When the Holy Spirit Comes
September 23, 1990
Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, “Where are you going?” Because I have said these things you are filled with grief. 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; in regard to judgment, because the Prince of this World now stands condemned. (John 16:5-11)
I have no doubt that in a church like ours the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is one of the most misunderstood and perplexing and even fearful doctrines for us to consider. It is misunderstood because there are different views on the subject. It is perplexing because we do not know how to bring all the Scriptures together. And it is fearful because we know that some Christians believe in the Holy Spirit a whole lot more than we seem to believe in it. And so when we talk about the Holy Spirit, we’re a little bit timid and we approach the subject with trepida-tion because we don’t want to get off on a tangent and we certainly don’t want to go to any extremes. No matter what I say about the Holy Spirit, I am sure there is a general consensus that it doesn’t matter what I say as long as we don’t go to any extremes. I think that’s probably a general, evangelical position on the Holy Spirit—believe it but don’t get extreme about it.
Have We Been Too Timid About The Holy Spirit?
There are some good Bible believing Christians who seem to be very taken with the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. They build an entire theology around the Holy Spirit and his gifts and his acting in the world today. They talk often about certain controversial gifts and about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and they seem to talk about those things all the time. Our reaction to that is predictable: Because there are good Christians who seem to talk about the Holy Spirit a great deal, the rest of us don’t talk about the Holy Spirit very much at all. In some ways we have been intimidated about the Holy Spirit because we don’t want to be associated with other people who may view the matter differently than we do. I think it’s a shame if for any reason, good or bad, we neglect any part of the Bible. All the Bible is given for our instruction and all the Bible is profitable for us if it is properly interpreted. That certainly includes the great doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
We all believe in the Holy Spirit. It’s written into our Statement of Faith so there’s no question, argument or debate about that, but what I am suggesting to you is that we ought to go back to the Bible and read again what the Bible has to say about the work of the Holy Spirit. We need to rediscover this truth, and it doesn’t really matter what anybody else believes about it, pro or con. We need to find out what the words of Jesus about the Holy Spirit really mean.
We have come to the eve of the crucifixion. It is 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. on Thursday night. The final act is about to begin. All the actors have taken their places. In just a few minutes Jesus will go to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. A few minutes after that Judas will kiss his cheek and set in motion the whole cycle of events that lead to the crucifixion.
So these words of the Lord Jesus taken from John 16 are among his last words to his disciples. That gives them double importance. These are the final instructions of the Son of God before he goes to the cross. That’s why it’s an interesting observation to read John 13-17 and to find out that Jesus returns to the topic of the Holy Spirit over and over and over again.
I draw one conclusion from that observation. Although we conservative evangelicals tend not to talk much about the Holy Spirit because we’re a little timid and unsure about the matter and don’t really know how to go very far on this subject, Jesus is not timid about it. He spoke about the work of the Holy Spirit in no uncertain terms in the hours preceding his death, thus teaching us that this subject is not a small or minor subject but is a subject of preeminent importance for us to consider. The fact that Jesus talked a great deal about the Holy Spirit in the moments just before his death means that this is a doctrine we should know and understand.
J. Vernon McGee
I remember hearing Dr. J. Vernon McGee several years ago give the graduation address at Dallas Theological Seminary. He was about 83 or 84 years old and his message was a retrospective look over a lifetime of mini-stry for the Lord. Many of you know Dr. McGee had a worldwide radio Bible teaching ministry for several decades. As he looked back over his life, Dr. McGee commented that if he could start his ministry all over again, he would preach more of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. That made a strong impression on me. If such a great Bible teacher felt that way, perhaps we ought to spend more time talking about the Holy Spirit.
This morning I simply want to ask and answer one question: What is the Holy Spirit doing in the world today? This is not an entire sermon on pneumatology. That’s the doctrine of theology as it relates to the study of the Holy Spirit. It would take ten, twelve, fifteen messages for me to cover that. This morning we are only taking one small subdivision of that larger subject. What is the Holy Spirit doing in the world today?
The Holy Spirit and You
That’s a crucial question because many people are confused on that very point. Most people think that the work of the Holy Spirit in the world today relates primarily to helping the Christian feel better about himself. That’s a bold statement but I think it’s true. Many people assume that the Holy Spirit was given to help us feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. As a matter of fact the Holy Spirit does live within the heart of every believer. There’s no doubt about that. The Bible clearly teaches that.
