Empty Cross Ministries
John Chapter Sixteen
The Holy Spirit Convicts of Sin
Verses 16:1-15: Jesus continued the thoughts of 15:18-25 regarding the world’s hatred of His disciples and its opposition to the testimony of the Holy Spirit regarding Him as Messiah and Son of God. In this section, He specified in greater detail how the Spirit confronts the world, i.e., not only does He testify about Jesus but He convicts men of sin.
Through conviction of sin and testimony of the gospel, the Spirit turns the hostile hearts of men away from rebellion against God into belief regarding Jesus as Savior and Lord.
This section may be divided into 4 parts.
1. The killing of the disciples by the world (verses 1-4),
2. The comforting of the disciples by the Lord (verses 5-7),
3. The conviction of men by the Holy Spirit (verses 8-12),
4. The guidance of the believer into all truth by the Holy Spirit (verses 13-15).
John 16:1 “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.”
This is what He had just said (in 15:18-25). The connotation of this word has such that it would seek to trap and destroy the disciples in an effort to prevent their witness to Jesus as Messiah and Son of God. Jesus did not want them to be caught unaware (verse 4).
Jesus is reminding us that the things He has spoken in the last chapter were so they (the disciples), would not be hurt when people give them trouble for the gospel’s sake. Jesus knows that all who take a stand for Jesus will have trouble with the world and its people.
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.”
Paul before he was saved, personified this attitude as he persecuted the church thinking that he was doing service for God (Acts 22:4-5; 26:9-11; Gal. 1:13-17; Philippians 3:6; Titus 1:12-17).
After Paul’s conversion, the persecutor became the persecuted because of the hatred of the world (2 Cor. 11:22-27; Stephen in Acts 7:54-8:3).
This is speaking of the followers of Jesus who will be thrown out of the church (synagogue), because they teach the grace of the Lord, rather than the old Jewish Law. These self-righteous church people who are dogmatically hanging on to the law will not accept the good news of the gospel. They will insist on Jesus’ followers being killed, and they will even believe that they are doing the will of God in doing this.
Saul, who later became Paul, would be one of these self-righteous this Scripture is speaking of. He actually thought he was doing God a favor when he locked up the Christians. Christians were beheaded, fed to the lions, and beaten and stoned, as Stephen was. Jesus is warning that this will happen, so that they will know before it does happen.
John 16:3 “And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.”
Jesus is speaking here of people who should know God, because they are supposed to be God’s people. They really are in error, because they have not learned from the Scriptures about Jesus. They had read of Him; but when He came, they did not realize who He was.
John 16:4 “But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.”
Jesus is preparing them to face these problems when they arise. He wants them to know that these things happen, not because they are not in God’s will, but because they are in the will of God.
While Jesus was with them, He could protect them, but there was coming a time when Jesus would not be with them. He says, when these happen, remember that I told you this would happen.
John 16:5 “But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?”
Earlier they had done so (13:36; 14:5), but they were then so absorbed in their own sorrow and confusion that they lost interest in where He was going. They were apparently consumed with what would happen to them.
When you are with someone, it is difficult to imagine not being with that person. You only start missing them after they are gone. They were not asking, because they did not believe that He was leaving.
Jesus was a very young man, and none of His disciples realized that His departure was so near.
John 16:6 “But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.”
These disciples were not asking wither, because they were not wanting to face up to Jesus’ departure. Their hearts were very heavy. To be separated from Jesus in any way was far more painful than they wanted. One of the very worst things I would want to face, is to be separated from Jesus.
The song that says “Wherever Jesus Is, Will Be Heaven To Me”, is expressing my feelings.
John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
“The Comforter will not come”: Again, the promise of the Holy Spirit being sent is given to comfort the disciples. The first emphasis was on His life giving power (7:37-39). The next featured His indwelling presence (14:16-17). The next marked His teaching ministry (14:26). His ministry of empowering for witness is marked (in 15.26).
Jesus not only tells the truth; He is the Truth. Jesus tells them that what is about to happen is the best for them. Stop and think about this: if there were no cross, there would not be salvation for any of us. The way to heaven is by way of the cross.
This Comforter (the Holy Spirit), will come and dwell inside of you and bring you peace. He will teach you all truth and will guide you, if you are a believer.
John 16:8 “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”
Verses 8-11: The work of the Holy Spirit is to reprove, to point out a fault or an error, or to expose something as it really is. The Holy Spirit reproves concerning three topics.
1. Sin (verse 9): The Holy Spirit reveals the need of redemption. Because they believe not on me: The greatest sin is unbelief (3:18), which the greatest work is belief (6:29).
2. Righteousness (verse 10): The Holy Spirit reveals the possibility of redemption. Because I go to my Father. Christ goes to the Father after a righteous life, and a death that will impute this righteousness to others.
3. Judgment (verse 1)1: The Holy Spirit reveals the reality of redemption. Because the prince of this world is judged: the power of Christ to judge Satan and to overthrow his kingdom is not future, but at the Cross and the Resurrection. “Is judged” means “has been judged” (13:31).
For “the price of this world” (see also 12:31 and 14:30).
The Holy Spirit will convict you of these things. If there is sin in your life, you will be compelled to straighten your life up and live for Jesus. It is actually this Holy Spirit that woos a person to accept Jesus. The Holy Spirit will come inside of you, and be a comfort to you, and will teach you all truth after you have accepted Jesus and have invited Him in.
