Speaking Out Of The Abundance Of My Heart
07 MARCH 2021 | TRADITIONAL SERVICE
Rev Gladwin Lee
Scripture Passage: Matthew 12:22-37 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (VIDEO)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | Jesus had just cast out a deaf-mute demon and was accused by the Pharisees of empowerment by Beelzebul, driven by jealousy and judgmental hypocrisy. Jesus denounced them as evil because their hearts were corrupted, inwardly actively resisting God’s will. They knew well God’s doctrines, taught theology, but their actions were not renewed by the Word. Therefore, knowing the Bible alone does not save you, for the devil knows and even believes doctrine. Outwardly, they spoke careless words and blasphemed the Spirit. Our words will justify and condemn us.
Jesus said casting out demons by the Spirit of God demonstrated the Kingdom of God had come. John Wesley defined the Kingdom of God as the immediate consequence of God’s reign in the soul. Romans 14:17 adds righteousness, peace, joy in the Spirit. Matthew 7:18-20 says good trees cannot bear bad fruit, so we can recognise trees by their fruit. John Wesley adds that Christian perfection is purity of intention, total dedication of soul, body and substance to God (Matthew 22:37-38), while vv 39-40 add loving others as oneself as essential attributes of love, further elaborated in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Kingdom peace divinely surpasses all understanding which the world cannot take away. The good tree is a person where the kingdom of God reigns in his life in such as manner that he loves God totally (without rival passions) and loves others without reservations. The fruit of the spirit such as peace and joy reflects the fruit of such good tree. Such divine peace can only be given by God and cannot be taken away by the world.
What can I do to become a good tree? Sadly, nothing. Only God has the power to transform us - Ezekiel. 36:26-27. God promises a new heart, new spirit, a heart of flesh to replace our heart of stone. His Spirit will cause us to walk in his statutes.
Prayer reflection: What am I producing? Show me my fruit. Show me the state of my heart. What kind of tree am I – good or bad? Perfect me with your love, Lord, I have not loved you totally, nor others as myself, nor lived by faith, and I have resisted your spirit. Forgive me, direct my way, I pray.
(Sermon Notes by Kwun Pillai)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. In today's sermon, what did the preacher mention is wrong with the bad tree?
2. Can Christians be bad trees? If so, why?
3. What is your understanding of the kingdom of God?
4. Discuss the qualities of the good tree - the person in whom the kingdom of God reigns. Describe someone (whom you know personally) that lives out qualities of the good tree?
5. Read Ezekiel 36:26-28. In what ways has God been reshaping your heart from stone to flesh?