Mobile version of this page Increase Text Size   Decrease Text SizeGet helpPrint this sermon

Previous sermon in this series This sermon is number 19 in a series of 57 Next sermon in this series

Studies in Mark - Part 19

"Unforgivable Opposition"

by David Legge | Copyright © 2007 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

'Preach The Word'Now let's turn in our Bibles to Mark's gospel chapter 3 please. We are taking up our study again - if you haven't been with us in previous weeks, we are studying Mark's gospel - this is our 20th study in the book, I think, and we're only in chapter 3. But we are beginning this morning at verse 20, and we'll be reading down to verse 30 - and the title of my message today is 'Unforgivable Opposition'.

It's a lesson that Jesus exemplifies in His life and ministry, but it's also something that He taught to His disciples and teaches to us today. It is simply this: if we, like He, are involved in the service of Jehovah, we will encounter opposition...

Beginning in Mark 3 verse 20: "And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends", the Lord Jesus' friends, "heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit".

Now if you can remember a number of weeks ago, in our last study when we looked at how the Lord chose and ordained the twelve disciples in the same chapter, verses 13 to 19, you remember that I told you that one commentary - which is a good one on Mark's gospel by a man called R. Kent Hughes - he entitles the chapter on the choosing of the disciples 'Jesus, Pressured Jesus'. Of course I told you that that was a parody of a line from a favourite hymn, 'Jesus, Precious Jesus'. The point he was making is: Jesus was pressurised in His ministry in verses 7 to 19. He was experiencing pressure because of His workload as the Servant of Jehovah. The population around Him were making great demands on His ministry, He was experiencing pressure from sick folk and from those who were demonised - verses 10 and 11 show us that. We saw in that study what the method was the Lord Jesus implemented to cope with the pressure of being the Servant of the Lord and the demands of His popularity.

The first was prayer, and the second was share. He spent a whole night in prayer, and he was asking the guidance of Almighty God just before the morn when He would choose His twelve disciples and apostles. Not only did He implement prayer to cope with pressure but He also shared the ministry, and the choosing of the twelve was also a sign that the Lord Jesus implemented practical means to share the load of ministry. Not only was He doing that, but He was also instigating a plan whereby He would spread that message to generations that were yet to be. Of course those twelve disciples, eleven of them, would become twelve missionaries, and indeed many of them martyrs for the gospel cause as they took it to the four corners of the globe. We are still fulfilling that ministry, the method of the Lord Jesus is unchanged, we ought to follow it as well - discipling others to take the gospel and preach it to every creature.

What Mark is saying to us in this message of his gospel is that if we choose to suffer and serve Christ, we must be ready to travel the Calvary Road as well...

Now this morning, in verses 20 to 30, we see pressure upon the Lord Jesus in a different form. This time it is not coming because of the workload of service, but because of opposition to His service. Now we have seen this already in Mark's gospel, particularly coming from the Scribes and Pharisees - but this morning we're going to see this opposition to His ministry in two forms and from two sources. First of all it comes, surprisingly so, from Jesus' friends and even perhaps His loved ones. Then secondly we see again it comes also from His enemies, the Scribes and the Pharisees. Now before we go on any further I want to lay down a few scriptures from John chapter 15 to show us that this is a lesson that we need to learn, it's a lesson that Jesus exemplifies in His life and ministry, but it's also something that He taught to His disciples and teaches to us today. It is simply this: if we, like He, are involved in the service of Jehovah, we will encounter opposition.

Look at John 15 with me, verse 18 reads thus, Jesus said: 'If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord' - now mark these words - 'If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also'. But this is what I want to lay down as a foundation to everything we will say this morning as we look at the unforgivable opposition that the Lord Jesus faced: He told us, 'If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you'. Service, serving the Suffering Servant of Mark's gospel and the gospel record, will entail for us suffering service also.

Now of course we have seen many times, particularly in our introduction to this series, how Mark's gospel is the gospel of the Suffering Servant of Jehovah - it's the gospel that follows Him, primarily, more than any other gospel, as He travels the Calvary Road and goes to be the sacrifice for our sins. But what Mark is saying to us in this message of his gospel is that if we choose to suffer and serve Christ, we must be ready to travel the Calvary Road as well - that is a road that leads to a cross, and a cruel crucifixion, and a death to self, to sin, to popularity. To be the servant of Christ involves opposition. Like Him, it will involve opposition from family and friends, it will involve opposition from enemies, even in religious establishments.

Now let's look first of all at the first source of the Lord's opposition, verse 21 - it says: 'His friends heard of it', or His own people heard of it, 'and they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself'. The New King James translates that, 'He is out of his mind'. These were close friends of the Lord, perhaps even His relatives - if you look down at verse 31 that we will deal with in a later week, it says 'There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him'. Now we're not told precisely what they wanted to say to the Lord Jesus, but it is likely that, whatever it was, it involved a concern either for His safety, or for His reputation as a prophet and a miracle worker - it might have been that they heard what Jesus was teaching, what He was saying, what He was doing, and they feared for Him. They assumed, 'He's gone mad, He's out of His mind, He's beside Himself'. Now of course we know that the Lord Jesus had brothers and sisters, half brothers and sisters according to the flesh. Mark 6 and verse 3 tells us that, but John 7 and verse 5 also informs us that some of His half brothers in the flesh did not believe in Him. Now eventually they did, but at this point they didn't - but because of His faithful service to God, the Lord Jesus experienced division in His own family concerning Him and His ministry. Jesus taught us as His disciples today, as His servants now, that we will know the same experience.

If you have faced opposition in the home, persecution from those who are your friends and your loved ones, you are one of a privileged number...

He tells us in Matthew 10, listen: 'Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me'. If you experience hostility in the home because of your faith, do you know what that is? It is fellowshipping in the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you have faced opposition in the home, persecution from those who are your friends and your loved ones, you are one of a privileged number that is the great fellowship of the community of suffering saints who have also suffered at the hands of friends and loved ones, even at times Christian friends and loved ones. You're in the fellowship of Christ.

Now you know I love Christian biographies, and I'm always encouraging you to read them - but you learn a great deal about the Christian life from these stories of men and women of God of faith. Many do not know that William Carey, who has been dubbed 'the father of modern missions', during his first year in India was overwhelmed by opposition - not from the Indians, but from family and friends. Everyone seemed to be against him. His own wife, who had never wanted to come to India to begin with, was hostile, and she was sinking into insanity. His four children were continually contracting tropical diseases. His co-worker, a man by the name of John Thomas, squandered all their money leaving Carey virtually destitute. He could echo the cry of King David when he said in Psalm 41: 'Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me'. The father of modern missions, as he served the Lord Jesus, suffered as the Lord Jesus suffered.

Now I told you several weeks ago in our Monday evening studies, I think it was that night we looked at Abigail, that John Wesley also suffered from friends and family. His own brother thwarted his attempted marriage to Grace Murray who was ideally suited to him as a bride. Then later on he entered into an incompatible marriage to a wealthy widow by the name of Molly Vazeille, and that resulted in her vehement opposition to his ministry, and heartache and deep unhappiness in a tragic marriage. The founder of Methodism, the leader of the Great Awakening, opposition from friends and family. After the Great Awakenings in the United States, in the New England area, Jonathan Edwards - who was a catalyst for that Awakening - was involved, after that revival now, in a prolonged opposition to his ministry coming from within his own church. He was involved in a dispute over whether or not unbelievers should partake of the Lord's Supper, and because of it - his belief was that they shouldn't - in 1750 he was ejected from the pastorate in Northampton where he served for 23 years. These are the greatest spiritual giants that Christian history has, and yet they all faced suffering in their service, they faced opposition from friends and family, and from close believers.

We need to waken up to the fact that Christian service will not be a picnic inside or outside the church...

I see a pattern here, I hope you see it too, and it's enshrined, I believe, in Mark's gospel: the more Christ-like your service will be, the more Christ-like your suffering will be - even friends and family will oppose it! His own people said He was mad. Then we see that His enemies, the Scribes and Pharisees, verse 22 - they came down from Jerusalem, they didn't say He was mad, they said 'He has a devil'. They accused Him of being possessed by Beelzebub - now we will look at what that accusation meant later, but what I want you to see is that not only do we often have opposition from within our own ranks or within our own families, but we need to be awake to the fact that the whole wide world is against us. The enemies of Christ are still with us today. Remember what He said in John 16:2, and think of a modern day application of it: 'They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service'. On April 18th, five Muslims entered a Christian publishing company and killed three believers in the southeastern province of Malatya in Turkey. Two of the Christian victims were Turks, converted from Islam, and the third was a German citizen who had lived in Turkey for 10 years - killed for their faith, and I can't even begin to enter into how they were killed for their faith. Reports of this event, which have been very scarce certainly in the United Kingdom, say that four of the attackers admitted that the killings were motivated, listen, 'by both nationalistic and religious feelings'. They believed that they were doing God a service to kill His servants! We need to waken up to the fact that Christian service will not be a picnic inside or outside the church. It is a choice to suffer as Christ has suffered, and if we serve as He served, we will suffer as He suffered.

Now let's look - and this is my first point now! - let's look at the form this opposition took. The form, we've seen the two sources - His friends and loved ones, and the Scribes and Pharisees - but let's see the form the opposition took. The first from the friends and family took the form of saying: 'Jesus, you're deranged! You are deranged! You're mad! You've got a Messiah-complex'. The reason, probably, is because, we see from verse 20 that a great multitude gathered and the Lord Jesus and His apostles were kept so busy that they didn't have time to eat, and the family and friends hearing of His activities felt, 'You're out of your mind!' - and they sought to take Him away. They probably were embarrassed by the zeal of what they saw as a religious fanatic in the family - a religious fanatic in the family. Does that sound familiar to any of you? Maybe that's what you have been for many years to some who belong to you. But you know it's not only unbelievers who sometimes look on Christians, other Christians, as fanatics in the family - but if you are on fire for God, or have a desire to be on fire for God, many believers see you as a fanatic. That's how they viewed Christ.

J.R. Miller says this, and I think it's wonderful, he says: 'If there were more of this insanity there would not be so many unsaved souls dying under the very shadow of our churches, it would not be so hard to get missionaries and money to send the gospel to the dark continents. There would not be so many empty pews in our churches, so many long pauses in our prayer meetings, so few to teach in our Sunday Schools. It would be a glorious thing if all Christians were beside themselves as the Master was, or as Paul was. It is a far worse insanity which, in this world, never gives a thought to any other world; which, moving continually among lost men, never pities them nor thinks of their lost condition, nor puts forth any effort to save them'. William Macdonald said it well: 'It is always true that a man who is on fire for God seems deranged to his contemporaries. If we set out to make a fortune, men will cheer us; if we are a fanatic for Jesus Christ, they will jeer us'. Are you a fanatic for Jesus Christ? You should be.

William Macdonald said it well: 'It is always true that a man who is on fire for God seems deranged to his contemporaries. If we set out to make a fortune, men will cheer us; if we are a fanatic for Jesus Christ, they will jeer us'...

They accused Christ of being deranged, that was His friends. What do His enemies say? They accused Him not of being deranged, but of being demonised. Verse 22, the Scribes didn't think He was insane, far from it, they thought He was wickedness personified. They accused Him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub, which means 'The Lord of dung flies', or 'The Lord of filth', which is just another name for Satan. They said: 'You're casting out devils by the Devil. You're casting out demons by Lucifer'. Now what does that say of these enemies of Christ? It demonstrates the hardness of their hearts towards Him.

Now let me summarise what I've already said and apply it somewhat. What we've seen already, as we've looked at the two sources of this unforgivable opposition, and as we've looked at the two forms that it has taken, is that: one, sometimes opposition comes to us when we are serving the Lord because of ignorance on the part of others. That was the case with the Lord Jesus: some just simply didn't know who He was. They were ignorant, and that's why they opposed Him. They didn't realise He was the Son of God, the Messiah of God. Then secondly there were not only those who opposed because of ignorance, but those who opposed because of misunderstanding. They knew who He was, but they misunderstood His mission. He was not the Messiah that they expected nor wanted. They wanted an imperial conqueror who would take the Romans to task, and deliver Israel as the Kingdom of God again, and bring that Kingdom on earth there and then. They suspected who He was, but they didn't like the way He was doing His ministry. Then thirdly, there was opposition not only through ignorance and misunderstanding, but there was opposition through pure wickedness - those who knew who He was, who knew what His mission was, but who rejected Him outright.

