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Summary: Why might a person not respond to God’s grace by recognizing the greatest of all signs which is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? DECEPTION or DARKNESS

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Sunday’s message was Jesus’ response to the Jewish leaders desire to see Him perform some kind of sign. Jesus responded by reminding them of the sign of Jonah in the OT and how it pointed to a sign that God would give them. The sign that the ‘son of man’ would spend three days and nights in the ‘heart of the earth’ and then be made alive.

This encounter is in both the gospels of Matthew and Luke.

Each gospel then moves from this discussion by recording a different part of what Jesus said.

Why might a person not respond to God’s grace by recognizing the greatest of all signs which is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? DECEPTION or DARKNESS

John MacArthur said that,' Morality by itself is more dangerous than immorality’.

These Scribes and Pharisees who were questioning Jesus were the moral watchdogs over first century Jewish society.

They were quick to judge and condemn others.

They were religious and living under an illusion of spiritual safety.

THE PROBLEM OF DECEPTION: Matt 12:43-45

Most everyone in America can remember some point in their childhood where they received some type of immunization. During the 1950s there was a huge push to vaccinate children from all types of diseases such as polio, tetanus and the measles. I remember being given the oral polio vaccine not realizing that inside that little bit of liquid was a dose of polio itself. I was given just enough of the real disease to build up my immune system against a full blown case.

I am afraid that there are many today that, apart from a miraculous work of God, have been made immune to a real case of Christianity. They got just enough of an exposure that they thought they knew what it was or had what it was and when it was not what they had been promised they then built up antibodies against a real spiritual experience with Christ.

This passage teaches us that there are those who become motivated to clean up their lives and, although they have removed some of the negatives of immoral behaviors, they are a spiritual house waiting to be reoccupied.

I think Satan loves it when people have a short venture into a false morality and never discover a true relationship with Christ. They then become immune to the true work of Christ in their life because they believe they have given Christianity a genuine try.

Jesus said that the end result can be a 7 times worse person than they were before their false attempt at spiritual things.

These Scribes and Pharisees would be the last people in Jerusalem to admit person sin and the hardest hearts against a true work of God in their lives.

"Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. "Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came'; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order.

This ‘unclean spirit’ has taken some time off from its previous host while that host went thru some religious or moral exercises. This spirit knew that the host would be much more usable after this process had been completed.

1) He/she would think that they had given God a try and found Him wanting

2) He/she would be usable for the long term so other evil spirits might as well move on in.

We live in a day where many hearts are filled with all kinds of spiritual deception.

1) This man had some temporary relief from his problem.

The issue is not that he was empty of what was bad but that he was not filled with Who was good.

A person’s life may roller coaster from good times to bad times but the end of the ride will be a disaster unless he fills his life with the calling of God.

Many have come to church and tried to clean up their lives. They have gotten the motivation to change for the better but they did not find what the Christian life is truly all about. It is not about making your present life better. It is about dying to that old life and receiving a brand new life that can only be found in Christ.

Leonard Ravenhill: ‘Jesus did not come into the world to make bad men good. He came into the world to make dead men alive!’

"Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation."

This is a very scary scenario: This first unclean spirit is almost like the scouting party who waits for a person to go through their ‘religious experience’ hoping that they will not experience a true relationship with God.

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