John 16:7-11

Sunday Morning Bible Study

November 17, 1996


Jesus has been talking about how the world would hate the disciples because they were following Jesus.

Now He moves into part of the solution to the troubles we're going to face in the world.

:7-11 The Holy Spirit

:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth;

Why would Jesus have to remind them that He's telling the truth?

Because it's a hard thing to swallow when somebody tries to tell you that the bad thing they're telling you is actually good for you.

:7 It is expedient for you that I go away:

Jesus is saying that He's actually helping the guys out by leaving, so that the Holy Spirit can come and be their Comforter.

:7 for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you;

It's not that the Holy Spirit didn't do anything before Jesus died and rose again.

The Holy Spirit has been involved with mankind from the very beginning, when He hovered over the face of the waters during creation (Gen.1:2)

We've seen in many of our Old Testament studies that the Holy Spirit worked mightily through the different prophets.

Of Samson, we read:

Jud 14:6 And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him ...

But before the Spirit of God could be poured out on ALL believers, and this New Covenant with mankind installed where ANY person could know God, Jesus would first have to finish His work of paying for our sins by dying on the cross and rising from the dead.

Once He ascended into heaven, proving once and for all that He had won the victory over sin, then the Holy Spirit could be given freely to all who trust in Jesus for their salvation.

:7 but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

It's important here that we keep the context in mind.

Jesus has been warning the guys about the hard times up ahead:

John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

It's in this light that He tells us that it's good that He's going, so the Holy Spirit can come.


The answer to our hard times is found in the Holy Spirit.

Look at how the Holy Spirit likes to show up during hard times!

Peter writes:

1 Pet 4:12-14 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: {13} But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. {14} If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

When we are going through hard times for being a Christian, the Holy Spirit rests on us!

Paul writes:

2 Cor 1:3-5 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; {4} Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. {5} For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

The words "comfort" and "consolation" are all forms of parakaleo, the root word that is translated "Comforter" throughout the gospel of John (14:26; 15:26; 15:7).

I believe that the way God comforts us in our affliction, is through the Holy Spirit, our "Comforter".

When we're going through hard times, God wants us to draw NEARER to Him, not run away from Him.

God will use your trials to refine you, if you let Him.

1 Pet 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

God wants to use the heat of your trials, to melt the impurities out of your life.


A goldsmith will keep the gold on the fire, melting it into a liquid state, where the impurities (dross) will rise to the surface, and he is able remove the dross. He knows he has pure gold when he can see his own reflection in the molten metal.

But when you run from the trials, and the heat goes down, the refining doesn't take place.


It's like the guys who go to the "sweat rooms", or the "saunas" to sweat the poisons out of their system.

But nothing's going to sweat out of your body if you stay in a nice, safe, air-conditioned living room.

Yield yourself to the work that the Holy Spirit wants to do in your hard times.

Let Him melt the dross out of your system!

:8 he will reprove the world

reprove - elegcho - an old word, meaning to convict by proof; there seems to be a sense of shame in the person convicted.

There seems to be an element of "bringing things to light" in this word.

This idea of "conviction" is kind of like shining a spotlight on a problem that needs to be dealt with.

Jesus said:

Joh 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (AV)

Lesson #1:

"Conviction" is one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit.

Look what He did on the day of Pentecost, when He came with power upon the early church, and Peter began to speak:

Ac 2:37 Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do? (AV)

The people were "pricked" in their hearts. Their hearts were "pierced" by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Lesson #2:

"Conviction" is our job too.

We have been taught that this job of "conviction" is the job of the Holy Spirit, and not ours.

But the truth is, this word is used many times, telling us that we are to be a part of the process as well.

Mt 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. (AV)

It's one of the qualifications of an elder:

Tit 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. (AV)

Certainly, the Holy Spirit does a much better job than we do, and ideally, it should be the work of the Holy Spirit through us that brings conviction.

In explaining how the gifts of the Holy Spirit operate, Paul talks about how conviction can come:

1Co 14:24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or [one] unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: (AV)


There once was a young preacher who had just landed his first congregation. Now this church was rather a small one and was composed entirely of the population of a small logging town. Everyone in town worked for the town's lumber mill, which was its only business and was involved in fierce competition with the mill just upstream. The preacher wasn't in town long before he had an experience that shook him up a bit. He was taking a walk through the woods and chanced to see the workers at the town mill pulling logs branded for the other mill out of the stream, cutting off the branded ends, and running them through their own mill. The preacher was very distressed with this and so worked the rest of the week on a powerful sermon. That Sunday he got up and preached his sermon entitled "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Property." The sermon seemed to go over well. Everyone told him, as they went out the door, just how much they loved his preaching. "You really moved me preacher" and "Best sermon I ever heard." were some of the remarks they made. But that next Monday morning it was business as usual at the mill. They were still stealing logs. So the next Sunday the preacher delivered a real "pulpit pounder" called "Thou Shalt Not Steal." "Fantastic!" the people told him. "Wonderful!" they cried. But on Monday morning the other company's logs were still being swiped by the town mill. Enough was enough! There's only so much a man can take and then he's got to act--this time he wasn't going to hold anything back. The following Sunday he got up and preached on the topic, "Thou Shalt Not Cut the Branded Ends Off Someone Else's Logs!" They ran him out of town!

--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 353.

Lesson #3:

Don't confuse conviction with condemnation or accusation.

The Greek word for "conviction" (elegcho) is not the same as the words that are often translated "condemn" (krino, katakrino, katadikazo)

They all carry the idea of pronouncing judgement on a person, laying guilt and condemnation on a person.

