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Greg Laurie — The Holy Spirit and You

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We're in the gospel of John. So turn in your Bibles to John 14. John 14. And the title of my message is the Holy Spirit and you. The Holy Spirit and you. You know, the Bible of course tells us that God is a Father in heaven. That's how our Lord taught us to pray. In this way he said pray our Father, who art in heaven. And for most of us, we can grasp this. Some of us had great fathers. Some of us not so great. Some of us didn't have a father. But maybe we know a father out there so we can sort of get a picture in our mind of God as a father. In fact, in the parable of the prodigal son that Jesus told, he compared God to a father who had two sons and when one of the sons went astray, the father missed the son and was anxious for his return. So, God is presented to us as a father. And then God is also presented to us as the Son. Jesus said that he that has seen me has seen the Father.

So you wonder, what is God like? Look at Jesus. That's what God is like. Because Jesus was and is God. So Jesus was walking among us as a human being. He was hungry. He was thirsty. He was tired. He experienced joy, anger, all the things that we experience as human beings. But of course, he never sinned. And for the most part, we can wrap our mind around the idea of God as the Son. The son of God. God the Father. Then there's the Holy Spirit. And because God is a triune being, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It's a little tricky to wrap our mind around God as the Holy Spirit. Doesn't help that the King James version calls him the Holy Ghost. Now, it's just getting weird. What the Holy Ghost? I heard about a little five year old girl who didn't quite grasp the concept of God as a Holy Spirit so she said praise Father, Son, and holy toast. And so she wasn't still trying to figure it out. Or we might think of the Holy Spirit as kind of a force. Sort of like Star Wars. Trust the force Luke you know.

So we think the spirit's like a force. There's God the Father. There's God the Son. And there's this kind of force out there called the Holy Spirit. But that is actually not true. Now maybe we think that because in scripture, the Holy Spirit is compared to wind, fire, and comes on Jesus in the form of a dove. However, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit has a distinct personality. And it also tells us that the Holy Spirit is God. In fact, there are even specific sins we can commit against the Holy Spirit including grieving, quenching, resisting, and most notably blaspheming him. And in fact, blaspheming the Holy Spirit is the only sin that is actually unforgivable. And I'll talk about that at the end of the message. But it's interesting grieving the Holy Spirit. You know, only a close friend can be grieved. You know somebody cuts me off on the freeway. It doesn't grieve me. It just ticks me off, right? But if my wife cuts me off. Or my son cuts me off. Or someone that I love, well that might be more grieving. If a stranger insults me, I'm irritated. But if your best friend or your spouse insults you, you're grieved. You see it's different. Because it's a relationship. We can grieve the Holy Spirit.

So why did the Holy Spirit come? What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit want to do in our lives? We'll read about that in just a moment. But sort of to set the stage here. We're in John, chapter 14. And it's opened with these very familiar words of Jesus in verses one to three that Johnathan shared with us last Thursday. Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God. Believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many mansions that were there not so I would have told you I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself. That where I am you may be also. These words of Jesus have brought comfort, hope, and perspective to millions and millions of people for over 2,000 years.

These are the words that I shared at the memorial service for a young lady named Angela Gomez just the other day. She was the youngest victim of the Las Vegas shooting. She was only 20 years old. And there's a photo of her. And her parents attended our church. She was baptized in our church. She was at that concert and this horrible, horrible tragedy took place. And as I stood there in the sanctuary, and I was down at ground level right in front of her family and I'm looking at them, I just said I know what it's like to sit in the front row in a funeral. I know what it's like to be the guy here speaking to the people but I know what it's like to sit there and hear the worst news imaginable about your child. And experience that. And I don't have any answers for them. But I have the words of Jesus. And my hope for them is the hope of heaven. Because to people who are grieving to people who are afraid to people who are stressed out and are agitated to people well, just like us, Jesus says let not your heart be troubled. Neither let it be afraid. And we live in such troubled times right now.

