Matthew 12:28-37

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

THE BLASPHEMY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

INTRODUCTION:

 

We are in the process of studying the program of the King which includes the narrative about Jesus (11:2 - 12:50), the parables of the kingdom (13:1-52), and the concluding statement, And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence (13:53).

 

In our last message we saw Jesus’ healing of the multitudes and His healing of a blind and dumb demoniac. We also began to look at the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

 

In this message we will continue to study the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

 

Although the people saw Jesus heal a demon-possessed man who was both blind and unable to speak, they were still doubting that He was the Messiah. The Pharisees then stated that Jesus was casting out demons by the power of Satan. Jesus responded by teaching that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, and then applied the principle He taught to Satan and his kingdom. Following this Jesus asked the Pharisees by whose power the Jewish exorcists were casting out demons. If the Pharisees were wrong and Jesus was casting out demons by God the Holy Spirit, which He was, it was an indication that the kingdom of God had actually come. Jesus states that it is necessary to bind the strong man before someone can plunder his home. Jesus then urges people to make up their minds whether they are with Him or against Him, and warns that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. Jesus then points out that good trees produce good fruit and bad trees produce bad fruit. The people should realize that the things He has done are good fruit and should believe in Him. Jesus then addresses the Pharisees as a brood of snakes whose hearts are evil and are, therefore, unable to do good things. Jesus reminds people that they can tell whether someone is good or evil by the things he brings forth out of his heart, that people are responsible for what they say and will give account of it when they are judged, and that people’s words will acquit them or condemn them.

 

I remind you of Matthew 12:24-27

Matthew 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

 

Matthew 12:25 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.

 

Matthew 12:26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

 

Matthew 12:27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.

 

We continue our study of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit with verse 28.

We see that –

    I.     JESUS CASTING OUT DEMONS BY GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT INDICATES THAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD HAD ACTUALLY COME – 12:28

 

Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

 

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to if I by Beelzebub cast out devils.

 

If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God is a simple condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be true; and it is true. Jesus was casting out demons by the Spirit of God.

 

Inasmuch as this condition is definitely true, if may be understood in the sense of since or because.

 

I is emphatic and refers to Christ.

 

Cast out devils is am casting out the demons and indicates ongoing or repeated action.

 

By the Spirit of God is by God’s Spirit and refers to God the Holy Spirit. Jesus is claiming that, rather than casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub, He is casting them out by the power of God the Holy Spirit.

 

Jesus is saying, Since I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God.

 

Then the kingdom of God is come unto you is the conclusion of this conditional statement.

 

Then suggests as a result.

 

The kingdom of God suggests the reign of God or the rule of God. Inasmuch as the condition is true, the conclusion is also true.

 

Is come suggests has arrived or has reached, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

 

Unto you suggests upon you, on you, or over you where you refers to the Pharisees who had just said in verse 24 regarding Jesus, This (fellow) doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

 

It clearly means that God was in control of this situation and includes the Pharisees themselves. Jesus, the King in the kingdom of God, was in their very presence; but the Pharisees did not perceive it.

We also see that –

  II.     THE STRONG MAN MUST BE BOUND BEFORE SOMEONE CAN PLUNDER HIS HOME – 12:29

 

Matthew 12:29 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.

 

Or else how is simply or how.

 

How can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? is the translation of a conditional statement.

 

The condition is except he first bind the strong man, and the conclusion is how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods? Ordinarily, the conclusion follows the condition; but when the speaker or writer wishes to emphasize the conclusion, he reverses the normal order and places the conclusion before the condition.

 

How can one enter? is how is someone (or somebody) able to enter?

 

Into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods is into the house of the strong man and to plunder thoroughly his things (or his property).

 

Again, the condition is except he first bind the strong man. It means, If, before he begins to plunder the strong man’s house, he does not tie up the strong man.

 

And then he will spoil his house indicates what he will do after he binds or ties up the strong man.

 

And then suggests and thereupon, i.e. after binding him.

 

He will spoil his house suggests he will thoroughly plunder his house.

 

The picture is of Jesus entering into Satan’s house, binding him, and then spoiling his house.

Next, we see that –

 III.     PEOPLE MUST MAKE UP THEIR MINDS WHETHER THEY ARE WITH JESUS OR AGAINST HIM – 12:30

 

Matthew 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

 

He that is not with me is against me is the one who is not with me (i.e. with Jesus) is against me (i.e. is against Jesus). It is a timeless truth, something which is always true.

 

A second statement is made which essentially means the same thing: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. It is the one who is not gathering with me is scattering.

 

He that gathereth not with me suggests the one who is not joining me in gathering.

 

Scattereth abroad is is scattering or is dispersing. It pictures someone who is apparently scattering or dispersing sheep rather than gathering them. It is used in reference to the Pharisees who were opposing Jesus, both all that He was representing and all that He was doing.

