SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 05/03

Grieving the Holy Spirit

Reading: Ephesians Chapter 4

1. Life's Greatest Mistake

Were you to question a number of people as to what in their opinion was the greatest mistake a person can make in life, you would receive a variety of answers. Answers such as: My greatest mistake was: Mistakes these may be; but there is a far greater mistake we mortals can make. It is grieving the Holy Spirit. This is a blunder of enormous magnitude and, sad to say, millions of apparently successful folk are making it every day. Man is a trio of body, mind and spirit. Meaningful life is not possible if any one of these three components is missing. The world is bristling with information about the body and its needs. The mind is also well catered for in our schools, colleges and libraries. But the needs of the spirit are badly neglected. Perhaps one person in every hundred gives thought each day to his/her spiritual needs. And even then, when spiritual guidance is sought, the wrong spirit is followed and the wrong books are read. The results of this mistake are confusion, chaos, unhappiness and often - suicide. Consider one of ancient Israel's mistakes.


Psalm 78:17 And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness.
18: And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust.
19: Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
20: Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?
21: Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel; 22: Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation.

In other words they made a major mistake in doubting God. To disbelieve a person is tantamount to calling him/her a liar. No one likes being disbelieved. It's an insult. To disbelieve God is infinitely worse! It's a sin of enormous magnitude.

2. Who to Follow

The ignorant and inexperienced need guidance. But who are we to follow? Whose advice are we to take? And how can we be sure that that advice we take will lead to success, to happiness and to life everlasting? Here is good advice from two of the wisest men who ever lived:
King Solomon's Advice
Proverbs 21:21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.
Yeshua's Advice
John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world:
he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

3. Faith / Obedience

But how are we to follow Jesus when we cannot see Him? It is one thing to follow someone you can hear and see; but quite another matter to follow an invisible person. Yes, how can one follow God and His Son when we cannot see them? The answer is: And so, like a captain would steer his ship across the trackless ocean using chart and compass, you will reach the Kingdom of Heaven. Faith and Obedience are the first steps in making life a success. Taking those steps is by far the most important in life.

4. Grieving the Spirit

But even obedient believers have problems. What do we do then? To whom should we turn? The answer is: call for help; pray to God. Failing to call for help is as bad a mistake as getting into trouble in the first place. Failing to call for help is evidence of either ignorance or pride.

Not Calling for Yahweh's Help

Isaiah 43:22 But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob;
but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.

Ignoring Yahweh's Call

Then there is the tragic error of ignoring God when He calls to you.
Zechariah 7:12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.
13: Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts:

5. Spirit-led Men

To follow Yahweh and His Son Jesus (Yeshua) in your own strength is virtually impossible. You need power, spiritual power - from on high. The Most High will provide the spiritual motivation and power to all who truly want to follow Him. He will place His Holy Spirit in them and make the impossible possible. Here are a few examples of men who were motivated and empowered by the Spirit of God and who accomplished seemingly impossible tasks.
Genesis 41:38 Joseph He saved the ancient world from starvation.
Deuteronomy 34:9 Joshua He led a whole nation to glorious victory against enormous odds.
Judges 11:29 Jephthah He was an illegitimate son; but Yahweh rescued Israel by his hand.
1 Samuel 16:13 David He was an unknown shepherd boy who yearned for Yahweh. And when the Spirit came upon him he became one of the world's greatest kings and its most popular songwriter.
John 3:27 John the Baptist John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
Isaiah 11:2-3 Yeshua the Messiah It was by the Spirit of Yahweh that the Saviour accomplished everything he did. It was not by his own wisdom, nor his own might, not by his experience, nor by his righteousness - but by his Father's Holy Spirit. His testimony to this fact was:
I can of mine own self do nothing:.. (John 5:30)

What does this mean? It means that no one can achieve anything of real value unless it is accomplished by the Holy Spirit of Yahweh working in and through him. All other accomplishments, no matter how marvellous and popular they may appear in the sight of men, are temporal and of little account. In view of this staggering fact let us re-arrange our priorities in life and:

To this end we should:

Ask for the Holy Spirit

Luke 11:11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12: Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13: If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children:
how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Walk in the Spirit

Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Grieve not the Spirit

Those who desire to grieve not the Spirit must put away sin in all its forms. Here is a list of sins which grieve the Holy Spirit. They put off the Almighty and leave the sinner weak and useless.
Ephesians 4:20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21: If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23: And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24: And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
25: Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
26: Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27: Neither give place to the devil.
28: Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
29: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
30: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

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Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
Placed on Internet May 1996 ... Updated August 1999