Thursday, June 29, 2023

Lesson 21 - Relapse

Principle 7: Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.

Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and power to carry that out.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” (Colossians 3:16)


We are going to look specifically at how to maintain the momentum of your recovery. Therefore, tonight we are going to talk about how you can prevent RELAPSE.

Relapse is defined in the Cambridge Dictionary as “to become ill or start behaving badly again, after making an improvement:”.

This definition is quite similar to the definition for “backslide”, “to go back to doing something bad when you have been doing something good, especially to stop working hard or to fail to do something that you had agreed to do:”

James helps us to break the process of relapse or backsliding down into distinct steps.

It all starts with a “temptation”. Which Cambridge defines as “the wish to do or have something that you know you should not do or have:”.

Jas 1:13-15 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; (14) but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. (15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

  1. So the whole process starts (and could end) with a temptation.

  2. The next step is when we are “dragged away by our own evil desire and enticed”. (No sin yet). “Enticed” is defined as “to persuade someone to do something by offering them something pleasant:”.

    We are “enticed” when our evil desires come into our mind and offer up lies of pleasure, peace, and so on if we would just give up and fall back into old easy patterns of behavior.

  3. After desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin.” “Conceived is defined as “to bring a thought or idea into being; imagine:”

    As we allow evil thoughts masquerading as something good to linger in our heads, and we start to believe the lies, the next thing that happens is we begin to turn the thoughts into behavior that brings corruption and death.

  4. Sin, full grown, gives birth to death.”
    Strongs defines “corruption” as “... (to pine or waste): properly to shrivel or wither, that is, to … spoil or ... ruin …”. It is the process of death, and it can lead to actual death of the body.

  5. The “Death” that James is talking about is the result of “corruption”, the pining or wasting away, to shrivel or wither. It is our “deceitful desire” (being dishonest or hiding the truth) that deceives us into following through on a deadly pleasure for disobedience scheme.

James and Paul both instruct the saints in how to put off the old self, or resist the temptations and resulting corruption.

Ephesians 4:22-23 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; (23) to be made new in the attitude of your minds;

James and Paul both instruct the saints in how to put off the old self, or resist the temptations and resulting corruption.

Romans 8:5-6 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (6) The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

To put off the old self, determine who is going to govern (“have a controlling influence on”) your mind, either your flesh, or the Holy Spirit.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. ...

Dr. Constable's Notes: “The Christian should be continually renewing his or her mind by returning mentally to the decision to dedicate self to God and by reaffirming that decision. This continual rededication to God will result in the transformation of the Christian into Christ's image (Rom 8:29; cf. Mar 9:2-3). A daily rededication is none too often.”

This lesson will list various ways that the Christian can “return mentally to the decision to dedicate self to God”.

Preventing Relapse

Tonight’s acrostic is RELAPSE:

Reserve a daily quiet time


Listen to Jesus

Alone and quiet time

Plug in to God’s power

Slow down

Enjoy your growth

R – (Principle 7) Reserve a Daily Quiet Time With God for Self-Examination, Bible Reading, and Prayer in Order to Know God and His Will for my Life and Gain the Power to Follow His Will.

Mark 14:38 tells us: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

Perseverance (gaining the power to follow His will) when experiencing temptation comes through spending time with God ahead of time.

Remember, being tempted isn’t a sin. It’s bringing the thought or idea into being that is sin that results in corruption.

E – Step 10: Evaluate Yourself

Romans 12:3–17: “Be honest in your estimate of yourselves.… Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other.… Be patient in trouble.… Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honest clear through.”

Evaluate your stance. Are you will prepared to withstand the temptations that we all know are coming our way. What are your chances. This list will give you a good indication.

L – Listen to Your Higher Power, Jesus Christ.

Test everything that is said to be sure it is true, and if it is, then accept it” (1 Thessalonians 5:21, TLB).

How do you know that what you are hearing is true? How can you tell the difference between the voice of the Spirit and the voice of your flesh? There is only one way to be sure, that that is to measure our thoughts against the Word of God.

Psalm 1:1–3 (GNB) tells us: “Happy are those who … find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord, … they study it day and night. They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time.”

A – Alone and Quiet Time

This acrostic goes along with L – Listen. We can hear Him best when we set aside time to be with Him, and opportunity to hear.

Psalm 46:10 God tells us to “be still, and know that I am God.”

P – Plug in to God's Power Through Prayer

Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.”

Heb 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. (15) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin. (16) Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

How do you approach God's throne of grace? Through prayer. His help towards us though the Holy Spirit is supernatural to the changing of thought patterns.