 

People were heading one way or the other; they were going with Jesus or opposite Jesus. They needed to make up their minds which way they were going.

In addition, we see that –

 IV.     BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL NEVER BE FORGIVEN – 12:31-32

 

Matthew 12:31 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.

 

Wherefore is literally because of this. The same phrase was translated therefore in verse 27.

 

I say unto you is I (i.e. Jesus) am saying (i.e. I am declaring or I am asserting) to you.

 

All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men is every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven to men (i.e. to human beings).

 

Sin is used of every departure from a divine standard of righteousness.

 

Blasphemy suggests abusive (or slanderous) speech which is directed against God or the things of God.

 

Shall be forgiven unto men is will be forgiven (i.e. will be canceled, will be pardoned, or will be remitted) to men (i.e. the generic term for human beings, which includes females as well as males).

 

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men.

 

But the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is but the blasphemy of the (Holy) Spirit and refers to the statements which blaspheme or slander the Holy Spirit.

 

Shall not be forgiven unto men is the negation of the same phrase used in the first half of this verse.

 

Shall not be forgiven is will not be forgiven (i.e. will not be canceled, will not be pardoned, or will not be remitted) to men (i.e. the generic term for human beings, which includes females as well as males).

 

The tense and mood of both uses of shall be forgiven indicate action which will definitely occur in the future.

 

By stating that Jesus was casting out demons by the power of Satan rather than by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Pharisees were blaspheming the Holy Spirit. They would not be forgiven for this.

 

Matthew 12:32 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.

 

In verse 32 Jesus continues His warning against anyone speaking against the Holy Spirit.

 

And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man is and whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, i.e. against Christ.

 

It shall be forgiven him refers to the sin of anyone speaking a word against Christ.

 

Shall be forgiven him is will be forgiven him (i.e. will be canceled to him, will be remitted to him, or will be pardoned to him).

 

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man: whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, i.e. whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit. Speaking against the Holy Spirit is the same thing as blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

 

It shall not be forgiven him refers to the sin of anyone speaking a word against the Holy Spirit.

 

Shall not be forgiven him is will not be forgiven him (i.e. will not be canceled to him, will not be remitted to him, or will not be pardoned to him).

 

Neither in this world, neither in the world to come suggests neither in this age nor in the coming (age). It implies that speaking against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven.

 

By stating that Jesus was casting out demons by the power of Satan rather than by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Pharisees were speaking against the Holy Spirit. They would not be forgiven for this.

 

It amounts to this. If someone finally and completely rejects the wooing ministry of God the Holy Spirit to trust Jesus Christ as his Savior, he commits this unpardonable sin and will never have another opportunity to be saved, not that he cares.

We furthermore see that –

   V.     JUST AS A TREE IS KNOWN BY ITS FRUIT, BOTH JESUS AND THE PHARISEES ARE KNOWN BY THE FRUIT THEIR LIVES ARE PRODUCING – 12:33

 

Matthew 12:33 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.

 

In verse 33 Jesus points out that good trees produce good fruit and bad trees produce bad fruit. The people should realize that the things He has done are good fruit and should believe in Him.

 

Either and or else introduce alternative statements.

 

Make the tree good, and his fruit (i.e. its fruit) good.

 

Make, when used of mental construction as in this verse, suggests assume or suppose. It suggests suppose the tree is good. (If it is,) its fruit (will be) good. Good trees produce good fruit. They do not produce bad fruit.

 

Make the tree corrupt (i.e. bad), and his fruit (i.e. its fruit) corrupt (i.e. bad) suggests suppose the tree is bad. (If it is,) its fruit (will be) bad. Bad trees produce bad fruit. They do not produce good fruit.

 

For the tree is known by his fruit is Jesus’ explanation of both statements in verse 33.

 

The tree is known indicates that people will be able to tell what kind of tree it is by his (i.e. by its) fruit. The tree is either good or bad. If it is good, it will produce good fruit; and if it is bad, it will produce bad fruit. Thus, if the fruit is good, it means you have a good tree; but if the fruit is bad, it means you have a bad tree.

 

Since Jesus’ ministry has produced nothing but good fruit in healing the sick and the lame, in restoring sight to the blind, in cleansing lepers from their leprosy, and in casting out demons, the people, including the Pharisees, should believe in Him.

 

By contrast, the fruit being produced by the Pharisees was bad; and people should reject them and their teaching.

Finally, we see that –

 VI.     WHAT SOMEONE SAYS WITH HIS MOUTH COMES OUT OF HIS HEART – 12:34-37

 

We note that –

            A.  THE PHARISEES ARE BROODS OF SNAKES WHOSE HEARTS ARE EVIL AND ARE, THEREFORE, UNABLE TO SPEAK GOOD THINGS – 12:34

 

Matthew 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

 

O generation of vipers is brood (i.e. children or offspring) of vipers (or snakes).

