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The Unforgivable Sin

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Denys Potgieter - cancer

Sermon Text

Mark 3:20–30 NIV84
20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” 22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” 23 So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. 28 I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” 30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”

Introduction

Many of us have heard about the “unforgivable sin”. Perhaps you’re not entirely sure what precisely the unforgivable sin. Perhaps you’re concerned that you yourself have committed such a sin, and that there is no way that God is ever going to forgive your sin, because it is beyond forgiveness.
Well this morning’s text deals precisely with this issue of the unforgivable sin, and what it is. Although it’s perhaps somewhat obscure. I do trust however that by the time we come to the end of this study, you will have some clarity (and hopefully some peace) concerning the unforgivable sin, and whether or not you’ve committed it.
Thus far in our study of the Gospel of Mark, we’ve noted the clear demonstration of the authority of Jesus Christ as He came into the world in order to establish His kingdom reign and rule.
But we’ve also noticed the opposition that he’s started receiving as a result of the works that he was doing, and the words that He was speaking.
He received opposition:
For performing healings and miracles
For claiming the authority to forgive sins
For claiming to have authority over the Sabbath Day
In essence, He received opposition because he simply did not fit in with the religious systems that had been developed by the Scribes, Pharisees and other religious leaders.
And so it was that we saw this opposition to Christ mounting, as the religious leaders confronted Christ.
In Mark’s record, this opposition was focused on the five confrontations that we considered in .
And at the climax of that confrontation, we found the Pharisees going out and conspiring with the Herodians how they might kill this man Jesus.
But what we didn’t see in that opposition was a direct and heated face-to-face confrontation between Jesus and the leaders themselves.
I say that in the sense that the opposition to Christ took the form of questions being asked - Christ was challenged by means of questions directed either at His followers, or at Him directly.
But any accusations brought against Christ were implicit. They were implied in the questions, but they were not stated explicitly.
But in our current text, we find that the Scribes now begin to confront Christ by means of explicit accusations and criticisms.
This was no longer taking the form of raising questions, and trying to create doubts. Rather, here were accusations being made against Christ, and specifically the accusation that Christ was driving out demons by the power of Beelzebub - the chief of demons.
This morning, we are going to consider a number of important and encouraging aspects concerning Christ’s response to the accusations that these Scribes brought against Him.
Just before we get there, a comment in passing. We are not going to be considering verses 20-21 this morning. Those verses actually tie in with verses 31-35 - which we’ll consider next week.
Verses 20-21 indicate that Christ’s family heard about what was happening with Jesus, and they leave their place of living in order to go and take charge of him.
At that point Mark breaks away from that scenario, and introduces another account that happens in the interim while Christ’s family is travelling on the way to take charge of Him.
This is a literary device known as intercalation or bracketing or sandwiching, and it is used to indicate a lapse of time, heighten tension, but most importantly to use two accounts to interpret each other.
So verses 20-21, and then 31-35, we’ll consider next week, but they have similarities to what we’ll be considering this morning.

1. The Accusation

Before we get into actually considering our text this morning, let’s just get the context again.
It would seem that Jesus is back in Capernaum, or perhaps he is

