A Fatal Mistake - Part 3

Scripture: Matthew 12:31, Acts 7:51, James 1:22
Are we make the fatal mistake of turning away from light God sheds on our pathway? Resisting and fighting the Holy Spirit is a mistake that will impact our eternal salvation. We should not reject even one part of God's commandments.
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One of the most prevalent fears today among a certain class of people is whether they have lost their last chance to be saved. What about that point of no return? And the sin that even God will not forgive? I have met men and women who really believed that they had committed the unpardonable sin, and what miserable, pathetic people they were.

No doubt there is such a sin, because Jesus spoke of it in Matthew 12:31, and He called it the sin against the Holy Spirit. He didn't go into any detail in describing the nature of the transgression, but let me give you an out-and-out New Testament definition for the unpardonable sin. You will find it in 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." You know, there are a lot of things much clearer in the Bible than we often realize.

I think of a high school teacher; a mathematics teacher. He said, "Why is it that sometimes the Bible is so confusing? One says this and one says that. Why didn't God just put it down in plain black and white just what He expects of us, just written down there and tabulated 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10?" He used that illustration. Well, friends, that is exactly what He did do! He gave the commandments on tables of stone, but then, suppose you come along and say there is one of those that you don't want to keep. Can't you see what a spot God is in? He wants to make it clear; He wants to make it simple; He wants to make it so everyone can follow it, but when He writes it out plainly carved on tables of stone, people turn aside and say, "Oh, that is the letter of the law." And they go on, and it doesn't do any good. It is a fearful thing when God tries to deal with man and tries to save his soul, and then man looks for a loophole instead of light. Oh, friends, be careful! In your search for eternal life are you looking for a loophole or are you looking for light?

Now I bring you the simplest, clearest definition of the unpardonable sin I have ever found, right from the New Testament. In Acts 7:51 is recorded the defence of Stephen, "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye." Ah, there it is, the unpardonable sin, fighting against the Holy Spirit. How? Hiding behind father's religion. "As your fathers did, so do ye." How many times people point to a picture on the wall, "My grandfather was a preacher" or "My grandfather was. . . so-and-so. He was a great man. He was a religious man; I don't think I need to change. Grandfather's religion was good enough for him, and it is good enough for me."

Ah friends, that is what Paul thought, too, until God had to smite him with a bolt of heavenly lightning to show him his error. He said, "I have served my God with a clear conscience from the days of my forefathers." Yet he was wrong, absolutely wrong. Here it says, "As your fathers did, so do ye."

There is many and many a man who is fighting away the Holy Spirit, simply saying, "Well, father's religion was good enough for him, and I think it is good enough for me." No. Religion is progressive. Much of the Bible has been trodden under foot through the years and must be restored and followed once more in its entirety. I must keep walking in the light to be saved. It is not just a question of what church I belong to. I may be a Roman Catholic; I am saved if I am walking in all the light that I have had or had the opportunity to have. If there is one bit of light that I have had that I do not follow, I will be lost as a Roman Catholic. It is the same with the Church of England; it is the same with the Lutheran Church; the same with the Baptists, or the Adventists, and the same with the Methodists. It is absolutely imperative that I shall walk in all the light. If there is one portion that I am not willing to accept and not willing to conform to, remember, I am resisting, I am fighting against the Holy Spirit, and I will be lost when I refuse to obey all. Grandfather's religion may have been good enough for him; undoubtedly it was. He lived up to the light of his day. But as God gives you and me additional light, you and I are duty bound to follow it.

Now he goes on to say, "Having resisted the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do ye . . .Who have received the law. . .and have not kept it." (verse 53). That is a New Testament text, too. There is a plain out-and-out statement of what it is to fight the Holy Spirit, resisting the Holy Spirit, hiding behind father's religion and the customs and tradition of our forefathers "and having received the law." We memorized it, we learned it as children in Sunday School, "but have not kept it." Oh, my friends, what a fatal mistake it is to learn to repeat the law of God with the mouth and be able to repeat those commandments with the lips, and then come up face-to-face in the judgment to meet them again, but we have not kept them! It will condemn us. "Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only." James 1:22. Oh, the tragedy of resisting the Holy Spirit. And remember, the greater the light of truth one professes, the greater will be his darkness and condemnation if he does not follow it.

