Academia, Acts 4:13, C T Studd quote, conviction of sin, ekklesia, John 16:8-11, manifestations of the Holy Spirit, manmade forms of capturing people, no longer Holy Spirit friendly, seeker friendly, the Holy Spirit, the three fold effect of the Holy Spirit upon the world, They have not believed on Him
When the Holy Spirit comes into us and operates in fullness as He intends, He will have this three-fold effect upon the world. I am not talking about the “experience” a person might or might not have in their life. I am referring to the effect the world ought to evidence when it looks at the ekklesia, the gathering of believers.
And He (the Holy Spirit), when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.John 16:8-11
There are three manifestations the world ought to see when it views us as believers. If it does not witness these three manifestations of the Spirit, then you are not filled with the full intention of God.
So, lets begin by discussing the conviction of sin.
The first thing Jesus said the world ought to experience when it is around us is the conviction of sin. This means we personally have allowed Jesus to reign supreme as Savior and Lord in our life. This fact should convict others because this is the primary issue of life. Why does this bring conviction? Because, as Jesus said, “They believe not on Him.” When people see Jesus in you, are they convicted? I love this verse in Acts.
Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
I am convinced that the church in general has not reflected the real Jesus and spoken of Him passionately enough. If we had, the world would not have so readily forgotten about Him. The world desperately wants to forget Jesus ever came and lived among us. It desperately wants to relegate His name and all his teachings to the farthest reaches of ancient history.
Academia gives all sorts of reasons why it is unneccessary to follow the teachings of Christianity. They give a staunch record of the indiscretions of the church, the wickedness of the followers of Christianity, and the oppressive nature of the Bible. Once again, according to Jesus, the real reason the world wants to shed Christ is because He convicts them of their sin and need for His Lordship. This is the sole reason. Don’t ever think or believe differently.
Listen, why is the church in existence? It thrives to bring Jesus consistently before a dead and dying world. We don’t have to shove Scripture down people’s throats. We don’t have to throw spiritual haymakers and knock people out to win them over. All the Lord requires is that we get full of the Holy Spirit and He will convict them of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
The church has tried many different ways to be more attractive to the world in the last twenty-five years. We have made our enviroment so “seeker-friendly” that it is not longer Holy Spirit friendly. The truth is no man can convict, convince, or coerce another man to become a believer. Even if he could, it isn’t his job to do so. When people examine our lives, they should automatically fall under conviction. Why? Because they see in us the “hope of glory and the life of Christ.”
When I was 14-15 years old, I wanted desperately to give my life to the Lord. As I would sit in the pew week after week, I was convicted by what the pastor taught. I knew it was true and felt the Holy Spirit dealing with me through the pastor’s sermons. But when I looked around at my teenage “church friends”, the conviction faded. I would ask, “Are you believer?” They would respond, “yeah, I joined two or three years ago.” Some even confessed that their experience faded with time. These were the same people I was smoking dope with throughout the week. These were the same people who were cursing, drinking, and partying. Needless to say, there was absolutely no conviction oozing from their lives. In fact, the conviction from the Holy Spirit quickly departed when I left church and starting hanging around them.
Now, as a pastor, I want the unbelieving to feel convicted when they are around me. I used to seek to make them feel comfortable. Not any more. I want them to feel they are going to drop straight into hell. As I have grown in the Lord, He has taught me to incorporate this conviction with love.
What happens when a person “joins” a church without the convicting power of the Holy Spirit? Not much. You can love, convince, and talk someone into joining a church. You will end up with a group of dead beats that can only imitate what a real church should be like.
Without the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, we are left with manmade forms of capturing people. These usually are presented in the form of some program. The early church presented Christ, not programs. The early Christians never wasted their time in this area. They never talked about the church; they talked about Jesus. The church itself doesn’t save anybody. It is the Lord who does the life changing work. He redeems, He changes, He revolutionizes, He forgives, He restores, He heals—not the church!
When the church is Spirit-filled it talks about Jesus. When the world hears this message, it will finally be convinced its most basic and fundamental sin is not the evil things it has done, but the fact that it has neglected to believe in Jesus.