 

Vipers ordinarily refers to poisonous snakes.

 

Referring to the Pharisees as offspring of snakes is equivalent in meaning to referring to them as you snakes.

 

How can ye . . . speak good things? is, How are you able to be saying good things?

 

Being evil is understood in the sense of while you are evil (i.e. while you are wicked or degenerate) or in the sense of because you are evil (i.e. because you are wicked or degenerate).

 

For introduces Jesus’ reason for saying, How can ye, being evil, speak good things? It is understood in the sense of because.

 

Out of the abundance of the heart suggests out of the fulness of the heart or out of what the heart is full of.

 

The mouth speaketh is the mouth speaks.

 

It is reminiscent of Matthew 15:10-11 and 17-19,

 

Matthew 15:10-11 – (10) And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: (11) Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

 

Matthew 15:17-19 – (17) Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught [i.e. into the latrine (or toilet)]? (18) But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. (19) For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

 

The hearts of the Pharisees are wicked; and they, therefore, need to be saved. What comes out of their mouths indicates what they are spiritually. Aside from trusting Christ as their Savior, the very One they are rejecting, they are lost, helpless, and hopeless. Their so-called good works will not earn eternal life for them.

 

We also note that –

            B.  WHETHER SOMEONE IS GOOD OR EVIL CAN BE DETERMINED BY THE THINGS HE BRINGS FORTH OUT OF HIS HEART – 12:35

 

Matthew 12:35 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.

 

This same truth is taught in Luke 6:45 ,

 

Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

 

A good man is the good man, where man is the generic term for human being and may include females as well as males.

 

Out of the good treasure of the heart indicates the source out of which he bringeth forth good things.

 

Bringeth forth is brings out; and its present tense indicates habitual, customary, or normal action. This is what he does repeatedly. It demonstrates that he is a saved individual.

 

And an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things uses the same terms as the previous statement except that evil is substituted three times for good.

 

And an evil man implies and the evil human being (or person).

 

Evil is understood in the sense of wicked.

 

Out of the evil treasure of the heart indicates the source out of which he bringeth forth evil things.

 

Again, bringeth forth is brings out, and its present tense indicates habitual, customary, or normal action. This is what an evil or wicked person does habitually. It demonstrates that he is unsaved and has only one nature, and it is wicked.

 

In addition, we note that –

            C.  PEOPLE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT THEY SAY AND WILL GIVE ACCOUNT OF IT WHEN THEY ARE JUDGED – 12:36

 

Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

 

As translated, but introduces a statement in mild contrast to what Jesus has been saying. It might instead be understood as continuing His thoughts and be understood in the sense of and.

 

I say unto you is I am saying (i.e. declaring or asserting) to you.

 

That introduces what Jesus is saying.

 

Every idle word that men shall speak is whatever idle word men may speak, where men is the generic term for human beings and may include females as well as males.

 

Idle suggests useless or worthless.

 

They shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

 

They refers to men.

 

Shall give is predictive of something which will actually take place in the future.

 

Account is reckoning, and thereof is of it, i.e. of every idle word (i.e. of every useless word or of every worthless word).

 

In the day of judgment indicates when men will give account of every worthless word they say and suggests on judgment day.

 

The words they have spoken throughout their lives will accurately demonstrate what kind of people they were when they stand in judgment before a holy God.

 

The words of those who are good will demonstrate that they were saved; whereas, the words of those who are wicked will demonstrate that they were unsaved and deserving of spending eternity in the lake of fire.

 

The words spoken by the Pharisees during their lives will demonstrate the wickedness which was in their hearts.

 

Finally, we note that –

            D.  PEOPLE’S WORDS WILL ACQUIT OR CONDEMN THEM – 12:37

 

Matthew 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

 

For introduces Jesus’ explanation of what He said in verse 36.

 

By thy words is by your words where your is singular.

 

In the statement by thy words thou shalt be justified, thy and thou refer to someone who has been genuinely saved.

 

Thou shalt be justified is you (singular) will be declared righteous, you will be acquitted, or you will be pronounced and treated as righteous. Its future tense and mood indicate that this is something which will actually happen in the future on judgment day. These are saved people, and their words will demonstrate that they were genuinely saved and had new sinless natures.

 

And introduces a second reality for others.

 

By thy words thou shalt be condemned indicates that others will be sentenced to the lake of fire, and it is the words they have spoken which will be used to testify against them.

 

This time thy is speaking of the wicked, unsaved person.

 

Thou shalt be condemned is you (singular) (i.e. a reference to the unsaved or wicked person) will be found guilty (or you will be pronounced guilty).

 

Furthermore, the tense and mood of thou shalt be condemned indicates something which will definitely happen in the future on judgment day.

CONCLUSION:

 

Be certain that you have trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior from sin and its consequences. This is the only way your heart will be changed so that it is good rather than wicked.

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