Resisting the Holy Ghost
Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers [did], so [do] ye.
Intro: This story is the story of the first martyr, Stephen.
A. He was Holy in his Example – vs. 6:1-8
No less than 4 times we learn that Stephen was filled with the Holy Ghost.
Vs. 3, 8, 10, 7:55
B. He was Honest in his Exposition – vs. 7:1-50
His summary of Israel’s history was dead-on.
He started at Abraham and brought them all the way up to Jesus in verse 52.
C. He was Harsh in his Exposure– vs. 51
He called them “stiffnecked” and “uncircumcised in heart and ears” in verse 51.
NOTE: Never accuse a preacher of not being spiritual just because his message is stout.
Jesus was as harsh as anybody in the Bible in Matthew 23.
D. He was Honored in his Expiration – vs. 55-60
He looked up as he was dying and something nobody else had ever seen before when they were dying.
He saw heaven opened. God rolled out the red carpet for him.
He saw the glory of God, and Jesus giving him a standing ovation.
What a testimony!
In this message, that consisted of only 53 verses, Stephen made a lot of powerful points.
But in verse 51, Stephen made a powerful and very painful observation.
He accused the people of “resisting the Holy Ghost”
RESIST: run against, to be adverse, oppose, strive against
We know that it is possible for the child of God to QUENCH the Holy Ghost.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.
QUENCH: to suppress, stifle to suppress, stifle; to extinquish
We also know it is possible to GRIEVE the Holy Spirit.
- Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
GRIEVE: to make sorrowful, to affect with sadness, cause grief, to throw into sorrow; to grieve, offend
But to RESIST THE HOLY GHOST??? What a terrible thing!
Why would he say that?
Whatever it was, I don’t want to be guilty of it, I can assure you!
What did they do to merit such a sobering rebuke?
I. They Disregarded God’s Providence – vs. 4-50 “…wherein ye now dwell.” (vs. 4, 5)
They were so self-centered, so self-righteous, self-sufficient and self-absorbed that they completely disregarded the role that God had played in their very existence.
God had been working in their country, in the lives of their forefathers.
They had been the recipients of Gods unmistakable working, but they were oblivious.
They were ungrateful for all He had done in their history to bring them to this place.
II. They Denied God’s Promptings – vs. 51
Stephen told them that the Holy Ghost was working on them, but they resisted God’s moving.
Verse 54 says they were cut to the heart when they heard these things.
God was working on them, but they denied Him the freedom to have His way.
III. They Dishonored God’s Prophets – vs. 52
Stephen told them that it runs in the family.
Which of the prophets have NOT your fathers persecuted?
It didn’t matter who it was, their manner, their method or their message – they persecuted them all.
To dishonor and persecute the man that God has sent to preach is a terrible mistake.
IV. They Disobeyed God’s Precepts – vs. 53 “…received the law…and have not kept it.”
God had blessed them above all other nations on the earth.
They had received the law.
But they had not kept it.
Just like their forefathers. – see 7:38, 39
The Scripture was given by inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
2 Peter 1
- 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.
To disobey the Word of God; to resist the Scriptures IS the same as resisting the Holy Ghost who inspired it.