It is to Your Advantage that I Go Away
Truth Taught- The Holy Spirit convicts sinners of their sin, their false righteousness, and God’s judgment.
The Holy Spirit is a fully and completely a divine person who possesses all the divine attributes. God the Spirit applies the work of God the Son. The Spirit’s distinct role is to accomplish the unified will of the Father and the Son and to be in personal relationship with them both.
In our passage for today, Jesus will explain that it is far better for His Church to have the Holy Spirit indwelling each and every believer than if He should remain. It is this truth that brought apprehension and sadness to His disciples.
I’d like to answer the question why is it better for us to have the Holy Spirit now than to still have Jesus physically dwelling with us on earth?
Jesus’ Farwell Discourse began in Chapter 13 and continues through Chapter 16 where we are today. The Bible tells us that Jesus loves His followers with a perfect love. Heaven lavishes love on the Followers of Christ. Here in these chapters we have a priceless treasure of how it is Jesus perfectly loves His followers…He tells us the truth for our good.
The Farewell Discourse is characterized by Heaven’s perfect love and then as we saw last week Heaven’s love turned to worldly hatred. While God loves us perfectly and in fact lavishes His love upon us who are in Christ Satan supernaturally hates us. He hates everything about God. He hates the Gospel, Jesus, Christians and everything else that reminds him he is not God and his days are numbered. Satan, the ruler of this world is busy in sighting hatred for Christians. In our world of some 100 million who name the name of Jesus, Satan is scheming and planning ways to destroy all God is doing.
Since the day of Jesus’ ministry the world has hated Him and all His followers. Remember from last week how all the apostles died as martyrs. From Jesus through till now His promises of persecution and hatred of the world directed at and zeroed in on His followers has been the norm throughout the last 2000 years and there will not be any relief until Jesus returns.
So, we have promised hatred and we also have promised love. God’s perfect love is all we need in this world. God is so sovereign that the hatred the world shows us only serves Him and us to make God’s love all the more personal.
Our passage shows us that we must stop relying on ourselves to be right with God and run to Christ for true and lasting peace with God.
Father, You have Gathered Your people that You may let us hear Your word, so that we may learn to fear You all the days that we live on the earth, and that we may also teach our children…amen
John 16:4–15 (ESV)
4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 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.
4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 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
When Jesus left and went to the cross His death purchased the salvation of His people. Yet, it takes the Holy Spirit to apply Christ’s achievements to His children. The Holy Spirit is vitally important to take the finished work of Christ and apply it to the believer. Without the Holy Spirit Jesus’ death would not actually save anybody.
Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV)
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
There is a big part of us that desires to have Jesus here with us right now. That’s a good thing but as our Lord tells us, it’s not the best thing. The absolute best thing for believers is that Jesus go to the cross die for our sin ascend to the Father and send us the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 1:21–22 (ESV)
21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
The Book of Acts often called the Acts of the Apostles could also rightly be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works in our sanctification and produces fruit within each and every Christian…
Galatians 5:22–24 (ESV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
This is just a short list of some of the great advantages we have now as believers who are possessed by the Holy Spirit of God.
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.
The lost world has a great advantage now that Jesus has sent His Spirit into the world. Our Lord explains what the advantages are.
He begins by explaining that He will convict the world of three things. The word convict is a word that shows up in the courtroom. What does it mean to be convicted of a crime?
Once convicted, the person has been proven or declared guilty of the offense. In the United States, a person is convicted after a legal trial. After a conviction in criminal(as opposed to civil) proceedings, sentencing is next
When the Holy Spirit convicts someone they begin to agree with God’s assessment of their life.
If a lost person is going to be saved, God has to take the first steps and one of those initial steps that lead the sinner to salvation is conviction of sin.
John 3:20 (ESV)
20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
Matthew 18:15 (ESV)
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
It is to expose the sin of the lost person in such a way as to have the person see it the way God does. It’s working in their heart to agree with God concerning their sin. So, conviction is exposing a person’s sin to them, which will lead to repentance.
A great example is found in the sermon of Peter at Pentecost…
Notice this is the first recorded act of any of the Apostles after they had received the Holy Spirit…
Acts 2:22–24 (ESV)
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
Acts 2:36–39 (ESV)
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
Here’s the dynamic at work…
Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Truth brings to memory all of Jesus’ words how He was crucified according to God’s plan and how this great event fulfilled many OT prophesies. As Peter preaches truth empowered by the Spirit of Truth the hearers are convicted of their sin, in this case, the specific sin of taking part in the crucifixion of Jesus God’s only Son. When they heard the truth from Peter and the Spirit was doing His work they were convinced of their sin and their response was that they were cut to their very core and saw no way to escape God’s wrath until Peter, filled with the Spirit, told them that salvation lies in Jesus Christ. BTW…all this was the result of Jesus’ prayer on the cross, Father forgive them because they don’t understand what they are doing.
If Jesus had not prayed there would have been no 3000 conversions that day.
If the Holy Spirit wasn’t sent by the Father, Peter would not have been able to preach that sermon.
If the Holy Spirit wasn’t sent there would not have been conviction of sin.
The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin.
This is somewhat more confusing. What our Lord is saying is that the Holy Spirit while convicting the world of its sin is also exposing their false ideas of righteousness over and against God’s perfect righteousness. Not only must we see the true nature of our sin but we must also see the true nature of our fake and made up self-righteousness. It must be exposed for what it is.
10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer.
Our Lord’s resurrection and ascension did two amazing things concerning the world’s view of self-righteousness…
It is God vindicating the verdict of the Jewish leadership which condemned Jesus as a sinner. This was self-righteousness at its worst. They, the self-righteous, placed themselves as judges of the One who was truly righteous. Their condemnation of Jesus was reversed by God at the resurrection and they found themselves guilty of being sinners. Secondly, it is proof that God accepted Christ’s payment because He alone is truly righteous.
So, the Holy Spirit exposes within the sinner their pretend self-righteousness and shows them that only true righteousness can be found in Jesus Christ.
11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged
The final exposing/convicting work is in the area of judgment.
Jesus, as it were, nailed our sins to the cross and paid the penalty for them. Judgment was reversed. In other words, the judged (Jesus) became the judge and He now passes judgment on all who are outside of His divine protection when it comes to the wrath of God.
Colossians 2:13–15 (ESV)
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
When the world beholds the risen Christ it is shown that it’s own judgment doesn’t stand up, Satan’s power was broken and God is shown as the true and eternal Judge.
We see the progression of God’s work through His Holy Spirit in our lives. I pray that God’s work of convicting you has been seen and felt by each of us. Before we were part of this world that thought our lives were fine like they were. We were those who were blinded by the ruler of this age.
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 (ESV)
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
I pray that everyone who can understand my words today has been convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment. This is the work of God’s Spirit within the hearts of lost humanity.
DO you see your sin as it really is?
DO you see that your righteousness is no real righteousness at all?
DO you understand that apart from Christ God’s judgment will be poured out upon you but in Christ there is no judgment?
These are wonderful works that the Holy Spirit accomplishes with all who are God’s children.
 ESV Study Bible, Biblical Doctrine: An Overview page 2520