Summary: Four keys to a life that makes a difference for God: 1. The faith we must embrace (vs. 38-40). 2. The future we must face (vs. 41-42). 3. A fight we must win (vs. 43-45). 4. The family we must belong to (vs. 46-50).

God Wants Us to Make a Difference in Our Generation!

The Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 12:38-50

Sermon by Rick Crandall

(Prepared April 16, 2022)


*Today we will finish our study of Matthew 12. By this time, Jesus had fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies, worked thousands of miracles, and spoken many times with the authority of God. But most of the Pharisees had rejected their promised Messiah. They had also become obsessed with a bitter, murderous hatred for Jesus. And some of those Pharisees were so consumed by their hatred that they committed the only unpardonable sin: They blasphemed the Holy Spirit.

*This happened in vs. 22-24 where Jesus healed a blind and mute man who had been possessed by demons. All the multitudes began to wonder if Jesus was the promised Messiah. But in vs. 24, "When the Pharisees heard it they said, 'This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.'" By saying those words, those Pharisees were blaspheming the Holy Spirit with no hope of forgiveness.

*Jesus made this truth clear in vs. 31-32 and said:

31. "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.

32. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come."

*Today's Scripture in vs. 38-50 marks a shift. Jesus was still speaking to scribes and Pharisees, but this group used another approach to attack Jesus. In vs. 38 they said, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.'' Luke 11:16 tells us that they were testing Jesus and "sought from Him a sign from heaven." As if the countless other miracles weren't enough! (1)

*Jesus saw right through their scheme and in vs. 39 He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." The same original word for generation here is used 4 times in this chapter, and every time Jesus used it to call them out as an evil generation. Well, what about our generation? Do you think we are any better today? The truth is that we might be worse.

*But God wants us to make a positive difference in our generation. And by His grace, we can! Please think about this as we read Matthew 12:38-50.


*Acts 13:36 tells us that King David "served his own generation by the will of God." That's what Jesus wants us to do today. And by God's grace, we can make an amazing difference in our generation!

*Think about D. James Kennedy. He was one of the most fruitful pastors of the late 20th century. As the long-time Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, author of "Evangelism Explosion" witness training, and leader of the "Truths that Transform" radio and TV ministries, Dr. Kennedy helped lead millions of people to Jesus Christ.

*But how did it all begin? Back in the 1950s, James Kennedy was an instructor at an Arthur Murray dance studio. He also led a drunken, immoral lifestyle. Then James started dating a Christian girl, and she asked him, "Where do you go to church?"

*He replied, "Nowhere. You don't have to go to church to be a good person." Then, with an air of arrogance, he said, "You can be a good Christian without going to church!" But the girl firmly replied, "No you can't!"

*Years later, Dr. Kennedy said, "That was the first time anyone had ever challenged my little pet saying. I was taken aback, and it made me re-think everything I believed."

*A week later, Kennedy was asleep in a drunken haze. When he woke up, he heard a preacher on the radio. He got up to turn it off. But before he got to the radio, he heard the preacher ask this question: "Suppose that you were to die today and stand before God, and he asked you: 'What right do you have to enter my heaven?' What would you say?"

*That question stopped Kennedy in his tracks. He sat back down on the bed and listened as Dr. Donald Barnhouse shared the gospel message. Right then and there, James Kennedy completely surrendered his life to Christ.

*The next day, as he was shaving, he looked at himself in the mirror and kept saying, "I'm forgiven! I'm completely forgiven! I'm going to spend eternity in Paradise with Jesus!" He was so happy, so grateful. Right then and there James said to himself, "I want what happened to me to happen to as many people as possible." James started going to church with his new Christian girlfriend. And for over 50 years Dr. Kennedy showed his appreciation for Jesus by loving service to the Lord. (2)

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