1. Point 1

As we turn our attention now to the current text, we will notice firstly the accusation that is leveled against Christ.
The Accusation.
In our text, verse 22, we read that the teachers of the law had come down from Jerusalem.
It’s as they’ve come from Jerusalem again (most likely with the express purpose of finding further fault with this man Jesus), and as they’re in the area where Jesus is ministering and performing these various miracles, that they see Jesus performing another healing on a demon-possessed man.
In Matthew’s account of this event, we read:
Matthew 12:22–23 NIV84
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?”
Again, it is the common people who are overawed by the work of Christ, and they even go as far as to ask if this could be the one who is the “Son of David”.
The title “Son of David” here was a Messianic title - it was the name for the One who would come to sit on the throne of David forever, as God had promised them.
It’s through these miracles of Christ that they suggest, and entertain the thought, that this man may truly be the King that was promised to them.
The religious leaders, on the other hand, who should have known better, were blinded by their own air of authority, and so they refuse to acknowledge that this One who has come is indeed the promised “Son of David”.
I want you to notice that nothing is said here concerning Christ doing this on a Sabbath Day.
The opposition to Christ that is coming from the Scribes has nothing to do with breaking a Sabbath rule or command of their own.
But they proceed nonetheless to flagrant accusations against Jesus.
There really is no basis for their accusations. It would appear that the accusations flow out of pure hatred towards Jesus and the works that He is performing.
Instead, they level flagrant accusations against Jesus. There really is no basis for their accusations. It would appear that the accusations flows out of pure hatred towards Jesus and the works that He is performing.
The Scribes and Pharisees are acting out of jealousy because they are losing their following.
How often do we not find people who have no basis on which to argue against someone that they disagree with, that they begin to level insults on the person without any reason.
I recall an incident...
And so here we have these teachers of the law, who level these accusations against Jesus.
And so here we have these teachers of the law, who level these accusations against Jesus.
And so here we have these teachers of the law, who level these accusations against Jesus.
In verse 22 we read the accusation that they bring:
The first accusation is that Jesus is possessed by Beelzebub (or a demon)
The second accusation is that Jesus is driving out demons by the power of Beelzebub.
Mark 3:22 NIV84
And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
They further refer to Beelzebub as “the prince of demons”.
Two accusations there.
Firstly, that Jesus is possessed by Beelzebub.
Secondly, that it is by the power of demons that he is driving out demons.
Here was a venomous attack on Christ.
There is some dispute as to where this name “Beelzebub” comes from.
Most likely, the name Beelzebub is a slight modification of the name of the Philistine god (idol) at Ekron, in the time when Ahaziah was king over Israel.
In that account, Ahaziah fell through the lattice of his roof, and injured himself, and then sent men to enquire of this idol Beelzebul as to whether he would recover or not.
He was then confronted by the prophet Isaiah, who asked him, is there no God in Israel, that you must go and seek counsel from false gods who are in fact no gods..?!
But the Scribes in this instance clearly intended the name to mean more than simply an idol with no power!!
They were stating to Christ that He was in fact possessed by Satan.
They were telling Jesus that it was in fact by Satan’s power that He was driving out the demons.
That is clear when considering Christ’s response to them, where he says “How can Satan drive out Satan?” (v.23).
How wrong they were!!!
So wrong, in fact, that the end up receiving a stern word of condemnation from Jesus.

2. The Analogy and Condemnation

But notice secondly with me the Analogy.
We’ve seen the Accusation, we’ll consider secondly the Analogy from Christ.
Christ responded to these accusations of the Scribes by means of a parable, or an Analogy.
Christ responded to these accusations of the Scribes by means of a parable.
This is important, because the thrust of the reasoning behind speaking in parables is that the truth behind what is said may be veiled to them.
There are 3 distinct parts in the response that Jesus brings here.

2.1. Christ Refutes the Accusation

The first part of Christ’s words in response to the Scribes is that he rejects the notion that Satan will drive out those who belong to Satan.
He asks “How can Satan drive out Satan?”
He goes on to say in verses 24-26...
Mark 3:24–26 NIV84
24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.
The message is quite simple.
It is an absurdity that Satan would be the force at work in Jesus to drive out the demons in those who were demon possessed.
Indeed, it would be entirely counter-productive.
Believers Church Bible Commentary: Mark 3:22–30 Jesus’ Enemies Misinterpret His Authority

Would a kingdom deliberately set out to destroy itself by initiating a civil war?

