corroborates our confidence in Him as our Savior and Lord.
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10/11/2020
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Who Is the Holy Spirit?
John 16
Nate Heitzig
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There can be a lot of mystery and misinformation surrounding the Holy Spirit. When we look to Scripture, however, the third person of the Godhead comes into clear focus. In this teaching, Nate Heitzig describes the person of the Holy Spirit, His work both at scale in the world and individually in the hearts of believers, and how He helps you gain a deeper understanding of God's Word.
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10/18/2020
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Help Has Arrived!
John 14:15-18
Skip Heitzig
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Someone said to me this past week, “Life is hard, but God is good!” We all know it’s true. To live for God in an ungodly world is challenging, sometimes daunting. But God never intended for us to try it alone! He has provided for us a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who is not only at work in the world around us but is very busy working inside of us. Let’s drill down into the promise Jesus gave to His disciples in the upper room about the coming Spirit.
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There are 16 additional messages in this series.
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