You know recent research has shown that the U.S. is the most stress ridden nation on the planet. And guess what? The onslaught of technology has only added to that because now we get everything on demand, right? I mean, the moment a news story is breaking, our phones are blowing up in our pocket, right? Because you're getting the newsfeed or friends are texting you. Are you watching what's going on? And we click a link and we're watching live video. These are the days we're living in. This generation, according to experts, is the most stressed out generation in American history. Some research was done that revealed that college students have the anxiety level of psychiatric patients in World War II. Can you imagine that? These are the days we're living in. So these words of Christ are so relevant. Let not your hearts be troubled. Neither let them be afraid. But now Jesus continues on. In verse 16 of John 14. And I pray the Father that he will give you another helper.

Underline those two words, another helper. That he may abide with you forever. This spirit of truth in the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him but you know him for he dwells with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you. A little while longer the world will see him no more but you will see me because I live you will live also. And at that day, you will know that I am in the Father. And you in me and I in you. And he who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father and I will love him and will manifest myself to him. Or reveal myself to him. Judas, not Iscariot, said to him, Lord, how is it that you manifest yourself to us and not to the world? Jesus answered and said, if any man loves me, he'll keep my word. And my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him. He that does not love me does not keep my words. And the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me. These things I've spoken to you while being present with you but the helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to you remembrance all things that I've said to you. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give you, let not your heart be troubled. Neither let it be afraid. We'll stop there.

So this is a pivotal point in the gospel of John. Jesus is saying to his disciples it's true I'm going away. And where I'm going you can't come right now. But I don't want you to be stressed out and agitated and worried. I've gone to prepare a place for you. And I'm gonna come back and receive you to myself. But in the meantime, I'm not gonna leave you alone or comfortless. I'm not gonna leave you without help or hope. I'm gonna send the Holy Spirit, verse 16. I'll pray the Father who will give you another helper that he may abide with you forever. Another helper. This is interesting. This is from the Greek word paracletos. Paracletos. It's funny, I do spell check on my notes and my spell check kept wanting to spell it as parakeet. No, we're not talking about a parakeet. I used to have a parakeet. I don't know if you've ever had one. Good little bird. No, this is the paracletos. This is the Holy Spirit. And what it means is, paracletos means one who is called alongside to help. And another translation of the word is an advocate. Even another translation puts it this way, another friend for you. Another friend for you.

So when Jesus walked this earth, those disciples had a privilege that we don't have. They could reach out and grab him by the shoulder. They could ask him a question. They could look into his eyes. They would hear the timber of his voice. They were with him in person. And there he was. But now he's saying I'm going to leave you. But I'm gonna send the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is gonna do a unique work in your life. He's gonna seal you. He's gonna guide you. He's gonna advocate for you. He's going to empower you. And he's gonna fill you again and again. You know, another way the word paracletos is used is one who pleads a cause before a judge. Like a legal assistant or an advocate. Or for lack of a better word, an attorney or a lawyer. The Holy Spirit comes to our side, studies our case and helps us to plead this to someone else. And that is the judge. By the way, the same word paracletos is used to describe what Jesus does as our advocate.

In 1 John 2:1, we read my dear children I'm writing this to you so you will not sin. If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father who pleads our case before the Father. He's Jesus Christ and he's truly righteous. So wait you're thinking, wait, wait. So wait, who's my advocate? Is it Jesus Christ or is it the Holy Spirit? Okay, are you ready for this? Both! You have two advocates. You want to talk about a dream team? Here's how it works. You're in a court of law. God the Father is the judge. At the right side of God the Father is God the Son, who is your advocate. He's your attorney. He's talking to the judge. Meanwhile your other advocate, the Holy Spirit is standing by your side and helping you, directing you so you can plead your case.

