Faithlife Sermons

Apathetic Christians

Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →


MATTHEW 12:30-37


30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. 31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. 33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. 34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. [1]

INTRODUCTION:  I have found that the most serious infiltrating sin within Christians today is a great state of apathy.  It is this apathy that is causing the breakdown of the many churches in our nation.  We have apathy not only in our churches but also within our homes for not only are churches breaking down but also the family unit too.  I have found in my talks with many so called Christians that they are content just to sit in the pews and warm them, and not really wanting to get involved.  But I’m not here to talk about the problem within churches for we are the church therefore the problem is within us.  This problem is not a new one for even Jesus dealt with the same problem over 2000 years ago.  We are here to open the Word of God and find out the answer to that problem.  The saddest of all is that apathy is in every one of us in one form or another.  The most common of these is when we decide to go one way without consulting God and then hope God comes along side supports this decision.  The most common saying today is, “We are going to do this if God supports then so be it, if He doesn’t then we are going to do it anyway.”  This thinking is very dangerous because then it becomes our agenda and not His.  I paraphrase it this way, “It is easier to say yes and do nothing than to say no and do something about it.”  Let me illustrate this by my own life, when someone asks me to be a teacher for Sunday School, I say yes not really consulting God about it and then just show up sporadically.  It is easier that way because a no answer would cause argument and even may seem to others that we are not as spiritual as we hold ourselves to be in this way I can make some excuses that are excusable but not legitimate. Now that we understand what apathy is let’s look at God’s word and see how to cure it within ourselves thus curing it within our churches.

BACKGROUND:  This passage comes from Jesus right after the Pharisees have just accused Him of doing His many signs by the power of the Devil.  Understand that they have just attributed the power of the Holy Spirit, by which Jesus clearly states these signs are being done, to the work of Satan.  We know that Jesus rebukes their logic in this statement because He tells us that a kingdom divided against it cannot stand.  He tells us that if Satan is attacking his demons then he’s working against him thus it will eventually fall apart.  You will remember well when John sends his disciples to Jesus to ask Him if He indeed is the messiah and Jesus points him to what?  He points him and them to the many signs and miracles he has done.  In Jesus’ entire ministry His main evidence of who He was and claimed to be was revealed by His miracles and healings and signs.  Jesus plainly tells John’s disciples that His signs and wonders were enough to reveal He was the messiah and savior of the world.  This being said the Pharisees have now just blasphemed the Holy Spirit by attributing His holy work to the devil. 



a.       The act of not doing anything is still choosing sides.  Jesus was saying that by the Pharisees not doing anything with their knowledge of who He was most certainly claiming to be was still in itself choosing a side.  We often think, as I have already stated, that by us trying to stay out of the situation we are avoiding making a decision but in essence Jesus has said in this first statement in our passage that we have already made a choice.  We think that only our decisive actions can get us into trouble but that is most certainly not true at all.  An example of this would be a present situation with voting in November, those that choose not to vote have in essence still voted and made a decision still contributing to the vote in November.  Their lack of action at the polls will ultimately decide the winner and loser just as those of us that do vote will.  A biblical example and better example would be that of the Pharisees, they knew exactly who Jesus was claiming to be but did absolutely nothing about that knowledge thus declaring them to be against Jesus by not doing anything. 

II.                The second part of the same verse condemns them even further.  In stating that who gathers not with me scatters abroad Jesus is telling them that they are hindering the Gospel message to those that need it with their very act of not doing anything.  I don’t know if you have thought about it much but you sitting in that pew and not getting involved you are doing the same, you are scattering them abroad.  If we do not get involved Jesus tells us that we are against Him.

a.       Many Reasons for our Apathy

                                                              i.      Fear-

1.      What will people think of me?

2.      I will get hurt if I put everything I have into this project or group.

3.      The sacrifice is too great.

4.      What if I fail?  (He knows we are going to fail, don’t you think He can overcome your failures for His benefit.)

                                                            ii.      Anger-

1.      I have done my part, let someone else who is younger do it.

2.      God doesn’t need me.  (You are right but He has also allowed you by Grace to be a part of His work.  We all have jobs to do.)

3.      This is the way we have done it for 20 years why change it?

a.       Jesus did things differently than the way the Pharisees did.

                                                          iii.      Resentment-

1.      Why do I have to be the only one doing it?

                                                          iv.      Discouragement-

1.      There are many more who are more qualified than I to do those things that need to be done.

2.      I’m not talented enough to do that.  (God has gifted each and everyone one of us for our specific job.)

3.      What if nothing happens?

4.      What if no one comes?

                                                            v.      Downright disobedience-

1.      I’m not going to do that!

2.      I have better things to do with my life.

3.      That takes up too much of my time outside of church.


a.       In verse 32 Jesus tells the Pharisees that what they have just done is blasphemed the Holy Spirit for attributing His works to Satan.  We must understand that this exact sin is not capable today because Jesus would have to be on earth for that to happen.  They were calling the works of the Spirit those of Satan.  We must also understand that this sin in a different form can still be done today. 

