The Danger of Blasphemy – Matthew 12:22-32; Mark 3:20-30

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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
February 15, 2015

The Danger of Blasphemy
Matthew 12:22-32; Mark 3:20-30

Introduction

This morning we come to a pivotal passage in the life and ministry of Jesus. Matthew 12:22-32 not only marks an irreversible point in Jesus’ relationship with the Scribes and Pharisees, but it also marks a change in His presentation of Himself and the kingdom. Up to this time, His major method of teaching the people was direct with illustrations to make the point. Up to this point His message has been “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and there has been a real offer of the kingdom of God to be established. In this passage there is a confrontation between Jesus and the religious leaders of Israel and they reject Him. From this point on, Jesus will still preach repentance, but there will no longer be an offer of the physical kingdom. Jesus will now speak of a spiritual kingdom within their midst, which is the major theme of His parables, and parables become His major method of teaching. Why? Matthew 13:11-14 tells us specifically that it is so the truths of the kingdom can be revealed to those who belong to it while at the same time hiding those same truths from those that do not belong to the kingdom. A person can only understand the parables if they have the Holy Spirit.

What precipitated such an event that would result in such a confrontation and then end with such far reaching results? In our study of the life of Christ we have already seen a continuing decline in the relationship between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees. Even during the first part of His Galilean ministry, the scribes and Pharisees were irritated that He and His disciples did not keep their Sabbath traditions (Matthew 12:1-8). When Jesus proclaimed that He was Lord of the Sabbath and healed a man with a withered hand, which was a direct violation of their rule that compassion could only extend on the Sabbath to keeping a person from getting worse, they were incensed and began to plot in conjunction with their arch foes, the Herodians, to find a way to kill Him (Mark 3:6; Matthew 12:14). It appears they only became more irritated by Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount that pointed out and warned them of their self-righteous hypocrisy. They should have repented.

After the imprisonment of John the Baptist, their relationship deteriorates even more. They accused Jesus of being a glutton and a drunkard and the friend of tax-gatherers and sinners (Matthew 11:19). They ignored the many miracles that Jesus did including healing every manner of disease and sickness, casting out demons, power over nature and even raising people from the dead (Matthew 11:20-22). Jesus finally rebuked the Pharisees and lawyers for acting like spoiled children who were not satisfied no matter what game was being played (Luke 7:29-35). But this was not just a problem of the religious leaders for a large portion of the people were also proving themselves to be fickle. They liked the miracles and especially being healed of their sickness and diseases, but they were not turning from their sins to follow Jesus. That is why He also denounced the cities of Chorizin, Bethsaida and Capernaum (Matthew 11:20-30).

Another confrontation developed when Simon the Pharisee invited Jesus to come dine with him. This was soon after Jesus had raised the widow’s son from the dead in Nain. The invitation demonstrated that Simon was not yet against Jesus, but at the same time, Simon was not a gracious host demonstrating that he was not accepting of Jesus either. Simon became judgmental of Jesus when a woman who was a known sinner washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, anointed them with perfume and then kissed them. Simon did not think a prophet or a holy man would allow such a woman to touch him. Jesus rebuked Simon by telling him a story about forgiveness and then contrasted the woman’s acts of love with Simon’s lack of hospitality concluding that she loved much because she recognized she had been forgiven much while Simon loved little because he had been forgiven little. That principle is still true today.

There is a direct correlation between the degree to which a person recognizes the horrid nature of his own sinfulness for which God has forgiven him and the depth of his love for Jesus. Much forgiveness results in much love. A person who thinks his sins are not so bad will love little because he doesn’t think he has been forgiven much. If you want to increase your love for Jesus, then be humble and take an honest and hard look at the wretchedness of your own sin for which God has forgiven you by His grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Simon’s self-righteousness blocked him from seeing his sinfulness and therefore receiving all the forgiveness God offers. Simon loved little. We don’t know whether Simon took the rebuke to heart and became humble or remained self-righteous and proud for Jesus soon left Nain and returned with the twelve and other disciples to Galilee. It was not long before a confrontation arose that was so sharp that it became a turning point in His ministry.