And here's one other great thing to know. By the way, the judge, his son is your attorney. kay, so that works out really well in your favor. Cause when things start falling apart, the Son turns to the Father and says, "Hey Dad? We know that Greg is guilty of the things he's charged with, but we all know what I did for him at the cross of Calvary". Say, oh I'm not worthy to approach God. That's right. You're not worthy. And you never were. And you never will be. Can we just get that out of the way once and for all? Cause I hear people say I'm just not worthy. You never were worthy. On your best day ever you weren't even close to being worthy. You know that day when you got up at five in the morning and read the Bible for an hour? And then you prayed for people all around the world? And you shared the gospel 18 times? And you went to church that night? Remember that day, that really awesome day? You weren't even worthy on that day. And then you weren't worthy on the next day when you slept in and forgot to read your Bible. You didn't tell anyone about Jesus. In fact, a few people were offended by your behavior. And then you missed a service that night.

No, you weren't worthy on that day. And you weren't worthy on your best day. It's never been about your worthiness. It's always been about your advocate. Jesus Christ who paid the price for your sin. And the Holy Spirit who helps you to plead your case. Now, there's a lot of misunderstanding concerning the role in working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of both believers and unbelievers. Remember I said the Holy Spirit is not an it? It's a him. It's a personality. Because later in John 16:8, Jesus says of the Holy Spirit, when he has come, he will convict the world of sin of righteousness and of judgment. So again, the Holy Spirit is not an it, he's a him. For a being to be considered a person, he or she must possess certain characteristics. First among those is intelligence. Then there is will. Then there is emotion. So to be a person, or to be a personality you must have intelligence. You must have will. And you must have emotion. Trees don't have emotion. Rocks don't have emotion. Cars don't have emotions. Sometimes we may think of a car as someone we talk to. I've talked to cars before. Usually old cars that don't start. Because old cars are cool to look at, but they always are breaking down.

And you go really are you serious? Are you gonna do this to me right now? You're like talking to the car, right? But we know that's not a real personality. Animals have personalities. They have will. They have emotion. And you always know where you stand with a dog, right? Dogs are so expressive and sometimes it even looks like they're smiling, you know? They're just, tongues hanging out, tails wagging, everything's good. They lick you. Cats? No one can figure them out. And even when they lick you, their tongue is like sandpaper. But they do still have a personality. A bad one, but a personality. Reptiles are beings that have will. Very limited intelligence. And not much of a personality. I used to collect reptiles. I don't know why now in retrospect. But I had turtles and snakes and lizards and you name it, I had it. And not a lot of personality. But in contrast, God is a person. He has a personality. So the Holy Spirit has a personality. And the Holy Spirit has intelligence. He has intelligence.

1 Corinthians 2:10 says God has revealed these things to us by his spirit. The spirit searches all things. Even the deep themes of God. No one knows the thoughts of God except the spirit of God. So the Holy Spirit knows the thoughts of God. Objects don't know things. Fires don't know things. Plants don't know things. But the Holy Spirit knows things. Also the Holy Spirit has a will. He has a will. Because we read in 1 Corinthians 12, speaking of the gifts of the spirit, that God's Holy Spirit distributes, it says he gives to each one these gifts as he wills. It's a Holy Spirit that decides what kind of spiritual gifts each believer will receive. In Acts 15:28, the apostles were talking about different issues and they said it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us. So the Holy Spirit had a will. And the Holy Spirit expressed his will.

Listen to this. The Holy Spirit has emotion. I mentioned he can be grieved, quenched, resisted, even lied to. A little bit more on that in a moment. But the Holy Spirit and the life of the believer seeks to convict them of their sin. Or a better translation would be convince them. There's nothing I can do to convince you that you're a sinner in need of a savior. No clever analogy. No illustration is gonna do it. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. And I trust in the work of the spirit when I present God's word that he will touch a person's heart and show them their need for Christ. And that's why we need to pray for people as we share the gospel. And once a person believes and is convinced of their need for Christ, and asks Christ to come into their life, it's a Holy Spirit that gives them the inner assurance that they're a believer. Romans 8:18 says his spirit bears witness with our spirit that we're the children of God.