b.      When we think that God cannot do what He says He can then we are blaspheming the Holy Spirit because we doubt God’s word.  This is exactly what the Pharisees were doing doubting Jesus’ works by the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit lives within us and when we choose not to make a decision or get involved in God’s kingdom work by one of the reasons I have already listed we are doubting God’s words and promises thus blaspheming the Holy Spirit.  Let me give you an example when we doubt one attribute of God we are bringing His name down or making it less than it really is.  We are saying that God is not worthy or capable of doing something.  It is the same as if someone comes to you at your work and doubts whether you can do some aspect of that job, do you not take it personally and think it an affront to who you are, how much more our Heaven Father and more importantly the Holy Spirit.  No we don’t blaspheme God in the same way the Pharisees do but I would submit to you that our doubts are more destructive than those of the Pharisees, our doubts hinder the very work of the Holy Spirit, for He is the one present within us and in the world.  God will get accomplished what He desires and doesn’t need us but how much of an honor is it to be wanted and included in His Great Plan.  You see blaspheming is not just cussing or taking the Lord’s name in vain but doubting who He is and any one of His many countless attributes.


a.       In verse 33 Jesus tells us that a tree is known by its fruit.  We know that a tree is an apple tree if it bears apple, in the same token we know a Christian is a Christian by his works.  Don’t misunderstand me; we are not saved by these works but unto these works.  I’m not a judge but just a fruit inspector as it has been stated by many a pastor.  If we do Christ like works then we are showing we are Christians to those around us, especially those outside this building.  I heard of a story of a man sitting at a red light with a woman in a great hurry behind him.  The light turned green and the man still didn’t move the lady honked her horn but still he didn’t move for he was distracted.  Just as the light turned to yellow he moved through the light and it quickly turned red leaving her behind at the light.  She then proceeded to rant and rave and give a certain gesture out her window.  While having her fit oblivious to those around her there was a tap at her window in which she noticed a cop standing boldly outside with his gun drawn and pointed straight at her.  He motioned for her get out of the car and put her hands up.  He hand cuffed her and put her in a holding cell for two hours.  After those hours he came back and brought her back to his desk and began profusely apologizing to her stating that he had made a great mistake.  He told her that while she was having her tirade he noticed, while being behind her, her choose life bumper sticker, her honk if you’re a Christian, this car will be vacant in the event of rapture, and of course her fish sticker that it had to be a stolen car.  Our fruit will surely show who we are and who we belong to. 


a.       In verses 34-37 Jesus tells these Pharisees that whatever they put in they will get out.  If we put in evil we get evil out, if we put in good we get out good.  Jesus tells us that “What we reap we shall sow” It might help us to know what the Pharisees were putting in.  The Pharisees were the teachers of the law in those days much like our pastors of today but they had added much to God’s word making it very hard to abide by those laws, thus holding the monopoly on God.  They were putting in exclusiveness and reaping exclusion from God’s kingdom as Jesus had told them many times.

b.      What’s more important and even more condemning to us is that every word that proceeds out of our mouth we will be held accountable.  We are judged of God by what we say.  Our words that come out of our mouth can justify us or condemn us as Jesus so clearly states in the last verse of our passage.  As I paraphrased in the beginning, it is easier to say yes and do nothing than it is to say no and do something about it, Jesus is telling us that our words should always back up or actions or even the other way around, our actions should always back up our words.  Are your actions or inactions declaring whose side you’re on today?  Are you on Jesus’ side by your actions or against Jesus because of your inactions? 

VI.             APPLICATION

a.       Our inactions have as much meaning as our actions.  What we don’t do or say has just as much importance as what we do and say.  Maybe there are those of you wondering how we combat our inactions, for most of us do more choosing of what we aren’t going to do than what we are going to do in any given day.  The answer is found in verse 35.  We must put in or store up good treasure in our heart, and how do we do that you might ask?  We must put in that which is incorruptible as Paul so eloquently put it.  That incorruptible thing isn’t anything of this world but God’s Word which endures even unto the end of time, or forever.  We must get into God’s word!  We must find out what His will for our lives is and not have our own agenda.  The old saying goes if you want to hear God laugh tell him your plans.  To combat apathy within us we need to get into God’s word and find out what He says and what direction He would have us to go within His kingdom’s work.  By you sitting in those pews not getting involved, not bringing God’s work and love that lives inside you outside these walls is blasphemous to God.  Apathy must be combated by pouring into our lives God for God is always at work shouldn’t we be also.  If God is never still and never stops working at anytime how much more should we?  Please don’t misunderstand within God’s work there must also be rest such as the Sabbath that we are commanded to honor.  Most of us know how to Sabbath we need to learn how to work within that Sabbath. 

b.      There are perhaps some here that are completely apathetic towards God just like the Pharisees.  You know who Jesus is and what you need to do with him and have been putting off turning your life over to Him for fear or whatever the reason, I submit to you that your inaction in that process is still an action in God’s eyes.  If you don’t know who Jesus is then I beg you during the invitation to come up front and let me introduce you to Him.  Let me show you what He’s done in my life and how He can do it in your life also even greater things in your life.

VII.          PRAYER


[1] The Holy Bible : King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. Bellingham WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995, S. Mt 12:30-37

Related Media
Related Sermons