Lesson 50: "By Thy Words Thou Shalt Be Justified. . ."
Matthew 12:22-45, Luke 11:14-32
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. Lesson # 50. Thanks for hanging- in-there. This is still part of the Great Galilean ministry. At the end of our last lesson, we read from Mark 3:22-30 where a group of scribes came from Jerusalem and accused Jesus of being a devil, i.e. working though Beelzebub. Jesus said this was tantamount to blasphemy and Jesus warned them as much; but, emphasized that their sin could be forgiven, in Mark 3:28. This sermon was given the same day Jesus gave the parables out of the little ship and the same day Jesus' mother and brethren came seeking him. Now, to refresh our memory; we're going to read Matthew's account. It starts in Matt. 12:22! Matthew gives us a little more than Mark gave; but, let's read Matthew's account. Beginning in Matt. 12:22 and we'll read down thru v.45. Have you got that? Let's read! "Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the Son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else, how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. 0 generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be give to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah: for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the •judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost part of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of the man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation."
Now, please notice that Jesus did not argue that Satan has NOT power. As a matter of fact, Jesus conceded that Satan's powers are organized into a domain when he made reference to Satan's kingdom in v.25-26. But, Jesus argued instead that their conclusion was a foolish conjecture. Notice how that Jesus analyzed their thinking. If one should grant their assertion as true, the bottom line would be Satan destroying Satan. Thus, Jesus shows their conjecture to be a foolish conclusion. V.27 may imply that some of Pharisaic followers made CLAIMS of casting out Beelzebub also. Therefore, if they attributed Jesus' powers to Satan; they were thereby self-incriminating themselves. But, then if they should honestly conclude that Jesus done the miracles mentioned up in v.22 by the Spirit of God (v.28) "the kingdom of God is come unto you." This of course means the kingdom at that stage. Then in v.30 Jesus said in effect; they must make up their own mind. They couldn't have it both ways. Either they were with Jesus as the King of His kingdom or they were enemies of the kingdom. They could NOT acknowledge Jesus' miracles as good and then say they came from an evil source. V.33, Jesus said, "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is know by his fruit." We talked about the word "blasphemy" in Mark's account. But, Jesus here laid down an important rule in his kingdom. Do you remember in the sermon in the mount; several times Jesus said, "Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time..." thus-and-so, and Jesus, then, quoted from the Law of Moses one of the ten commandments and then said, "But I say unto you?" And then following that Jesus gave the law that would apply for his kingdom. The statement that Jesus made about blasphemy in Matt. 12:32 is very much like that. In the Old Law the third commandment prohibited blaspheming God and the penalty was death by stoning. But, Jesus says here in v.32 that in his kingdom; anyone who blasphemes the Holy Ghost will NOT receive forgiveness, "neither in this world, neither in the world to come." AND, to NOT receive forgiveness is obviously equivalent to being lost eternally. You see, there's not going to be any instant penalty as was the case under the old law, which penalty was to be administered by the congregation of Israel, i.e. from a national standpoint. Thus, we learn Jesus' attitude toward another area of human conduct or human behavior that was also regulated in the Ten Commandment law.
Now, let me ask you a question! What's the difference in sinning against Jesus and sinning against the Holy Ghost? The answer is NONE! Jesus and the Holy Ghost are ONE in purpose. The point is this: the difference is in the temporary nature of the sin AND the eternal nature of the sin. All sins CAN BE forgiven. Jesus said so! It is important for us to realize here; Jesus did NOT discuss the requirements for having sins remitted/ i.e. to obtain forgiveness. You see, Jesus made this comment to the scribes and Pharisees to encourage them to TAKE ACTION to have their sins remitted. But, Jesus DIDN'T discuss the action required, you see; at least, not here! But, it WILL BE covered by these writers later. Of course, IF they did not take the appropriate action; and they died in that condition; they would be lost eternally. You might want to read I John 5:16. We are to pray for those who sin and to pray for their repentance. Of course, one CAN NOT repent for another; but, God may grant them more time and good influence may cause them to repent. The prayer of another does not guarantee their repentance; but, James 5:16 says, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." As I said, no guarantee; but, it COULD make the difference. Once a person dies, AND we know NOT what hour that may be; then, our destiny is fixed. That sin is unto death, so-to-speak. There's NO USE to pray after the persons dies in a lost condition. Thus, there is no more opportunity for change, you see. Therefore the doctrine of purgatory is a false doctrine. Now, we will learn later that the Holy Ghost was sent by Jesus at a later time to direct the apostles in the establishment of the church or kingdom.
