Three Things You Can't Learn In School

Bible Book: John  16 : 7-9
Subject: Holy Spirit; Sin, The Problem of; Forgiveness; Salvation

“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” JOHN 16:8

I want you to take God's Word today and turn, please, to John chapter 16. And I want to talk to you about the convicting, convincing power of the Holy Spirit. The title of the message: Three Things That You Cannot Learn in School. Now, thank God for school, but there are some things that no school teacher can teach you. For that matter, there are some things that no pastor can teach you, no Sunday School teacher can teach you, but only the Holy Spirit can teach you. Now, men, women, boys and girls, by nature, are stunningly ignorant - stunningly ignorant. I think of Nicodemus. He was a master in Israel, a ruler of the Jews. Jesus had remonstrate with him, and said, Aren't you a master in Israel and yet you don't know these things? Jesus was talking to him about spiritual things. 

Now, I hope that you'll open your heart today to this truth. Now, this is truth that only the Holy Spirit can give you. You say, Well, Pastor, if only the Holy Spirit can give this truth, then why are you preaching? Because He uses human instruments, He uses the Word of God, but He is the teacher. I've said many times I can preach truth, but only He can impart truth.

Now, look in John chapter 16 and verse 7 - Jesus says, "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you. But if I depart, I will send him unto you." Now, the Comforter is the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, the divine Paraclete. Jesus said, I am going to heaven, but I will send the Holy Spirit to take my place. Now, notice in verse 8: "And when he is come…" - that is, the Holy Spirit - "when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment." Now, the word reprove actually means convict or convince. He will convict, He will convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Those are three things you'll never learn in school: the truth concerning sin, the truth concerning righteousness, and the truth concerning judgment. Notice verse 9: "Of sin, because they believe not on me, of righteousness, because I go to my Father and ye see me no more, of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."

Now, I want you to open your heart today to truth, because the need of this hour, beyond the shadow of any doubt, is truth. Truth is the issue. There is cowardice, and there may be some today who are cowards, who are afraid of the truth. There is laziness that accepts part of the truth. There's arrogance that thinks it knows all of the truth. And there is true humility before God that opens one's heart, so that you might receive what the Holy Spirit of God wants to teach. Now, I want to say there are three tremendous truths, that if you've never seen them, you've never been saved. You say, Well, I understand sin, righteousness, and judgment. Maybe you do intellectually, but until the Holy Spirit of God teaches you these things, you will never know them.

I. The Conception of Sin

Now, let's think of them one at a time - three things that you'll never learn in school.

First of all deals with the conception of sin. What is sin? Look in verse 9 - Jesus said, "The Holy Spirit is come to convince men of sin," - now, watch it - "because they believe not on me." Now, the Bible teaches that a man is - and a woman, a boy, a girl, a human being - is a sinner for three basic reasons. First of all, he is a sinner because of what he is by nature. He is a natural-­born sinner. The Bible says, in Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 3, that he is, by nature, a child of wrath. Your little grandson, your little granddaughter, your precious newborn baby, is, by nature, a child of wrath.

Now, the Holy Spirit of God has to remove a certain kind of ignorance in our heart. We think that men are wicked and sinful because of what they do. We think a man is a sinner because he lies, because he steals, because he commits adultery, or because he kills. He is not a sinner because he does these things, he does these things because he is a sinner. A man is not a liar because he tells lies, he tells lies because he is a liar.

A man is not a thief because he steals, he steals because he is a thief. These things, Jesus said, come out of the heart.

I've told you before, if you find an apple with a wormhole, you needn't worry all that much, it doesn't mean there's a worm in the apple. It means there was a worm in the apple. The worm did not eat his way in, he ate his way out. The worm was born in the apple. You say, “How'd he get in there?” The egg was laid in the blossom, and then, that worm was hatched, and ate his way out of that apple. Now, there is in the very blossom of human nature a thing that the Bible calls sin, and what we see coming out is what has been born on the inside. You see, a man is a sinner because of what he is.

