Lesson Goal: Help the disciple understand the nature of divine conviction and discern whether or not they have been convicted by the Holy Spirit.
Instructor’s Notes: The conviction of sin comes in different ways to different people. To some it might be very dramatic and last for an extended period of time during which the person is very aware that they are under God’s wrath and in bondage to sin. This experience might greatly influence their day to day life as they wrestle with their guilt and fears; they might have trouble sleeping, eating or concentrating on day to day activities. Other people might experience the Holy Spirit’s conviction in a more subtle way. They might grow concerned about the state of their soul and their relationship with God over a period of time, but not to the point where it interferes with their day to day activities. For others the conviction of sin and judgment might come in a moment of time which immediately leads them to repent of their sins and trust in Christ.
However an individual experiences the Holy Spirit’s convicting grace, whether subtlety or intensely, whether over an extended period of time or only briefly, it will always lead to an increased awareness of the sinfulness of sin and the holy judgment of God, and the need for salvation through Jesus Christ. The instructor must help the disciple discern whether or not they have experienced this work of God. God shows people the sinfulness of sin and the danger of God’s wrath in order to bring them to repentance and faith. If they have not experienced this awareness it is unlikely that they have truly turned from their sin and trusted in Christ. If they have not seen the evil and danger of sin why would they turn from it and trust in Christ to deliver them from sin’s power and God’s wrath?
Read: Acts 2:36-38, John 16:7-8
Teaching: When the people realized that they had crucified the Lord in Acts 2:36-37, they were deeply grieved at the evil they had done and realized they were in danger of God’s judgment. This was the work of the Holy Spirit on their hearts. God’s Spirit showed them their sin and the judgment that they were under in order to lead them to salvation in Christ. Though this work of the Holy Spirit is uncomfortable it is very necessary; until one realizes that they are lost in sin and under God’s judgment they will not seek after salvation. Once these people had become aware of their situation by the Holy Spirit’s work on their hearts they were able to ask how to be saved.
Discussion: Have you ever experienced the Holy Spirit’s convicting grace; that is to say, have you ever been made acutely aware that you are controlled by sin and under God’s judgment? Please describe your experience.