Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 11--1st Qrtr 2017--Grieving and Resisting the Spirit  (Read 1386 times)

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Wally

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Lesson 11 March 11-17




Grieving and Resisting the Spirit

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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Sabbath Afternoon


Read for This Week's Study: Acts 7:51; Heb. 10:24, 25; Eph. 4:25-5:2; 1 Thess. 5:19-21; Mark 3:28, 29.

Memory Text: "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:30

The Holy Spirit has the unique ability to lead sinners to an awareness of their true sinful state. He also awakens in us a desire to accept Jesus and His forgiveness of our sins. The Holy Spirit possesses a matchless power to make us overcomers and to enable us to reflect the beautiful character of Jesus.

Amen! It is the Holy Spirit that both reveals our sins and judgment to come, and He opens our eyes to the righteousness of Christ. He points out the grace of God to sinners undeserving of grace.


At the same time, this powerful and mighty Holy Spirit can be resisted by feeble sinners. He does not force Himself upon us.

Man has a fallen nature that is aligned with Satan and sin. We must open our eyes to the truth. If we refuse to listen to truth, we shall be lost, forever lost. The unconverted person must learn of God, see His goodness, and realize he is on the wrong side. The Spirit is attempting to point out judgement to come. Conversion is the end of a long process of wooing by the Holy Spirit. As we see more and more of the love of God, it is hard to keep kicking against the pricks. Finally the heart is broken and the sinner comes to repentance. The great blessing  is obtained. There is love, joy, and peace in Christ Jesus! Who can resist such love!!


Sin is very alluring, very appealing. Yet, it is highly deceptive and leads to death. It is diametrically opposed to God and His pure holiness and goodness. Reflecting this divine holiness, the Holy Spirit is opposed to sin in every form, and He is grieved when we sin and are unwilling to give it up. As powerful as the Holy Spirit is, His positive impact can be quenched, and we can resist Him when we continue in our sinful life. The Gospels even tell us that there is one sin that cannot be forgiven: blasphemy against the Spirit (Matt. 12:31, 32).

There are many steps taken before one will blaspheme the Holy Ghost. But, each sin moves the sinner one step closer to committing the unpardonable sin.


This week we will study biblical aspects that deal with the grieving, quenching, and resisting the Holy Spirit, and with the sin that will not be forgiven.


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Sunday March 12

Resisting the Holy Spirit


Read Acts 7:51.

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 

What warning was given here, and how does it apply to us today, as well?

Is the church following in the path of Israel of old? Are we walking in the light of God's counsel? Did God send a messenger with great light to point us to Jesus and His Word? Do these Words from Jesus to His last church still apply to us as a people?

3:14   And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 
 3:15   I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 
 3:16   So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 
 3:17   Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 
 3:18   I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 
 3:19   As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 
 3:20   Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 
 3:21   To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 
 3:22   He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 
 


Have we as a people resisted the Holy Ghost? Or are we following Scripture and filled with the fruits of the Holy Spirit? Are we preaching multiple "gospels" from our pulpits and printing them on our presses? Is there unity in the church? Why not?


There are a number of sins specifically mentioned in Scripture as sins against the Holy Spirit. Many of those sins are on the individual level. However, there is also a corporate dimension involved, as we can conclude from Acts 7:51. Stephen points out that his accusers are stiff-necked, as were the rebellious Israelites when they worshiped the golden calf (Exod. 33:3). They resisted the Holy Spirit because they refused to listen to what the Holy Spirit would impress through God's prophets upon their hearts. This pattern of opposition to God and His plan ultimately led some to reject the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of following Jesus, they made external worship a substitute for obedience to the living Word of God.

It is an amazing thought that frail human beings, created by God and dependent on Him, are able to resist the work of the Holy Spirit and ultimately the grace of God. As powerful as God is, He does not force Himself upon our free will. He respects our choices.

After all, if God wanted to force us to obey Him, why didn't He do it in Eden, with Adam and Eve, and thus spare the whole world the crisis of sin? God has made us free beings, with the power to make moral choices, either for life or for death, either for good or for evil. What a sacred-and costly-gift we have each been given.