Busy in Ministry Mark 3:20-21; Luke 8:1-3

I pointed out in my last sermon from Luke 8:1-3 that Jesus had returned to Galilee where He resumed His itinerant ministry of proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. Along with Him were the twelve and some women that had been healed of evil spirits and sickness. These women also had been forgiven much and so loved Jesus much in return demonstrated by serving Him and the disciples and supporting them financially out of their private wealth. We can safely assume from this and from what follows that Jesus’ ministry not only included explaining the kingdom of God, but also calling people to repent, healing them and casting demons out of them. Mark 3:20 describes how busy Jesus was in ministry, “And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal.”

The text is actually a little more vague than as translated in the NASB. It is more literally, “and coming into a house, and a crowd gathering again, so that he was not able to even eat bread.” While the text is not clear whether this is Jesus’ home in Capernaum or some other house someplace else, it is very clear that multitudes are keeping Jesus so busy He is not even getting a break long enough to eat. It is in keeping with Jesus’ character that His compassion for these people would compel Him to skip eating in order to minister to them (Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; etc.).

Mark 3:21 also emphasizes that Jesus was extremely busy. “When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, He has lost His senses.” The phrase translated, “His own people” is literally “those with Him” and is a Greek idiom for kinsman. Mark 3:31 reveals this included Jesus’ mother and brothers. They hear about how busy Jesus is and decided to come and intervene. Remember, Mary is a Jewish mother, so she is going to come with her other sons to protect Jesus from the crowds and make Him be more sensible. She will take charge and make sure Jesus eats right. She forgot that Jesus knew what He was doing and was keeping the priorities God the Father had set for Him.

The Amazed Multitudes Matthew 12:22-23

We pick up the next event in the story in Matthew 12:22-23 when a particular man is brought to Jesus to be healed. “Then there was brought to Him a demon-possessed man who was blind and dumb, and He healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed, and began to say, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can He?”

The man who is brought to Jesus is demon-possessed, which is not unusual in itself since Jesus has already cast demons out of many people. It is also not unusual that Jesus healed the man since He had already healed and cast out demons from so many throughout the region of Galilee. However, what is unusual is that this particular man has a demon induced case of both blindness and dumbness. He could neither see nor speak. To see someone healed of both of these very debilitating disabilities so that the man both spoke and saw was very unusual and so it caused the people to be amazed. The word translated amaze here (ejxisthmi / exist mi) is a strong word meaning “to be so astounded as to be practically overwhelmed,” “To be beside oneself with amazement and wonder.” To use the vernacular, “they were knocked out of their senses” by what the saw and heard.

This astonishment led them to begin to wonder out loud about Jesus and they began to say to one another, “this man cannot be the Son of David, can he?” The question being asked is so formed as to expect a modified negative answer, sort of like, “No, he is probably not the Son of David . . . and yet, who else could he be to perform such a miracle?”

As I have mentioned before, the term, “Son of David,” is a messianic term (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 89:3; Isaiah 9:6-7). This is the title the crowds later used of Jesus when they welcomed Him into Jerusalem as their Messiah and King. They are wondering if Jesus is the Messiah for they recognize that such miracles as were being done by Jesus were signs of the Messiah. However, there are both scribes and Pharisees present, so they do not want to state their question openly, “Is this the Son of David?” The people were aware that the religious leaders had already become antagonistic toward Jesus, and so they did not want to cross them since they held so much power. For that reason, they stated their question from the negative in order not to unnecessarily offend them. “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?” The scribes and Pharisees are alarmed anyway for they do not want the people wondering if Jesus is the Messiah.

