In 1978, Carroll Bonnet was found stabbed to death in his Nebraska apartment while his stolen car was found in Illinois. Despite finding fingerprints in the apartment and vehicle, no matches were found in Nebraska or Illinois or even surrounding states, causing the case to go cold.
Thirty years later, an inquiry on the case caused a technician to run the fingerprints again. However, due to vastly improved technology, this time there was a hit. That hit led to a man (who was already in prison) who matched DNA samples, and fit other key details found at the crime scene. The improved fingerprint technology helped reveal the killer who was convicted of the murder exactly 33 years after the crime.
Just as fingerprint and DNA evidence revealed the truth and convicted a killer, your spiritually disconnected friends and family need to have the evidence of their sin revealed to them, so they can feel the conviction of that sin, leading to confession and faith.
In John 16, while talking about the role & work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said...
"And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment."John 16:8 (ESV)
Most basic doctrinal statements use this verse to point out this truth: the Spirit convicts people of their sin.
But this doctrinal truth skips a fundamental tenet. In order for someone to feel conviction for their sin against a Perfect, Holy God, that sin needs to be revealed to them as grievous. If someone has zero sense their sin is truly evil in light of a perfect God, they will feel no conviction, leading to no faith and forgiveness.
But as we saw last week, this "reveal and convict" action isn't your role - it's God's. Thankfully, Jesus knows this, which is why He said...
"...for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known."Matthew 10:26 (ESV)
Out of His love, God reveals to us our sin that separates us from Him, which leads to conviction, which leads to an acknowledgement of our need for a Savior, which leads us to saving faith.
If you follow Jesus and long for a spiritually disconnected friend to know Him like you do, pray using Matthew 10:26 for God to reveal to them their sin, then pray for God to make John 16:8 true in their life, bringing spiritual conviction. However, unlike a 30-year-old murder case leading to prison for the guilty party, spiritual conviction from the Holy Spirit leads to freedom!
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