If there's a dog that's rabid, that dog is killed. Perhaps he's not bitten anybody. Why is he killed? Not because of what he has done, but what he is capable of doing. You see, the sin that we're capable of doing is the sin that is down in our hearts, latent, that God sees, whether it ever comes to the surface or not, whether the worm ever gets to the surface or not, whether the dog ever bites anybody or not. That's the reason a reformation will never do for sin. You tell a man he's a sinner - if he's a man of this world, without the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, he says, Well, I'll do better, I'll quit. Maybe he's a drunkard, and he says, Well, I won't drink anymore. Maybe he's an adulterer, and he says, I will not commit adultery any more.

Take a log out of the forest, cut it down, and bring it to the saw mill. That log may be crooked. Put it on the cradle there in the saw mill, and run it through that sawmill, and the saw, that big buzzing blade, cuts off one side. Turn that log, run it through again, and it'll cut off the other side. Turn it again, and cut off the other, and then, finally, you have a log, from the outside perfectly square, perfectly straight, but look at it from the end, and the heart is still crooked. That's the way men are, that's the way reformation is. You may clean up the outside, you may say, Well, I am good, I am as straight and square as a man can be, but the Bible says that your heart - your heart - is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Therefore, if a man is a drunkard, and he stops drinking, without getting saved, he'll go to hell sober. What I'm trying to say is this: that man has a problem, and the problem is on the inside, and you might as well admit it - you are a sinner, not primarily because of what you do, but because of what you are.

Now, people have tried to explain away sin. The evolutionist says that man is a sinner because he hasn't had sufficient time to develop. The environmentalist says that man is a sinner because he's been molded and shaped by sources on the outside, and what he needs is a better atmosphere. The educator says there is no such thing as sin - there is only ignorance, and if we could educate a man, we could be able to deal with his sin. But let me tell you what a Minnesota crime commission report said, studying the matter of juvenile delinquency - I want you parents to listen to this. Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self-­centered. He wants what he wants when he wants it - his bottle, his mother's attention, his playmate's toys, his uncle's watch, or whatever. Deny him these, and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness, which would be murderous, if he were not so helpless. He's dirty - he has no morals, no knowledge, no developed skills. This means that all children - not just certain children, but all children - are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in their self-­centered world of infancy, if given free reign to their impulsive actions to satisfy every one of them, every child would grow up a criminal - that's your little baby. You say, Not my little baby. Yes, your little baby. He is, by nature, a child of wrath.

Now, why is a man a sinner? He's a sinner, number one, because of what he is. And then, because of what he is, he does what he does. Now, if you say, Well, I take umbrage at the fact that you say I'm a sinner by nature. All right, well then, let's talk about what you do. Romans chapter 3, verse 10: "As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one." I want you to say in your heart, Not even me - agree with God: "there's none righteous, no not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable. There is none that doeth good, no not one." Folks, get that in your heart.

Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

Now, your nature is the poisoned well. Your sins that you do are the poisoned bitter water that comes out of that well. You say, I don't kill and I don't steal. What about your thought life? Jesus said lust is adultery. Jesus said hate is murder. Jesus destroyed a civilization with a flood because of the imaginations of men's hearts. Now, you know the word sin has gone out of vogue today. We have redefined sin and redefined it out of existence. Do you know what the word abortion used to mean? It used to mean a miscarriage. If a baby inadvertently died in the mother's womb, that was a sad and a tragic thing, and they said, Well, that baby was aborted. What the real word is, is not abortion, it is infanticide, killing a baby, but now, we don't like abortion, so the abortionists have changed that word, even. Now, they take the killing of a baby, and they call that abortion, and they say, Now, let's see if we can get a nicer sounding phrase, and so they call it pro-­choice. Doesn't that sound a lot better than abortion? It certainly sounds better than infanticide. But you know, they didn't like that so much, they said, let's get something better than pro-­choice, let's use reproductive rights. And then, Let's - oh no, that's not enough - let's call it reproductive freedom. No, let's call it killing babies, let's call it killing babies, rather than reproductive freedom.

