John 16:5-15 The Heart of God

John 16:5-15 The Heart of God March 20, 2007

John 16:5-15 The Heart of God

John 16:5-15 The Heart of God

Desiring God’s Heart Part 1

During the course of restoration work on Leonardo da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper, the leader of the project, Dr. Pinin Brambilla Barcilon, discovered that the face of Jesus in the painting had been distorted by five hundred years of grime, glue, and plaster. Her work with high-powered microscopes, surgical scalpels, and special solvents has revealed the face of Jesus as Leonardo portrayed it.

The Holy Spirit does that kind of work, too. Our image of Jesus is distorted, but the Spirit shows us, Jesus, as he truly is so that we might appreciate our Savior.

In John 16:5-15 Jesus says that the Spirit leads his followers to see him. He also says the Spirit convicts the world, those who don’t follow him. As it turns out, the Spirit’s leading believers to see Christ has a transforming effect in their lives, which has a convicting effect in the lives of those who make up the world. The Spirit’s work, then, is to our advantage.

This text is part of what is commonly referred to as Jesus’ Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17), given when he and his disciples have gathered before he is arrested.

The disciples of Jesus were sad because Jesus was going away. So Jesus told them about a “Comforter” who would come and comfort their hearts. The word for Comforter in these verses literally means to “stand beside.” The word is from two Greek words: para – where we get our word parable, paragraph, paramount. It literally means to stand beside someone. An advocate is a lawyer that stands beside you and helps you in court. An intercessor is a someone who stands besides you in prayer. A consoler or comforter is someone who stands with you during difficult times. The Message translations calls the Holy Spirit “Friend”. All of these pictures help us to know that as a Christian, the Holy Spirit is there for us. He is our Comforter when we need to talk to God. He is there to strengthen us, to encourage us, and to help us. The Holy Spirit speaks to us as God speaks to Him.

The Word of God speaks to the mind of the person. The Spirit of God, also known as the Holy Spirit, speaks to the heart of the person. Knowledge of God is a mind thing. Understanding and wisdom is a heart-thing.

I want to share with you how the Holy Spirit helps you discover the heart of God. The reason I want to share with you about the Holy Spirit today is that when we understand the heart of God, God helps us change our hearts to be like His. In this passage, the Bible shows us how the Holy Spirit reveals the heart of God.


The heart of God is about people. God’s heart should be our heart.

1. To the people who do not know Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit convinces them of their need for Him. (16:8-11)



1. Alert my spirit of sin
2. Persuade my mind of righteousness
3. Remind me of the coming judgment

The Holy Spirit reminds us of God’s heart in these three different ways. God hates sin. The Holy Spirit alerts me to sin in my life. God wants righteousness. The Holy Spirit persuades me of the way that God wants me to live. God wants justice done. Sin must be punished because it is not in the heart of God to tolerate sin.

Sin, missing the true end and scope of our lives, which is God. The Holy Spirit is here on this earth to help me realize that. You and I can’t see the Holy Spirit. You will never find a picture of the Holy Spirit. Outside of a dove, or some flames, you probably won’t see a personification, or a drawing, or a cartoon of the Holy Spirit. But no matter whether I can see Him or not, the Holy Spirit can alert me to the sin that is in me and around me.

Example: Have you ever had the feeling that what you knew you were doing was not right. Not a mental knowledge. But a feeling. You knew it in your head, but you felt it in your heart. Is that your conscience? No. Your conscience is a mind thing. It is a recognition based on God’s good law that there is a right and wrong to something. When you feel that you know you are doing something wrong, that can be the Holy Spirit speaking to you. Let me show you what I mean.

If I tell you that it is wrong to murder, you may believe me. Most societies agree that it is wrong to murder. If I show you in the Bible, it is wrong, you might agree. There is a legal framework where murder is wrong. But if I showed you a murder, you would feel it with your heart, not your mind. Your mind tells you it is wrong. Your spirit feels that it is wrong. Your mind and your heart would agree on this.

Another example: I was watching Larry King Live this week. He was talking to another reporter who had this series. It was called: “To Catch a Predator.” Here is what they do. They use decoys who go online as pass themselves off as young children. Men who converse online with these children, end up talking trash. They set up a time and place, and the men are thinking: OK, I can go there. The man shows up and gets busted. This reporter is there with a camera, and of course, the reporter has told the police. But before the man is sent away, the reporter asks him questions like:

What do you do for a living? What are you doing here on a Saturday morning in a girl’s house when the parents are gone? What causes you to want to do this?

You can see that the conscience has kicked in. The TV show labeled these guys with a compulsion problem. The reporter said that there were three groups of guys who do this:

1. Young guys who want to try and don’t care about the consequences.
2. The hard-core pornography-loving, sex offenders.
3. Men who have this obsession, who would probably not act it out if it were not for the Internet.

The TV hosts called this a compulsion as if it was just a disease. The Bible calls it sin. Romans 7 calls it the struggle with sin. The Holy Spirit reveals this to you.

The Holy Spirit reveals to you sin in your life, so that you can also know that you need to live like God wants you to. The Holy Spirit reveals to you sin in your life so that you can see your need for God.