Now we will experience all these forms of opposition as we serve the Lord: because of others' ignorance, and we've got to live with that; even at times with their misunderstanding; but sometimes we will be opposed because of absolute wickedness in the hearts of others. For these Scribes and Pharisees who personified that attitude, that attitude was fatal. So I want you to see not only the form this opposition took, but the fatal attitude that was the unpardonable sin. We are looking specifically at the opposition of these Scribes. Jesus answers the Scribes' accusation that He casts out devils by the Prince of Devils in a twofold manner. First of all in verses 23 to 26 He teaches them a parable, and the gist of it simply goes that if Satan was casting out demons by Beelzebub, then Satan would be working against himself - Satan would be frustrating his own purposes. He uses the illustration: just as a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, or a household divided against itself cannot stand, Satan's kingdom cannot stand if he was casting out his own devils - because Satan wants to control men through demons, not free them from demons!

Incidentally, can I say that the Lord Jesus' illustration applies in every facet of our lives, in our homes and in our churches. A church divided cannot stand. Verse 27, Jesus then says, interpreting this parable: whoever defeats Satan must be stronger than he. Jesus sees Himself as a robber, if you like, entering into the strong man's house, and seizing that man's goods. Now that's how the Lord Jesus saw His ministry, that's how it panned out in the Gospels, that's what the apostles preached in the Acts, and what they taught in the epistles. Listen to 1 John 3: 'For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil'. In His lifetime, He proved His ministry as He cast out the demon-possessed people, delivered them, freed them from their oppression and possession. But let me say: when He went to the cross - and this is the gospel of the cross if ever there was one - the Lord Jesus defeated Satan, the grave, hell and evil forever; and we need to realise in the face of opposition that is wicked, opposition that is satanic, and as it increases as we near the end of the age and the return of the Lord Jesus, we need to assert that the victory at Calvary is absolute over all evil! Not only must we assert it, we must claim it in Christ's name by faith and in the battle of prayer.

What are we to understand as the core of what these opposing people did and said to Jesus? It's not so much to do with words that they spoke, or even works that they did, but an attitude that they had...

I wish I had time to go into that, that's a subject all on its own that we don't have time for this morning. But let us not think that we are fighting for victory, we are fighting in victory, the victory of Calvary. So this is what the Lord Jesus is saying: He has bound the strong man, He has stolen his goods. So he gives them this parable, and then He lays down a principle in verses 28 to 30 that many have known as 'the unpardonable', or 'the unforgivable' sin. 'Verily I say unto you', verse 28, 'All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit'.

Now what does this mean? We're going to spend a wee bit of time on this, because many explanations have been offered as to what the unpardonable sin is. Many people in our world who are not Christians think they have committed it - I heard of somebody even this morning, who said: 'I don't think I'll ever be saved, I think I've committed the unpardonable sin'. There are even Christians who fear - they profess Christ, and they fear that they have committed this at some time, whether before conversion or after conversion. Some people say it is blaspheming the Spirit - so if the Holy Spirit does something, and you say it's not of God, that is the blasphemy of the Spirit, the unpardonable sin. Others say it's attributing the works of God to Satan - if you go further than saying it's not of God, and actually say it's the devil doing it, that's the unpardonable sin. Now is that true? Are any of those definitions correct? Well, whilst some of those things actually did happen here in this portion of Scripture, we need to ask a better question than 'What is the unpardonable sin?'. What are we to understand as the core of what these opposing people did and said to Jesus? It's not so much to do with words that they spoke, or even works that they did, but an attitude that they had.

So what we need to ask is: what actually are we to understand was the unpardonable sin? And secondly: can it be committed today? Well, like every interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, context is key - don't just pluck a verse out of context and give it your own meaning, you've got to root it and ground it in the passage where you find it. First of all we note that Jesus says that all blasphemies and sins will be forgiven of men - that's an absolute statement: all blasphemies will be forgiven of men. In Matthew 12 Jesus actually is recorded as saying all manner of sins will be forgiven of men, except, of course, the sin against the Holy Spirit as found here. Now, let me ask you a question: Matthew 12 and verse 32 actually says that you can blaspheme the Son of God and be forgiven, Jesus said that! Even blasphemy against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Here's the question: is the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, of lesser importance than the Holy Spirit? Think about it, is He? I mean, if you can blaspheme Him, and not the Holy Spirit, does that not imply that the Holy Spirit is a little bit more important? Well, if that's not the case - and we believe it is not the case, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-equal in the Godhead - it must mean that what the Lord Jesus is talking about here is not speaking blasphemies, it's not even thinking thoughts of blasphemy. What we have here is something deeper, something more serious.

