We pick back up in the story as we ended with Jesus in mid stride of His rebuke and correction of the religious leaders. We must always keep in mind that Jesus rebuke of them was because of the influence they had over others.
1) The Good News of Christianity (vs31-32)
Christianity tends to get a bad rap for being and exclusive religion even though it is not the only religion that believes it is the only way to salvation. But the good news of Christianity is that Jesus Christ paid our debt in full so we do not have to be held in judgement for our sin.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
This verse is clear that Christ believed He was the only way to Heaven and that the notion of their being many roads to God is not something Jesus taught. Instead of people seeing this as good news people get upset because they like the concept that all roads lead to God and just like the religious leaders that they can earn salvation on their own merit.
The beauty of Christianity is simple: There is only one sin you will not be forgiven for.
I love that God keeps it simple for us and does not make it difficult to understand. How people have taken such a simple concept and made it difficult is beyond understanding. Adam and Eve had one simple thing to remember and just like we do today, we question what God really meant by it.
Any sin and blasphemy will be forgiven.
Sin is anything that goes against the nature and character of God and covers all sins even the ones we do not call sins.
Blasphemy is the rejection of God but goes to the point of even speaking out against God.
If at one point in your life you looked up to the heavens and cussed God out if you ask for forgiveness it will be forgiven. If at one point in your life you not only rejected God but tried to get others to reject Him as well, that will be forgiven. The Apostle Paul was a blasphemer and was forgiven (1 Timothy 1:12-13) and God used him to tell others about the good news of Christ.
2) The bad news of Christianity
Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
We call the gospel good news because when there is good news it means the opposite of good is true as well. It is not because people did not have an opportunity to come to God through the drawing of the Holy Spirit but because they continued to refuse the signs that were there. When the religious leaders said Jesus healed the demon possessed man by the power of Satan that was evidence that they clearly were ignoring the signs of God.
Acts 7:51-52 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered.”
We see in this verse that the denial of the Holy Spirits work has been going on since the day of the prophets and is continuing on today. God has continually made Himself known through His spirit with signs and miracles and yet people will still reject Him.
Will not be forgiven in this age or the age to come
You can reject Christ to the point that you no longer will hear or see Him at work around you.
Hebrews 3:7-8 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness,
This does not mean that if you repented here on earth that you would not be forgiven. It does mean that you can get to a point that you no longer hear the drawing of God because of your own stubbornness and hard heart. Just like a callous is worn on a hand while working with tools so the heart can become hard because of the denial of the work of the Spirit of God.
So for Jesus to say they will not be forgiven in this life or the one to come was a clear evident sign to them that no matter what miracles Jesus performed it would not be enough to convince them He was the Messiah.
This also shows the finality of your decision here on earth because whatever you decide about Jesus Christ will carry on through eternity. Many people believe in Universalism which is simply the concept that God allows everyone into Heaven. Jesus never taught universalism and made it clear that a decision about Him had to be made here on earth. You can believe what you want but you have a short time in this life to determine what is true.
3) The Test of Christianity (vs 33-37)
Jesus knows that decisions have to be made before eternity and He wants the people to know how they can know for sure who they belong to.
Jesus was saying you need to make up your mind about Him because the only way to change is by surrendering. We cannot clean up our acts we have to change who we are and that is only through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. The story of Christianity is Christ payment for our sin. If Jesus did not have to die on the cross then why did He? If all roads lead to God then the sacrifice of Christ was for nothing.
You Brood of Vipers
I have been in trouble for calling our religious leaders that I believe are teaching a false doctrine. My intent is that they are not bad people, only God knows their heart, but to just warn people of the danger of some of their teachings.
Vipers were dangerous because they could blend in with the environment and when a mother had babies it was a bunch of potential killers. So a brood of vipers was simply people teaching poisonous doctrine and teaching others to teach the same poisonous doctrines.
People release their poison in our society today when they teach that some sins are not sins or that by their own efforts they can earn salvation on their own. Jesus wanted the people to know that their is a way to know if you belong to God.
The religious leaders looked good and they acted the part, but the reality is they were fake fruit
Out of the good treasure brings good and out of the bad treasure brings bad
This Idea is that of a bank vault that stored gold or silver. Whatever is in the bank vault is all you can get out of the bank vault. So the parallel is whatever is in you is what will come out. Whatever comes out is what you are and shows who you belong to.
How many of you have said something and wondered where it came from?
We say we do not know where it came from and then we make excuses for it but it came from what was inside of you or to say it like Jesus, what was in your vault.
What you say is who you are.
For by your words you will be justified or condemned.
On our cars we have a Check engine light or as some refer to them as idiot lights. They are lights to let us know that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. We can ignore the lights that are on or we can do something about them. If you don’t address the light sometimes it can lead to even worse problems or for you to eventually break down.
We all need to stop ignoring the check engine lights in our lives and make sure that we address the problems that are indicated by our mouths. At the end of time we will be judged by how we lived. For those who surrender to Christ and give their lives to Him we are judged by His life. For those who refuse then they will give account to God for their own life, which will also serve as testimony against themselves.
A sure way to know who you belong to is by the fruit in your own life. Do not be fooled like the religious leaders but really inspect where you are. Evaluate the fruit in your life and see if it is good or bad. Ask God to show you where you stand with Him and what is going on in your life. If you are His child then you will get the reassurance you need but if you are not His child you have only this life to ask for forgiveness and give you life to Him.
We all have areas that need treating
This does not mean that we all do not have areas in our lives that need more work and even a tree with some bugs on it can produce good fruit. The problem is if you allow the bugs to continue then it will destroy the tree. Many Christians have allowed areas in their lives to become infested with a sin and it destroyed them and or their marriages.
Romans 6:23 talks about the wages of sin being death. Death does not always have to mean physical death but can also mean death of marriages, jobs and other relationships. Yes if you are a christian you will be spared eternal death but that does not mean sin will not affect your life here on earth.
John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Is God cutting back because you have been fruitful or because you haven’t been? You have to determine why God is pruning in your life to see if He is just cutting back for you to produce more or if He is cutting out some dead areas that you have.
John 15: 3-8 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
If people only had the way I lived to judge me by; would they say I am a Christ follower?
Am I the same person I was a year ago?
What are some areas I have grown in this last year?
What are some areas I need to work on in my life?