By Sean Gooding
Matthew chapter 12:22-32 (continued)
“Then one possessed with a demon was brought to Him, blind and mute, and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. All the people were amazed and said, ‘Is He not the Son of David?’ But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, ‘This Man does not cast out demons, except by Beelzebub the ruler of the demons.’
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. And every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. Then how will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges.
But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or else how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
Therefore I say to you, all kinds of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven men. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.’”
We ended last time talking about the Jesus being the God of the Gentiles. He went out of His way to get to them and to include them. While the Jew where rejecting Him there where Gentiles trusting Him. The explosion of the New Testament church into the Gentile cities and towns around Israel was a testimony to the influence and power that Jesus had amongst these people.
Today the vast majority of the Lord’s people are Gentiles; the Jews who recognize Jesus as Lord are few in comparison. But the day is coming soon when the nation of Israel will see Jesus for who He is and they will call on Him and worship Him as their Messiah. We, in the Gentile church should eagerly look forward to that day since our salvation is by and from the Jews. And just in case you forgot, Jesus is a Jew.
In this article we will move on in our examination of how the religious leaders constantly accused Jesus of being evil. They hated his popularity and they feared what would happen if He ever took over. They would lose their power, wealth and influence. Religion is no different today. It attacks Jesus but in more subtle ways. They claim the name of Jesus but deny His power and ways. This is like trying to make lemonade without lemons. You can call it whatever you may want, and you may even convince some that it is lemonade with a great advertising campaign—BUT it is not lemonade.
Perspective, Verses 22-23
If you have ever heard the teaching on the Origin of the Earth you will find that perspective is the most important part of the idea of creation versus evolution. People approach the idea of the of origin either from the idea that we evolved or that we were created. This then frames how we view every other piece of information. For those of us that trust the Bible as our source of information we accept creation. For those that reject the Bible as the final word on life they accept evolution.
Here in this encounter with demons we see the idea of perspective come into play with the reactions of the people. The people who had been blessed either by being delivered or having had a loved one delivered from demon possession, accepted Jesus as the Son of David—the Messiah. The ones who hated His presence and were threatened by His power and popularity had to find a way to put Him down and discredit Him. To the first group He was the great Messiah, to the others He was the great imposter.
Not much has changed in 2000 years of the gospel. There are the believers and the naysayers. Some accept Jesus as the Lord and Master of the universe and others, sadly, reject Him as being God. However, mankind’s rejection of Jesus does not change anything. He is still God and this particular day when He had been accused of being the devil, He still behaved like God; He read their thoughts.
How arrogant do you have to be to have a man perfectly read your thoughts and still not call Him God? Religion produces arrogance, reliance on self and NOT on God. Humility produces reliance on God and NOT on self. It is hard for us who are believers to accept that there is a world of people outside of our doors who reject Jesus.
The vast majority do so out of ignorance. We, in the New Testament churches have failed miserably in educating people about Jesus. But in and amongst these disbelievers is a faction of people that are passionately waiting for the rise of the Antichrist as true believers are waiting for the Rapture. The lost are positioning themselves to be useful to the devil in his coming role of with the short term global leader. They accept that there is a god, but their god is Satan. Satan thrives on arrogance; he is the author of it. Arrogance draws you “closer” to Satan and humility draws God closer to you. You can only go one way at a time.
From which perspective do you live life and view your circumstances? Is Jesus Lord no matter what happens or do you reject His Lordship in your life?
Let me let you in on a little tidbit: Jesus is Lord and his Lordship is not subject to your acceptance thereof. In Canada we have a head of state; she is the Queen of England. You do not have to accept the fact that she is the head of state, but that lack of acceptance will not change the facts. Accept Jesus as Lord today. You cannot sit on the fence. Jesus said that those who are not with Him are against Him.