How many of you are children of God? Raise your hand up. No, I would just dare to say the reason you know you're a children of God is you have that inner witness. It's not just that the Bible says you are. You believe the Bible and what it says. But there's something deep inside of you that says yes, I am a child of God. And I know I am a child of God. You know where that came from? From the Holy Spirit. His spirit is bearing witness with your spirit that you are a child of God. And not only can I sense that I'm a child of God, but I know it when I meet another child of God. Maybe we've only known each other for five minutes, but boy there's that immediate connection. Cause they're a fellow believer. And the same Holy Spirit that lives in me, lives in them as well. Those are things that the Holy Spirit does. Here's something else the Holy Spirit does. When you become a Christian, he seals you. He seals you. Ephesians 1:13 says after you trusted and heard the word of truth, and received the gospel, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise who is the deposit guaranteeing our inheritance and the redemption of those who are God's possession.

Now what does that even mean? Well back in the old days, the days in which this was written, when goods were shipped from one place to another, they'd be stamped with a wax seal. This is before Little drones flying around dropping off packages. Which they say will do soon. I just hope they don't weaponize them, right? So if you're delinquent in your payment, you have trouble with the little drone. I don't know. But in the old days, they would send documents from one place to another and they would take these documents and they would seal them. And they would have the signet of the person who sent the document. So let's say a document was sent by a king. It's like a scroll. A parchment with a wax seal and the king's signet ring was stamped in the wax. So if you saw that document, you dare not open it because that is a private correspondence from the king to someone else. So when the Bible says you're sealed with the Holy Spirit, it's as though God has put his mark on you.

Let's use a different illustration. It's like an ID tag, right? When I travel I wait for my suitcase. And the problem is other people have suitcases that look like mine. Because most people have black suitcases. But I have a pink one with a smurf on it. No, that's no true. But, I have a silver suitcase. And so it comes down. But I always check my ID tag. Because the other day, I picked up my bag. I'm walking out and some lady starts chasing me. And says you took my bag. I said no, this is mine. And I checked the ID tag. And sure enough, it was her bag. Looked just like mine. That's why you check an ID tag. So if someone wants to steal that bag, they'll think twice. So here comes the devil. I'm gonna wreck havoc in this life. I'm gonna destroy this life. I'm at whoa, whoa, wait, wait, there's an ID tag. Oh let me check the ID tag. Property of the Lord Jesus Christ. He backs off. He backs off. That's what it means to be sealed by the Holy Spirit. But it's interesting because it also goes on to say he's a deposit guaranteeing your inheritance until the redemption of God's possession. He's a deposit.

So when you go to buy something. You may put a deposit down. Maybe you see a car you want to buy. And you'll say I want to buy this car. But I want you to hold it for me for a week. Guy says well I really can't do that. Well how about if I put a deposit down in good faith? Okay. And so then you put your deposit down. So that means that you're putting a certain amount of money down on that car or whatever it is you're buying. Maybe it's a home. You say, well I want to buy this home. And I'm going to put a deposit down on it. So they'll hold it. Now that won't go on forever but they'll hold it for a period of time for you. So here's what God is saying. I want you to know I mean business. And when I say one day you'll join me in heaven, I mean it. And just so you know I mean business I'm giving my Holy Spirit to you as a down payment, cause that's what the word means. As a down payment to reassure you that I'm gonna keep all of the promises I've made to you. I think that's pretty amazing.

What else does the Holy Spirit do? He teaches us. Look at verse 26. Jesus says the helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. The Holy Spirit can open up passages to us an incredible way. And that comes as we study and read the Bible. You want the Holy Spirit to illuminate scripture, you must read scripture. Or listen to scripture but get scripture in you. You can't just hold the Bible up to your head. And pray that it jumps in there somehow. You know, you've gotta read it and process it. But then the Holy Spirit can bring it to life. A passage can just jump off the page. Have you ever had that happen? And it's so relevant. Or someone sends you a verse and it's just so appropriate for what you're facing. And sometimes you're in church and you're listening to a message and it's so, it's like it was written for you. And you're thinking he's the greatest preacher I've ever heard. I'm not referring to me of course. But who ever might be preaching. But it's not that he is the greatest preacher you've ever heard, it's that the Holy Spirit is taking the word of God and he's bringing it home to your heart because that's part of the work he does in the life of the believer. It's not some great preacher. It's a great God whose Holy Spirit is illuminating the word. And that's one of the things that the Holy Spirit does. He sheds more light on the original light.

