Our Need of a New Heart (Matthew 12:22-37) by Deacon Glenn Deduque

So last week, most of us celebrated the start of the New Year in our homes. And some of you may have received the classic meme from Manny Pacquiao happy New Year everybody or everyone. But in the beginning of the new year, some people would post in their social media “new year, new me.” Others would post “New Year same because I am perfect.” We understand that some post it to make others laugh but it shows our desire to change, to improve, to grow, so that we can call that person that we become the “new me.” But there is one thing that we cannot change or improve because it is a part of us. In fact it is our identity.

We are are sinners by nature and by choice, in need of redemption from our corrupted and deceitful hearts. And Christ brings this issue to light again in our text this morning. Turn with me to Matthew 12: 22 through 37, that’s Matthew chapter 12 verses 22 through 37. I’ll be reading from the EnglishStandard version. Here now the word of God. Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out?

Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” This is the word of God. Let us submit to it.

So after the Sabbath controversies, the Pharisees hostility towards Jesus escalated from a simple debate to a plot to kill Him. And within our text, we read actually the second blasphemous rejection of the Pharisees. This is the second instance. Read the first instance or the first one when Christ healed also a demon-oppressed man who was mute. There were two responses then. One side, the crowd was amazed, and on the other side, the Pharisees were not pleased. They said He cast out demons by the prince of demons.. that is in Matthew chapter 9:34. And In this passage from chapter 9, we did not hear any rebukes from Christ towards the Pharisees. So we see God’s patience there. The second instance of this rejection is located on chapter 12: 22- 24. And that chunk presents the third confrontation within the chapter of chapter 12. When Christ healed the man who was demon-oppressed who was blind and mute, there were two notable responses again. The people like last time, they were amazed and they said: “can this be the son of David?” Because they have a concept that the Son, when the Messiah comes, when the Son of David comes, He will bring healing. So when the Pharisees heard of this, they repeated their blasphemous remark attributing Christ’s work to Satan. In response, Christ rebuke them and warned them. Here, we witness God’s patience even to those who do not believe in Him and those who are steadfast in their conviction not to believe in Him, for even to them, the gospel is proclaimed and grace is freely offered. Yet as they are exposed to the light of His truth in witnessing His miracles and hearing His multiple teachings, some of them are not softened or renewed by them.. but their hearts are hardened and their conviction to hate God even more resolved. And from this context we can see that because we are sinners, we have a heart of stone hardened by our sin which compels us to rebel against God who we perceive as our Judge and Enemy. Without the grace of God intervening then, we will remain hardened in our rebellion, at the same time, responsible for the sins we have committed against Him.

We are in dire need of a new heart that only God can give. And that is my message this morning: Allegiance To Christ And His Kingdom Demands A New Heart. Allegiance to Christ and His kingdom demands a new heart. SaTagalog, ang katapatan kay Kristo at sa Kaniyang kaharian ay nangangailangan ng bagong puso. And to expound on this message, we will discuss two points: the first one, Heart’s Reception, Ang pagtanggap ng puso. At ang pangalawa, Heart’s Reflection, Ang repleksyon ng puso.

Let’s tackle the first point. We can observe in our passage that Christ rebuked the Pharisees who attributed His works to Satan. Sinaway ni Kristo ang mga Pariseo na ini-ugnay ang Kaniyang mga gawa kay satanas. He argues by logic to reveal the error in their understanding. It tells them that division within a kingdom, city or house will eventually result to its downfall. So if Satan casts out Satan, then is there a civil war going within Satan’s Camp? If there is, then that kingdom will eventually fall. But again, that’s not the case. What the Pharisees said goes against Satan’s goal which is to kill, to steal and to destroy.

Additionally, if Jesus casts out demons by Beelzebul, then by whose authority are their sons casting out demons? If it was doing exorcism by the power of prince of devils, then they must be also doing the same, because it yields the same result. On the other hand, Christ argues, if it is by the spirit of God that Christ casts out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon them. Why? He brings the illustration of the strong man’s house…the plundering of the strong man’s house. He asks them how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property unless he binds the strong man? The strong man here you know is Satan. The properties or goods are the people whom he has held captive, held enslaved. And Christ is the one who binds Satan, conquering him in the wilderness, rendering him powerless. And so Christ plunders his house by rescuing Satan’s captives by force. And with this illustration, Christ makes them think are they on God’s side or are they on Satan’s side? He said whoever is not with Me is against Me and whoever does not gather with Me, scatters. In other words, whoever is for God, will gather with Christ. And whoever does not gather with Christ, is scattering them instead. And because of that, that simply reveals that they are of the devil. The Pharisees may be thinking that they are doing this for God but certainly their thoughts and actions tell that they are of the devil. Christ then graciously warns them concerning the unpardonable sin. In general term, sabi nila this sin cannot be done, cannot be accomplished or done anymore because it was only possible with Christ being here on Earth. But in general term, the unpardonable sin is attributing the work of Christ to Satan. However, we must understand that it is not a one-time deed or or it’s not a simple quip or movement of the tongue. It is a settled conviction of the heart. It is a set way of rebellion refusing God’s will despite the evidence and facts presented.

