From Idle Words to Idol Heart

by Dennis Michelson
(Novelty, Ohio)

Matthew 12:22-37


Introduction: In Thomas Boston's Human Nature in its Fourfold State, he described the various "states" as Primitive Integrity, Entire Depravity, Begun Recovery, and Consummate Happiness or Misery. In more modern terms we might say (1) State of Innocence (2) State of Nature (3) State of Grace and (4) Eternal State. More recently we have mentioned four "phases" with the state of the natural man and the state of grace: Integrity, Duplicity, Hypocrisy and Apostasy. The following passage shows how idle words - repeated for an indeterminate length of time - can result in an idolatrous heart.

1. The Meeting (12:22-27)

These religious leaders had been exchanging the truth of God for a lie so long that the actually looked at God and called him the Devil.

2. The Moment (12:28-30)

As they say in the South "it is time to fish or cut bait." Jesus drew a line and said "then the kingdom of God is come unto you." Christ then made it very, very, clear - "He that is not with me is against me." There comes a point when idle words become idol thoughts.

3. The Message (12:31)

These particular people had reached a point where the conviction sent by the Spirit of God (in a sense) was almost counterproductive. It did not yield repentance but hastened the progression to reprobation. Greater light brings greater responsibility and no one has had greater light then these.

4. The Meaning (12:32)

Notice carefully - "whosoever speaketh a word against the son of man" and "whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost." Our mouth should yield words that come from our heart. If we utter idle words long enough then our mouth becomes the source of what our heart believes. In short, we lie long enough that we actually start believing our own lies! There is little hope for those who put more credence in what they say than what God says.

5. The Manifestation (12:33-37)

Study the passage carefully. Note the emphasis on "every idle word" in verse 36. An "idle" word is an unemployed or disconnected word. Our heart is not in harmony with our mouth. We become dishonest with others, with God, and with ourselves. That is why Jesus said in verse 34 "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?" Christ saw their hearts. He heard their words. Such incongruity means that the fruit is bad because the root is rotten.

Conclusion: Jesus issued multiple warnings for those who draw nigh with their lips but their heart is far from Him. Such is the nature of idle words. What you say needs to come from an undivided heart (read James 3). Words are important indeed! "For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

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