Jesus is confronting the religious leaders who said Jesus was filled with power from Satan and who also thought they could attain eternal life by their own works. The religious leaders wanted a sign from Jesus but Jesus had already done so many signs that they would have seen them personally or at least heard about them from witnesses.
Jesus previously gave them an answer that still applies today and that is the sign of Jonah. The Sign of Jonah is that Jesus would be in the tomb three days and would rise again and after Jesus death on the cross they were concerned with this because they went to great lengths to make sure His disciples did not steal His body.
If you ever have doubts about Christianity you just have to go back to the cross and resurrection of Christ and realize how true Christianity is.
This passage of scripture is Jesus summing up His argument from the previous passages because He healed a demon possessed man. Matthew 12: 22-29 Jesus is finishing up His point not just to the religious leaders but a warning to the man He just healed from demon possession. It a warning to every decent person and especially church goers who believe that they are good people because they act right or at least have not done anything too terribly bad.
1) A clean house does not mean a house with life
Resolution: A firm decision to do something. If you put your mind to something and discipline yourself you can accomplish some great task. Many people have overcome obesity, drug addictions or accomplished great task all because they put their mind to something.
Whether it was through Jesus casting out the demon or if a person makes a moral decision to stop something a person can clean up their own house (act) and look on the outside to be filled with life. You can clean up your act for various reasons that have nothing to do with God.
This is where the deception begins because if you think there is nothing wrong with the house and it is clean and orderly then you have a false sense of security that everything is alright. The problem is that if you do not fill your life with something else then there will be room for those bad habits (sins) to come back and many times worse than before.
The point is that a person without Christ can discipline themselves to look good but that does not mean that Jesus owns the house. Remember the religious leaders looked good on the outside but they were dead on the inside.
Matthew 23:27-28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
In my neighborhood we have several older couples whose children are grown up and mature. When I walk past their garages they are neat, orderly and clutter free. My garage is full of bikes, sports equipment and usually we are just trying to keep a path so we can walk through to the garage door. Although the people in my neighborhood have clean garages they are also missing out on the joys of life. Yes, even in the clutter and chaos of trying to keep our lives neat and orderly we have something in our house that other houses do not have and that is life.
A person can be freed from their bondage but still be spiritually empty. One of the lies that is being told is that if Jesus was against certain sins He would have not healed them. When Jesus healed people He did not justify their sin, He told them to go and sin no more. It is not if Jesus heals your disease, even a disease caused by sin that makes you right with God. It is if you believe that what Jesus did on the cross paid for those sins. Jesus healed Ten Lepers in Luke 17:11-19 but only one returned to worship Him. Jesus healed people that had no faith in Him as Messiah. His miracles were signs for people to believe He was from God not a healing that justified their sin.
Morality can blind us to our true condition.
This is why Jesus was surrounded by Tax collectors and prostitutes because they knew they needed saving. The religious leaders thought they could earn their way to God on their own so they did not need Jesus.
Matthew 9:10-13 And as Jesus[b] reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
2) A clean house needs to be occupied
Reread vs 44 Notice that the demon is says “My House” Jesus does not use words by accident and He is showing that the demon believes he is entitled to the house or the mans body. Jesus is letting the man He healed from demon possession know that he cannot stay in a neutral state because the demons will come back if the man does not accept Christ as His Messiah. There are no neutral people in this world and they either belong to Christ or they belong to Satan. We are either filled with the Spirit of God or we will be mastered by Satan.
Ephesians 5:15-18 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit
Ephesians 3:14-19 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[c] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
If you have ever watched those shows where they buy, fix up and resell the houses they give a clear picture of what Jesus did for this demon possessed man. In these shows they have to sometimes chase people away from the house, they also have to clean and fix them up, but they also as soon as they are done want tenants in there asap.
Why? Because they know if they don’t get someone in there bad people will come and occupy their place and destroy it again. That is the perfect picture of what can happen to someone who just tries to clean up their act. Christianity is more than a moral life it is a life that is filled with the power of Christ. This is what makes Christianity different from all other religions. Other religions tell you how to work your way to God but Christianity is not only God working His way to you but also empowering you to live the life He is calling you to live.