An Evil ResponseMatthew 12:24; Mark 3:22

Most of the Jewish religious leaders hated Jesus for many reasons. Jesus did not honor them the way the common people did. Jesus did not follow their legalistic rules and rituals. Jesus taught with authority things that were contrary to what they were teaching. But probably more than any other reason, the people were starting to follow Jesus instead of them. They made out like they were supremely concerned about the things of God, but for the most part, it was a show before the people because what they really liked was the prestige and power that they had attained in that society.

The Pharisees should have been rejoicing at the gracious and wonderful miracle that Jesus had just performed in casting out the demon and giving this man back both his sight and ability to speak. They should have joined the people in wondering if Jesus was the Son of David, but instead, they are threatened by that. Matthew 12:24 records, “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.” Mark 3:22 adds that “and the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.’”

Beelzebul is one of the names sometimes used for Satan. It arose out of Baal worship and means, “Lord of the flies.” These are not only very poor arguments to try and persuade the people that Jesus is not the Messiah, but they also sealed their doom because they reflected their hearts which had totally rejected the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit. They had utterly and finally rejected all of God’s efforts to call them to repentance. They attribute the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan.

The sad and evil character of these men is further demonstrated in that neither the Pharisees or the scribes were saying these things in front of Jesus. They were cowards not willing to directly confront Jesus with their claim. Instead they surreptitiously spoke to the people behind His back and whispered to them. According to Mark 3:23, Jesus has to begin His rebuke of them by calling them to Himself first and then speaking to them in parables. Matthew 12:25 states, “But knowing their thoughts He said to them . . .”. Since Jesus is God, He knew what they were thinking and doing. He calls them to account and demonstrates to them that their accusation was invalid because it was illogical, inconsistent, insurrectionary against God and inane.

Jesus Rebukes Them Matthew 12:25-30; Mark 3:23-27

Jesus begins with a rhetorical question in Mark 3:23, “How can Satan cast our Satan?” He then shows why this cannot happen.

First, it was illogical. Matthew 12:25, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself shall not stand. And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand.” Their argument was absurd. While Satan is the father of hatred and lies with the consequences of such evil having an effect on his rule including disorder, chaos, confusion and inconsistency, Satan is also very intelligent. He is evil, but he is not stupid, and even he knows that his kingdom cannot stand if he fights against himself. Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and in so doing he may restrict a demon’s power over a possessed person in order to give the illusion of a cleansing. This kind of false exorcism has occurred throughout history and is even today practiced by various cults and false healers. Also, in the confusion and rebellion that by nature arises out of evil, there may be demons that act on occasion inconsistently and in conflict with him and each other, but Satan does not cast out Satan and he is not divided against himself. That would be absurd and the devil is not stupid.

Second, their accusation was inconsistent with what was being practiced by their followers. Matthew 12:27, “And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Consequently they shall be your judges.” The reference to “sons” here refers to those who were their disciples or followers. “Son” was often used in such a manner as in the common Old Testament expression “sons of the prophets” (2 Kings 2:3; etc.). One example of such Jewish exorcists occurs in Acts 19. The Pharisees were inconsistent in rejecting Jesus but accepting the casting out of demons by their followers as the work of God. That is why Jesus says that their “sons,” their followers, who have cast out demons would be their judges.

If those “sons” agreed with the Pharisees and scribes that Jesus was casting out demons by Beelzebul, then they were doing the same. A condemnation of themselves and their teachers since they had given approval. If they agreed with Jesus that it was the work of God, then they condemned their teachers’ accusations as false. Either way, Jesus’ opponents were shown to be inconsistent.

A third argument against their accusation against Jesus is that it was insurrectionary against God. Jesus says in Matthew 12:28, “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” The Greek grammar of the “if” clause here is “if, as is actually the case,” or stated fully, “if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, and I do, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.” The accusation of the Scribes and Pharisees was in direct opposition to what was actually taking place. It was in fact an insurrection against God. They were in rebellion against Him by claiming that the work of the Holy Spirit was the work of Satan which is an extremely serious accusation.