I want to suggest to you that the Holy Spirit was not given by God primarily for our own benefit. I want to suggest to you that the reason the Holy Spirit was given and the reason the Holy Spirit indwells you has less to do with you than it has to do with the people you encounter every day. I even want to say it more strongly than that. The Holy Spirit was given so that as you share the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit working through you will draw men and women into the kingdom of God.
“It Is Good For You That I Should Go”
That takes us back to John 16. Jesus is talking to his disciples on the night before he is crucified. The disciples are heart-broken to hear that he is leaving. They are scared to death. They are shocked and baffled, confused and disoriented. Their master, their Lord, the miracle working Son of God, is going to be taken away from them. He is going to suddenly disappear and go back into heaven. They understand nothing. It makes no sense to them at all. They huddle like scared sheep around their shepherd in the blackness of night. They are scared to leave him. They are waiting for an explanation.
Jesus says, “It is good for you that I should go.” No words were ever more impossible for the disciples to believe. How could that possibly be true? How could anything be better than the physical presence of the Son of God? I’m sure that if we took a vote and asked, Would you rather have the Holy Spirit inside you or have Jesus sitting next to you?, all of us would vote to have Jesus, the Son of God, right here so we could talk to him. That’s understandable. We all think it’s better to have the Son of God in our midst. But Jesus said, no, it’s better for you that I should go because if I don’t go I can’t send the Holy Spirit, but if I do go I will send the Holy Spirit who will not only be with you but he will be in you.
Then Jesus goes on in verse 8 to explain what the Holy Spirit will do when he comes into the world. “When he comes, he will convince the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” If you don’t mind writing in your Bibles I’d like to encourage you to underline a phrase in verse 8—”he will convict the world of guilt.” The world, of course, refers to the world of men and women. It refers to the world in which we live. It refers to human society. He, the Holy Spirit, when he comes, will convict the world of guilt. Then circle the little word “convict.” He will convict the world of guilt. That one word sums up and boils down what the ministry of the Holy Spirit is in the world today. That word “convict” tells us what the Holy Spirit is doing today. He is convicting men and women of their guilt before God.
Now, you may have a translation that reads differently than the word convict. You may have a translation which reads “reprove,” like the King James does. Or you may have a translation which reads “convince,” which is how the New American Standard renders it. The New International Version has the word convict. This is a Greek word which comes from the drama of a courtroom trial. It is a word which refers to what the prosecuting attor-ney does when he argues his case. He puts the defendant on the witness stand and begins to pile up the evidence against the defendant. It’s a word which describes what the prosecuting attorney does as all the evidence comes in and he piles it up. Fact upon fact upon fact upon fact, until finally, the enormity of the evidence is so over-whelming that the judge is forced to say, I find you guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. It’s a word which means to convict of guilt in a court of law. That’s why I think the word reprove is a little bit weak and the word convince is a little weak because it sounds like we’re going to have a talk and we’re going to sit down and drink Coke and coffee and I’m going to try to convince you to come over to my house and have some pie. That’s not what this word really means. It means to amass the evidence to produce a guilty verdict.
Not only that, this word means to present the evidence in such an overwhelming fashion that even the defendant is compelled at the end of the trial to step up and say, I admit it. I confess. I am guilty.
Therefore, I conclude that the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the world today is primarily the ministry of bring-ing men and women to the place of personal conviction concerning their own moral guilt before God. These words of Jesus are literally true today. The Holy Spirit works through us so that as we share the gospel with men and women, they are convicted of their true moral guilt before God. As we share the gospel they come to the conclusion, yes, I am guilty. Yes, I need a savior.
I want you to see exactly how this process works. John 16:8 says, “When he comes he will convict the world of guilt with regard to sin, righteousness and judgment.” That phrase “sin, righteous-ness and judgment” would appear to be simply three subjects that he just pulls out of the air. But when you continue reading, you discover that Jesus explains each word. He explains sin in verse 9, righteousness in verse 10, and judgment in verse 11.
