The Bible says God is always willing to forgive our sins if we confess them, but there can come a time in a person's life when she or he reaches a point of no return, and that's why Jesus warned that there is a sin that is unforgivable, Pastor Greg Laurie said in his message, explaining what that sin is.
It's very easy for all of us to sin, Laurie, the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship church in Riverside, California, said, in his message, "The Unforgivable Sin," which was part of a series called, "God Comes Near."
Both the New Testament and the Old Testament are consistent in their message that God's willing to forgive, he told the congregation.
He read Psalm 86:5, "You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you." And Exodus 34:6-7, "The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin."
From the New Testament, he read 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
The "worst conceivable sin ever" was to kill God's only Son, Jesus, the pastor said, adding that Jesus asked the Father to forgive even those who crucified Him.
"I don't care what you've done. God can and will forgive it. All sin is forgivable – lying, cheating, stealing, drunkenness, immorality – it doesn't matter," Laurie told the congregation.
"The only sin God will not forgive is the sin we will not confess… (But) there is one exception. There is one sin that God will not forgive, and that's called the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit."
To explain, Laurie read Matthew 12:22-32, "Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, 'Could this be the Son of David?' But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, 'It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.' Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, 'Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come."
According to the Scripture, there is a point of no return, the pastor said. "So, those of you that have disregarded God and His word, and then you go on doing that, I want you to listen up very carefully," he said.
In the passage, Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, who didn't like Him, as He was "bad for business," their religious business, Laurie explained. They were jealous of Jesus' growing popularity. For unlike them, Jesus was loving, understandable and approachable.
"As people understood Jesus, they were drawn to Him," he added.
It was 400 years since Israel had seen a miracle or a prophet had appeared in the scene until the arrival of Jesus. "And instead of rejoicing, they (the pharisees) were angry. Talk about missing the point!"
As if missing the point wasn't bad enough, the Pharisees attributed the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan, the pastor said. "They had the audacity to say that it was done by the devil."
Laurie went on to read verses 33-37: "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
From our first "Good Morning" to our last "Good Night," an average man speaks enough number of words to fill 50-60 pages of a book, and a woman a few more, he said.
There are three take-away truths from the message, he shared.
"One, we must come to church to worship God and learn spiritually." We need to come with a sense of expectancy to worship and learn, he explained.
Two, never take for granted what God has done for you, he added. Never take your salvation or your church or the Word of God, your freedom to worship in the United States for granted, he said.
Three, "instead of resisting the Holy Spirit, I need to be filled with the Holy Spirit." Have a tender conscience, he said. If you're on the verge of going too far, remember that "there comes a time we know not when, a place we know not where, when a man's fate is sealed or a woman's fate is sealed."
But you can stop now, don't insult the Spirit, don't enrage the Spirit and never blaspheme the Spirit and reject Christ, Pastor Laurie said, warning that this could be the last message of their lives for some.