Table Talk - Week of July 24, 2016
Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit - The Holy Spirit Helps us by Convicting
This morning, Pastor Alex urged us to consider how the conviction of the Holy Spirit is a good, true, and beautiful thing. We read in Romans 2:4 that God's "kindness is meant to lead us to repentance." The conviction of the Holy Spirit is one of the primary ways that this happens in our lives. This beautiful and hopeful work of conviction has applications for both believers and unbelievers.
What is conviction?
Pastor Alex defined conviction as that sense of the Holy Spirit in your heart which brings you to be aware of and sensitive towards sin. The New Testament uses the word convict in the sense of "exposing sin and summoning to repentance." Conviction is hopeful because it leads us back towards God; anything that enables us to turn towards God is a good and beautiful thing.
Convicting the Unbeliever
John 16:5-11 points to the Holy Spirit's work in convicting the unbeliever, making them aware of their need for a Savior. All people already stand condemned before God (John 3:16-20), and must have their eyes opened by the Holy Spirit's conviction before they can come to Him. The Holy Spirit has been sent to convict the world, drawing people to the hope offered them in the gospel. Unbelievers are convicted of their sin, their need for righteousness, and the judgement that stands before them if they continue to reject God. Although men and women reject God, He actively convicts them to come home.
Convicting the Believer
For those of us who have already been born again, our sin nature has been changed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are no longer slaves to our sin nature. However, we are still drawn by and often numb to the destructive power of sins in our lives. When a believer chooses willingly to sin, he or she grieves the Holy Spirit. This does not change our relationship with God; he will always be our Father, and as Romans 8 tells us, nothing can separate us from His love. Just as a disobedient son does not cease to be a son when he disobeys, so we will always be sons and daughters of God.
But our sin does impact our intimate experience of fellowship with Him. The Holy Spirit's work of conviction draw us back to the experience of fellowship with God in purity and righteousness and softens our heart to be sensitive to the things of God. The convicting work of the Holy Spirit is a precious gift to us, showing God's unending desire to fellowship with us as his creatures.
Questions to discuss as a family today
1. How would you define conviction? Why is conviction a good and beautiful thing in our lives? Discuss your experience of being convicted by the Holy Spirit.
2. What is the difference between conviction and condemnation? How do they differ for the believer and the unbeliever?
3. Read Ephesians 4:35-32. How might you be grieving the Holy Spirit? What sins is He convicting you of today, or recently? How can you fight for purity?
Father, we give you thanks and praise for your unending kindness and love towards us as your children. Thank you for the work of your Son, who came into the world to save us from the condemnation of our sin nature. Thank you for the work of the Holy Spirit, who has been sent to convict us of sin and reveal your plan to draw us back home. Open our eyes to the sins that have deceived us and grieve your Spirit. Teach us how to be pure and righteous in your sight so that we may enjoyed unhindered fellowship with you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Please feel free to call or email your thoughts each week!
Patrick McCrory, Generations Pastor