S – Slow Down Long Enough to Hear God's Answer

Listen to me. Keep silence and I will teach you wisdom!” (33:33, TLB).

The S goes right along with the L – Listen and A – Quiet Time.

E – Enjoy Your Growth

You need to enjoy your victories. Rejoice in and celebrate the small successes along your road to recovery!

First Thessalonians 5:16 (GNB) tells us to “be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.”

One of the ways we do that at CR is through Chips, that measure milestones. Everyone gets a chance to celebrate with you.

Share your victories, no matter how small, with others in your group. Your growth will give others hope!


Here are some things to do to prevent relapse:

Slow down

Reserve a daily quiet time

Alone and quiet time

Listen to Jesus


Plug in to God’s power

Enjoy your growth

Sunday, June 25, 2023

A Study of Matthew Chapter 12:1-8

by Stan Feldsine (

Matthew 12:1-08 - Lord of the Sabbath

So far in our storyline, we have learned that John the Baptist and Jesus had come to proclaim the Messianic Kingdom, exhorting the Jewish people to repent and get ready for the establishment of the character and standards of the Kingdom. Healings and miracles validated His authority and divinity but He was reviled because of His rejection of the Oral Law and His claims of divinity. The conflict between the Pharisees and Jesus comes to a climax in Chapter 12 of Matthew over the issue of the Sabbath. (Exo 20:9-11). In typical Pharisaical fashion the idea of a day of rest and reflection turned into a restrictive system of rules and regulations in the Oral Law to the point of absurdity.

It is reported by Josephus the Historian that 1,000 Jews died in the Macabeean revolt because the the attack happened on a Sabbath day and the Jews would not close gates to the outside or fight back because of the belief that these things were considered work and against the Sabbath law. In this case, the Pharisees were accusing the disciples of breaking the Oral Law regarding "work" on the Sabbath (picking heads of grain). Jesus pushed back on the Pharisaical tradition by pointing out that David had been involved in a similar situation to that of the disciples. Like David's men, the disciples were also hungry, and while Oral Law restricted them from picking grain on the Sabbath, the spirit of the law allowed for it.

In David's case, the consecrated bread was intended for the priests, not the army. However the army itself was consecrated, being on a mission from the King. The priest saw no issue with the consecrated army eating the consecrated bread. In a similar fashion, Jesus' disciples were serving the Kingdom, and thus "consecrated". If David, who was not yet king had the right to feed his army the consecrated bread then Jesus had the right to allow His disciples to gather and eat the grain. The lesson here is that the law regarding the Sabbath was not to be followed legalistically in a rigid fashion, but it was for the benefit of man.

Jesus again uses Hos 6:6 to rebuke the Pharisees about their lack of understanding of the Mosaic law. When Jesus told the Pharisees to "go and learn", he referred them to (Hos 6:6). In Hosea's day, as in Jesus's day, the apostate religious leaders had gone far away from the heart of scripture which taught them about having a merciful attitude towards others, I.E. the Mosaic Law. Instead, they dug themselves into ritual and external practice of the law, rather than experiencing a "circumcision of heart", I.E. the Oral Law.

Jesus again refers to Himself as "Son of Man", which describes Jesus in Messianic terms. The "Son of Man" is Jesus, the coming King (Dan 7:13-14, Mat 24:27-31).

A Study of Matthew Chapter 13:1-9 & 18-23

by Stan Feldsine (

Matthew 13:1-09 - The Parable of the Sower &

Matthew 13:18-23 - The Parable of the Sower Explained

Instruction for Jew and Gentile - Both Jews and Gentiles would need to be instructed in the mystery program. The Gentiles would be coming into a relationship with God that they never had before, and the Jewish people would be coming into the knowledge that what was once theirs alone (relationship with God) would now be shared with the Gentiles. This caused consternation among the religious Jews because they considered the Gentiles to be unclean (Rom 3:22, Eph 2:13, Rom 11:17). Additionally, both Jew and Gentile would be instructed in a major change in which the Holy Spirit would now not just exist outside of the people and come upon them from time to time for a specific purpose, but the Holy Spirit would now come to live inside of them (Col 1:27).

God's Word to be Sown - Matthew shows that the mystery program would be characterized by the sowing of the seed (God's Word) to the Gentiles (Eph 2:13). The Jewish people who believed would be taught that the Gentiles were now sharers in the riches, and that they would need to accept this (Rom 11:17), for God was no respecter of persons regarding salvation. This was a major change in God's program and it came about due to Israel's rejection of the King and Kingdom (Rom 11:12, Act 10:34-35).