Those possessed by demons were under the power of Satan himself.
Why would Satan now release them from his own power by driving those demons out of the person?
This would do nothing more than to render the kingdom of Satan powerless, since it would be working at cross purposes with itself.
Christ rightly remarks that a house divided against itself cannot stand.
As Christ responds to the accusations, the absurdity of it all would have been abundantly clear.
Application:
How often will people not...
make remarks
do things
hold to positions...
...simply to fit our own agenda;
Make accusations against others to push what they want?
But the reality is that these are purely driven by selfish desires?
But the reality is that these are purely driven by selfish desires?
The emphasis on these efforts is self!!
Our minds and hearts can so easily be focused on self, that we’ll use any excuse and reason to promote ourselves.
What the Scribes display is really just a picture of the heart of man.
The point here that Christ makes in his response is simple.
It is an impossibility, or at the very least absolute foolishness, for Christ to be driving out demons if he is working by the power of Satan. Because if that be the case, then Satan’s kingdom is overthrown and has come to an end.
Christ has not come to drive out demons as a worker of Satan, but rather, He has come to drive out demons as a demonstration of His power against Satan.

2.2. Christ Explains the Exorcisms

That’s really what Christ goes on to say as He continues in His parable.
This is the second distinct part of Christ’s response to the Scribes.
He explains to the Scribes what really is taking place as these exorcisms are performed.
In order to do that, He makes the statement in verse 27 that...
“no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.”
In order to understand what Christ is saying, we need to understand who the strong man is, and what the possessions of the strong man are.
The strong man that Christ refers to in this instance is Satan.
Satan is the “home owner” who has his possessions, the hearts and lives of countless people who are under the power and dominion of darkness.
Notice the description of Satan as one who is powerful. This is the “Strong man”...
It is true that at the time that Christ entered into the world, Satan was largely at work in the world. Christ acknowledges that.
The very reason that Christ had entered into the world, was so that He could bring freedom! That was His mission!
Notice that Satan is not caricatured or depicted as a weak force.
Satan is not caricatured or depicted as a weak force.
We’ve already seen in the preceding words of Christ that He speaks of Satan having a kingdom.
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”
Satan has a kingdom.
In , we read theses words:
Colossians 1:13 NIV84
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
Notice that word “Dominion”.
Dominion speaks of a powerful and effective rule. Satan’s rule over mankind was powerful and effective.
Dominion speaks of a powerful and effective rule. Satan’s rule over mankind was powerful and effective.
Satan held dominion over the lives of people. And to a large extent, he still does!
The dominion that is spoken of there is that dominion which came into play and effect when Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden of Eden, and since that time, Satan was at work blinding the eyes of people, holding them captive as his very own possession...
In speaking about Satan, Paul said to the Corinthians...
2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV84
4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
The God of this age was Satan, and his work was that of blinding the minds of unbelievers...
This does not mean that Satan had a sovereign reign over the world before Christ came.
This does not mean that Satan had a sovereign reign over the world before Christ came.
This does not mean that Satan had a sovereign reign over the world before Christ came.
Satan was always subject to God, who is all-powerful...
Satan’s power is already limited by God
This is seen in the account of Job...
(NIV84) — 12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
(NIV84) — 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
It’s also seen when Zechariah the prophet spoke of the high priest Joshua, who had Satan standing next to him, ready to accuse him…And
(NIV84) — 6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”
(NIV84) — 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
(NIV84) — 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
God has always been, and will always be sovereign!!
But nonetheless, Satan was given a measure of reign and power in this world. He was a powerful deceiver, at work within the world.
In verse 27, Christ makes the observation that
But if Satan is the strong man, then Jesus Christ is the one who is stronger!
But if Satan is the strong man, then Jesus Christ is one Stronger!!!
Christ has come into the world in order to bind up this strong man Satan, and take away his possessions.
The possessions that he will take away from Satan are all His chosen and elect people, who he will bring out from the power of the evil one, and into His own kingdom.
The wonderful news of the Gospel is that Christ has entered into the world in order to set the captives free.
And the reality is that this time has arrived.
In saying these words, Christ is using a very interesting manner of describing Satan’s present rule over people in the world, and the fact that He had come in order to overpower Satan, and in effect steal Satan’s possessions!!!
Christ’s entrance into the world, and the work that He came to do, would mark the time of Satan being bound.