Dwell: means not only be in the home but to be at home in the home. Jesus comes and makes His home with us.
3) The results can be devastating
Jesus wanted to make it clear that by just acting morally will lead you to a condition worse than before. We do not need people to just act right; we need people to have a relationship with Christ. It is like having a deadly disease but feeling fine, although you may not realize it, you will eventually die from it.
2 Peter 2:20-22 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
If your nature has not been changed then you will revert back to how you were before. This is why 2 Corinthians 5:17 says we become new creations and not just dressed up pigs. The reason it is worse is because a person who thinks they are a Christian will not see they are still in sin and will be separated from God for eternity even though on the outside they appear to be a Christian.
4) An occupied house needs to keep its doors locked
Do you lock your doors at night? Why?
We know how to watch over our physical property but we do not know how to watch over our spiritual property.
We are in a spiritual battle but many of us do not realize it.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
We lock our doors so that we try and keep the enemy from coming into our houses and ruining our lives but we do not do that spiritually. Jesus tells us that there is an enemy that wants to destroy us but many of us do nothing to keep him from destroying our lives and the lives of our families.
James 1:14-15 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We do not see some of the things we do as sin and therefore we do not look at them as a threat. Because we do not see things we do as destroying our lives we tend to take them lightly and even make excuses for them.
“I was born this way” or “I can’t help it” or “My dad was this way so it is just a family tradition” The excuses are many but the point is that if we have given our lives to Christ then we are no longer under the ownership of any sin that we might think holds us captive.
Colossians 2:8-15 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities[b] and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him
Satan has been disarmed (Powerless) and therefore, you have a choice to overcome the sins that are ruining your life.
“Addiction is a secular concept, and I don’t like it because it suggests that I am a powerless victim of my problem. God calls it sin; the world calls it “bad genes”. … If it is sin there’s hope. But if I’m born this way, or if I’m just a helpless victim of some powerful force or substance, then my situation is hopeless.” (Reclaiming surrendered ground, Jim Logan, pg 28)
The thief does not just want to rob you, he wants you dead. Every sin no matter how small you think it is will eventually destroy you. If you are a Christians Satan was not only given an eviction notice ,He was thrown out, so stop letting him back in.
“I am not saying that every single time we sin, we give Satan a huge chunk of ground on which he can build a towering stronghold. Instead, we give ground when we refuse to let go of our sin, to confess it, and turn from it. … It’s not necessarily one moment of anger that gives Satan a foothold, but anger that is stored up, nurtured and allowed to turn to bitterness and other horrible things…” (Reclaiming surrendered ground, Jim Logan, pg 36)
“Spiritual growth can be defined as the decreasing frequency of sin. The more we exercise our spiritual muscles, yielding to the Spirit’s control of our lives, the less sin is present. Where the strength of God increases, sin necessarily decreases. The nearer we come to God, the further we go from sin.” ( John MacArthur Commentary on Ephesians pg 106)
Only in spiritual matters have we given the excuse that we cannot do it and that is somewhat true. Always it is the power of the Holy Spirit living in you that gives you the victory. So if you have a sin area in your life that seems to be difficult to get rid of you need to spend time in prayer asking God to give you the strength to overcome the very thing He already defeated.
Your role is to accept the power of God through prayer to accomplish the will of God in your life for His glory.
If you drive then you more than likely have experienced a person who tailgates you. These people are not only annoying but they can be dangerous. The main reason they are dangerous is because people look in their rear view mirror at what they are doing and not focused on what is ahead. Satan is like the guy riding your tail while driving, you can focus on him or just look ahead and ignore him. The guy behind you is powerless over you but they can cause you to wreck if you stay focused on them. Our job is not to stay focused on what Satan can and cannot do but to stay focused on Christ and His calling for our lives. By doing this you will keep Satan from destroying your life.
Only you know for sure if you are a moral person or a Spirit filled person. The question is who owns the house? It either belongs to Christ or it belongs to Satan. Before you answer that question too quickly I would evaluate if you have ever given ownership to Christ. Being good enough will not get you into heaven (John 14:6) but only by being in a right relationship with God through Christ. (Colossians 3)