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Matthew 12:23-37

What Say You

  • Matthew Dodd
  • December 2, 2018

In life, we are continually forced to make judgments. Is this person credible or trustworthy? Will this product live up to the manufacturer’s claims? In order to render a proper verdict, the evidence must be examined and evaluated. The same is true when it comes to matters of faith. There are reasons for faith and God expects us to examine and evaluate the evidence so that we may make the right decision. We will study a defining moment in the life and ministry of our Savior, Jesus Christ, one which asks, “What say you?”

  • Sermon Notes

What Say You?

Matthew 12:22-37

Introduction

ILLUS – Funny courtroom exchanges.

1.In life, we are continually forced to make judgments. Is this person credible or trustworthy? Will this product live up to the manufacturer’s claims?

2.In order to render a proper verdict, the evidence must be examined and evaluated.

3.The same is true when it comes to matters of faith.

4.There are reasons for faith and God expects us to examine and evaluate the evidence so that we may make the right decision.

5.Tonight, we will study a defining moment in the life and ministry of our Savior, Jesus Christ, one which asks, “What say you?”

Matthew 12:22-37

I. Jesus Demands a Decision (22-29)

  • At this point, you could feel the tension in the air.
  • TB.Jesus is the strongest strongman (25-29)
    1.In verses 25-29, Jesus presented three arguments to refute the Pharisees’ verdict.
    2.First, to say that Jesus casted out demons by Beelzebul, which is another name for Satan, was illogical.
    hree groups were present and each with differing views about the identity of Jesus.
  • For eleven of the twelve apostles, the matter was settled, Jesus is the Promised One, Israel’s Messiah.
  • Two other groups had witnessed and evaluated the same evidence. They had heard Jesus’ teachings, the authority and wisdom of His spoken words.
  • They also witnessed lepers cleansed, the blind gaining sight, the deaf able to hear, and the lame now walking beside them.
  • And moments earlier, a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, Jesus healed him too! (22)
  • The second group was hopeful but not sure, so they turned to the Pharisees for their opinion and asked, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?” (23)
  • The Pharisees would have nothing of it. Their minds were made up, their hearts were hardened, to them the verdict was in. They indignantly declared, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.” (24) 

APPL – What say you?

A. Son of David or ruler of demons? (22-24)

1.“Son of David” is a Messianic title which harkens back to the promise that God gave to King David in 2 Samuel 7.

2 Samuel 7:12-14, 16, When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me;… Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.

2.The second group’s question about Jesus being the Son of David was repugnant to the Pharisees for Jesus had confronted their man-made religious system and taught the people that entrance into the kingdom of God required a heart change, not the outward appearance of righteousness.

3.The Pharisees wanted to call the shots and have a Messiah that would applaud them and affirm their burdensome, religious system.

4.For the Pharisees, the words and miracles of Jesus were not credentials for being the King of the kingdom of God. These were the credentials of hell!

APPL – So, Jesus pulled back the veil and revealed what the healing of the blind and mute demoniac really meant.

B.Jesus is the strongest strongman (25-29)

1.In verses 25-29, Jesus presented three arguments to refute the Pharisees’ verdict.

2.First, to say that Jesus casted out demons by Beelzebul, which is another name for Satan, was illogical.

a.Satan wants to build his kingdom, not destroy it.

b.Why would Satan deliver a man who was already under his control?

c.In essence, the Pharisees were saying that Satan was fighting against Satan when Jesus cast out demons. Their conclusion doesn’t make sense.

3.Second, Jesus pointed to contemporary Jewish exorcists who delivered demon-possessed people.

a.Even His apostles had been given authority to do so.

Luke 9:1, And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases.

b.If they did so by God’s power, then why did the Pharisees claim that Jesus did not?

c.Jesus declared that on Judgment Day the Jewish exorcists will testify against the Pharisees. (27)

d.The correct evaluation of the evidence is that this is the work of the Spirit of God and that “the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (28)

4.Third, by driving out demons, Jesus proved that He is greater than Satan. He is the strongest strongman! (29)

a.As the strongest strongman, Jesus is able to enter the strongman’s house (i.e. the demonic world) and come away with the spoils (i.e. deliver the demon-possessed).

b.By doing so, Jesus was establishing God’s kingdom among them. He was offering the kingdom of God by the power of the Holy Spirit!

