Pastor James J. Barker

Text: JOHN 16:7-11


  1. In the Gospel of John, chapters 13 through 17, we have what is often referred to as "the Upper Room Discourse."
  2. It is referred to as the Upper Room Discourse because in both Mark 14:15 and in Luke 22:12 we read that our Lord sent two of his disciples into Jerusalem, and told them that they would find there a large "upper room furnished and prepared."
  3. This Upper Room discourse contains our Lord's last recorded words before His arrest and trial and crucifixion.
  4. These chapters are very interesting, particularly regarding what our Lord had to say about the ministry of the Holy Spirit (cf. 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26).
  5. Then in John 15:27, our Lord told them that they were to be His witnesses.  These instructions would be given again right before our Lord ascended into heaven (cf. Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8).
  6. Our Lord assured them that the indwelling Holy Spirit would endue them with power.
  7. In John 16:5, our Lord told His disciples that He would soon be going back to God the Father.  Though His departure would make them sorrowful (16:6), our Lord explained that it was "expedient" for them that He go away: for if He did not go away, the Comforter would not come unto them.
  8. But if our Lord were to depart, He would send the Comforter to them. Since the Holy Spirit reveals Christ, all that was appointed unto Christ to do had to be completed before the Holy Spirit could begin his ministry (cf. John 7:37-39).
  9. In this dispensation, the work of the Holy Spirit on the world is through the Church, and it is described by our Lord as threefold (John 16:7-11).



  1. F.B. Meyer said this, "We are constantly meeting people who are perfectly indifferent to Christianity, because they say they do not feel their need of it. Why should they trouble about it, when they suppose themselves able to do perfectly well without it?  In dealing with these, it is a great mistake to entice them towards the Gospel by describing the moral grandeur of Christ's character and teaching. We should at once seek to arouse them to a sense of their great sinfulness. When a man realizes that his life is being eaten out by some insidious disease, he will need no further urging to go to a physician. This is the weakness of modern preaching -- that we expatiate on the value of the remedy to men who have never realized their dire necessity."
  2. The Holy Spirit reproves (convicts) the world of sin (16:8). The greatest sin in this wicked world is unbelief (16:9).  The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to reprove or to convict lost sinners so that they might repent and be saved.
  3. How terrible for a sinner to reject Christ!  How terrible for a sinner to ignore the convicting work of the Holy Spirit!
  4. The other night my wife showed me an article on the Internet.  A man from Michigan has been charged by the police with felony sex offenses after he told them he was HIV-positive and had set out to intentionally infect as many people as he could.
  5. Health officials have issued an alert warning that "possibly hundreds of people have been exposed to HIV."
  6. According to documents on file with Grand Rapids 61st District Court, Dean Smith claimed to have had relations with "thousands" of partners, intending to kill them all by infecting them with HIV.
  7. That is very wicked.
  8. But there is an even greater sin than that -- and that is rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ.
  9. Hebrews 10:29 says, "Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?"
  10. Genesis 6:3 says, "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man."
  11. How does the Holy Spirit strive with men?  How are they convicted?
  12. In Acts 2:37, Peter was preaching, and the Bible says the Jews were "pricked in their heart.”
  13. In Acts 7:54, Stephen was preaching, and the Bible says “they were cut to the heart.”
  14. This is the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.  Stephen told his murderers, "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye."
  15. The Holy Spirit convicts men of the sin of refusing to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  16. John 3:18-20 says, "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."
  17. There is that word "reproved" again.  Strong's Concordance says the word means, "to convict, refute, confute -- generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted, to expose; to find fault with, correct, to reprehend severely, chide, admonish, to call to account, show one his fault, to chasten, to punish."
  18. How does the Holy Spirit do it?   Through the Word of God.
  19. We saw in Acts 2:37 that when Peter preached the Gospel, "they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
  20. We saw in Acts 7:54 that when Stephen preached, "they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth."
  21. That same word "reprove" is found in Luke 3:19.  "But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him (John the Baptist) for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done."
  22. "For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her" (Matthew 14:4).
  23. We also see the word "reprove" in II Timothy 4:2, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
  24. This is the preacher's # 1 job, but many preachers will not do it.
  25. Conviction in itself is not enough. Those listening to Stephen were convicted.  The Bible says, "they were cut to the heart" by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit used the sharp two-edged sword, the Word of God.
  26. "They were cut to the heart," but they did not repent, and they did not get saved.  Conviction does not always lead to conversion.
  27. Conviction in itself is not enough.  Mark 6:20 says, "For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly."
  28. Herod "did many things," but he never did repent.
  29. Many lost sinners have been convicted but they have never gone on to repentance and conversion.
  30. F.B. Meyer said they resemble "untimely fruit, which, blighted before its maturity, has dropped to the ground."
  31. F.B. Meyer gave this helpful advice to sinners, "Do not wait for more conviction; but come to Jesus as you are, and tell Him that the saddest symptom in your case is your inability to feel as you know you should. Do not tarry to be convinced of sin. Do not stay away till you feel more deeply. Do not suppose that strongly roused emotions purchase his favour. His command is absolute, Believe!"