But you see, we don't like the idea of sin. You know, the Bible speaks of lust. Well, we don't call it lust. What do we call it? Adult entertainment. And we look around and see the rape, sexual violence, and immorality, rampant in our land, but the word lust sounds too much like sin, doesn't it? The Bible calls sexual immorality, the Bible calls it fornication. The Bible calls it adultery. Do you know what we call it? Sexually active -  that's what they call fornication today. That teenager is sexually active. And what do we call adultery? Having an affair. You see what we've done? You know what the Bible called a woman who sells sex? The Bible calls her a whore and a harlot. You know what the Bible calls a man who pays for her services? The Bible calls him a whoremonger. What do we call them today? A call girl. What do we call him today? A playboy. The Bible calls sexual perversion sodomy, calls these people who do this sodomites. What do we call them today? Homosexuals. We call them gays. What do we call it today? An alternative lifestyle, as if God has several lifestyles, and you can pick the one you want. What have we done? We have defined sin out of existence. But the Bible calls sin sin, and the Bible says, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." A man is a sinner because of what he is. He is by nature a child of wrath. A man is a sinner because of what he does, and he does what he does because he is what he is.

But what does our text say? What does the Bible say that the Holy Spirit has come to convict men of? Look again, if you will, and see what the Bible says, the Holy Spirit says, in verse 9: "He is come to convict men of sin, because they believe not on me" -  now, that's the part that most of us can understand thus far. But when we get to this part, then we see that the Holy Spirit of God convicts a man of sin, not only because of what he is, not only because of what he has done, but the Bible convicts him of sin because of what he has not done - "of sin, because he believes not." When you talk about sin - telling lies, stealing, lust - the average American says, Well, yes, everybody's got his little faults, everybody makes mistakes, but I don't think that God would let me go to hell forever because I told a lie. That would be like putting a man in a penitentiary for life for stealing a loaf of bread. Oh, friend, when you understand the nature of sin, you can't help the way you were born, and therefore you do what you do because you were born with a sinful nature. But, oh, there is a sin - a damning sin, a horrible sin, a wicked sin, a vile sin, a terrible sin, a condemning sin - that most of the world never thinks about. Do you know what it is? Not believing on Jesus Christ - not believing on Jesus Christ. "Of sin, because they believe not on me." What is sin? Sin is a clenched fist in the face of God. Sin is failing to bow the knee. Sin is high treason against heaven's king. Only the Holy Spirit can teach you that - only the Holy Spirit. When you see that, when you see that you are guilty of high treason against heaven's king, that you have never bowed the knee to your Maker, the One who died in agony and blood for you upon that cross, when you see that you have ignored, spurned, refused Him, then you'll understand why the Bible calls you a sinner. I pray the Holy Spirit of God will convict you of that.

Put this verse in your margin - John 3, verse 18 - Jesus said, concerning himself, the son of Man, “He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not on him is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." Unbelief is the greatest sin, and unbelief is the parent sin, it is the mother sin, the father sin, the sin out of which all other sins are grown. It was unbelief that caused Adam and Eve to sin in the Garden of Eden. Holy Spirit of God, help me to say this, and I pray that people will hear it today, and I pray that those of you on television will listen to this. A courtroom may convict you of crimes, conscience will convict you of wrong doing, but only the Holy Spirit of God will truly convict you of sin. When you understand what sin is, you'll not be strutting your way to hell thinking you're too good to be damned. When you understand that you have said No to the Lord Jesus Christ, if you have never really opened your heart and received Him as your Lord and Savior, then you will say, God, be merciful to me, a sinner. The Holy Spirit of God teaches, first of all, a true conception of sin. "Of sin, because they believe not."

