Whose Home Are You?

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Audio of Message

Matthew 12:43-45 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.

Our Lord Jesus often spoke parables, spiritual stories with heavenly meaning. In one Gospel we are told:

Mark 4:33-34 with many such parables spake {Jesus} the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. 34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.

Jesus often spoke parables. A disciple asked Jesus one day “Why do You, dear Lord, speak in parables”? Jesus told them:

Mark 4:11-12 … Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

Those who were “within” the Family of God would be able to understand the parables because the Children of God go to God, and God explains the parables. But those who are “without”, who have not received Christ as Lord and Savior, would not be able to understand the parable. The Apostle Matthew explains why Jesus spoke in parables by quoting a prophet called Asaph (1 Chronicles 25:2), a message he wrote in Psalm 78:2.

Matthew 13:34-35 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: 35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

The purpose of the parable was to hide Heavenly truths from the unconverted, while at the same time using the same parable to share Heavenly and Kingdom truths with those who are Children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26).

The Lost Need Jesus, Not Good Works or Theology

The only thing the unbeliever needs to understand is that they are lost, and Jesus can save them. We must all to run to the arms of Jesus. In His arms there is life and hope. Jesus Christ is the Savior Who has conquered death. He has proved to us who believe in Him that He is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him Hebrews 11:6. The Bible tells us that we who are saved by faith in Christ have the ability to understand spiritual truths, for the Spirit of God Who indwells us teaches us (1 Corinthians 2:13). This is the primary function of the Blessed Spirit – to guide us into all truth, spiritual truth (John 16:13). Those who are lost cannot full comprehend the spiritual things the Children of God can. The Apostle declared:

1 Corinthians 2:14-15 … the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

The “natural” {Greek ψυχικός psychikos, meaning “soulish, fleshly, tied to this world”} person, still dead in trespasses and in sins, cannot understand the things of God – His truths – for these things are spiritually discerned. The Holy Spirit enables we who are saved to understand Biblical truth. The unbeliever (those who are without) are blind to Biblical truth because the god of this world, satan, has blinded their minds. The lost can only understand salvation by faith in Christ, and this only with the Spirit’s assistance.

As Jesus spoke this parable, His audience was scribes and Pharisees. Just prior to this parable Jesus condemned the Pharisees and Scribes in the harshest of terms.

  • Jesus called the religious but lost corrupt trees. We read:

Matthew 12:33 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.

Word Study The word “corrupt” is the Greek σαπρός saprós, {pronounced sap-ros’} which means “rotten, worthless, corrupted, unfit to use”. Jesus used this word earlier in His ministry for false prophets:

Matthew 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt (saprós) tree bringeth forth evil (ponērós) fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

The Pharisees and scribes, in rejecting Christ, were false prophets. They believed that person could be good enough by keeping the Laws of God, that this person could go to Heaven. Because of this the Pharisees often adopted stricter laws than those placed on the Levitical Priesthood. But Jesus told these people that their fruit was rotten, for their tree was rotten.

Beloved, we are all rotten from birth if we are without Christ. It is rightly said in the most ancient Book of our Bible:

Job 14:4 Who {among humanity}can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? NOT ONE.

And the Prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (17:9) Then there are the words of the Apostle:

Romans 3:10-12 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

We are all born corrupt trees, and we all need Jesus. When someone says “I’ll get my life right, then I’ll come to Jesus”, then you might as well try and empty the ocean with a thimble. It is impossible. The Pharisees thought that their external righteousness made them good trees, but Jesus said “make the bad tree good”. How is that done? Only by coming and receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The Bible is clear: we are all sinners who need Jesus.

Romans 3:21-26 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a {ἱλαστήριον hilastḗrion, {pronounced hil-as-tay’-ree-on} atonement, satisfactory payment} through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that {God} might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

The Pharisees and Scribes rejected Christ as Lord and Savior, and were therefore bad trees that produced bad and evil fruit.

  • Jesus called the religious but lost vipers or poisonous snakes. We read:

Matthew 12:34-37 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.

