Slander Against the Savior
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: Can one thoughtless word or irreverent deed secure for us God’s eternal damnation even if we repent? Is there a sin that God refuses to forgive? These are questions of paramount importance. Bracketed by a miraculous healing and a revealing exchange with the religious leaders of his day, Jesus makes reference to the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, an offense for which there is no remedy. But what exactly is it and how can we avoid it?
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. Why do the Pharisees seem to get so offended that Jesus heals a demon-possessed man (verse 24)?
2. “A person who measures his/her spiritual maturity by extra-biblical standards will always have a tendency to judge others according to those same standards?” Do you agree? Why or why not?
3. Jesus says that those who are not with him are against him and those who do not gather with him scatter (verse 30). What does this say about Jesus’ view of a lukewarm commitment to himself?
4. Concerning blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, Matthew Henry once wrote: “Those who fear they have committed this sin, give a good sign that they have not.” What did he mean?
5. In what sense do we need to repent of our good works as well as our bad works?
6. How have you found rest in the completed work of Jesus this week?
1. Read Matthew 12:22-24.
2. “Moreover, the Lord declares … I will raise up your offspring after you…and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.”
– 2 Samuel 7
3. 01. The harshest criticism that Jesus received came from religious people (and his followers can expect similar treatment).
4. Read Matthew 12:25-29.
5. Read Matthew 12:30.
6. 02. Those who belong to Jesus are united with him in the spiritual battle against evil, in which there is no room for neutrality.
7. “Those who hedge about devotion to Jesus (as “pietism”) or about the importance of clear decision for him (as “fundamentalism”), who question Jesus’ exclusivity (as “fanaticism”) and who disdain his gathering work of evangelism (as “proselytism”)—they are in trouble. They are not middle of the road or broad minded; they are “against me.”
8. Read Matthew 12:31-32.
9. 03. To blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to willfully and persistently deny the Spirit’s work in the human heart, and to justify oneself in doing so.
10. “Whosoever he be that believeth not…and therefore despiseth the bounteous mercies of God, if he continue in his obstinate mind till death, he is guilty of sin against the Holy Ghost.” – Augustine
11. “It is impenitence, the unwillingness to repent, that is at the root of the unpardonable sin.” – Martin Luther