Sabi ni Jeff Thomas… Jeff Thomas must put this way: “the unforgivable sin is the ongoing and continual rejection of the witness of the Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ as Saviour in God. It is a resistance to the mercy of God; a stubborn and fixed opposition to Jesus which expresses itself in treating Him as a great evil in our lives.” The Pharisees, as we have read in the book of Isaiah chapter 5: 20, 21 22, 21. They called what is good, evil. And the more miracles they witnessed and more familiarity they had with Jesus.. with the teachings of Christ, then the more their hatred grew and their desire to kill Him become greater and greater and greater. The word of God hardened their hearts until they can’t.. they can repent no more. This is to inform us that how we receive God’s word determines our eternal destiny. Ang ating pagtanggap sa salita ng Diyos ay nagtatakda ng ating tadhana sa darating na paghuhukom. One may think of a sick man who is offered medicine to cure his sickness. He has two choices: to take the medicine and be healed, or reject it, thinking that it will not be of any help. Hindi ko yan.

Kailangang inumin. Pangit yung lasa tsaka hindi naman yan makakatulong sa akin eh. If the medicine is continually offered and he still rejects it, then his sickness will worsen until it cannot be cured anymore. And he will dread the words “Kung naagapan sana, kaya pa sanang gamutin.” There will be nothing he can do but suffer the consequences of his choice. The same thing applies on how we receive God’s word. If we reject what the gospel offers, then there is no way we can be forgiven of our sins and be reconciled with God. If we reject the warnings of God’s word, then we are in danger of being hardened by our sins. In our fallen state, we are enemies of God. We know that are that the problem why we cannot obey God’s word is that our hearts are corrupted by sin. And as a result, we are spiritually deaf and mute, unable to listen to Him. Therefore, unable to speak. We are spiritually blind, unable to see the glorious truths of His word and lame spiritually lame.. unable to come to Him in faith. We only see Him as our enemy, a judge that will give us a verdict and a punishment for our sins.

So we rebel against Him and continue on this path doomed to suffer for eternity in hell. Yet, scriptures declare that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. That’s Romans chapter 1 verse 16. Now what is this gospel or good news? This is that even though we are sinners, corrupted and hardened by sin, and worthy of being forgiven and deserving of the punishment of God, that is eternity in hell, God in His grace, sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ who assumed a form of a man, lived the sinless life to die as our substitute by dying the death we deserve, suffering the pain and shame of our sins as the wrath of God is poured out on him as He dies a humiliating death on the cross so that sinners may gain life as they repent and put their trust on the person and work of Christ. When a sinner repents and believes all his sins— past, present and future sins are forgiven, there is now no condemnation in Him because God’s wrath has been satisfied in Christ. His death of sin has been paid by the blood of Christ and is now adopted to the family of God. We may we wonder how can anyone in their right mind refuse this great offer.

The prince of preachers, Charles Spurgeon tells us.. gives us a brief answer but the same sun which melts wax hardens clay. And the same gospel which melts some persons to repentance, hardens others in their sins. If a substance melts or hardens… if a substance melts or hardens, it is not determined by the sun but by the material the sun’s rays shines on, then the same happens with our hearts. The gospel either hardens the heart resulting in a life of settled rebellion or it softens it, resulting to a life of submission to God. However, this does not excuse our responsibility in how we respond to His word. We see divine sovereignty on one end, that is election. We see human responsibility on the other end, that is our responsibility to repent.

