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The Holy Spirit Works In The Heart

John 16:8-11
When he [the Holy Spirit] 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. (NIV)

Jesus had warned His disciples to expect persecution (John 16:1-4). So, should they retreat from the world to keep safe? No! Jesus had commanded them to speak openly about Him (John 15:27). But even though He would leave them, they would not be alone. The Holy Spirit would give them courage and power to announce the gospel, and He would also work powerfully in the hearts of people who hated them. The apostles were to preach the gospel and then the Holy Spirit would convince people that the gospel is true and that they needed to repent. Of course, conviction is not conversion: action is always needed, to agree with the Holy Spirit, repent of sins and believe in Jesus.

Three areas of conviction are necessary for worldly people to turn to Jesus. Firstly, they need to know that their biggest problem is being outside of Christ; whether through ignorance, indifference or arrogant rebellion. Secondly, they need to know that only Jesus demonstrated God’s perfect standard of righteousness: therefore people whose lives do not completely match His, are sinners under God’s condemnation (unlike Holy Jesus who was welcomed back into heaven). Thirdly, judgment is looming for Satan and all those who believe His lies: when Jesus cast out demons and rose from the dead He proved that He had power to crush all evil, darkness and death.

We have a responsibility to tell people the truth about Jesus, but unless they are convinced that it is true and take action, they cannot be saved. It is our job to explain the facts of the gospel clearly (see www.crosscheck.org.uk), but it is the Holy Spirit’s work to convict their hearts. We may convince their minds but He burns the truth into their hearts. Of course, some may resist the Spirit and persist in their rebellion, but some will repent and believe. So when you tell your friends and colleagues the truth about Jesus, you are not alone. The Holy Spirit has helped you to witness; and when you have finished the conversation the Spirit will continue to take the truth you have shared and start to convict your friend’s heart. Whenever that person turns to Jesus, and it may take some time, you can be sure that the Holy Spirit has been at work - in you, to witness faithfully; and in your friend as well.

Prayer 
Communicating God. Thank You for revealing Yourself to the world in Jesus Christ, and reaching into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. I am sorry when I have forgotten that Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to all believers enabling them to be faithful witnesses and gospel-tellers. Forgive me for being afraid to admit that I belong to Jesus and reluctant to explain the gospel. Please convince me of Your power through the Spirit who is always with me; giving me courage to share my faith and explain the gospel; reassuring me that the Spirit will also be at work in those who see my life and hear me witness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams