When an American Airlines jet crashed in Chicago killing 275 persons it became the highest death toll of any aviation accident in the United States. The plane disintegrated into a ball of fire following the loss of an engine.Strangely enough, the power loss in a recorder left only one word on the tape… the word “damn.”
The word “damnation” is a word used in Scripture meaning destruction. Or in some instances the Greek word translated “damnation” means judgment or condemnation.
As we might wonder–Why was almost all cockpit conversation aboard this ill-fated jet wiped out leaving just one word on the tape… a word used in swearing… a word meaning destruction?
Do our words that we speak have significance?
Indeed, what a tragedy. And yet the Scripture speaks of damnation as the fate of all who reject Jesus Christ and live in sinful pleasure.
Listen to this verse in 2 Thess. 2:12 that bespeaks the awful fate of every sinner that dies without Jesus Christ. For we read: “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
Beloved, don’t let this be your fate. “Life” can be yours… “Eternal Life,” “Life More Abundant,” if you’ll only trust the Saviour as your Lord who died and rose again that you might be forgiven and set free from your sins.
Thus the Scripture makes it clear that God is not willing that any should perish but that all come to a knowledge of the truth.
Yet, Jesus declared that man has a choice in the matter, saying: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” DAMNED..what an awful word.
Today we continue our discussion on the UNPARDONABLE SIN.. And we point out that there is no sin too great but that God has forgiveness … except what we refer to as “the unpardonable sin.”
In the city of Chicago and located only a few blocks away from the Moody Bible Institute is a park where anyone has the right to express themselves on almost any subject. At least, it was so when I was a student.
The park was given the affectionate name “Bughouse Square.” Students were requested not to frequent the place because of the danger of being assaulted.
But for some of us students we could not resist the temptation to go and listen to those who were arguing for a cause in which they believed, or who may have been arguing for the sake of arguing.
Quite often you would have those standing on their soap box espousing socialism, or preaching atheism.
Otto Klink was such a character. Once in the open air, standing on a soap box at midnight, he tells how he argued against the existence of a personal God.
As is customary on those occasions, a great crowd of people gathered to hear what he had to say.
Klink bellowed. “Now I am going to prove to you that there is no God. If there is a God, I give this God the chance to kill me in two minutes. If I am not dead in two minutes, then there is no God.”
Silence reigned. Soon a minute was gone. Then a minute and a half. Some in the audience started to walk away. Others began to shield their eyes.
After the allotted time, Klink shouted, “Two minutes are gone. I am still alive; and there is no God.”
Some time afterward Otto Klink became a believer. In the GOSPEL HERALD, published in August, 1940, he wrote an article on the unpardonable sin.
Said Klink: “Even that awful thingthat I did years ago when I was a bad-mouthed atheist, an evolutionist, and an anarchist, was not the unpardonable sin. Ifit had been, I should not be preaching to you now. If God could save a wretch like me, there is hope for any one of you. Why do you reject this marvelous Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ? God loves you and wants to save you and fill you with the Holy Spirit,” says Klink.
What is the unpardonable sin? What is the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost that cannot be forgiven?
There are some who believe that only those living in our Lord’s day could have committed this sin. For they saw him, they observed his miracles, they knew the prophecies of a coming Messiah that he claimed to fulfill, and yet, they said that he cast out demons through the power of Satan, and they said of him that he had an unclean spirit. That accusation is said to be blasphemy that has no forgiveness. For those who made the accusation made up their minds to reject the claims of Christ that he was the messiah.
At the stoning of Stephen among those in the audience was the Apostle Paul who was then Saul who helped arrange these stonings. Stephen, addressing his persecutors, declared: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do you.”
Resisting the Holy Ghost is a sin. But it is a sin that can be repented of and forgiven. For the Apostle Paul was one who resisted the work of God but who repented and was converted.
Then there is a sin of grieving the Holy Spirit. As we read in. Ephesians 4:30, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
When an unconverted person is convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit there should be an immediate response to God’s loving call to repent and receive the Lord. For then there would come forgiveness and peace.
However, rejection of the Holy Spirit could bring an end to the times and ways that God speaks to your heart.
The story is told of a lad who had a dove so tame it would sit on his shoulder and take food from his hand. One day he held out a tempting morsel, and just as the dove was about to eat he clutched his hand tightly closed. The bird turned away disappoint- ed. The boy held out his hand again. The dove came forward timidly until it was ready to snatch up the morsel of food and again the hand was closed. With dropping wings the dove went to the farthest corner of the room. It was some time before it returned. Then once more the hand was extended. The dove hesitated. It was just about to take the food when the hand was closed again. This time the dove spread its wings and flew away. The boy never saw it again.
So the Holy Spirit may be grieved and if rejected time and again may no longer speak as he once has done. Don’t grieve the Spirit by closing your heart to him.
As serious as it is to grieve the Holy Spirit that is not the unpardonable sin. As long as there is a tug at your heart, and you know you should be saved, God is still speaking to you and you should respond at once.
The sad aspect of this is, however, that it is possible to go on grieving the Holy Spirit until you no longer experience conviction for sin. That is a sad state to he in.
Of King Saul we read how the Lord departed from and and did not answer him any more.
