Introduction: What does it mean to be listening to the Holy Spirit?
When I’m studying the Bible to write these lessons, I find new
insights I’ve not considered before. I think that is the Holy Spirit.
No doubt that also happens to you when you study the Bible. But, I
think there is much more to the concept of listening to the Holy
Spirit. Those who are truly attuned to the Holy Spirit are led to
take or avoid certain actions. My wife started getting the impression
that she should contribute money to a specific student. She knew this
student, but not well. My wife kept getting that impression until she
wrote a check and sent it. When she was writing the check, she had an
impression about how much she should send. After she sent it, this
student called and said it was exactly the right amount that she
needed in a crisis, and it came on the last day possible. Let’s
plunge into our Bibles to learn more about being attuned to the Holy

  1. Direction on Sin

    1. Read John 16:5-6. How did the disciples react to Jesus’
      statement that He was leaving them? (They were so filled
      with grief that they could not think straight. They
      failed to ask the obvious question, “Where are you

    2. Read John 16:7. What Jesus calls “the Counselor” is the
      Holy Spirit. Of all the names Jesus might have used for
      the Holy Spirit, why call Him the Counselor? (It perfectly
      fits what Jesus is about to explain to us. The Holy Spirit
      will take over Jesus’ role with the disciples – that of
      instructing them to better understand God and how they
      should live.)

      1. Is this same offer open to us?

    3. Read John 16:8. On what three topics does the Holy Spirit
      counsel us? (Guilt (arising from sin), righteousness and
      judgment. Notice that in answer to my previous question
      Jesus says the Holy Spirit will “convict the world.” That
      means we are included!)

      1. On the face of it, do these seem cheery topics –
        guilt, righteousness and judgment?

    4. Read John 16:9. Let’s focus first on the conviction of
      sin. How, specifically, does the Holy Spirit bring guilt
      about sin? (It has to do with humans not believing in

      1. How is believing in Jesus relevant to guilt about
        sin? What is the logical basis for saying that? The
        Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus believed in sin.
        Why is a belief in Jesus important when it comes to

      2. Read Revelation 12:10-11. Who accuses us of sin? (It
        is Satan who accuses us of sin.)

      3. Read 1 John 5:10-12. What is the belief in Jesus that
        is so critical to our understanding of sin? (It is by
        the life and death of Jesus that we survive Satan’s
        accusations. Thus, if you do not believe in Jesus,
        you are lost. The Holy Spirit convicts us that Jesus
        is the solution to our sin and guilt. Now, that is
        good news!)

  2. Direction on Righteousness

    1. Read John 16:10. When the Bible says that the Holy Spirit
      will convict the world of righteousness “because [Jesus
      is] going to the Father,” what do you think that means?
      (Jesus is leaving. The disciples need direction about
      living their lives in a way that pleases God. The Holy
      Spirit fills that role.)

      1. In the introduction, I mentioned the Holy Spirit
        guiding my wife to help someone else. Would that be
        guidance on righteousness?

    2. Read Hebrews 4:14-16. Is the Holy Spirit only filling in
      for Jesus with regard to advice about right living? (No.
      Part of the conviction of righteousness is that Jesus is
      our High Priest who is mediating on our behalf with God
      the Father. Jesus is the perfect mediator because He
      understands the sin problems faced by us. More good news!)

  3. Direction on Judgment

    1. Read John 16:11. When you think about the Holy Spirit
      convicting you of “judgment” is that a good or bad thing?
      Is it a warning that a judgment is coming and you need to
      reform? (That is not the main message. The main message is
      that “the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
      Jesus won the victory! He made righteousness by faith

    2. Read 1 Peter 5:8-9. What do we know about this roaring
      lion? (He has been defeated!)

      1. Does that mean Satan is no longer dangerous? (He can
        devour us if we do not stand firm in faith. But, the
        good news is that this dangerous lion is a defeated

      2. What does this text teach us about the source of
        suffering in our life?

  4. Direction on Truth

    1. Read John 16:12-13. How else can the Holy Spirit lead us?
      (He will teach truth that is too difficult for the
      disciples to understand at present.)

      1. There is a very strong unstated message in these
        promises about the way in which the Holy Spirit will
        counsel us. What is the unstated message regarding
        our role in talking to others about guilt, sin,
        righteousness, judgment, and truth? (We need to be
        careful about when and how we take the initiative to
        counsel others about the problems in their lives. The
        primary counselor role has already been taken by the
        Holy Spirit. When we looked closely at the Spirit’s
        counsel, it was positive, rather than being “the
        accuser of our brothers.” That role is played by

    2. Read Romans 5:5. If we seek the direction and the help of
      the Holy Spirit in bringing others to faith, what does
      this suggest about being an accuser? (The Holy Spirit is
      pouring love into our hearts, He is not pouring
      unhappiness and shame. Our approach needs to be full of

    3. Read Matthew 5:7. When it comes to counsel, is mercy one
      of your strong points?

  5. Direction on the Future

    1. Re-read John 16:13. What other advice will the Holy Spirit
      offer to us? (He will also tell us what will happen in the

    2. Read 2 Corinthians 5:5. What other role does the Holy
      Spirit play with regard to our future? (The Holy Spirit
      not only reveals the future to us, but He is proof, a
      guarantee, of our promised future with God.)

    3. Read Ephesians 1:13-14. Here is another text about the
      Holy Spirit being a “deposit,” a proof, a guarantee, about
      our future with God. What I want you to look at is the
      language about a “seal.” How are Christians “sealed,” how
      are they “marked” as “God’s possession?” (The Holy

      1. Read Revelation 14:9-10. What alternative mark should
        concern us?

      2. What does this teach us about the importance of
        having the Holy Spirit active in our life? (This is
        the mark that we want to have. It is the mark that
        we must have. Having the “mark” of the Holy Spirit
        “guarantee[s] our inheritance.” Ephesians 1:14.
        Praise God!)

    4. Read Romans 8:16-17. What does the Holy Spirit tell us
      about our future? (That we are heirs with Christ. We have
      a future with Him! However, as heirs with Jesus we also
      share in His sufferings.)

    5. Read Romans 8:13-15. What does the Holy Spirit do to help
      us with suffering? (He gives us a way to avoid fear. Not
      only do we have courage by being able to call God our
      Father, but the Holy Spirit directs our minds and our
      actions so that we will avoid creating those problems in
      our lives that cause us fear.)

    6. Friend, the Holy Spirit has so much to teach us. He is
      anxious to guide your life. Why not ask Him to guide and
      counsel you? Why not ask Him to open your ears so you can
      hear His direction? Why not make Him a partner in life in
      all that you do? Why not decide to do that right now?

  6. Next Week: “Feed My Sheep: 1 and 2 Peter.” We begin a new study
    on these two interesting books of the Bible.