There should have been no question whatsoever about the source of Jesus’ power. He had proclaimed it and demonstrated it before beyond question by His many miracles which they had personally observed or been told about. These miracles were in direct opposition to sin and Satan. Jesus had healed every manner of disease and sickness; lepers were cleansed, the lame made to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, and Jesus had even raised the dead. Jesus had power over the natural and the supernatural including calming the wind and seas, and casting out demons. Jesus even had the authority to forgive sin. Jesus proclaimed the truth and refuted lies. All that Jesus ever did or said demonstrated He was from God and against sin and Satan. Yet these religious leaders were so filled with envy and hatred that they attributed all that Jesus did to Satan instead of God. Their accusations against Jesus were the statements of insurrectionists. They were in rebellion against God.

Jesus also shows that their accusation was inane, stupid if you will, in Matthew 12:29. “Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.” The many signs and wonders performed by Jesus including casting out the demon and making the blind & dumb man to see and talk pointed out that He had authority over Satan and was not someone in subjection to Satan. The analogy given is simple. You cannot rob someone’s home when they are still free to stop you. You must first overpower them and tie them up, then you can carry off their belongings. Jesus has shown by this case of the demonized man that He was more powerful than Satan being able to bind him and carry off what had formerly belonged to him.

Their accusation against Jesus was illogical, inconsistent, insurrectionary, and inane. It only proved that they were in rebellion against God. In Matthew 12:30 Jesus explains what it means to be against Him. “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”

This served as a warning to the people as well as a definitive statement about the Scribes and Pharisees who were blaspheming against Him and the Holy Spirit. No one is in a neutral position with Jesus. You are either with Him or against Him. You are either helping Him or working against Him. There is no neutral ground for there are only two kingdoms. You are either in God’s kingdom and He is your master, or you are in Satan’s kingdom and he is your master. Claiming you are your own master only demonstrates your ignorance of Satan. As Paul states in Romans 6:16, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” Every person who is not a follower of Jesus Christ is, as stated in Ephesians 2:1-3, “. . . dead in trespasses and sin . . . [walking] according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience . . . and [are] by nature children of wrath.”

Neutrality is not an option. Tolerance is not enough. Are with Jesus or against Him?

Jesus Condemns Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30

Jesus had warned and rebuked the scribes and Pharisees many times before. Now Jesus pronounces the condemnation that they had brought upon themselves. “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come.”

How serious is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Its seriousness is apparent when contrasted with the fact that every other sin and blasphemy can be forgiven. That is the great message of the gospel. Your sin can be forgiven. You can be restored to God. The bondage of sin can be broken through Jesus Christ who paid the penalty of sin in your place and sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within you so that you might live in righteousness. The Lord God is “good and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon [Him“] (Psalm 86:5). That theme runs throughout all of Scripture.

God does not limit His forgiveness according to severity of the sin. I cannot imagine a worse sin than to murder God’s son, yet Jesus prayed on the cross for those causing His execution, “Father, forgiven them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:24). If Christ can offer forgiveness to those who crucified Him, then He can offer forgiveness to you.

The volume of sin does not end the possibility of God’s merciful forgiveness. An old man who has lived a life of wickedness all his life is just as forgivable as a child who has done nothing more than the characteristic foolishness that children have.

The particular kind of sin also does not cancel God’s grace in extending forgiveness. The Scriptures have examples of every kind of sin being forgiven. David was an adulterer, dishonest, a murder and he dishonored God by his actions (2 Samuel 12), yet he was forgiven and called a man “after God’s own heart” (1 Kings 14:8). The many sins of the woman in Luke 7 were forgiven as was the riotous living of the prodigal son (Luke 15). 1 Corinthians 6 mentions those who were fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers – all were washed, sanctified and justified through Jesus Christ. Paul’s pre-conversion persecution of Christians was forgiven (Acts 9 & 22). Was there any worse blasphemy against Jesus than Peter denying Him with cursing while the Lord was on trial (Matthew 26), yet he too was forgiven.

