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    John 16 

    During this fast season we are exploring - through what we read in a chapter a day of the Bible - who God is and what He is like.

    1. Pray and read - preferably together

    2. Pray and share

    God at work, by the Holy Spirit, is our focus today.  

    The Spirit is our Comforter or Helper or Advocate.  The Greek word used means literally “one who is called alongside.”   

    Jesus does not promise to give instructions or leave a manual to follow.  He does not give another Law.  He does what the Old Testament looked forward to and inaugurates a new creation!  He gives a new heart, a new life source (Jeremiah 31:31-34).  God Himself comes to us by the Spirit when we call on Him!

    Of course, calling Him alongside does not mean we get divine help to go our own way!  It invites God the Spirit to fill and lead us so we are able to follow Jesus in life, in the way we live, enjoying close friendship with Him.

    The Spirit is not just at work in Christians.  He is at work in the world.  It is so important to recognise this when we are seeking to tell others the Good News - we need to see what the Spirit is doing in their lives and speak to encourage it, not just present a particular gospel formula parrot fashion!

    The first thing the Spirit does is convict of sin - many people know inside that things are not right and their actions are not right, not because of a rule but because of conscience; that is the work of the Spirit.  

    Then the Spirit convinces people of righteousness.  We can point to God by our example and lifestyle.  We can tell our story of what it means to us to be friends of God.  We can explain the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection enabling us to be righteous (i.e. in right relationship with God).  But only the Spirit can reveal Jesus to them.

    The Spirit also convinces people of judgment, not just the fact that evil will be judged but also calling people to a radical new allegiance to the Kingdom of God, a supernatural kingdom that is advancing as people obey God and bringing light into darkness.

    The Spirit glorifies Jesus (verse 14) just as we see Jesus glorifies the Father.  This is not a hierarchy within the Trinity, as some take it, but a wonderful example of self sacrificial love and preferring one another.  There are other scriptures that point to the Father honouring the Son and Spirit and the Son honouring the Spirit (e.g. in Mark 3:28-30 Jesus honours the Spirit - people who deliberately attribute evil to the Spirit put themselves beyond being able to hear the Spirit convict them of sin and bring them to repentance).

    Those of us who recognise what the Spirit is doing find there is great joy but may find great opposition in life too.  But Jesus has overcome the world!  That is why when we ask Father in Jesus’ name - living in union with Jesus and inspired by the Spirit in our prayers - He will answer.

    3. Pray and act

    We call on You Lord to come and fill us and lead us - help us to see your work in the world around us so that we can co-operate with You!