John 16:8 (NEB) "When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world, and show where right and wrong and judgment lie. He will convict them of wrong..."
When Holiness Comes In Contact With Unholy MenMat 10:34 (NAS) "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."
Agents of Conviction2 Cor 2:15-16 (Phi) We Christians have the unmistakable "scent" of Christ, discernible alike to those who are being saved and to those who are heading for death. To the latter it seems like the deathly smell of doom, to the former it has the refreshing fragrance of life itself.
Prov 24:24-25 (NIV) Whoever says to the guilty, "you are innocent"--peoples will curse him and nations denounce him. But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come upon them.
The Privilege of Conviction
Prophecy and ConvictionJohn 12:43 (NIV) For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
"Encouraging" People To Remain In Sin...
Eze 3:20-21 (NIV) "Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself."
But That's Not Very Encouraging!John 16:13 (Phi) "Yet when that one I have spoken to you about comes--the Spirit of truth--he will guide you into everything that is true."
John 8:32 (Phi) "...and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."
Short Circuiting the Holy Spirit1 Jn 1:8-10 (Phi) If we refuse to admit that we are sinners, then we live in a world of illusion and the truth becomes a stranger to us. But if we freely admit that we have sinned, we find him reliable and just--he forgives our sins and makes us thoroughly clean from all that is evil. For if we say "we have not sinned", we are making him a liar and cut ourselves off from what he has to say to us.
A Guilt Trip Encouraged by the Apostle Paul2 Cor 7:8-11 (NIV) Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it--I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while--yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you...
Guilt ProblemsJer 6:15 (NIV) "Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush... "
Solving The Symptom, Or The Problem?
Jer 3:13 (NIV) "Only acknowledge your guilt..."
Imagine a doctor in a clean, well lit hospital having the following dialog with a patient: "What seems to be the problem?" The patient replies, "My fingers are great." "Good, but what is wrong with you." "Well, my feet are really feeling fantastic." "Fine, but this is a hospital, what can we do for you?" "Well, let me brag about my legs, I have been walking on them all day!" "Great, but this is a place of healing. Around here, we focus on what is wrong so that we can make you fully healthy. Now then, where does it hurt." Now imagine the patient saying: "That isn't very positive, I would rather talk about what is right about me" or "I think I'll find a new hospital. I feel so "sick" here, everyone seems to be so judgmental and faultfinding."
Or, on the contrary, imagine a more needy patient going into a hospital and begging for help for a particular problem, and having the doctor say, "Don't condemn yourself by admitting you have a problem. I don't receive that, brother! Let's focus on the positive. Besides, we were having a cheerful conversation about how great the hospital administrator is... "
The church should function as a spiritual hospital. A place for sinners to come and be healed. But more often, in modern Christianity, churches have become places where people are affirmed in their sickness, or worse still where sick people brag about self-wellness.
Out From the Dugout and Into the Game
Stuck On First
Off BaseMark 15:29-30 (NAS) And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, "Ha!.. save Yourself, and come down from the cross!"
Conviction is First Base in Our Love Affair with GodEzra 9:6 (NIV) "O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens."
Luke 18:13-14 (Phi) "But the tax collector stood in a distant corner, scarcely daring to look up to Heaven, and with a gesture of despair, said, 'God, have mercy on a sinner like me.' I assure you that he was the man who went home justified in God's sight..."
Ecc 7:2-4 (NIV) It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
Ps 13:1-2 (NIV) How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?...
Home RunJer 31:9,12-13 (NIV) "They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble... They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord... They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
Zeph 3:15-19 (NAS) The Lord has taken away His judgments against you... "Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp. The Lord your God is in your midst... He will exult over you with joy... He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy... I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will turn their shame into praise and renown in all the earth."
Isa 51:11-12,14 (NIV) "The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. I, even I, am he who comforts you... The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread."
Isa 60:1-2,4-5 (NIV) "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you... Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy..."
Isa 60:20 (NIV) Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.