If we reject the gospel and it warnings again and again, then we cannot blame God for we are also responsible, we are in theological terms culpable with, for our sins. We are the one who takes responsibility for it. But God shows His patience towards sinners that even in our sinful rebellion, He gives us opportunities to hear His gospel preached, that we may repent and put our faith in Him, that we may have our hearts renewed, enabling us to listen to Him. But even as believers, there’s also a temptation to harden our hearts. We are warned to persevere that we may not fall away, because apostasy does not happen in an instant, but by small steps of disobedience, hardening our hearts then eventually abandoning our faith.

So the challenge for us is this: Do Not Harden Your Heart. Listen To The Voice Of God. Huwag mong tigasan ang iyong puso. Pakinggan mo ang tinig ng Diyos. If you are not yet in Christ, the Gospel is being proclaimed to you today. Listen to His call to repent and believe in the gospel that He may renew your heart. If you are in Christ, the same challenge applies to you. Our problem as believers is that we are still sinners. And because of it we still have the tendency to harden our hearts. Scriptures give us many warnings which is also a means of grace to us.

One may know of Billy Graham’s friend whose name is Charles Templeton, who together with Billy, preached the gospel for over 20 years. He spoke every night to crowds of up to 30,000 people but doubts regarding the validity of the Old Testament. The teachings of Christianity brought the crisis of his faith. He resigned from the ministry in 1957, abandoning the faith he once believed. He wrote a book titled Farewell To God which speaks about the reasons for abandoning his faith. Templeton questioned the creation calling it a fable, racial prejudice in the Bible, the identity of Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus’ alienation from His family, the second class status of women in the church, the mystery of evil, the illusion the prayer works, why is there suffering in death, and the loss of faith in God. It is a sad story of which paints the picture of what the author of Hebrew points to in Hebrews chapter 6 verse 4-6. For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away to restore them again to repentance since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding Him up to contempt.

So brothers and sisters in Christ, do not harden your hearts and listen to the voice of God made audible in His word.. in the audible proclamation of His word. Do you think that you can disregard the warnings found in this word? God is reminding you today to heed His warnings, to trust what He says and His ways so that you will not fall away. You leave unmortified.. His word warns us to kill sin or it will harden us. It will kill us! Remember that it is because of sin that Christ had to die! You are given a new heart in Christ so you can kill sin and cultivate its opposite graces by His Holy Spirit. Hate it! Kill it and do not be deceived by it. Do we let our love for the world overpower our love for God? See everything in light of eternity. When Christ returns, the prestige pleasure and treasures of the world will be useless. Rekindle now your love for God by reminding yourself of how He has redeemed you. You who are unworthy and deserving of judgment but by His grace been redeemed through the blood of His Son. Can the world give you that? No! It can never give you that. Let Christ then be the Lord of your affections. Do you let your emotions dictate what to believe rather than God’s word? Do you let bitter providence freeze your heart with distrust unto God? Remember that your emotions do not determine what is true. Our hearts are deceitful but do you know what will not deceive you? God’s word will not deceive you. It determines what is true. Let God’s word guide your emotions. If bitter providence has been given to you, remember God works all things for our good. Bitter providence is for our sanctification that we may be conformed to His Son, that we may run to Him and and find our all in Him, that we may know that He is indeed enough, that Christ is enough. Count it all joy then and cling to Christ, embrace His truth more. Look again at the cross, find comfort in Christ but at the same time see the destiny of a man who rejects Christ or who abandons Christ. Be warned and take it to heart. Indeed how we receive God’s word directs our eternal destiny, but His word should also reflect in our speech. Let’s go to the last point that is Heart’s Reflection. Ang repleksyon ng puso.

Christ points out that what is hidden in our heart is brought forth in our speech. Tinuturo ni Kristo na ang ating pananalita ay naka-ugnay sa kung ano ang nakatago sa ating puso. He gives them an illustration of a fruit-bearing tree and treasury to show that words that come out of our mouth are consistent with the state of our heart. The state of the tree is determined by the quality of its fruit, either it is good or it is bad. What can be withdrawn from a treasury is only what has been previously stored. So a good person as Christ said, produces good things out of a good treasure within him. And the opposite is also true— an evil person can only produce evil things because that was what was carried within.

