Summary: Pentecost 12(B) - Do not grieve the Holy Spirit. Believers can do this when they get rid of all rage and are imitators of God.
“DO NOT GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT” (Outline)
August 3, 2008 --
PENTECOST 12 --
INTRO: Hopefully there was never, never, ever a time in your life when you deliberately wanted to make someone sad. The reality is that in your lifetime you have probably made someone sad, maybe even very sad. Disobedient children bring sadness to parents. All too often we hurt the feelings of the very people that we love with wicked words. With sin in this world and in our lives there is sadness. Worst of all is the brutal fact that we make our Lord sad with the sins we commit or omit every single day of our lives. This “sadness of God” is a human term we apply to the Lord. This term helps us to understand that our sins are a very grievous matter to God. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear"(ISAIAH 59:2). Our sins keep us from understanding God’s will in our lives on earth perfectly. Our sins keep us from fully understanding God’s great love for us sinners. Paul’s inspired words are our theme (and parts):
“DO NOT GRIEVE (MAKE VERY SAD) THE HOLY SPIRIT”. How?
I. “Get rid of all rage”.
II. “Be imitators of God”
I. “GET RID OF ALL RAGE”
A. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is unique. He does not address any specific problems in this church.
1. Paul writes to encourage these believers to live in and live out their Christian life.
2. Paul encourages even though he is prison in Rome. In Christ they were new creatures.
a. Believers are saved by grace. c. They are children of light. c. They put on the new man.
B. Chapter 4 ends with encouragement of living full Christian lives, verse 4:30a.
1. Do not let your lives or sinful living sadden the Holy Spirit.
2. Why? The Holy Spirit gave them faith and guarantees their eternal inheritance, verse 4:30b.
C. Verse 4:31 lists the negative characteristics that grieve the Holy Spirit. They go from bad to worse.
1. “Bitterness, rage and anger” deal with emotional baggage bothering believers.
2. “Brawling and slander” talks of fighting and name-calling that saddens God.
3. “Malice”. Every form of hatred is to be removed from the hearts of these believers.
D. Why were there such feelings in the church at Ephesus? At one time the Jews and Gentiles did not get along with each other. Now these different nations were thrown together as followers and worshipers of Christ. There were some hard feelings. There is another reason also. Theologians speak of the “total depravity of mankind”. This simply means that we are sinful – totally, completely. We are born with evil lurking in the dark corners of our hearts. All mankind is born with original sin. We have inherited this sinfulness from Adam and Eve. "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander"(MATTHEW 15:19). None can escape. At one time or another we are guilty, guilty, guilty because of hearts that are filled with evil all the time.
E. We are tempted to think we are not as bad as the next person. Or we might consider many others to be far worse than ourselves. That is not really the truth. Whoever sins against one law of God is guilty of breaking the whole law of God. Hatred harbored in our hearts is very, very dangerous. Hatred is our natural condition that leads to vengeance and murder. "If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen"(1 JOHN 4:20). Cain killed Abel. Hatred for our brother has been planted in our hearts from almost the beginning of time. No wonder we are told: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage….”