Romans 3:23

There comes a time, when you know you need God. The Holy Spirit is leading you to understand this truth. But you never come to realize this just in your head. This is a heart thing.

The Holy Spirit also shares with us the fact that there will be a judgment. Because there is sin, and sin is missing the true scope of our lives which is God, and God can’t let sin reside with Him forever, there must be a judgment. Satan will be judged, but so will everyone else who denies this persuasion to come to God.

There will be judgment and we need to know that. The Holy Spirit convicts us of this. When you so convicted of these three things, you will come to a decision. The goal of this conviction of the Holy Spirit is to get you in a relationship with God. The Holy Spirit draws you to Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ draws you to God.

The heart of God is about His children.

2. To His children, the Holy Spirit guides us in our decisions. (16:12-13)

Jesus did not have enough time to guide every single one of our decisions. He could not counsel us to do God’s will. He would die and resurrect and go back to His Father. But He sent the Friend who could stay with us. Why? Because there is more to a relationship with God than just facts about God. When we know more truth from God, it leads us to want to know God’s heart.

God-sense of morality – The Holy Spirit tells us what is right and what is wrong.

The Holy Spirit works in harmony with God’s Word to share with you how to know what is right in a circumstance and what is wrong.

God-sense of relationship – The Holy Spirit will reveal to you more about your relationship with God.

The Holy Spirit will share with you who God is. He will show you God’s ways.

God-sense of well-being – The Holy Spirit will reveal to you God’s desires in your life.

Notice here the distinction between the way the Holy Spirit interacts with the world and the way he interacts with followers of Jesus. He convicts the world, but he leads the disciples. Nowhere else does the New Testament link conviction with the Holy Spirit, which leads me to believe that the conviction of the Holy Spirit is for the world, not believers. The Spirit disrupts the lives of believers, certainly, but he doesn’t convict, at least not in the judicial sense that is the intent of this passage. That’s because the guilt we deserve is heaped onto Jesus. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). In verse 13a, Jesus states that the Spirit will lead the disciples into all the truth. In verse 13b, he says how the Spirit will lead them: by communicating what he hears. In verse 14, he reveals the purpose of the Spirit’s leading: to glorify Christ.

The heart of God is about glorifying Himself.

3. To God the Father, and to us, the Holy Spirit will elevate Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit always glorifies Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will never glorify Himself. Why? It is not like the Holy Spirit is jealous of Jesus. Jesus acted out the heart of God when He gave Himself upon the cross for the people that were on God’s heart. Jesus paid for the sin. Jesus revealed the way to righteousness. Jesus judged Satan and the evil that was part of His kingdom. He has punished Satan to Hell. (When Jesus returns, He will send Satan to prison for a short-term sentence. Then He will place Satan in long-term prison sentence forever.) But Jesus has already judged Satan when Jesus rose from the dead.

The Holy Spirit lifts up this act of Jesus and displays the heart of God. The Holy Spirit says: I will glorify God by lifting up Jesus and making Jesus’s name great. It was as if Jesus the Son glorified God by dying on the cross.

John 17:4-5

Now it is the Holy Spirit’s time to glorify God, and the Holy Spirit does that by glorifying Jesus Christ. Why? Because by lifting up Jesus, the Holy Spirit is displaying the heart of God. Do you want to see the heart of God? Look at what His Son did on the cross for the Father.

Sidenote: This is a Trinitarian verse: (16:15) – The Holy Spirit is the most humble of all of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit glorifies as Jesus glorifies the Father.

Now, what does this all have to do with me?

The Holy Spirit will reveal to you the heart of God. He will show you the glory of God. He wants you to change your heart so that you can be compatible with God’s heart.


When we understand and appreciate any aspect of God and are drawn into worship because of it, we are changed. Simply, we become like that which we worship. Psalm 115:8 says that those who make idols and everyone who trusts in them “will become like them.” Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:18 that the Spirit transforms us as we “behold as in a mirror,” as we scrutinize, the glory of the Lord. In 1 Timothy 3:16, Paul says “the mystery of godliness,” or how a person becomes godly, involves appreciating truth about Jesus. John says, “We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2). John is telling us that one day our transformation to Christlikeness will be complete and that it will happen when we see Jesus “just as he is.” And seeing Jesus as he is has a transforming effect that is happening now as the Spirit shows us, Jesus.

The leading of the Spirit, then, brings us back to conviction. The Spirit leads followers of Jesus, but he convicts the world. He convicts the world through his presence in the followers of Jesus. He leads us to see Jesus, which conforms us to the image of Christ. As we become more like Jesus, as we love the way Jesus loved, the Spirit convicts the world so that it, too, might follow Jesus.

So I leave you with three questions?

Has the Holy Spirit alerted you to sin in your life?

Has the Holy Spirit shown you your need for God?

Christian, will you let the Holy Spirit bring your heart to be compatible with God’s heart – His desires and His will?

Some of us in this room need to go from living our lives with just the mind and learning to live the heart. (I will talk more about this next week in some practical ways.) But the first step is to align my spirit with the Holy Spirit. He is in every Christian. He resides there – He stands beside you. He is your Advocate, your Counselor, and your Helper. Are you asking Him to help you?

Photo by Chelsea Bock on Unsplash


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