GRIEVE NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT
Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption - Ephesians 4:30
The unconvertered do not like to hear much about the Holy
Ghost. The world cannot receive him because it seeth him not,
neither knows him. Unconverted ministers do not often like to
preach about the Holy Spirit. Unconverted hearers do not often
like to hear about the Holy Spirit. How very foolish to many
must such a command as this appear to be! If it had been said,
'Grieve not a father or mother', you could have understood it,
but when it says, 'Grieve not the Holy Spirit', you do not know
Paul is here advising Christians to let no vile communications
proceed out of their mouth, and the argument he uses is one of the
most wonderful that ever proceeded from the pen of man. It is,
'Grieve not the Holy Spirit, whereby ye are sealed unto the day
From these words, consider: (1) The holy friendship of the Spirit.
(2) Some of the ways in which we may grieve this Friend. (3) Application.
- Let me show you the holy friendship that subsists between the Holy
Spirit and the believers soul.
It is implied in the word, 'Grieve not the Holy Spirit',
it is only a friend we can grieve. If he was an enemy he would rejoice if we
fell. And this shows that he is a true friend, because when we fall the Holy
Spirit is grieved. It is quite true that the infinite God does not grieve in the
same sense as we do, for that would imply that he was not infinitely happy; but
it is quite as true that there is something analogous between his grief and
- The Holy Spirit comes and dwells in a believer's heart.
'I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk
in my statues, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them' (Ezekiel 26:27). And
so the Lord Jesus says in John 14:16: 'I will pray the Father, and he will give
you another Comforter, that he may be abide with you forever, even the spirit of
truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth
him.' And accordingly the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19: 'What! Know
ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye
have of God?' And in like manner we find God saying in Leviticus 26:12: 'I will
walk among you and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people.' And again, he
says, 'This is my rest, here will I stay, for I have desired it' (Psalm
O my brethren! what an intimate friendship this is! Can
any friendship be compared with this? Another friend may dwell in our
neighborhood; he may dwell in our family; but, ah! here is a friend that dwells
in us. Can there be greater friendship than this? When the Lord Jesus came from
heaven, and dwelt among us - when he dealt with Martha and Mary, and Lazarus -
when he sat down to meat in the Pharisee's house, and permitted the woman that
was a sinner to wash his feet with her tears and to wipe then with her hairs of
her head - that was a friendship. But it was still greater friendship for
the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in a clay cottage, the walls which are covered
over with leprosy; and this is the friendship of the Holy Spirit to a believing
- The Holy Spirit teaches believing souls.
This is his great office. See John 16:12,13: 'I have many
things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now, Howbeit when he, the Spirit
of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.' Then 1 John 2:20: 'But ye
have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.' Verse 27: 'But the
anointed which ye have received of him abideth in you; and ye need not that any
man teach you...' Now, brethren, there is no greater mark of friendship, than to
teach one - to bear with a slow scholar. This is the friendship of the Holy
Spirit to a believing soul. There can be no greater condescension than for a man
of gigantic mind to teach a child the alphabet. It was condescension in Christ
to teach people when he sat in the boat by the side of the lake. But it is
greater friendship when the Holy Spirit comes and teaches you all things; it is
greater friendship when he bears your stupidity, and when he opens your hearts
to receive the truth in the love of it. This is friendship.
- He teaches the believer to pray, and he prays in the believer.
'Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to
fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father'
(Romans 8:15). 'Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities (the Greek word
is very remarkable: He helps our infirmities by coming under the burden) for we
know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh
intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that
searcheth the hearts (that is the Lord) knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit,
because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God'
(Romans 8:26-27). And the same thing you are taught in the little Epistle of
Jude, 20th verse: 'But ye, beloved, building up
yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.'
So, brethren, this is another mark of the Holy Spirit's
friendship, that he not only dwells in the soul, but he teaches the soul to say,
'Abba' - he teaches the soul to 'pray in the Holy Ghost.' It is true friendship
to teach one another to pray. It is a believing mother's part to teach her
little children to pray. But the Holy Spirit's love is greater than this, he not
only puts the words in our mouth, but he puts the desire in our heart. It is
great friendship to pray together, but oh! It is greater friendship to pray in
one, and this is the friendship of the Holy Spirit of God.
- He seals the believing heart.
Read the text, 'Grieve not the Holy Spirit, whereby ye
are sealed unto the day of redemption.' And again, in the first chapter of the
same book, the 13th verse, 'In whom ye also
trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in
whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of
promise.' You know, my brethren , the effect that ones habits have on others,
that often the colour of the life is taken from those among whom we live. And
you cannot be in the company of a holy man without receiving your impressions
from him. But how much more an impression does the Spirit make: it is like the
mark that the seal makes on the wax, and it is to the day of redemption, and
cannot be broken, if we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
An now, brethren, let me ask, 'Do you know anything of
this friend?' The world cannot receive him; if you are of the world, you cannot
receive him. Do you know anything of Spirit making groanings within you which
cannot be uttered? Nothing? Then, dear friends, you are far from God. 'The world
cannot receive him....neither know him.' (John 14:!7). How do you feel at the
question? What! do you think it foolishness? 'The natural man receiveth not the
things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he
know them: for they are spiritually discerned' (1 Corinthians 2:14). If you do
not mind these things, the reason is, you are a friend if the world, and will
perish with the world.
