Summary: How both believers and unbelievers can sin against the Holy Spirit.
Our pool is a salt pool which uses an electronic system to generate chlorine from the salt that is present in the water. I’m not sure exactly how the system works but I do understand that salt’s chemical composition is sodium chloride – a combination of sodium and chlorine and that somehow the electronic cell next to my filter is able to extract the chlorine from the salt and put it into my pool.
But that electronic cell regularly gets clogged up with some excess salt that clings to the inside of the cell and prevents that cell from doing what it was created to do and produce chlorine. So I have to remove the cell and clean it so it will be able to work properly again. This week as I was doing that cleaning, it reminded me of how I often prevent the Holy Spirit from doing His work in my life by clogging my life up with things that hinder His work.
For the past seven weeks, we’ve been learning about the Holy Spirit and how He works in our lives.
• We began by looking at the words of Jesus as He explained that the Holy Spirit is God and that He is a person
• We saw how the Holy Spirit operated in the Old Testament and in the life of Jesus and saw that the way He works is consistent throughout the Scriptures
• We looked at the work of the Holy Spirit in the process of salvation and discussed the idea of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christ-follower.
• We examined how the Holy Spirit guides us through God’s Word and how to recognize His voice when he speaks to our spirit.
• We learned about the fruit that the Holy Spirit wants to develop in our lives – fruit that is consistent with His character.
• And finally last week, we focused on spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit distributes to each believer in order to build up the body of Christ.
As we wrap up this series over the next two weeks, I want to focus on how we can take all these things that we’ve been learning and make sure that we don’t just engage in some academic exercise which results only in information, but that we also put these things into practice in our lives through application.
I’m going to approach that task from two angles. This week, I want us to examine the ways that we can hinder the Holy Spirit from doing His work in our lives. We’ll focus on some things that we can do that clog up our lives so much that it makes it difficult for the Holy Spirit to operate as He desires. And then next week, we’ll conclude by approaching the process of application from a more positive angle and talk about how we can walk in the Spirit on a consistent basis.
SINS AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT
There are five passages in the Bible that reveal specific sins against the Holy Spirit and we’ll look at all five this morning. Those five can be broken down into two groups and we’ll see that within each of those two groups the sins that are revealed in Scripture are closely related.
Let’s begin with sins against the Holy Spirit…
• By unbelievers:
The three ways that unbelievers can sin against the Holy Spirit are all related.
o Resisting the Holy Spirit
We see this sin against the Holy Spirit in the account of the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7. After being falsely accused of blasphemy against God by those who disputed him in some of the local synagogues, Stephen was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin. Chapter 7 of Acts records his defense of his faith in Jesus. At the end of his discourse, he directs this condemnation to the men of the council:
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.
(Acts 7:51 ESV)
Stephen is obviously addressing his condemnation to those who were not followers of Jesus. In fact these men were actually persecuting Christ followers. And the sin that they were guilty of was resisting the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 6, Stephen is described as being full of the Holy Spirit, a description which is repeated again at the end of chapter 7. Stephen is also described in chapter 6 as speaking by the wisdom of the Spirit.
So as he shares the gospel in Acts 7, his words are not just his words, but they are the words of the Holy Spirit being spoken through him. And I think it’s also safe to assume that the Holy Spirit was working on the hearts of those who heard Stephen’s words. But because those hearts were so hard, those men resisted the work of the Holy Spirit that was occurring. So instead of responding as the Spirit desired and surrendering their lives to God and trusting in Jesus, they chose to reject the truth that was being revealed to them and chose instead to hang on to their own idea of the truth.