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Matthew Chapter 12:31-50 

Memory verses for this week:   Mat 10:32  Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 

Introduction: In last week’s lesson, we studied about how Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath.  He clearly taught that he it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.  Christ did many good deeds every day, including the Sabbath day.   We ended last weeks study with the Pharisees accusing Christ of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub.    Christ argued that a house divided against itself will not stand.   Satan will not cast out his own demons. 


I.   The Unpardonable Sin 

Mat 12:31  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.

Mat 12:32  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. 

We simply can not sin against the Holy Ghost.   God will forgive us of all other sins when we repent and show faith towards God.  

1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 

This unforgivable sin speaks of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.  This is the one unforgivable sin.  If you are under the sound of the Gospel, and the Holy Spirit comes and draws you, and you refuse again and again, you have no choice but to face God and pay for your sins in the flames of Hell.  But if when we are drawn, we repent and turn to Christ, all manner of sin will be forgiven us.   If we reject, this sin will not be forgiven in this world nor the world to come.


II.   The Warning About Idle Words 

Mat 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.

Mat 12:34  O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 

When you go out in a fruit orchard, some people can look at a tree and by the size and leaf pattern, they can tell you what kind of tree it is.  But all of us, can go out and look at the fruit, and be sure of the kind it is.  Apple trees do not produce peaches, or peach trees put forth figs.   We are known for either being good or evil, and from the abundance of our heart our mouth speaks.   If we are truly evil, it won’t be long until the bad flows out.  We are to let our speech be simple and clear, yea meaning yea, and nay meaning nay. 

Mat 5:37  But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. 

The third chapter of James has a lot to say about the tongue. 

James 3:1  My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

James 3:2  For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

James 3:3  Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

James 3:4  Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

James 3:5  Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

James 3:6  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

James 3:7  For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:

James 3:8  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

James 3:9  Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

James 3:10  Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.


Adam Clarke in his commentary said this about how our words will condemn us or prove us.

Wicked words and sinful actions may be considered as the overflowings of a heart that is more than full of the spirit of wickedness; and holy words and righteous deeds may be considered as the overflowings of a heart that is filled with the Holy Spirit, and running over with love to God and man. 

Mat 12:35  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.

Mat 12:36  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

Mat 12:37  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. 

Jesus teaches that we need to make the tree good, or it will be a corrupt tree.   Jesus doesn’t mince words… he calls them a ‘generation of vipers’.    Those who claim we should never preach on the consequences of sin or of Hell need to look at Jesus’ teachings.  He taught more about Hell and the consequences of sin than he did of the glory of Heaven.   Few there be that find that narrow path the bible says.   Jesus is a narrow way, and the only way to the Father.   Muhammad won’t help you, nor will Buddha.  There is not one false god out there that can help on the day you die.   Either you will come through Jesus Christ, or you won’t come into heaven.   We are warned that all of our idle words will come into account one day in judgment.   My grandpa used to say if you can’t say something good about folks, then just don’t say anything at all.    Except to warn that person, that is probably good advice.   There is a time to speak, but there is also a time to keep silent.  God help us to discern. 

There is a day of judgment coming for every man and woman.  Those who know Christ will stand before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ to determine our rewards.   Those who are lost will stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgment. 

2 Cor 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.


1 Cor 3:12  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

1 Cor 3:13  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

1 Cor 3:14  If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

1 Cor 3:15  If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.


Rom 14:10  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Rom 14:11  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Rom 14:12  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.


Rev 20:11  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Rev 20:12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Rev 20:13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Rev 20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

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


III.  The Sign of the Prophet Jonah 

Mat 12:38  Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

Mat 12:39  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:

Mat 12:40  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. 

Some question whether Jonah was in a big fish or a whale.  Jesus settles that argument in verse 40.   Jesus tells them how that no sign would come to an evil and adulterous generation but from what the prophets have already given.   Jesus promised to come and die for our sins, and after three days and three nights, he would rise out of the grave.  He did just what he said he would do. 

