The End Result of Improper Relationships

by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 17 from the excellent book, How to Treat Different Types of Church Members)

Hebrews 10:29, "Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?"

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.

I Thessalonians 5:19, "Quench not the Spirit."'

Ephesians 4:30, "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."

The reader will be near the end of the chapter before fully realizing its purpose and its right to be in this book.

There are several sins against the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Bible. Four of these sins can be committed by the child of God.

1. Insulting the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 10:29, "Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" "Insulting the Holy Spirit" simply means "to leave Him alone." This is the Christian who will not do what He says. To understand this Christian, you have to understand the book of Hebrews. The book of Hebrews was written to Hebrew Christians. God is admonishing them not to neglect their salvation, but to continue growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus. He likens the land of Egypt to the condition of the natural man. I Corinthians 2:14, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." God compares the wilderness to the carnal Christian and the promised land to the Spirit filled Christian. God is telling the person who has been saved, that he is out of Egypt and on his way to the promised land, going through the wilderness; he is to continue on into the promised land and live the Spirit filled life. The Israelites are used as an example. They left the land of Egypt because of God's deliverance through the passover lamb. They went into the wilderness and across the wilderness as God led them. They came to the door of the promised land at Kadesh-barnea. They sent twelve spies to check out the promised land. They came back with glowing reports of its beauty and of its fruitfulness but told the people that they could not go in. The people decided not to go in, and because they made this decision, God sent them back into the wilderness and told them that not one adult would see or enter into the promised land, except Caleb and Joshua, who were the two spies who voted to go into the land. The people paid no attention to God's command. They had not listened to God's order, and in so doing, they committed the awful sin of insulting the Holy Spirit!

2. Resisting the Holy Spirit. 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." "Resisting" is the sin of listening to the Holy Spirit but disobeying Him. They did not insult Him, for they did give Him a hearing, but having heard, they refused to obey. However, this sin is committed before the previous one. Nobody insults the Holy Spirit by refusing to listen to Him until they have listened to Him and disobeyed. Ananias and Sapphira listened to Him and disobeyed. This is not as great a sin as insulting Him. It is on the road to insulting Him, and they never would have insulted Him had they not resisted Him. In other words, if they had not refused to do what He said to do, they would never have gone on to refuse to listen. The order is: First, resist by listening and not doing, and then later, why listen? They didn't obey anyway.

3. Quenching the Holy Spirit. I Thessalonians 5:19, "Quench not the Spirit." This is the sin of listening, considering what He says, and obeying some of what He says and disobeying the rest. In other words, quenching is the screening of what the Holy Spirit says. The Christian hears the Holy Spirit and reads the Book the Holy Spirit authored. He gives serious consideration to obedience. In some areas he obeys; in some areas he disobeys. This is a terrible sin, but not as bad as resisting. Resisting is a terrible sin, but not as bad as insulting. It is better to listen to the Holy Spirit, consider what He says and do some of it than it is to listen to Him and reject. It is better to listen and reject than it is to refuse to listen. It is interesting to note this order: First, quenching-listening and screening, obeying some and disobeying some; second, resisting-listening and refusing; third, insulting-refusing to listen.

The quenching of the Holy Spirit is the condition of most Christians. We read the Bible, decide what sounds reasonable to us and obey that which is reasonable. We hear the preacher preach and screen what he says, decide what sounds logical to us and decide on that basis what to obey. The average Christian sits in the pew and quenches or screens the Holy Spirit. The average Christian reads the Bible and does likewise.

4. Grieving the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:30, "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."
Now notice what grieves Him. Very carefully read the verses adjacent to Ephesians 4:30. It grieves the Holy Spirit when His children do not get along with each other. It grieves Him when we fuss, when we fight. It grieves Him when we criticize each other. It grieves Him when His children are improperly related one to the other.

These sins are a downhill slide. First the Christian grieves the Holy Spirit, then he quenches the Holy Spirit, then he resists the Holy Spirit, then he insults the Holy Spirit. If he can have the victory over resisting the Holy Spirit, he will not insult Him. If he can have the victory over quenching, he will not resist or insult Him. If he can have the victory over grieving the Holy Spirit, he will not quench Him or resist Him or insult Him. In other words, the first step down is grieving the Holy Spirit. After we grieve Him by being improperly related to God's people, we then begin to quench Him, by listening to Him but not accepting all He commands us to do. Once that is done, we continue downhill to resisting Him, which means that we listen to what He says but refuse to do it. Once that is done, we continue our downhill trek to come to the depth of the Christian sin against the Holy Spirit, that of insulting Him, or not listening at all.

