The Holy Spirit
by E.H. ‘Jack’ Sequeira
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
In the holy history of our Lord Jesus Christ His birth, life, death, and resurrection God obtained salvation full and complete for all men in Jesus Christ. But his objective universal salvation, which was obtained in Christ has to be made effective in each one of us individually. This is the first work of the Holy Spirit, which Christ summed up in John 16:7-11:
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 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.
His first work is in the world. He has a mission in the world and we will discover what part we play and what part the Holy Spirit plays in this mission.
In John 16:7, Jesus said to the disciples:
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
We must analyze this passage to discover why it was necessary for Christ to go away and for Him to send us the Comforter. The actual Greek word for comforter is parakletos, which means one who is at the side of someone, helping, directing, guiding, and strengthening. Just before Jesus left for His heavenly home, He gave the disciples a commission which was, Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. But Jesus realized that the disciples could not do it in their own strength.
In Luke 24:48-49 we are told why Christ had to go away and then send the Comforter:
You are witnesses of these things....
The disciples were eyewitnesses of the holy history of Jesus Christ.
You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.
These disciples needed a power that was outside of themselves and Jesus said, Wait. Dont begin until you receive this power.
In Acts 1:8 we read these words also spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ. This is what Jesus said to the disciples just before He ascended into heaven:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Jesus is saying in verse 8 that, even though it is the mission of the Holy Spirit to win the world to Christ, the Holy Spirit works through the believers.
In John 14:12, Jesus made this statement to the disciples:
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
We know from the words of Jesus Christ in John 16:7, that the reason Jesus went to the Father was that He might send us the Holy Spirit, the parakletos, the One who will work in us, encourage us, comfort us, counsel us, and direct us:
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
In other words, the work of soul winning is always the work of the Holy Spirit. May we never forget that the Holy Spirit works through believers. Jesus said, You will be My witnesses. Our job is to witness; our job is to proclaim the gospel, not to convince people. That is Gods job. No matter how well we give our Bible studies, no matter how carefully we analyze our presentation that it may be logical and intellectual, without the Spirit we will not convince a single soul. Thats not our work. Our work is through the foolishness of preaching; God will convince them through the Holy Spirit.
We must not take upon ourselves that which is not ours to do. God has not asked us to convince anybody, God has asked us simply to witness. But the question is, What are we going to witness? because, as we read the passage, it becomes clear that we do the witnessing, the Holy Spirit does the convicting. But the Holy Spirit cannot convict them of what He needs to convict them if we dont give them that which He is supposed to convict them of. In other words, we must be sure that in our witnessing, we must witness that which the Holy Spirit is supposed to convict them of. That is why Jesus, in verse 8, explains in a nutshell to the disciples what the Holy Spirit will convict the world of.
So our witnessing must be in the context of John 16:8:
When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment....
Christ told the disciples that when the Holy Spirit comes He will convince them of three things: of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. If the Holy Spirit is to do that through us, we need to be clear on what Christ meant by the words sin, righteousness, and judgment. Christ does not leave us in darkness. In John 16:9-11 He takes each of these words and He spells it out for us.
The first word is in verse 9. The Holy Spirit will convince the world of sin:
...in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me...
Notice that He did not give sin the common definition that we give. John 16:9 says:
...in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me...
Lets look at what Jesus meant by that statement in the light of the gospel. We know from Scripture that Jesus came to save sinners. In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul says:
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst.
All of us are sinners. Romans 3:23:
...For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God....
As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one....
Jesus saved us from all sins. Therefore, according to the New Testament, in the light of the gospel, Gods unconditional good news, all mankind has already been redeemed, even forgiven, from all sins. Some have difficulty with that.
One text sums it up: 2 Corinthians 5:18-19. This is a very clear statement made by the Apostle Paul. Verse 18:
All this is from God, who reconciled [past tense, He has already reconciled] us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: ...
That is the message of the gospel that we are supposed to witness. Go tell the world; stop running away from God. He has already reconciled them to Himself through Jesus Christ. In the next verse, 2 Corinthians 5:19, we find the message that we are supposed to preach:
...that God was reconciling [not the elect but] the world [the human race] to himself in Christ, not counting mens sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Every sin that we have committed and every sin that we will commit to our dying day has been taken care of in the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the only sin by which man is lost is the sin of unbelief. That is one sin that God cannot forgive because unbelief is the willful rejection of salvation, the gift of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, in this context, in the New Testament it is very clear that the only reason that man will be deprived of heaven is not because they are bad, not because they are sinners, but because they have willfully rejected Jesus Christ. This is what Jesus was trying to tell the disciples. Men are lost because they do not believe in Me. You see, the Jews divided the human race into two camps. They said the Jews were Gods people. They were righteous because God gave them the covenant and that the Gentiles were sinners. But the Gospel says this is not true. Both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin. Romans 3:9:
What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.