This would mark the beginning of Christ pillaging of the house of Satan.
Taking away those who were possessed by Satan.
What a victorious and encouraging statement.
Indeed, the Messiah was to be the One who would free God’s chosen people.
Listen to the words that God spoke through the prophet Isaiah (concerning the Messiah who was to come)...
Listen to how the words that God spoke through the prophet Isaiah (concerning the Messiah who was to come)
Isaiah 49:24–26 NIV84
24 Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives rescued from the fierce? 25 But this is what the Lord says: “Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save. 26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
Isaiah 49:
Here was a prophecy concerning the Saviour that was to come.
While there were elements of that prophecy through Isaiah being directly applicable to Israel, how much more so was the prophecy applicable to the coming Messiah, rescuing His chosen ones from bondage under the power of Satan?!
Here was a prophecy concerning the Saviour that was to come.
The Scriptures are rich in their descriptions of the implications and the extent of the victory that has been obtained through the work of Christ.
Ultimately, this work was brought to completion through the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ...
And although evil continues to be present and active in the world to a certain extent, there is much victory that is a present reality in our lives as believers, and Scripture gives an assurance that God will finally triumph over evil in all its forms.
Synopsis
Although evil continues to be present and active in the world, Scripture gives an assurance that God will finally triumph over evil in all its forms.
Listen to the words of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians:
(NIV84) — 12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
See also ; ; ;
(NIV84) — 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
(NIV84) — 6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”
(NIV84) — 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
(NIV84) — 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Evil spirits are subject to God’s control
(NIV84) — 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
(NIV84) — 14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.
See also ; ; ; ; ;
(NIV84) — 23 God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who acted treacherously against Abimelech.
(NIV84) — 10 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the harp, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand
(NIV84) — 9 But an evil spirit from the Lord came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the harp,
(NIV84) — 23 “So now the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.”
(NIV84) — 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
The Apostle John, in writing his first letter, wrote...
Jesus Christ’s triumph over evil powers
(NIV84) — 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
(NIV84) — 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
(NIV84) — 25 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. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 “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 rob his house.
Jesus Christ the Messiah had entered into the world, and was taking for Himself a possession, as the One who has effectively bound Satan.
(NIV84) — 27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.”
(NIV84) — 13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
(NIV84) — 18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
John writes in His Gospel:
(NIV84) — 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.
The writer to the Hebrews wrote:
(NIV84) — 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
(NIV84) — 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Dear friends, it is a most comforting and reassuring thought for us who know Christ that He came to demonstrate His great power and authority.
As He was in the world, He stated to the Scribes of that day, that He had come to bind Satan, and it was by His own power that He would now start to take away the possession of the strong man.
You sit here today as a believer because Satan has been bound. He cannot keep you from entering into the kingdom of the Son, because he is powerless to do so!!!
Just a comment, as slightly an aside....
We often hear of some teachers (particularly tele-evangelists) saying we must “bind Satan”. That the reason for an attack on a person is because of a demon, and that we need to bind Satan.
Friends, Christ is the one that binds Satan, and once Christ has bound Him, no one is going to set him free again!!
Freedom has come!!! We are free from bondage to Satan. The tools are available to us.
The Spirit of Christ is available to us.
Let us then walk in that truth, and remain in Christ.
That is where the power lies - when we are in Christ. Living, moving, having our being in Him. Having our lives brought under His transforming power!!
One of the wonderful realities and truths that flow out from this binding of the strong man is that through it...
God’s transforming power reverses the effects of evil in human lives
(NIV84) — 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(NIV84) — 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(NIV84) — 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
As those who have come to Christ, we need not, we should not, continue to live as if we are under the power of Satan...
(NIV84) — 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
(NIV84) — 10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
(NIV84) — 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
