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Newtown Bible Church

Messiah: Sight, Sound, and Seditious Opposition, Pt. 2 (Matthew 9:27-34)

(Pray) Intro/Opening

  •  Jesus Christ is the turning point of every person’s life and eternity. Your reaction to Jesus Christ and your view of Him determines everything about your life here and now and your eternal existence. 
    •  Your response to Jesus is the most important reality about you. If you don’t think so now, you will (“what would a man give in exchange for his soul”). One day every knee will bow, what joy it is to bow he knee now willingly in humble faith. 
  • Now, as mentioned last week, this is the end now of a section in which Matthew lays before us, in rapid fire fashion, 3 miracles of Christ, each bearing testimony to the power of Jesus Christ as the God-Man, the authentication of Him as Messiah, Son of God / Son of David. 
  • In addition to these, Matthew has also noted the different responses to Jesus.
    • 1) Strong faith of the paralytic & friends; 2) quick obedient faith of Matthew; 3) grumbling unbelief of the Pharisees; 4) weak though humble faith of the ruler; 5) the timid but persistent faith of the woman; 6) followed by the mocking unbelief of the crowds. 
    • Last week we looked at the healing of two blind men that though they could not see displayed the great sight of faith, particularly in their recognition of Him as the Son of David; a strong messianic title linking Him to the promise of 2 Sam. 7:12-16 and the righteous branch who would sit on the throne of David ruling God’s people in righteousness and for eternity. 
  • Next, Matthew will lay before us yet another miracle that bears testimony to Christ, but also two inadequate responses to them. 

 

READ: Matthew 9:27-34.  

 

B) The Mercy of Sound

  •   “And when they were going out from there, behold, they brought to Him a man unable to speak (mute) being demon possessed” - (Possible) “they” refers to the two blind men just healed. The grammar would allow this; scene would be that they left the healing and just before going out to proclaim what happened they see this man, possibly a previous friend and bring him also Jesus. 
    • In either case, whether the two blind men, or others, here is a man brought who is unable to speak. This is not the same man of 12:22, where the man is both blind and mute; a common occurrence in the land, and in the ministry of the Lord, therefore it should be no surprise it’s mentioned on several occasions. 

 

(1) Condition of the Man

  • “Unable to speak” - often associated with *deafness because the inability to hear was accompanied by a greatly diminished ability to speak (In older translations it is “dumb”). So, in the LXX this same term is often translated as “deaf” such as in Lev. 19:14. In 11:5  same term associated with being deaf. Here with in ability to speak. 
  • There a variety of reasons for this condition: 
    • Lk 1:22 an angelic encounter left Zacharias (father of the Baptist) unable to speak
    •  Ps. 38:13 this condition was due to extreme depression (In some counseling situations it is due to extreme stubbornness). 
  •  However, in the case of this man it is specifically attributed to the work of a demon. Of course, every case of being mute is not the direct result of demonic activity, but such is the reality here.
    • Now some simply do not want to accept the NT testimony to demonic activity. One writer: “Gross mental disorientation was frequently referred to in terms of demon possession,” this same person dismisses such cases as this one as simply the language of an unsophisticated interpretation influenced by pagan notions of demons, rather than a true reflection of a physical condition caused by the activity of a fallen angel. Despite the refusal of some to admit it, demons are real as well as demonic possession and activity.
  • However, Matthew clearly says the man’s condition was caused by demonic activity; you will either accept him at his word, through the Holy Spirit, or not. The condition of the man is that he is afflicted, suffering, unable to speak; but notice next the …  

 

(2) Compassion of the Lord

  •  “And after the demon was cast out the mute man spoke” - (*economy of words) a amazingly simply account of the miracle; even for Matthew it is a pretty bare bones account. No record of how He did it; what He said; whether or not the demon spoke.  
    • There is also no mention of the man’s faith as in the previous healing of the blind men, nor is their any mention of the Lord’s command to keep silent, or of what they may have done after healing. 
  • So, what is the point of his recorded the miracle for us? 
    • A) It is simply to add to the overwhelming list of Jesus displaying His power; only the God-Man could so eradicated disease, death, and demons from the land. 
    • B) This pictures the sinner who upon salvation immediately wants to go and proclaim Christ, which is true. And it is true that this is another picture of redemption; term used to refer to dead lifeless idols, but in  Christ there is life that flows in faithful proclamation (John 7)
    • C) But the main reason for its brevity is that Matthew want to focus on the reactions of the crowds and the Pharisees. 

