08 July 2012

Tread Carefully

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from the conclusion of a sermon, "The Personality of the Holy Spirit," a sermon preached on Sunday morning 21 January 1855 at the New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

Then, to the ungodly, I have this one closing word to say. Ever be careful how you speak of the Holy Ghost. I do not know what the unpardonable sin is, and I do not think any man understands it; but it is something like this: "He that speaketh a word against the Holy Ghost, it shall never be forgiven him." I do not know what that means; but tread carefully! There is danger; there is a pit which our ignorance has covered by sand; tread carefully! you may be in it before the next hour.

If there is any strife in your heart to-day, perhaps you will go to the ale-house and forget it. Perhaps there is some voice speaking in your soul, and you will put it away. I do not tell you will be resisting the Holy Ghost, and committing the unpardonable sin; but it is somewhere there. Be very careful. O, there is no crime on earth so black as the crime against the Holy Spirit!

Ye may blaspheme the Father, and ye shall be damned for it, unless ye repent; ye may blaspheme the Son, and hell shall be your portion, unless ye are forgiven; but blaspheme the Holy Ghost, and thus saith the Lord: "There is no forgiveness, either in this world nor in the world which is to come." I cannot tell you what it is; I do no profess to understand it; but there it is. It is the danger signal; stop! man, stop! If thou has despised the Holy Spirit— if thou hast laughed at his revelations, and scorned what Christians call his influence, I beseech thee, stop! This morning seriously deliberate. Perhaps some of you have actually committed the unpardonable sin; stop! Let fear stop you; sit down. Do not drive on so rashly as you have done, Jehu! O slacken your reins! Thou who are such a profligate in sin—thou who hast uttered such hard words against the Trinity, stop! Ah! it makes us all stop. It makes us all draw up, and say, "Have I not perhaps so done?" Let us think of this; and let us not at any time stifle either with the words or the acts of God the Holy Ghost.


Luke Wolford said...

Hm. Good thought given this week's discussion. We cessationists need to make sure that we interact with our continuationist brothers in a Christlike way.

Frank Turk said...

I'm pretty sure that while Spurgeon thought we ought to treat Christians like Christians, the point of his quote here isn't really to make sure we don't offend the continualist: it was that we do not offend the Holy Spirit.

If you read the rest of his sermon on this day, you'll find that he's not endorsing all manner of super powers from God: he's warning his listeners against treating the Holy Spirit like an invisible force who is not a divine person with divine dignity.

For me, this is the most-compelling argument against manifestationism: the dignity of God. God's dignity, frankly, ought to be precious enough that we aren't willing to risk it with tomfoolery in worship or in our religious practices.

donsands said...

The Jews said Jesus was filled with Satan, and yet our Lord was full of the Holy Spirit, as a Man. Jesus was a Man, although he was the eternal Son of God, and yet He lived and worked His miracles and signs through the Holy Ghost.

Seems to blaspheme the Spirit is to call Him Satan. Mk. 3:22-30

Yet, I definitely lean with Pastor Charles here, and walk ever so lightly, and keep this Scripture truth in the most serious portion of my heart.

I do exaime myself, and ask myself when I am in one of my complaining and scoffing modes, "do I really love Jesus?" "Do I really love others; especially those who get under my fingernails."

"Do I really trust in Christ for every ounce of my salvation?"

Thanks for the Spurgeon quote. Always excellent.

Have a blessed grace-filled week in our Savior's love and power.

Nash Equilibrium said...

That's the rub isn't it? Pentecostals will say that mocking the fake glossalalia is mocking the Spirit, and cessationists will say that worship service weirdness is mocking the Spirit. So as with most of the Christian life there's not some safe middle ground.

Jim Pemberton said...

I just preached on this a few weeks ago from Mark 3. Matthew and Mark have basically the same account; Matthew just has more information. Luke has it too, but he removes this particular teaching from the same context in Chapter 11 and organizes it with a series of categorical teachings in chapter 12.

The context of Luke 12 commends itself more to the continuationist argument than Matthew and Mark. But given the placement of the teaching in Matthew and Mark, I wouldn’t give heavy weight to Luke’s account regarding continuationalism. Instead, taking the synoptic gospels together, Luke’s account has more to do with trusting God in the difficult situations that his followers will find themselves. The Holy Spirit is given as our point of immediate contact and His work through us unifies us with the work of Christ in the world. I don’t know of any cessationists who would disagree with that even if some don’t pay too much attention to it.

And that brings us back to the account from which the teaching seems to have originated as given by Matthew and Mark. On the one hand, the scribes and Pharisees, roughly equivalent to today’s Democrats (The Priests and Sadducees being closer to today’s Republicans), had tried to defame Christ by accusing him of wielding the power of Beelzebul in casting out demons. Jesus’ message to them was one of unity within a system of power. Satan gets nowhere by casting out his own demons where people will still oppose him after the fact. The scribes and Pharisees had made a stupid argument.

But as though to accent the point, Jesus family comes out looking to reign Jesus in. Capernaum was not a large place and the people coming in from all over the place had overrun it. Some had said that Jesus was out of his mind and it seems like his own mother had bought it. It was like they were saying that this Son of God business had gotten out of hand and they were coming to reign in their out-of-control family member – like any good family should do. This was a sign of family unity. But Jesus responded with a “redefinition” of family indicating that the Holy Spirit brings a new unity to the family of God. Deny the work of the Holy Spirit in the family of God and you will find that the family is no longer unified. It’s like a marriage: It takes two to tango, but only one to sit down and stop the dance.

So I don’t see a good interpretation of this teaching for individuals outside of the context of the community of believers. We’re not islands.

But Spurgeon is right here. We need to tread lightly.

Jomasterhn said...
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Linda said...

I think of people who go beyond God's written word; They need to heed the warning very seriously before they go spouting off words the Holy Spirit never said--- "He that speaketh a word against the Holy Ghost, it shall never be forgiven him."

they are speaking against the Holy Spirit with their extra-biblical revelations since the Holy Spirit is the divine author of Scripture.

As far as cessationists, there are many whom I believe are just like sheep, afraid of running water

Joshua Regehr said...

First time commenting! Hey guys, how about an article on the Trinity since you mention the Holy Spirit. Or rather, Spurgeon does. I don't know what to believe and have been all over the map on this. Thanks.

Joshua Regehr said...
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Joshua Regehr said...

Just a little background on me. I am a Five Pointer who loves to listen to Chris Rosebrough on Fighting for the Faith. I also find Marc Carpenter's sermons from Outside the Camp good. I know, I know what you're thinking. I'm crazy right? I guess that's me. I appreciate James White's work too. I listen to the Dividing Line and have read his book on the King James controversy. Though I have never been involved officially in their churches, I am an ex- Catholic believer and an ex-Mormon believer. That's all for now!

IAMone2 said...

The False Prophet and the Anti-Christ are the humans that commit the unpardonable sin. They both were called the Holy Father and God and proclaimed that they were. For this they were not judged at the White Throne Judgemnet Day but were cast into the fires of Hell and they were the first.
The Holy Spirit is so precious,it truly fills you with the love of our loving Father. If you are truly born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit you will be guided by the precious Holy Spirit and learn to listen to what He says.
The Holy Spirit is Love for it is the precious Spirit of our Lord God Almighty our Heavenly Father.
Peace Be unto you