1 Corinthians 2:9 says it's written. Eye is not seen nor has ear heard. Nor is it entered in the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed these things to us by his spirit. Because no one knows the thoughts of God except the spirit of God. So that's the Holy Spirit doing that for you. Listen to this. The Holy Spirit helps us in our prayers and our obedience to God. He helps us in our prayers and our obedience to God. Look at verse 15. Jesus says if you love me, obey my commandment. And I'll ask the Father and he'll give you another advocate who will never leave you. This is the key that unlocks the treasures of heaven. In the Old Testament, the law of God was given. And effectively the law of God said don't do those things. Thou shalt not have any graven images before me. Thou shall not take the name of the Lord in vain. Thou shall not lie. Thou shall not steal. Thou shall not commit adultery. Thou shall not covet. A lot of nots. A lot of nos. And so as an Old Testament believer, you would try to not do those things that were wrong before God and keep his commandments. But in the New Testament, it's different. Because now those commandments are written in our heart. And we do them out of love. We do them because we want to, not because we have to.

And if you're a Christian that's living in a law like relationship with God, and you see that Christian life is a bunch of restrictions, you're missing what it's all about. Cause if you really love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind, you will not want to do those things that displease him. That's exactly what Jesus is saying right here. He's saying if you love me, obey my commandments. You know, I love my wife so I will be faithful to my wife. I love my wife so I will not lie to my wife. So it's not fear of what will happen if I do the wrong thing, but rather it's a love causing me to want to do the right thing. You say, yeah but what if I'm torn between two lovers? Well then you're an idiot for starters. And the fact is you don't love either, you just love yourself. So if you really love someone, you want to please them. And if you really love Jesus, you'll keep his commandments. Let me flip it over. If I don't keep his commandments, do I really love Jesus? You know a lot of people say oh, I love the Lord. Oh, I just love the Lord! Let's get drunk. Wait, hold on. What? The Bible says don't be drunk with wine. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Yeah, whatever. Let's get drunk. You're disobeying God.

I really love Jesus but I'm gonna slander that person over there. Just tell a flat out lie about him. Because I don't like him. I really love Jesus but I'm gonna look at porn now. I really love Jesus but, fill in blank here. Do you really love Jesus? You say you love him. But if you go and deliberately do things his word says you should not do, do you love him? It would be questionable, wouldn't it? At best. A great commentator Ivor Powell writes these words. "True love for Jesus accepts his teaching, desires his honor, seeks his will, promotes his wishes and yearns for his nearness. True love for Jesus promotes prayer and provides a heart free from immoral cobwebs". I think that's really true. You know what else the Holy Spirit does? He empowers you for service. He gives you power. Look at verse 17. The spirit of truth in the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor does it know him but you know him for he dwells with you and will be in you. You see for a believer at this time, and they were still effectively living in the old covenant until Christ died and rose. Still the old covenant.

And so, the Holy Spirit wasn't in them yet. So here's what Jesus is saying. He's gonna come in you. Well when did that happen? That happened in the upper room. Remember we read in John 20, after Jesus died and rose again, Christ appeared to them in the room. And he said, receive the Holy Spirit and he breathed on them. And the Holy Spirit came and lived inside of them. So now when you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. But there's even another dimension of power you can experience because over in Acts 1:8, it says you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you to be witnesses unto me and Jerusalem, Judeas, Sumeria, and the outermost parts of the earth. So, the spirit comes in you when you become a Christian. But then the spirit can come upon you with the dimension of power giving you a boldness or a courage to be a witness for Christ or to share your faith. And that happened on the day of Pentecost. When all those believers who had the Holy Spirit in them were waiting for a power from on high. And God's spirit came on them remember that story?

