Sunday, February 15, 2015

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit:SCS No. 37

Sunday, February 15, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 37

(This is a series of sermonettes on The Gospel According To Mark.  We will not be to the crucifixion and resurrection in the book of Mark by April 5, 2015 so we will not be doing the resurrection story when it is being celebrated this year.)

Scripture for Today:  Mark 3:22-30 English Standard Version (ESV)
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”
23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?
24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.
26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.
27 But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,
29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—
30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Sermon for Today:

We must also look in Luke to understand what I consider to be one of the most misunderstood passages in the New Testament.

Luke 12:8-12 English Standard Version (ESV)
Acknowledge Christ Before Men
8 “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God,
9 but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say,
12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
Key to understanding this passage is the distinction Jesus makes between, on the one hand, the extreme case of blasphemy against “the Holy Spirit” and, on the other hand, the lesser case of speaking in a dishonorable way against “the Son of Man.” One who asks to be forgiven for disrespectful words hastily spoken against Jesus (the Son of Man) will be forgiven. However, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not.

What does it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.  I have heard everything given as an explanation.   Let me see if I can make this simple.  It is the persistent and unrepentant resistance against the work of the Holy Spirit and his message concerning Jesus.  The person who persists in hardening his heart against God, against the work of the Holy Spirit, and against the provision of Christ as Savior, is outside the reach of God’s provision for forgiveness and salvation.

Christians often worry that they have committed this sin, but such a worry is in itself evidence that the Holy Spirit is working in your life.  If you had turned a deaf ear to God you would not be worrying.

They accused Jesus of being Satan.  That means they had turned deaf to hearing the voice of God.

In Luke Jesus tells His Disciples that if they are hauled before the authorities that they should not worry because the Holy Spirit would give them the words to speak.  Today we need to trust that the same Holy Spirit will give us the words we need to tell our families, friends and neighbors the Good News.   Blaspheming is believing the Holy Spirit is not alive today and died with the Apostles or on the Day of Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit is still with us.  Let the Spirit fill you and share what you know about living a life filled with the love of Jesus Christ.

Prayer for Today:

Father, May the Gospel story come so alive in us that Your Son comes alive to the world around each of us.  For we know You sent Him for all peoples and He gave His all that all of us might have life forevermore if only we find Him, the one and only Way.  It is in His name I pray. Amen.

© Ed Cooper, February 15, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
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