8/31/14 – A Gospel Greater Than Moral Reform

Matthew 12:33-50 (ESV)

33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
38Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”39But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.
43“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
46While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. 47Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.”48But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 50For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

A. Reckless words revealed rotten hearts set against God.
B. Words can tear down, build up, and reveal true feelings.

A. Pharisees want to see a miracle so big they cannot deny it. Jesus will rise from the dead soon and they will deny it, too.
B. Jesus compares the hard-hearted resistance of the Pharisees of Him to the humble repentance of Nineveh at the preaching of Jonah.
C. Jesus compares the dumbness of the Pharisees in not seeing Him as Messiah to the discernment of Queen of Sheba with Solomon.

A. Jesus uses the exorcism as an illustration of how the answer was not more rules to follow so they could clean up their lives.
B. The Pharisees did not need to clean up. They needed new hearts and to fill their emptiness with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
C. We need more than to empty our life of sin. We need Jesus to come and fill our lives with His presence, replacing the presence of sin.

A. In the Gospel, submission to Jesus is thicker than blood.
B. Our struggle to embrace one another as family demonstrates we spiritualize the adoption of Jesus and do not apply it literally.
C. By embracing one another as literal family, our joy in the Gospel will grow along with unity and our love for one another.

1. Impact the way your kids see the church as family by loving your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ like your family.
2. Examine your life to see if there is a natural overflow of the good fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life.
3. Confess that moral rehabilitation is not the answer and ask Jesus for a new heart and a new family.