Because the Pharisees and Scribes were self righteous and thought they had no need of a Savior, they did all they could do with their mouths to denigrate and teach against Jesus. They were vipers, poisonous snakes. What is the crucial difference between a harmless garter snaked and a poisonous rattle snake? It is the poison in the mouth of the rattle snake that makes it dangerous. The Pharisees and Scribes, outwardly righteous and inwardly self righteous, used their mouths like a viper would use it’s mouth.

Death is in their mouths, in their teaching!

Jesus reminded the Pharisees – and every self righteous person – that judgment day is coming. The self righteous will stand beside the murderers, the rapists, the child molesters, and the liars at a Great White Throne Judgment. Their words will be the basis of their judgment on that great and terrible day.

Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

How does one get into the Book of Life? Repent, and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. When we receive Christ as Savior He says “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29). Jesus said “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33). We who are saved are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16), for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth! The Apostle Paul told his trainee Timothy:

2 Timothy 1:11-13 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Only One Sign Is Given To The Lost

The Pharisees and Scribes listened to Jesus, but everything He said was to no avail. They proved that by …

Matthew 12:38 … saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

Our Lord Jesus Christ loves to say “yes”. A wonderful preacher Ray Pritchard wrote in his sermon Soul for Rent:

When Joseph Parker of London preached on this text over a century ago, he began his sermon by commenting that Jesus rarely said no. He almost always said yes.

He said yes to the hurting.
He said yes to the guilty.
He said yes to the confused.

He said yes to the hopeless.
He said yes to the downtrodden.
He said yes to the rejected.

Jesus nearly always said yes. He delighted to encourage and to console. He fulfilled the words of Isaiah 42:3, “A bruised reed he will not break.” He did not come to heap more pain on those who suffer. He came to lift the load and bear the burdens of those whose lives had been ruined by sin.”

Jesus was always careful to love the sinner, and to meet their needs. It was His desire that all men believe on Him. For this reason Jesus often sought out those in hopeless places. However, with the Pharisees and Scribes, in fact, with all the self righteous, self saved people, Jesus resoundingly said “no”! Jesus said:

Matthew 12:39-40 {Jesus} 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 Jonah: 40 For as Jonah 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.

Jesus called the Scribes and Pharisees “an evil and adulterous generation”. Were they guilty of sexual sin? No!

These self righteous Pharisees and Scribes are guilty of spiritual adultery. They know the Word of God, but their hearts are in love with anyone but God.

Both the Scribes and the Pharisees had access to the Scripture. They had access to the Temple. They had seen Jesus do miracle after miracle. Everything that Jesus did pointed to the reality that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Yet they rejected Jesus Christ. Jesus told them “the only sign you will see – the only sign the lost will ever be given – is the empty but blood stained Cross of Calvary, and an empty tomb. As Jonah the Prophet was swallowed by a great fish for three days and three nights, Jesus Christ will be entombed for three days and three nights. But neither He, nor Jonah, stayed where they were past the third day.

Jonah went to Ninevah, an Assyrian stronghold, and simply preached:

Jonah 3:4 … Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

The message was simple, and half heartedly delivered, for Jonah hated Assyria. Yet God was behind the message. Their hearts were tender, awaiting the Gospel. The Bible tells us:

Jonah 3:5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

The Bible says in Jonah 3:10 that God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. They heard the Word of God and turned to God our Savior (Jude 25). Jesus told the self righteous Scribes and Pharisees:

Matthew 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here.

Jesus is greater than Jonah, and He preached repentance and salvation by faith in Him, but was rejected by the self righteous crowd. It is sad that unbelieving pagans would surrender to Jonah’s simple message, but Pharisees and Scribes schooled in the Bible would reject the most perfect sermons ever preached. Oh, what sadness! Jesus went on to speak of the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1-15):

Matthew 12:42 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.

A great ruler, the Queen of Sheba, traveled miles and miles to hear the words of Solomon. But the Pharisees and Scribes did not have to go far to hear the words of Christ, a Person much greater than Solomon.

Man Made Religion Will Not Last Long

Now we come to our focal text. You cannot understand the focal text unless you understand what precedes it.

Matthew 12:43-44 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.

