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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Temporarily empty

Matthew 12:43-45 / Luke 11:24-26…

Using the example of demon possession, Jesus warned it is not enough to go through an initial period of repentance and removal of sin. Breakthrough is wonderful but follow through is necessary. Unless reformation continues and something positive is put in place the end might prove worse than the beginning. You can’t just let things be. 

Sin is like water, it has a way of finding the hole and filling up any space left. We think we drive out the deadly desire, but we are not as mature as we suppose, and our troubles are multiplied. We can exhibit power over the enemy and still fall right into his trap of pride (1 Timothy 3:6). You must stay moving forward on the road, if you go back it is harder to get back, and the going will be worse than before (John 5:14 / 2 Peter 2:20-22).

The Pharisees were well known for being scrupulous in religious devotion. But in the process of building their reputation, they lost the heart of what God wanted. They traded truth for legalism, and while this made them feel superior to others, it replaced true devotion with an evil of their own making that allowed them to reject God’s Messiah. We might be very passionate to rid ourselves of certain sins, to be done with certain problems, but this only makes us more vulnerable if we do not replace the void with new, spiritual habits (Ephesians 5:18-21).

An empty heart will not stay empty for long; it will be filled up with something. The question is with what?  


Monday, June 18, 2018

More than words

Matthew 12:33-37…

The Pharisees were supposedly the most righteous of all the people, but here, when contrasted with Jesus, their hearts are shown to be as dark as they really were. Even though they were accusing Jesus of being evil, it was they who were.

Jesus teaches us that our words and our actions manifest our thoughts and our attitudes. They point to what is in our heart, what we are really like. He is teaching us to examine ourselves, and to examine our teachers. He is teaching us how to discern the hidden evil of the heart.

The way we evaluate a heart is by what it produces.  The fruit reveals the root. It was not right to say that Jesus was evil even though He did good things. His life revealed His character. So does ours. The Pharisees, despite all of their pious pretense, could not hide who they really were when they were seen by discerning eyes. Neither can we.

We are what we think, say, and do. You can’t bring a good treasure out of an evil treasure chest. What we say and do is a result of what we think, what is in our hearts.

Most people really don’t pay much attention to their words.  And yet, the Lord Jesus says that our hearts will be made manifest in the judgment by our words. We must live in the light of the fact that our talk will be judged. Our speech is evidence (James 1:26).

There’s nothing like the tongue to remind you that it is impossible for a man to walk perfectly before God (James 3:2-13).  Your tongue shows you that you need the grace of the gospel in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thankfully, the words of a repentant heart, “Father, forgive my sins by the blood of Christ” are words that will acquit us in the eternal court. 


Sunday, June 17, 2018

The unforgivable sin

Matthew 12:31-32 / Mark 3:28-30…

Many people have grieved over the idea that they may be guilty of this sin. What is the unforgiveable sin? It is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. The immediate context was that they kept saying that what Jesus did was done by an evil spirit or a demon rather than by the Spirit of God. It was not some one-time event; it was an ongoing, willful rejection of Christ, the continual hardening of their hearts. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is called the “unforgivable sin” because it is rejecting Jesus and His offer of forgiveness. So Jesus here warns the religious leaders about the consequences of rejecting Him; it would be an unforgivable sin.

The question then becomes whether or not it is possible to commit the unforgiveable sin today, or could this particular sin only have occurred in Jesus’ day? The truth is that the final, full, willful rejection of Jesus still happens. However, the fact that the believer worries about this sin is evidence that the true believer could not commit this sin. The one who commits the sin is the very one who doesn’t even care if he has. That is the point; they don’t feel the need to be forgiven, and so they won’t be.

To blaspheme the Spirit means to give up on Jesus, to say that He isn’t God, that He isn’t the only way to the Father. It means to believe that what He did and is doing is not right and just. In other words, it is to finally reject the very things the Holy Spirit brings, the conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7-11). To reject that is to reject forgiveness, and that is unforgivable. But if you want to be forgiven, then it is the Holy Spirit who is moving you to that, and that is not blasphemy. No sin is unforgiveable if you want to be forgiven.