Here’s my sermon outline from today.
We loved our little Citroen C3. It took us everywhere and we spent thousands of pounds on annual repairs. Until one day, on a journey to Bradford after a decade and 100k miles, it decided to die. We crawled up the M6 and M62 at a dangerous snail’s pace and when we stopped at my mum and dad’s house the car made a noise like a rodent being put out of its misery. A look under the bonnet the next day confirmed that the car was beyond recovery. It wasn’t worth anyone’s time attempting to repair it. So we had to get a new car and watch our old one being taken off to the scrap yard.
Have you ever asked/been asked “Am I beyond forgiveness, healing, recovery, restoration?”
The question of “the unforgivable sin”
… how do we answer it?
Big picture from Mark 2:23- Mark 3:35 is this conflict as the true Lord and king is met with resistance from those who set themselves up against him
We need to believe some important things about Jesus
- Jesus is the Lord of Space and time (2:23-3:6)
The thing that began to turn me off of Dr Who was David Tenant’s time Lord claiming to be Lord of Time and Space.
The right response “You’re not the Lord of time and space, you’re just an ordinary alien”
Jesus has declared himself Lord of the Sabbath. This means that he will use the day for his purposes. What will he do with it?
A man with a withered hand … Jesus calls him out into the centre/ in public. Why? Well because our temptation is to hide away in shame – but the Gospel says no to shame.
But notice what happens here – Jesus uses the Sabbath to bring life and wholeness
The Pharisees (religious leaders) plot with the Herodians (politicians) to destroy Jesus. They use God’s day to plot evil, to kill, to break God’s law.
They have got themselves into a situation where they call evil “good” and good “evil”
- Jesus is the strong deliverer – mighty to save (3:22-30)
Mark presents Jesus as the true king of God’s people. This is seen in v 13-19 as he calls people to follow him and appoints 12 apostles/ambassadors/leaders echoing the heads of the tribes of Israel.
And this is drawing different responses. Not everyone follows him
Even his family decide he’s out of his mind (v20 & v31-34). They go to pick him up because they think he is mad.
CS Lewis once said that people must choose “either Jesus was mad, bad or the true Lord”
The religious leaders decide that he is bad. They say that he is demon possessed. In fact not by any demon
Beelzebub (Baal Zebub) – the lord/prince of demons (name based on the OT god Baal). Satan himself is claimed to have possessed Jesus so that it is by his power that he commands demons what to do.
Jesus points out that this is ridiculous It would basically mean that Satan;s evil empire had collapsed into civil war. Such an enemy does not need to be feared.
No, what they are seeing is that God’s kingdom is breaking in. It’s like that moment in Narnia when Aslan has arrived. It had always been winter but never Christmas. First, Christmas breaks in with Father Christmas bringing presents. Then the ice and snow begin to thaw. The white witch’s power was crumbling.
Satan’s power is seen to be crumbling as people are healed, as the demons flee. This because Jesus is like the strong man who comes and binds up the enemy before delivering the house.
How do we respond to Jesus?
We should be confronted with his power, his goodness, his love, his glory. What might stop us from seeing him for who he truly is?
Jesus talks about the unforgivable sin “blasphemy against the holy Spirit.”
Whenever someone asks me if they have committed it my response is that the very fact you are concerned about his shows your conscience is not dead and hard. You have an openness to the Holy Spirit.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is to be so hardened and deaf to the Holy Spirit and his work that you end up seeing God’s work as evil. It is to call evil “good” and good “evil”. That’s what had happened with Jesus’ opponents.
It’s unforgivable not because it’s really bad but because by opposing and hardening against the HS you have cut ff your very means of forgiveness.
So, it’s important to say here that you are never ever beyond the real of God’s love and grace. You are not beyond recovery and repair. Forgiveness is possible.
But there is the challenge about how you will respond to Jesus. Will you see in him goodness, love, grace and will you be willing to allow him to work in your life?