Summary: Even though the Holy Spirit may be a mystery, it does have history. Even though the Holy Spirit may seem painful, it is profitable. Even though the Holy Spirit may seem distant, it is distinctively God.
The Cross cancels Sin
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Sins against the Holy Spirit: Resisting
Acts 7: 51 – 60
As we move through this Lenten Season, I believe we should drop the pretense of Journeying with Jesus Christ to the Cross and thank God that the Cross cancels Sin.
A preacher at the Ash Wednesday Lenten service told me after I invited him to have lunch with us that he didn’t eat meat. We had vegetable beef soup prepared by our own Jack Wicker and the Comfort Ministry. He sat down and slurped down a bowl of soup and later told me that he ate around the meal. He dismissed the fact that the essence of the meat juice was in the broth and the vegetables.
That’s why I am not a proponent of giving up something temporarily for the Lenten season, but I advocate for doing something that honors God for the Lenten season.
Nevertheless, for those who want to give up something let me suggest that you follow this seven week series that will help you, help me, and help us give up sinning against the Holy Spirit.
The undergirding scripture for this series is found in the 14th Chapter of John. (read selected verses from the text)
If Jesus Christ has sent the Comforter:
The Holy Spirit that will teach you all things that are good,
The Holy Spirit will empower you to remember all things that are good,
and The Holy Spirit will equip you to do all things that are good.
Why then would you sin against the Holy Spirit by resisting it?
Resisting the Holy Spirit means:
That you will disagree with it,
That you dispute its truth,
That you dissent from its premise,
And/or that you will differ with its conclusion.
If you disagree with,
dispute the truth of,
dissent from the premise,
or differ with the conclusion in the secular world,
you may be subject by the police system to being detained for resisting arrest.
Likewise, in the spiritual world,
if you disagree with,
dispute the truth of,
dissent from the premise, or
differ with the conclusion of you have sinned against the Holy Spirit.
The reason why people tend to have problems with this aspect of God’s nature is that it is the most difficult aspect to control.
What we don’t understand or are able to control, we oftimes reject!
In fact, it is impossible to control.
In John the 3rd Chapter: Jesus in a conversation with Nicodemus when answering the question of what it meant to be born again suggests that, unless a man is born of the water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. He then likens the Spirit to the wind.
The second problem that people have is that one may not be able to discern an evil spirit from the Holy Spirit.
In the 12th Chapter of Matthew, Jesus presents a parable of a man who had swept his house clean of evil spirits, only to have them return more powerful than when they had left; such that the text would say the end of the man’s days were worse than his first.
If you look closely at the story of Stephen in the 6, 7 & 8 Chapters of the Book of Acts you will find three reasons not to resist the Holy Spirit.
1) Even though the Holy Spirit may be a mystery. It does have a history.
Chapters 6 & 7 in the Book of Acts:
Stephen is early identified as one who is full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.
Stephen is arrested because the men of the synagogue are afraid of his power and passion. They claim he is blasphemous.
Stephen in his defense outlines how the hand of God has guided the Hebrew people to this point in time.
He goes from Genesis to Jesus.
2) Even though the Holy Spirit may seem painful. It is profitable.
Verse 54 and 55 in Chapter 8 of the Book of Acts
The men who would stone Stephen hears the history of the Holy Spirit, and it cut their hearts, and they gnashed their teeth.
But, Stephen sees the glory of God
3) Even though the Holy Spirit may seem distance. It is distinctively of God.
Verse 56 in Chapter 8 of the Book of Acts.
Even thought Stephen is looking up to glory.
He cries out that he sees Jesus standing on the right hand of God.
That’s why you can’t doubt him, you know too much about him.
1) The Spirit may seem like a mystery, but you have a history.
2) Following the Spirit sometimes may seem painful, but it is profitable.
3) You know that the Spirit may seem distant, but it is distinctively God.
And just when you need him most he will comfort and care.