Lesson Text—Matthew 12:22-24 Matthew 12:22-32 22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
Lesson Text—Matthew 12:25-27 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
Lesson Text—Matthew 12:25-27 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Lesson Text—Matthew 12:28-31 29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. 30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
Lesson Text—Matthew 12:32 31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Focus Verse—Matthew 12:25 Matthew 12:25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.
Focus Thought The deliverance ministry of Jesus Christ is misunderstood and misrepresented by ignorant and vicious men who cause their own shame and damnation. Still, miracles continue wherever Jesus is allowed to work.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Introduction Jesus Christ was a miracle worker in the truest sense of the word. Those miracles made an impact across a wide spectrum of human needs. He effected the physical healing of many individuals and delivered many people from the influence and control of demonic spirits. In His final miraculous work Jesus provided for the deliverance of the human spirit of all mankind from bondage to the forces of darkness.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer These forces are Satan’s emissaries to prevent mankind from enjoying a meaningful and productive life. Demonic powers work among human beings primarily through deceit. While it is true that evil spirits can actually possess a person to the extent that he becomes mentally and emotionally unstable, Satan produces more extensive damage through the deceit of many individuals.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer The only way anyone can escape from such bondage, whether it be by possession or deception caused by evil spirits, is through the delivering power of Jesus Christ. The apostle John stated that the Son of God was manifested so “that he might destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8). The demonstration of Jesus’ delivering power was actually twofold: (1) the ejection of evil spirits, or demons, from the minds of individuals and (2) His declaration of truth that delivers people from deception. (See John 8:32.)
John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Although God often manifested His miracle-working power in the physical realm, the truth that Jesus declared loosed many people from deception and enabled them to enter into a saving relationship with the Almighty.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Jesus, the Only Answer The events associated with and surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem were the beginning of the fulfillment of messianic prophecies declared through the anointed writers of the Old Testament. One of those prophecies included the statement that His name would be called Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” (See Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23.)
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Because the very Creator of the universe was embodied in the flesh of Jesus Christ, He possessed incredible supernatural powers to heal and to deliver people from spiritual bondage. His power transcended the very laws of nature. In varied ways throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus repeatedly manifested these supernatural powers. He was the only solution for people to escape the powers of darkness that firmly held them in the grip of infirmity, demon possession, and deception.
A. Every Spirit Is Subject to Jesus The destructive demonic forces work within the spirit world to impede and attempt to destroy God’s purposes on earth. However, their powers are neither unlimited nor without external restraint; in every situation they are subject to the supreme power of the Almighty! Moreover, when Jesus Christ demonstrated His supernatural capabilities, He confirmed that every spirit is subject to Him.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Throughout the Gospels, Jesus Christ used His authority to cast out devils that had possessed people for years. As Creator, He had created every spirit, so it is not surprising that every spirit is then subjugated to His supremacy. There is no power in heaven or in earth beyond or outside the limiting and controlling power of Jesus Christ. (See Matthew 28:18; I Peter 3:22; Colossians 1:16-17.)
Colossians 1:16-17 “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).
B. Every Power Must Obey Jesus At the time of His crucifixion, Jesus told Pontius Pilate, “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above” (John 19:11). To be sure, every earthly kingdom or power can exist only if it fits the plan and purpose of God. Even the laws of nature are subject to His authority.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer For example, in the New Testament we witness Jesus’ cursing of the fig tree, His causing the wind to cease by simply speaking to it, and His walking on the Sea of Galilee during a violent storm. (See Matthew 21:19; Mark 6:48-49; Luke 8:25.) These are only a few instances that prove Jesus possesses absolute power over both the natural laws of nature and the spiritual world.