I. He Will Convict The World Of Sin 9
“When he comes he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin because men do not believe in me” (9). The first convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit is to convict men and women of their sin before God. That isn’t easy to do. It’s easy to get people to admit they’re not perfect. Almost everybody will admit that. It’s easy to get people to admit that they have done things wrong from time to time. It’s easy to get people to admit they have made a mistake. But it is difficult to get men and women to admit they are truly sinners before a holy, righteous and just God. In fact, it is so difficult it is humanly impossible.
You Can’t Argue People Into The Kingdom Of God
Have you ever had one of those cases where you were witnessing to someone and trying to convince them of their need for salvation and you talked until you were blue in the face and you got nowhere? You pulled out Josh McDowell and you read from Evidence that Demands a Verdict. You got out the “Four Spiritual Laws” and you read it to them. You started at Law One and went to Law Four and then started at Law Four and went back to Law One. Then you quoted Billy Graham and you quoted John Calvin. Then you quoted Martin Luther and you read them the gospel of John and you gave them your own testimony. You told them everything you knew. And by the time you were finished they were just as hard to the gospel at the end as they were at the beginning.
Has that ever happened to you? It’s happened to me more than once. Sometimes you run into people who will not believe no matter what you say to them. It’s almost like there’s a barrier between you and them. As a matter of fact, there is a barrier between you and them which is why it is impossible to argue anybody into the kingdom of God. You cannot do it. You cannot by human reason just throw the book at someone and talk them into being a Christian. It doesn’t work that way. Conviction of sin is the work of the Holy Spirit. You can talk until you’re blue in the face to an unbeliever. Unless the Holy Spirit is working through you and in the heart of that person they will listen and just brush it off and go on as if you hadn’t said anything to them at all.
Francis Schaeffer On Sharing The Gospel With Modern Man
It’s not easy to do these days. In his epochal work Death in the City (pp. 70-71), Francis Schaeffer talks about how to speak Christian truth in the twentieth century. He says you’ve got to begin by telling people that they are truly fallen even though they are made in the image of God. They are truly fallen. They are morally guilty in the eyes of God. That’s where gospel presentations have to begin. You don’t start by telling them the good news that Jesus died for them. You have to make them understand that they truly are sinners before God. In one place he discusses what he would do if he were riding a train and got into a discussion with a “modern man” about the gospel. What would he say if he had only one hour to talk with that man? He said, “I would spend 45 minutes of that hour convincing him about sin and judgment and his true moral guilt before God. Then I would spend the last 15 minutes sharing the good news about the gospel of Jesus Christ, because until men see themselves as sinners they will never see their need of a savior.”
The Greatest Sin In The World
Verse 9 contains another point we should notice. Jesus is not saying the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin in a general way (though he does that). He is talking here about a very specific sin because he says, “Men do not believe in me.” What is the greatest sin? Is it murder? Is it theft? Is it adultery? Is it dishonoring your parents? Is it blaspheming the name of the Lord? Is it coveting the wealth of this world? Is it extortion? Is it swindling? Is it hatred? No. None of those things could be called the greatest sin in the world because there is one sin which in its effect is greater than all the rest. It is the sin of refusing to believe in Jesus Christ. That’s what Jesus is saying in verse 9. “I will convict them of sin.” Not sin in the general sense, but, “I will convict them of the greatest sin of all because they have not believed in me.”
There is no statement I can make that is more likely to be debated by the men of the world. Let us be perfectly honest this morning. Suppose we were to go out to a cosmopolitan place like Oak Park and River Forest and ask them if not believing in Jesus Christ is a sin. Most people would laugh at the notion that not to believe in Jesus is sin. They would say, “We believe in tolerance, diversity, pluralism.” “Christianity works for you, but it doesn’t work for me. That’s your way of thinking, that’s not my way of thinking. You’ve got your thing; it works for you. I’ve got my thing; it works for me. Your thing is Jesus and my thing is something else and it’s okay with me if you’re into Jesus, that’s fine. But don’t lay that Jesus stuff on me. Don’t tell me it’s a sin not to believe in Jesus. I just don’t go the Jesus way, that’s all.” People in the world today would say it’s foolish to talk about not believing in Jesus as if it were a sin.