And listen to this. After that happened, Peter said this promise of the Holy Spirit is to you. And it's to your children. And it's to your children's children. And to all that are afar off, even as many as will call on the name of the Lord our God. So here's what Peter is saying. This promise of what happened on Pentecost is available to believers today. We don't need another Pentecost. Anymore than we need another Calvary. What happened at the first Calvary is sufficient. What happened at the first Pentecost is sufficient. I just need to take hold of it and ask the Holy Spirit to empower me and fill me again and again and again. And you refill. On some people you know, you need to get more refills than others do. But we all need a refill of the spirit. And at the end tonight, we'll ask God to fill all of us with the spirit. I said earlier that the Holy Spirit has emotion. He has emotion. Because the Bible tells us he can be resisted. You can resist the Holy Spirit.

Acts 7:51, Stephen is standing before the Sanhedrin. He's just a young guy. And he is being brought there before them because of his faith. And he could have just been very nice and diplomatic and gone home for dinner. But instead he saw it as an opportunity to talk about Christ. And so he addressed these people who are very significant, powerful people. The Sanhedrin was sort of like the Supreme Court of the day. And so he addressed them. Maybe he wasn't as diplomatic as he could have been. When he started his message by saying, you stiff necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears. Not off to a great start, but it was true. And really what he's saying is you guys should know this and you don't know it. And then he says, why is it that you always resist the Holy Spirit? So when you're a non-believer, and God's Holy Spirit is trying to do his work to show you your need for Jesus, and you say no to him, that's called resisting the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit can be resisted.

Now Calvinists believe in irresistible grace. And irresistible grace means that no matter what, if God's called you, and pre-ordained you, you're gonna become a believer even if you don't want to become a believer. Because it's irresistible grace. I beg to differ. Because if it was irresistible, why did Stephen say why are you resisting the Holy Spirit? Yeah, it's true that God's spirit will come and call you and try to bring you to Jesus. But he will not take over your will. You can resist the spirit. And many do resist the spirit. And then if you continue in that course, that can lead you to the next step which is insulting the Holy Spirit. Did you know you can insult the Holy Spirit? Hebrews 10:29 says think how much more terrible the punishment will be on those who have trampled on the Son of God and treated the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy. These people have insulted and enraged the Holy Spirit.

Wow. Man, if there's one thing I do not want to do it's enrage the Holy Spirit! Because the Holy Spirit is God. And his purpose is to convince me of my need for Jesus and if I resist him and say no and no and no, there can come a point where I'm now insulting him. And it's interesting because it says they treat the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy. Wow. It'd be like, let's say you want to marry a girl. And you're gonna propose marriage. I remember a young man said to me once, I want to propose to this girl that I'm in love with. And I want to do it at the end of your message. And we happened to be in Israel. And we were on the Mount of Beatitudes. He says I'm gonna propose to her. I said, is she going to say yes? He said, I believe she will. I said, because you really don't want to do this in front of everyone if she says no. No, she's gonna say yes. So I set him up. It happened to be her birthday so it was pretty easy to do. I said, you know it's her birthday today and she thought I was gonna say let's all sing Happy Birthday. And I said, his name was Aaron, her name's Michelle. I said, Aaron has something he wants to say to you. And out comes Aaron and he proposes. And thankfully, she said yes. Okay, so. She would have said no, that would have been a bad thing.

Well let's say you were gonna propose to a girl. The big moment has come. You've hired an orchestra. But they're hiding, you know. And you come out and you drop down to one knee. And you're there at a table in a restaurant. The orchestra's ready to fire up. And you drop down to the knee, and you pull out your little ring, and you hold it up and you say I love you with all of my heart, will you marry me? And then she looks at you and says pfft, no. Cause I find you completely unattractive. Everything about you offends me. And I would never, if you were the last man on earth I wouldn't marry you. And then she says oh by the way, can I still order dinner? Okay. Do you think you might be hurt by that? Do you think you might be insulted by that? I mean, you've just put it all on the line. So here comes the Holy Spirit. And he says, you need to believe in Jesus. Jesus died on the cross for you. Jesus shed his blood for you at Calvary. And all you need to do is believe. And you go, eh, you know. Can I get to this later? Can we talk about this another time?