Sabi Niya doon: out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. And considering these illustrations, it is no accident that they cannot speak what is good. But the Pharisees cannot speak what is good and even us. Christ points out that the Pharisees are unable to speak what is good because their hearts are evil leading us to the problem, to the root of the problem. The problem with our speech is not that we do not know what to say, that we lack the vocabulary to say it, or we do not know the technique how to say it na baka hindi natin alam yung sandwich method ng pagsasalita. The problem with our speech is primarily an issue of the heart. Ang prublema sa ating pananalita ay una sa lahat issue ng puso. God is the creator of speech. Before the foundation of the world, we read of the godhead having perfect communion within the Trinity communicating with each other with words. Our God is a God who lives. He hears, He sees, He works, He speaks. And in the biblical language, silence is a metaphor of death and speech metaphor of life. That is when we see that often, when they compare idols… dead idols to the living God. Speech was primarily made to give glory to God and to minister to others. When God created Adam, the very first words recorded… when God created Adam and Eve, the very first words that were recorded were from Adam were words of praise, words of appreciation because he has now acquired Eve. Adam was supposed to shepherd Eve by reminding her of God’s word, meaning Adam needs to speak to Eve. But the devil, disguised as a serpent, deceived Eve. And as sin entered the world, their hearts became corrupted and the words that came out from Adam’s tongue revealed his corruption. Kung dati, words of appreciation, of love, now it’s not words of selflessness that came out of Adam’s mouth, but selfish words blaming God for the woman because of…. he blamed Eve for their fall. Later on, we see fallen humanity united with one language, rebelling against God and in response, God scattered them and confused the language of the earth,.. of all the earth.

Now this still remains true. We have different languages . May mga iba-ibang dialekto pa sa Pilipinas —may Bisaya, may Cebuano, Chabacano, Filipino, Tagalog, English, Spanish, but what still remains is this — our hearts remained corrupted, it remained deceitful, it remained named evil. One may remember the Sneakers commercial… you are not you when you are hungry. And the aim of the commercial is to promote the chocolate bar as a solution for hunger and a way to restore someone to his normal self. However, what hunger does is only magnify the corruption of our heart. Pag gutom ka, mas madali kang magalit.

And therefore, pag mas madali kang magalit, mas madali kang magsalita ng masasakit. Some would excuse their hurtful words when they are angry, blaming the other person who made them angry…ikaw kasi, ginalit mo ako. Or blaming the circumstances that made them angry. Eto kasing bagay na ‘to kaya nagalit ako. Yung iba naman, someone who is drunk blames the alcohol na nagiging loose daw yung tongue pag nakakainom. Some would also excuse na yung cursing at profanity or profanity is something normal. And with our culture today, yung pagmumura is seen as being authentic, seen as being blunt or pranka lang. However, that’s only the person unpacking the evil from his heart. We cannot shift the blame to other people or to other things.

Sabi ni John Calvin the tongue exists to reveal our hearts. But the good news is this: Christ died for sinners, for people who possess unclean lips. Christ died and rose again to restore all things including our speech. The sickness that Christ healed are a symbolism of death. Only the death cannot move, they cannot see, they cannot hear, they cannot speak. By His personal work, He renews our heart by His Spirit, giving life to our hearts that are dead in sin. And by implication, He redeems and restores our speech to its proper purpose.. our tongue which was corrupted and what it goes out from it destroys, is now given life and at the same time becomes a tool to give life to nourish life. When he brings restoration to its consummation, the curse of Babel will be reversed as every tongue from all tribes and nations, praise and worship Him. And that would be an amazing spectacle and a music for believers’ ears.

Now those who are in Christ live in the overlap of two ages, there is an already but not yet in our salvation. The present evil age and the age to come.

We are already justified but at the same time we are, we remain as sinners. Our hearts are renewed, yet remain as idol factories. We are new creations in Christ, yet we still have remnants of sin. Our speech has been restored yet we are still capable of killing with our words. The challenge then for us is this: Let Our Speech Reveal Our New Heart In Christ. Hayaang ihayag ng ating pananalita ang ating puso,.ang ating bagong puso kay Kristo.

When Robert G. Ingersoll was nicknamed the great agnostic, he was delivering his lectures against Christ on the Bible and his oratorical ability usually assured him of a large crowd. Magaling siyang magsalita, against siya sa Bible, maraming..dudumugin siya. One night, after an inflammatory speech in which he severely attacked man’s faith in the Saviour, he dramatically took out his watch watch (wala pala akong watch) and said: “I’ll give God a chance to prove that He exists and is Almighty. I challenge Him to strike me dead within five minutes.” First there was silence then people became uneasy, some left the hall unable to take the nervous strain of the occasion and one woman fainted. At the end of the allotted time, the atheist extremely… exclaimed derisively: “see!