But that is exactly what Jesus is saying here. He’s not saying that not to believe in him is a sin; he’s really saying it’s the greatest of all the sins. It’s the chief of all the sins. After all, it was Jesus who was the Son of God who came down from heaven to die for the sins of the world. He—the perfect, pure sinless substitute, the man from heaven—was taken and betrayed by his friends; he was tried by a kangaroo court; he was beaten. They took his beard and ripped it off. They scourged him until the flesh of his back hung in shreds. They put the crown of thorns on his head. They beat him with their fists. They spat on him. They gambled for his clothes. Then they took him and laid him on the cross and with those long iron spikes fastened him there. They picked up that cross and slammed it into the ground. And Jesus hung naked and exposed before the frenzied mob. They cursed him and they mocked him and they said, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” They cheered as he died. Then they said, “It serves him right.”
You Were There
What Jesus is saying is, it wasn’t just Herod. It wasn’t just Pilate. It wasn’t just Caiaphas. If you don’t believe in Jesus, you crucified him too. You mocked him too. You put the crown of thorns on his head. You ripped his beard off. You beat his back with the whip. You laughed at him. You jeered. You spat upon him. You cursed. You watched with satisfaction while the Son of God died. And you took the spear and you shoved it into his side. That’s what Jesus is saying. If Jesus Christ is the Son of God then not to believe in him is the greatest sin a man can commit. It’s the worst of all the world’s bad decisions. It’s the most wrong of all the wrong steps you can ever take. There is no greater sin, no greater crime. Think about it. There is no greater sin than to stand in the presence of pure goodness and not love it. To listen to the words of truth and not believe them. To see the beauty of holiness and not be moved by it. To hear the invitation and call of Jesus Christ and say no to it. To watch him die and not be moved to tears. To see him rise from the dead and not fall on your face in wonder and worship and adoration.
In one of his sermons, Dr. Harry Ironside tells of an incident that took place during one of his evangelistic meetings. After he finished preaching, a beautiful, cultured, obviously well-educated, aristocratic young lady came up to see him. She was a woman of great grace and dignity. She was upset and said, “Dr. Ironside I do not like what you are preaching. Your preaching makes me uncomfortable. I am a good person, Dr. Ironside. I am not a bad person. All of my friends will vouch for me. I have not broken any laws. Everyone who knows me, knows that I have good character. The only thing you can say bad about me is that I don’t go to church and I care nothing for Jesus Christ. Yet you class me with wicked sinners.”
Dr. Ironside answered, “Young lady, suppose you were to say, ‘Dr. Ironside, I’m a very good person and I keep the moral law to the best of my ability. All my friends know I have a good character and they will vouch for me. But, Dr. Ironside, there’s just one thing you need to know. My mother is the sweetest and best mother in all the world and yet I care nothing for her and I want her out of my life.’ What would you think about that?” The young lady said, “Oh, Dr. Ironside, I could never call myself a good girl and say that I didn’t love my mother.” Dr. Ironside looked at her and said, “Don’t you see I have been preaching to you about one who loves you more than even your mother could ever love you. One who came from heaven to die for you. One who gave his own life’s blood that you might be forgiven and he invites you to come and be forgiven. Now you say you care nothing for him. How do you think God feels when you say something like that about his Son?”
That’s what I mean when I say that the sin of unbelief is the greatest of all sins. It’s no small matter to say no to Jesus Christ. When you say no to Jesus Christ not only have you shut the door of heaven, not only have you turned your back on the Son of God, you have committed the greatest of all sins.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit, when he comes, as you preach the gospel to convict men and women of their sin of saying no to Jesus Christ and to convict them of their need of a savior.
II. He Will Convict The World Of Righteousness 10
The Holy Spirit will convict the world “in regard to righteousness because I am going to the Father where you can see me no longer.” (10) It’s possible this phrase – to convict the world of righteousness— might mean several things. It might mean he will convict the world of its need for righteous-ness. Or it might mean he will convict the world of the possibility of the righteousness that is available through Jesus Christ. Both of those statements are very true. But I don’t think that’s what this text is exactly talking about. I think it’s more personal than that. Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convict the world of right-eousness, and then Jesus makes it personal when he adds “because I am going to the Father where you can see me no longer.”
