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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Pastor's Pen - October 6, 2007
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October 6, 2007

Matthew 11-12
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Matthew
Chapter 11
  1. And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.
  2. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
  3. And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
  4. Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
  5. The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
  6. And blessed is he , whosoever shall not be offended in me.
  7. And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
  8. But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.
  9. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
  10. For this is he , of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
  11. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
  12. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
  13. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
  14. And if ye will receive it , this is Elias, which was for to come.
  15. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
  16. But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,
  17. And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.
  18. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.
  19. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
  20. Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:
  21. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
  22. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
  23. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
  24. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
  25. At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
  26. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.
  27. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
  28. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
  29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
  30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


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Matthew
Chapter 12
  1. At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
  2. But when the Pharisees saw it , they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
  3. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
  4. How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
  5. Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
  6. But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
  7. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
  8. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
  9. And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
  10. And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
  11. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
  12. How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
  13. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
  14. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
  15. But when Jesus knew it , he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;
  16. And charged them that they should not make him known:
  17. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
  18. Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
  19. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
  20. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
  21. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
  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.
  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?
  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.
  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.
  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.
  33. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
  34. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
  35. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
  36. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
  37. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
  38. Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
  39. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
  40. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
  41. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
  42. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
  43. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
  44. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
  45. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
  46. While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.
  47. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.
  48. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
  49. And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
  50. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.


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Thought for the day:
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 Much ink has been spilled over the years on the subject of the "unpardonable sin". Because it is found in this passage of Scripture, I believe it would be worth our time to see exactly what the Bible says on this subject. Christ was carrying out His ministry, and in the course of His work He cast a demon out of an individual. This astounded the people watching, and they began to proclaim Him to be the Messiah ("the son of David" 12:23). Of course, the Pharisees, who rejected Him, could not deny what had happened, but they also refused to acknowledge that Christ was Who He claimed to be, so they made the accusation that Jesus may have been casting out demons, but that He was doing it through the power of Satan.

 Jesus responded to them by showing several fallacies in their accusation. First of all, He shows that Satan does not oppose Satan, so therefore Satan would not cast himself (or one of his demons) out of someone. If he did this, the kingdom that he is attempting to build in opposition to God would not stand. Secondly, he asks the Pharisees if they were willing to apply the same standards to their own children that they were applying to Him. There were members of the Jewish religious sects who claimed to be able to cast out demons. Acts 19 speaks of some of these people. Since these exorcists had been trained by and encouraged by the Pharisees, Jesus asks whether their accusations against Him meant that they were also prepared to accuse these men as well. If these exorcists were in league with the Devil, that would surely implicate their instructors (the Pharisees) as being in league with him too.

 Christ then goes to the heart of the matter. If He was casting out demons in the power of God as He claimed that He was, then He truly was both Messiah and God. Only God Himself would be able to remove this man from the clutches of demon possession, for no mere mortal, apart from the power of God, could overcome Satan or his demons. The problem was that the Pharisees did not want to believe on Jesus because they did not like the message that He preached. When His actions gave proof to His claims of Deity, they had to make up lies about Him in a misguided attempt to explain away what He was doing. They were not for Him, so that automatically made them against Him. They were not bringing others to Him, so they were instead driving people away from Him (30).

 This leads to verse 31 and 32, which state,

"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. 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."
This is the "unpardonable sin", which is referred to as "speaking against the Holy Spirit". Some have said that this unpardonable sin is the rejection of Jesus as Saviour, for no one can be saved apart from Him. While rejection of Christ will ultimately send a man to Hell, it is not "unpardonable", for many people rejected the Lord first before they finally received Him. If this were the unpardonable sin, then once a person rejected salvation the first time, there would never be any hope for them. Some believe that it means to curse at the Holy Spirit. I don't believe that is what is meant here either. The context reveals the Truth. The Pharisees were saying that what the Holy Spirit was doing was actually being done by the Devil. Mark 3:30 says that they accused Christ of having an "unclean spirit". They were speaking against the Holy Spirit in this way, blaspheming Him by attributing His works to Satan, and there was no forgiveness for them. They were denying Christ's deity and claiming that He was demonic, and this could not be forgiven.

 I personally do not believe that this sin can be committed today. I believe it was committed by "religious" men who knew the truth and saw first-hand the evidence of the truth in the life of Christ, and chose to say that it was being done through Satanic means. There are no other warnings about it in the Scriptures, and I believe that it could only be done during the time of our Lord's earthly ministry. Good men may disagree on some of the specifics here, but the bottom line is that the Pharisees hated the Lord so much that they condemned their own souls by claiming that He Himself was demon possessed.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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(412)822-7255
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