In Noah’s day the people sinned continuously, disobeying the voice of God, until we read where the Lord says, “My spirit shall not always strive with man…” Gen. 6:3a
We read how in the midst of the world’s wickedness that the Lord was grieved at his heart. For the world was corrupt, filled with violence, and the thoughts of men’s hearts were only evil continually.
It was then when the Spirit could no longer get through to people because they were so wicked that the Lord declared he would destroy man, “for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” (Gen. 6:12)
Could it be that we are fast approaching that day when God is about to destroy us for our many ways that we disobey and thus grieve Him?
For Jesus said, “as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it also be in the days of the Son of man.”
How it behooves us to hear and to heed God’s Word and not excuse our sinning by saying, “Everybody is doing it so I will do it. Everybody is getting a divorce so I will get a divorce. Every- body is remarrying so I will remarry. Everybody is flirting so I will flirt.”
That, my friends, is how the Holy Spirit can be grieved so that He no longer speaks as He once did and we can go on thinking what we are doing is all right until the day when our Lord comes. Then we may discover too late that we weren’t ready for His coming after all.
In I John 2:28 we read, “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we mayhave confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming,” or as Dr. Wuest trans- lates, “in shame shrink back from him at his coming.
How will it be when the Lordcomes? Will you be able to wel- come him with open arms? Are you abiding in Christ? I John 3:6 says, “Whosoever abideth in him sinnethnot.” So, if you are looking for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ you will not want to be found sinning. Rather, you will want to turn from sin that grieves the Lord and live a life of holiness and purity. For our Lord is coming for a bride that is attired in garments of white, without spot or blemish.
How can be we ready for our Lord’s return? By walking in obedience to His Word, and doing His will. Years ago I was preaching at a Baptist Church in Georgia when coming up the road was a man bent over and walking with a cane. He had a lusty look, unkept hair, teeth missing with a devilish grin. As he neared the church, walking at a very slow pace, I could hear him mumbling something. I listened more dosely to hear him saying: “For the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience.” He kept repeating it, “for the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience.”
It was as if the needle got stuck in the groove of a phonograph record. I was finally able to engage him in conversation and got the impression that God had called him to the ministry at one time but he got into sin and disobeyed the wooing of the Spirit.
In Ephesians 5 we find the Lord speaking to the Christians, saying, “Be ye followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ hath loved you.”
Then we are warned: “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as be,cometh saints: neither filthiness, or foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be ye not therefore partakers with them.” See Eph. 5:1-7
Did you hear it?
If you are a believer and you engage in the same sins that the world is committing, you are identifying with the world. If you are committing adultery, if you are lying and cheating your fellowman, being covetous, “greedy for gain,” you are certainly in danger of not being ready for the coming of our Blessed Lord.
The Scripture is all the more important when you realize this message was ,given to believers. We are told, “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.”
If you are not a believer it is important that you wake up to the need of responding to the call of God when the Lord speaks to your heart.
Before Moody was converted, he worked in a cornfield hoeing with a man he called Uncle Reuben. Every now and then Uncle Reuben would stop hoeing as if to ponder an important decision.
Moody went to the man and asked him what was the matter. The old man said, “Well, son, you see that house over there?
That is where my mother used to live and now my sister lives there. I was fourteen years of age when I left my mother’s home to make my way in the world. My mother gave me a New Testa- ment and told me to read it faithfully, especially Matthew 6:33 – “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The man told his mother he would not forget it.
The next Sunday he went to church in a. distant city, and the preacher got out his Bible and read from Mt. 6:33, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The minister preached his sermon and then made a call for prayer, pointing his finger to say, “Young man, give your heart to God.”
He refused. Next Sunday he went to church in another town and the preacher there read from the same text, and after his sermon pointed his finger to say, “Boy, come give your heart to the Lord.”
Afterward, the young man went out of the church and into the cemetery where he knelt between the tombstones. He told God to leave him alone. He wanted to make his way in the world first. From then on, the young man no longer experienced conviction.
Moody was not saved at the time but after his conversion he remembered what Uncle Reuben had told him. Fie tried to get in touch with the old man but found he was in a padded cell, dan- gerously insane.
A month later, Moody arranged to visit Uncle Reuben who when he saw him grinned insanely and said, “Young man, seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
Moody broke down and wept. Here was a man paying the penalty for his rejection of God’s love. And although Moody believed any man could be saved here was a man who spurned God’s love, crossing an unseen line, from which he never returned.
Uncle Reuben was later discharged from the asylum. He was still insane but no longer dangerous. An~l when he saw Moody, he pulled his hair and laughed insanely, “Ha, ha, ha. Young man, seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Ha, ha, ha. And all these things shall be added unto you.”
The Bible says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” While God is speaking clearly, through His Word, and by His Spirit, now is the time to heed this message and receive the Lord. Simply open your heart to the Saviour. Say to him, “I believe you died on the cross for my sins, and I receive you as my Saviour and Lord to live for you forevermore, and be ready when you come.”
What a thrilling decision. Seal it with a prayer and a pledge to tell someone immediately what you have done. And lead them to salvation.
Indeed, “Be ye therefore ready also, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.”