2017 1st Quarter
Lesson 12, March 18-24, The Work of the Spirit
Sunday, March 19
“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. And when he is come, 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; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” KJV, John 16:7-12, emphasis added.
“Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?” KJV, Romans 2:1-3, emphasis added.
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again…. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” KJV, Matthew 7:1, 2, 5, emphasis added.
“And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.” KJV, 2 Samuel 12:8, 9, emphasis added.
“It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convince the soul of its need of Christ. Many are convicted of sin, and feel their need of a sin-pardoning Saviour; but they are merely dissatisfied with their pursuits and aims, and if there is not a decided application of the truth to their hearts, if words are not spoken at the right moment, calling for decision from the weight of evidence already presented, the convicted ones pass on without identifying themselves with Christ, the golden opportunity passes, and they have not yielded, and they go farther and farther away from the truth, farther away from Jesus and never take their stand on the Lord’s side.
“Now the minister is not merely to present the Word of God in such a manner as to convince of sin in a general way, but he is to lift up Christ before his hearers. Christ’s claims upon them are to be made plain. The people should be urged to decide just now to be on the Lord’s side.” (Ellen White, Letter 29, 1890; Evangelism, 283, emphasis added.)
“There needs to be an elevating, uplifting power, a constant growth in the knowledge of God and the truth, on the part of one who is seeking the salvation of souls. If the minister utters words drawn from the living oracles of God; if he believes in and expects the cooperation of Christ, whose servant he is; if he hides self and exalts Jesus, the world’s Redeemer; his words will reach the hearts of his hearers, and his work will bear the divine credentials. The Holy Spirit must be the living agency to convince of sin. The divine agent presents to the speaker the benefits of the sacrifice made upon the cross; and as the truth is brought in contact with the souls present, Christ wins them to Himself, and works to transform their nature. He is ready to help our infirmities, to teach, to lead, to inspire us with ideas that are of heavenly birth.
“How little can men do in the work of saving souls, and yet how much through Christ if they are imbued with His spirit! The human teacher cannot read the hearts of his hearers, but Jesus dispenses the grace that every soul needs. He understands the capabilities of man, his weakness, and his strength. The Lord is working on the human heart, and a minister can be to the souls who are listening to his words a savor of death unto death, turning them away from Christ; or, if he is consecrated, devotional, distrustful of self, but looking unto Jesus, he may be a savor of life unto life to souls who are already under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, and in whose hearts the Lord is preparing the way for the messages which He has given to the human agent. Thus the heart of the unbeliever is touched, and it responds to the message of truth. ‘Ye are laborers together with God.’ The convictions implanted in the heart, and the enlightenment of the understanding by the entrance of the word, work in perfect harmony. The truth brought before the mind has power to arouse the dormant energies of the soul. The Spirit of God working in the heart cooperates with the working of God through His human instrumentalities. When ministers realize the necessity of thorough reformation in themselves, when they feel that they must reach a higher standard, their influence upon the churches will be uplifting and refining.” (Ellen White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 144, 145, emphasis added.)