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BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:31-32).
I spoke strongly this morning on “Why America is Not in Bible Prophecy.” My text was from Amos 8:2, “The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.” “I will not again pass by them any more.” That was my text. When God no longer comes to give you grace, nothing awaits but judgment. It can happen to a man, and it can happen to a nation. “I will not again pass by them any more.” When that happens to a nation, it is given over to reprobation. When that happens to a man, he is given up to a reprobate mind, their mind will no longer take in the Word of God, their heart will no longer be touched by the Holy Spirit – the Bible says, “God gave them over to a reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28), adŏkīmŏs noǔs (a worthless, rejected, ruined mind!). That is the unpardonable sin! That is the sin unto death!
I stood in the sanctuary of Trinity Methodist Church, on Flower Street, in downtown Los Angeles. This was the church where “Fighting Bob” Shuler pastored, where he earnestly contended for the faith, where the Gospel of Christ was preached for decades from the pulpit, and over the radio. I stood in the sanctuary of that once-great church while a wrecking ball was pounding against one of the walls, and the building was literally coming down around me. Nobody cared. Not a tear was shed. Bob Shuler’s son lived only a few minutes away. It was the church of his childhood. But he wasn’t there the day they bulldozed the building. He didn’t care. Neither did anyone else! “I will not again pass by them any more.”
Just down the street from this building stood the great Church of the Open Door, at 550 South Hope Street. The founding pastor was Dr. R. A. Torrey. In my young manhood it was pastored by the famous radio Bible teacher, Dr. J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988). It seated five thousand people. They sold it for 27 million dollars. They thought that was a lot. But about ten years later it sold for 227 million dollars. The elders were small-minded men. Their hands trembled. Their faces turned pale with fear. They thought, “We’ll lose something if we stay!” And so, out of fear and lack of faith in God, they lost 200 million dollars! Another church thought of buying it. But their deacons too were small-minded and fearful. So they too lost a building they should have had – that they could have had for $27 million. They too lost $200 million. And the inner city of Los Angeles became a black hole, without a witness for God or Christ! “I will not again pass by them any more.”
Then God put us in this building on Hope Street – three blocks from Bob Shuler’s church, and eight blocks from Dr. McGee’s church - in the heart of Los Angeles. We too had corrupt leaders whose thoughts were small, and whose hearts were fearful. They left and took over 300 of our people with them. But large-hearted and fearless men and women saved this building and paid for it. The Gospel now goes out from this church building – to the four corners of the world, in 29 languages.
But tonight I say to you young people, will you be big enough and strong enough and spiritual enough to keep it going when we are gone? Or will God say, “I will not again pass by them any more”? If that happens this church too will have committed the sin unto death, and God will have said, “I will not again pass by them any more.” Don’t take that lightly! Don’t think it won’t happen! All seven of the churches in the first three chapters of Revelation are gone. There is not a sign or a token, not a vestige or an artifact left from any of them. We would not know they ever existed if their names and records were not written down in those three chapters of Revelation. Will there be any mark, any token or vestige showing the existence of our church fifty years from now? Or will God have said long before that, “I will not again pass by them any more”? That’s why you must get very serious about praying for revival! For us it’s revival for survival, for without revival we will not survive as a church and as a witness. Why go way downtown when there's a church only a block away? If this church loses its liveliness (and it will without revival) then it will have nothing special to attract the people...and it will begin to die.
Revival depends a great deal on whether or not you young people commit the sin unto death. The future of this church lies in your hands! If most of you young people commit the unpardonable sin, there is no future for this building, this work, or this world-wide ministry! God help us!
I now to believe that it is easy to commit the unpardonable sin. All you have to do is sit in church and wait. Don’t trouble yourself about being saved. Just sit and wait. You will soon commit the unpardonable sin – far sooner than you think! far easier than you think! Sooner than you think the signs of death begin to come. There are a few gray hairs. Your hairline begins to recede. You see a few lines in your face that weren’t there before. They are the messengers of death. The cold, pale enemy of death is just behind you. The Bible says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
In the Arabic world there is told a story of a servant in Basra. He came to his master and said, “I saw Death in the streets of Basra today. Death looked at me. Master, loan me your fastest horse so I can escape to Baghdad.” The master loaned him his fastest horse – and the servant went as fast as he could to Baghdad. The next day the master was walking down the street in Basra when he met Death. He walked up to him and said, “Death, what do you mean by frightening my servant so much?” Death said, “Sir, I didn’t mean to frighten him. I was only surprised to see him on the street in Basra. You see, tomorrow I have a date to meet him in Baghdad!” It is appointed unto a man once to die. At that exact time, in that exact place, you will certainly die. Then it will be said of you by God, “I will not again pass by them any more.” You will have committed the unpardonable sin.