Man was created to walk with God. Man and woman were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). It was God’s intention and His will that we be with our Creator every day – that we literally walk as He walks, and talk as He talks. It is God’s intent that God be with us, and we with God. But Adam sinned. By one man sin entered the world, and death by sin (Romans 5:12). On the day day, the very day that Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, he and all creation died spiritually. The vessel made for God, to walk with God, gave itself over to evil and darkness.

But God is not content with this. God loves us. So God promised a Messiah to reunite us with Him. He began His promise as He condemned the serpent in Eden:

Genesis 3:15 {God said} I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

The woman would have a “seed”. The Messiah would come from the “seed of the woman”. Now, you and I know that no woman has “seed”. She has the egg, and man the seed. But God would come, being born of a virgin.

Isaiah 7:14 … the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Immanuel (Emmanuel) is God with us (Matthew 1:23). Messiah would come, being born of a virgin. The Messiah is God with us. When we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior Jesus and the Holy Spirit sweep out our homes.

Hebrews 10:22 … Let us draw near {to God} with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience…

Acts 15:8-9 God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

It is the Blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from all sin (1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 1:7). It is the Holy Spirit Who comes to us at the point of saving faith. We draw near to God, and God draws near to us (James 4:8). When a Christian is saved,

God sweeps out the House, the inner man. God occupies the House. God indwells the believer. God possesses the believer. “We are not our own, we are bought with a price”, the Blood of Jesus Christ.

I could quote numerous verses that teach that, once a person is genuinely saved, the Holy Spirit indwells that person. For instance:

Romans 8:10-11 … if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

The Christian does not “clean himself up” then come to Christ. The Christian comes to Christ to be cleansed. Once cleansed by Christ, covered by the Blood, the Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The blessed Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13). He is in us, representing Christ. We are permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Christianity is not a self help project, but a work of God. There are, I am afraid, many who profess Christ but have not actually met Christ. They cleaned themselves up. And that is what this parable is about. The Pharisees and Scribes were “self made men of God”. They swept their homes, their lives, and cleaned themselves up. But what happens? We read:

Matthew 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.

The Lord did not say that “the unclean spirit is cast out or exorcised by a priest”. Jesus said that the “unclean spirit is gone out”. The spirit just leaves, wanders off of its own accord. C.H. Spurgeon said “the devil has no objection to his house being swept and garnished”. Some people find morality, or have faith in the false gods of philosophy or Darwinism. They may come to a completely false god such as Allah or the Hindu or Buddhist gods. But their home has not been cleansed by Christ – Jesus has not cleansed out the life, nor sent the Spirit of God to take possession of the home.

Matthew 12:44 Then {the unclean spirit} saith, I will return into MY HOUSE from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.

Did you notice the unclean spirit’s words? “I will return to MY HOUSE”. He comes back to the good looking but unsaved soul. This person he inhabited was never given to Christ, but his salvation among a forest of good works. It is not the Holy Spirit’s house, but the unclean spirit’s house. What happens when the unclean spirit finds HIS home cleansed?

Matthew 12:45 Then goeth {the unclean spirit}, 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.

The second occupation is worst than the first. The Apostle Peter put it in these harsh but true words:

2 Peter 2:20-22 … if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

When you are saved by faith in Christ you are no longer a “dog” nor a “pig”, as the Bible uses these words. You are transformed. You are now “sheep”, Jesus Christ’s sheep. Jesus said “I am the good Shepherd, and know MY SHEEP, and am known of MINE” (John 10:14). The Pharisees could not believe in Christ because they were not His sheep (John 10:26). Those who belong to Jesus, listen Beloved, those who belong to Jesus follow Jesus. Our Lord said:

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

So I end with this: Whose Home are You? Do you, like so many today, say “My body, my life”? Or are you possessed of Christ. Have you received Him, not just as Savior, but as LORD. For He is LORD of ALL. To Whom do you belong? If you do not belong to Jesus, then you do belong to the darkness. There are no other choices. Please examine yourselves today. If you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s, then you are inhabited by the Holy Spirit, and are to walk as Jesus walked every day. If you are not Christ’s, I beg you, come to Him on bended knee, and receive Him as He is…

both Savior and Lord!

May God bless this Word, and through His Spirit enable all to understand it. In Christ’s name I prayerfully ask this. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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