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Sunday, November 18, 2018

[Matt's Messages] "So Thankful!"

“So Thankful!”
Following Jesus - The Gospel of Matthew
November 18, 2018 :: Matthew 12:22-32 

If you remember, last week, Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, and He got into trouble with the Pharisees.

He was always getting into trouble with the Pharisees.

This time they were unhappy that Jesus had healed a man on the Sabbath. They claimed that He was breaking the Law.

But Jesus claimed that He WAS the Law.

He claimed to be The King of Rest.

The Lord of the Sabbath.

Greater than Great King David.
Greater than the Levitical Priesthood.
Greater than the Temple that stood for the People of God.
Greater even than the Law of God itself.

He said, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

And Matthew, the evangelist said, “You better believe He is. He is the Suffering Servant of Isaiah. He is so gentle, He won’t break a bruised reed. He is so humble of heart that He won’t snuff out a smolder wick. And in His name the nations will put their hope.”

Jesus is the King of Rest.

Well, that’s NOT how the Pharisees wanted that interaction to go!

They were so rip roaring mad that they began to plot out how they could kill Jesus.

And in today’s passage, they came up with idea.

It’s a really bad idea.

But if it had worked, it would mean the end of Jesus.

They decided to claim that Jesus was not the King of Rest, but the King of Demons.

Yes, you heard me right.

Jesus was claiming to be The King of Rest.

But the Pharisees are claiming that He is instead the King of Demons, or at least working for and with the King of Demons.

Now, I’m sure that you did not come to church today wondering if Jesus was in league with Satan.

You just came to give thanksgiving this morning.

But aren’t just SO THANKFUL that this is true?

That’s what I want to call this message today.

“So Thankful!”

Because there are at least three big things in today’s passage that we should be rejoicing about every single day that we live. So very thankful!

The story starts with someone who had very little to be thankful for. V.22

“Then they brought him [Jesus] a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, ‘Could this be the Son of David?’”

Isn’t that amazing?

The people sure thought so.

Think about what this man’s life was like.

He could not see. And he could not talk.

So he was cut off in significant ways from the people around him.

But even worse, inside of him was an evil spirit.

He couldn’t see, but he was tormented by this demon.

And he couldn’t tell anybody what that was like!

We don’t know what he was like. What forms that possession and oppression took beyond his blindness and muteness.

He was shut in himself with a demon.

And Jesus healed him!

I’ll bet he was thankful!

The demon was gone.
The man could talk.
The man could see.

And everybody was astonished and said, “Is this the Messiah?”

“That’s the kind of thing the Messiah is supposed to do!”

“Could this be the Son of David?”

We say, “Of course it is, and we are so thankful!”

And the Pharisees said, “No way!”

Verse 24.

“But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.’”

What?!

Did they just say what I think they said?

Notice that they don’t dispute the miracle.

Nobody says, “That guy isn’t really healed.”

They can’t argue with that.

So they argue with the only thing that they can think to argue with.

They claim that Jesus is in league with Satan.

“It is only by the Lord of the Heap, the prince of demons, Satan himself, that this fellow drives out demons.”

The New Living Translation put verse 24 this way, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.”

Now, that is crazy to say.

That is absurd.

But if they could convince everybody that Jesus is an evil sorcerer in league with Satan, then it would be a capital offense, and Jesus would be put to death.

Jesus said back in chapter 10 that they were going to call Him that.

Remember? And He said that we should expect to get some of that, too. Jesus said, “It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!” (10:25).

They called Jesus Beelzebub or in partnership with Beelzebub.

But we know better.

And we so thankful that it is not true.

I’m serious. Here’s point number one of three.

We can be so thankful that:

#1. JESUS IS NOT IN LEAGUE WITH SATAN!

I know that sound silly to say.

But aren’t you grateful?

Just for a second think about what if He was.

Okay, that’s enough. We don’t need to go there for very long to be incredibly grateful for the truth.

In verse 25, Jesus fights back with the truth.

Verse 25. “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?”

Jesus says that Satan isn’t stupid.

That’s His first answer to this stupid assertion.

Satan is not so stupid that he would send Jesus to drive himself out of people.

