Point of No Return - Part 1

Scripture: Matthew 12:31-32, John 16:8-13, Psalm 86:5
Like bombers in World War II who sometimes went beyond the point of no return, can people in their relationship with God enter a point of no return? What does the Bible mean in regard to blaspheming the Holy Spirit? Is there an unpardonable sin we might commit?
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Bomber crews back during World War II became very well acquainted with the words "point of no return." This simply meant that the bomber had used so much gasoline that there was not enough fuel left to return home. They had gone too far. There was absolutely no turning back. Their case was hopeless. To pass the point of no return meant almost certain doom, so it was feared and dreaded by men in the Air Corps. No bomber crew wanted to pass that point, and I'm sure that everybody listening to this broadcast can easily understand why. Nobody wants to be beyond hope, as far as life and survival are concerned.

But listen, there is something which is far, far worse than that. It's far worse for a person to go beyond the point of no return in his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet the world is literally packed full of people who, in their religious or irreligious experience, are quickly approaching the point of no return as far as God is concerned. The question I want to ask you today is this: Could it be that you are one who is approaching the point of no return? This is a solemn question, and I hope you will weigh it very carefully as we study it further.

When a person reaches the point of no return in his religious experience, the Bible indicates that he has blasphemed the Holy Ghost or sinned against the Holy Spirit. Now I'd like to read you a passage that comments on it and it's the word of Jesus Christ Himself. It's found in Matthew 12:31, 32: "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. But whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." And so, when a person sins against the Holy Spirit, he has gone past the point of no return.

We're going to spend a little time discussing this vital subject of sinning against the Holy Ghost. What does it mean? What does it involve? First of all we need to know what the Holy Ghost does. Here is a text in John 16: 8-13 to tell us what the work or office of the Holy Ghost is. "And when he is come", (this is speaking of the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit, because "ghost" is the Old English word for "spirit"), "he will reprove the world of sin." And then on in verse 13, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth." Now notice, according to John 16, that the Holy Spirit has two specific functions. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to point out our sins, and to lead us to the truth. No one has ever felt sorrow for sin without the Holy Spirit. Nobody can discover the truth for himself without the work of the Holy Spirit. I'm sure there is not a single person who has not discovered some kind of working of the Holy Spirit on his own life. Any time you've ever felt like doing better, any time you've ever felt like improving yourself spiritually, that has been the voice or work of the Holy Spirit on your heart. At any rate, you're acquainted with the still, small voice that speaks to you.

Perhaps you've been about to do something that you shouldn't do, and the Holy Spirit would say, "No, no, don't do that , it is wrong." Or perhaps you've been studying the Bible and praying, and after careful study and consideration a new truth has been brought to light, and the Holy Spirit says, "This is the truth; do it!" Now that's the work of the Holy Spirit, friends. He leads you to new truth, and makes it very clear that it is right for you. Then He points out sin so that you know how to flee from it, how to avoid it. That is the special work of the Holy Spirit. I'm happy to tell you that the Lord God of heaven is willing and ready and anxious to forgive you of any sin that you commit, no matter what it is. And yet, there's an unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit.

Let's read a text in Psalm 86:5 in order to understand this seeming contradiction or paradox. "For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee." So the Bible teaches that God is willing and ready to forgive us of any sin. It makes no difference what it is. But, although God is ready and willing to forgive any and every sin, He cannot forgive me unless I'm willing to be forgiven. And there's something I must do to show God that I am willing. We find it in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." You see, the great God of heaven has actually bound Himself by His own word of honor to forgive me of any sin that I confess to Him, but only if I confess it. That confession makes all the difference in the world.

Now briefly, here's the story. For the sake of illustration, the Holy Spirit comes to me and points out something in the Bible that's contrary to what I've been doing. I've been breaking God's law, perhaps. The Holy Spirit comes along and points it out to me and says, "I know you didn't know that, it's news to you, but here it is. You've been doing wrong. You must stop breaking the law. You must leave off this sin in your life." Alright, when I hear this, when the Holy Spirit speaks, I say, "I'm sorry. Please forgive me." And the Scriptures say if I ask Him to forgive me, He immediately cleanses me of my sin. Now that's the way it ought to be. That's the way God wants it to be. But just supposing the Holy Spirit speaks to me as I study the Scriptures and I see some new truth, and He says, "Now here's something new. What are you going to do about it?" I study for a little while and analyze it for a bit and then say, "Well, it's just too new and different and strange. There are just too few people doing it anyway. I'm not going to do it."