The Scribes and Pharisees were the religious leaders of that day.   As we mentioned last week, they were always questioning Jesus as to who he was and his authority.   It was amazing that they would ask for a sign, as so many miracles had already been done to prove Christ was who He claimed to be.   But they still did not believe.   Jesus calls them an ‘evil and adulterous generation.’   If they were in that day, how much more so do we live in a generation that has turned from God.   Jesus says that there would be no sign given but the sign of the prophet Jonah.   In verse 40, Jesus says that he would be three days and three nights in the earth (72 hours) like Jonah was in the belly of the whale.  We have a leading denomination that teaches that Jesus was crucified on Friday, and they call it Good Friday.   But that is not what the bible teaches.   No matter how you count the days and nights, you can’t get three days and three nights from Friday to Sunday.  According to the bible, Jesus was crucified somewhere around 9 am on Wednesday morning and stayed on the cross until around 3pm.   The Jewish day began at sundown.  Sometime around sundown on Wednesday, Jesus was placed in the tomb.  Wednesday night, Thursday night, and Friday night make up the three nights.  Where the confusion comes in is when we read that they had to take the body down off the cross because the next day was the Sabbath.   However, if you read that verse carefully, it says that Thursday was a HIGH SABBATH DAY. 

John 19:31  The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 

High Sabbath Days were on Thursday, and many confuse this with the Saturday Sabbath.  Jesus was in the tomb Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.   The new week began around 6pm on Saturday, and we find this was the time the women came to the tomb, at the dawning of a new week.  We think of dawn as being when the sun arises, but that is not the meaning of the word here.   In the American Heritage Dictionary, the secondary meaning of dawn is stated as  “a first appearance” or ‘beginning’. 

Mat 28:1  In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 

John 20:1  The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 


Mat 12:41  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.

Mat 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. 

The men of Nineveh would condemn this generation in the judgment because they repented at the preaching of Jonah.  Jonah only preached an 8 word message, but that was enough.   And now, a greater than Jonah was in their presence. 

Jonah 3:4  And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 

J. Vernon McGee said this about the people of Nineveh. 

Who would have thought that in the wicked city of Nineveh people would listen to the Word of God and to a man who said, “I’m back from the dead”? By the way, that is the same message we have. We have a message concerning a man who came back from the dead. Paul writes, “… if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:24–25).

Jonah entered the city with a message of judgment: “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” I think Jonah gave that message with relish—he didn’t like Ninevites!



In verse 42, it says the queen of Sheba will condemn this generation because she came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and now a greater than Solomon was present.


IV.  Warning of Useless Self Reformation


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

Mat 12:44  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.

Mat 12:45  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. 

You can clean up the outside of the cup, but it won’t do the inside any good.   We have to clean from the inside out.   In II Peter, it teaches that one who cleans up the outside and is not born again is likened to a sow returning to the mud or a dog returning to his vomit. 

2 Pet 2:17  These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

2 Pet 2:18  For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

2 Pet 2:19  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

2 Pet 2:20  For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

2 Pet 2:21  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.

2 Pet 2:22  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. 

If the dog or hog had received the true sheep nature, they would have changed.  Their desires would be different and they would want to live like a sheep.   If you sin and are not deeply condemned by the Holy Spirit, you had better check your salvation. 


Mat 12:46  While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.

Mat 12:47  Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.

Mat 12:48  But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

Mat 12:49  And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

Mat 12:50  For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. 

The disciples tell Christ that his mother and brothers were near and wanted to speak to him.   Jesus was so into the work of the Lord, that he proclaims that those that truly followed him were his true brethren.   Those who will do the will of the Father are Christ’s brother, sister, and mother.   The lesson of putting Christ and his work first is what is being stressed here.  Jesus needs to be first in your life.    Families are wonderful, but we are not to let family relationships get between us and Christ.


One more good comment from J. Vernon McGee. 

The Lord is saying that the strongest relationship today is the relationship between Christ and a believer. Friend, if you are a child of God and you have unsaved family members, you are closer to Jesus Christ than you are to your own kin, including the mother that bore you. You are more closely related to other believers than you are to unsaved members of your family. This is tremendous! He is talking about a new relationship. 

For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother [Matt. 12:50].

And what is the will of the Father? That you hear the Lord Jesus Christ, that you accept Him and trust Him.  [ii] 


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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[i]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[ii]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.