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. 7 Nevertheless, 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. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
Alleluia, Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Jesus tells the disciples that it is to their advantage that He is going away. Because of that, I was tempted to title this sermon, “Go away, Jesus.”
This ‘going away’ that Jesus is talking about is His death on the cross. Jesus goes to the cross and to His Father so that first Easter evening He can breathe on His disciples giving them the Holy Spirit and sending them with the proclamation of Christ’s forgiveness (Jn. 20:22-23).
Right off the bat, it is probably important to address something. Sometimes, Lutherans are accused of not talking about the Holy Spirit enough. People today think the Holy Spirit is at work when they get a particular feeling or emotion because of the things going on around them during the service. Scripture is very clear that feelings are not a good gauge to determine whether or not the Holy Spirit is at work.
Now, maybe it is a fair assessment to say Lutherans don’t talk about the Holy Spirit enough. But it should be noted that the Holy Spirit is very content not being talked about. In fact, the work of the Holy Spirit is to point us to Jesus. Just a few verses before our text today, which we will hear in next weeks’ Gospel lesson, Jesus says that when the Holy Spirit comes, “He will bear witness about Me” (Jn. 15:26).
In other words, whenever you hear about Jesus death and resurrection for the forgiveness of your sins, the Holy Spirit doing His primary work of creating faith. That is why Jesus calls the Holy Spirit, as our translation puts it, the ‘Helper.’
The word Jesus uses means ‘advocate, intercessor, or mediator.’ And Jesus focuses on three convictions of the Holy Spirit. He convicts us – He brings out into the open, or convinces us – concerning sin, righteousness, and judgement. And we need to consider each of these.
First, Jesus says the Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning sin “because the world does not believe in Me.”Notice that Jesus doesn’t say that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin because they are so horrible.
We think that the opposite of sin is good works. So, we wrongly think our sin is something we can manage on our own. We imagine we can hide our stains by being kind to those around us. We think we can distract God from our lust, anger, pride, and selfishness with a few good works.
But the opposite of sin is notgood works. The opposite of sin is faith in Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Romans 14[:23] says, “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
So, the Holy Spirit shows us the depths of our sin. He points us to Jesus who has taken all the punishment. The Holy Spirit shows us that we are fools if we think our sin can be taken away by anything other than the blood of Jesus shed on the cross. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin showing us that we need Savior Jesus.
But even when the Holy Spirit has convicted us of our sin, He isn’t done. There is still more Spirit convicting to do.
Second, Jesus says the Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning righteousness “because I go to the Father.”
The Holy Spirit speaks through the Scriptures to convict you that because Jesus has died, you are completely freed from those sins which should separate you from God for eternity.
Satan, the accuser, comes along and tries to tell you that God doesn’t love you. He lies saying that Jesus’ death and resurrection isn’t enough. He comes along and tries to tell you have been lying to yourself and that you really aren’t a Christian. Or if you call yourself a Christian you aren’t a ‘true Christian’ or a ‘committed Christian’ or an ‘on-fire Christian. Hogwash.
Listen to what the Spirit says in the Scriptures: You have been made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect (1 Pet. 1:16). The Holy Spirit says Jesus became sin for you so that you would become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). The Holy Spirit promises that there is no condemnation for you who are in Christ Jesus (Ro. 8:1).
The Holy Spirit shows you that the righteousness you needed has been totally and completely provided for you by Jesus who went to His Father saying, “It is finished.”
And the Holy Spirit still isn’t done.
Jesus says the Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning judgment. Now, you might be thinking that Jesus is going back to Law. But notice that the Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning judgment not because you are judged, rather “because the ruler of this world is judged.”
Christian, when you suffer, when bad things happen to you, you might think that God is judging you. But the Holy Spirit comes and says to you that you are not the target of God’s judgment. Satan is, and he always has been.
When God confronted Adam and Eve in the Garden, the first judgment He gave was to the devil. God promised that He would send Jesus to crush the serpent’s head. Jesus has come and done just that.
The Holy Spirit’s work is to bring all this out into the open. Because of what Christ has done for you, you are not God’s enemy. God demonstrates His love for you that while you were still a sinner, Christ died for you (Ro. 5:8). And even when you were God’s enemy, here’s how He treated you – He reconciled you to Himself by the death of Jesus (Ro. 5:10). The Holy Spirit points you to Jesus’ own words where He says that hell was designed not for you but for the devil and his angels (Mt. 25:41).
This is the Holy Spirit’s work. The Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, righteousness and judgment. The Holy Spirit takes all the work of Jesus and declares it to you. He is your Helper, Comforter, Advocate. Through Spirit’s working, He opens the Scriptures creating, sustaining, and strengthening faith and guiding you into all the truth.
So, believe. Your sin is paid in full by Christ’s shed blood. Christ’s righteousness covers you. And you are judged worthy of eternal life because of Jesus. All that the Father has belongs to Jesus. And the Holy Spirit takes all that Jesus has and declares it to you.
Alleluia, Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds inChrist Jesus. Amen.