Lord, Liar Or Lunatic
Let me sum up exactly what this verse means. There was a time when Jesus walked upon the face of the earth and the majority of the people thought he was a criminal. The Pharisees and the Sadducees and the temple aristocrats, the powers that be, thought he was a criminal. They thought he was a malefactor. They thought he was a rabblerouser. They thought he was a troublemaker. Some of them even said he was filled with demons. Do you remember that? Jesus was working miracles and they would say concerning Jesus, “He does it by the power of the Devil.” (Matthew 12:22-24) That’s really the whole story of his ministry. The common people believed in him, but the power brokers came to the conclusion that Jesus was not a righteous man. “He’s not a good man. He’s a bad man. He’s not a force for good. He’s a force for evil. He didn’t come from heaven. He really came from hell. He’s not doing the work of God. He’s really doing the work of Satan. He never had the power of God. He’s really filled with demons.” They ultimately concluded that he was a kind of religious mad dog who had to be eliminated for the public good. In the end, they said, “This man is a bad man and we’ve got to get rid of him.”
So they executed him as a criminal. And it appeared that when they had executed him that they were right. It appeared on Friday afternoon that he was nothing but a ne’er-do-well, just another in that long series of Galilean traveling prophets, just another con artist, just another charismatic rabbi who stirs up the public and then comes to no good end. It looked for a while as if they were right. That Jesus really was a bad man. That’s why they put him to death—they thought he was a bad man.
The Supreme Court Overturns The Verdict
They were right for about 36 hours. They woke up Saturday morning and they were right. They ate lunch Saturday and they were right. They went to bed Saturday night and they were right. They woke up Sunday morning and they were wrong. Because something happened between sundown Saturday night and sunup Sunday morning.
In our political process if you’re found guilty at a lower level you can appeal the case upward and finally you come to the Supreme Court—the court of last resort. If the case makes it to the Supreme Court, the justices have the power to overturn any guilty verdict. On Sunday morning the verdict was overturned and heaven spoke in favor for the Son of God. A mighty hand reached down and rolled away the stone and the Son of God walked out from the realm of death never to die again. When he rose from the dead, that was God’s way of saying, Not Guilty. This man is my Son, hear him.
The world said, “He’s bad.” God said, “He’s good.”
The world said, “He’s a troublemaker.” God said, “This is my beloved Son.”
The world said, “He’s a criminal.” God said, “He’s the savior of the world.”
The world said, “He’s full of demons.” “God said, “He’s the King of Kings.”
God forever settled the issue when he raised Jesus from the dead. He ascended into heaven where he is now seated at the right hand of God Almighty. That’s why Jesus says the Holy Spirit will convict the world of righteousness “because I am going to the father and you will see me no longer.” It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convince men that their judgment on Jesus Christ is wrong. The world says, “He’s just a good man,” and the Holy Spirit says, “No, you’re wrong.” The world says, “He’s a great human teacher,” and the Holy Spirit says, “No, you’re wrong.” The world says, “He’s just one way among many,” and the Holy Spirit says, “No you’re wrong.” The world says, “He’s just a crook and a crackpot,” and the Holy Spirit says, “No, you’re wrong. He is the Son of God from heaven.”
That’s the work of the Holy Spirit—to convince men and women that their judgment on Jesus is wrong. That is the sticking point of the gospel, isn’t it? Even if you can get them to admit their sin, they’ve still got to believe in Jesus, that he is the one-and-only savior from heaven. Only the Holy Spirit can cause sinners to come to that conclusion.
It is the Holy Spirit’s job to work through your witnessing to change people’s minds so that they can become convinced that they were wrong and Jesus was right.
III. He Will Convict The World Of Judgment 11
Finally, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will convict the world “in regard to judgment because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” (11) At first glance this might appear to be a reference to some future judgment. But this text is not talking about future judgment. It’s talking about past judgment. When the Greek says “now stands condemned,” it’s a perfect passive. That’s a way of saying things which mean “has been judged in the past, continues to be judged, is now judged and will continue to be judged into the future.” It’s past, it’s present and it’s future. That’s why it’s translated here “stands condemned.” Was condemned. Is condemned. Will be condemned in the future.
History’s Biggest Loser
Who is the Prince of this world? His name is Satan. Satan was judged at the cross. He was utterly defeated by the death of Jesus Christ. He was condemned then. He is condemned now. He will one day be condemned to the Lake of Fire.
