In today's study from Matthew 12:33-40, our Lord speaks to how we each are going to be held accountable for our words and the sinfulness of looking for signs.
The Lord’s Point
v.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.
After he warns them again blaspheming the Holy Spirit, he goes goes on to prove that these men were evil by pointing out their fruit (cf. Matt. 7:16-20).
Mental Treasure Hunting
vv.34-35 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.
Once again we see the Lord’s tone changing. The rejection is almost final. He is no doubt, accusing them of being evil.
How about our mouths? What comes out of them? I guess that depends upon what you’re treasuring. What do you count worthy of putting in your mental treasure box? I will indeed come out eventually.
vv.36-37 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.
First and foremost is still dealing with the “words” that the religious just spoke about him by calling him the “god of dung.” He is also letting them know that they will give account of not only those words, but every word that comes out of their mouths.
There are only about 800,000 words in the English language. The average person only knows about 10,000 of them and only uses about 5,000 of them in their everyday speech. And the Lord here in these verses says that we are going to give an account for every one of them.
Pro. 13:2-3 “A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence. He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.”
Pro. 21:23 “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”
Cf. James 3:8-12
vv.38-40 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. (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: (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.
You gotta ask yourself at this point, “What do mean that you want another sign?” He has already healed everybody and their mother. Luke adds a little more light to the motivations of their wicked hearts. Luke 11:16 adds and “Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven.” The bottom line is that those seeking signs lack faith or they wouldn’t be asking. There are entire religious movements around the world that focus on miracles, e.g., slain in the spirit, holy laughter, speaking in tongues, healings, the virgin in a piece of toast or on a tortilla, etc… You know why? – Lack of faith in what our Lord has already told us in his Word!
One denominational Statement of Faith actually states, “In the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, received subsequent to the new birth, with speaking in other tongues, as the Spirit gives the utterance, as the initial physical sign and evidence.”
Why the need for signs? - Simple, no faith. 2 Cor 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Rom 14:23 “…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Anything that is not done out of faith is sin. Seeking signs to establish one’s faith is sinful. Look hard enough and the Devil just might give you one. Instead of looking for signs of one’s “salvation” or “holiness”, we should be looking for fruit and fruit alone.
Gal 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Martin Luther once said, “There is no justification without sanctification, no forgiveness without renewal of life, no real faith from which the fruits of the new obedience do not grow.
The Only Sign
The only sign that any of us should need and will receive according to Scripture, is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
To desire anything more is sin because it comes from a lack of faith.