Sermon #108 — John’s Gospel


      Title:                                 The Comfort of Conviction

      Text:                                 John 16:7-11

      Date:                                Sunday Morning — January 23, 2011

      Tape:                                John #108

      Subject:               Holy Spirit Conviction

      Reading: Leviticus 4:1-35 and 5:14-19



On August 13, 1833 Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a young, 20 year old preacher in Scotland, wrote these words in his diary, — “Clear conviction of sin is the only true origin of dependence on another’s righteousness, and therefore (strange to say!) of the Christian’s peace of mind and cheerfulness.” That is precisely the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 16. The title of my message is — The Comfort of Conviction.


Proposition: Holy Spirit comforts sinners by convincing us of sin.


“When Adam by transgression fell,

And conscious, fled his Maker’s face,

Linked in clandestine league with hell,

He ruined all his future race.

The seeds of evil once brought in,

Increased and filled the world with sin.


But lo! The Second Adam came,

The serpent’s subtle head to bruise;

He cancels his malicious claim,

And disappoints his devilish views;

Ransoms poor sinners with His blood,

And brings the sinner back to God.


[To understand these things aright,

This grand distinction should be known:

Though all are sinners in God’s sight,

There are but few so in their own.

To such as these our Lord was sent;

They’re only sinners who repent.]


[What comfort can a Savior bring

To those who never felt their woe?

A sinner is a sacred thing;

The Holy Ghost hath made him so.

New life from Him we must receive,

Before for sin we rightly grieve.]


This faithful saying let us own,

Well worthy ‘tis to be believed,

That Christ into the world came down,

That sinners might by Him be saved.

Sinners are high in His esteem,

And sinners highly value Him.”

—Joseph Hart


Sins of Ignorance


In the 4th and 5th chapters of Leviticus the Lord God gave detailed instructions concerning “sins of ignorance.” Six times the Lord told Moses that once any sin of ignorance was made known, atonement must be made by the divinely appointed sacrifice, and once atonement was made the offence would be forgiven. That is exactly the order of things in our experience of God’s saving grace in Christ.

Š      1st — Sin must be made known. The sinner must be convinced of his sin.

Š      2nd — Atonement must be made. The convinced sinner must bring the sacrifice God requires: — Jesus Christ crucified.

Š      3rd — The sinner convinced of his sin, the sinner for whom atonement has been made, is forgiven of his sin.

That is the comfort of conviction promised by our Savior in John 16:7-11.


The fact is none of us know our sin, except as God the Holy Spirit causes us to know it. None can or will confess his sin, except God the Holy Spirit convince him of his sin.


John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” (John 16:7-11)


I want to show you five things involved in the saving operations of God the Holy Spirit.


1.    The Commission of the Spirit


The Lord Jesus says, “I will send Him unto you” (v. 7). — I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). As the Lord Jesus came into the world as our Mediator, with a commission from the Father to redeem and save His elect, so too God the Holy Spirit comes to chosen sinners as our Divine Comforter, with a commission. He is sent of the Father and sent of the Son to effectually apply the blood to the redeemed, to effectually apply the salvation Christ obtained with His blood, to sprinkle the blood upon the redeemed.

Š      The Spirit of God comes as the Seal of the covenant.

Š      He comes with covenant commission to regenerate, call, sanctify, and preserve every chosen, redeemed sinner.

Š      His commission is to make sinners new creatures in Christ.

Š      His commission is to unite the Redeemer and the redeemed.

Š      His commission is to bring us to Christ. — The Lord Jesus sends His Spirit to His chosen as David sent Ziba to get Mephibosheth, with a work to do: — “Fetch him!” And when He comes, He fetches the redeemed to the Redeemer.


2.    The Coming of the Spirit


At the appointed time of love the Lord Jesus sends His Spirit to give life to His redeemed and bring His ransomedinto the bond of the covenant (Ezekiel 16:6-8; 37:1-14; 20:37; John 3:3-8). — “Ye must be born again!


(Ezekiel 36:21-29) “I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. 22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not [this] for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I [am] the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.”


“25 ¶ Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do [them]. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses.”


(Ezekiel 37:14) “And shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live…Then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.”


(Jeremiah 29:11-13) “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”


(John 3:3-8) “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”


The Effectual Call — When God the Holy Spirit comes in omnipotent mercy, the chosen, redeemed sinner is born again, Christ is revealed, and faith is created in the sinner, causing him by irresistible grace to come to the Savior. This is what we call the effectual call of the Spirit (Ephesians 1:3-14).


The Father’s Purpose — (Ephesians 1:3-14) “Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”


The Son’s Purchase — “7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”


The Spirit’s Performance — “13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”


Did you notice that the work of the Holy Spirit by which He causes us to trust the Lord Jesus is performed in us by causing us to hear “the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation” (v. 13)? That is what our Lord Jesus is talking about in John 16:7-11…


3.    The Conviction of the Spirit


When God the Holy Spirit comes in saving power He causes the sinner to know his sin, to know the atonement made for his sin, and to know the forgiveness of his sin by Christ Jesus.


(John 16:7-11) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”


When we are made to know our sin, seeing Christ crucified for us, we confess our sin, the Fountain of cleansing is opened before us, and we are washed and made clean in our consciences before God (Zechariah 12:10; 13:1; 1 John 1:7-10).


(Zechariah 12:10) “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”


(Zechariah 13:1) “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.”


(1 John 1:7-10)  “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”


“8 ¶ If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”


Now, look at John 16 again, verse 13. Here is the forth thing I want you to see.


4.    The Conquest of the Spirit


(John 16:13) “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”


You will remember that I told you last week that the word translated “guide” (οδηγησει — hod-ayg-see) is, as Matthew Poole wrote, “a word of great emphasis; it strictly signifieth to be a guide of the way, not only to discover truth as the object of the understanding, but the bowing of the will to the obedience of it.” When God the Holy Spirit saves a sinner, He does so by conquering the rebel, by sweetly forcing us to bow to Christ, who is all Truth, and bow to all the truth revealed in Him.

Š      Truth about Ourselves!

Š      Truth about our Savior!

Š      Truth about His Salvation!


5.    The Comfort of the Spirit


But how does this conviction work of the Spirit give us comfort. Let me answer that question three statements, and I will be done.


First, this convicting work of the Spirit is the revelation of God’s love in Christ (1 John 4:9-10).


(1 John 4:9-10) “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.”


Second, this convicting work of the Holy Spirit gives comfort to our souls by shedding abroad the love of God in us, which gives us “good hope through grace (Romans 5:5-11).


(Romans 5:5-11) “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”


“6 ¶ For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”


Third, Holy Ghost conviction causes us to rest in God’s perfect love, which casts out all fear (1 John 4:16-19).


(1 John 4:16-19) “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”


“17 ¶ Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us.”


All hail! Atoning Lamb,

Whose off’ring once for all,

Appointed by the great I AM,

Redeemed us from the fall.


Your efficacious blood,

By pow’r Divine applied,

Makes perfect all the Church of God, —

By free grace sanctified.


No condemnation now,

Against the chosen race,

Perfect, forever, Lord we bow,

And triumph in Your grace.


Here then my soul shall rest,

With Jesus’ blood applied,

Redeemed and perfect, ever blest,

In Him I’m satisfied.


So I will make my boast

In Jesus crucified: —

Perfected with the heav’nly host,

I shall be glorified!










Don Fortner



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