Now look at v.36-37. Another very important rule. One can not do THESE THINGS and then attribute them to idle talk. Jesus says we shall give account for every word in the Judgment, idle or sober; makes no difference. What we say will be taken into account, "by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." And, I trust that you see that ALL OF THIS laces back into the beatitudes and that inner-man principle we covered in Matt. ch. 5.
In Mark's account, Mark glossed over the comments of the scribes and Pharisees. But, Matthew carries the dialogue a little further. In v.38 they, the scribes and Pharisees said, "Master, we would see a sign from thee." Now, that's like saying, Do something that proves that you are from heaven. This obviously was discounting the miracles mention up in v.22; where it says (in v.23) "all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the Son of David?", i.e. the common people. And Jesus did so many, many more miracles that we've read about that it's very obvious Jesus left no question as to his deity in this respect. You see, the Pharisees were demanding more proof. But, Jesus felt the proof was adequate to establish their faith if they were honest and good hearts. Thus, because they asked this question: Jesus said they were an evil and adulterous generation. The word "adulterous" here does not mean an illicit sexual act, as it usually does; but to be corrupt in a general way. That was the idea back in v.34 where Jesus called them vipers, i.e. they were venomous; or another way of saying treacherous and dangerous in their teaching. It goes back to that inner-man principle; they were simply not honest and good hearts. Some people never stop demanding proof. Did you ever notice that people who will not accept one passage of the Bible today; won't accept another passage. We have discussed before the difference in FAITH and ABSOLUTE KNOWLEDGE. Faith in Jesus is required. Now, what was the sign of the prophet Jonah? I trust you know there is a book in the O.T. called Jonah. God sent the prophet Jonah to the Assyrian city of Nineveh. And Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah as is indicated here in v.41. But, the sign that Jesus gave is in v.40, "as Jonah was three days and nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." And surely you recognize that this was a perfect description of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection that eventually took place and all four writer (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) will cover this event. That sign was not only to those Pharisees; these writers reported these things for our benefit as well. The point in v.41-42 is that the people of Nineveh and the queen of Sheba, (that reference goes back to II Kings ch. 10) had far less to go on back there, than these scribes and Pharisee. Yet that queen as well as the Ninevites were convinced. The times these Pharisees lived in, you see, gave them a great advantage, evidence-wise.
In v.43-44-45, Jesus gave another parable. Do you remember the words of Matthew in ch. 13:34? "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them..." The parable here in 12:43 involves unclean spirits. We spent a good bit of time talking about unclean spirits once before, you'll remember. So, you're on you own here! But, the application to this parable is at the end of v.45. "Even so shall it be also unto this wicked 'generation." By resisting Jesus, they were only creating a worse situation for themselves; inviting more and more evil upon themselves. They were in effect providing an abode for Satanic spirits.
Now, let's go to the 11th chapter of Luke. There is a section very similar to what we have just covered in Matthew. Let's read that section at this time. Luke 11:14 is where the section begins and it continues down through v.32. Have you got that? Luke 11:14, let's read. "And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here."
O.K. everything is pretty much the same as what we have just discussed in Matthew's account with the exception of v.27-28 about the CERTAIN woman who yelled out and blessed Mary. But, you might notice that Jesus said, "Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." That not only summarizes the incorrect attitude of the Pharisees; but, it shows further that Mary the mother of Jesus has no place of prominence in the kingdom above that of any other citizen in God kingdom as our Catholic friends claim and teach. Please notice one more thing! Matthew made this point; but, you've got it in front of you in Luke's account (11:31-32). The queen of Sheba and the men of Nineveh "shall rise up in judgment with this generation." Did you catch that? The parable of the tares and the parable of the Net gave us a good deal of information about the judgment. Here's another clue! So we have one more lesson that Jesus taught in Galilee. Thanks for coming, and have a good day!