One of the most fearful things a Christian can do is grieve the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit’s influences decline in our lives, the consequences can be terrifying and they can last far longer than we ever thought they would. Christian, don’t count it a light thing when you are commanded to not grieve the Holy Spirit.
I come across people… in 20 years of pastoring, I come across people that are in the midst of some kind of spiritual depression. They’re down. They’re out. They’re cold. They’re defeated. They’re dry. The passion that they once had is gone. Their first love – they wonder where it went. It flew away like a dove. (incomplete thought) You know what happens? You get around people like that and you say, “Tell me about your life.” “Well, you know…” “Tell me about your sin.” “Well, it’s not really that bad…” “I’m kind of okay.” I’ve seen this over and over throughout the years. People try to deflect the question. “Well, yeah, I’m not doing perfect, but things are not that bad. I’m not really suffering that bad. I’m alright.” But you begin to press the issue. You press them about their sin. You find that most of the time we come into seasons of cold, dry, damp, discouraged, depression. Look at your life. Face the facts. Face the reality. Face your sin. Face yourself. The reality is that these people ultimately when you press the issue, they have departed from God; they have drifted from God; they’ve become worldly, they’ve fallen into sexual sin, they’ve become a couch potato. (incomplete thought) They have resisted the Spirit’s impressions, the Spirit’s convictions. They’ve done it over and over. And they’ve gone headlong into something and they’ve allowed it to take a grip on their life. That’s the reality. And they’re responsible. And they’ve grieved the Spirit. And I warn you, I warn you, people grieve the Spirit. And yes, there is forgiveness. If you confess your sins, you know what Scripture says, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins. And yes, that is a reality. But do you know what happens? People by their own grievous conduct bring such responses upon themselves from the Holy Spirit of God as to throw themselves into the abyss of darkness for a season. And if you grieve Him, it will inevitably result in the loss of the Spirit’s gracious manifestations – the manifestations of His presence – and you will lose them. Oh, you may get them back, but I’ll tell you what: oftentimes that season where you have lost them goes on far longer than you ever imagined it would. And even sometimes when you start confessing those sins, the light doesn’t come. The sun doesn’t begin to shine again for a good season. Brethren, I warn you, you don’t want to go here. You grieve Him and He will withdraw from you. And that’s the grief that you will feel because of His grief. He’ll disappear. I’ve been witness to this. I’ve seen Christians over these years, I have seen Christians go through the most dark and horrid seasons imaginable. Why? Because they grieved the Holy Spirit and He’s withdrawn His manifestations from them. You lose a sense of God’s love. You know what Scripture says. Scripture says in Romans 5 that God’s love has been poured into your hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. You grieve that Spirit, you don’t feel that love being poured into your heart. You know what else Scripture says. Scripture says there in Romans 8:16 that the Spirit Himself – Himself – He bears witness with your spirit that you’re children of God. But you want to quiet that voice? Just grieve Him. And you know what will happen? Oftentimes you don’t find it so easy just to run to God and confess your sins. You don’t find it so easy just to believe that if we sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. You know why you don’t believe that so easily? Because the Spirit has withdrawn and He’s let the devil in there, and the devil comes right in and he strips away your confidence, he tells you you’re lost; he tells you there’s no hope. You look up. You don’t have assurance. It’s gone. It’s got wings and it’s flown away. The joy is gone. You no longer possess that certainty that you had. You think you’re hellbound. The devil is just screaming. He’s laughing at you though you are a child of God. Listen, if you’re sealed, a seal is permanent. And the Spirit is that seal. You can’t be unsealed. That is the seal of God Himself. But you will have that season and you will have no peace, no confidence, no certainty, no joy – the evidences of being sealed will become faint or they will disappear altogether. You know what Scripture says, “Comfort ye, comfort ye, My people…” but you look up after you’ve wallowed in that sin and resisted the Spirit of God, when He’s been calling to you, “That is not the right way. Come away.” And you’ve gone headlong into that sin and now there’s no comfort. And you wake up and you’re just gripped by fear and you’re gripped by a sense of abandonment. Where is He? Helpless. Hopeless. Abandoned. By your presumption, your persistence in that resistance of Him, the Spirit has been made to sorrow and He’s grieving. And He’ll immerse you in such grievous experiences and agonies of soul that you’ve never need to have endured. But because of your own hardness, your stubborness, your lack of sensitivity to Him, (incomplete thought) Listen, we are not islands. You run into sin and you begin to affect those other people that He wants you – all the one another’s – that He wants you forgiving, He wants you giving to, He wants you building up, He wants you administering grace. You know what happens when you come in seasons like this? You don’t even want to be in here. You don’t want to be around God’s people. And you’re not the help to them. Because your joy is gone. You come and there’s this look on your face, on your brow. You make the Spirit to sorrow. What does He always do? The beauty of all of it is that the Spirit of Christ never abandons a child of God. A seal is a seal and the seal can never be broken. And the Spirit is that seal – God’s seal. And you know what the Spirit does even though we go through these seasons. He comes again. And He begins to speak peace and all afresh and anew He will put the Lord Jesus Christ before your eyes. And you’ll once again anew and afresh see Him as King and Lord and Savior who shed His blood, who died in agony, and did it for you and paid the price. And the Spirit will let you know once again that you’re still a child of God. And suddenly the smile of God will break in upon you again. And He’ll restore you to the joy of your salvation. But I warn you, do not grieve the Spirit.
View the full sermon, “A Wonderful Reality: The Spirit’s Grief“.