Sermon Recap: The Spirit and Self-Awareness (John 16:8-11)

This is a recap of the latest sermon in our current series, Life in the Spirit

Throughout history, philosophers and artists have sought to understand the connection between knowing who God is and knowing ourselves. For the Christian, the Spirit helps us see ourselves for who we truly are so we might see who Christ truly is and turn to him by faith alone.


1. Aware of Our Failure

True knowledge of self isn't about self-realization or self-discovery as our culture defines it. It's much closer to understanding, as Calvin puts it, our "shaming nakedness" and "teeming horde of infirmities". The Spirit's work involves helping us to see the sin in our lives we often ignore, the righteousness we pretend we have enough of, and the judgment to come that we hope never does. So much of our lives are dedicated to avoiding these realities yet it is God's desire by His Spirit to reveal them to us.

2. Aware of Our Freedom

However, the Spirit doesn't only give us the bad news. The Spirit also is sent to show us what Jesus has done to deal with the sin we are all burdened with. The Spirit points us to Jesus who is our righteousness, how he lived righteously for us. The Spirit also lets us see that Jesus took the judgment death for the punishment that we rightly deserve.

This is the difference between how the Spirit works and the devil works. The Spirit convicts, giving us clarity and specificity about how we actually are rebelling against God so we might repent of our ways. The devil accuses us of wrongdoing and wants us to remain an emotional mess, living in a cloud of confusion and shame. The Spirit points us back to Jesus, the devil wants us to dwell in self-loathing and guilt.

This is why we need knowledge of God and Jesus Christ to address the harsh reality of knowing ourselves. For whatever kind of failure, quitter, loser, or messed up person we've been, the Spirit reminds us that Jesus has done something about it and wants to re-establish us in the good graces of our Heavenly Father and welcome us back into the family.

Reflection & Application Questions

  1. What do you think it means to know yourself well? How do you think you do it? In what ways do you think you know yourself well? 
  2. How has the Spirit of God revealed to you the sinfulness, brokenness, and helplessness in your life without Jesus? Is there a particular way in which the damage of sin, your lack of righteousness, or knowing what kind of judgment you deserve convict you of who you really are without Jesus?
  3. How does the Spirit not only take us into the valley of our sin and brokenness but He also leads us out of it and to Jesus. In what ways does He do it regarding sin, righteousness, and judgment? How have you seen this happen in your own personal life?
  4. In what ways have you ever experienced the devil accusing you in light of your sin rather than the Spirit convicting you of sin? How did it affect your heart and emotional state? 
  5. Are there any areas of your own life where you still feel deep-seated shame or guilt and have trouble coming out of? How does the gospel speak to this? After discussing how the Spirit lifts you out of this by the cross of Christ, take some time to pray for freedom from your shame and guilt by God's power and Spirit.
  6. Read John 21. How do you think the disciples felt after being welcomed and fed by Jesus? How do you think Peter felt after being restored and re-commissioned by Jesus? Do you believe that this is what Jesus yearns to do with you in your sin every single day?