56. Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. -Matthew 12:31-32
This is often referred to as the unpardonable sin – the one that cannot be forgiven. So what is it? Well, we know from Jesus’ words in John 16:8-10 that one of the roles of God the Holy Spirit is to convict people in the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. Jesus then clarified by saying ‘of sin, because they do not believe in Me, of judgment, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more, and of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.’ Here Jesus elevated to the top of the sin list unbelief in Jesus. God the Holy Spirit is constantly convicting the people of this world of their need of Jesus for salvation from the judgment due their sins, the judgment that will surely come on the individual because of their sinful rebellion against God. The unpardonable sin is the lifelong rejection of Jesus, which is a sin against God the Holy Spirit because He has actively been at work convicting the sinner of gospel truth. Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart, turn to Jesus for salvation. Note also that by calling rejection of the Holy Spirit blasphemy, Jesus is identifying the Holy Spirit as part of the Triune God! So when people do turn to Jesus for salvation and become God’s disciple, Matthew 28: 19 says they are to be baptized in the name (singular) of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit (the Triune God, the ‘Us’ of Genesis 1).
57. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. -Matthew 12:36-37
GULP! Do YOU think that what you say matters to God? Jesus sure does! With your words you can glorify God and build up others by speaking the truth in love. With your words you can also grieve the Holy Spirit and hinder what God wants to do in the lives of others. Take these words by Jesus very seriously, ask for His forgiveness for your careless tongue, and gain a new resolve to use your words for God’s glory. Heaven is taking note!
58. For whoever does the will of God is My brother and sister and mother. -Mark 3:35 Context: Mark 3:31-35
Jesus puts obedience to God above everything else, including family loyalty. In fact, He announced the church as a new kind of family, with God as the Father and believers as sons and daughters of His, brothers and sisters of each other. In this passage Jesus’ mom and brothers came wanting to see Him. It has been suggested based on John 7:5 that they may have been embarrassed by the growing opposition to Jesus’ ministry, and thought they were ‘helping’ Him by getting Him away from the crowds around Him. Jesus wasn’t having any of it! In fact, He uses this occasion to call all His followers of all time to put love for God and doing what He wants (His will as recorded in the Bible) above everything else. Over the years I have seen committed young Christians, many feeling a call to full-time ministry, face this same kind of pressure from their own families, even church going families. “Ease up a little on that fervency,” they’ll say, “we’re Christians also, but we don’t go all out about it like you do!” Brothers and sisters, when you face that kind of pressure from even well-meaning but misguided family members, say a prayer of thanks that Jesus Himself experienced that pressure from His earthly family. He persevered in doing God’s will, and later His unbelieving brothers Jude and James became believers and wrote the books that bear their names. Those times you stand alone for God may be what eventually leads your own family members to a deeper walk with God!
59. He who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” -Matthew 13:23 Context: Matthew 13:18-23 (the parable of the sower explained)
Notice verse 23 says this group of people “understood” the word spoken to them. This is not said of the others. The person described in verse 19 did not understand at all. The one in verses 20-21 accepted what they heard gladly until trouble came along and failed to “endure,” since there was no root to their faith. The one in verse 22 liked the word until they realized it would mean a different use for their time and resources than they had planned. Of only the last one are we told they “understood” and went on to bear gospel fruit. When it comes to assurance of salvation, it is probably only this last person that should have it, the person who is trusting Christ alone for salvation, and actively seeking to put Him first in every area of their life. If you fall into one of the other categories, you need to evaluate whether Jesus is really your Lord and Savior, or just a kind of “mascot” for your life.
60. Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” -Mark 4:24-25
Believers need to be F.A.T. – Faithful, Available, Teachable! When you hear a truth from God’s Word, you become responsible for applying it in your life. That’s why I take notes every time I hear a preacher speak. I’m looking for at least one gem that will help ne grow. In school you take notes because the material covered might be on a test one day. For Christians, LIFE is the test! Study to show yourself approved, so you can learn more and be more useful for Jesus. Remember that the Christian call is to be a “doer” of the Word, not a hearer only! In this passage Jesus extols being careful “hearers,” making sure what you hear is biblically sound. Then He goes beyond that to applying the teaching you have been given to life. If you hear a gallon’s worth of teaching but only do a quart worth of obeying, something is wrong! But if you hear a gallon’s worth and put it into practice in your life, God will entrust you with even more life impact. But according to Jesus here, if you don’t apply what you are hearing, you’ll spring leaks!