Summary: Many times our focus is on how to invite and welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives and churches, but what if we are doing things to push Him away?
I want you to imagine with me for a minute we are all living in a time when we had no fire. We have no way to produce a great deal of warmth at night; we have no way to cook what we kill in the forest. Someone has told that all we need to do is pray for it and it will come. So imagine we want to being praying for special power to come that will meet this need to accomplish something that we cannot. There are some who say we don’t need it, we’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing, they resist. There are others who make fun of those wanting to pray and mock the whole idea, they grieve. Regardless of all of this we begin to pray for this power and the great power in the sky responds and lighting strikes a log and there is fire. Everyone begins to marvel at the blaze and wonder at its power and then suddenly someone throws water on it, extinguishing the flame, they quench. We have spent the last few weeks speaking about the Holy Spirit and his many attributes and His role in the life of the believer, but it happens that there are mindsets and attitudes that can disrupt what the Holy Spirit wants to do. He wants to regenerate, indwell and empower, but some people resist Him altogether, some grieve Him, and others quench Him when He comes.
To Resist (Acts 7:51)
Stephen, a man full of the Holy Spirit, is arrested and is speaking here before the Sanhedrin, which was the highest Jewish court of the time. Stephen, by the power of the Holy Spirit, challenges these men with the Old Testament and how they have been responsible for not listening to God and then he says that they have resisted the Holy Spirit (vs 51). When Stephen was finished they killed him, they were enraged by his accusations so much so that the original actually says they were grinding their teeth against him. They Holy Spirit was obviously doing something real through Stephen. He was moving in power, performing miracles and the church was growing substantially.
To resist means to: to run against, to be adverse, oppose, strive against
People who resist the Holy Spirit have a head problem. They have already made a choice, as the Sanhedrin had, that they don’t need Him, they don’t want Him, and they oppose what He’s doing. There are people here this morning who respond to the Holy Spirit in this way. For whatever reason, maybe fear of the new, preconceived ideas from bad things you’ve seen or heard you resist the Holy Spirit and therefore stand against what he wants to do in your life. Your feet are planted firmly and you will not be moved. If that’s you this morning then you have got to embrace this God promised gift, and open your mind to the truth of the Word of God. Whatever your reasons they are not biblically based because the Holy Spirit is God and He wants to move in your life. John 4:23 – 24 says clearly, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
To Grieve (Ephesians 4:29-32)
Paul is speaking to the church in Ephesus and speaking about how we need unity in the body and how we are no longer to live as the ungodly. Continuing in this line of thinking with unity and being one in the body, Paul speaks about things that tear apart, destroy unity and ultimately grieve the Holy Spirit. Fortunately Paul is very clear about the sort of things that lead to this grieving which the Holy Spirit must remove Himself from. By your words and actions you can push him away.
To grieve means to: to make sorrowful, to affect with sadness, cause grief, to offend
People who grieve that Holy Spirit have a problem with their mouths and actions. These people have seen what the Holy Spirit can do, but they chose to live in sin and speak in ways that are opposed to everything that the Holy Spirit comes to do in their lives and in the church. Although we may be welcoming Him on Sundays, we are pushing Him away all week. This can take so many forms like wilful ignorance of His Word, undermining the example of Christ, who He has come to promote, lying, cheating, stealing, bitterness, living in sin instead of chasing after our God given purposes. When we engage in these things we may say with our mouths we love you Holy Spirit, but in action we hate Him and everything He stands for. In response He pulls away from us for He is Holy. So, like it says in verse 31 (read). Imagine we are a shed and the Holy Spirit is one who has come to renovate and build us into the mansion we were always meant to be. Every time we sin he has to stop what He’s doing in us until we come in repentance. Until we do, He can do nothing but watch us fall into dis-repair.