Jesus says if you have a kingdom, a city, or a household, you don’t intentionally set one part of it against another unless you want civil war.

President Abraham Lincoln famously alluded to this very passage to warn our country over what was going to happen in the late nineteenth century.

Jesus said that Satan wasn’t so stupid as to empower Jesus to bring the kingdom of God because it would mean the end of his fallen kingdom.

He isn’t going to work against himself like that!

Jesus and Satan are not in league with each other.

Even to do the work of the kingdom of God!

That’s what Jesus is doing.

The blind see.
The mute talk.
The demons are cast out.

Jesus is whomping on the evil kingdom of Satan.

Satan isn’t behind that.

V.27 “And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.”

“You Pharisees have exorcists, too. In your own little way.”

They had a lot of incantations and phrases they used. And their excorcisms weren’t nearly as effective as Jesus’.

Jesus just had to say, “Go,” and they had to go.

But if Jesus was doing this by the power of Satan, then that throws some shade on their ministry.

No, that’s not what’s going on. Jesus is not in league with Satan.

Jesus is bringing the very kingdom of God. V.28

“But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

Yes!

That’s what happening here.

Jesus is driving out demons by the Spirit of God. Luke calls Him the “the Finger of God.”

And that means that the kingdom of God has arrived.

So thankful!

So very thankful!

That the kingdom of God is here.

Now, of course, the kingdom hasn’t come yet in all of its fullness. This is not as good as it gets. It’s going to get amazingly better.

But it’s here.

The King has arrived.

So the Kingdom has arrived, and we have everything to be thankful for.

Because, think of this:

#2. JESUS IS MUCH STRONGER THAN SATAN!

Not only are they not on the same team.

They are on opposing teams.

But they are NOT EQUAL teams!

Jesus is so much stronger than Satan. It’s not really a contest!

Look at verse 29.

“Or again [look at it this way], how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.”

Now, follow Jesus closely here. It’s a little surprising.

Who is the robber in verse 29?

Who is performing a home invasion?

It’s Jesus!

Who is the strong man of verse 29?

That would be Satan.

Satan is a lot stronger than any of us here on our own.

If we went up against Satan all by ourselves, we’d be like the man in verse 22.

Possessed, oppressed, shut down, and beaten.

But what if Jesus wants what the strong man has stolen and stockpiled in his house?

Can Jesus beat up Satan?

You bet He can.

He can walk in, tie him up, and walk out with whatever He wants.

Remember the contest between Jesus and Satan in the wilderness? The temptation in back in chapter 4.

Who won that one?

There is someone who is strong than the strong man.

“...the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Satan is going down.

He’s a defeated enemy on his way out.

He is a roaring lion. He is someone that is a enemy to be wary of.

But he is not winning and will not win.

Resist him, and he must flee! (James 4:7)

I think sometimes we give Satan way too much credit and fear him way too much.

Respect his power and don’t trust him, for sure.

Don’t think that you, on your own, are any match for Satan.

But don’t give him too much credit.

And don’t cede to him any ground.

Because Jesus is so much stronger than Satan.

We can be so thankful.

Jesus kingdom will come and it will not fail.

We can be so thankful.

And we can choose the right side. V.30

“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”

That means that we need to choose which side we’ll be on.

You don’t automatically end up on Jesus’ team.

You are not with Jesus by default.

In fact, by default you are with the other one.

So this is a call to not pretend or think that you are neutral.

It’s a call to join Jesus’ kingdom.

“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”

Is a way of inviting us to be WITH HIM.

To take Him up on His offer to come to Him and find rest for our souls.

Wade Nolan was our wild game dinner speaker two times in the last ten years. He died this year and went to be with the Lord.

I remember the first time he spoke, he told us about this fence. That guys like to think that they are on the fence.

They haven’t yet decided or made up their minds about Jesus.

They’re fencesitters.

But Wade quoted this verse right here, and he said, “Guys, there is no fence.”

“He who is not with [Jesus] is against [Jesus.]”

This is not a call to get off of the fence.

It’s a call to make sure you are on the right side because there is no fence.

And the right side is Jesus’ side because He gonna win.

So thankful that Jesus is so much stronger than Satan.

Do you need to hear that this Thanksgiving week?