“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men” (Matthew 12:31).
What is the sin that “shall not be forgiven unto men”? It is sin against the witness of the Holy Spirit to the saving grace of Jesus. When a man or woman repeatedly rejects the witness of the Holy Spirit, that person commits the unpardonable sin. The only sin that can never be forgiven is committed when a man or woman refuses the call of the Spirit to trust Jesus. It is spoken of in the Book of Hebrews, in chapter six. Mr. Prudhomme read it a moment ago.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6).
When that happens to you, “It is impossible...to renew [you] again unto repentance” (Hebrews 6:4, 6). Impossible? That’s what God said, “impossible...to renew them again unto repentance.” Impossible? Yep! That’s what God said. Impossible. It is the unpardonable sin. And God says, “I will not again pass by [him] any more.” It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:32).
It’s easy to commit the unpardonable sin. My cousin used to get in his car with his friends and drive down to Tijuana to see a prostitute. But he didn’t go to Hell because he saw a prostitute in Tijuana. He used to get two six packs of beer and drink it in the back yard with his friends. But he didn’t go to Hell because he drank that beer in the back yard with his friends. He used to do other things that I won’t mention here in church. But he didn’t go to Hell because he did those things either. No, he went to Hell because he committed the unpardonable sin. That’s what Jesus said, “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men” (Matthew 12:31).
My cousin told me, when his son was born, that he got down on his knees and prayed. Yes, and he called himself a Baptist too, even though he never went to church. When he told me that he prayed, I asked him to trust Jesus and be saved. I’ll never forget what he said. He said, “To each his own, Robert. To each his own.” He meant “that’s good for you, but not for me.” I heard him say that every time I spoke to him about Christ. And in the process of time he committed the unpardonable sin.
Then he died suddenly when he was only in his forties. They asked me to conduct his funeral. There wasn’t a gray hair on his head. There wasn’t a wrinkle on his face. He was still a young man when he went to Hell. And he went to Hell because he committed the unpardonable sin. And God said, “I will not again pass by [him] any more.” “It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:32).
There were a lot of people there because he was a nice guy. Everybody liked him. I liked him too. He was my friend. He loved Westerns. He watched Westerns constantly, every night on TV. He could tell you all about the gunfighters in the Old West. He could tell you all about Wild Bill Hickock, Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, John Wesley Hardin – and all those famous gunfighters in the Old West. When my boys were born I brought them to see him. He asked their names. I said, “One of them is named John Wesley Hymers.” He ran to the next room and phoned a friend. I could hear him say, “Honest to God, Robert named his son after a gunfighter – John Wesley Hardin!” He didn’t know there was a great preacher named John Wesley! Everybody liked my cousin, including me. He was a nice guy, but he went to Hell. When I spoke at his funeral, I could not give his family or friends one word of hope! Not one word of hope! for he had gone to that place in which there is no hope. Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), in his famous book The Inferno, said there is a sign above the door to Hell which says, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” My cousin committed the unpardonable sin. When the Holy Spirit spoke to his heart about Jesus, he said “no.” And God said, “I will not again pass by [him] any more. “It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:31-32).
There is no “second chance” in Hell. Ecclesiastes 11:3 says, “in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.” A man’s character always moves steadily toward fixation, toward hard and firmly set habits of thought. What a man is like this year, next year he will be more like that. As the years pass his character becomes fixed. It becomes solidified. Finally, it is as hard as cement.
I have always loved to hear Dr. W. A. Criswell. He was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas for over fifty years. I heard him preach when he was a middle-aged man with red hair. I heard him when he was an old man, with a shock of pure white hair. He was my ideal of a preacher. I will tell you a story from Dr. Criswell.
He said, when he was a young pastor, a deacon asked him to visit a member of the church who had been paralyzed with a stroke. Dr. Criswell said,
When I went into his house, his wife said, “He is in the bedroom.” I stood and looked at the man on the bed. I said, “I am the new pastor..I have come to see you.” He said, “Gol dang!” I said, “I am sorry you had a stroke and cannot get out of bed.” He said, “Gol dang!” I said, “It’s so beautiful outside. I wish you could go out.” He said, “Gol dang!” After everything I said, he would shout, “Gol dang!” I was so frustrated I didn’t know what to say. I stood up and was going to ask if I could pray, but he thought I was going to leave. He pointed up and said, “Gol dang! gol dang! gol dang! gol dang! gol dang! gol dang!” His wife said to me, “Pastor, he wants you to pray.” I told her I would be glad to. I knelt down by the bed and started praying, “O God in heaven, be good to this man who is so sick.” He cried out, “Gol dang!” I said, “Please, dear God, raise him up.” He cried, “Gol dang!” After every part of the prayer he would say, “Gol dang!” When I finally came to the end of my prayer I said, “Amen.” He said, “Gol dang.” When I stood up and said, “God bless you,” he said, “Gol dang!” When I got to the door, I turned around and said, “Good-bye” – he said “gol dang!”