(A) Superficial Response of the Crowds

  • “The crowds were amazed saying, ‘Nothing like this has been seen in Israel.’” - this is a pretty incredible statement. Don’t miss the intensity of the term here. “They were amazed” - strong, deep, emotional reaction to news, or an event. Used in some pretty significant events: 
    • Disciples reaction when Jesus calmed the storm (8:27)
    • The religious leaders were “amazed” at Jesus knowledge of Scripture; the reaction of the people at coming of Holy Spirit Acts 2:7).  
  • This is a typical response of the crowds in bearing witness to such an amazing display of power, and is a right response to the miracles of Jesus. 
    • Best definition of a miracle that I am aware of is this: “A miracle is an unusually powerful work of God that amazes people, reveals God, and authenticates His revelation and revelation bearer.” (Petegrew). 
  • Significance is what it is revealing about Christ. This is why in John they are “signs,” which fits the theme of his gospel (20:31 “these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus in the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His Name”) 
    • And so often, some have noted they got really close to belief. As a matter of fact, 15:30-31 - Matthew notes the response of the crowd as this: “So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.” - Simply means they clearly saw that the work was a work of God; it was supernatural; it was even the work of the God of Israel (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob).
  • Yet their over all response never goes past amazement to actual faith. 
    • It remained emotional only, superficial, never reaching down into a heart humbled by their sin and guilt, which is where saving faith begins. This was the superficial, emotional, temporary faith of the crowds that Jesus was continually confronting - unfortunately it is the same superficial faith of many today. 
    • It is possible to be very impressed with Jesus , even impacted by a mercy in your life, impressed with biblical truth, the lives of Christians, and even to want to be in an among them; yet never embrace that truth; never embrace Jesus Christ; never actually yield your life; your desires; your will; your trust to Him.
  • Heb. 3:12-4:2 TURN TO. Context: a) of Hebrews b) of OT Israel. 
    • They witnessed the undeniable demonstrations of His power
    • They received the benefit from these works of God
    • They were among the company of people with whom God gave promises
    • They understood, even felt the power of God’s convicting work
    • They did not unite what they saw, experience, and acknowledged with faith / repentance. (Deut. Would remind us that there were also still idols among them). 
    • Key to all of this is conviction of their sin, a fear of God, and dependence upon grace. 
  • How close can a person get? 
    • You can believe truths about God (power, providential works, etc.) 
    • You can believe the truthfulness of the gospel; 
    • You can be impressed with the lives and testimony of those who are Christians.
    • You can have some participation in Christian activity
    • You can find a certain attractiveness about the Person of Jesus and even have some sense of desire for the positive things He offers. 
    • But these are not true repentance. 
  • So, let’s make some important observations.
  • 1) God’s mercy & kindness is not the evidence of salvation (Matt. 5:45). Many, like the crowds, are this very moment suffering an eternal misery who received mercy from the Lord to lead to repentance, but stopped short of that by being satisfied with the mercy itself. 
    • Those who may have received good things in this life - even recognizing them as coming from God and in a general sense as a measure of undeserved goodness. 
    • Those who may have received a miraculous healing from a disease, or sickness. Those who can recount God’s supernatural intervention in an accident, or some other tragedy in which their life was spared, yet never go beyond a general gratitude to heart repentance and obedience. Some trust in the mercy itself as evidence of God’s favor to them (Rom. 2:5)
    • However, God’s kindnesses and mercies to a repentant heart are reminder of unworthiness and His grace that produces faith, gratitude, and obedience.
    • How tragic for some to live their lives in the shadow of grace, but never in its full light. To stand before the risen Christ expecting Him to have a friendly face and accept them into heaven, only to find Him as an angry judge. To have eternity to regret their superficial attachment to Him; to have eternity to be eaten by the worms of anxiety and regret of having lived so near Him; so near to grace; so near to heaven; only to be forever rejected because of the unwillingness to do honest self-evaluation; to not go beyond the superficial attachment to real heart repentance and obedience. 
  • 2) Repentance involves a whole heart turning from sin to Christ; from sin to righteousness. It is an understanding of personal sin and guilt, and personal desire for forgiveness and righteousness that you would gladly give up all just to have Christ. 
    • It is Matthew (9:9); it is the tax-collector (Lk. 18:13); Zaccheus (Lk. 19:8); the faithful in Hebrews 11
    • It is true by the presence of the Holy Spirit producing faith in Christ for forgiveness of sin; hatred of sin and constant confession; a bent to heart obedience to Scripture; glad submission to Him as Lord & Savior; special love of Christians; these are evidences. 
  • If this is not you, don’t be foolish like the crowds, He stands as a ready Savior. All heaven rejoices at the repentance of just one sinner who believes. 