II. Jesus, the Accused Jesus, the Accused Throughout His earthly ministry Jesus was perpetually the object of accusation by the Jewish priesthood and religious leaders. Their objections were born of envy and stemmed from their spirit of religious pride. No matter how much supernatural power He displayed, they refused to humble themselves and continued to find fault with everything He said or did.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Paul declared to the Corinthians, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14). Although the scribes and Pharisees were learned in the law, they did not have enough spiritual insight to recognize who Jesus was. Jesus walked in Galilee among these religious leaders who were swollen with their own self- importance and insanely jealous of His ministry.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Instead of recognizing and acknowledging that Jesus clearly manifested the power of God, they accused Him of being devil possessed and violating God’s law concerning the Sabbath. They repeatedly attempted to destroy His credibility and effectiveness, even to the point of attempting to physically attack Him. Ultimately, it was intense resentment that motivated the Jewish leaders to plan the execution of Jesus and to deliver Him to Pontius Pilate to be crucified.
A. Misunderstood Many of the common people in Jesus’ day did not fully comprehend who He was. Although a number of them considered Him to be a prophet or at least divinely anointed, there was a degree of mystery surrounding His true identity. In his last hours of life, even John the Baptist questioned whether Jesus was truly the Messiah. (See Matthew 11:1-3.) There was a certain mystique surrounding Christ’s allegorical teaching style and His frequent use of parables.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Sometimes when He taught the multitudes, some individuals left confused and wondering. But for His closest followers, Jesus always offered further and deeper explanations of His teachings. Jesus once explained why many people failed to grasp the full meaning of His teachings and why He often utilized parables to convey truth: “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given” (Matthew 13:10-11).
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Even today some people fail to grasp the fullness of who Jesus is and the meaning of His message of truth. As commonly known as the name of Jesus is in our day, His true identity often remains a mystery and is greatly misunderstood by many people. However, if there is any confusion as to who Jesus is, none exists among the demons and evil spirits of this world. In His day they knew exactly who Jesus was, and still they know His identity and tremble at His presence. (See Matthew 8:28-29; James 2:19.)
Matthew 8:28-29 “And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:28-29).
James 2:19 “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19).
B. Blasphemed While there were indeed those who recognized the full identity of Jesus Christ as the Messiah—the physical manifestation of God Himself—others were totally unable or unwilling to accept the truth. (See Matthew 16:16-19.) Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). From the dawn of time in the Garden of Eden, Satan has always hated our Lord and His truth.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Hence, the work of Satan through the generations has reflected an intense, perpetual effort to stamp out truth through intricate and often complex schemes of deception. Manifested truth threatens the powers of darkness because the success of evil is contingent on the failure of truth, which is impossible. Truth shall triumph!
I. Jesus, the Only Answer As the father of lies and deception, Satan desires to destroy or discredit the truth of God at every opportunity. Blasphemy, ridicule, deceit, and even murder have characterized his efforts throughout the centuries as he has attempted to promote his wicked interests and deter the threat to his personal kingdom. His strategy has been clearly evident throughout human history, from Eden until now. Every time the Lord’s name is taken in vain or is used as a curse word, the powers of darkness are manifesting their hatred of God.
III. The Ultimate Accusation The Ultimate Accusation When the religious leaders accused Jesus of sin and blasphemy, He responded by exposing the folly of their actions and by revealing their purely carnal motivation. Not only were their motives born of pride and envy, but their very souls were in great danger because their accusations bordered on blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, the one unforgiveable sin.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Solomon warned, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Jesus emphasized that they were in peril of ultimate destruction. Many of those who accused Jesus were motivated by their own lusts of the flesh. As the very embodiment of truth, the words of Jesus antagonized those whose lifestyles revolved around the exaltation of their own fleshly egos. When individuals receive truth and they repent of their sins, God will forgive every evil deed they have committed.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer However, there is one sin that God cannot forgive—blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. God cannot forgive this sin because the Holy Ghost is the Spirit that convicts the human heart of sin and draws an individual into a dimension of surrender and consequent repentance. To blaspheme the Holy Ghost is to minimize its importance and make it of no effect in one’s life, thus rendering a person incapable of repentance.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer There are times, particularly in youth, when a person’s heart is tender and susceptible to the Spirit of God. If a person willfully resists the Spirit of God, however, he may experience a hardening and resistance to God’s voice. As life progresses and the world system imposes its values upon a life, a person’s heart becomes increasingly insensitive to the seed of truth that once was entertained. It is imperative that we entertain God’s presence while we are able to sense Him and respond to Him.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Otherwise, the day could come when He no longer deals with us and we no longer feel drawn by His Holy Spirit. How sad it would be to arrive at a place in life where we no longer are able to find a place of repentance! Such was the case with Esau (Hebrews 12:17). (See also Ecclesiastes 12:1.)
