Sunday, February 17, 2008

Matt's Messages - The Holy Spirit Brings Us to Christ

“The Holy Spirit Brings Us To Christ”
The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
February 17, 2008
John 16:5-11, Titus 3:3-7, 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6

A couple weeks ago, we began our new series on The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit–our relationship with the third Person of the Holy Trinity.

We saw the Spirit come down at Jesus’ baptism and rest on Jesus like a dove, and we said four things about the Holy Spirit which we will see again and again this Winter and Spring:

The Holy Spirit is God, worthy to be worshiped.
The Holy Spirit is a Person, able to be related to.
The Holy Spirit is Mysterious, beyond our comprehension.
And the Holy Spirit is Christ-Centered, intent on “spotlighting” the Lord Jesus Christ.

And for next few months, we’re going to spend time thinking about many of the precious ministries of this Christ-Centered, Mysterious, Divine Person to us.

Here’s why:

Because we need Him.

I want to say thank you to this church family for praying our family through our most recent bought with the flu.

If you remember, I had a bad cold and could hardly preach two weeks ago when we began this series on the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

And then on Wednesday the 6th, I came down with a high fever and the flu. And then it rushed through our family so that at one point, all 6 of us had fevers and flu.

And I am thankful for your many prayers, emails, cards, running errands, and bringing over hot and delicious meals. Some of those meals were so good, we’re considering getting the flu again just taste them!

As you can tell, I’m still not completely over it. I still only have about ½ of my voice, and I still have cough.

When the flu had passed by about Tuesday of this week, I found that I was lightheaded and headache-y, and short of breath.

My lungs had not yet recovered from the illness, and I was short of breath.

Just picking up one of the kids or making the bed would wear me out. And I was finding myself to be weak and lacking air.

I’ve struggled from time to time with what they call “chronic bronchitis,” but I’ve never had this before–especially for so long.

I have a new appreciation for what asthmatics go through.

And, as I was struggling to get my breath, I realized that it was a perfect illustration of why we need more teaching on the Holy Spirit. Because He is the Breath of God.

He is the “Ruach.” He is the “Pneuma.” He is the Wind of God. You can not see Him, but you can see His effects.

And when we don’t have enough of Him in the lungs of the church, we can see the deleterious effect that has on our Body.

Not that there is too little of the Holy Spirit to go around[!], but that we have neglected Him and not appropriated all of what He wants to give us, and have missed a good deal of what He wants to do in us.

We need the Breath of God. We need the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

And that’s why we are going to spend so much time considering His precious ministries to us.

And today, we start with this one:

The Holy Spirit Brings Us to Christ.

The only reason why you and I are Christians today (if we are) is because of the mysterious, miraculous ministry of the Holy Spirit!

He Brings Us to Christ.

I don’t think that we think about this enough.

Often, when we mention the Holy Spirit, we talk about Spiritual Gifts or about showy, powerful miracles that the Holy Spirit has wrought.

But in our lives, few ministries of the Holy Spirit are more important than His work in drawing us to salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

That was part of what Jesus was teaching in the Upper Room the night that He was betrayed.

In John chapter 14 through 17, Jesus taught about the coming of the Holy Spirit–whom He called (in Greek) the Paraclete–the One Called Alongside.

And in chapter 16, verses 5 through 11, Jesus taught that one of the most important ministries this coming Comforter would have would be to convict the world.

#1. He Brings Conviction.

Jesus was teaching His disciples that it was better for Him to die, rise, and ascend than to stick around on Earth. V.7 “It is for your good that I am going away.”

And the reason is because of the Holy Spirit. “Unless I go away, the Counselor [Paraclete] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

The Holy Spirit has come because Jesus sent Him.

And here is His ministry: conviction. V.8

“When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”

Now, notice that this conviction ministry is one that the Spirit does to the world.

Remember who the world is?

It isn’t the creation here. It is the world-system, It is unbelieving society. It is those who are outside of Christ.

Remember, Real Christians Are in the World but Not Of the World.

But guess what? We used to be of the world.

How did we go from being a part of the world in rebellion against God to becoming a part of the church, someone saved out of the world?

It starts with conviction.

The Holy Spirit speaks to an unbelieving heart about sin, righteousness, and judgment.

Now, I think that’s the world’s sin, the world’s righteousness, and the world’s judgment.

The Holy Spirit is sent to convince the world of its guilt and perilous position. To press home how eternally dangerous their being the world is to them. The Holy Spirit convicts the world.

First “of sin.”

The Holy Spirit's job as the promised paraclete is to come to someone who is in the world and convince them, show them, press into them how dangerous is their sin, why? Because they are not believing. This is the root of all sin. All sin is tied to unbelief.

And I believe that He might be doing that in someone's heart right here today. You are an unbeliever, you don't belong yet to Christ. And the Spirit is saying to your heart, "You don't believe. You are sinning. Sinning earns Hell. Repent! And believe!"

The Holy Spirit convicts the world of righteousness.

Now, you need to know that the world has a form of righteousness that it is very happy with. And it's this righteousness that the Spirit must convict us of for us to be saved. It's what the Bible calls the righteousness of works. Thinking that some action or set of actions that we do in our own strength will earn for us favor with God.

Righteousness is divine approval through godly action. Paul tried to do this. He tried to follow God's laws and earn God's favor and approval. But he found out that that is impossible. Isaiah says that our righteousness, the unbelieving world's righteousness is as worthless as filthy rags! Look at v.10.

“In regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer.”

Jesus was busy during his time on Earth convicting "Pharisee-types" of their empty righteousness. Now the Holy Spirit will come and take his place.