There is great hope for all in the first part of Jesus’ statement as recorded in Mark 3:28, “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter.” You are not beyond the redemption God has made for us in Christ Jesus regardless of how many and horrible your sins may be. Turn from them to faith in the Savior, and God is willing to abundantly pardon. There is only one exception – “blasphemy against the Spirit” (Matthew 12:31) or as stated in verse 32, “speaking a word against the Holy Spirit. “ That is an eternal sin which never has forgiveness (Mark 3:29).

What is this great and grave sin, and why is it alone the unforgivable sin? Blasphemy as used here means “defiant irreverence.” It is speaking against what the Holy Spirit has done, which is exactly what the Scribes and Pharisees had done in accusing Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebub. They attributed to Satan the work the Holy Spirit did through Jesus.

Why is this sin unforgivable? Because the Holy Spirit has done every thing possible to bring the person to repentance and that witness has been rejected. This was the case with all the miracles and teaching that Jesus had done before these Scribes and Pharisees. What more could be done than He had done?

This was not a haphazard sin into which they had stumbled. This sin was willful and deliberate. It reflected hearts that were hardened and even confirmed in their plotting to murder Jesus. The sin becomes unpardonable because the person committing it is unwilling to tread the path of repentance that leads to pardon.

Occasionally someone will come to me very concerned because they fear they have committed this sin and are therefore doomed for all eternity. The very fact that the person is concerned about it demonstrates the Holy Spirit is working on their heart to convict them of sin and turn them to God. They have hope because they have not exhausted the Holy Spirit’s work in their life.

I have heard it said that this sin cannot be done in the present time. I agree that no one can commit it in the same manner as the Scribes and Pharisees and then have it proclaimed with finality as Jesus did to them. However, you should be aware of a present danger.

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the result of a gradual progress in sin. First, the Holy Spirit is grieved (Ephesians 4:30), which if continued leads to resisting the Spirit (Acts 7:51), which if persisted in develops into quenching the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). That is how a person develops a seared conscience (1 Timothy 4:2). Sin should always be taken seriously for its desire is to take over your life and lead you to eternal hell, and you do not know at what point the Holy Spirit will cease His efforts in your life and leave you unable to repent as was Esau in Hebrews 12:15-17. The solution for sin is found in Psalm 95:7-8, “TODAY, if you would hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts . . .”.

Conclusions

If the Lord is speaking to your heart, then now is the time to repent and get right with Him. To put it off is to risk descent into a seared conscience that will no longer listen to the Holy Spirit. That is a very dangerous place to be.

As part of preparing for Communion this morning we are going to give you an opportunity to pray. If you are not a Christian, I want you to consider how wretched and evil before our Holy God are the sins the Holy Spirit is convicting you about. I then want you to consider what Jesus has done for you by dying for your sins on calvary. After the service talk with myself or any of our church leaders and let us direct you in how you can receive God’s forgiveness today.

If you are a Christian, you stand forgiven before God in the Lord Jesus Christ, but the Holy Spirit still convicts you of your sins so that you can walk rightly with Him. Confess those sins whether they be of omission or comission and then thank Him for forgiving you and cleansing you from all unrighteousness and in that way prepare yourself for receiving Communion.

 

Sermon Notes: The Danger of Blasphemy
Matthew 12:22-32; Mark 3:20-30

Introduction

There has been a continuing _____________in the relationship between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees

The people are also ____________- they like Jesus’ miracles, but relatively few heed His message to repent

There is a direct correlation between the depth of sins forgiven and the depth of ____________for Jesus

Busy in Ministry Mark 3:20-21; Luke 8:1-3

Jesus had returned to His itinerant ministry in __________________

Mark 3:20 – Jesus was so busy with the crowd that He did not even have time to ___________

Mark 3:21 – Jesus’ mother and brothers came down to try and ______________

The Amazed Multitudes Matthew 12:22-23

It was not unusual for Jesus to heal demonized people, but it was to heal a man both _______and ________

They are amazed – ejxisthmi / exist mi: “to be so __________________as to be practically overwhelmed”

The people begin to wonder if Jesus is the “Son of David” – a title for the _______________

Their question is stated from the negative because they are _____________of the scribes and Pharisees

An Evil ResponseMatthew 12:24; Mark 3:22

Most of the Jewish religious leaders hated Jesus for many reasons – mostly He was a _______to their power

They should have rejoiced, instead they are threatened and make _____________accusations against Jesus

Beelzebul is a name used for __________- arising from Baal worship it means: “Lord of the flies.”