God's Word to be Resisted and Have Varied Responses - Jesus begins His teaching of the mystery program with parables on the same day that the religious leaders of Israel rejected Him with the unforgivable sin. Later on Paul will explain the mystery far more clearly. The parable of the sower introduces several motifs that are used throughout the parables. These motifs include ideas like seed (the Word of God), sowing seed (preaching and teaching), birds, thorns and rocky places (forces attempting to keep us from accepting or understanding the Word), etc. If you understand the motifs being used here in this parable, you will also understand their use in other parables.

Seed - The "seed" is the Word of God. When we take in the Word of God, it has the potential to be extremely fruitful (Mat 13:3, Luk 8:11).

Farmer - The Farmer sows seed and represents anyone who shares the gospel (Mat 13:3).

Soil - Also referred to as the "field", soil represents the receptivity of the human heart to hear, accept and understand that which is sown in it. Some soil is good and some bad, and accordingly some people have receptive hearts and others have closed hearts.

Soil - Birds By the Wayside - This is the response of unbelief. The Word of God is shared with those who chose not to believe what is being said about the gospel. What is sown in the heart is never germinated, or believed, it just gets carried away. Unbelieving scribes and Pharisees would fall into this category. They heard the message of the King and Kingdom but never believed it (Mat 13:4, Mat 13:19).

Soil - Rocky Places - This represents seed that is sown in a place where there is not much soil. Seeds sown in rocky places will germinate and put forth a plant, but because there is little soil the plant quickly dies (Mat 13:5-6, Mat 13:20-21). This type of soil represents those who hear the word, and believe, but they are never rooted in the Word and grow accordingly. Their spiritual life is never stabilized, and they tend to be driven by emotion and experience (1Co 3:1-3, Heb 5:11-14, Eph 4:11-14).

Soil - Thorny Ground - Like the rocky ground, these also believe, but they never seem to be able to overcome the cares of the world. These may have a solid understanding of God's Word, but are unable to apply their knowledge to their lives, resulting in difficulty living consistent spiritual lives because of their being overcome with the cares of the world. These also do not produce much fruit and they also suffer from spiritual immaturity (Luk 8:14, Mat 13:7, Mat 13:22).

Soil - Good Soil - The good soil represents people who believe and are rooted in God's Word and apply it. They also are productive in spiritual life and are growing. The production of fruit will vary, but good fruit at some level is present in their lives (Mat 13:8, Mat 13:23).

The Disciples Question Jesus - After hearing the Parable of the Sower, the disciples asked Jesus about the parables. Mark records Jesus stating to His disciples that in order to understand any of the parables, they must understand the parable of the sower (Mar 4:13).

A Study of Matthew Chapter 13:10-17 & Matthew 13:34-35

by Stan Feldsine (

Matthew 13:10-17 & Matthew 13:34-35 - The Purpose of the Parables

Two Movements

Matthew's gospel is presented in two movements, the presentation of the Jesus and His Messianic Kingdom to Israel and the response to His arrival, and secondly the presentation and explanation of the mystery program for a new age through parables. This mystery kingdom will be a spiritual rather than a physical kingdom, and will last from the first coming of Christ to the second coming.

The Mystery Program Was Hidden

The mystery program is a "mystery" because it was hidden from people through the ages but is now being revealed. Jesus is now going to switch from plainly speaking about the offer of the Messianic Kingdom to speaking about the "mystery" program using parables (Mat 13:35, Psa 78:2). This is a program that prophets and righteous people in the past had longed to see (Mat 13:17, 1Pe 1:10-12). Those without ears to hear are those Jews who rejected Jesus as King, and those with ears to hear are those who accepted Jesus (Mat 13:9, Mat 13:10-11, Mat 7:6). The inability of those without ears to hear to understand the mystery program was a fulfillment of prophecy (Mat 13:14-16, Isa 6:9-10). This blindness carried forward to Paul's day and still affects the unbelieving Jews of today (Mat_13:12-13, Rom_11:7-10). Rom_11:8-10 is quoting from the following passages: (Psa 69:22-23, Deu 29:4, Isa 29:10). It is important to note, however, that this blindness will not last forever (Rom 11:25-27, Zec 12:10).

Paul's Revelation of the Mystery Program

The mystery program would be revealed in two stages, Jesus would teach about it to His disciples using parables and second, Paul would receive revelation and teach it to the apostles (Gal 1:11-12, Gal 1:17-18, Gal 2:1-2, Eph 3:2-3, Rom 16:25-27).