Paul writes:

Ro 8:34 Who [is] he that condemneth? (katakrino) [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

And Jesus said:

Lu 6:37 Judge (krino) not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn (katadikazo) not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: (AV)

It is also not the same as the word to "accuse" (kategoreo), which means to to accuse before a judge.

This is what Satan does, as he is called the "accuser of our brethren" (Rev.12:10)

Look at how "conviction", "condemnation", and "accusation" work in Jesus' life, at the time when the woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus:

John 8:5-11 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

How do we put it all together?

We are to bring things out into the open, exposing them to the light.

But we don't point the finger at them, accusingly.

And we are not to be heaping condemnation upon people when we expose things, rather we are to seek to restore them.

:8 he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

As we look at these three things that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of, we need to keep in mind that Jesus is talking about these things in the light of His "departure", that is, in the light of His going to the cross.

We're going to see that it's important to keep the cross in mind in understanding all three items of conviction.

:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

We need to keep in mind God's plan of salvation.

We are sinful people

God knows that we don't have what it takes to pay for our sin.

God sends His only Son, Jesus, to pay for our sins, by dying in our place on the cross.

We receive payment for our sins by believing in Jesus.

If we refuse to believe in Jesus, then we have to face the penalty of our sins on our own.

Jesus said:

John 3:17-18 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

So ... the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin when ...

When someone isn't believing in Jesus to pay for their sins, the Holy Spirit works to convict them of their sinfulness, and that they need help paying the debt.


G.F. Pentecost told of a man in great distress who came to see him at an evangelistic meeting. He was under deep conviction and was frantic with the terror of a conscience that was continually condemning him. He was also very angry with D.L. Moody who had preached the week before, and with Pentecost himself. "I wish you and Moody had never come to this city!" he shouted with a terrible oath. "Before you came, I wasn't troubled about my sins. You talk of peace and joy, but you have turned my soul into a living hell. I can't stay away from the meetings, and to come to them only makes me worse. You promise salvation, but all I find is torment. I wish you would leave, then I'd get back my old peace."

We call this conviction "guilt".

Psychologists try to tell us that guilt is a bad thing.

Some feel that it's the single greatest cause of mental illness.

And so they try to talk people into thinking that there's no reason to feel guilty.

Some people live their whole lives trying to pay for their sin by themselves.



Enclosed you will find a check for $150. I cheated on my income tax return last year and have not been able to sleep ever since. If I still have trouble sleeping I will send you the rest.

Sincerely, A Tax Payer


The Bible has the answer to guilt.

1. Don't cover it up, admit it.

Pr 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh [them] shall have mercy. (AV)


It's kind of like those chinese finger-puzzles, where you put your two index fingers in opposite ends of a wicker tube.

The hard you pull your fingers apart, the stronger the tube holds on to you.

But if you relax, and give in, you can release your fingers.

2. Receive forgiveness.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The answer is not to run from your guilt, the answer is to be cleansed from your guilt.

Note to Christians:

Could it be, that if you too are suffering guilt, it's because you too aren't "believing" in Jesus like you should?

Has He paid for your sins, or not?

Have you confessed your sins?

Have you received His forgiveness?

:10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

righteousness - dikaiosune - integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness; it's the standard that a man must attain to be acceptable to God.

God's standard of righteousness is proven by what He allows into heaven.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, right in front of the disciples, it showed that His righteousness was worthy of God's standards.

Are you as righteous as Jesus?

I think most people would agree that Jesus was a "righteous" dude.

But I don't know of too many people who would dare think that they were as "righteous" as Jesus.

After all, Jesus was the one who said:

(Mat 5:21-22 KJV) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

22} But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Do you ever get angry with people?

Jesus also said:

(Mat 5:27-28 KJV) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: {28} But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Do you ever lust after a woman, or a man?

The fact is, Jesus was absolutely sinless.

And that's pretty impossible for us, unless we get some help.

Paul wrote:

2Co 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (AV)

When I trusted Jesus, God took all of my sins, and heaped them up on Jesus.

In exchange for that, God took the righteousness of Jesus, and gave that to me.

That's what took place on the cross.

Are you as righteous as Jesus?

You are if you've asked Jesus to be your Savior, and exchanged your sins for His righteousness.

If you haven't, then perhaps the Holy Spirit is right now convicting you of how far you fall short.

:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Satan is the "prince of this world"

This "prince" will be judged, and defeated when Jesus hangs on the cross.

Paul wrote that Jesus was ...

Col 2:14-15 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

The "prince of the world" was judged by Jesus on the cross.

It was demonstrated by the resurrection, by the ascension, and then by the coming of the Holy Spirit.

If he was judged like that, isn't it evident that all the rest of the world will be judged as well?

Paul told the people in Athens:

Ac 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead. (AV)

The resurrection is proof that Jesus has judged Satan.

Satan didn't conquer Jesus in death, Jesus conquered Satan through the resurrection.

This was proof that He will judge the world as well.


Is God allowed to judge us?

One of God's job is that of Judge, and He's good at it.

(Deu 32:4 KJV) He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

Evolution tries to tell us that we're only here by accident.

But if there indeed is a Creator, and we're His creation, then we're responsible to Him.

And if we're not doing with our lives what He designed us to do, He has the full right in judging us, and giving us whatever we deserve.

But you are God's creation.

And like it or not, you will one day be judged by God.

You can complain and say, "That's not fair! I don't want to be judged!"

But you have no say in the matter, well, almost.

The only say you have in the matter is choosing whether to be judged and condemned to eternal hell, paying for your own sins, or whether or not you are going to allow Jesus to pay for your sins for you.

Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (AV)