But in Jesus Christ we have a gift, and that gift is the righteousness of God which qualifies each one of us for heaven.
Listen to the words of Jesus Himself in Mark 16:15-16. This is Jesus speaking:
He said to them [the disciples], Go into all the world [Notice: Go into all the world; go to all of the human race, to every group, language, and people] and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be [guaranteed] saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
He is condemned because He does not believe.
Twice we find in this chapter the same truth. In John 3:18 and 36, Jesus is little more specific than He was in Mark:
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already[then Jesus explains why condemnation comes] because he has not believed in the name of Gods one and only Son.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life[not future tense, but present continuous tense], but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for Gods wrath remains on him.
In other words, the only reason man is lost is because He has rejected the gift of Jesus Christ. Our job is to witness the gospel. Our job is to tell the world, to every creature, that they have already been reconciled through Jesus Christ. Thats our message. The Holy Spirit will come and convict them. This is truth. And you may witness it in the worst of words; your message may be illogical, it may be in very poor grammar it doesnt matter. God doesnt depend on our eloquence; He depends on the Holy Spirit to convince them and the Holy Spirit will convince them.
But God will not force them. God is love and every creature who hears the gospel will make a choice. For example, in Romans 11:20, where Paul is discussing the Jews, the Jews wanted to know why they are lost, why are the branches off from the olive tree, from Israel? Paul tells them it is because of unbelief:
Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.
In Hebrews 3:18-19, the writer of Hebrews tells the Jews of the Exodus that they didnt enter the promised land, approximately two million of them, almost everyone from the age of 20 upwards who left Egypt, because of unbelief:
And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
Then, in Hebrews 4:1-2, he goes on to say that we who have believed the gospel have entered into Gods rest:
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
The only sin that is unpardonable is the sin of unbelief and, just like faith is a willful submission to the truth as it is in Christ, unbelief is a willful rejection to the truth that is in Christ. Here is where Christianity and Islam part company, because the word Islam means submission. Islam says we must submit to the will of God, which is keeping His rules. Thats why its a very legalistic religion. Christianity also demands submission, but our submission is to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Saviour. We have salvation in Him, not in what we do. What we do is the fruits of salvation, which is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
Because of this we will look at a very important text. There are many Christians who are confused about what we call the unpardonable sin. Here it is in Matthew 12:30-32. This is Jesus, again talking to the Jews. Listen to what He says to them:
He who is not with me is against me...
We are either for Christ or we are against Him and when this gospel goes into all the world for a witness, it will divide the human race into only two camps. Denominationalism will go. There will be one faith, one baptism, one truth. The two camps are believers on one side, and unbelievers on the other, those who are with Christ, for Christ, and those who are against Him. The rest of verse 30:
...and he who does not gather with me scatters.
The unbeliever wants to destroy the Christian church, because that is the work of the devil; the believer wants to bring people in. In light of this, Jesus says in Matthew 12:31:
And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men...
The reason is because, on the cross, Jesus Christ paid the price for all manner of sin and blasphemy.
...but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Jesus is talking to Jews who were against Him, but probation had not yet closed. But after Jesus left, and the Holy Spirit took over at Pentecost, and convinced the same Jews that this Messiah, this man that they crucified, was the Messiah, and that if they rejected that, that would no longer be blasphemy against the Son of God, it would be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Remember, the Holy Spirit convinces the world that they are lost, not because they are bad, or that they are saved, not because they are good but because they are without Christ. They are saved because they have accepted the gift of salvation in Christ.
The Holy Spirit also convicts the world of righteousness. John 16:10:
...in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; ...
Jesus gives us a clue what He meant in John 16:28:
I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.
Christ was not sent here by the Father on a holiday. He was sent here on a mission. And that mission is described in many places, such as John 3:17:
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
In Galatians 4:4-5, we read these words from the pen of the Apostle Paul:
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
God sent Jesus to do a work; He had a mission to accomplish and God said to Jesus, You are not to return back to Me until You have finished the work that I have given You to do.
In John 17:3-4, we read these words:
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
On the cross, John 19:30, Jesus said, It is finished. That is one of the seven words that Jesus spoke on the cross:
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, It is finished. With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
The fact that Jesus went to the Father simply means that God has already provided righteousness for all men in Jesus Christ. It is a finished work. The proof is that Jesus went to the Father. When Jesus rose from the dead, John 20:17, Mary held Him and Jesus said to Mary, Please dont hold onto Me because I have not yet ascended to My Father and to your Father, to My God and to your God:
Jesus said, Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.
The significance of all that was that Jesus had to get the green light that His work was finished. He went to His Father, and the Father said, Son, I am well pleased, I am satisfied with what You have done. I give You full authority to take these sinners to heaven. So Jesus came back, and in Mathew 28:18-20:
Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Jesus said to His disciples, All authority is given unto Me. I have now the legal, lawful right to take these people to heaven. I have satisfied the demands of Gods law. I have obtained righteousness, the righteousness of God, for them. Go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And then teach them to observe everything I have commanded you.
