Summary: I’m warned about "grieving" the Spirit of God. How would I do that, and how do I make sure I don’t do it?
OPEN: Back in the 15th century, bakers would bake their rolls, buns and cakes etc. in 3 rows of four --- and then they sold them batches of a dozen.
Now, these days we have machines that measure the dough and run it through ovens. It’s all pretty standardized. But back then, baked goods were all fashioned by hand, and some bakers found they could make their products smaller (and make more money) thinking the customer wouldn’t being any the wiser. After all - who could tell the difference?
Well, enough people apparently could tell the difference that the lawmakers in London passed laws standardizing the weights of baked goods. To make sure these standards were adhered to, bakers who gave their customers less than what was expected faced stiff fines and jail sentences.
The laws were so strict that no baker wanted to pay the fines or spend time in prison. And many were so concerned that they might accidentally give a short weight to their bread or other products that they often took the precaution of throwing in an extra roll or cake to make sure their customers got the amount required by law.
Thus - to this day, if a baker advertises a baker’s dozen: you get 13 rolls. (Why do Cowboys wear High Heels? Jeff Rovin)
APPLY: Bread - in its various forms - has always been a kind of foundation for civilization. Every society depends on their bread for basic survival and prosperity. That’s reflected by the fact that Jesus spoke of the idea that Man shall not live by (bread alone). And He taught that in our prayers we should ask “give us this day our daily (bread).
The society of the 15th century trusted their bakers with a special and precious commodity. But the bakers abused that trust. And as a result, laws were enacted that made it clear there was a penalty for anyone who misused that trust.
The Bible tells me God has entrusted you and I with a very special gift. A precious commodity. When we became Christians (when we believed in Jesus, repented of our sins, confessed Jesus as the Lord and Master of our lives, and were buried in the waters of Christian baptism) God placed His Holy Spirit inside of our hearts. No one else has the honor of His presence in their lives like we who are Christians do.
And because His Holy Spirit is such a special gift… God gets a little upset when people misuse that Spirit. Here in Ephesians 4 we’re told that we must be careful not to “grieve the Holy Spirit with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
He’s a gift from God.
He’s yours as a seal – a guarantee of your salvation.
So, don’t grieve Him… don’t abuse Him.
Apparently, this is pretty serious stuff.
ILLUS: Back in the book of Acts, a couple of Christians (Ananias and Sapphira) saw how much praise others were receiving for selling their property and then giving the money to help poorer Christians.
Sooo, they sold some property and gave a portion of the proceeds to the church for the poor.
Now, the church didn’t require them to sell their land. And even then, they weren’t required to give ALL the money from the sale to the church. But when Ananias and Sapphira gave their gift, they lied and said they were giving the entire proceeds to the poor.
Well, the next day the Apostles called Ananias in to ask him about his gift. “Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.’
When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.” (Acts 5:3-5)
The bakers of the 15th century only faced fines or jail time for their deception. Ananias lies to the Holy Spirit and he drops dead.
(pause) That would make me think twice.
This all leads me to believe that I want to be VERY careful not to grieve the Spirit of God. I may not drop dead because of grieving Him, but I’m pretty sure the consequences would be really uncomfortable.
Now, why was God so upset with Ananias and Sapphira?
What was it about their actions that brought this harsh a punishment?
They abused the God’s trust in them.
They’d tried to manipulate the church in order to get their way.