John 16v4-15; The Work of the Holy Spirit
As Jesus prepares to leave his disciples he promises them that they will not be left alone, the Counsellor will come to be with them. This promised outpouring of the Spirit will fulfil the dual purposes of bringing conviction and comfort. He will expose sin and explain Christ. The third person of the trinity would be poured out in a dramatic way on the day of Pentecost, and he would change these fearful followers into empowered apostles.
1. How would you describe how the Holy Spirit works in your life to someone who has never been to church? Share a time with the group when you experienced his work in your life.
2. What are some of the images that scripture uses to explain the Holy Spirit to us? (e.g. Mark 1.10, Acts 2.3, Proverbs 9.1-6, Isaiah 30.21) What do these images reveal about his work and person?
3. If the Holy Spirit is “a person and not a power”, as Jim said, what difference does this make in how we relate to him? Jesus also compared the work of the Spirit to the wind (John 3.8), how does this illustration help to explain His personhood?
4. Jesus describes the work of the Holy Spirit as bringing conviction for sin, revealing unrighteousness and warning of judgement. Pick one of these three activities and describe in your own words how the Spirit does this practically in your life and the world.
5. Galatians 5.22 describes the fruits of the Spirit’s work in our lives, how do we reconcile these characteristics of growth with the more disciplinary aspects of the Spirit’s work in the previous question?
6. What impact does this understanding of the Spirit’s work have on our evangelism? How do we balance bringing a message that the world needs to hear with the one it wants to hear? How does it influence our message to others about the love of God?
7. When preaching in the open air to the miners, it is said that John Wesley would preach on the law until he saw the streaks of white down their cheeks (from their tears) and then he would preach grace. Why do you think our society responds differently today when they hear of their sin and a coming judgement? What does this change mean for how we reach them today?
8. Jim mentioned in his sermon, “the Holy Spirit is the best preacher we will ever hear”. How can we allow the Preacher more influence over what we say and do?
The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives brings peace, joy and assurance. But he also lets us know when we are thinking, saying and doing things that grieve him. Through it all his aim is to be our ever-present encourager and guide to help us “find out what pleases the Lord” (Ephesians 5.10). Take some time to invite him to speak to you and teach you this week more about living in the Spirit.