(NIV84) — 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
(NIV84) — 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
(NIV84) — 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
(NIV84) — 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(NIV84) — 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
(NIV84) — 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
God brings good out of evil
;
(NIV84) — 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
(NIV84) — 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
See also ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
(NIV84) — 8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.
(NIV84) — 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
(NIV84) — 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.
(NIV84) — 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
(NIV84) — 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
(NIV84) — 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.
(NIV84) — 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.
(NIV84) — 12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
(NIV84) — 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,
(NIV84) — 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
(NIV84) — 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
We have this power in Christ available to us, working within us!!
The removal of the curse on creation
(NIV84) — 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
See also ; ; ; ;
(NIV84) — 28 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
(NIV84) — 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
(NIV84) — 1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
(NIV84) — 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
(NIV84) — 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.
(NIV84) — 4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
See also Interpreters differ over whether the “thousand years” refers to a future period or to Jesus Christ’s present rule in the world.
(NIV84) — 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
The final defeat of all evil powers
; ;
(NIV84) — 4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
(NIV84) — 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
(NIV84) — 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
See also ; ; ; ; ; ;
(NIV84) — 1 “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.
(NIV84) — 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
(NIV84) — 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
(NIV84) — 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
(NIV84) — 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
(NIV84) — 20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
(NIV84) — 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Evil will be excluded from the new heaven and earth
(NIV84) — 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
See also ; ; ;
(NIV84) — 17 “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.
(NIV84) — 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
(NIV84) — 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
(NIV84) — 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
In the middle of His response to the Scribes, accusing Him of being one who was entirely possessed by and controlled by Satan, Jesus brings to light that the reality is in fact the complete opposite!!!
A number of important points should be recognised through theses words.
And so, let us consider then some important and encouraging points from the truth that Christ is conveying here, as He speaks of Himself as having come to bind Satan.
He is the One who has arrived to bind Satan, and the very fact that the demons are now driven out, and cannot continue their powerful workings in the hearts and lives of these people, is proof sufficient that Christ has begun this work!
Firstly, we need to understand that the strong man that is referred to in these words is in fact Satan himself.
In other words, Christ acknowledges that Satan indeed has some measure of power over the world in terms of ruling it and keeping as his possession.
How do you view your own life, dear friend?
Do you see yourself as under some bondage to sin?
Perhaps under bondage to a generational curse?
Perhaps under bondage to the circumstances of your life?
Jesus is the One who came to bring freedom.
Satan is not caricatured or depicted as a weak force.
We’ve already seen in the preceding words of Christ that He speaks of Satan having a kingdom. “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” This is an indirect comment demonstrating that indeed, Satan has a kingdom.
Jesus is the One who is the ultimate strong man. All authority and power is His.
He brings us our freedom, from whatever it may be that we believe is holding us bondage.
In , we read theses words:
Are you trusting in Him and His power?
Colossians 1:13 NIV84
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
Notice that word “Dominion”.
Dominion speaks of a powerful and effective rule. Satan’s rule over mankind was powerful and effective. Satan held complete dominion over each and every life.
The dominion that is spoken of there is that dominion which came into play and effect when Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden of Eden, and since that time, Satan was at work blinding the eyes of people, holding them captive as his very own possession...
…but for the grace of God.
In speaking about Satan, Paul said to the Corinthians...
2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV84
4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
The God of this age was Satan, and his work was that of blinding the eyes of people...
John 12:31 NIV84
31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