When I got back to town, I saw the deacon and told him I went to see the man who had a stroke. He said to me, “Oh, I forgot to tell you. He had a habit of saying a slang phrase. He said that slang phrase over and over all his life. When he had a stroke all of his language left him except that one phrase.” I said, “You don’t have to tell me what it is. It is ‘gol dang!’” One of the truest characteristics of life that I know is this: What you do and what you say finally becomes who you are. It crystallizes in your character, in your soul (“What a Saviour” by W. A. Criswell, Ph.D., Broadman Press, 1978, pages 41, 42).
When I asked my cousin to trust Jesus, he said, “To each his own, Robert.” I asked him several times and each time he said, “To each his own, Robert.” That was his phrase, his excuse. He didn’t find fault with me trusting Jesus. It just wasn’t for him. He said “no” every time I spoke to him about Christ. You could say to a man, “Would you trust Jesus?” He would say “no.” You would say, “Would you come to Jesus?” He would say, “no.” You would say, “Won’t you trust the Saviour now?” He would say, “no.” Finally that word “no” is crystallized in his character. His heart has become firmly set in rejection itself – no, no, no, no, no! He will come to the place in his life when he will say it automatically. He won’t even have to think. He has become a big “no” himself. The word “no” has come to represent his mind, his heart, his very nature. It’s all a big “no.” He has committed the unpardonable sin, and he can no longer stop saying “no” to Jesus. “In the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.” “I will not again pass by [him] any more.” “It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” That is the unpardonable sin! That is the sin that will never be forgiven!
If our souls did not become paralyzed we could choose the day and the hour that we are saved. But as the days pass, our wills and our souls and our hearts harden like cement. At last, they cannot be moved by man, and they will not be moved by God. The character, the life, and the eternal destiny, are sealed and set forever! That is the unpardonable sin! That is the sin that will never be forgiven!
It is the same with the person who demands a certain feeling, or inward proof of salvation. You can explain to him to look to Jesus, but he looks to a feeling instead. He goes on and on – no matter what you tell him. Every time he looks for a feeling, a proof that he is saved. At last it becomes part of his very nature and character. You tell him to trust Christ – and he immediately looks for a feeling. You ask him if he trusted Jesus, and he says, “no.” I have seen people go through that over and over and over and over and over and over and over – until at last it has become such a habit that they can’t escape from it no matter how hard they try! It has become a part of their very nature. They can no longer trust Jesus, no matter what we say to them.
I remember, back in the late 1940s, we had an old record player and a few records. One of those records was the Woody Woodpecker song, “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. It’s the Woody Woodpecker song.” But we played it so many times that a groove was worn into part of the record. When the needle got to that groove, it would go on and on – “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!” It would drive you nuts! That’s what I hear from some of you, over and over, in the inquiry room. I say, “Will you trust Jesus?” You say, “yes.” I say, “Get down on your knees and trust Him.” I wait. After a few minutes I ask you to sit in the chair. I say, “Did you trust Jesus?” You say, “no.” It goes on and on and on and on like that. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Your mind is getting cemented into a groove. My friend, you are in danger of committing the unpardonable sin. Then God will say, “I will not again pass by [him] any more.” “It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” That is the unpardonable sin! That is the sin that will never be forgiven!
What does a man need who says “no” to Jesus? Does he need another sermon? No. Does he need another explanation? No. What does he need? He needs one thing – to move, to respond, to trust the Saviour, and leave it there – with the Saviour! Jesus said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Amen. Come to Him. Trust Him. Leave it there. Leave it to Jesus. He will not cast you out! He will do everything for you. He will cleanse you from sin. He will justify you. He will sanctify you. You won’t “feel” it, but you don’t need to, because He is doing it for you. Trust Jesus and be cleansed from all sin by the precious Blood He shed on the Cross! Dr. Chan, please lead us in prayer. Amen.
(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Hebrews 6:4-6.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“If You Linger Too Long” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).