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Which Household? Matthew 12:43-50

27/02/2019

Which Household Are You In?

Text.  Matthew 12:43-50

The Pharisees are antagonistic towards the earthly ministry of Jesus, and throughout this chapter that antagonism has been steadily growing. Jesus has physically demonstrated his divine power in healing, has engaged in teaching, has defeated them with irrefutable logic and has pointed them ahead to his death, burial and resurrection, as their only hope.  He has called upon them to repent and believe in him, or stand before God on judgement day, condemned. He has warned them too, that they cannot be neutral, they cannot sit on the fence or be undecided. Matthew 12:30  

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Part of God’s family – through Jesus.

In this last section of the chapter, Jesus describes two households.  The first is one that has been emptied, cleaned up, spotless, just ready and waiting for a host of demons to return and occupy it.  The second is the opposite, one that is full, full of love, full of family members abiding together, under the loving care of a tender father. To which household do you belong?  Let’s see.

1 The Home of Demons. V43-45

Jesus uses a parable to illustrate the future of the Pharisees and their ilk. He had overcome demons before their eyes so how appropriate then is it that he should use an illustration about demon oppression, about the devil’s work in destroying godly influences, to illustrate the unwillingness to believe that characterised the false religion of His day.  

  • A Godly Influence Applied.  43 – 44    
    • The Torah as  Godly influence.  Let’s be fair to the Pharisees and Scribes.  The Law of God, the Torah, is a GODLY INFLUENCE on anyone’s life! Psalm 19:7-11 The law alone cannot save, but the law is a restraining and regulating influence, both on society and on the individual. At least in the outward matters of life, they regulated their lives according to the Law.  Their hearts of course, were wicked, as are all our hearts, but the Pharisees, like many others have CLEANED UP THEIR LIVES.  They are in the true sense of the phrase, ‘good living people.’ 
    • Homeless Demons.  Now here’s the problem.  The life is cleaned up, the ‘house is swept clean’ and all the filth and dirt has been put in the dustbin.  But the life is still empty.  The inner problem of the soul has not been dealt with, and the wickedness of the heart is still bearing influence upon the person.   The evil spirits that haunted the soul want to return, they cannot find a resting place elsewhere, for Jesus describes their habitation as ‘dry places.’  
  • A Godly Influence Falsified. 45  So the demons eventually return, with more influence and greater strength. And they find this house, ripe for occupation again, for while the Law has cleaned up the life, the soul is empty and dead, sterile. Outwardly, the life may be a radiant whiteness.  Inwardly it’s a stinking rotten corpse.  Matthew 23:27  

There has been a godly influence among the leaders of the Jewish religion of that day.  To ‘clean up your life’ just doesn’t work.  What we need is to have the Law applied, to convict us of our evil nature, then to confess our sins and trust in Christ!  Only the Holy Spirit can do that inner work, convicting us and converting us, indwelling us, so that the evil spirit is excluded.  Our soul is occupied by God at conversion!  Ephesians 3:16-19  

2 The Home of the Family of God.

Now, lets look at the other side of this coin, at the other group, at those who have trusted Christ, for there is another illustration here, this time not by way of a parable, but in a manner of teaching that was common among the rabbis of Israel, – applying hyperbole to make a point very clear….

  • Christ’s earthly family.  46 – 47   A family interruption.  There’s something very telling in the fact that Jesus’s earthly family were outside the building where he was teaching, or outside the area.  They were not among the great crowd of people who were listening to Him, and were not being taught by him.  It was no secret that the Saviour’s earthly family were not encouraging Him in his ministry in its early days.  John 7:1-5  In fact we know why they were there, for Mark tells us!  Mark 3:19b-21  The earthly family of Jesus – at this time thought he was deluded.  After all, what sane man would claim to be greater than Solomon?  It is the same challenge that faces all of us, and THAT’S WHAT THIS CHAPTER OF MATTHEW HAS BEEN ABOUT.  Is  Jesus really the Messiah, is he really the King of the Jews?  (All of His earthly family later repented of that, and trusted him as saviour!  In Acts 1:12-14 they are all together, worshipping Jesus.  James became the leader of the church at Jerusalem and presided at the first church council in Acts 15.)  

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  • Christ’s True Family. Note the DIGNITY of the family. We are described here as the brothers and sisters of Jesus.  How amazing is that?   Although we are poor relations, he will never be ashamed of us, but will confess us before the Father.   All of the things that make me ashamed of myself are sinful, but he is not ashamed of me because my sins are forgiven through His atoning death..

Christians, believers, are part of Christ’s family.

© BobMcEvoy March 2019

From → Bible Study, Matthew

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