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Mat 12:43-45    What is the connection between these verses and the preceding context?  See Mat 12:22-24,27.  In Jesus’ parable, does the man from whom the demon went out refer to the man from whom He had just cast the demon and provided such a great deliverance that the crowds marveled and the Pharisees charged that He cast out demons by Beelzebul?  See the last line of Mat 12:45.  What does this teach us about the deliverance provided by the likes of the Pharisees and their followers to a wicked and adulterous generation through the commandments and teachings of men, as opposed to the deliverance provided by Jesus?  Cf. Mat 12:29 which describes how Jesus, by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit which the Pharisees ascribed to Satan, was able to bind the strong man and so thoroughly plunder his house with so great a deliverance for the man as to amaze the multitudes; see also Joh 8:31-36.  What do these verses teach us about the great danger of religious pretense and the deliverance offered by those like the Pharisees who have a form of godliness but deny its power (2Ti 3:5) to provide a complete and lasting deliverance?  See 2Pe 2:18-20, Joh 5:14.  How prevalent is such a form of godliness today?  Think: suppose a person was “mentally ill” and had glaucoma or cataracts and a speech impediment; how many churches would excoriate a teacher for advocating that such a person didn’t need a counselor, therapist, medication or surgery because God is able through the mighty power of His Holy Spirit to provide a complete healing and lasting deliverance by simple faith?  Suppose further that such a healing actually took place; how many pastors might ascribe such a healing to the power of Satan because of their theological views that God doesn’t heal people that way anymore?  What does Mat 12:43 indicate about the places where an unclean spirit seeks rest?  Cf. Isa 13:21, 34:9-15.  Why do you think that is?  Cf. Eze 36:25, Zec 13:1, Joh 15:3, 17:17, Act 22:16, 1Co 6:11, Eph 5:26, Tit 3:5, Heb 10:22, 1Pe 3:21. What do Mat 12:44-45 indicate about the abode of unclean spirits?  In light of Mat 12:43, what does this teach us about those in whom they reside, and the means by which those who would resist them can give them no resting place?  See again Eph 5:26, Tit 3:5, and cf. Psa 51:10.  In what way does the description of the house in Mat 12:44 that the evil spirit finds upon its return describe the type of deliverance provided by the commandments and teachings of men?  Note: “unoccupied” means literally “at leisure” (from the Greek word scolazo from which we get our words school and scholar), and is translated “lazy” or “idle” the two times it is used in the LXX.  Is the nature of our salvation such that our houses are swept and put in order, but “at leisure” in serving the Lord, “unoccupied” by a true Spirit of Holiness?

Mat 12:46-50    What do these verses teach us about the notion advocated by the Roman Catholic Church that after the birth of Jesus Mary remained a perpetual virgin and thus had no other children?  See also Joh 2:12, 7:3-5, Act 1:14, 1Co 9:5, Gal 1:19, cf. Mat 1:25.  In fact, at least how many additional children did Mary have?  See Mat 13:55-56.  What caused Mary and Jesus’ brothers to stand outside and required that the message be relayed to Jesus that they wanted to speak to Him?  See Mat 12:46.  For what reason had Mary and Jesus’ brothers come to speak to Him?  See Mar 3:20-22, 31-32.  In what way does the perception of His own family to His ministry reflect the world’s perception towards anyone who serves God unreservedly?  Are we as willing to be considered “nuts” for serving God?  Cf. Acts 26:24.  What does their action teach us about what it means for a family to provide for its own (1Ti 5:8)?  What insight does their reason for coming to see Jesus give us about why He answered the way He did, and what it means to take care of or provide for Jesus as one of our own?  As a family is composed of those who share a common blood, what does Jesus’ response indicate is the common blood of the family of God?  Cf. 1Jo 2:29, 3:9.

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