Amen!  We must keep the cost of that gift in our minds, or else even after experiencing conversion, we will fall back into the sins that so easily beset us. Our nature apart from Christ is evil. If we have not yet seen this, then we need to see Jesus more clearly. For, He is the standard by which we may know good from evil.


While everyone is responsible for his or her own decisions, we also have a corporate responsibility: we should encourage one another to be faithful, to obey God's Word, and to stay close to Jesus (Heb. 10:24, 25). We resist the Holy Spirit today when we resist the Word of God and when we do not heed the message of His prophets.

It's so easy to look back at ancient Israel and judge and criticize them for all their mistakes. But what about our own poor choices? How would you feel if they were made as public as were the mistakes of ancient Israel?

Sadly, the teaching of evolution, the abortions done in our hospitals, the making of women leaders of men, the teaching of salvation in sin, is all done in public. The sins of God's people are just as public as were the sins of Israel.


What are ways we can help others toward "love and good works"? What is your responsibility to foster "love and good works" in others?

We are to be God's witnesses. Do we love those who despitefully use us? Are we truly converted Christians filled with His love? The church remains in a Laodicean condition. Jesus loves us and after telling us to "repent", He told us to the solution to our lost condition as a people. What must we do to be saved?


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Monday March 13

Grieving the Holy Spirit: Part 1


Read Ephesians 4:30.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
 

Here Paul uses an imperative and admonishes us not to grieve the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to grieve the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit speaks to us in a still small voice, and sometimes in a louder voice that is unmistakable. He warns of sin, judgment, and the need to be like Jesus in character. He wants us to stop hurting others and Christ, and our ourselves. It hurts the Holy Spirit when we do not listen to Him. Why? Because He loves us and knows that when we resist the truth, we hurt ourselves, we harden the heart against the truth.


The Holy Spirit is a personal being, not just a divine force. That is why He can be grieved. But how do we grieve the Holy Spirit? Perhaps we should remember that one of the tasks of the Holy Spirit is to open our eyes to sin (John 16:8 ). He leads us to Jesus, who forgives our sins and sanctifies us. After all, God's Spirit is called "holy." This means that He hates sin. But He rejoices when we are obedient to God in all things and think and speak what is pure and holy. On the other hand, this also means that He is grieved when we cherish anything that is unworthy of our divine calling. Any determination on our part to hold on to sin or to downplay the seriousness of sin grieves Him. Grieving the Holy Spirit is a serious thing.

The context of Paul's statement in Ephesians 4:30 about the grieving of the Holy Spirit deals with the lifestyle one lived before being converted by Christ, and what came after that conversion. As new creatures in Christ, we should be patient and gentle with each other, forbearing one another in love, and being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:2, 3). Being renewed by the Spirit (Eph. 4:23), we are now following Christ, our new head (Eph. 4:15) and so we do not walk in the vanity of our minds, as the Gentiles do (Eph. 4:17). Instead we live a life that is pleasing to God (Eph. 4:24-31).

Amen, we are walking in the Spirit when the Spirit has possession of the heart and mind.


Whenever we allow any of the negative things mentioned in these verses in chapter 4 to find room in our hearts, and when they manifest themselves in our words and deeds, then the Spirit is sad and grieved. Grieving the Holy Spirit means to spurn His sanctifying presence and His life-transforming power because we continue to willfully sin.

The Holy Ghost will not remain in a heart that is resisting Him. Where does He go when we sin? While not in the heart, He does not forsake us as long as we can still hear Him. Where is He and what is He doing, even though we have grieved Him out of the heart?


The Holy Spirit is not indifferent to how we live. Read Ephesians 4:25-31, and list the specific moral behaviors that grieve the Holy Spirit.

 4:25   Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 
 4:26   Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 
 4:27   Neither give place to the devil. 
 4:28   Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 
 4:29   Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 
 4:30   And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 
 4:31   Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 

Why is the Holy Spirit grieved by these things?