The Mystery of Salvation Coming To the Gentiles

Part of the mystery program consisted of doing away of the "dividing wall of hostility" between Jews and Gentiles. Jew and Gentile would become"one new humanity", the Church (Gal 3:19, Eph 2:14-15). Paul taught this, first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles (Eph 3:1-6, Rom 10:12-13, Eph 3:8-9, Col 1:25-27). In the past, the Messianic Kingdom was offered to the Jews, and Gentiles were excluded by Jewish Law which only allowed Gentiles to be saved by becoming proselytes (Mat 10:5-7, Eph 2:17-22). It was Israel's rejection of the King and Kingdom that brought about salvation to the Gentiles (Rom 11:11-15).

The Jews Rejection of the Messianic Kingdom Blesses the Gentiles

When Israel rejected the Messianic Kingdom and their King, it resulted in blessing to the Gentiles. This was fulfillment of a prophecy given in the Abrahamic Covenant that Abraham would be a blessing to the nations (Gen 12:2, Gal 3:8). The practical fulfillment was seen in Paul and the disciples turning from Israel to the Gentiles (Act 13:46-48, Eph 2:11-13).

Mystery Program Includes Believers and Unbelievers

The mystery program contains not only the Church, but also includes unbelievers referred to as "weeds" or "tares". Both will exist side by side in this mystery program until the end of the age and the start of the rescheduled Messianic Kingdom (Mat 13:24-30).


Teaching with parables was a judgment on unbelieving Israel, they did not accept the truth when it was understood, they would now be given truth they cannot understand. For the disciples and believers the parables would give further enlightenment (Mat 13:16, Mat 13:34-35). This is how being "in Christ" came to the Gentiles. The Jewish rejection of their King opened the way for the Gentiles to become co-heirs with Israel of spiritual blessings and salvation (Rom 11:11-15).

A Study of Matthew Chapter 13 - Notes

by Stan Feldsine (

The Messianic Kingdom Lost

What did the Jewish people miss out on when they rejected Jesus and the Kingdom. (

The Five "Kingdoms"

Before we discuss the mystery kingdom, we will review the 4 other "kingdoms" the Bible refers to So we have the context for the mystery kingdom.

  1. The Universal or Eternal Kingdom - This kingdom refers to God's rule over all the universe for all time. It includes the angelic realm, and has always existed. This is the kingdom the believer enters upon death (1Co 15:50, 2Ti 4:18). Scriptural references: 1Ch 29:11-12, Psa 10:16, Psa 29:10, Psa 74:12, Psa 90:1-6, Psa 93:1-5, Psa 103:19-22, Psa 145:1-21, Psa 148:8, Jer 10:10, Lam 5:19, Dan 4:17, Dan 6:27, Act 17:24).

  2. The Spiritual Kingdom - This is God's rule in the heart of a believer. This kingdom is comprised of all who have been born again by the Holy Spirit Joh 3:3, 1Co 6:9) Scriptural references: Mat 6:33, Mat 19:16, Joh 3:3-5, Act 8:12, Act 14:22, Act 19:8, Act 20:25, Act 28:23, 1Co 4:20, 1Co 6:9-10, Gal 5:21, Eph 5:5, Col 1:13-14, Col 4:11, 1Th 2:12, and 2Th 1:5.

  3. The Theocratic Kingdom - This is the rule of God over the nation of Israel. This kingdom started when the Law of Moses was established and served as the constitution of the nation of Israel. This kingdom ended with the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon in 586BC. This kingdom is documented from Exo 19:1 to 2Ch 36:23. (Exo 20:22-23).

  4. The Messianic / Millennial Kingdom - This is the future kingdom during which time Jesus will rule over saved Israel and all the earth from David's throne in Jerusalem for 1000 years. This kingdom is the subject of a great deal of OT prophecy as well as being the kingdom that was declared to be "at hand" by John the Baptist and Jesus (Mat 3:2, Mat 4:17) and rejected by Jewish authorities Mat 3:1-2, Psa 2:4-6). Scriptural references: Psa 2:1-12, Psa 72:1-20, Isa 9:6-7, Isa 11:1-16, Jer 23:5-6, Jer 32:14-17, Eze 34:23, Eze 37:24, Hos 3:4-5, Mic 4:6-8, Mic 5:2, Mal 3:1-4.