Hebrews 12:17 “For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrews 12:17).
Ecclesiastes 12:1 “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
A. The Accusation of Ignorance God’s mercy is open to those who are ignorant of their sinful state. As Jesus hung on the cross, among His last words were these words of mercy: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). While it is true that ignorance does not justify a person, an ignorant and deceived person’s sinful behavior does not place him beyond God’s reach.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer When such a person comes to know the truth and realizes his sinful condition, he is able to see his need to repent and to be reconciled to God. A primary example of this was the apostle Paul, who prior to his conversion persecuted the church of Jesus Christ relentlessly. However, by his own confession, he did it in ignorance (I Timothy 1:13). When Jesus supernaturally visited him on the road to Damascus, he repented and his life was changed forever (Acts 9:3-9).
B. The Accusation of Vengeance The Scriptures abound with evidence of the terrible consequences of willfully and deliberately disobeying the Word of God. Paul stated that failure to receive the truth would have fearful ramifications: “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thessalonians 2:12).
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Further, in his statement to the believers in Rome, Paul spoke of the extreme extent of an unbeliever’s rejection of God: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:28). There is a vast difference between an individual whose lifestyle is sinful yet he is unaware of truth, and an individual who knows truth yet he deliberately chooses to live in sinful disobedience.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer The latter person is in extreme danger of eternal damnation because of his arrogant decision to embrace a life of willful disobedience. His continued resistance to the Spirit of God draws him further and further away from a place of repentance. Moreover, to refuse repentance involves deliberate resistance to the Holy Ghost, without which no one can repent.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Although God will forgive everything of which a person can repent, a person may eventually believe a lie that God will not forgive him, or worse, believe the lie that he has done nothing wrong for which he should repent. In either situation he is in jeopardy of causing his own soul to be lost. This is the danger of deception.
II Thessalonians 2:11-12 “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thessalonians 2:11-12).
I. Jesus, the Only Answer If a person has hardened his heart to the overtures of God, he finally reaches a point where he cannot repent and thus cannot receive forgiveness. He resists the Holy Ghost for so long that repentance becomes impossible and damnation is his inevitable destiny. One should always be careful not to continue living a lifestyle of willful sin. It is the same as crucifying the Lord afresh. (See Hebrews 6:4-6.)
Hebrews 6:4-6 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6).
B. The Accusation of Vengeance Conclusion John penned these words: “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness” (I John 5:19). Sadly, the evil deceiver, Satan, has corrupted our world and drawn it into a wicked and fallen state of sin. Even sadder is the unfortunate fact that many people want to shortcut the real solution to the sin problem, desiring deliverance without genuine change.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer However, there are no shortcuts to deliverance and redemption from sin; Jesus Christ remains the one and only source of forgiveness and deliverance. The Spirit of God heals the sick and casts out devils. The truth of God casts out deception. Deliverance from physical infirmities is only temporary, but deliverance from damnation is eternal.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Jesus Christ was born into a world held fast in the grip of wickedness. His purpose was to deliver people from the power of sin, a bondage from which they could not free themselves. Every aspect of His life, ministry, death, and resurrection involved making provision for the deliverance of mankind. During His earthly ministry, He delivered people from physical infirmity, demonic possession, and satanic deception.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer Moreover, when Jesus declared that He was the truth, He was anticipating the New Covenant He would establish through His death, burial, and resurrection. When the Word became flesh, Jesus Christ revealed both the power of God and the truth of God by which people could receive deliverance from hopelessness, despair, and damnation. Those who came to Jesus during His earthly ministry received deliverance because they were willing to sacrifice their own pride on the altar.
I. Jesus, the Only Answer They realized their own need. The same holds true today. The outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost began a new era in which believers everywhere can receive forgiveness of sins and salvation. Within the New Covenant established by Jesus Christ, there is an abundant life through which we establish our identity as a believer and by which we can discover the only real purpose for life—achieving the ultimate destiny of eternal life with our Lord.