The text for this Sunday (5th November) is Matthew 12.22-50. In time you should be able to pick up the audio recording of the sermon at http://www.sgw.org.uk on the sermons page.
The sermon focuses on verses 38-50, skipping over the section that includes these verses:
And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. (Matthew 12:31 NIV)
These are serious words and it is vital that we understand them rightly. What is Jesus speaking about and what is he saying here?
Jesus is speaking with people who deny that Jesus is the Son of David, come from God, but instead claim he has come from the devil, also called Beelzebub. He calls this blasphemy and it is against the Spirit because His work is to bring people to see who Jesus truly is – the Messiah.
At this point no-one believes that Jesus is the Messiah: the disciples’ first confession of this comes in Chapter 16, and the Pharisees are all opposed to Jesus. Everyone at this point speaks against the Son, Jesus.
Some later repent of that unbelief, after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Peter would deny Jesus, yet he was forgiven and restored. Paul, himself a Pharisee, had persecuted Jesus’ followers, yet when he repented he too was forgiven.
Those who spoke against the Son were forgiven because they turned to the Son for forgiveness:
But other persisted in their unbelief. They continued to reject Jesus, and to deny that he was the Messiah. They refused to believe the testimony of the Holy Spirit that Jesus is the Messiah and that forgiveness is found only in him. Those who speak against the Spirit will not be forgiven because they rejected the only person who can forgive them.
I think it is Ben Cooper who uses the picture of pushing away the ladder of the fire fighter who has come to take you from a burning house. If you turn away the means of rescue, you cannot be saved. In a similar way, those who turn away Jesus the saviour cannot be saved.
What should you do if you think you are guilty of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Take it to Jesus and he will forgive it. It’s a promise.