Wednesday Night Lesson: ‘Holy Spirit – Reprover of Sin’


Last week we took a look at how the Holy Spirit is a ‘Restrainer of Sin. ‘ We learned from 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7, that the Spirit is restraining sin in the world today so that the gospel might continue to go out.

Tonight we look at the Holy Spirit as a ‘Reprover of Sin’.

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. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Jesus called the Spirit the ‘Comforter.’ The word used here means – {“One called alongside to give aid’}. The Holy Spirit assists the Christian in many ways: He teaches and guides us; He prays for us with intercessory prayer; He enables us to bear spiritual fruit; He equips us with spiritual gifts; He empowers us for service and for sharing the gospel; and as we see from tonight’s passage, He brings conviction to the  hearts of those with whom we witness.

Jesus referred to Him as ‘reproving’ men of sin. What is reproving? To reprove means to: {convince and convict}. Vernon McGee said during one of his messages –  ‘Until there is conviction of sin, there is no conversion.’

I. The Spirit Reproves the Saint

Before we get into how the Spirit reproves the sinner of his sin, let’s take a moment and consider how He reproves the saint.

2 Corinthians 7:8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, sadness I do not repent, though I did repent: regret for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season 9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: change for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance  to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

Paul had written a very strong letter to the Corinthians, rebuking them for tolerating sin in their church. The man who was sinning needed to be rebuked and the church needed to be rebuked for not doing so. Few people like to confront others with their sin, yet it is often necessary in order to bring that person to the point of repentance. As long as there will be an issue of sin, there will be a need for rebuke. Spirit-led rebuke produces godly sorrow and godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation.

II. The Spirit Reproves the Sinner

John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

Through His reproof the Spirit convicts, convinces and eventually converts.

The Spirit Convicts and Convinces

When the Spirit reproves a man He brings spiritual conviction to his heart. We learned last week concerning those who listened to Peter preach on the Day of Pentecost –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?’ (Acts 2:37) Note – ‘they were pricked in their hearts.’ The word pricked means to be pained sharply. Paul testified that on the day of his conversion, the Lord Jesus said to him – ‘it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.’ (Acts 26:14) In other words – ‘It is hard for you to resist what the Spirit is revealing to you. It is hard for you to resist His reproving.’

The Spirit Convicts / Convinces of Sin, Righteousness, and Judgment

The Spirit must convict us that we are sinful and fall short of God’s righteousness. He must also convince us of Christ’s righteousness and that Jesus died on the cross for our sins.

The Spirit Converts for Salvation

The word ‘converted’ means to {turn around.} Salvation is not – “I’m going to do better’, nor is it ‘Fire Insurance’ just in case there really is a hell.  Salvation is repentance towards sin and faith towards Christ.

III. How Does the Spirit Convince, Convict and Convert?

We read in Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. ‘By grace’ means – “because of God’s unmerited favor.” ‘Through faith’ means – through our faith in the grace of God that has been shown to us through the sacrifice of Jesus. Grace is a gift from God and faith is as well. How does God give someone the faith to believe?

Faith cometh by hearing

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing …

As the Spirit convicts and convinces for repentance, He offers faith to believe and to be converted. Paul tells us that this faith comes by  – ‘hearing.’  Hearing what? The sound of the wind gently blowing through the leaves? The sound of birds singing in the air? The sound of ocean waves crashing against the shore? No my dear friend. Faith cometh by the hearing the sound of a human voice as it is proclaiming the gospel.

Hearing by the Word of God

Romans 1017 … and hearing by the word of God.

The Spirit uses the human voice to convey spiritual truth

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

Some of you are thinking – ‘But I’m not a preacher!’ Oh yes you are! The word ‘preach’ means to publish and proclaim. The greatest example of this is found in the book of Acts –

Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.  32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth.

34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

It is the Spirit that must convict a man of his sin and convince him that Jesus is the answer. Yet although the truth about eternal life is found in scripture, the Spirit uses human voices to proclaim this truth to the lost. ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’ (Mk 16:15) Under the Spirit’s guidance, Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

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