From John’s gospel we read the words of Jesus regarding the coming of the Holy Spirit,
“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of Truth . . . He will bear witness of Me . . . And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment . . . He will guide you into all the truth . . . He shall glorify Me.” (John 15:26; 16:8,13-14)
Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be “sent . . . from the Father,” and that He who “is the Spirit of Truth,” would come and “convict the world concerning sin.”
These verses of holy Scripture cause me to think of Jonathan Edwards, the magnificent scholar and preacher in America during the early 1700s. Jesus’ words about the Holy Spirit call to mind that famous message that Edwards preached, “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God.”
J. Wilbur Chapman has written regarding Edwards and his sermon,
“He had a little manuscript which he held up so close to his face that they could not see his countenance. He went on and on until the people in the crowded church were tremendously moved. One man sprang to his feet, rushed down the aisles and cried, ‘Mr. Edwards, have mercy!’ Other men caught hold of the backs of the pews lest they should slip into perdition.”
Oh, what a powerful message it was that early morning back in the time of our country’s early history. A message that “the Spirit of Truth” used to “convict” those who attended that service “concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment.” It has been said that the power of that message brought many men and women to God that day.
What is interesting to note is the history behind the message, and what Edwards did before he ever stepped to the pulpit. Chapman writes,
“For three days Edwards had not eaten a mouthful of food; for three nights he had not closed his eyes in sleep. Over and over again, he had been saying to God, ‘Give me New England! Give me New England!’ When he rose from his knees and made his way into the pulpit, they say that he looked as if he had been gazing straight into the face of God. They say that before he opened his lips to speak, conviction fell upon his audience.”
Yes, “before he opened his lips to speak, conviction” of sin and a need for Christ was already “upon his audience.” Edwards had prepared the way with prayer and fasting, and the Holy Spirit did His work!
I have pastored, I have taught, and I have discipled, but I have never come close to applying myself to this labor as Jonathan Edwards did. I have never experienced the results he witnessed that morning. I am in awe, while at the same time being convicted of falling so very short of the example this great man of God has set before me.
Oh “Spirit of Truth,” may each one of us who professes Christ remember who You are and what You are capable of doing and may it be our desire that you work through us, just as you did through your servant Jonathan Edwards.
Have a good day . . . and as you order your steps this day may they be ordered in submission to the Holy Spirit. May He might accomplish through you the work that Christ sent Him to do.