See that dismissive attitude actually is an insult to God. And that's what the Bible means when it says you're taking the blood of the covenant and acting as if it were common and unholy. You're taking the message of the death of Jesus and dismissing it like it means absolutely nothing. This is scary. Because first you start by resisting the spirit. No, I don't want that. I don't want that. Then, you take it to the next level and you're insulting the spirit. And then that can bring you to the worst thing of all which is the unforgivable sin. That's blaspheming the spirit. And I'm asked about this all the time. And sometimes Christians ask me, do you think maybe I'm blaspheming the Holy Spirit? Before I was a Christian, I cursed everything. I might have cursed the spirit somewhere. Well that's not what it means. In fact, the very fact that you would be concerned about blaspheming the spirit would indicate to me that you have certainly not blasphemed the spirit. The person who has blasphemed the Holy Spirit is a person that wouldn't ask about it. They wouldn't care about it. Their heart would be so hard it would be the last thing they even have a concern about.

It's a sin that only a non-believer can commit. But the word blasphemy means the conscious denouncing and rejection of God. It's defiant irreverence. The sin of intentionally and openly speaking evil against God. So it's not just well I don't believe. It's like not only do I not believe, but I hate everything that you believe. And I will go out of my way to mock God and mock followers of Christ. And even do damage to those who have put their faith in Jesus. Now, you are headed to the point of no return. Because Jesus said all manner of sin will be forgiven except he who blasphemes the Holy Spirit. This is the worst thing that can possibly happen. Here's what scares me. I think the easiest place to get a hard heart is in church. Does that surprise you? You might say, oh no Greg. The easiest place to get a hard heart is hanging out in bars. Or hanging around godless people. Yeah, you can get a hard heart hanging around those people. But I think it's easier to get a hard heart in church. And I'll tell you why. At least someone right now who's in a bar, who's hanging around a bunch of low lives who's getting high or whatever it is that they're doing, maybe with that person right now, at this very moment, the light just went on and they said this is horrible and I need to change my life.

So in a way, they may be a little closer, I almost tripped over the speaker here. In a way, they might be a little closer to the kingdom of God than someone in this room. You're going, nah, you lost me. You're saying a person at a party who's high could be closer to the kingdom of God than someone in this room? You heard me right. Because maybe that person in that sinful state realizing their need for God is saying I need to get right with God. I need to go to church. I need to have my life change. But the person sitting in church right now has their arms folded. Who has their arms folded? And here's what you're thinking. I've heard this. I've heard this. Oh, I know this. I heard this one as a little kid. Okay, that's nice. Congratulations. But you see, you can hear this truth and then not respond to it. And that's how your heart will get hard. The same sun that softens the wax, hardens the clay. So the same message that can change one life can have another say oh, I know that. I've heard that. I know all about that. And they reject it. So be careful. Cause you don't want your heart to ever get hard. You want to have a heart that's open and responsive to the work of the spirit.

Right now the Holy Spirit is speaking to some of you who are not Christians yet. And he's saying you need to do this now. You need Jesus in your life now. You know it. And maybe that thing I described, that scenario about sort of seeing the emptiness of your life happened to you recently. And here you are in this room or listening to this message. And you're saying, I need to do this. Good. That's the spirit. But see the spirit will bring you so far. Then you have to respond. The Holy Spirit will not force you to believe. The Holy Spirit will show you what you need to do. The Holy Spirit will show you why you should do it. But then you have to act on it. He'll help you as you do that. But you need to say I'm willing to take the next step. You say what's the next step? Admit you're a sinner and ask Christ to come into your life. And what happens if you do that? Let's go back to a statement Jesus made and close with this. Jesus said if anyone loves me, he'll keep my word and my Father will love him. And we will come to him. And make our home with him.