There is another way of resisting the Holy Spirit. I have mentioned three already during the last three broadcasts. Let's review them briefly:

1. By rejecting part of the Bible. That is a fatal mistake against the Holy Spirit. A man is bound to be lost if he rejects even a part of God's Word.

2. By refusing baptism, or neglecting baptism.

3. By an individual refusing to keep a part of the commandments of God. The Bible says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments and I will send my Spirit."

and now,

4. By resisting and neglecting the Holy Spirit's entreaties, and delay.

I want to read to you from Ephesians 4:30. Here the Apostle Paul appeals, "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." God is sealing a people with His seal, His Holy mark in direct contrast to the mark of the apostasy. His Holy Spirit is seeking out the people of God.

I would like to read that again just now. Do you realize that this very day there is danger that somebody who is listening might fulfill this tragic condition in his life, committing the sin against the Holy Spirit? "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." Oh, my friends, do not push away the Holy Spirit any longer. We cannot trifle with eternal life. When the Spirit of God speaks, now is the hour! When God calls, now is the time for us to come! We dare not delay.

God is good. He will forgive any sin that a man truly repents of. We are assured that 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."

But, a sin must be repented of and confessed or else God can't forgive it. Is that clear? He cannot wipe it away; He cannot wash it away unless we repent of it. That is absolutely obvious. One time Jesus said to them when they brought Him a report, a hideous report of some awful thing that had happened there in Palestine, Jesus said, "That is bad all right. But don't you know that all who hear the truth and reject it are likewise accountable. Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." "Except ye repent. . ." If a man repents of his sins, he can be saved. Unless he repents, he will be lost, the unpardonable sin. He may have murdered somebody; he may have committed adultery; he may have stolen; he may have lied; he may have sworn, taken God's name in vain, and still be saved IF HE REPENTS!

I have known individuals afraid lest they might have grieved away the Holy Spirit and had no hope. If there is somebody who is burdened for fear you might have committed the unpardonable sin, if you feel that call, conviction from God in your heart now and feel that there is danger that you might be lost because you have waited too long, that is a sure sign that God still accepts you. That is a sign that His Holy Spirit is still working, stirring in your heart. Accept the assurance and surrender all immediately. The individual who is in danger is the individual who says, "I'm all right." That is the individual who is in danger today. It is not so much the great sinner that cries out, "I've been a great sinner; I've committed a great crime." For him there is hope. But for the individual who says, "I'm good enough. I'm not very bad. I do this and I do that and I am sure that God will overlook the rest." For him, there is great danger, for in defending himself and his course of action, he is resisting the Holy Spirit. When one defends a single sin in his life, that will become the unpardonable sin. A man might commit murder and be forgiven. How? By sincerely repenting. A man might hang onto just a little sin and defend that sin, excuse that sin, and be lost.

I often illustrate the point with an alarm clock. You set your alarm to get up at, say, 5:00 a.m. The first morning it goes off, you wake with a start. You try and find that knob, to push it in. Maybe it is in the dark and you knock the clock off the stand onto the floor. But you finally get the button in. Supposing, though, you decide to sleep in a few minutes longer and roll over and go back to sleep. The next day you set the alarm again. But again you decide to sleep in. And, friends, if you do that enough times, the alarm will go off and you will never hear it. It will ring just as loud as ever, but your senses will be dulled to it and you will sleep right through its ring.

It is the same with the Holy Spirit. You hear some truth from the Bible that you have not been following and it bothers your conscience. But you put off doing it. Your neighbor tells you it doesn't matter. You decide it wasn't important after all. And so you don't follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. It will still be truth and the right thing to do, but now you have quenched the Holy Spirit, and your heart or mind doesn't feel the need to do it. And a person is lost and doesn't seem to realize it because he hasn't repented of his sin and the truth doesn't bother him anymore. And unless he repents, Jesus can't forgive him. It is an unpardonable sin. An unpardonable sin. Not because God wouldn't forgive, but because the person wouldn't ask forgiveness. He didn't care. He presumed on God, that what God said wasn't really important.

So David made this his prayer, "Lord, keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression." Psalms 19:13. Do you remember that? Ah, there it is, another definition of the unpardonable sin. Keep me back from the "presumptuous sin." What is the presumptuous sin? Presumptuous sin is where the individual knows what is right, and refuses to obey. May God help you to walk every day in the light of revealed truth.

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