There is no God. I am still very much alive. And after the lecture, a young fellow said to a Christian lady: “well, Ingersoll certainly proved something tonight!” Her reply was memorable: “Yes he did, she said.. he proved God isn’t taking orders from atheist tonight.” See the wisdom… that word. See how that speech reveals the new nature in that lady’s heart.

As Christ redeemed, He is the Lord of our tongues. Our words are either glorifying God or glorifying ourselves. The question is are we wise in our use of our words? Do you evaluate the content of what you say.. of what you will say and its effect to those who will hear? Question is: is it true as the followers of God, of the God of truth? There should be no falsehood in our words. Is it kind? Mabuti ba yung sasabihin mo? Is it encouraging? Is it gentle and gracious? Being recipient of God’s grace through the gospel, we must reflect His kindness, His gentleness and graciousness in our speech because there is power in our words. It can either be a tool to destroy, or a tool to nourish life? Sabi sa Proverbs 18:21 death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Whatever we say to someone, becomes like food to them. It is, it will impact how they think and how we feel. Imaginin niyo na lang, alam ko sa inyo maraming na-bully nung high school or elementary and even till now, it’s still something you remember, becomes a food to your mind and to your soul. Of course there is still room for strong words. But we must take heed that even those words of correction, of rebuke must also give life. You are telling that someone, rebuking that someone, correcting that someone, in order that he may gain life.

Do we know when to speak and when not to speak? Sabi ni R. Kent Hughes sa kaniyang book Disciplines of a Godly Man, “the true test of a man’s spirituality is not his ability to speak as we are up to think but rather his ability to bridle his tongue.” Kapag galit ba yung kausap natin, ang response ba natin ay galit din?

Sasabayan ba natin sila at magtataasan ba tayo ng boses as if kung mas mataas ang boses natin, panalo tayo sa argumento. According to the Bible, hindi dapat natin silang sabayan. Dapat maging mas patient pa tayo at mas marahan, mas maging gentle, ma mabait sa ating pagsasalita. Sabi sa Proverbs 12:18 there is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, kinumpara niya yung salita katulad sa mga espada na tinutuhog ka.. but the tongue of the wise which is what we desire brings healing. Colossians chapter 4:6 let your speech always be gracious seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Kapag tayo ba ay iniinsulto or pine-persecute, dapat ba nating sagutin ng pabalang, sagutin natin ng sila ng mama mo or lolo mo? Sabi sa scripture, kailangan nating hayaan ang Diyos ang maghiganti para sa atin.

What we need to do is to bless those who curse us, and pray for those who abuse us. Luke chapter 6 verse 28. If there is anything that you need not be silent, there are two instances..kung may inaapi, kung may binu-bully sa harapan mo, kung may inaagrabyado sa harapan mo, you are commanded by scripture to speak. Proverbs 31:8 to 9 open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. Lastly, isa pa na pwede kang magsalita is you can use your mouth to proclaim the gospel that God has stored in you. Yan yung isang instance na walang bawal diyan. Pwede mo yang gamitin kahit anong panahon. Kung may birthday may namatay, may nag-break, may nagkaroon ng relationship, kakain pa lang kayo, masarap ang ulam, hindi masarap ang ulam, di ba, maipapasok mo lagi iyan.

A believer is one who is redeemed to be an instrument for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. You are not a believer if the gospel cannot be heard from your mouth. The encouragement for us is that the gospel is always timely. The gospel is applicable to every age and every situation kahit na sabihing five years old lang yung bata, pwede mo yang i-share sa kanya ang gospel. We must practice discernment and self-control, being reminded that we will give an account for every careless word we speak. Yan yung nasa passage natin, sa dulong passage. Sabi doon, on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every careless word we speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned. Let us use then our tongues to point people to the Redeemer and the Lord of our hearts. In conclusion, Christ the Incarnate Word gives His life to give life to our dead hearts, enabling us to listen to His voice and use our tongues for His glory.

Let us pray. Our gracious God and Father, we praise You Lord God that You have given us Christ to make us see, to make us hear, to make us… to enable us to come to You in faith, to sing praises, to proclaim the gospel, the wonderful works of our God. We pray Lord God that You may help us to heed Your word, to heed Your warnings that we may be able Lord God to reflect it with our speech, with our deeds, with our thoughts. We pray Lord God that it will not only pass through our ears, but it will remain stored in our heart. Guide us throughout the remainder of this day and help us Lord God in our time of worship that it will be helpful to our souls in Jesus’ Name we pray, amen and amen.

Post a comment