2007-04-01_Every Careless Word_Matthew 12.22-37_SL

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Every Careless Word

Matthew 12:22-37   |   Shaun LePage   |   April 1, 2007

I.       Introduction

A.    The typical male in a typical day will use 15,000 words. The typical female in a typical day will use 30,000. A husband looking through the paper came across this statistic and was excited to prove to his wife that he had been right all along when he accused her of talking too much. He showed her the study results. It read “Men use about 15,000 words per day, but women use 30,000”. The wife thought for a while, then finally she said to her husband “It’s because we have to repeat everything we say.” The husband said “What?”

B.    Jesus said something astonishing in Matt 12: “…Every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.” Amazing! Shows how important today is.

C.    Matthew 1-10—Jesus presenting Himself to Israel as King. Ch 11 begins His rejection. Chs. 12–13 rebellion against King getting more fierce; Rejected John; now rejecting their Messiah-King.

II.     Body—Matthew 12:22-37—black and white passage; a list of “twos”—choices to make.

A.    Two kinds of doubters: Honest and dishonest. (22-24)

1.     (22-23) Amazing miracle not the focus. The responses are the focus. 1st response is in v.23—honest doubters. They knew the OT predicted Messiah would do miracles. Their question reveals doubt, but they were “amazed”—the jury was still out.

2.     (24) The second kind of doubter: dishonest. | Some people refuse to believe the truth. Joe: “How about that! Dead men do bleed!” | Answer reveals refusal to believe—willful. | “Beelezbul”=Satan (26). What a leap—stubborn unbelief reveals dishonesty. Notice: didn’t dispute miracle. Left with two choices: God or Satan? They chose Satan.

B.    Two kingdoms: Satan’s and God’s. (25-30)

1.     (25-26) Jesus’ first defense (3 possibilities) showed the foolishness of dishonest doubters. Logic was flawed. Satan casts out Satan? The kingdom of Satan would be powerless.

2.     (27) Jesus’ second defense showed their hypocrisy. “Sons”—some of their own, exorcists among them. Were these also Satanic? Can’t have it both ways!

3.     (28-29) Jesus’ third possibility: By Spirit of God (only logical possibility) then the kingdom of God “has come upon you”! The King is here! | “Strong man” picture is Jesus’ saying He overpowers Satan and “plunders his house” every time he casts out demons. So, the power Jesus uses is a power greater than Satan.

4.     (30) No fence sitting! Only two kinds of people: “With” Him and everyone else. “Not with” same as “against.” Not “gathering with” Jesus? You’re working against Him—“scattering.”

C.    Two kinds of sin: Forgivable and unforgivable. (31-32)

1.     Some of the most disturbing words in the Bible. God is—by nature—very forgiving (Ps 86:5; 1 Jn 1:9). “Any sin”—including blasphemy—is forgivable! One sin is unforgivable (“shall not be forgiven” 31 & 32).

2.     What is “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.”

a)     “Blasphemy” general word for “evil speaking” about God. Context is supremely important.

b)     The context of Mt 12: Jesus “cast out demons by the Spirit of God” (28). His miraculous powers were the result of the HS working through Him. To “blaspheme the HS” is to willfully reject the work of the Holy Spirit by “speaking evil”—saying “Jesus doesn’t cast out demons by the HS. He casts out demons by the power of Satan. People can be forgiven for “blasphemy” and “speaking against” Jesus—the “Son of Man”. He looked no different than other men. His message was difficult to hear. But the HS worked through Him and provided the evidence an honest doubter needed to believe. It’s not unusual for someone to claim to be God (e.g., Hitler, Jim Jones, Manson, etc.). But if a man claims to be God then walks on water, raises the dead and casts out demons—be very careful how you respond.

c)     TDNT concludes that blasphemy of the HS is “The conscious and wicked rejection of the saving power and grace of God towards man. Only the man who sets himself against forgiveness is excluded from it.” Willful rejection in the face of tremendous evidence.

d)     “Blasphemy” possible today? Yes! HS is convicting world of sin (Jn 16:8)! Believer? Safe. Honest doubter? OK for a while. Dishonest doubters repent and believe! “This age”—not forgiven as one persists in unbelief. “Age to come” is coming—“shall not be forgiven”.

D.    Two kinds of hearts: Good and bad. (33-35)

1.     (33) “Make” along with the warnings in this passage make it clear: We have responsibility. Our lives are like “trees”. We can nurture and grow “good trees/fruit”; “bad trees/fruit”. | Jesus’ point was that His fruit was good, showing He was good—in contrast to the Pharisees.

2.     (34) “Brood of vipers” (Pharisees)—truly “evil” ones. They are bad trees bearing bad fruit. What is “bad fruit”? What they “speak”. Notice repetition of “speak/mouth/words”. Are words a big deal? Yes—they reveal “the heart” (v.34). Pharisees’ words revealed evil of their hearts.

3.     (35) Another metaphor—“treasure”. Treasure represents what is stored away in the heart. When you open your mouth and speak, you reveal either that your heart is good or evil. Jesus wasn’t suggesting Pharisees just say the right things—but have a change of heart.

E.     Two kinds of words: Justifying and condemning. (36-37)

1.     (36) “Every careless (=useless, lazy) word…” Jesus strongly warned Pharisees that their “careless” words were serious—with serious consequences (“give an accounting…day of judgment” again (chs 10,11))

2.     (37) “Justified” does not refer to salvation—as though controlling our words could earn us salvation (by faith!). “Words” will reveal the true nature of a person’s heart. The fruit that reveals the kind of tree (generally speaking).

III.  Application—All the “twos” highlight the fact of choice. Each “two” has application for us today:

A.    There are two kinds of doubters—honest and dishonest. Which are you? Honest doubters will really examine the evidence. Then, quit doubting and believe! Jn 20:27 “Be not unbelieving…”

B.    There are two kingdoms—Satan’s and God’s. Which are you in? Trust Christ to “transfer” you into the kingdom of God. Read Col 1:13—response in 3:1-17. Live as though Jesus is your King!

C.    There are two categories of sin—forgivable and unforgivable. Have you trusted Christ? You cannot commit the unforgivable sin. Are you willfully refusing to believe in Christ? You are rejecting the only solution to your sin problem. Believe what the Holy Spirit is showing you and receive forgiveness for your sins.

D.    There are two kinds of hearts—good and bad. Which describes your heart? When you believe, your inner man will be transformed. Read Ac 15:7-9 (“cleansing hearts” at salvation)! Believers—you and I are to work hard at making sure our hearts are good—Jas 4:8; Prov 4:23. Store up goodness in your heart (through the Word of God and prayer) and your life will bear good fruit.

E.     There are two kinds of words—justifying and condemning. Which kind have been coming out of your mouth—as a general rule. If you reject Christ and refuse to believe, “every careless word” will be produced as evidence to show that you are deserving of eternal condemnation. If you have trusted Christ with your eternal destiny, you will not face eternal hell, but your “careless words” will either justify you or condemn you at the judgment seat of Christ. You will be rewarded or suffer loss depending upon whether or not you were pleasing to God in your choice of words. Eph 4:29; James 1:19.  

IV.  Closing: This “accounting” Jesus spoke of should change everything for us. It is inescapable that if “every careless word” matters, then it certainly matters what kind of heart we have. What kind of sin we commit. Which kingdom we belong to. What kind of doubter we are. It matters. Today matters.

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