But if Satan was condemned on the cross, why is he so active in the world today? Satan is active in the world today because he is like a condemned criminal who has been sentenced to death who has escaped the police and is now roaming free wreaking havoc on the earth. His condemnation is sure. One day he will be caught for the last time and destroyed utterly and forever and punished in the lake that burns with fire forever and ever and ever. But in the time between that and this he is simply a defeated foe wreaking havoc on the earth.
But why do sinners need to be convinced of that? Because the Bible says that Satan is the god of this world. The Bible also says that Satan has blinded the minds of those who do not believe and unless that blindness is taken away they never will believe (II Corinthians 4:4). The whole point is this: God through the Holy Spirit convicts men and women first of their sin, second that Jesus Christ is the righteous Son of God, and third that Satan has been judged and therefore to follow him is to follow a defeated hero.
When Hell Weeps
Here are three simple points to remember: 1. Satan has been judged. 2. Anybody who follows him will end up where he ends up. 3. Since Satan has been judged, whenever a sinner comes to faith in Jesus Christ heaven rejoices and hell weeps because Satan’s kingdom has been plundered and Satan’s judgment is repeated all over again. That’s why there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels over even one sinner who comes to salvation. That’s one sinner transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light; from death unto life. Which is why Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Jesus Christ.”
Good news, my brothers and sisters. Good news! Satan has been condemned. He is condemned. He stands condemned forever. Good news! If you are in Jesus Christ, there is no condemnation. No condemnation now. No condemnation tomorrow. No condemnation forever. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convince unbelievers with the preaching of the gospel of that great truth.
How We Triumph Over The World
What is the work of the Holy Spirit? The work of the Holy Spirit is to empower us through the preaching of the gospel so that as we preach the gospel men and women hear it, believe it and come into the family of God. You will never win anybody to faith in Jesus Christ by your words alone. Your words have life-changing power only as they are empowered by the Holy Spirit. To paraphrase John Calvin, it is through the Holy Spirit that the church triumphs over the world. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we see lives transformed and evil restrained.
How do we make a difference in the world? By marching and picketing and politics? No, it’s by the preaching of the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. As we preach in the power of the Holy Spirit, men and women are convicted concerning sin and righteousness and judgment and they come into the kingdom.
Therefore, I conclude this way. Our part is to preach the gospel. We are to preach the gospel everywhere we go. We are to share the good news of Jesus Christ. As we preach it, it is God’s part to convict men and women of sin and righteousness and judgment. We do our part. God does his part and multitudes come into the kingdom.
Spirit Of The Living God
Fall Afresh On Me
Which only leaves one thing. If we’ve got our part and God’s got his part the only thing that is left is for us to cooperate with God by doing our part and by opening ourselves up to the work of the Holy Spirit within.
We began this service by singing that great old chorus, “Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.” That’s a thoroughly biblical thought. Boy, that’s a biblical principal. That is something we need to pray more often.
Our part is to preach. God’s part is to empower us through the Holy Spirit. And then we simply cooperate with the Holy Spirit and say, “Holy Spirit, flow through me to convict men and women and bring them into the kingdom of God.”
Did you happen to read the newspaper this morning? There was another blackout on the west side of Chicago. I believe it’s the third blackout in the last few weeks and people are upset. I don’t blame them. A blackout is a terrible thing. Do you know what a blackout is? That’s what happens when the power is suddenly cut off. During a blackout, you’ve got the light fixtures, you’ve got the wires, you’ve got the switch, but you don’t have the power. Isn’t that terrible, to have all the equipment but not have the power?
I know a great many Christians, far too many, who seem to live in the state of perpetual spiritual blackout. They have all the equipment. They know the Bible. They know the answers. They know what they ought to do and yet the Holy Spirit does not seem to work with great power in their lives. Somewhere along the way they’ve turned off the power. Maybe through sin. Maybe through anger. Maybe through lust. Maybe through bitterness. Maybe through something said or something done. Maybe through being so filled with themselves that there’s no room left to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Isn’t it a tragic thing to know that the Holy Spirit’s power is available to you and yet is blacked out in your life because of sin and unbelief and disobedience and selfishness? Some of us this morning need to say, maybe for the very first time, “Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.”
What great things God could do in your life if you would only open yourself up to the ministry of the Holy Spirit through you. What wonderful things could happen this week and what people you could reach for Jesus Christ if only you’d open up the channel and let the power of the Holy Spirit flow through you.