The Shocking, Sweet Spirit of Christ About the Spirit of God

Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning and evening, Aug. 19, 2001, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia. 


By Michael D. O’Neal                  Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church                  Albany, Georgia

Scripture Reading: John 3:1-10

Text: John 3:7

John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Introduction: Liberals, modernists, and leftwingers accuse fundamentalists of not having “the sweet spirit of Christ.” One of these “tolerant” fellows came up to the late Dr. Hyles one time and said, “I think you have a bad spirit.” Brother Hyles replied, “Well, I’ve worked awfully hard to GET this bad spirit, and I intend to KEEP it!”

The judgment about one’s having the sweet spirit of Christ is pretty objective. One preacher scolded me about a week ago saying, “You have TRUTH, but you don’t have GRACE.” The same week, another preacher said to me, “Brother Mike, you are a kind and good man.” I guess it all depends on who is doing the evaluating, as to whether or not you have a “sweet spirit.” 🙂

For example, when a liberal accuses a fundamentalist of not having the sweet spirit of Christ, he usually means that he believes you should never criticize anyone’s religion and that you should never discourage someone by saying that what he is doing is WRONG or SINFUL.

Well, let’s look at our Savior’s words while He was on this earth and learn something from His example. After all, most liberals emphasize that we should follow the example of Christ. However, I am afraid that some people would be SHOCKED if they were to hear with their own ears HOW Jesus spoke as well as WHAT He spoke. This morning I want us to consider:




John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

“… he will REPROVE the world …”!

The word, “reprove,” is a NEGATIVE word. Horrors! Such a thought to the liberal mind, that God would send the Holy Ghost into this world, and that His primary work in this world would be NEGATIVE! The word is associated with “rebuke” in Prov. 9:8 and 2 Tim. 4:2; with correcting of evil in Jeremiah 2:19; and with smiting in Proverbs 19:25 and Isaiah 11:4.

We refer to Holy Ghost “conviction,” based on the above verse. A CONVICTION, dearly beloved, is a declaration of GUILTINESS. If you ever FEEL that conviction, beloved, you will feel GUILTY.

By looking at the next verses, we see the application of that reproof:

A. About rebellion against God and the rejection of His Son

  • John 16:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
  • All have sinned (Romans 3:23), and people go to hell for one reason only: UNBELIEF in the Sin-bearer!
  • The Spirit of God reproves a sinner about this!

B. About the righteousness of Jesus Christ

  • John 16:10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
  • Man’s righteousness is as filthy rags.
  • Jesus came as the Lamb of God, without spot or blemish …SINLESS.
  • The Spirit of God reproves a sinner about his own sin, how his sin is in such contrast to the Savior’s righteousness, and how his sin was responsible for Christ’s death on Calvary!

C. About a reckoning in the future

  • John 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
  • The Spirit of God lets people know in their conscience that they are going to have to stand before God about their sin.



John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

John 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

The Spirit of God reveals the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. A Spirit-filled Christian talks about JESUS. A Spirit-filled message talks about JESUS. A Spirit-filled congregation goes all over town talking about JESUS.

The fact that the Spirit of God was sent into this world to glorify Christ and to testify of Christ indicates that He is NECESSARY for this to be done properly. People are not going to be able to understand and appreciate Jesus Christ without the work of the Holy Ghost. I know that sounds negative, but NO ONE comes to Jesus without the help of the Spirit of God. Man is by nature EVIL and WICKED. He will not move toward God unless God has first moved upon him.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

The Spirit of God reveals

A. The Son of God’s person

  • The Spirit of God reveals Jesus to the sinner as the Son of God and God the Son.
  • The main difference between Christians and Jehovah’s False Witnesses, although there are many other differences, is our position on WHO JESUS IS. JFW’s believe that Jesus is Michael, an angel created by God. Christians believe that Jesus is the CREATOR, eternally existing with the Father.
  • I knocked on the door of a JFW lady this week. She wouldn’t take my literature, but she said that she respected what I was doing. Well, I don’t respect what SHE is doing. Her cult preaches a FALSE Jesus!

B. The Son of God’s pardon

  • The Spirit of God reveals that Christ died FOR OUR SINS according to the scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

C. The Son of God’s plea

  • Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
  • The Spirit of God “woos” the sinner to trust Christ as Savior.
  • HE gives the invitation on the INSIDE of a man to trust Christ, as WE give the invitation on the OUTSIDE.



John 3:3-7 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Jesus did not say you must REFORM; He said you must be REBORN!

A lot of people think they need REDEDICATION, when what they ACTUALLY need is REGENERATION.

The SPIRIT OF GOD does this!

The NEGATIVE aspect of this is that NO ONE can be saved without being born again! No one can be saved without a SUPERNATURAL work! No one can be saved apart from the Spirit of God! Unsaved religionists say, “Well, we may believe differently, but we’re all working to get to the same place.” No, no, NO! We who are saved are NOT working to get to heaven; we have been REGENERATED by the Spirit of God! There are three applications of this wonderful truth. When God saves a sinner,

A. The Spirit of God breathes into his nostrils the breath of life

  • Even as God created man from the dust of the ground …
  • Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
  • … So the Spirit of God imparts life to the believing sinner.
  • The Spirit of God is the breath of God.

B. The Spirit of God begets a child into the family of God

  • Man has a natural birth; he needs a supernatural birth.
  • Every child of God has two birthdays!
  • Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

C. The Spirit of God brings up life from the dead!

  • I’m telling you that church membership is not the same as regeneration. Many church members are still lost and headed for hell.
  • Don’t get mad at me and accuse me of being “negative”; JESUS was who said, Ye MUST be born again!
  • Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;



Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The Spirit of God came in Acts 2, and one of the reasons for His coming was to lead believers from their OLD ways to the NEW ways of God!

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

You say, “Well, what is so shocking or negative about that?” Answer: God’s Spirit CHANGES the believer. He leads Him in a NEW direction. No one who follows the world is following the Spirit of God!

A. The Spirit of God redirects the child of God in power (Acts 1:8)

  • Peter, the disciple who DENIED, became the DYNAMO!
  • He denied Christ three times, but when the Spirit of God arrived on the scene, Peter preached and not just three, but over THREE THOUSAND people were saved (Acts 2:41)!

B. The Spirit of God redirects the child of God in purpose

  • He turned Saul, the church BUSTER, into Paul, the church BUILDER!
  • Acts 26:9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

C. The Spirit of God redirects the child of God in purity

  • He is called “the spirit of holiness” in Rom. 1:4 as well as the HOLY Spirit in many places in scripture.
  • He leads the believer to change his talk.
  • He leads the believer to change his walk.
  • He leads the believer to abstain from even the APPEARANCE of evil! (1 Thessalonians 5:22)



John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

The negative, shocking aspect to this is that you can’t understand the Bible unless GOD helps you!

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The Spirit of God will help you to understand the word of God as

A. You read it

  • The Holy Ghost would bring things Jesus said to our REMEMBRANCE, Jesus said. Well, you will never REMEMBER what Jesus said if you never took the time to let Him say it to you through the Bible!

B. You rely upon it

  • The Spirit of God aids STUDENTS of the Bible, not CRITICS of it!

C. You rightly divide it

  • This is the KEY to effective Bible study, recognizing the differences in scripture – 2 Timothy 2:15 – between the three groups of people, the judgments, the dispensations, standing and state, salvation and service, etc.

D. You respond rightly to it

  • John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

How will YOU respond to this message?

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