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John 16:1-8 by Robert Dean
Series:John (1998)
Duration:1 hr 7 mins 35 secs

Procession of the HS; Conviction of the World; John 16:1-8

John 16:1 NASB "These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling." In context the "these things" specifically relate to what He is teaching that night, the Bible doctrine that He is developing on the spiritual life, which involves the command to love one another just as Christ loved the church, the methodology for achieving that which is based on fellowship with Christ, abiding in the vine, and then the warning in 15:18-25 of the antagonism, hostility and hatred of the world system for those who are believers. He tells them that they are going to go out into a world where nobody is going to like them, that there is nothing out there that has any affinity with them and that all are antagonistic to them. The question then might be: Well how are we going to survive? That is why he sends the Helper.

We can't witness, we can't convince people of the truth of Christianity, we can have no success apart from the ministry of God the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus says: "These things [doctrines] I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling." Here He uses the Greek verb skandalizo [skandalizw], aorist passive subjunctive. This basically has the connotation in this context of falling, stumbling, and here it is really falling from doctrine, being driven away from the truth. The reason for the subjunctive mood is because that is always potential. It is always possible to fail miserably in the spiritual life.

Wisdom is not based on IQ or degrees, it is based on how closely thinking aligns with God's thinking, which is reality. If a person's thinking is antagonistic or opposed to God's thinking he is just a fool, no matter how high his IQ. What we have learned from John chapter three is that man hates the light. From Romans chapter one we see that negative volition at God-consciousness suppresses what he knows—he knows that God exists. But Paul also insists that all men not only have a knowledge lf God but they have an internal sense of right and wrong. That doesn't mean that what they think is right and what they think is wrong conforms to God's standards of what is right and wrong.  This tells us that in a witnessing situation that we are already starting off in a sense with God on our side. We are already at first base: they know God exists and we don't have to prove these things. Despite all their protestations to the contrary unbelievers do know that God exists. But ultimately, just as we have God to aid us in that process, we also have the Holy Spirit who aids us in making the gospel clear when we present it.

John 15:26, 27 NASB "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, {that is} the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you {will} testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning." Jesus says that because we need an assistant to help us with the antagonism of the world, and this assistant has to be fully God. So He proceeds from the Father.

Then Jesus goes on to warn them that they will be outcasts. This has social implications, that once we get out there and start representing Christ it is going to change our lives. With the disciples they would be treated as a Gentile almost. John 16:2 NASB "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. [3] These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me." Jesus begins to outline what they are going to do top them. He underscores that the reason there is hostility is because they have not known the Father, there is no relationship there, no positive volition at God-consciousness. [4] "But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you." We have to learn the doctrine so that when our time of testing comes it is in our souls so that we can recall it. When Jesus was with the disciples He did not tell them these things because it wasn't necessary. He made a legitimate offer of the kingdom to Israel, but Israel has rejected Him and he has to warn the disciples of what is in store for them. [5] "But now I am going 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." They haven't caught the plan. [7] "But 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 go, I will send Him to you." Cause and effect in history. Jesus had to leave before the Holy Spirit came. Jesus is also a helper and that is why the Holy Spirit is called another Helper, another assistant. "I will send" is a future active indicative of pempo [pempw] and this is not the same as the procession of the Spirit. This is future tense and has to do with the Holy Spirit's role in time and is a reference to what happens on the day of Pentecost when Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to the church.

John 16:8 NASB "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment." This is a verse we really need to understand in terms of witnessing. He will convict the world, not the believer, not the church. He will convict concerning three things: sin, righteousness and judgment. This is the Holy Spirit's mission in relation to the world. Remember the context. They are going to be hated, despised, rejected by the world, but they are going to have a helper who is going to handle the world for them. That is the Holy Spirit and He is going to do three things specifically in relationship to the world. This is what He is going to do for every single member of the cosmic system. It is content oriented. The word for "convict" is the Greek word elencho [e)leggxw]. In the ancient world this was a judicial term. All of the terms that God uses to describe salvation all the way up to confession of sin are words that come out of the law courts in the ancient world. Our standing before God is related to absolutes and our relationship to His absolute righteousness as the supreme judge of the universe. The issue is whether we have or not the qualifications to have a relationship with Him. If we don't have the relationship we are going to be like a criminal in court convicted. It has nothing to do with how the criminal feels, it has to do with whether the evidence presented demonstrates their true guilt, not their guilt feelings but their real guilt. Did they violate the standards. That is what conviction means. It means to convince that you have violated the standard and to prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. The role of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world, to prove and bring a case against the world.

L.S. Chafer:  "There are three specific things the Holy Spirit is going to make clear to the unbeliever. In view of a finished work by Christ wherein sin is borne and all blessings are secured, the immeasurable failure for the individual for whom Christ has died is that he does not believe on Him. It is noticeable, though contrary to general opinion, that the Spirit does not enlighten a man with respect to all the sins the individual has committed…"

The issue isn't personal sins, the issue is the work of Christ on the cross. elencho is a cognitive concept; it is information. It is not a matter of creating shame or remorse concerning sin, nor is it so much as a reminder that sin has been committed. On the other hand, there is nothing to preclude sorrow or consciousness of sin. In other words, you can feel sorry, it's okay. It may happen and it is not wrong, but it doesn't impress God. It is rather that since sin has been borne by Christ there remains the one great and only responsibility of one's attitude towards the Saviour who bore them. The issue is not sin, the issue is what you think about Christ.

This unbelief, the Lord declared, is the basis of final condemnation. John 3:18 NASB "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." To make the unsaved realise this is a task too great for the teacher, and it is too great for you and me. It must be accomplished by the Holy Spirit and He will so reveal this specific truth to the unsaved within the elective divine purposes as the gospel is preached to them. Our job is to make the gospel as clear as we can with the ability, knowledge, gift that God has given us and he will do the rest.

" … The fact indicated in this text that the one ground of condemnation is failure to believe in Christ as Savior confirms the truth restated more than one hundred times in the New Testament that the one and only condition of salvation is faith in Christ as Savior."

The point that Jesus is making to the disciples and to us is that we are going to face antagonism but we have the greatest assistance in the universe, and that is God the Holy Spirit. And just because we are witnessing to somebody and they have objections and they react to us it doesn't mean we are not doing our job. God the Holy Spirit is using everything we say, and even though that person may reject the gospel, reject Christ, and may be negative, what the Scriptures say is they understood it. Just as every person knows God exists when you present the gospel they understand it. They may reject it but God the Holy Spirit made it clear to them no matter how badly you fouled it up.