Sin is the state of the unsaved person. There is an opportunity offered to all to turn from that sinful way of life to a life of righteousness in Christ. If a person remains in sin, he or she can expect the judgment of a righteous Christ.
The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was approximately 40 or more days away at this point. To reprove (convict), has two meanings.
(1) The judicial act of conviction with a view toward sentencing or
(2) The act of convincing. Here the second idea is best, since the purpose of the Holy Spirit is not condemnation. But best, since the purpose of the Holy Spirit is not condemnation but conviction of the need for the Savior.
John 16:9 “Of sin, because they believe not on me;”
The singular indicates that a specific sin is in view, i.e., that of not believing in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God. This is the only sin, ultimately, that damns people to hell. Though all men are depraved, cursed by their violation of God’s law and sinful by nature, what ultimately damns them to hell is their unwillingness to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior (8:24).
This is Jesus speaking since it is written in red in the Bible. The one sin that is unforgivable is to totally reject Jesus for all time. If you do not believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and rose from the grave on the third day, you will die in your sin.
John 16:10 “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;”
The Holy Spirit’s purpose here is to shatter the pretensions of self-righteousness (hypocrisy), exposing the darkness of the heart (3:19-21; 7:7; 15:22-24. While Jesus was on the earth, He performed this task especially toward the shallowness and emptiness of Judaism that had degenerated into legalistic modes without life giving reality. With Jesus gone to the Father, the Holy Spirit continues His convicting role.
This righteousness of Jesus Christ can be ours, if we will only believe in Jesus and accept His righteousness as ours. Our righteousness is but filthy rags, but praise God, His righteousness is unto salvation! He makes us righteous (in right standing with God), when we believe on Jesus Christ and accept His free gift of salvation, we take on His righteousness. He became sin for us that we might be His righteousness.
John 16:11 “Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
The judgment here in context is that of the world under Satan’s control. Its judgments are blind, faulty, and evil as evidenced in their verdict on Christ. The world can’t make righteous judgments (7:24), but the Spirit of Christ does (8:16). All Satan’s adjudications are lies (8:44-47), so the Spirit convicts men of their false judgments of Christ.
Satan, the ruler of the world (14:30; Eph. 2:1-3), who as the god of this world , has perverted the world’s judgment and turned people from believing in Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God (2 Cor. 4:4), was defeated at the cross. While Christ’s death looked like Satan’s greatest victory, it actually was Satan’s destruction. The Spirit will lead sinners to true judgment.
The prince of this world, Satan, will be judged and found guilty by Jesus Christ the Son of God. Jesus defeated Satan on the cross at Calvary. The victory was won on the cross. Jesus took on sin and sin died on the cross for all who will accept life in Jesus.
2 Corinthians 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.”
John 16:12 “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
When you were in the first grade, it would have been foolish to have you learn the multiplication tables before you learned to add. You would not be ready for it. We see in this sentence above, that these disciples are not ready to receive these other things. The reason Jesus does not tell them, is because they are not ready to receive it.
John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
This verse, like (14:26), points to the supernatural revelation of all truth by which God has revealed Himself in Christ (verses 14-15) particularity. This is the subject of the inspired New Testament writings.
These disciples walking with Jesus had come to let Jesus make every decision for them. They had just carried out the things Jesus had told them to do. They had no cares; Jesus had taken care of the problems that arose. They just brought their problems to Jesus, and He solved them for them.
Now Jesus is telling them that they will not be left without guidance. The Holy Spirit will be their guide and their teacher. The Holy Spirit will be in total agreement with the Father and the Son. When the disciples listen to the Spirit and act accordingly, it is like the Lord in action, for they (disciples), will be carrying out His work.
John 16:14 “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
The only way that any of us can even begin to understand who Jesus is and what He was about, is as the Spirit reveals Him to us. The Spirit of God, working in us is our teacher who brings us to all truth about Jesus (the Word of God).
This is really the same as (verse 13), in that all New Testament truth revealed by God centers in Christ. Christ was the theme of the Old Testament as the New Testament claims (1:45; 5:37; Luke 24:27; 44; Acts 10:43; 18:28; Romans 1:1-2; 1 Cor. 15:3; 1 Peter 1:10-11; Rev. 19:10).
John Chapter 16 Questions
1. How will the world treat anyone who has made a stand for Jesus?
2. What is a synagogue?
3. What will these people who put you out of the synagogue think they are doing for God?
4. Who is a good example of someone who persecuted Christians, before he was saved by Jesus?
5. Who was one who was stoned to death for Jesus?
6. In verse 3, why did these self-righteous people do this?
7. Why didn’t Jesus tell them this earlier in verse 3?
8. What did Jesus tell them that they had not asked Him?
9. When do you start missing someone?
10. Why had sorrow filled their hearts?
11. Why were the disciples not asking whither Jesus was going?
12. Why was it expedient for Jesus to go away?
13. Who will Jesus send?
14. If there were no cross, there would be no ___________________.
15. When He comes, what will He reprove the world of?
16. What does the word reprove mean here?
17. What sin is mentioned in verse 9?
18. Who is the prince of this world?
19. Why did Jesus not tell them more then?
20. Who will guide you into all truth?
21. What will the Holy Spirit speak of?
22. Who will the Holy Spirit glorify?