Does it seem to you like the opposite is true?

Or even that Satan is winning?

No. That’s not true. That’s not how it is.

Satan is alive and a dangerous enemy.

But He is a defeated enemy on a short leash, and he will not win.

One more and then we’ll sing, “How Great Thou Art!”

We can be so thankful this holiday season that:

#3. JESUS FORGIVES EVERY SIN BUT ONE! V.31

“And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Now, I know that that’s a scary passage.

We focus on the “but one” part.

Just knowing that there is an unforgivable sin is a scary thing to understand.

And Jesus was warning these people that they were doing it or getting really close to it.

What is this “blasphemy against the Spirit?”

Blasphemy is an extreme slander. It’s an outright and total lie about Who God is.

And the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is attributing to Satan what is clearly the work of God.

It is looking at Jesus, the One who is bringing the kingdom of God, and saying and not repenting of saying, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”

It’s not just speaking against Jesus. V.32 makes that clear. It’s speaking against Jesus in such an irretrievable way, such an irrevocable way, such an unrepentant hard hearted way that you don’t care what the Holy Spirit says about Jesus, He is the devil.

You utterly and totally reject the witness of the Spirit to the Person of the Son.

Now, I know that you might be afraid that you have done this unforgivable thing.

If you are afraid that you, I can tell you that you have not yet done it.

Because those who have done this, don’t walk back from it.

The Apostle Peter denied that he knew Jesus.

But he was forgiven.

Judas betrayed Jesus and though he felt bad about it, he never repented and came back.

The unforgivable sin is rejecting Jesus and still rejecting Jesus and always rejecting Jesus.

Rejecting Who the Holy Spirit has clearly revealed that Jesus is.

Unless that’s what you are doing right now, you have committed this sin.

So think about this from verse 31.

Focus on this. “Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven by men...”

The Lord forgives every kind of sin but one!

That’s what to be thankful for today.

Your sins can be forgiven!

Does verse 31 include your sins?

Think about your sins for just minute.

Not more than a minute.

But just look back over your past.

I’m so ashamed of my sin.

Including the ones I still struggle with today.

Now, put those sins into verse 31.

“And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven...”

“And When I Think That God, His Son Not Sparing
Sent Him To die, I Scarce Can Take It In
That On the Cross, My Burden Gladly Bearing
He Bled and Died to Take Away MY Sin!”

So very thankful!

I know that Jesus said these things to warn the Pharisees.

You know, they were really the ones in league with Satan.

They didn’t know it, but they were playing his game.

Jesus warned them to repent while they still could and join His winning team.

And He’s inviting you and me to do that, too, today.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke [of discipleship] upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Have you done that?

He’s inviting you now.

And He’s paved the way. He died on the Cross to pay for your sins so they will be forgiven.

Have you trusted Him for that?

He’s inviting you now.

And there is no sin that is too big for Him to forgive.

Certainly if you reject Him, He will reject you.

But if you want to come to Him, He will in no way leave you out.

He is so strong! He is stronger than the strong man.

He is mighty to save.

He is bringing His kingdom which will rule over all.

And He invites you to come to Him. If you don’t you are against Him. There is no fence. “He who does not gather with [Jesus] scatters."

But all who come to Jesus have every reason to be SO VERY THANKFUL.


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Previous Messages in This Series:01. The Genealogy of Jesus
02. The Birth of Jesus Christ
03. The Search for Jesus Christ
04. The Baptism of Jesus
05. The Temptation of Jesus
06. Following Jesus
07. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
08. The Good Life (Part One)
09. The Good Life (Part Two)
10. You Are The...
11. Jesus and the First 2/3 of the Bible
12. But I Tell You
13. But I Tell You (2)
14. But I Tell You (3)
15. In Secret
16. Choose Wisely
17. Seek First His Kingdom
18. Generous
19. These Words of Mine
20. When He Saw the Crowds
21. When He Came Down from the Mountainside
22. Follow Me
23. Our Greatest Problem
24. Who Does He Think He Is?
25. Special Agents
26. Sheep Among Wolves
27. What To Expect On Your Mission
28. Are You the One?
29. Come to Me
30. The King of Rest

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