And the Spirit speaks to the heart of someone in the world and says, "Your righteousness will not cut it! You cannot reach the perfect standard for salvation. Repent of your attempts to get to God on your own, and rest on the work of Jesus on the Cross for your sin!”

And I believe that he's doing it right now among us. He's speaking to unbelieving hearts in this room. And he's telling you to repent of your own righteousness and trust Jesus for His righteousness to be given to you.

The Holy convicts the world of sin, and of righteousness....and judgment.

You see, the world has been judging. In the world's judgment, Jesus was not the Christ. Jesus was not Lord. Jesus was not the Savior. Jesus is not the Son of God. The world looks at Jesus and draws the WRONG judgment! Look at v.11.

“And in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”

In just hours, Satan will lose his greatest battle. He will be defeated at the Cross. And all who believed his lies and made the judgments that Satan suggested will also be condemned.

Unless the Spirit convicts.

The Spirit comes along and whispers to the heart of someone in the world, “Your judgment is wrong! Jesus is who he claims to be. If you stay where you are, you will be condemned with Satan! Repent of your sinful, unbelieving, self-righteous judgment of Jesus and believe his claims. Put your faith in him. Believe! Believe!”

The Holy Spirit convicts the world of its wrongheaded judgment.

And I pray that He is doing that same convicting work right here, right now. Someone here is realizing that they have been wrong about Jesus. He is not just a good man. Not just a prophet. Not just a nice person. But he is the Living God who demands that we lay down our arms and adore Him. Surrender our lives and put our faith in Him alone.

And I join with the Spirit's convicting work right now and urge you if He's speaking to your heart to repent of your sin and your righteousness and your judgment and put your faith in Jesus right now.

He Brings Conviction. It’s the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

But that’s not all.

#2. He Brings New Birth.

Turn back to Titus chapter 3. Look at Paul’s explanation of where salvation comes from in verses 3 through 7.

“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. [We were in the world!] We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us [HOW?] through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

“Through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

What was the Holy Spirit doing when you were saved?

You see the Holy Spirit did more than speak to you heart about your sin, righteousness, and judgment!

He gave you a new heart!

He gave you a new birth!

Remember John chapter 3 when Jesus met at night with Nicodemus? Nick at Nite?

He told Nick, “You must be born again!”

And Nick didn’t know what to think of that.

And Jesus said, “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. [You need a spirit-birth!] You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit doesn’t just bring conviction. He brings regeneration.

We were dead in our trespasses and sins. We had to be made alive again!

It’s mysterious how He does it. Our new birth is something that He does miraculously and mysteriously.

It involves our believing the gospel and trusting in what Jesus did on the Cross.

But it isn’t caused by our faith, mysteriously, is the cause of our faith!

And it is the work of the Holy Spirit.

He brings conviction.
And He brings new birth.

Another way of saying it is #3. He Brings Conversion.

Turn from Titus chapter 3 to 1 Thessalonians chapter 1.

This is Paul’s account of how the Thessalonian Christians became Christians.

Look at verse 4.

“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction [like John 16!]. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”

And verse 9 says that they turned “to God from idols to serve the living and true God...”

This was the work of the Holy Spirit.

He brings conversion.

If anyone gets saved, it’s because the Holy Spirit did it!

The Holy Spirit Brings Us to Christ.

What’s the application of that truth?

I can think of three things right away:

#1. Come to Christ!

If you are under conviction right now, give in and come to Christ.

You are a sinner.
Your righteousness won’t cut it.
Your judgment has been wrong so far.

Come to Christ.

Don’t resist the Holy Spirit and the message of the Gospel!

Listen to the Holy Spirit and believe the message of the Gospel!

Come to Christ.

I invite you right now, right where you are to surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit in conviction, new birth, and conversion.

Turn away from idols.
Turn away from your way of life.
Turn away from emptiness.

And turn to Jesus.

He saves us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy.

He saves us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Get washed! Get renewed! Get reborn!

He pours out the Holy Spirit on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

That’s what I invite you to right now.

Come to Christ!

And if you have (application #2), Thank God that the Holy Spirit Brought You to Christ!

He didn’t have to do it!

We didn’t deserve it!

But we desperately needed it!

And the Holy Spirit did it.

If you are saved today, it’s because the Holy Spirit brought you to Christ.

Thank Him!

When I was in Junior High School, an traveling evangelist named Earl Bailey came to our little Methodist church and held revival meetings.

And I remember Earl Baily preaching about sin, and righteousness, and judgment.

I remember that he said that closer we got to the light, the more we could see our imperfections, like looking into a bathroom mirror. The closer we got, the more we could see how much help we needed!

And I remember praying after one of his messages to receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and the next day I told someone about it.

Was that because I was so smart?
Was that because I was so decisive that I picked Jesus?

No. It was because I had come under conviction.

And because the Holy Spirit was working on me.

And because He was giving me new life.

Are you convicted, regenerated, and converted to Jesus Christ?

Praise God for the Holy Spirit!

And #3. Relax and Tell Others About Jesus!

Why do I say, “Relax?”

Because it’s not your job to bring other people to Christ!

You can’t convict them. You can’t give them new birth. You can’t convert them!

But the Holy Spirit can.

It’s His job.

Our job is just to reach out and share the gospel with those who need to hear it.

The story is told of a drunken man who came up to D.L. Moody and said, “Hey, Pastor Moody, I’m one of your converts!”

To which Moody (ever quick on his feet) said, “You must be one of my converts! Because one of the Lord’s would not be acting like you are!”

Do you get all twisted in knots at the thought of sharing the gospel?

Relax. It’s not up to you. You can’t save anyone.

But the Holy Spirit can. And He will.

So let’s cooperate with Him and get the word out!

The Holy Spirit Brings Us to Christ.