- The ways in which the Spirit may be grieved.
When Christ was on earth, we are told that on one
occasion he looked round on the Pharisees, being grieved at the hardness of
their hearts (Mark 3:5). Now, what Jesus then felt, the Holy Spirit feels at the
sight of sin. We are told that when Christ looked on Peter, he wept. We are not
told what kind of look it was, but no doubt it was one of grief - no doubt his
eye said, 'Did I deserve this, Peter? Did I deserve that thou shouldst act thus?
Have I been an enemy to thee Peter? Have I offended thee, Peter? No doubt this
was what his eye said.
- By putting the Spirit's work in the place of Christ's work.
The office of the Spirit is to glorify the work of
Christ. 'He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it
unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he
shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you' (John 16:14,15). This is the
office of the Spirit. He delights not to show himself, but Christ. When three
thousand were converted on that day of Pentecost, it was the Spirit that did it;
he showed them divine excellency of the work of Christ. And why does he this?
Because it gives glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and goodwill to
men. But sometimes a believer looks away from the work of Christ to the work of
the Spirit in him, and begins to rest on that as the ground of peace. Now this
grieves the Spirit. It he were a selfish Spirit, he would rejoice at this: but
he is not a selfish Spirit, therefore, nothing grieves hem so much as this.
'Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of
- When you do not lean all on Him.
When do you not take all your holiness from him. This is
the great work of the Spirit within you, to make you holy. 'Thy spirit is good,
lead me to the land of uprightness' (Psalm 143:10). God promises in Ezekiel
26:27: 'I will put my spirit in you, and cause you to walk in my statues, and ye
shall keep my judgments and do them.' Now, as long as you lean on the spirit for
holiness, you and he are friends, but the moment you cease to lean on him, you
grieve him. Suppose you were to cross some deep and rapid stream with one who
was much stronger and abler to stand against it than you, and he said, 'Lean on
me when you cross.' Now, when you came to the middle of the stream, if you were
to say, 'I cannot lean', and began to swim yourself, would you not grieve your
friend? Now, this is the way in which we grieve the Spirit; for he has said,
'Even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you' (Isaiah
46:4). Now, when temptations and trials, and lusts come crowding in, if we do
not lean upon the spirit, we grieve him. Or, if we lean upon another, if you
lean upon your education, your good resolutions, your past experiences. Or,
suppose you run into temptation, and say, I was well brought up, I am able to
resist it. In these ways you grieve the Spirit.
- You grieve the Spirit when you do not follow his leadings.
You remember when Christ was on earth, he said to his
disciples, 'Follow me.' He would have been grieved if they had not followed him.
It is so with the other Comforter; he leads us to the wilderness - he sometimes
causes groanings within us. Do you resist prayer time? Then you grieve the
Spirit. Do you go into temptations against the strivings of your conscience?
Then you grieve the Spirit. When he sees you run into temptation, he warns you -
he pricks your heart, and yet your go. Ah! in this way you grieve the
- You grieve the Spirit by despising ordinances.
Ordinances are the channels through which the Holy Spirit
pours all blessings into the believing hearts. Do you despise ordinances? Then
you grieve the Holy Spirit. Suppose you agreed to meet a friend at a certain
time; if you were not to go would you not grieve that friend? Now, this is just
the way in which we grieve the Spirit, when you do not go to ordinances. How
many of you come to the meetings on Thursday evenings? Are there not some who
slight the friendship of the Spirit? Ah! you will feel the disadvantage of it to
- To those here who have grieved the Spirit. I am deeply persuaded that many here have
grieved the Spirit in a remarkable manner. Does he deserve this at your
hand? Has he ever been a wilderness to you, or a land of darkness? 'Do
ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? Is not he thy
father that hath bought thee? Hath he not made thee and established
thee? (Deuteronomy 32:6). Do ye provoke the Lord the Spirit of jealousy?
Consider how ungrateful it is to grieve him. Consider what he has done
for thee. Did he not convince you of sin? Has he not breathed upon your
soul like a gentle gales of wind from the south? It is not, then,
ungrateful so to grieve him?
- Consider how, in grieving the Holy Spirit, you have lost your
peace with God. I have often told you that you cannot live in sin, and retain peace. 'There is no
peace, saith my God, to the wicked' (Isaiah 57:21). You have a guilty
conscience; and a guilty conscience cannot come into his presence.
- You will go deeper into sin. 'Without me ye can do nothing' (John 15:5); you cannot resist
self - you cannot overcome sin. O holy quenchers of the Spirit! where is
this to end you? The Holy Spirit ebbs out of your heart and leaves you
like a stranded vessel, dry upon land. Return!
- I would say to those who are receiving the refreshing gales
of the Spirit, grieve him not; walk softly with this friend. When
he draws, run after him. Above all, follow his warnings. When he says,
Do not go with this companion, go not with him. When he says, Go not
into that path, go not. 'Thou shalt hear a voice behind thee saying,
This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and
when ye turn to the left.' Happy souls that grieve not the Holy Spirit.
Soon he shall fill that soul, and leave nothing in it but himself. Soon
we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Amen.