  5. The Mystery Kingdom - Following the rejection of the Messianic Kingdom, Jesus's focus switches to the "mystery" program. This includes a kingdom that Jesus revealed on the day of Israel's rejection (Mat 13:11, Mat 13:35). This kingdom covers the period of time between the first and second coming of Jesus.

A Change of Course

Four things change as a result of this generation's rejection of King and Kingdom:

Signs - Jesus will no longer give signs to the nation of Israel to provoke them to decide which side they are going to be on. They have made that decision through their teachers and religious leaders. That decision is rejection. From this point forward, signs are for the purpose of training and preparing the apostles for their ministry. The only sign given to Israel would be the sign of Jonah.

Miracles - Up to this point, Jesus's miracles did not require faith on the part of the observer or participant. Henceforth, miracles would not happen without faith. Again, Jesus's miracles were to validate His authority as Messiah, and Israel had chosen to reject Him.

Message - The message to this point was to repent and be baptized in preparation for the coming Kingdom. Since the Kingdom was rejected, the message changes to concealing the coming of the Kingdom and King. This policy lasted until the "Great Commission" in Matt 28. The program would now shift from the coming of the King and the Messianic Kingdom to the mystery program.

Teaching Method - Jesus's teachings changed from being clear and understandable by the people to speaking in Parables. The switch from teaching plainly to speaking parables happened the same day as His rejection (Mat 7:28-29, Mat 13:1-3).

A Study of Matthew Chapter 12:46-50

by Stan Feldsine (

Matthew 12:46-50 - The True Family of Messiah

Jesus's mother and brothers included James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude. Jesus also had sisters but they apparently were not a part of this meeting (Mat 13:55-56).

The content of what they wanted to talk to Jesus about is not given in Matthew, however, Mark sheds some light on this: Mar 3:21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."

Jesus's mother and brothers were experiencing a great deal of stress resulting from Jesus's activities. They went out to reign Him in. When they reached him, and someone told Him His family was there, He asked "Who are my mother and brothers?". This could not have made them feel any more at comfort.

But Jesus had a point He was making. His point was that spiritual kinship is greater than physical kinship. He said that "whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." To do the will of the Father meant to accept Jesus as Messiah King (Joh 6:40).

This did not mean that Jesus didn't love His family. He did, to the point that as he was dying on the cross he asked that John care for His mother (Joh 19:26-27).

The Pharisees believed that they were to be granted access to the Kingdom on the basis of their biological physical ties to Abraham. In this teaching of Jesus it is clear that only the spiritual seed of Abraham are going to enter the kingdom. Physical connection is insufficient (Gal 3:29).


A Study of Matthew Chapter 12:38-40

by Stan Feldsine (

Matthew 12:38-40 - The Sign of Jonah

The men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South will stand in judgment and condemn "this generation". These had heard the message and repented, thus postponing judgment. But this generation of Israel is failing to repent, and asked for a sign, but they had been given signs. No more signs would be given to this generation except for the death, burial and resurrection of Christ pictured in the story of Jonah. But it was too late, for judgment is already on the way.

Later on, a delegation was sent to Jesus consisting of both Pharisees and Sadducees. Pharisees represented the religious life and the Sadducees the political life of Israel. They convened a trial and officially requested that Jesus show a sign from heaven such as those done by OT prophets. But again, the answer is no, the only sign left for them was the sign of Jonah (Mat 16:1-4).

Jesus instituted a new policy regarding the purpose of His signs. No longer would the signs be for the purpose of validating His Messiahship, but now would be for the purpose of training His disciples for a new kind of work they would be doing because of Jesus's rejection. This work is described in the book of Acts.

Matthew 12:41-45 - The Judgment of the Nation

The first thing to note is to whom this judgment is applied. The men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South are said to stand in judgment against "this generation. This is especially noteworthy because a large segment of Christianity believes that the judgment is against Israel as a nation present and future. This idea removes the promises God gave to the nation of Israel and reassigns them to the "church", in a doctrine called "replacement theology", or "supercessionism". This view causes people to say "God is done with Israel", "the church is now Israel", and "we Christians are now 'true Jews' or 'spiritual Israel', among other statements conveying the idea that the church is now Israel and Israel is no longer a special people of God.

Israel did not forfeit the promises God gave to Israel, only "that generation" did. God's promises to Israel are irrevocable. Nevertheless, the judgment against Israel was severe as we will learn in Matthew chapter 23 and 24 where we will see that Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews were scattered to the nations (Rom 11:11, Rom 11:25-26, Rom 11:28-29, Gen 12:2 / Gen 12:7, Psa 105:8-11, Heb 6:17). This generation of Israel had a great light with them. Yet, they rejected Him, and the Kingdom. They were worse off than some of the Gentiles. Nineveh, while having little in the way of light, never the less repented when Jonah came to them. In a similar vein, The Queen of the South also sought the light. This generation of Israel chose darkness, and would be judged accordingly.