This shows the importance of our proper treatment of God's people. This is why we ought to relate ourselves properly to the fallen, the weak, the strong, the brokenhearted and others in God's family. If somehow we could win the victory over grieving the Holy Spirit, we could certainly win the victory over quenching Him, resisting Him and insulting Him.

This means that the one who does the grieving is the loser. He grieves the Holy Spirit and because he does, he qualifies himself to quench the Holy Spirit, resist the Holy Spirit and insult the Holy Spirit, and soon the Christian life is wasted and rather useless. The one whom he hates is not the loser; the hater is the loser. The one who is the object of bitterness is not the loser; the bitter one is the loser. I have often said I would rather be the hated than the hater, the object of gossip rather than the gossiper, the rebuked rather than the rebuker.

Oh, people of God, let us not grieve the Holy Spirit by improper relationships with each other and bad attitudes toward each other.

The same is true in all of life's relationships. Ask any pastor. He looks out in the congregation and sees one of his members with "that look" on his face. Any pastor knows what I am talking about. It is that look of discontent, a look of uncooperativeness. Some thing is wrong between that person and the pastor or the church or something about the church program.

It isn't long until he begins to screen what is said from the pulpit. The pastor he once trusted, he no longer trusts. He begins to quench what is said from the pulpit. He screens what is preached. He no longer gives himself to the pastor. His loyalty is waning.

Then comes the next step. He has grieved, he has quenched, and now he resists. He listens to what the pastor says with no intention at all of responding. He now has a look of resistance on his face. Every pastor has seen it over and over again. The person listens with rebellion and resistance.

Then comes the last stage. He insults the pastor by not even listening. He pays him no mind at all. It is as if the pastor does not exist. The tragedy is that the member is the loser. Of course, the godly pastor is grieved and disappointed, but if he has the right attitude and the right love in his heart toward the member, he will not be damaged, except by disappointment.

Usually after the cycle is run, the disenchanted, then disgruntled, then rebellious church member goes somewhere else. He soon finds that the new pastor and the new church are not perfect either. He finds the same conditions there that embittered him before, and after a few months or years, the imperfections of the new pastor and church are discovered. Then comes the same disenchantment, followed by the quenching or the screening, followed by the listening but resisting, then followed by the insulting or not listening at all.

Not long ago I was talking to a pastor in the area. I asked him how a certain family was doing that at one time had been members of First Baptist Church of Hammond. They had gone through the aforementioned cycle and had left our church. When I asked the pastor how they were doing, he said, "Oh, they left our church a long time ago." Then he asked me about a couple who had come to our church from his after having gone through the cycle at his church. I replied that that couple had already come and gone at First Baptist Church and that they had left us also. This is not saying that every one who leaves a church goes through that cycle, but every man of God who has ever pastored a church knows what I am talking about. The people would not have refused to listen had they not first listened and resisted. They would not have listened and resisted had they not first quenched or screened the messages. They would not have quenched had they not become disenchanted with the pastor and/or church members.

The same thing is true with friends. A person becomes enchanted with another person and what is called a friendship is started. It is usually a fast and strong relationship, but soon the imperfections of the friend begin to show. Perhaps the parties got too close to each other. At any rate, there was some disappointment, followed by disenchantment, followed by quenching, followed by resisting, followed by an ignoring and the so-called friendship has been severed. Then there comes along another attractive personality, and the same cycle is followed again and again and again.

The secret is, do not be grieved. Don't take the first step down. The entire purpose of this chapter is to lead us to realize the destination of a trip that is started by improper relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Don't get on the highway. Don't start the slide down. Keep your heart right with God's people. Not doing so is the initial sin a Christian can commit against the Holy Spirit. Once that sin is committed, the quenching follows. Once the quenching, then comes the resisting, followed by the insulting. The result is a hard, cold Christian who has arrived at a destination of which he had never thought and for which he had never planned. And to think, it all started because of improper treatment of fellow Christians.


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