Friday, August 12, 2011

Jesus Gave Three Responses To The Pharisees' Challenge

1) He wasn’t going to be their puppet and try and come up with some miracle that they would accept. Instead He would give them the ultimate sign in just a few years, the resurrection of the dead, victory over death and hell
"For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:40)
The prophet Jonah had experienced something similar when he was spit up onto the beach near Ninevah.

God told Jonah to warn the Ninevites that they were about to be destroyed by God unless they repented of their sin. Jonah’s bizarre appearance, bleached out by the stomach juices of a fish, must have unnerved them. The Ninevites were fish worshippers. To them Jonah was like a man resurrected from the dead, and they believed his message – all Ninevah repented.

Jesus was infinitely greater than Jonah. When Jesus rose from the dead, that would be the Pharisees’ call to repentance. But they didn’t.

--> How much worse it is now that the resurrection has been established. The Ninevites will judge those today who ask for irrefutable proof when the resurrection stands proven these last two thousand year

2) The Queen of Sheba traveled at great expense to marvel at Solomon’s kingdom and his wisdom.

Jesus’ wisdom was infinitely greater than Solomon’s, and His kingdom infinitely more wonderful. Yet the Queen of Sheba would stand one day in judgment over the Pharisees who had the Son of God Himself right in front of them and remained nonplused.

--> How much worse for those today who can put their hand on a Bible wherever they go, hear good teaching on the t.v., the radio, the internet, go to any number of worship services on any day of the week, yet remain unmoved.

3) Jesus revealed their dangerously empty hearts. The Pharisees had continued the legacy of Ezra’s day,
+ Keeping Israel clean from idols,
+ Slavishly observing the Sabbath,
+ Obeying every possible nuance of God’s law to tithe,
...To fast,
......To keep the holy days.
"When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.

"Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.

"Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.

"That is how it will be with this wicked generation." (Matthew 12:43-45)
It's not enough to live a clean and disciplined life and mouth a lot of holy words.

Jesus said there must be someone who lives in the home of your heart, as the owner. Otherwise Satan will just move right back in again, and matters will be even worse.

The new owner has to be stronger than Satan. The new owner is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. Demons can't possess a Christian because of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Whoever is not with the Lord Jesus Christ is against Him
The miracles of Jesus point to who Jesus is. However, an unwillingness to believe reveals a hard heart.

Failure to believe the message of Christ has serious consequences, because there is no neutral zone.

You are either with Jesus, in the kingdom of God or you are with His enemy, Satan, under his rod of death and bound for his eventual destination of hell. Jesus has pre-eminence over even death and hell, and only He has the power to release you from the strong man’s house.

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