by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Matthew 12:22-37


I.         What is blasphemy?

            A.        A transliteration of a Greek word, blasphemia

                        1.         It is a compound word: hurt and speech

            B.        It means to speak evil of someone or to slander someone

                        1.         Contained in it is the idea that a third party is involved

                        2.         It is one person telling other people how bad another person is

                        3.         Example of what the Pharisees did - Matthew 12:23-24

            C.        It is not a bad thought. It is an active attempt to destroy another person

            D.        Generally reserved for slandering deity - Leviticus 24:11,15

                        1.         It doesn’t have to be curse words, anything that lowers God’s stature in the eyes of others is blasphemy

                        2.         Example of the golden calf- Nehemiah 9:18

                                    a.         Attributing God’s great power to a man-made image

                        3.         Replacing God with idols - Ezekiel 20:27-28

            E.        Some exceptions to blasphemy being only about God

                        1.         Moses was blasphemed - Acts 6:11

                        2.         Idol worshipers saw statements against their gods as blasphemy - Acts 19:37

II.        The Character of the Blasphemer

            A.        Envious of the other person - Acts 13:45

            B.        Defiant - Numbers 15:30-31

                        1.         Every act of defiance is not blasphemy

                        2.         The motivation behind blasphemy is purposeful defiance

                        3.         Not something accidentally done. It is not inappropriate statements said while drunk, high on drugs, on in a fit of anger

            C.        Repeated

                        1.         Example of the scribes and Pharisees

                                    a.         A rumor started by the scribes - Mark 3:20-22; Matthew 9:34; 10:25

                                    b.         Continued to be spread - Matthew 12:22-24; Luke 11:14-15

                                    c.         Continued despite repeatedly refuted and warned that it could cost them their souls – these people didn’t care

                                    d.         No evidence would change their opinion. They weren’t interested in the truth

                                    e.         They hated Jesus so much they would say anything to destroy him

                        2.         Assyria’s defiance of God - Isaiah 52:5

                        3.         It is the nature of a blasphemer to remain in his sin

            D.        Stubborn

                        1.         Korah’s rebellion - Numbers 16:3

                                    a.         Korah may have saw this as rebelling against Moses, but he was rebelling against God too. God is the one who put Moses in his position.

                                    b.         Korah is Levite, he should have remembered what happened to Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10).

                                    c.         Korah should have remembered what happened to Miriam not that long ago - Numbers 12:1-10

                                    d.         There was repeated warnings - Numbers 16:5-7

                                    e.         There were plenty of opportunities for Korah and his followers to back out - Numbers 16:23-34

            E.        Pride - Isaiah 37:23

                        1.         Blasphemy reflects a severe defect in character

            F.        They do not easily change

                        1.         When God was pouring his wrath on Rome - Revelation 16:9, 11

                        2.         Paul was a rare exception to this rule - I Timothy 1:12-13

III.       What about blaspheming the Holy Spirit?

            A.        It draws people because they believe it is the one sin God refuses to forgive

                        1.         People who are convinced they are hopeless will claim they have blasphemed the Holy Spirit by a stray thought, possible statements while drunk, or by committing a sin knowingly, such as fornication

                        2.         By labeling their sin as blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, they make themselves into an eternal victim - “It’s not my fault! I messed up and now God won’t forgive me!”

            B.        Blasphemy is not accidental. It is not any sin done knowingly.

                        1.         Blasphemy reflects a person whose character is against God – stubborn, defiant, and unrepentant.

                        2.         He is not content with his own rebellion, he attempts to destroy the reputation of God in the eyes of others and spread his rebellion

            C.        Matthew 12:31-32

                        1.         Jesus healed a demon possessed man - Matthew 12:22

                        2.         Causes the crowd to wonder if Jesus is the long awaited Messiah - Matthew 12:23

                        3.         Because of their envy, the Pharisees lie - Matthew 12:24

            D.        Mark 3:28-30

                        1.         An earlier event where Jesus is drawing large crowds - Mark 3:20

                        2.         His own family thought he was crazy - Mark 3:21

                        3.         Probably due to envy, lies were told - Mark 3:22

            E.        Luke 12:10

                        1.         This is the same event as Matthew 12, but told in greater detail

                        2.         Jesus casts out a demon - Luke 11:14

                        3.         Same lie told - Luke 11:15

                        4.         As Jesus refutes the claim, the crowd gets larger - Luke 11:29

                        5.         As the day progresses, the crowd becomes thousands - Luke 12:1

                        6.         It is then that Jesus warns the crowd against the Pharisees.

                        7.         He discusses confessing versus denying him - Luke 12:8-9

                        8.         He moves to the strong opposition of blaspheming him - Luke 12:10

            F.        We can see the stubborn, unrepentant attitude of the scribes and Pharisees because the claim that Jesus was working with Satan occurred at least four times:

                        1.         Mark 3:20-30

                        2.         Matthew 9:24

                        3.         Matthew 10:25

                        4.         Matthew 12:22-32 and Luke 11:14-12:10

            G.        Blasphemy, along with all other sins, can be forgiven

                        1.         Though all will not be forgiven because not every sinner will seek forgiveness

                        2.         Paul demonstrates that a blasphemer can be convicted of his sins and change his mind - I Timothy 1:12-13

            H.        This is not generally true when we are talking about the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Why?

                        1.         What is different between blaspheming Jesus and the Holy Spirit? After all, they are both God

            I.         The answer is in what the Holy Spirit does

                        1.         The Spirit convicts the world - John 16:7-8

                        2.         The conviction is produced by the word - Titus 1:9

                        3.         But a blasphemer of the Holy Spirit would never allow himself to be convicted. He would never listen to the Spirit’s teachings

                        4.         The gospel is the way to salvation - Romans 1:16

            J.         It isn’t that God is unable to save a person who blasphemes the Holy Spirit - Isaiah 59:1-2

                        1.         The problem has always been on man’s side

                        2.         God wants everyone to repent - II Peter 3:9

                        3.         People who set themselves against the Holy Spirit, defiantly denying the truth, and telling lies about the work of the Holy Spirit are the type of people who will not change

            K.        “Eternal Sin” - Mark 3:29

                        1.         A variation in the manuscript. Some have “judgment” instead of “sin.”

                        2.         It doesn’t make much difference in the end

                        3.         Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is a sin people never let go

                        4.         Or, it is a condemnation that never is removed because the people never let go of the sin

                        5.         The end result is the same

                        6.         The clearest indication that a person isn’t guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit is that they want God’s forgiveness

IV.      Can Someone be Guilty of Blaspheming the Holy Spirit Today?

            A.        We don’t see miracles today, now that the Bible is completed

                        1.         Difficult to see the irrefutable evidence of God’s power and then deny it

            B.        But there are people so set against Christianity and the Bible that they deny God and make it their life’s work to convince others that God does not exist and the Bible is nothing more than the work of men

                        1.         Even shown clear evidence that their position is wrong, they stubbornly degrade God

                        2.         Nothing will persuade them to reexamine their position or consider the Bible. Such are blasphemers of the Holy Spirit

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