2.3. Christ Condemns the Accusers

Notice with me then the third part of Christ’s response, the fact that He condemns the Accusers.

3. Point 3

He brings a very strong word of rebuke, a very strong and direct caution against those who have just accused Him of being a worker of Satan.
In fact the words here form what is one of the most solemn and serious pronouncements in the entire New Testament.
He begins in verse 28 with the words: “I tell you the truth”
This phrase is used more than a dozen times in Mark to preface an earnest admonition.
He begins in verse 28 with the words: “I tell you the truth”, used more than a dozen times in Mark to preface an earnest admonition.
The word used in the Greek is “Amen” - the word we use to end off our prayers. It’s meaning is really “truly speaking”… When we say it at the end of our prayers, meaning “may it truly be so” as we have asked...
And so Christ says...
Mark 3:28–29 NIV84
28 I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”
Within those words...
...is the element of hope
...is also the element of certain judgement.
I’m going to begin with looking at verse 29 - which really was the warning that was given to these Scribes.
Christ very clearly states that there is an “eternal sin”. A sin that will never be forgiven.
Within the context, the sin that is spoken of becomes very clear.
The eternal sin “is the sin of the wilfully blind, who persistently refuse the illumination of the Spirit, oppose the Spirit’s work, and justify themselves in doing so by deliberately misrepresenting him. For such, there can be no forgiveness, for they have refused the only way of forgiveness that God has provided” [1]
In more simple terms, the unforgivable sin is that sin of rejecting Christ.
These Scribes were stating that Christ was one who was working by the power of Satan, whereas He was in fact the One sent by God into the world, in fact the One who was God the flesh.
By attributing God’s workings to Satan, they were blaspheming the Holy Spirit, and would not be forgiven of their sinfulness, because they had rejected the Messiah, the only One who could bring them the forgiveness and salvation they needed.
There is only one way to the Father, and that is by the Son.
There are not many roads, or many religions that lead to God, and we must simply choose the road that suits us best, or sounds the nicest to us.
Jesus said:
John 14:6 NIV84
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 10:10 NIV84
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
The Scribes didn’t want to know about the son, they rejected Him!
This was unforgiveable. They were condemned.
1 John 5:16 NIV84
16 If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that.
There is forgiveness with God for every sin and blasphemy except one, which may be the deadly sin of which John speaks so cautiously in . This

“I tell you the truth” (Gk. Amēn legō hymin), used more than a dozen times in Mark to preface an earnest admonition. Here it signifies the seriousness of the charge that Jesus is in league with Satan.

The sad but very true reality is that all who will reject the Son of God, Jesus Christ the Messiah, stand condemned before God, and they have no hope of being saved...
(NIV84) — 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.
Forceful words as
(NIV84) — 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
What is the key truth that is suppressed?
Well surely the fact that there is a Messiah, and to believe in the work that He came to do.
(NIV84) — 12 ...all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
Certainly there is a strong word of warning here to those who reject the truth of the Saviour having come.
If they persist in rejection of the Messiah, God’s chosen servant, that sin will be unforgivable.
But let us not forget the word of encouragement that comes through in Christ’s stern warning… That apart from the sin and blasphemy that is eternal (in other words a rejection of Christ as Saviour) all other sins and blasphemies will be forgiven.
But let us not forget the word of encouragement that comes through in Christ’s stern warning…
That apart from the sin and blasphemy that is eternal (in other words a rejection of Christ as Saviour) all other sins and blasphemies will be forgiven.
In other words, if you believe in Jesus, confess Him as Lord by repentance and faith, then you have forgiveness of every sin, and there is no sin that cannot be forgiven.
There is no sin that is beyond forgiveness, if you believe in Christ as the Messiah.
1 John 5:1...
The New International Version (1984) Faith in the Son of God

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God

For anyone who is truly penitent, no matter how shameful his transgressions may have been, there is no reason to despair...
So many Scriptures convey this wonderful truth!
Psalm 103:12 NIV84
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
; ; ; , ; ; ). On the other hand, there is no excuse for being indifferent, as if the subject of the unpardonable sin is of no concern to the average church member. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the result of gradual progress in sin. Grieving the Spirit (), if unrepented of, leads to resisting the Spirit (), which, if persisted in, develops into quenching the Spirit (). The true solution is found in , , “Today O that you would listen to his voice. Harden not your hearts!” Cf. , .
Isaiah 1:18 NIV84
18 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isaiah 44:22 NIV84
22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”
; ; , ; ; ). On the other hand, there is no excuse for being indifferent, as if the subject of the unpardonable sin is of no concern to the average church member. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the result of gradual progress in sin. Grieving the Spirit (), if unrepented of, leads to resisting the Spirit (), which, if persisted in, develops into quenching the Spirit (). The true solution is found in , , “Today O that you would listen to his voice. Harden not your hearts!” Cf. , .

For anyone who is truly penitent, no matter how shameful his transgressions may have been, there is no reason to despair (Ps. 103:12; Isa. 1:18; 44:22; 55:6, 7; Mic. 7:18–20; 1 John 1:9). On the other hand, there is no excuse for being indifferent, as if the subject of the unpardonable sin is of no concern to the average church member. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the result of gradual progress in sin. Grieving the Spirit (Eph. 4:30), if unrepented of, leads to resisting the Spirit (Acts 7:51), which, if persisted in, develops into quenching the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19). The true solution is found in Ps. 95:7b, 8a, “Today O that you would listen to his voice. Harden not your hearts!” Cf. Heb. 3:7, 8a.