They were ____________who accused Jesus surreptitiously

Jesus Rebukes the Religious Leaders Matthew 12:25-30; Mark 3:23-27

Matthew 12:25-26 – Their accusation was _________________- Satan would not be divided against himself

Matthew 12:27 – Their accusation was _________________- they approved of their sons casting out demons

Matthew 12:28 – Their accusation was ____________________- Jesus cast out demons by the Spirit of God

Matthew 12:29 – Their accusation was ___________- Jesus could not cast out Satan unless He was stronger

Matthew 12:30 – There is no ____________ground – you are either with Jesus or against Him

Jesus Condemns the Religious Leaders Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30

The gospel message is that God “good and ready to __________” (Psalm 86:5) – through Jesus Christ

God does not limit His forgiveness according to _______of the sin – Jesus forgave those who crucified Him

The ____________of sin does not end of God’s merciful forgiveness – even an old wicked man is forgivable

The particular ____of sin also does not cancel God’s grace in extending forgiveness – David, Saul, Peter, etc

You are ______________________the redemption God has made for us in Christ Jesus

The exception is _______________- defiant irreverence – against the Holy Spirit

Unforgivable because the witness of the Holy Spirit is _____________and the person refuses to repent

One who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be afraid of having done this sin or be ___________of any sin

Beware: Grieving the Spirit Resisting the Spirit Quenching the Spirit Having a _______conscience

Conclusions

The time to ________________is as soon as the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin (you feel guilty)

Non-Christian: 1) Consider the wretched nature of your sin before our Holy God

2) Consider what Jesus did for you on the cross to redeem / ______________you of your sin

Christian: _______________your sins as the Holy Spirit convicts to walk in intimacy with Him

KIDS KORNER
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down all the verses mentioned in the sermon and look them up later. 2) Count how many times the Jesus is mentioned. Talk with your parents about how Jesus can forgive your sins and why the Pharisee’s accusation was not forgivable.

THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Trace the increasing antagonism of the scribes and Pharisees against Jesus though the first half of His ministry. What is the correlation between forgiveness and love of Jesus? Explain. How can you increase your love for God? How busy was Jesus in ministry? Explain. Why were Jesus’ mother and brothers coming after they heard how busy He was? Why were the multitudes so amazed after Jesus healed the man who was dumb and blind? How did they express their amazement? Why did that disturb the Pharisees? Why did the scribes and Pharisees hate Jesus so much? What is the meaning of the term, “Beelzebul”? Why didn’t the scribes and Pharisees accuse Jesus to His face? How do we know they did not? How was their accusation illogical – Matthew 12:25-26? How was their accusation inconsistent – Matthew 12:27? How was their accusation insurrectionary – Matthew 12:28? How was their accusation inane – Matthew 12:29? Why does a person have to be either for Jesus or against Him – why can’t there be a neutral ground? Why does God forgive the sins of man? Is God’s forgiveness limited by the severity, volume or particular kind of sin committed? Explain? Are you beyond God’s forgiveness? Why or why not? What is “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?” How had the scribes and the Pharisees done this? Why is this sin unforgivable? Can a person who fears they may have done this or is convicted about other sins have committed it? Why or why not? What is the danger of the progression from grieving the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), to resisting the Spirit (Acts 7:51), to quenching the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19), to developing a seared conscience (1 Timothy 4:2). Have you received God’s forgiveness available through faith in Jesus Christ? If not, why not? If so, spend some time thanking God for what He has done for you.


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