Class: Limiting the Holy Spirit


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Limiting the Holy Spirit 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • November 29, In the year of our Lord, 2015

  1. We Can Limit the Holy Spirit

    41 Yes, again and again they tempted God,
    And limited the Holy One of Israel.
    (Psa 78.41)

      1. How did they limit the Holy One of Israel?
        1. They tempted Him repeatedly.
        2. How would this limit God or the Spirit?
      2. He did not build them as a nation, because
        1. the constructive work was set back
        2. by disciplinary measures.
    1. Therefore, we limit the Holy Spirit’s work in us:
      1. by doing the things that are contrary to His nature.
      2. See Galatians 5.16–26.
      3. Being holy He is limited when sin is present within a person.
        1. Isa 59.1–2
        2. Psa 66.18
        3. Hab 1.13
    2. Limiting the Holy Spirit does not mean:
      1. We have more power than He does.
      2. He is weak.
    3. Limiting the Holy Spirit does mean:
      1. We can limit His influence in us.
      2. He does not force himself upon us.
  2. Limiting the Holy Spirit by Blaspheming Him 
    1. Matthew 12.22–37 (covered in an earlier lesson).
      1. The Kingdom of God came by the Holy Spirit.
        1. Compare Mark 9.1 with Acts 1.8:

          1 And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power” (Mark 9.1).

          8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1.8).

        2. Matthew 12.28 shows that if Jesus worked by the Spirit,
        3. that meant the arrival of the kingdom was imminent,

          28 “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matt 12.28).
      2. We enter the kingdom by the Spirit:

        5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3.5).

        13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into {NU-Text omits into.} one Spirit (1Co 12.13).

    2. He who blasphemes the Holy Spirit cannot the kingdom.
      1. The Pharisees, whom Jesus charged with blaspheming the Spirit,
      2. were barred from the kingdom (Matt 23.13).
  3. Limiting the Holy Spirit by Lying to Him

    1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God” (Acts 5.1–4).

    1. How did this couple sin?
      1. It was not in the amount they gave,
      2. rather it was how they reported it.
        1. They sinned by lying about the amount of the sale and
        2. giving the impression that they gave all the money.
    2. Although they did not direct themselves to the Holy Spirit,
      1. they thought they were fooling men.
      2. However, ultimately it was to the Spirit (cf. Matt 25.31–46).
        1. How was it against the Holy Spirit
        2. when they only lied to Peter?
  4. Limiting the Holy Spirit by Resisting Him

    51 “You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you” (Acts 7.51).

    1. We can resist the Holy Spirit by:
      1. A stiff-neck
        1. What is a stiff-neck?
        2. Stubbornness and refusing to turn and acknowledge wrong.
      2. An uncircumcised heart.
        1. What is an uncircumcised heart?
        2. Sin covers the heart.
        3. Hence, heart becomes senseless (cf. Rom. 1.21).
      3. Uncircumcised ears.
        1. How can the ears be uncircumcised?
        2. By exhibiting prejudice in hearing.
        3. Refusing to listen to the truth and sound reasoning.
      4. Persecuting His messengers (Acts 7.52).
        1. First Thessalonians 4.8
        2. If someone resists one of His messengers,
        3. what keeps that person from resisting the Spirit Himself?
      5. Not keeping the law (Acts 7.53).
        1. Unfortunately, some people contrast the Holy Spirit and
        2. the law of God,
          1. when actually the Spirit works through the law (Rom. 8.1–7).
          2. To ignore the law of Christ
          3. is to ignore the Holy Spirit (Cf. John 14.26; 16.13).
  5. Limiting the Holy Spirit by Destroying His Temple 
    1. First Corinthians 3 teaches that the church, or individual congregation,
      1. is a temple of the Holy Spirit,

        16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are (1Co 3.16–17).
      2. The context bears out this interpretation.
        1. We destroy the temple by jealousy and strife (1Co 1.10–3.15).
        2. Hence, the Spirit is limited in that congregation.
    2. First Corinthians 6 teaches that the individual Christian
      1. is a temple of the Holy Spirit,

        19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body {NU-Text ends the verse at body.} and in your spirit, which are God’s (1Co 6.19–20).
      2. We can destroy our bodies in many ways, but
        1. here Paul focuses upon fornication (See 1Co 6.13–18).
        2. By a lack of self-control, fornication in this case,
          1. we limit the Spirit’s work, for
          2. the flesh lusts against the Spirit (Gal 5.16–17).
  6. Limiting the Holy Spirit by Grieving Him

    30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Eph 4.30).

    1. Do not make Him sorry that He dwells in you.
    2. Isaiah 63.10 reveals the horrible consequences of grieving the Spirit,

      10 But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit;
      So He turned Himself against them as an enemy,
      And He fought against them
      (Isa 63.10).
    3. Ephesians 4 teaches how to prevent grieving Him,

      25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” {Zechariah 8.16} for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”. {Psalm 4.4} do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you (Eph. 4.25–32).
  7. Limiting the Holy Spirit by Quenching Him

    19 Do not quench the Spirit (1Th 5.19).

    1. Be careful not to extinguish His work.
    2. Do not shut Him off.
    3. How we can quench Him,

      37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing {NU-Text reads who believed.} in Him would receive; for the Holy {NU-Text omits Holy.} Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7.37–39).

      1. The Holy Spirit creates flowing rivers of living water for the believer.
      2. Unbelief quenches this water or limits the work of the Holy Spirit.
  8. Limiting the Holy Spirit by Doing Despite unto Him

    28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? (Heb 10.28–29).

    1. The two previous verses show how we despise the Spirit of grace,

      26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries (Heb 10.26–27).

      1. Willful sin against the Spirit of grace
        1. shows not only an unthankful attitude toward the Spirit’s work, but
        2. utter contempt for it.
      2. The Spirit of grace makes forgiveness available (Zec 12.10–13.1).
      3. The Spirit of grace is not license to continue in sin (Gal 5.13; Jude 4).
    2. To prevent despising the Holy Spirit,

      12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end (Heb. 3.12–14).

      24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb 10.24–25).