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The Pilgrim Path (5-4-2020)

The Pilgrim Path---Mark's Gospel 3: 22--30 (5--4--20)

And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "by the prince of demons he casts out the demons." And he called them to him and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? If A kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"---for they were saying, "He has an unclean spirit."

BLASPHEMY Against the HOLY SPIRIT

---v. 22---"He is possessed...He is in union with the prince of demons." The Lord Jesus Christ was often accused--- As Bishop Ryle says, "often misunderstood and misrepresented." When you live for the Kingdom of God in this world, this is typically the treatment you will receive (John 15: 18--27). You pray and press on---and as Paul teaches in Romans 12, you do not return, "Evil for evil..."

---v. 23---"How can Satan cast out Satan?" With a brief insertion of some parables, the Lord Jesus, Master Teacher---shows the scribes how very inaccurate they are in their assertions. He also "reveals" the very nature of their hearts in a very short period of time...

---v. 24---"Hear this: A Kingdom divided falls."

---v .25---"Houses divided against themselves don't stand for long---they fall." Time for a good "insertion" from Bishop Ryle: "The divisions of Christians are one great cause of the weakness of the visible church. They often absorb energy, time, and power, which might have been well bestowed on better things. They furnish the infidel with a prime argument against the truth of Christianity. They help the devil. Satan indeed is the chief promoter of religious divisions. If he cannot extinguish Christianity, he labors to make Christians quarrel with one another, and to set every man's hand against his neighbor. None knows better than the devil, that "to divide is to conquer."

---v. 26---Hell's strong one (the devil) is losing his power---with the arrival of the God-Man-Jesus! He is Death-defying-Soul-freeing-Sin-Cleansing AND Life-Changing---and that is just a start!

---v. 27---Heaven's Powerful One (Jesus)---"binds" Satan---and then he sets sinners "free" forever...The Savior is the Only One able to plunder the devil's house...By the great power of The Holy Spirit moving upon and within souls...

---v. 28---"Hear Ye! Hear Ye! All manner of sins will be forgiven the children of man, whatever blasphemies they utter" The Blood of Jesus the God-Man--- Cleanses sin! Sin done in ignorance---may be forgiven! Oh the glory of Gospel grace! People with particularly tormented consciences need to hear these words---they are true.

---v. 29---Holy Spirit Blasphemy---"never has forgiveness---guilty of eternal sin." Be cautious with souls in this matter. This is very specific in nature. Sins of ignorant, unenlightened people, may be forgiven. These are not the sort of folk mentioned here--- or Hebrews 6: 6--10 (verse 9 of Hebrews six--- views the believer differently from those who merely "tasted" the good things of God).The scribes in this text are saying the Lord Jesus is a companion of the devil---co-worker with him. They have "seen" Messiah endeavors and heard Messiah teaching---but they assign Jesus partnership with hell. The Christ knows their hearts and sees they reveal "no" remorse in their condemnation of Him and His ministry---they are quite hardened in their assessment. Jesus says of such souls, "This is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit---No pardon for such sin." A chilling declaration...

The late Dr. Charles Hodge of Princeton-- is helpful on this, "Unpardonable sin---sin against the Holy Spirit"

---this sin is "open"---it is carried out in act / blasphemy

---it is directed against the Spirit...He is pronounced evil

---the Spirit testifies that Jesus "is" the Son of God / The man guilty of "this sin"---declares Jesus to be a man only---a malefactor---He tramples Jesus' blood under foot...

---the Spirit testifies that the blood of Christ is precious---and that it cleanses---The other, that it is an "unclean" thing...

---this sin is a "conscious, deliberate, malicious resistance of the Holy Spirit, and the determined opposition of the soul to Him and His gospel, and a turning away from both with abhorrence.This sin supposes: knowledge of the gospel / conviction of its truth / experience of its power"...back to Hebrews 6: 6--10...

We will meet many that have blasphemed in ignorance---not likely many souls---that have committed the sin specified in this passage. Many simply wonder if they may be forgiven at all? Jesus Christ says they may be forgiven "all" manner of sin and blasphemy. That---is an incredible statement. Don't minimize it. You have heard the phrase haven't you: "The Church is not a museum for Saints---it's a Hospital for Sinners." We do sin less---but we are never sinless this side of eternity. We must always remember this. It makes us much easier to live with---especially inside the Church.

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!

Jesus! lover of my soul;

Friends may fail me,

Foes assail me,

He my Savior, makes me whole.

Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Hallelujah! what a Friend!

Saving, helping, keeping, loving,

He is with me to the end.

J. Wilbur Chapman (1910)

Grace and Peace in Jesus Our LORD, Pastor Jason