When is the last time you scrutinized your Heart? (Matthew 12:33-37) Our Lord now gives some sobering warnings in Matthew 12:33~Make a tree good and its fruit will be good or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. (ESV) In other words, the character of a person will show up in his or her fruit, and the fruit stand, which is our subsequent lifestyle. Since Jesus’ works are good, He has to be good, because fruit is like its tree. Turning to look at the Pharisees to inspect their fruit He says, Matthew 12:34~You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (ESV)

Ever opened your mouth in a moment and heard what came out of it? Then thought where’d that come from? Wow, what in the world? Jesus looks at them and says, it’s not just one or two of you spoiling the whole bunch, really it’s all of you. This means that they are a den of poisonous snakes. So, Jesus calls what He sees in them as evil because of what they have just said about Him. Out of the abundance of our hearts, the mouth speaks.

Jesus explains a good person produces good things from the treasure of a good heart. Is your heart a treasure? Have you been storing good in it? How do we do that? We begin by praying, emptying ourselves of everything, and then we turn to the word as we fill up our hearts. Layer on some good worship to fill in between the spaces, as we take time to reflect and let God’s goodness settle in us, before we stir it all up like a pot of gumbo, taking what has been simmering out to serve a world in need. 

Our hearts are where the treasures of our thoughts, ambitions, desires, emotions, and loyalties are stored. A good heart cannot produce evil, which is first revealed by our words. Matthew 12:36~I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, (ESV) These are sobering words. Good people don’t gossip, cuss, tell dirty jokes, or use the Lord’s name in vain. Jesus adds we will be justified by our words and we will be condemned by our words. 

(Matthew 12:37) This doesn’t mean our words save us. It means they are evidence of whether or not we have truly been saved by God. 

So I ask you today, what flows out of your mouth? If our heart’s desire is to draw Closer, then we are going to have to learn how to lose the French, and treasure the Good of God. Paul writes in Colossians 3:8~But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (NIV) Today be an uplifting person, who walks in the beauty of holiness, who is gracious and full of praise. Be blessed by God.

Prologue, And God…Out of Patience—Genesis 7.1-24…Handout

Again and again the Bible reminds us how God is long-suffering but, what happens when God’s runs out of patience? 2 Peter 2:5~if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of ________________, and seven others; (NIV) This week, Out of Patience reveals three Biblical truths: Certain, __________ , Final.

1) God’s Judgment is Certain (7:1-11) For twelve long decades Noah has done ______ that God asked of him, and it could not have been easy. Genesis 7:1~ The Lord then said to Noah, “_____ into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. (ESV) Theology is the study of the ________ of God, and when it comes to some they hold a truly harsh view of God. What is your view of God _______? Noah and the ark is a story of God’s great love. The ark in this story is a _________ of Jesus Christ and how we are to be found ______ Him. John 15:4~Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (NKJ) Noah was in the ark, just as we are in Jesus Christ. More than____times the New Testament believers are referred to as being in Jesus. Noah may have slipped and fallen in the ark, but he never fell out of the ark’s salvation. In the same way, when we slip, stumble, or even fall but we __________ in Christ. Our lives are not garbage in, garbage out. Remember the rule of three, God wants us to be holy, joyful, and _________. Anything that makes one of those things true in our lives, without violating one of the other two, is ok. Genesis 1:9~And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to _______ place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. (ESV)

2 )The Righteous are Secure (7:12-16) How is salvation possible? Because they are _____ the ark. Why is this important? Because Noah and his family did as _____ told them. Salvation is about being in Jesus Christ. Also, the animals find _________ because they are in the ark. I love how even here in the midst of great destruction God is saying to us that He is_______ over all. This is an affirmation for us, God is now and _______ has been present, He is the great I AM. This is echoed in the New Testament as Jesus shares the seven I Am sayings found John 6:35, 8:51, 10:9, 10:11, 11:25, 14:6, 15:1. Like Noah, we are ________ in the spiritual ark of Jesus Christ. He alone is the Ark to whom all must come to escape the coming judgment. There is but one door to __________, and that door is named Jesus. (John 10:9)

3) God’s Judgment is Final (7:17-24) Genesis 7:17~The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. (ESV) After the LORD shuts Noah and his family in the ark (7:16d), He is silent until chapter eight. Understand God____not go back on His Word in Noah’s day, and He will____go back on His word now. Take-A-Step: I will share faith this week with _______________. 2 Peter 3:11~…You ought to live holy and godly. (NIV)

Divided Kingdoms

Ever met someone who is completely unassuming? They are just salt of the earth people who blend in really well? Yet, there is something spectacularly exceptional about them and the way the Lord uses them. That is precisely Jesus Christ. Who came not for circumstances of celebration, nor was He here for the pomp of grandeur. Christ reminds in us Luke 2:49~And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (NKJ) Meanwhile, the Pharisees are placed in a conundrum, for they cannot deny Jesus’ power, now what? So, they lie with a purpose. Matthew 12:24~But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons. (NIV) 

So many times when we don’t understand things, and we blame Satan. Mind you he doesn’t get credit enough and correctly blamed. Thus the Pharisees are attempting to place Jesus among Satans minions. They stand frayed at the fringe of the feverish crowd where Christ can’t hear them. However, Jesus knows, as He always does, and so He addresses them in, Matthew 12:25~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. (ESV) Matthew 12:26~And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? (ESV) The point He is making is that any household, city, or kingdom experiencing internal conflict and strife will self-destruct. Their response is foolishness. Satan doesn’t cast out his cohorts.

Matthew 12:27~And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons (υἱός huios) cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. (ESV) The word (υἱός huios) sons seem to take aim at Pharisees disciples who practiced exorcism. Jesus says to them, how do your boys do this work? He has painted them into a corner, for the (υἱός huios) to judge. Matthew 12:28~But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (ESV) Again Jesus is the King.

This means that He has brought the kingdom of God near to them. His power over Satan’s demons proves Jesus is the Messiah. To bolster the education, He offers an illustration asking who is powerful enough to enter, bind, and possess. Matthew 12:29~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. The implication here is only someone more powerful than Satan, can bind Satan and then ransack his house. Who can do that? Only Jesus.

Is there something in your house that needs to be released? It could be a vice that we need to let go of as we allow God the freedom needed to be loosed in our life. Whatever it may be, Jesus Christ is the victorious liberator! He tells in both the Old Testament and New Testaments that we are to take the burdens of our lives and roll them, to cast them, to give them to Him. The Message says in 1 Peter 5:6-7~So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. (MSG) Why not let God have the weight of your life today?