; ). On the other hand, there is no excuse for being indifferent, as if the subject of the unpardonable sin is of no concern to the average church member. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the result of gradual progress in sin. Grieving the Spirit (), if unrepented of, leads to resisting the Spirit (), which, if persisted in, develops into quenching the Spirit (). The true solution is found in , , “Today O that you would listen to his voice. Harden not your hearts!” Cf. , .
Micah 7:18–20 NIV84
18 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. 19 You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. 20 You will be true to Jacob, and show mercy to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our fathers in days long ago.
I44:22
For anyone who is truly penitent, no matter how shameful his transgressions may have been, there is no reason to despair (; ; ; , ; ; ). On the other hand, there is no excuse for being indifferent, as if the subject of the unpardonable sin is of no concern to the average church member. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the result of gradual progress in sin. Grieving the Spirit (), if unrepented of, leads to resisting the Spirit (), which, if persisted in, develops into quenching the Spirit (). The true solution is found in , , “Today O that you would listen to his voice. Harden not your hearts!” Cf. , .
, ; ; ). On the other hand, there is no excuse for being indifferent, as if the subject of the unpardonable sin is of no concern to the average church member. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the result of gradual progress in sin. Grieving the Spirit (), if unrepented of, leads to resisting the Spirit (), which, if persisted in, develops into quenching the Spirit (). The true solution is found in , , “Today O that you would listen to his voice. Harden not your hearts!” Cf. , .
What wonderful and blessed truths are these, that if we believe on the Lord JEsus, we have forgiveness.
We are freed from bondage to the strong man!!
On the other hand, there is no excuse for being indifferent, as if the subject of the unpardonable sin is of no concern to the average church member.
The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the result of gradual progress in sin.
Grieving the Spirit (), if unrepented of, leads to resisting the Spirit (), which, if persisted in, develops into quenching the Spirit ().
The true solution is found in , , “Today O that you would listen to his voice. Harden not your hearts!” Cf. , .

Application and Conclusion

Application and Conclusion

As we draw to a close, let us consider some brief points of application.
As Christians, the confrontation, indeed, the rejection that Christ faced, we too will face.
Attacks will be leveled (and are so often leveled) against Christians purely on the basis of a distaste or dislike towards what Christians hold to and believe.
There really is no solid basis for these attacks.
Perhaps those who mock are spurred on by so-called “scientific” data, but there really is little basis for the hatred.
Let us be encouraged. Rejection of the Saviour is nothing new, and it will continue until the final judgement of Christ!!
Let us persevere as ambassadors of Christ in the world!
But let us also take heed from these verses dear friends.
Our God is truly a gracious and loving God, who delights to forgive sins.
There is no excuse for being indifferent, as if the subject of the unpardonable sin is of no concern to the average church member.
Firstly, there may be those sitting here even today, who have not repented, who have not bowed the knee to the Saviour.
Do not delay!! Rejection of God’s chosen servant, God’s Son, leads to eternal damnation and punishment!
But perhaps you feel that you’re not too bad, and your sins not so great. Be cautioned...
The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the result of gradual progress in sin.
Grieving the Spirit (), if unrepented of, leads to resisting the Spirit (), which, if persisted in, develops into quenching the Spirit ().
The true solution is found in...
Hebrews 3:7–8 NIV84
So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert,
, .
But for all in Christ today, be encouraged in this...
Christ is stronger than Satan, and due to the work that He has done on the cross, we know that the victory is secure.
Satan has been bound!
We serve the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, who is even at this very time bringing all things under His power and dominion!!
And until that grand consummation at the end of time, let us persevere, knowing that we will be with Him in glory!

Bibliography

Cole, R. A. (1989). Mark: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 2, p. 145). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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