Rev. Trevor Johnston
Series: DDIY – Don’t Do It Yourself (Life is Better With Some Help)
Week 2: Judge, Jury, and Advocate
Read John 16:7-11
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
In John 14:26, Jesus identifies the “Advocate” as the Holy Spirit. Here are some important things to understand about the Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit is a person.
He’s not a force. He’s not an “it”. Like all personal beings, has thoughts, feelings, emotions, and a will.
- Why is it important to understand that the Holy Spirit is a person, not just a force? What difference does that make?
The Holy Spirit is God.
God exists as a Trinity
Christians believe there is one God, who exists in three co-equal but distinctive persons. This is difficult for us to grasp, but it’s clearly what the New Testament writers believed.
- Describe the particular role that each person of the Trinity has.
- God the Father
- Jesus Christ
- The Holy Spirit
- Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the “Advocate” as a metaphor to help us understand what the Holy Spirit does. The Greek word for “advocate” encompasses several ideas: a comforter, a helper, and an attorney. What does that name “Advocate” tell you about what the Holy Spirit does for us?
- John 16:8 explains that the Holy Spirit “prove(s) the world to be in the wrong.…” We call this being “convicted” of sin. John Wesley called it, “convincing grace.” What does that expression “convincing grace” communicate to you about this aspect of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives?
Jesus indicates in John 16 that the Holy Spirit convinces (or convicts) us in three areas:
In Dr. Victor Copan’s book, Changing Your Mind, he defines sins as “everything that damages the (flourishing, wholeness and delight) God intended for all human relationships: whether with God, with others, or with the world. Anything that damages or breaks these relationships is sin.”
- How does this definition of sin differ from what some people think of when they hear the word “sin.”?
- Why is it a “gift” when the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin?
- If we feel excessive condemnation, shame or despair about our own sin – that doesn’t come from the Holy Spirit, but rather from Satan. In fact, the name “Satan” means “the accuser.” Satan wants us to think our sin is beyond redemption. Why does Satan try to make us feel that way?
The Holy Spirit never does that. He is kind in how He helps us recognize our sin, and He always convicts us in a way that gives us hope. The Holy Spirit also convinces us of:
- If the Holy Spirit lives inside you, how would your view of “righteousness” differ from that of a person who doesn’t have the Holy Spirit?
The third area about which the Holy Spirit convicts us is:
- Jesus warned that every person will face judgment after death and that we should take this seriously. However, knowing that Jesus Himself is our judge, what can we anticipate experiencing in the future judgment?
- The Holy Spirit helps us grow in self-awareness. We all have blind spots, where we think we’re doing well, but we’re not as good as we think. How can a person discover their blind spots so they can do better? What steps can we take to discern what our weak areas are?
- If it’s true that, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions;” why do most of us shy away from inviting constructive criticism from others?
- Read Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
In keeping with this passage, Pastor Trevor takes time each day to ask God:
- Where have I grieved you today?
- How have I missed the mark today?
If you have a method or plan like this that helps you become aware of your own personal sin so you can confess it and improve; share about that with the group.
- How can we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in His desire to help us become a better person – a better parent, a better child, a better spouse – better in all our relationships? What are some things we can do?
- Why is it better to have the Holy Spirit than to have Jesus living here on earth as a human?