STUDY | Spend the week studying John 16:5-15. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.
DETERMINE | Which discussion points and study questions will work best for your group.
PRAY | Pray for our pastors and this week’s message, the upcoming group time, your group members, and their openness to God’s Word.
LANDING POINT | The Spirit guides me in truth, points me to Jesus and convicts the world.
Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion
- Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
- No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
- No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
- Sharing. Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Don’t talk too much or too little. Every person brings something valuable to the group.
As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
One can imagine the sorrow that must have filled the disciples’ hearts when Jesus told them He was going to leave them. From their limited perspective, His leaving was not what they wanted to hear. It seemed like bad news all around.
But Jesus gave them a different perspective. What seemed bad was actually a good thing for them. Jesus said it was to their advantage that He go away. This week your group will look at the next powerful word in this series— advantage—and how not having Jesus physically with us is good news.
God is in the business of taking what seems bad or really is bad and turning it into good and blessing. When you have Jesus’ perspective, you understand that you’re never alone in life. You have the Spirit, who guides you in truth, points you to Jesus and convicts the world.
Q: Share about a time this week when God turned a bad situation into good or blessing.
Q: Why is it important to remember that our perspective is limited and God’s is not?
Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.
the promised helper
The mood in the room is somber. Jesus has just said He will leave the disciples. Their hearts are heavy with sorrow, knowing their master will soon be gone. Jesus sees the sadness in their eyes and tells them, “Look, it’s to your advantage that I leave. If I don’t leave, then the Spirit won’t come. But if I go, I promise to send the Helper [the Holy Spirit] to you.”
The disciples still don’t fully understand. So, Jesus explains that the Spirit will come, and His job will be to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. “The world doesn’t believe in me because sin blinds them to the truth. But the Spirit will lead some to repent and believe in me. The Spirit will take what I have taught you about righteousness and open the eyes of sinners to know the truth, repent and turn to me. I came to bring justice and defeat the enemy of this world, and he already stands condemned.”
Read: John 16:5–15. How does Jesus show compassion to His disciples?
Q: Where have you seen the Spirit at work during this unprecedented season our world is currently facing?
a guide to glory
Jesus wants to say more, but He knows the disciples aren’t ready. So He tells them about the Spirit’s work. “When the Spirit of truth comes to you, He will be your guide. He will recall everything I’ve already spoken to you. He will remind you of the past, help you interpret the present and tell you what will be in the future. Everything the Holy Spirit does will point to me. Just as I have lived to glorify the Father, the Spirit will glorify me in everything He does.”
Q: How is it possible to recognize the work of or a word from the Spirit?
Q: What are some practical ways you can glorify Jesus like the Spirit does?
Select 2-3 questions from this section to answer.
Jesus lived among us as a man for thirty-three years. When He walked the earth, He could only be in one place at a time. There were plenty of times when Jesus wasn’t physically with His disciples. But Jesus promised that something better was coming. The Spirit would come, which means God’s presence would always be with His disciples.
The Holy Spirit did come, and He makes His home in the heart of every believer. God is with you and He is in you. That means you are never truly alone. The Spirit who brought you from death to life lives in you and guides you. Whether this season of life is filled with blessing and good things or pain or sadness, uncertainty or doubt, you are never alone. The Spirit walks with you through good and hard seasons.
Q: How should the knowledge that God's Spirit is always present in you change your everyday life?
Q: Recall a time when you felt God's comforting presence in a difficult situation.
Conviction and change
Jesus tells us the Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. That means the Spirit does the work of conviction for us. All God asks us to do is declare the truth of His gospel. Your witness has power because the Spirit does the work to convict others and open their eyes to God's truth.
You can’t effectively convict others about their need for Jesus in your own power. Only the Spirit can change someone’s heart. You probably have people in your life who are far from God. But despite your best efforts to share Jesus, they still say, “No.” When you meet resistance and rejection, remember who is responsible to convict and transform the heart. It’s to your advantage that the Spirit says, “Conviction and change are my jobs. Trust me to do it in my time.”
Q: Write down the names of two or three people you would like to see come to faith in Jesus. Pray for the Spirit to do His work and transform their hearts.
Q: What does it look like to trust the Spirit to do His work in others?
Select 1 question from this section to ask your group.
Access to treasure
You have become rich beyond your wildest imagination in Jesus. First, the Spirit guides you and reveals truth to you. He makes you seek God’s truth and wisdom as if it were silver or hidden treasure (Proverbs 2:4). Second, what the Spirit reveals always points to Jesus, your ultimate treasure. That’s how you can discern the Spirit’s work—whether it exalts Jesus and His life, death and resurrection. Third, you have received all spiritual blessings from the Father through Jesus and by the Spirit (Ephesians 1:3). The Spirit gives you access to God’s blessings, which include:
• Hope (Romans 15:13)
• Direction (Romans 8:14)
• Intercession (Romans 8:26)
• Transformation (2 Corinthians 3:18) & Strength (Ephesians 3:16,20)
Q: What’s one thing you can do this week to seek God’s truth?
Q: What does it say about the character of God that He gives you His spiritual blessings?
Praise God for the Spirit’s presence in your life. Thank Him for the Spirit’s work to bring you to faith and how He continues to work in you as your guide and helper.
Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:
• Read the passages mentioned in the Lead section and reflect on how God’s blessings affect your day-to-day life.
• Ask the group to share any stories or lessons learned where they see God at work in their lives.
Pouring Out of the Spirit The Holy Spirit carries on Jesus’ ministry in the world. The Spirit did not come in full power until after Jesus’ ascension. The Old Testament prophets foresaw a time when the Spirit would be poured out as a sign of the inauguration of the kingdom of God and Christ’s church (see Isa. 11:1–10; 32:14–18; 42:1–4; 44:1–5; Jer. 31:31–34; Ezek. 11:17–20; 36:24–27; 37:1–14; Joel 2:28–32. This pouring out happened at Pentecost (Acts 2:1–13).
Convicted of Righteousness “Some hold that [‘righteousness’] refers to God’s righteousness, or even to justification, but these readings do not easily explain why the world is convicted of righteousness. More plausibly, the world is convicted of its righteousness, which is entirely false (e.g., displayed by the self-righteousness of many of the Jewish religious leaders throughout John’s Gospel).”
Final Judgment “The final judgment of this world and Satan was accomplished at Calvary. That great enemy of truth is now living on borrowed time. Judgment will come, but the focus here is on an awareness that the prince of this world now stands condemned.”
Ministry of the Spirit “The Spirit, Jesus said, would not teach the disciples on His own (i.e., on His own initiative) but would teach only what He hears from the Father. This points out the interdependence of the Persons in the Trinity. The Father would tell the Spirit what to teach the apostles about the Son.
Also, the Spirit would teach what is yet to come. This statement helps one understand the promise, He will guide you into all truth (lit., ‘all the truth’). This was a promise to the apostles, that their partial understanding of the person and work of Jesus as the Messiah would be completed as the Spirit would give them insight into the meanings of the soon-to-come Cross and the Resurrection, as well as truths about Jesus’ return (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10). The New Testament books are the fulfillment of this teaching ministry of the Spirit.”
1. Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2056–2057.
2. D. A. Carson, “The Gospels and Acts,” in NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message, ed. D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015), 2187.
3. Kenneth O. Gangel, John, vol. 4, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 300.
4. Edwin A. Blum, “John,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 328–329.