Sermon:
Ephesians 4:30 Pentecost 12 B
Rev. Charles Degner August 14, 1994

I knew I would be on vacation most of this week. So the day before I left for vacation, I pulled an old sermon out of the files to use when I got back. I should know better by now. Old sermons are like apples. The ones on the bottom of the barrel are just as well left at the bottom of the barrel.
So I looked at this text again. I prayed about it during the week and meditated on it. As I did, one verse began to jump out at me. Itís this one verse that I would like to share with you this morning. Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

Do Not Grieve The Holy Spirit of God!

I. If he grieves, heís a person

We believe and teach that the Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of the Triune God. But do we think of the Holy Spirit in a personal way? There are religions which teach that the Holy Spirit isnít really a person. The Jehovahís Witnesses say that the Holy Spirit is nothing more than a force which comes from God, or another name for a special power that comes from God. In the Watchtower literature, you will always see the Holy Spirit spelled with a small s and small p (holy spirit). They refuse to capitalize Holy Spirit because they refuse to believe that the Spirit is a person of the Triune God.
The story Iíve used to teach the truth on this matter is the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. Ananias came to Peter and brought some money he got from selling his posessions. He told Peter this was all his money when in reality he kept half back for himself. Peter said to Ananias, "You have lied to the Holy Spirit." If the Holy Spirit were only an "it" and not a real person, you could not lie to the Holy Spirit. You canít lie to things. You canít lie to your baseball glove. You canít lie to your bicycle. You canít lie to your car. You canít lie to things which arenít alive. In fact, people who talk to their cars and bikes and things are often seen as just a little strange.
You canít even lie to things which are part of a living thing. It would be foolish to say, "I told my wifeís hands a lie this morning. I told my wifeís hands I would help with the dishes but I didnít." You canít lie to somoneís hands. You lie to the person, not to the personís hands.
So when Peter says that Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit, it proves that the Holy Spirit is not an it, or just a force that comes from God. The Holy Spirit is a person who has feelings and whose feelings can be offended by being lied to.
In our text, Paul treats the Holy Spirit as someone who has feelings. "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." Trees arenít sad when somone cuts off a limb or two. They donít cry when squirrels rob them of their acorns. Bicycles donít cry when they get flat tires. Things donít grieve. If I cut my