  1. The Holy Spirit also reproves (or "convicts") of the need for righteousness; i.e., the need to be made right with God.
  2. The great evangelist R.A. Torrey traveled around the world with his song-leader, Charles Alexander.  I saw an old photograph of Torrey preaching in a huge tabernacle to thousands of people, with a big banner behind him.
  3. The banner said, "GET RIGHT WITH GOD." Standing before this huge banner, Torrey preached the Gospel and many souls were saved.
  4. They were saved because the Holy Spirit brought genuine conviction.
  5. "He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more" (John 16:8-10).
  6. These words were spoken right before our Lord went to the cross.  The Holy Spirit convicts sinners that our Lord's work on the cross was the means of taking away sin, and establishing the righteousness that sinners need but cannot obtain by their own efforts.
  7. The Holy Spirit convinces sinners that the only righteousness that is acceptable to God is the imputed righteousness of Christ.
  8. The Lord Jesus Christ imputes (reckons to our account) His righteousness upon our record when we trust Him for salvation.
  9. Christ's finished work on the cross on man's behalf, accepted by the Father -- of which the resurrection is witness -- is made plain and clear to the convinced sinner by the Holy Spirit.
  10. "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness" (John 16:8).
  11. Not our righteousness!
  12. The Bible says, "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6).
  13. First Corinthians 1:30 says, "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
  14. "Reproving the world of sin and of righteousness," means the Holy Spirit makes this real to the repentant sinner, who realizes he cannot please God with his own self-righteousness.



  1. Jesus said in John 16:8, "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." "Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged" (John 16:11).
  2. Our Lord said the Holy Spirit would reprove (or convict) the world of judgment, "because the prince of this world is judged" (John 16:11).
  3. To the Christian, the Holy Spirit is our Comforter; but to the unsaved world, the Holy Spirit is the "Reprover," and He is he reproving the world of judgment.
  4. This world is under the judgment of God.  John 3:36 says, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
  5. The wrath of God abides on the sinner, and will remain there unless he repents and gets right with God.
  6. The world stands guilty of refusing to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.   "And when he (the Comforter) is come, he will reprove the world of sin... Of sin, because they believe not on me" (John 16:8, 9).
  7. The world's greatest sin is the sin of unbelief.
  8. The world's condemnation is certified by the righteousness of Christ -- "He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness" (John 16:8).
  9. The world's condemnation is certified by the righteousness of Christ and the judgment of the prince of this world, Satan.
  10. Therefore nothing awaits this wicked world but judgment.  This is all laid out in vivid detail in the book of Revelation. The Holy Spirit’s presence here is the evidence that the Prince of this world has been judged.
  11. When the Holy Spirit departs, the sentence will be swiftly executed, both on the world and on Satan.  The apostle Paul said in II Thessalonians 2:7, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he (Holy Spirit) who now letteth (hinders) will let (hinder), until he (the Holy Spirit) be taken out of the way."
  12. The Holy Spirit is not only the Reprover, He is also the "Restrainer."  He is holding back the mystery of iniquity, which will overwhelm the world after the rapture.
  13. To the Christian, the Holy Spirit is our Comforter; but to the unsaved world, the Holy Spirit is the "Reprover."
  14. When our Lord said, "the prince of this world is judged" (16:11), He was referring to the cross. The cross was the crisis of this world's history.  Satan is a defeated foe.
  15. James 4:7 says, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
  16. Soon he will be cast into the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:3), and then the lake of fire and brimstone (20:10).
  17. And so will all those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ.  "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:15).
  18. "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).



  1. Walter Wilson was born on May 27, 1881, in Aurora, Indiana.
  2. Walter Wilson was saved in 1896 at the age of 15. Right away he began street meetings, hoping to lead more people to the Lord.
  3. He worked at a tent making business while attending the University of Kansas and earning his medical degree. After graduating, he opened his own medical practice, and in 1904 he married Marion Baker, the tentmaker’s daughter.
  4. However, due to his father-in-law’s failing health, he was compelled to work full time at the tent making business as well his medical  practice. This continued for 25 years. In World War I, he devised a method of  camouflaging and waterproofing tents in response to our government’s urgent  request.
  5. Another customer was the legendary Buffalo Bill.
  6. In his medical work, he soon noticed that people did not need physical help as much as they needed spiritual life, so he became a  witnessing doctor.
  7. However, he was frustrated that his efforts were often ineffective.
  8. One evening Dr. Walter Wilson went to hear James M. Gray, the president of the Moody Bible Institute, preach, and Dr. Gray preached a sermon on Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,  that ye present your bodies living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is  your reasonable service."
  9. Gray said, “Have you noticed that this verse does not tell us to whom we should give our bodies? It is not the Lord Jesus; He has His own body. It is not the Father; He remains on His throne. Another has come to earth without a body. God gives you the indescribable honor of presenting your bodies to the Holy Spirit, to be His dwelling place on earth.”
  10. This message helped to clear things up for Walter Wilson. He went  home and prayed, “Lord, I give You this body from my head to my feet. I give you my hands, my limbs, my eyes and lips, my brain."
  11. From that day forward, the Holy Spirit used Dr. Walter Wilson in a wonderful way, and he went on to become an effective soulwinner.

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