II. The Completion of Sin

Here's the second truth the Holy Spirit will teach you, something you'll never learn in school: not only the conception of sin, but the completion of salvation - the completion of salvation. Look, if you will now, in the next verse, verse 10: "Of righteousness, because I go to my Father and you see me no more." He comes to convict of sin and of righteousness, to give a conception of sin and to show the completion of salvation. Now, why does He say, "Of righteousness, because I go to my Father"? Because He left the Father's house. He came down through that dark Judean night, out of the ivory palaces, into this world of woe. He lived a sinless, perfect life, as we sang today, He came to that cross, He took my sin, your sin, our sin, upon that cross. He suffered, bled, and died, in agony unmentionable, indescribable horror and pain. He died upon that cross. He was laid in that cold tomb. He came out of that tomb the third day, living and risen, victorious over sin, death, hell, and the grave. He ascended to the Father to present His blood there before the Father in that tabernacle in heaven. That's what He's talking about, when He says, "I go to my Father." I am going back to my Father. It is done. I have paid the price for redemption, and now there is one way - one and only one way - that a man can be righteous - it is through my death, burial, resurrection, and ascension back to the Father.

Now, only the Holy Spirit of God can teach you that, because man is ignorant. He is ignorant, not only concerning sin, he's also ignorant concerning righteousness. What does the average person think? The average person thinks he is a sinner if he does wrong, so, therefore, he's righteous if he does right, isn't that right? Isn't that what the average person thinks? The average person thinks that righteousness comes by doing and being good. Put this verse in your margin - Romans 10 and verse 3. Paul spoke of the Jews of his day, and here's what he said about them: "For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness…" - now, listen to this - "being ignorant of God's righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."

A man can be sincere and be sincerely wrong. Sulfuric acid and water look the same, clear, colorless liquid. H2O and H2SO4 - one is water, one is deadly poison. Poor Willy, he's gone from us, his face we'll see no more, for what he thought was H2O was H2SO4. I mean, if a man sincerely drinks a glass of sulfuric acid, does it matter how sincere he is if he is sincerely dead? The only hope that a man has of righteousness is Jesus.

You say, But, Pastor Rogers, I am not that bad, I'm a pretty good person. That's the reason that Jesus said to the Pharisees, Publicans and sinners and harlots are going to heaven before you will. They were the crowds that sit in church on Sunday morning and when the invitation is given, they'll look around to see if any of those old sinners are going to go forward and give their heart to Jesus Christ. Let me tell you what Isaiah said to the people of his day, in Isaiah chapter 64 and verse 6: "But we are all as an unclean thing…" - and, by the way, the word unclean thing means the bandage that would wrap the leper's putrefying sore - "but we're all as an unclean thing," - now watch this - "and all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags in his sight…" - he didn't say the bad things you do, I'm talking about the things that you boast about - “all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags in his sight, and we do all fade as a leaf and our iniquities like the wind have taken us away."

The only way that you will ever see the portals of heaven, the only way that you can ever go to heaven, is through the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and your faith in that fact. You need to learn this. If there were some other way, if a person could be saved by reformation, if a person could be saved by doing good, then let me ask you a question: If a person could be saved any other way than that mighty cross that we sang about this morning, if a person could be saved any other way, was not then Calvary the blunder of the ages? Think about it. Do you understand Calvary? We sang about it today, dark Gethsemane, dark Calvary. Do you understand that? Do you think that was one of the options whereby people can be saved? Do you mean there is some other way, but God chose to let His Son die in agony and blood, when there could've been some other way? That's the reason that the apostle Paul said, in Galatians 2, verse 21, "I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." What does that mean, in plain English? If you could be saved by keeping the Ten Commandments, Calvary was a blunder.

Most of us think we're too good to be damned. I've said before, the worst form of badness is human goodness, when human goodness because a substitute for the new birth. You say, I don't agree with you - and I'm sure you don't - but when the Holy Spirit of God speaks to your heart, then you'll agree. You see, I can't talk you into that. You'll sit here and mentally argue with me, you'll say, I don't agree with that. That's the reason I'm saying, friend, that you'll not learn this in school, and no preacher can teach you this. The Holy Spirit of God will teach you one of these days that you're a sinner, because you've refused the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit of God will convict you one of these days that the only way - the only way, the only hope of heaven - is to receive Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, and when you do receive the Lord Jesus Christ, I want you to see what He'll do for you.