Don't you love that statement? Jesus is saying my Father and I will come and make our home with you. That's his promise. He wants to come and take residence in your heart. He wants to be involved in your life. He wants to be your best friend. But even more, he wants to be your father. He wants to be your advocate. He wants to be your savior. He wants to be your Lord. But he will not force his way into your life. The Holy Spirit is saying you need this. And you know you need it. Now you have to act on it. So in a moment we're gonna pray. And I'm gonna extend an invitation for some of you that maybe have never asked Jesus to come into your life. You don't know if your sin is forgiven. Maybe you've been resisting the spirit. Maybe you've been running from God. But it's time for you to come to the Lord and believe in the Lord. Maybe you've been in the church for most of your life but you've never made this personal commitment. You can't live off the faith of your parents. Or the faith of your friends. Or the faith of your husband or your wife.

You have to have your own relationship with God. Jesus died on the cross for you. He rose again from the dead. And he'll come and live in your heart and life right here, right now if you'll ask him to come in. Because he stands at the door of your life and he knocks and says if you'll hear his voice and open the door, he'll come in. So we're gonna pray in a moment. And I'm gonna extend an invitation in this prayer for you to believe in Jesus. I pray that God's Holy Spirit shows you your need for the Lord. And that you respond to the work of the Holy Spirit and come to Jesus Christ tonight. Let's all bow our heads.

Father, now we pray that your Holy Spirit will work. That you will speak to hearts. Convict and convince them Lord. Show them their need for Jesus. Only you can do that. I can't do it, but you can. And I pray for those that are seeing this need now that they will reach out to you and receive the forgiveness you offer. Lord, don't let them leave here with a hard heart. Don't let them say no and then have their hard heart get a little tougher. Lord, help them to respond and believe in you tonight we ask.

Now when their heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying together. How many of you would say tonight Greg, pray for me? I want Jesus Christ to come into my life and forgive me of my sin. I want to know that I will go to heaven when I die. I want to believe in Jesus. Pray for me. If that's your desire, wherever you are. If you want your sin forgiven. If you want Christ to come into your life. If you want your guilt removed. If you want to know that you'll go to heaven when you die, I want you to raise your hand up wherever you are and I'm gonna pray for you. Just raise your hand up high where I can see it. Saying I want Jesus Christ in my life. God bless you. Raise your hand up. God bless you. You want your sin forgiven. You want to know God in a personal way. You want to go to heaven. Raise your hand up, I'll pray for you wherever you are. God bless you. Anybody else? You want his forgiveness. Let me pray for you. Just raise your hand up. God bless you.

There might be a few more of you that need to take this little step. But really a big step. You want the Lord to come into your life. Or maybe you've fallen away from the Lord and you want to come back to him. You're a prodigal son or daughter. Raise your hand up. Let me pray for you tonight. Raise your hand and let me pray for you. God bless you. Wherever you are, just raise your hand up. I'll pray for you tonight. God bless. All right, while our heads are still bowed, I want all of you that just raised your hand to stand to your feet and we're gonna pray together. Just stand up. Every one of you that raised your hand saying I want Jesus or I want to come back to Jesus, I want to get right with God. Stand up. And I'm gonna lead you in a prayer. Even if you did not raise your hand but you want to make this commitment or recommitment, stand up. Yes, others are standing by the way. You won't be alone.

Even if you did not raise your hand, but you want to make this commitment to Christ, you want him to come into your life and forgive you of your sin. Stand to your feet. I'm gonna lead you in a prayer. Anybody else? God bless you. God bless you. Anybody else? Stand up now. God bless you too. I'll wait one more moment. You want to make this commitment or recommitment to Christ, stand to your feet. Let me pray for you. Anybody else? Stand now. God bless you. God bless you. All right. Anybody else? Stand now. God's spirit will not always strive with man the Bible says. Like you know there can come a point where you go to far. If you can sense your need for Jesus, come to him now. Don't put this off another moment. Anybody else? Stand now. Let me pray with you. You won't regret this. All right. All of you that are standing, I want you to pray this prayer out loud, after me. Again, as I pray, you pray this out loud right where you're standing, okay? Pray this after me, out loud:

Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. But I know you are the savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. Jesus I choose to follow you from this moment forward. As savior and Lord and God and friend. Thank you for calling me and accepting me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

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