APPL – This is why I believe Christians cannot be possessed by demons. At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells the born-again Christian so Satan can no longer possess what God has delivered and redeemed!

A Christian can be tempted or be oppressed.

But a Christian can never be demon-possessed.

1 John 4:4, You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

Transition – Now, in verses 30-37, Jesus gave a famous warning which is also an encouraging invitation.

II.Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve (30-37)

A.There’s no neutral ground (30)

1.Verse 30 is a sobering, challenging statement. “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”

2.In other words, there’s no neutral ground!

3.Some people don’t like that statement because it doesn’t sound warm and fuzzy, it’s not politically correct or all-inclusive enough for their personal tastes.

APPL – But if you’re on the Titanic and you hear that the ocean liner just hit an iceberg, there’s no neutral ground.

Either you get into the lifeboat or you’re going down with the ship.

The choice is yours. What say you?

 

4. The good news is that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that in believing in Him, we would not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus is the only hope for our fallen world.

APPL – Some people try to take a neutral stance and say that Jesus was a good man, perhaps an ascended guru, or one who only preached against social injustices and societal ills.

But Jesus is the One who said here that there is no neutral ground.

He demands a decision.

Quote: As C. S. Lewis wrote in “Mere Christianity”, “You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

5. The crowd was asking, “Could this man be the Messiah, the Son of David? They were on the edge of their seats ready to receive Him.

6. The Pharisees were resisting the Holy Spirit.

ILLUS – Leading a 95-year-old man to Christ

Transition – What say you?

B. The truth about the unpardonable sin (31-32)

1. As Jesus pointed out, the real problem was the hardness of their hearts. Hardhearted people do not respond to the truth.

2. In pointing out just how hard their hearts had become, Jesus taught that there is an unpardonable sin – the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

3. I am glad that we can discuss this because many people are concerned that they may have, at one time or another in their lives, committed the unpardonable sin.

4. First, it is important to understand that God is a forgiving God; that His heart and desire is to forgive.

Psalm 103:12, As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.

5. Second, what is blasphemy? Blasphemy is to slander.

a. To say things about someone that aren’t true.

b. So, to blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to slander the Holy Spirit, to say something about the Holy Spirit that is not true.

6. So, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit occurred at the time of Jesus earthly ministry when people, knowing full well that what they were witnessing through Jesus, was the work of

God’s Spirit, but had the unmitigated gall, the hardness of heart, the audacity, to ascribe the Holy Spirit’s power to Satan!

7.In the context of Matthew 12:31-32, the sin of blasphemy is…

a.A sin of the heart not just the lips (34-35).

b.A sin committed despite great evidence to the contrary.

c.A willful sin, persistent unbelief, and a final rejection of Jesus.

8.This is the unpardonable sin, not being so angry with God that you tell Him so.

APPL – It’s very important to clarify this because if you have the slightest concern that you may have committed the unpardonable sin, it is sure evidence that you have not.

APPL – It’s very important to clarify this because if you have the slightest concern that you may have committed the unpardonable sin, it is sure evidence that you have not.

  • In fact, if a person has committed the unpardonable sin, they would be so hardhearted they wouldn’t have the slightest care or concern about it, just like the Pharisees.
  • Now that Jesus has died for our sins, was resurrected on the third day, ascended to heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead, the unpardonable sin is rejecting Jesus’ offer of salvation, the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life. 
  • That decision will not be forgiven.  

John 3:18, He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

C. Our words reveal what fills our hearts (33-37)

ILLUS – Asking a woman about a pro-life rally.

1.That truth is found in verse 34. “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” Jesus said this immediately after calling the Pharisees a brood of vipers. Why?

2.Because they knew that Jesus was doing miracles and casting out demons by the power of God.

John 3:1-2, Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

3.Therefore, knowing that Jesus was filled with the power of God, they had the unmitigated gall to accuse Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan.

4.From Jesus’ response we gain tremendous insight into the spiritual victory which is ours when Jesus becomes the strongest strongman in our lives.

APPL – If Jesus is the strongest strongman in our lives, who can overpower Him?

  • He has the power to transform our lives.
  • He has the power to liberate us from Satan’s lies.
  • He has the power to change our hearts so that we love what He loves, and treasure what He treasures.
  • He has the power to make our lives produces good fruit that honors God and blesses others. 

Romans 8:31-32, 37, If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

  • The facts are in. The choice is yours. What say you? 

Conclusion

Joshua 24:15, Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 

 


 

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