So what is it? Well, if you take the wider context and you look at Matthew 12, where this verse is found also, we see that these words were spoken by Jesus after He had healed the demoniac who was both blind and dumb. The crowd were saying round about, the ordinary people, 'Perhaps this man is indeed the Son of David, the Messiah!'. They were testifying His true identity, they were responding to God's ministry of the Holy Spirit in their midst, and yet the Scribes and Pharisees responded by taking an opportunity to say: 'That miracle was done by the power of the devil himself'. So the wider context in Matthew 12 is that the ordinary everyday people recognized that this was Jesus the Messiah, sent by the Spirit - but the Scribes refused and hardened their hearts, and attributed His ministry to the devil.

So this sin against the Holy Spirit, this unpardonable sin seems to mean a deliberate closing of the heart and mind to the witness of the Spirit to Jesus...

That's the wider context, now let's look at the even broader context in the history of Israel. God the Father sent John the Baptist to preparing the nation for the coming Messiah, prepare the way of the Lord. Many, people responded to John's call and repented, Matthew 21 says that: 'John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him'. Harlots, publicans, sinners believed, but the religious leaders would not permit their hearts to recognize the Lord Jesus - in fact, they actually arrested John the Baptist, and ultimately they had him killed. God the Son came as promised, He called the nation to trust Him, but those same religious leaders asked for Jesus to be killed. Yet on the cross the Lord Jesus cried: 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do'. Then the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and demonstrated God's power in many convicting ways - how did those religious leaders respond? By arresting the apostles, ordering them not to speak in the name of the Lord Jesus, then killing Stephen themselves - and Stephen told them their sin, what was their sin? Acts 7:51: 'You do always resist the Holy Spirit'. They were sinning against the Holy Spirit in that manner. They had sinned against the Father, they had sinned against the Son and all that they graciously gave - but when it came to the point of Christ rising again, ascending, and the Spirit coming, and the Holy Spirit witnessing to who Christ was through the apostles, and then they rejected it: it was the end of the line for them, there could be no more forgiveness because there would be no more message, no more messengers like Christ.

Have you got the point? So this sin against the Holy Spirit, this unpardonable sin seems to mean a deliberate closing of the heart and mind to the witness of the Spirit to Jesus - that's exactly what the Scribes did. They would not accept the spiritual witness of who Jesus was. Now sensitive souls have suffered much agony because of certain interpretations of this verse. Some in their past were forced to blaspheme Christ, even Christians in times of persecution have been forced to blaspheme, and they worry they have committed this sin. You remember that Saul of Tarsus tried to force early Jewish Christians to blaspheme in Acts 26, communist governments in our own day trying to do this to believers, and remember Peter the apostle cursed and swore that he did not know Jesus - and he was forgiven, he repented and was reinstated to a place of authority in the church.

Listen to me this morning: if you are a Christian or a non-Christian, and you fear that you have ever committed the unpardonable sin, that is sure proof that you have never committed it - because anyone who has committed it is past feeling, past caring; they have outright rejected the gospel completely and permanently. We can't know anyone who that may be, only God knows - but ultimately this is a complete and utter rejection of the ministry of Christ that will take people to hell. Now let me say - and please don't misunderstand what I'm saying, some people go out at times and take half of what I said, and misinterpret me - listen carefully to what I'm saying this morning: literally this sin cannot be committed today in the sense that Jesus is not physically here as the Jewish Messiah performing miracles and signs to the nations. The nation has rejected Him as their Messiah, they can't do that again, so in a literal sense this sin, as was committed here, cannot be committed again - but spiritually it can be committed in the sense of those who permanently reject Christ and the gospel, anyone who rejects the Holy Spirit's convicting influence and does not believe, will not be forgiven, neither in this world nor the world to come.

You will suffer if you serve, and if you serve as Jesus served you will suffer as Jesus suffered...