Remember we said that you're a sinner because of what you are, what you do, and what you've not done? When you receive the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteousness, then He deals with what you are. We are by nature children of wrath. But when we get saved, we become what? Partakers of the divine nature. The Bible calls this the new birth. Christians are not just people who have reformed, they're not just nicer people, Christians are those who have had a change of nature. He changes what you are, and then He forgives what you've done. Remember you do what you do because of what you are, He changes what you are, and He forgives what you've done - every stain, every blot, every blur, every blemish, gone, buried in the grave of God's forgetfulness -  and though our sins be as scarlet, they'll be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they become as wool. Friend, that's the gospel.

But wait a minute - not only does He change what we are, not only does He cleanse what we've done, but He gives what we need, which is righteousness. You see, He took our sin, that we might take His righteousness. These are precious verses I'm going to share with you - Romans 4, verses 5 and 6 - put them in your margin: "But to him that worketh not but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith…" - listen - "his faith is counted for righteousness" - his faith is counted for righteousness - “even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness" - imputeth righteousness - "without works." What does that mean?

When you say, Lord Jesus, I believe you died for me upon that cross, I believe you paid my sin debt, I know that I'm a sinner, I need to bow my knee before you and believe on you and trust you, then God says, Yes, I'll come into your heart, I'll give you a new nature, I'll forgive your sin, and then I'll take my righteousness, and I will impute it to you. That means I'll put it on your account. Then how righteous are you? You're as righteous as Jesus Christ, because you have His righteousness.

There was a maid who worked for a man, and she got saved. He was an infidel, he ridiculed her. Her name was Betty. He said, Betty, you claim to be saved, what does it feel like to be saved? She said, I don't think I could explain it where you could understand it. But she said, It feels to me as if I'm standing in Jesus' shoes, and He's standing in mine. A theologian couldn't have said it better. He took my sin, I take His righteousness. I can preach this truth, I pray God the Holy Spirit will teach you this truth. When He is come, He will convict you of sin, He will convict you of righteousness. You will see a proper conception of sin, and you will see a proper completion of salvation, that Jesus ascended to the heavens, back to the Father, to pay that sin debt.

III. The Condemnation of Sin

Now, here's a third and final thing that you'll not learn in school, and you'll not learn from any preacher’s preaching, until the Holy Spirit of God brings it to your heart: not only the truth concerning sin, and not only the truth concerning righteousness, but the truth concerning judgment. Continue to read in verse 11 - then He says, and here's the third thing: "Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." It doesn't say he's going to be judged, this is perfect tense, it means it's already taken place. Who is the prince of this world? The prince of this world is the devil - he's the god of this age, the prince of this world, but Jesus said he has already been judged. The people of this world seem to think that somehow we're waiting on the outcome of things to see who's going to win - Christ or Antichrist, God or Satan. Friend, we sang today about the cross, we called it the mighty cross. With that in mind, remember John 12, verse 31 - Jesus, facing that, cross said this: "Now is the judgment of this world. Now - right now - is the prince of this world is cast out.” Don't get the idea that one of these days we're going to see how it works out. You know what the average person thinks? The average person has the idea that either somehow the whole scheme of things will be nullified, or that somehow sin will get by, that God will be merciful, even if men do not repent of sin and receive His righteousness. That is not true. Our Lord must reign. His enemies will lick the dust. There's no contest out there. Truth is mightier than error. Love is stronger than hate. Holiness is higher than sin. And our Lord has won the victory.

Now, folks, listen to me. The Holy Spirit of God needs to teach you that Satan's cause is a lost cause, Satan sails a sinking ship. Satan rules a doomed domain, he has already been sentenced, adjudicated a criminal, he has been judged. Sooner or later, he's going to be thrown into that penitentiary, that lake of fire. God did not prepare hell for you. If you go to hell - which you may - but if you go to hell, you'll be an intruder. Jesus said, in Matthew chapter 25 and verse 41, "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me you cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels."


