How does the old saying go? “This is like comparing apples to oranges.” What does the saying really mean? Maybe you have used it thousands of time. Nevertheless, have you taken the time to really understand what it means?
It simply means these two items cannot be compared. They are so opposite in trying to compare them that the only thing you see is the obvious reality: they are the opposite. One is hard, the other is soft. One is sweet, the other is sour. One is red, the other is orange. This is what we are going to do with my third article in the five-part series through Matt 12:33–37. We are going to look at how Jesus compares opposites to show His objective truth.
The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. (Matthew 12:35)
1. A good man brings good.
What is Jesus saying here? That we are all good people and we need to sit around and sing Jesus loves me? No. Not at all. He is addressing a specific issue within the broader context. The work of the Holy Spirit in the world.
Jesus had just been accused of being a devil. His accusers were stating the work of God the Holy Spirit was really the work of a demon called Beelzebub. In other words, they were saying one of the persons of the Godhead is a demon and they are condemning the work and the power of God.
They thought Jesus was just a son of a carpenter, and they were completely wrong. Therefore, the works themselves pointed to all three persons in the Godhead at work. The father sending the Son, the Son obeying the father, and the spirit doing the miracles through the Son.
All this proved that these men were not really following the God they said they served. When Jesus showed up on His earth, He showed what was actually in their hearts. We will address that in the next point, but I would like to review the last two months.
Previously, we have talked about giving man-made movements time and they will implode. Last month we talked about speaking truth and asking good questions. This month we are going to see the importance of truth and self-evaluation collaborating in an individual person’s lives to expose God’s objective truth. We need to compare ourselves to God’s truth found in scripture.
When God speaks to us we should all listen. In this story, the creator is speaking to His creation.
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)
Who is the good man and his good heart that Jesus is speaking of here? Look at Jeremiah 17:9,
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
How can these people have this good heart that Jesus is speaking of? Well, we need to understand 2 Corinthians 15:7,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
The only way we can overcome this sin-soaked heart is if we are moved upon by a person who is big enough to change that heart. This can only be done by God himself. This is the God that the majority of Americans reject, and this is the God the religious leaders—in this text—are rejecting.
However, once this change comes to a person, look at what happens. Good comes out of a good heart. The logic is amazing, simple, and precise. We are not the same. The good comes out because we have been changed. The fight with the flesh is a daily battle, but the overall thrust of our life is good coming out of a changed life.
This is what Jesus was trying to show the religious elite. They needed a change of heart in order to be good. Once this change takes place there will be a perpetual flow of goodness coming out because of the good that God the Holy Spirit has done on the inside.
2. An evil man brings evil.
God’s objective truth comes to bring a bright light on every dark blemish of sin no matter where it is found. Sinful man produces evil out of the cesspool of their heart every moment they are alive. Look around you: greed, lust, drugs, sex, murder, etc. . . . Then, take the magnifying glass of God’s word to your own heart. What do you see? If you don’t have Christ, this text tells you clearly what you see. Evil. Selfish motive, greed, laziness, and the list can go on.
You are probably saying right now “this is why I don’t like reading anything you self-proclaimed holy rollers write.” We are no better, just better off. The same God that ripped out my evil heart and gave me a motivation to do good is the same God that can change your heart also.
What is holding you back? You. Plain and simple. Respond to God’s providential drawing of you to Himself. What true peace has the evil in your heart given you? Right now you may be comparing yourself to an evil person like Hitler or Stalin. However, you need to be comparing yourself to God’s good standard: the Bible. Come to this good savior and receive this good new heart He wants to give you today.
Maybe you are trying to justify yourself by thinking, “Tommy, you just don’t know how many good things I have done. Your God can’t tell me I am evil. I don’t care what he thinks. I am truly a good person. Either individuals or groups determine what good is not your fairytale god.”
The last point in this article will shed some light on this subject.
3. What comes out can only be rightly observed under God’s objective standard.
If you are observing what comes out of you with a faulty foundation, then your observation is flawed. If you are looking at a color chart with rose-colored glasses, then the colors you are seeing are flawed. However, you can tell me that my foundation is flawed, and we are caught in the dilemma of who’s foundation—glasses-—are true? The reason Jesus spoke so declaratively on all issues was that He is the objective standard that we need to make sense out of in this life that we are living.
This is why he could call the men He was speaking to in Matthew 12 evil because He is the standard of good in which we can call all things evil. Read closely, Matthew 7:29,
“For he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” This is what it means to be the creator and sovereign ruler over all things.
If we don’t have an objective God to give us a standard, then either social convention or individual moralism is where we get our standards, and everything is up for grabs. Might makes right is the idea that reigns supreme. Something as arbitrary as a person’s thoughts about right and wrong can hold sway over there life. They capsulate themselves in a shadow world and an echo chamber of people who never challenge them on their thoughts but simply just agree with them. Christianity has been challenged for over 2,000 years and in any given year a host of books come out refuting it.
Nevertheless, Christianity remains effectively dangerous to the shadow world of false narratives. We make people take their thoughts out for a test run in the real world they live in: God’s world. We make people compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. See this applied here.
We expose their shadow world and the echo chamber they have hidden in to the battering ram of God’s objective truth. You can only call evil, like the Mosque shooting in the Netherlands, evil because God gives value to all human life. We can only say it is good to care for all people because there is a good God that subscribes goodness and human dignity to all people.
Evil people are evil because they transgress God’s law. Good people are good because they obey God’s law with the power of God inside of them produced by the Holy Spirit. All this is grounded in God that created the world that we all live in.
Come out of your shadow world, unbeliever. Place your faith in Jesus. Rejoice in the Gospel, Christians, because we can call evil “evil” and good “good”, because God is a standard that does not change with the wave of popular opinion.
We can call an apple an apple and an orange an orange. If we can either help you in understanding how to walk with Jesus or send you a free Bible, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For those who believe in Jesus go out to proclaim the Gospel to see a life transformed.