If you look at verse 22 the word that is used of the Pharisees saying that Jesus cast out devils by Beelzebub, the word 'saying' is in a tense that means this was an ongoing and persistent thing they said - they went on saying it! Now listen: this does not teach that God is unwilling to forgive, but this unpardonable sin teaches that the person concerned is unwilling to receive God's forgiveness, and persists in that permanent attitude just like the Jews did. They hardened their hearts so much that even till today, apart from a remnant, they are still in spiritual darkness. It was a historic sin that cannot be repeated in context, and yet it is being repeated in the spiritual sense all over our world where people harden their hearts, some permanently, to Jesus Christ.

Let me summarise everything I've said this morning: if we are serving the Servant of Jehovah, opposition is certain. You will suffer if you serve, and if you serve as Jesus served you will suffer as Jesus suffered. That opposition at times can be serious: family, friends, and even satanic opposition that we have seen this morning. But here's the message: the great gospel that we preach is that salvation is secure to those who, hearing God's voice, do not harden their hearts but believe His word - but there is a word of warning: if you do not use what God has given to you, you will lose it. The law of nature is that if a man will not do anything, the time is bound to come when he cannot do it. If you don't use an eye, and patch it up, you'll lose the sight in it. If you don't use a limb, and tie it up, you will lose the use of it. If you cover over your ear for an extended period of time, you will lose your hearing. There will come a time, if you constantly reject the gospel of the Lord Jesus and harden your heart, there will come a time when your heart will not be able to believe. It could be hardened through sin, it could be hardened through age, through time, through previous rejections of the gospel - all those things harden the soul.

I wonder am I talking to someone this morning in this family worship service, and you have constantly rejected the Lord Jesus? You need to be very careful that your next rejection is not a permanent rejection that hardens your heart to such an extent that you resist the Holy Spirit to never speak to you again. Pirate Gibbs from 'The Pirates of the Caribbean' was a terror to the commercial seas, and finally he was hanged in New York City - but he acknowledged before his death that when he committed his first murder, I use his words, 'His conscience was a hell in his bosom'. But after sailing the seas for years and years under the skull and crossbones, he became blunted, and testified that he could have robbed a vessel, murdered a crew, and laid down to rest like a child in a cradle - hardened. There are many forms of unforgivable opposition in the sense that they are unjustified, but there is a rejection of Christ which is final and eternally unforgivable, and in that sense will never be forgiven in this age nor the age to come. Do not go into eternity having committed that sin.

John chapters 14 and 16 tell us that the ministry of the Holy Spirit when Jesus left this world was to convince sinners that they are sinners and they need a Saviour. If you are beginning to be convinced of that, that is the work of the Holy Spirit; but if you resist that you are in danger of rejecting His ministry in your life, and the cross work of Christ and eternal salvation - that's what we're talking about today. The more you reject, the more you resist, the less light and feeling you will have. May anyone who finds themselves being convinced of these truths trust in Christ now before it is too late.

Father, we thank You - though it's hard to say those words, but we must get to the place - we thank You for when we suffer for serving the Suffering Servant of the Lord. Even when that opposition comes from friends and families, but even when it comes from satanic sources, angels of light, we thank You that we are in the fellowship of His sufferings. Yet, our Father, if we could just turn the tables of focus on to those who are doing the opposing for a moment, we fear for their souls, and we ask that none certainly in this building, but none in our families and among our friends, none will permanently reject Jesus Christ. Give us a greater burden for their souls, give us a greater confidence in the victory of the cross and claim it on their behalf. Bless us now as we go our separate ways, in Jesus' name, Amen.

Don't miss part 20 of our Studies In Mark: "Jesus' True Relations" Jump To Top Of Page

------------------------
Transcribed by:
Andrew Watkins
Preach The Word.
June 2007
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Evangelical Church in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the nineteenth recording in his 'Studies In Mark' series, entitled "Unforgivable Opposition" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.

All material by David Legge is copyrighted. However, these materials may be freely copied and distributed unaltered for the purpose of study and teaching, so long as they are made available to others free of charge, and this copyright is included. This does not include hosting or broadcasting the materials on another website, however linking to the resources on preachtheword.com is permitted. These materials may not, in any manner, be sold or used to solicit 'donations' from others, nor may they be included in anything you intend to copyright, sell, or offer for a fee. This copyright is exercised to keep these materials freely available to all. Any exceptions to these conditions must be explicitly approved by Preach The Word. [Read guidelines...]