I was watching television last night, and I saw a little bit of a program before I turned it off that dealt with the subject of hell. It was something like the unsolved mysteries, or something like that. And the idea of this program was that in the Middle Ages the church was losing its hold on people, so the church invented the idea of hell to keep people corralled, so that the preachers would have some tool to hold over people's heads to convince them they'd better turn or burn. That was the idea, that somehow this idea of hell was something that Dante or somebody invented. Do you know who the greatest hellfire preacher in the Bible was? J-­e-­s-­u-­s - Jesus. Absolute, infinite, fathomless love - and it was Jesus who warned about hell, and He said that hell was prepared for the devil and his angels. And Satan has already been judged. He is a condemned criminal. Sin can't win, and faith can't fail. You need to learn that. Only the Holy Spirit of God can teach you that. Of sin, righteousness, and judgment - the conception of sin, the completion of salvation, the condemnation of Satan: that's what the Holy Spirit of God teaches.

Suppose you're sick, you call the doctor, the doctor gives you an examination, and then you can tell by the look on the doctor's face that he's very worried. You say, Doctor, give it to me straight, don't put it in fancy language. Don't hold out false hope. If I'm that gravely ill, I need to know it. He says, All right, you have an incurable illness, you're going to die. You say, But, Doctor, I'm not ready to die, I've got a lot of living to do. I want to see my children's children. I've got plans. Doctor, isn't there some way that I can live? You said, it's incurable. He said, Well, let me say this. There is a new vaccine, a serum that has just been developed. It is very rare, very expensive, not available, therefore, your case is hopeless. But doctor, doctor, if it's there, I mean if it's somewhere, then get it. The doctor says, Well, do you have any money? Not much, just a little. Doctor says, I'll see what I can do. Imagine in a few days the doctor comes back to your bedside, he's not the man that left the bedside, he looks different, his hair is disheveled, his eyes are sunken back in his face, his clothing is torn, his clothing is bloody, his hands have tremors, he's shaking. And I say, Doctor, where have you been? You look like you've been through hell. What's happened to you, Doctor? He said, I went out to get this medicine for you. He said, I went to the foundations, I got what I could get - that was not enough. I took my own savings out of the bank - that was not enough. I mortgaged my house. Finally, I got enough to get this vial of medicine for you. Then, in my hurry to come to your bedside, I wrecked my automobile. I've just come from a wreck. I had my son in the car with me - my only son, my darling son, the light of my life, my one son. He was killed in the wreck. The blood on my garments is the blood of my son! Here's the medicine - take it, you will live. Suppose you took that vial of medicine, looked at it, and then dashed it on the floor, and the contents ran out in the rug, never to be reclaimed. Suppose you did that - then, would you be able to point a finger in the face of that doctor, and say, Doctor, if I die, it'll be your fault, Doctor, it wouldn't be fair to let me die? No! Of course not! You say, Adrian, that would be absurd. Yes!

Let me ask you another question: If God took heaven's riches, His own dear Son, and if He'd died in agony and blood upon that cross, and you refused such love, then you'll understand why the Bible says, The Holy Spirit has come to convict men of sin, because they believe not on me - "Of sin, because they believe not on me, of righteousness because I go to my Father, of judgment because the prince of this world is judged." 

Many of you need to be saved today. Some have your name on church rolls, but that won't get you to heaven. The devil had rather send you to hell from the pew than from the gutter. Bow your heads in prayer. Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. If you're saved, begin to pray for those round about you who are not saved. If you're not certain that you're saved, then right now is the time for you to get certain. Receive the Lord. My prayer - my prayer - is that the Holy Spirit of God has used the message today to speak to your heart, because if the Holy Spirit of God is not speaking to you, you just heard one more sermon, that's all. But if the Spirit of God is saying, Yes, you're the one that needs to be saved, there's no greater sin than to refuse my Son Jesus, and all of your righteousness is as filthy rags, and there's no possible way that your sin can go unjudged, if you don't get saved. If you can hear that, and really hear it, then you will hear what the Holy Spirit of God is saying. Father, I pray today in the name of Jesus, that many will trust in Him and be saved. Lord, You must open hearts. It is Your work.