It is self that wants the supremacy. If we do not cling to Christ, if we do not remain in an attitude of prayer, speaking with God, then the default setting, the fallen nature takes over. While God is speaking to us, what are we doing? We need to keep our connection with Him, else self will take over. It is our nature, and unless we become partakers, and remain partakers, of His divine nature, we will not be able to do any good thing. The Spirit is working with us to keep the the body (flesh) under. But, if we allow our minds to wander away from God we will not be able to control the flesh. This hurts the Spirit, and the work He is doing in our lives.


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2017, 03:21:13 PM »
Tuesday March 14

Grieving the Holy Spirit: Part 2


That the Holy Spirit can be grieved tells us that God is not indifferent to us and what we do. God is affected by what we decide and how we live.

Read Ephesians 4:25-5:2.

 4:25   Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 
 4:26   Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 
 4:27   Neither give place to the devil. 
 4:28   Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 
 4:29   Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 
 4:30   And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 
 4:31   Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 
 4:32   And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. 
 
 5:1   Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 
 5:2   And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 


What are we told to do here and how different would our lives be were we to follow these biblical commands?

In positive terms: we delight the Holy Spirit when we speak the truth in love; when we are angry about sin, but do not sin in our anger; when we work with our own hands and use the product of our labor to do good for the needy; when we speak in an edifying manner and impart grace to our hearers; and when we are kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.

If we claim to be Christians, yet live as though Christ had never come and our lives are not affected by His leading and His love, then we grieve the Holy Spirit. When we confess that we believe in the Truth, but how we act and behave contradicts that confession, we grieve the Holy Spirit. Lack of moral integrity also grieves the Spirit. Our outreach efforts must not be divorced from our ethical behavior. If we live in such a way that others realize that we truly are His children and reflect Jesus, we bring joy to the heart of God.

Read Ephesians 4:3, 4, 15, 16, 32.

4:3   Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 
 4:4   [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 
 4:15   But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ: 
 4:16   From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. 
 4:32   And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.


What do these texts reveal about the communal aspects of living in the Spirit? How does a Spirit-filled life reveal itself in the community with other believers?

A Spirit filled life acts out the fruits of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, not one is missing. When we have the Spirit in our hearts, it is impossible to not love our enemy.


It is interesting that in Ephesians 4 there is also a distinct communal aspect. The idea of unity is mentioned several times. Paul is concerned that we maintain the unity of the Spirit because we live the life of God in the context of "one another" (Eph. 4:32). How we relate to one another in the church, "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3) is a crucial part of not grieving the Spirit. How we treat one another in the church, which is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16, 17), really does matter to God. How we consider one another in the body of Christ is of prime importance to God's Spirit.

It's fine to know the truth, the three angels' messages (Rev. 14:6-12), but ask yourself this question: How do you treat others, especially those who are under you or those who can do nothing for you? That is, they have nothing to offer you in return.

Or even more revealing, how do we treat those who despitefully use us? This will reveal who has the heart, Satan or God.


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

colporteur

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Some may disagree but I do not see that grieving the Holy Spirit is such that he is offended as in personally insulted so as to stomp off. Similarly, is committing the unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit really driving the Spirit away as in the Spirit choosing to leave one alone ? What I mean is that the grieving of the Holy Spirit along the way leading up to unpardonable sin is one where he is recognizing the condition of the heart rather than one where the Holy Spirit gets ticked off, insulted, and so he leaves. Perhaps the grieving is more like the grieving for a loved one who is dying or dead. Our grief is not one where we leave the loved one but where the loved one leaves us. The Holy Spirit is not selfishly grieved but selflessly grieved.
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.

Richard Myers

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Amen, cp.  God loves us and will not stay in the heart when the heart is not fully given to Him. We must see our continual need of Jesus, and then cling to Him, if we want the Holy Spirit to stay in the heart. He does not forsake us, He continues to call to us when He is grieved by our neglect. He loves us and wants us to let Him back into the heart.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Wednesday March 15

Quenching the Holy Spirit


Read 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21.