Jesus gave a metaphor of a demon possessed man to illustrate the final condition of this generation and the effect it would have for future generations of Israel. In this metaphor, Israel is like the person in whom there is an evil spirit. This evil spirit chose on his own to leave the person (Israel), and seek a better place. Finding no where better, he returns to the person (Israel) he left earlier, and finds that he is vacant. This vacancy means that no evil spirit nor the Holy Spirit entered him in the meantime. Because He remained empty, the evil spirit was able to reenter him, and he decided to invite 7 of his demon friends to enter the person (Israel) as well. Such is the last state of the man (Israel) worse than the first. The context of this story is "this generation" of Israel. They are swept and clean by the ministry of John, preparing them for the coming King. This generation chose to reject the King, remaining empty. Accordingly, their last state will be worse than their first. Under Roman rulership, they were allowed to retain their national identity. Jerusalem was standing, as was their temple. They had their own government in the Sanhedrin. The judgment that will be poured out on them would leave them 7 times worse off than they had been (Luk 21:5-6, Luk 21:20-24). Verse 45 gives the context for this story, this generation.


A Study of Matthew Chapter 12:25-37

by Stan Feldsine (

Matthew 12:25-32 - Jesus Response to Blasphemy

Responding to the accusations of the Pharisees, Jesus "new their thoughts". Jesus did not use His divinity to read their minds, rather, He was dependent upon the Holy Spirit for discernment. Jesus responded to their accusations by explaining that destruction follows division. It was nonsense to claim that Jesus was engaged in dividing His Kingdom by implying that Satan was driving out Satan.

Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit, and to accuse Jesus of doing the work of Satan was to accuse the Holy Spirit of functioning by Satanic authority, which was blasphemous. Walvoord sheds light on this: "Such a sin is not unpardonable in itself, but rather because it rejects the person and work of the Holy Spirit, without whom repentance and restoration are impossible ... it is not the thought that one seeking pardon will not find it, but rather that one who rejects the Holy Spirit will not seek pardon."

Jesus was indeed functioning in the power of the Holy Spirit, the perfect example of the spirit filled believer. And if He was indeed functioning in the Holy Spirit's power, then indeed the Kingdom was here, not some divided kingdom of Satan. Jesus was more powerful than the demons, and was tying up the strong man and stealing his stuff.

In vs. 31-32, Jesus is addressing the Pharisees who had rejected Him, the point being that the one who is truly doing the works Jesus is manifesting is the Holy Spirit. Thus blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a worse sin than blasphemy against Jesus. As Walvoord pointed out earlier, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit comes from a place of heart that prevents the Holy Spirit's work in a person's heart, and that in itself prevents salvation, and is unforgivable because there is no forgiveness unless one believes.

Matthew 12:33-37 - Tree Known by it's Fruit

Jesus continues addressing the Pharisees with an explanation that one cannot separate the what comes out of the heart from the heart. If Jesus's miracles are good, then He is good. If Jesus was in cahoots with Satan, then what would come out of His heart would have been evil, and that was certainly not the case.

Jesus referring to the Pharisees as a "brood of Vipers" is calling them "offspring of snakes", a scathing reference to the fact that they were offspring of the serpent, Satan. He then gives the general principle that good things come out of a good heart (who we are as a person), and bad things from the evil heart. The Pharisees were evil.

Jesus then makes a reference to the "Day of Judgment", or the Bema Judgment. At that judgment, one of the criteria we will be judged for is what comes out of our mouths. "Empty words" means idle words or words without substance. If we are guilty of this, we will have forfeited rewards we otherwise would have had, and we experience loss. (But not loss of salvation.) In the case of unbelievers including such as the Pharisees, their lot will be banishment to Sheol where they will await the final judgment at the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Messianic Kingdom. In this case, the Pharisees were unbelievers, so they were not saved. They had used words without substance in accusing Jesus of working under the power of Satan. Since this judgment concerns the wicked unbeliever, they are dealt varying degrees of punishment in Hell.

Hendrickson states - "The judgment passed upon the individual in the final day is going to be "by," in the sense of "inconformity with," "in accordance with," "in harmony with, " his words, considered as mirrors of the heart".