(B) Seditious Opposition of Pharisees

  • “But the Pharisees said, ‘By the ruler of the demons He cast out demons” - any mask that may have been on up to this point is now removed. The opposition is mounting, their hatred of Jesus is simmering and becoming more openly vehement. 
    • As the popularity of Jesus grew, their popularity and influence diminished, and their hatred grew. Now, let’s make some important observations & applications: 
  • 1) They do not deny the miracle happened , but but seek to pervert the plain meaning and reality. 
    • This argues against *evidentialism, which says that man’s main problem is that they lack information, or enough convincing arguments. Information and logic are important and play a role in strengthening the faith of believers and exposing the foolishness of unbelief, but they do not convert people. The problem is not information it is moral / spiritual rebellion! 
      • No body was clearer, more profound, or did more to demonstrate the reality and truthfulness of His claims; yet they rejected Him. (Matt. 22:46) Answered their questions, but they did not submit. (28:11-15) they knew the reality of the resurrection, but lied to cover it up.  No matter how much evidence they were exposed to, they hated Him.  The issue is not evidence, but love of evil.
    • Also argues against those that would say that we need miracles to prove God’s power and to save people. Jesus said: “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.” (Lk 16:31)
  • 2) Note God’s Absolute Sovereignty
    • a) From a human point of view the only reason they did not crucify Christ earlier than they did was fear and cowardice (21:46 “When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet”).
    • b) From God’s point of view it was because He had a work to finish and the time was not yet come (Lk. 13:31-32)
    • But this hatred would eventually end in their murder of the Son of God; orchestrating His crucifixion; crying out for His blood, but that is exactly as it had been determined by God (**Acts 2:22-23; 4:27-28)
  • 2A) This is a reminder to us that God is sovereign over His Church and the nations, which is important to remember, because sometimes the situation looks bleak.
    • Satan and his people hate the church and wants it to be destroyed. First attack was by God’s covenant people Israel (Acts 8:1f); then Rome. However, persecution only made the church stronger, so Satan changed his tactics and sought to ruin the church through ease and prosperity, which began in 325 AD under the Roman emperor Constantine. 
      • This eventually lead to the RCC which, like the Jews of the 1st century, sought to extinguish the truth of God in the Name of God and burned, imprisoned, and killed all those who dared oppose her by standing on the authority of God’s Word. 
    • Next God once again rescued His truth in the Reformation (1517) which brought the persecution of the religious powers of the day, however, though through the Reformation God freed the gospel and brought blood bought freedom through it,  
      • Satan once again destroyed through prosperity and now Europe is spiritually dead and America only slightly better is nearing the same open condition. 
      • And God has clearly told us that even now the world is marching toward a resistance against the truth of Jesus Christ under the reign of the anti-Christ, that has hitherto been unknown,
      • Yet, through it all God is still sovereign, He is still on His throne, working out His sovereign decree in the life of His people (1 Pet. 4:19; Rev. 6:10)
  • 2B) This sovereignty would be the very encouragement that would strengthen the back and the faith of the disciples when their ignorance would be removed and the cost of discipleship would become real by experience (10:16-18; 16:24f)
    • We would do well to remember that nothing enters into our life that is not ordained by God; and whatever suffering we endure is order from the hand of a loving Father. 
  • 3) If they hated and maligned Jesus, so they will do the same to those who follow Him (*10:25). This is how it is; men hate Christ; religious hypocrites hate Christ; so they will hate us if we live righteously in this age (5:10-12)
    • We should not be surprised when the world hates us, and it is not always a reflection of us. Sometimes we think that if we are nice Christians that everyone should like us and are anxious and dismayed with people don’t listen. Sometimes we are filled with doubt: “Maybe if I would have explained myself better,” or what ever. And we should always be fair in examining ourselves, but the simply fact is the world without Christ cannot understand the truth, does not want to, and will react with antagonism toward it (John 15; 1 John 4:1f; 2 Tim. 2).
  • Because Jesus has suffered already the rejection of the world that He can comfort those still here “filling up His afflictions,” with a special mercy for each hour (Phil. 3 “fellowship of suffering”).
    • Jesus may never call us to this same kind of dramatic sacrifice, but He may. The questions is, are you willing. Is salvation that important? Is Christ that precious that you would willing give up everything to have Him? 
  • So, Jesus is clearly laid before us, the question is: What is your response? 
    • There is no middle ground. You either submit to Him as Lord who is Savior, or you do not. To have many wonderful feelings or experiences but no inward submission is not only to be deceived it is, in God’s mind, to be in open hostility (Rom. 8 “the one who does not submit … is at hostility with God”)
    • But those who do know Him as the gentle and all sufficient Savior. 
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Comments:

Joe Whiting

Awesome sermon! Very clear and convicting.