Christ going to the Father simply means that the work is finished. In John 5:24, we read the words of Christ:
I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me...
We believe that God sent Jesus Christ here to save us and that Jesus fulfilled that mission. Here is what Jesus says for those who believe that:
...has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.You already have eternal life and will not be condemned; you already have crossed over from death to life. Thats the good news!
But the problem is not everyone will accept the gift, so the Holy Spirit has to convict the world of something else and we find that in John 16:11:
...and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
Now that is a loaded statement, so let me, in a nutshell, try and explain what Christ was saying. When you read the account of creation in Genesis 1, especially verses 26-28, you will discover that when God created this world with all the animals, vegetation, birds, cattle, everything, He turned round to Adam and said, Please have dominion. I have created this for you and your children. I have created this world for you. Genesis 1:26-28:
Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
That is why we are guilty for polluting this world of ours. God never gave this world to misuse it. When Adam sinned, he handed this world, everything in it, including the human race, over to Satan. We know that because, in Luke 4, Satan takes Jesus to a high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and Satan says in Luke 4:6:
I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.
Jesus didnt question Satan. In fact, in John 14:30a, Jesus calls Satan the prince or lord of this world:
I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming.
But something happened on the cross. Not only did Jesus save us from sin, but He did something else: He bought us back. 1 Peter 1:18-19:
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
Another excellent text is Revelation 12:10. This is the Good News of the Gospel:
Then I heard a loud voice [this is the loud cry, the loud voice that the world needs to hear] in heaven say: Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ...
The word now refers to the cross. On the cross, Jesus became the lawful owner of this world and the second half of verse 10 tells us about Satan:
...For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
Since the cross, no longer is Satan the lawful, legal owner of this world. It belongs to Christ; He is the rightful Owner of this world. He bought this world back for two reasons:
He is going to do both. He has done one; He is going to do the second one. He has redeemed us, and Hes going to restore it but we will be part of that restoration only if we accept the gift, if we receive the gift. If we refuse the gift, then there is a judgment for us. In other words, when we stand before the judgment seat of God and we are an unbeliever, we cant blame Adam, we cant even blame our sinful nature, we cant blame God, we cant blame anybody except ourselves, because God will say, I gave you salvation as a gift at infinite cost to Me, but a free gift to you. And you would not; you refused, not once, not twice, a thousand times I came to you from every angle, and you refused and refused. And, therefore, I have to leave you desolate.
This is the abomination of desolation. Its the deliberate, willful, ultimate rejection of Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 2:3, we are told what happens if we deliberately, willfully reject the gift:
...How shall we escape [the wrath of God, the judgment] if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him [the disciples].
In Hebrews 10:14 we have the good news of the gospel:
...Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy [those who have accepted Jesus Christ].
But now look at Hebrews 10:26:
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,...
The word sin here has the same meaning as John 16:9, of unbelief. If you willfully reject Jesus Christ after you have heard that His sacrifice has saved you, there remains no more sacrifice for sins. Now please remember, the writer is speaking to Jews, and the Jews were depending on the sacrifice of bulls and sheep and goats. Paul is saying, Those sacrifices cannot save you. There is only one sacrifice. If you reject that, after you have discovered the truth, after you have been convicted of the truth by the Holy Spirit, then there is nothing left for you but (verse 27):
...but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
(Trampled under foot is a Hebrew expression meaning to treat something as dirt.) The Holy Spirit has convicted them through our witnessing and they have refused Him. Nothing is left but judgment.
Eighty percent of the world is non-Christian. Nine hundred million people approximately one fifth of the world population is Islam. In 1970, there were just over one million Muslims in the U.S.A. In 1980, it had increased to two million. Ten years later, in 1990, the total Islamic population in the U.S.A. alone, was just under five million. We have a challenge; they need the gospel.
Our job is not to convince them. We can never convince a Muslim. I have tried it. I worked 18 years in a country where 50 percent were Islamic. But the Holy Spirit will do the convincing. Our job is to preach the gospel.
Let the Holy Spirit do the convincing. It is my prayer that we will take our mission seriously. The prophecy in Revelation 14, the everlasting gospel, must go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14:
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Then the end will come because every human being will have to make a choice either for Christ or against Christ.
When Christ comes He will divide the human race into two camps only two camps. He calls them the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:33:
He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
In verse 41, this is what He will say to the goats, those who wilfully reject Jesus Christ:
Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire [fire that will consume them; the result will be eternal] prepared for the devil and his angels.
In other words, The fire that will consume was not prepared for you, but because you insisted on rejecting my Son, you insisted on joining the camp of Satan, I have no choice but to include you in that fire.
It is my prayer that nobody reading this will be in that fire but it is my greater prayer that all of us will witness the gospel to a pershing world so that the Holy Spirit can do His mission on this earth.