Then the Holy Spirit says to me, "But listen, you remember what God said in Isaiah 8:20, ‘To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them.' If it's in the bible, you ought to do it." So I think about that a little bit and study it over longer, and finally I say, "Well, no, no, I think I'll just keep on like I've been doing." And the Holy Spirit speaks to me again and says, "Don't you remember what Christ Himself said in Matthew: ‘Why do you transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?' And also, ‘In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Don't you remember that?" And I say, "Yes, yes, I remember that, and I know what the truth is, but, I don't know, I just don't think I can do it." And the Holy Spirit speaks again and says, "To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17. So I say, "Yes, I know it, I know that's the truth. The message is right; there's no question about it and I'm going to accept it one of these days." And the Holy Spirit says to me, "Behold, now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation."

Well, I could go on and on and on, friends, and for everything the Holy Spirit suggests I have a no. Now listen, just as long as I say No, God cannot forgive me. Do you see that? So, what is the sin against the Holy Spirit, or the sin that God cannot pardon? It's the sin I refuse to confess and forsake. It's not some terrible, black, heinous act or crime. It is not some fearful language that I might hurl at God in a moment of petulance. It's a condition of mind in which I say, "I will not do it!" It's a condition of mind in which I determine to hang onto sin. I refuse to follow the leading of the Spirit of God.

Now I hope this will be very clear to everyone, because there's so much misunderstanding on this topic. You see, God gave the Holy Spirit for the purpose of convincing us of sin and drawing us to Him. If the Holy Spirit knocks on my door with some more light or some more convicting of sin, and I say, "Well, I'm not interested" and slam the door, what can God do about that, friends? The hands of the mighty God are tied as long as I am resisting His Spirit, because the Holy Spirit is the only agency that Heaven has ordained to draw me to God. That's why resisting the Holy Spirit is a fatal thing and will cost many their eternal salvation. We ought to take note of this also: any sin, it doesn't make any difference what it is, may become the sin against the Holy Ghost, because the sin against the Holy Ghost is rejecting the work of the Holy Ghost. When I refuse to give up any sin, I am rejecting the Spirit on that point.

Now let's illustrate it this way. Christ had a disciple named Judas. He must have been a very forceful individual. I just believe, friends, that if we could see all the disciples and really know what they looked like, the one that would be the most outstanding would be Judas. The disciples were evidently very impressed with him. In fact, they brought him to Jesus, a businessman, a fine looking man, a man of keen intellect. They thought of what this man could do for the church, so they urged Christ to take him. Christ really didn't seem to want to. Finally He said, "Alright, I'll take him." But listen to these words. Jesus said, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." Matthew 8:20. Now Jesus wanted to discourage this man by making it clear that he would gain nothing materially by joining the group of disciples. But anyway this fine, handsome fellow, this man of keen intellect became a member of the twelve. The disciples were so impressed with him that he was actually given a job. Now you'll find no record of any of the other apostles being given a special job in the church. Christ was pastor, but Judas was the treasurer. But he had one besetting sin; above everything else, he was covetous. As he carried the money bag around, he would put his hand down into the bag and feel of those shekels and wish that they could belong to him. He would think, "Wouldn't it be great if I could just take part of this and deposit it at the bank in my name. Wouldn't that be wonderful?" And then the Holy Spirit would speak to him and say, "Judas, get your hand out of that bag. You know that has always been your trouble. Flee from this thing."

But Judas resisted the Holy Spirit. Christ knew about the problem and He told parable after parable that had to do with this very sin of covetousness. Do you realize that sixteen of Christ's twenty-nine parables pertained to covetousness? And when Judas would hear those parables, no doubt he would think, "I wonder if He knows? At any rate He's right, and I must quit this." But he didn't. He just kept lusting after that money and coveting more and more, until finally he just voted himself a little salary. After all, he had a job, why not have a salary? And so he began to take money out of the bag. And nobody said anything. Nobody knew about it. He was the bookkeeper and he would adjust the books as he pleased. Time passed, and finally one day he reached into the bag and found it to be empty. "Oh," he thought, "I've overreached myself. What if the church should call on me for money? There's supposed to be a lot of it here, and what would I do if they called on me?" And the Holy Spirit said, "Judas, confess your mistake. Confess it." But he didn't confess. Instead of that, he went out to try to find another way of filling the bag up again. And of course we know what he decided to do, betray his own Lord. So that sin of covetousness became the unpardonable sin as far as Judas was concerned. Because it lead him finally to eternal death and destruction.

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