Blasphemy of the Spirit
19 March 2017 AM – Matthew 12:22-32 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Read text. Our God is a forgiving God! (Psalms 86:5) “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” (Psalms 32:1) “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” (Psalms 103:3) “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;” (Daniel 9:9) “To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;” (Colossians 1:14) “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
God will forgive any sin, no matter how terrible that sin might be (Matthew 12:31). Yet, later in the same verse Jesus said that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven. This statement has been often misunderstood, especially when taken out of its context.
Transition: In the context we find five events that lead us to a proper interpretation of the blasphemy of the Spirit.
1. The Healing (Mt 12:22)
a. Examine the sick man
1) He was demon possessed, blind and dumb.
2) His problems were totally beyond the help of men.
b. Jesus healed the sick man
1) Jesus cast out the demon, restored his sight and opened his vocal cords.
2) Jesus made the man perfectly well.
3) The Jews knew that the O.T. prophets predicted that the Messiah would do such miracles (Isaiah 29:18).
2. The Reaction (Mt 12:23)
a. All the people were amazed.
1) The word “amazed” means to throw out of position, displace; to throw into wonderment; to be astounded; to be out of one’s mind, besides one’s self.
2) These people saw with their own eyes sick people whom they had known for years completely cured by the spoken words of Jesus. Demon possessed people who had terrified the community with their evil power were now calm and in their right minds.
3) They were not just surprised, they were totally blown away by the miracles Jesus did. This was a common response to Jesus’ miracles (Mr 2:12; 5:42; 6:51).
b. They concluded that Jesus must be the Messiah.
1) The words “son of David” is a phrase that refers to the Messiah.
2) Jesus did those miracles to authenticate His ministry and to convince that He was truly the Messiah.
3) The amazed onlookers had no trouble coming to that very conclusion.
3. The Accusation (Mt 12:24)
a. When the Pharisees heard the reaction they resisted.
1) They hardened their hearts against Jesus.
2) They hated to hear the people claim that Jesus must be the Messiah.
b. They accused Jesus of using Satan’s power
1) In an attempt to turn the people against Jesus, they accused Him of being empowered by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. They claimed that Jesus was getting his power to cast out demons and heal from Satan.
2) If that was true, then Jesus was a fraud. Everyone knew that no mere human could do these miracles so the power either came from God or from Satan.
4. The Response (Mt 12:25-30)
a. Jesus disarmed their false reasoning (v.25-27)
1) First, He not only heard their words, but knew their thoughts. He knew their motives were to poison the thinking of the people.
2) Jesus reminded them that internal disunity will destroy any kingdom, city or house.
3) Jesus said that if he were empowered by Satan to cast out demons that would be working against Satan. You cannot work against yourself and benefit at the same time.
4) Since they accused Jesus of being empowered by Satan, He then asked who empowered their children who attempted to cast out demons.
b. Jesus gave them sound reasoning (v.28-30)
1) If Jesus did cast out demons by the power of God, then that is proof that He was setting up the kingdom of God. He spoke of the kingdom where He would rule as King in their hearts.
2) He illustrated that no one can take over a strong man’s house without first binding the strong man. This was the reason Jesus was defeating the demonic power. Jesus came to earth to die on the cross and defeat Satan. Though Satan is still active, since the cross and resurrection he is limited and his doom is sealed.
3) Jesus made it clear that every being has only two options. He may submit to Christ’s leadership or he can rebel against it. All who are not with Christ are against Him. There is no other option. Religion has deceived millions into thinking that they are with Christ when in reality they have never dealt with their sin God’s way by repentant faith in Christ alone. They too are still on the Devil’s side.
5. The Condemnation (Mt 12:31-32)
a. Jesus affirms that every sin may be forgiven
1) Read the verse carefully. Jesus said that all sin and blasphemy may be forgiven.
a) David was forgiven for adultery and murder.
b) Jonah was forgiven for rebellion against God.
c) Peter was forgiven for cursing, blaspheming God and denying Christ.
d) Paul (Saul) was forgiven for the persecution and murder of many Christians.
2) Any repentant unbeliever may be saved by faith in Christ’s atonement. Paul said, (1 Timothy 1:15) “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
3) Forgiveness is available to every Christian who will confess his sin. (1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
4) By this statement, Jesus made it clear that the blasphemy of the Spirit was something different.
b. Jesus condemned those who blaspheme the Spirit
1) The Pharisees had seen the divine power of the Holy Spirit working through Jesus yet they wilfully refused to and attributed it to Satan. They cut themselves off from the mercy and grace of God. Their blasphemy of the Spirit was the wilful permanent refusal to believe the clear facts about Christ. Perhaps only those who saw Jesus’ miracles could blaspheme the Spirit, but it seems to also apply to all wilful, knowing rejection of the Spirit’s conviction that Jesus is our only hope of salvation.
2) David Hewitt in his commentary concludes, “The unpardonable sin therefore, is to have a clear knowledge of the way of forgiveness but to deliberately reject it.” Mark, Free to Follow Jesus, p. 63
3) When the Holy Spirit convicts a person of sin and he clearly sees the evidence that Jesus is the Christ the Saviour of the world and he wilfully turns from it and permanently refuses to believe, I believe that is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
4) Wilfully rejecting the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the salvation of Christ dooms that soul to hell. (Hebrews 2:3) “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;”
Conclusion: My goal this morning is twofold. First, I want to give you a clear understanding of the true meaning of the text. Second, if the Holy Spirit has been convicting you that you need to be saved, delay no longer. Trust Christ today. To wilfully reject Him is to seal your doom forever.
Song: Just As I Am – 249