Introduction: We’ve read the Book. We’ve studied the lessons. We’ve
puzzled out the history of the world and the outcome of the final
battles between good and evil. The questions now are, “What can we do
about it?” “What are we going to do about it?” “What are you going to
do?” (Which is a lot easier way to put it than the title of our
lesson – which sounds like something an exotic fish might get!) Let’s
jump into our study of what God has done and what we can and should
do in response.
- Which Counselor?
- I have a dear old friend. As a young man he prepared for
the ministry, but now he never attends church. He has been
through counseling which has taught him guilt is a bad
thing that he should leave behind. He has now “gotten
over” guilt. No more “guilt trips.” How would you counsel
my old friend? Is he on the right track?
- Read John 16:7-8. We have a “Counselor” here. What does
this Counselor think about guilt?
- On what topics does this Counselor give us “guilt
trips?” (On sin, righteousness and judgment.)
- Who is this Counselor? ( John 16:13: the Holy Spirit.)
- Let’s read on. Read John 16:9. How does the Holy Spirit
make us guilty about sin? Why does He make us feel guilty
about sin? (This text ties guilt about sin to Jesus. Jesus
went to unbelievable lengths to live and die in our place.
Jesus’ painful and humiliating death and Satan’s role in
Jesus’ torture, give us a very clear view of the nature of
sin. When we come to believe in Jesus, we understand the
true nature of sin and feel guilty when we sin.)
- Read John 16:10. How does the Holy Spirit make us feel
guilty (“convict”)regarding righteousness? (Like my
friend, we all want a solution to guilt. Unlike my friend,
whose counselor taught him to ignore his guilt, our
Counselor teaches us that Jesus is the solution to guilt.
Jesus’ righteousness, should we claim it, will take away
our sin and guilt. We can have confidence about Jesus’
righteousness because He is in heaven right now.)
- Read John 16:11. What is the Holy Spirit’s approach to us
when it comes to the issue of judgment? (Jesus won! Satan
lost. We need to get on the side of the winner, not the
- What do you think about secular counselors who tell
people, like my friend, to simply put guilt behind them?
(This advice is deadly. Imagine how you would get hurt if
you lost feeling in your fingers. This counsel to my
friend is exactly like someone telling you to ignore
normal pain – or worse, to give an anesthetic so you will
not feel anything. Feeling pain is important to protecting
the body. Feeling guilt is important to protecting our
- Read John 16:12-13. No doubt the counselor for my friend
had the good intention of keeping him from bearing too
heavy a burden. What is God’s attitude about our mental
burdens? (This text says that God does not completely
reveal the future to us because He is concerned about our
- What do you think is the most important role of the
Holy Spirit in our salvation? (He leads us to truth.
Laying a “guilt trip” on us is the initial step in
leading us to the truth about ourselves and the
battle between good and evil.)
- Which Response?
- Read Acts 2:37. Here are people with a guilt trip! What
is the proper response to guilt? (What shall we do to be
- Read Acts 2:38. Imagine that someone in the church comes
to you and says “How can I know I’m saved?” How do you
- After September 11, I had a friend come up to me
after I taught the class. He was concerned about the
end of the world and his personal salvation. Because
the assurance of salvation is a problem in our church
(we do not emphasize enough the assurance of
salvation), I simply assured him of his salvation.
Within just a few weeks he unexpectedly died. Did I
make a mistake in my counsel? (Yes, I think I did.
Whenever anyone asks me about their salvation again,
the first thing I will say is that they must repent
of their sins. Even “mature” Christians need to
repent of their sins.)
- Paul tells us that we are to repent and be baptized
and that brings us the Holy Spirit. Why does he give
that order of things? I thought we just decided that
the Holy Spirit’s first job was to convict us of sin?
(This is an ongoing process. It is like a smoke
detector in your home. Whenever sin enters your
life, the Holy Spirit convicts you of it. He also
convicts you of the solution to sin and ultimate
- Have you ever said, “I don’t want to admit this is sin,
because then I would have to give it up?” ( 1 John 1:9
tells us to confess our sins to God. An initial problem
with sin is just to confess it.)
- Does the above statement (about not wanting to admit
sin) reflect a struggle in your life? Read Matthew
11:28. What assurance does Jesus give us about these
kinds of burdens? (He says that if we turn our sins
over to Him, He will give us rest.)
- The Result
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-18. If the “old is gone” how is
this consistent with my suggestion that even mature
Christians need to continue to repent? (Compare Romans
7:21-25. We have a new attitude towards sin – although we
still struggle with it. God has a new attitude towards us
because we are now reconciled to Him.)
- How does this reconciliation of 2 Corinthians 5 take
place? (It is through Jesus alone. When we repent,
Jesus becomes our righteous substitute.)
- How do we engage in the “ministry of reconciliation?”
(By bringing to others the message of repentance and
salvation through Jesus.)
- Our lesson tells us that after we are reconciled to God
(“justified”), we still need to engage in something called
“sanctification.” What is sanctification? (Our lesson
(Wednesday) suggests this is a process of constant
- Read 1 Corinthians 1:2. How does this text use the
word “sanctified.” (This text (and others) merges the
idea of being “sanctified” with the idea of being
- Does this mean that justification and
sanctification come at the same time? (Look at 1
Corinthians 1:2 again. It tells us that we are
called “to be holy.” (KJV: “called to be
saints.”) Whatever term we use, the Bible
teaches us that a healthy Christian life
involves spiritual growth.)
- Is spiritual growth the same as obedience?
- Why would we want to obey? Why would we want to be
sanctified? (The mature Christian will probably say,
“Because I love Jesus.”)
- Is God betting exclusively on love for obedience?
(No! Read all of Deuteronomy 28. Particularly note
Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 13, 15 and 44. God says obey and
be first, disobey and be last.)
- In our “ministry of reconciliation,” which approach
is the most effective – love of God or love of self?
(The whole world says, “What is in it for me?” God
answers in Deuteronomy 28 (and Malachi 3:10, Matthew
20:26-27, Luke 6:38, etc.) obey Me and I will bless
you. We pursue our own self-interest by careful
obedience to God. Compare this to your children. When
they are young they obey because of punishment and
reward. When they get older they obey because of
love and logic.)
- Which approach does your church use in bringing in
new members – love of God or love of self? (If you
are using a health/fitness/ healthy diet/cooking
seminar approach to attract new members, you are
using a “love of self” approach. I think we need to
match our approach with our target audience. If you
are just “stealing sheep” from another church, then
love of God is the approach. If you are trying to
convert the world, then you need to use the “love of
self” approach God uses in Deuteronomy 28. However,
we must not forget John 16:9 that we mentioned
earlier. The Holy Spirit ties the conviction of sin
to the life and death of Jesus. Any approach we take
must include Jesus at the center.)
- Is the relationship between obedience and blessings like
putting a dollar in a soda machine and getting a soda?
(Hebrews 11 is an important “overlay” on this idea of obey
and be blessed. It teaches us that many people who obey
are blessed. This is probably the vast majority of those
living in countries with religious freedom. However,
Hebrews 11 also teaches us that some of those who obey
only see their reward in heaven. The reward is certain.
The timing is not.)
- Friend, the outcome of the battle has been determined.
What remains is simply a “mop up” operation. Will you
repent of your sins and claim allegiance to the side of
the victors, the side of the blessed?
- Next week we start a new quarter.