 5:19   Quench not the Spirit. 
 5:20   Despise not prophesyings. 
 5:21   Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 

How can the Holy Spirit be quenched?

The word "quenching" suggests the idea of a fire. The same Greek root word is used in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 and in Ephesians 6:16. This suggests that something about the Holy Spirit is like a fire that we can extinguish. We should remember that the Holy Spirit does two significant things for us: He gives us knowledge of sin, and He gives us power to overcome sin. Both are related to sanctification.

Amen. He also reveals God's grace and power. If we want to have power to overcome sin, then we must not only be aware of His grace, we must feed upon it. We must drink His blood and eat His flesh. When we do this, then grance will enter the heart and then we are filled with His Spirit. Then the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in the life. This is evidence of true conversion.


Through the Word of God, the Spirit tells us what we need to know in order to live a holy life, and through His indwelling power He enables us to change our lives according to this knowledge. One way we can avoid quenching the Spirit is to "Despise not prophesyings." (1 Thess. 5:20). Paul instructs the Thessalonian believers not to despise prophetic utterances, and yet he called for their discernment (1 Thess. 5:21). While we are to be open to the Spirit in our congregational life and should not quench the work of the Holy Spirit, we also need discernment because false teachings and false prophets will continue to plague the church.
 
Amen. And at the moment as you read about our continual need of Jesus, the Holy Spirit is speaking to you that this is truth, important truth. We cannot do any good thing until we trust Jesus with all we are and all we have. This is "saving faith" that comes by knowing God. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the character of our God. Then His grace will come into the heart. It is when we are converted that we will have spiritual discernment.

Not all spirits are benign. The Spirit-inspired Word of God, however, is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps. 119:105). By it we have a standard to measure even new prophetic utterances. In biblical times such a lamp involved a burning wick that shed light before the feet of those who walked in the night. The Bible tells us how to "walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25). We do that by surrendering ourselves to the teachings of the Word of God and by obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit as He points us in the way that we should live.

Many who profess to believe that the Bible is the Word of God interpret it in ways that all but denude the Scriptures of any real authority, robbing them of any real power in their lives. Also, when we despise the Word of God and treat it with disrespect, or neglect to apply it to ourselves, we are snuffing out this lamp that is given to lead us on our way and to stir our consciences toward good works.

Amen!  We ought not trust in others to tell us what is truth. God sends teachers, but they point all to the Bible and to Christ. As the faithful Bereans, we need to know for ourselves what the Bible says and compare what we are being taught with Scripture. As the Jews were deceived, so it today. Many have come in sheep's clothing, but are ravening wolves that Jesus warned about. How can we know a wolf from a sheep?


Read Gal. 5:25.

5:25   If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 

What does it mean to be called "in holiness" (NKJV)?

The KJV's interpretation tells us that it means to "walk in the Spirit."

Because wolves (false teachers) have perverted even this truth to make it sound like when we are converted, we may not walk in the Spirit, let us see how the Bible reveals that to be a lie. Romans 7 and 8 explain it so clearly that none need be confused or remain deceived. Romans 7 is Paul's explanation of the pain and frustration he went through when he discovered he was lost, that he did not know how to keep the commandments. Romans 8 is what Paul discovered after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul is clear that when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we walk after the Spirit, and when do not have the Spirit, we are none of His. The following Bible verses need no interpretation if one really wants to know what it means to be in a converted state.

 8:1   [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 
 8:2   For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 
 8:3   For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 
 8:4   That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 
 8:5   For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 
 8:6   For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. 
 8:7   Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 
 8:8   So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 
 8:9   But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 
 8:10   And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. 
 8:11   But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 
 8:12   Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 
 8:13   For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 
 8:14   For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 


What areas of your life might you need to ask yourself if, indeed, you are acting "in holiness" (walking in the Spirit)?

How would one know if they are walking in the Spirit? It would become more difficult to know if we use the NKJV. But, when we use the KJV, it become clear how to know. What are the fruits seen in the life when one is filled with the Holy Spirit? And, what is seen in the life when one is not walking in the Spirit? Read Galatians 5:25 in context. Verse 16 is hard to ignore, unless one is not looking for the truth.