Division Is a Killer, Verses 25-28
The devil is arrogant but certainly not stupid. He understands that division is deadly to a cause. Jesus explains that it is counterproductive for Satan to cast out Satan, that would be defeating you own cause. That would be like killing your own soldiers. One of the things that we have to fight in the Lord’s churches is the perception of Satan as some kind of bumbling fool. He is a battle worn commander who understands 6000 years of war on all levels with generations of humans. His focus is exceptional and he is not swayed by anything at all. Jesus had more “respect” for Satan than the religious leaders had for Jesus.
The devil is good at causing division but his kingdom is not divided. Thus he would not be one to cast out his own demons. The devil has caused countless years of division in the Lord’s churches. The idea of divided and conquer was definitely not lost on him. Today he continues to cause division in the Lord’s churches. Things like a lack of forgiveness and indifference wreak havoc in the Lord‘s churches.
Religion has crept into the Lord’s churches and we have this arrogance that comes with it. Arrogance breeds a lack of forgiveness which breeds division. Homes, families, nations, friends, businesses and society in general have been divided by the devil, but he is not divided. He is eternally focused doing all he can to usurp the Lord as the King of the world. He will not succeed but one can never say that he was destroyed by division.
Jesus made it clear that since the devil’s kingdom is not divided, and since the demons were cast out, then obviously one greater than the devil was right there in front of them; and the only person in the universe more powerful than Satan is God. These men facing Jesus understood who He was. They simply did not want to bow to Him because their religion was not based on the grace of the Living God; it was based on their perceived righteousness in themselves. Sadly, their end would be the same as that of the devil; they will spend an eternity in hell.
Be Careful What You Think About the Holy Spirit, Verses 31-32
These men did not actually say out loud what they were thinking but God could read their minds. They accused the Holy Spirit of doing the work of Satan. This is not a joke and God does not take these kinds of things lightly. God has manifested Himself in creation, “the heavens declare the glory of God.”
Jesus walked on water, healed the sick, raised the dead and fed the masses and rose from the grave. He came to be ridiculed by the very men that He came to save. He expected to be put down and harassed. BUT the Holy Spirit is simply there to move us toward the Lord, to reveal Jesus to us and in us once we are saved. He is our “down payment” on the salvation we have in Jesus. He is the One who indwells us and is the new life living in our dead bodies. God does not tolerate blasphemy of the Holy Spirit it is the unpardonable sin. Think about that.
Jesus asked God the Father to forgive the men who nailed Him to the cross. One will be forgiven for blaspheming Jesus. God forgave David for murder and adultery. God forgives millions upon millions of sins from men and women each day. He forgives me when I hate under my breath, He forgives me when I do secret sins and He offers me fresh mercy with each waking day. BUT, God will not forgive those that accuse the Holy Spirit of doing the devil’s work. This is intolerable as far as God is concerned. Be careful what you think, Jesus is listening.
This is one of the areas in which I am convicted more and more each day. My thoughts are my greatest enemies right now. I find that God is on me about my thoughts. He checks me on how I think about my wife, my kids, my job and me. He checks me with how I think about women around me and the men also. I find myself to be too judgmental at times and in fact hypocritical, as I am often like the people I condemn in my mind.
I want to be honest here because I want us to honest with ourselves. There is a great line in the movie Along Came a Spider. The villain says “A mind is terrible thing” in one of the scenes. Sadly, this can be true in Christians as well. We forget that we are sinners saved by grace and that were it not for the grace of God and that only, we would be in some pretty dark places.
The book of Romans 12:1-2 tells us that God wants to transform our minds. He wants to change the way we think and the way He does this in through the Holy Spirit in us. He transforms us through the Holy Bible, conviction and discipline. It is not easy to change the way you think, that is why God has to do it. And, it needs to be done from the inside out; it needs to form the new birth, with a new beginning and a new future. Only the Holy Spirit can do that; He should be praised and revered not blasphemed.
This brings us back to idea of division; a true Christian cannot blaspheme the Holy Spirit. God is not divided. God cannot blaspheme himself. Our bodies, if we know Jesus, are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we should live like He is living in us.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
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