 5:16   [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 
 5:17   For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 
 5:18   But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 
 5:19   Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 
 5:20   Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 
 5:21   Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 
 5:22   But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 
 5:23   Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 
 5:24   And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Thursday March 16

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit


Read Mark 3:28, 29; Luke 12:10; and Matthew 12:31, 32.

 3:28   Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 
 3:29   But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: 

 12:10   And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven. 

 12:31   Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy [against] the [Holy] Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 
 12:32   And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the [world] to come. 


If all sins and blasphemies can be forgiven, what is it that cannot be forgiven?

How can God help one who denies the Spirit of God? It is the channel through which God communicates with man.


Perhaps no other sin has caused greater uncertainty and anguish among Christians and has been more misunderstood than has the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Some think that Jesus has in mind some specific sins that are particularly grievous. We do well to remind ourselves, however, that all sins are heinous to God, even though some sins might have more drastic consequences than do others. But what did Jesus mean when He spoke about the unforgivable sin?

Actually none of these texts say that this sin cannot be forgiven; just that it will not be forgiven. Let's remember: the work of the Holy Spirit is to lead sinners to an awareness of their sin and to awaken in them the desire to accept Jesus, who alone forgives sin. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, therefore, must be understood as the deliberate and persistent repudiation of Jesus' saving work. It occurs when an individual willfully and obstinately resists the Spirit's testimony to Christ and His salvation and grace.

Jesus isn't talking about someone uttering a few slanderous words. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is committed only in the context of an attitude of persistent unbelief and open hostility toward Jesus. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is not a single episode; it is a determined way of life.

"In the place of receiving the evidence offered them, in the place of recognizing in Christ's works the endowment of heaven, they held right on to their wicked purposes, and said, He performed this wonderful work through the devil. This was the sin against the Holy Ghost." - Ellen G. White, Loma Linda Messages, p. 156.

When the human heart is settled in stubborn opposition to God and, thus, consciously refuses to give Jesus His due, the heart is hardened and fails to acknowledge the truth of the Holy Spirit's testimony to God's saving sacrifice in Jesus Christ. This sin is beyond the possibility of forgiveness, not because God is powerless or unwilling to forgive, but because the person is not able to recognize his/her sin. Therefore, he/she does not accept forgiveness through Jesus. This attitude, of course, has eternal consequences.

How can we be sure that, regardless of whatever we profess about ourselves, we are not living in opposition to God and resisting the Holy Spirit? (See, for instance, 1 John 5:3 and Rom. 8:14.)

We must learn what is means to be abiding in Christ and He in us. What does it mean to become a partaker of God's divine nature? What did Jesus mean when He told Nicodemus he must be born again of the Spirit? In order to have good spiritual discernment, we must be born again. How is it that we can have this experience? What did Jesus reveal to Nicodemus that would help Nicodemus understand what he must do in order to obtain eternal life?

How can we be sure we are not living in opposition to God? What is the evidence we are converted and following Jesus? This is  not an unimportant question. A Laodicean is blind to his condition. He does not know he is wretched, miserable, poor, and blind, and naked. What does Jesus want the Laodicean to know? What is the Spirit saying to one in a Laodicean condition? And, how do Laodiceans respond to the Spirit's plea? What will enable a Laodicean to be changed (converted)?

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Friday March 17

Further Thought: The mere fact that people anxiously ask whether they have committed the unforgivable sin reveals that they most surely haven't. If they had committed it, they certainly wouldn't be worrying about it. Their worry is all the evidence they need that, indeed, they are still open to the Spirit's leading. What the person should do is claim the righteousness of Jesus and, clinging to Jesus' merits, press on ahead in faith and obedience. Only under the covering of Christ's righteousness, which is the "righteousness of God" Himself (Rom. 10:3), can they have the peace and assurance that they so sorely lack now.

Amen. And that will only come when they know Christ well enough to trust Him with all they have and all they are. The requirement for eternal life is to love God with all the heart, all the mind, all of the soul, and all of our strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. We must be born again and filled with the Spirit in order to be cleansed in heart and covered with His righteousness. We then have His law written upon the heart.


There is, really, only one person God cannot forgive, and that is the person who persistently refuses to come to Jesus for forgiveness. "The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit does not lie in any sudden word or deed; it is the firm, determined resistance of truth and evidence." - Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1093. "No one need look upon the sin against the Holy Ghost as something mysterious and indefinable. The sin against the Holy Ghost is the sin of persistent refusal to respond to the invitation to repent."-Page 1093.

Amen. And that is the end of a long protracted process that begins with the refusal to repent of one little sin.


Discussion Questions:


    If someone were to come to you, afraid that they had committed the unpardonable sin, what would you say and what texts would you use to help? Why is an understanding of salvation by faith alone so crucial for helping someone who feels he or she is hopelessly lost?

It would be good if they understand better the plan of salvation in its simplicity as revealed in the conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus in the garden under cover of darkness. Jesus began by telling Nicodemus, a Laodicean, that he did not have eternal life, that He needed to be born again (converted). He also told Him how to obtain this experience. Unmasking the great deception will go a long way in encouraging those who are seeking to understand their standing before God.


    We quench the Holy Spirit when we refuse to act or speak as He leads. Where are we in danger of quenching the Holy Spirit? That is, in what aspects of our lives (if any?) do we find ourselves resisting God's leading, and how can we learn to make the needed surrender?

Any time we sin, we are resisting the Spirit. Why? Because we are not looking unto Jesus. If we are not abiding in Christ and He in us (through the Holy Spirit), then where is the power to resist sin? We must have Jesus first. We must learn of God. We must behold His great love, that grace might break the hard cold heart and ask Jesus to come in. This is how we make the surrender of the whole heart to Christ. We must trust Him first. Totally trust Him. This is "saving faith". It is revealed by a life that reflects the character of our Savior.


    Sometimes God allows certain circumstances to come into our lives that we resent or that we don't understand.

Resent and not understanding are two different things. Often we may not understand, but when we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and keep His commandments, why would we resent a trial that comes? We would not if we are abiding in Christ and He in us.


Such was the case, for instance, with Job.

Yes and no. Yes, he did not understand. No, at first he was not resentful. Then, he praised God even though He thought God was doing the destruction. No resentment at all. He lost everything including his children, yet He praised God. But, when he let loose of Jesus, then he became resentful and self-righteous.


Why can a resentful mind-set dampen the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives? How can we trust God more fully and submit our lives completely to Him, even during the most difficult times?

A resentful mind is not a converted mind. It is a carnal mind. When Jesus has possession of the mind, there is peace that passes all understanding. How can we trust God more fully? We must know Him and have Him in the mind. If we neglect to keep our eyes upon Him, as we see in Job's experience, then we return to our "default" position of selfishness. Without a full surrender and the abiding presence of Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, we have no power to resist sin.

    Fearful of being "tainted" by what they feel are corrupt influences in the church, some pull away completely from the body and strike out on their own. What's wrong with that idea, and why is it not the biblical model for a Christian to follow?

In most cases this would be wrong, to leave the church. But, in some local churches, for the sake of children, or even for the sanity and salvation of the individual, it may be best to find another church. In some the level of piety has fallen so low, that it is best to leave. As for striking out on one's own, that is not good. God has a people, not all churches are vile. There will be revival and reformation in God's church. We are to be a part of that revival. Protect the children from the evil influences, but let the strong bear with the infirmities of the weak.

If your soul is being tried to the point of losing your salvation, then go to the mountain top and spend some time with Jesus until you have a strong connection, then come back down in to the world and be an example for change. On th other hand, don't get to that point of being so tempted. Spend a thoughtful hour each day contemplating God's grace. Don't let the trials build up before feeding upon Jesus. Make it a daily study of His life. You will be blessed. "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 cor. 3:18.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.