As we move on in Matthew Chapter 12 and at verse 22, it is very interesting that we read of spiritual warfare. Right away, following that significant reference to the prophet Isaiah, we read of conflict.

This warfare lasts a considerable amount of time, and it will not end until Jesus Christ returns.

This warfare covers every corner of the earth, and there is not one of us who is a disciple of Jesus Christ, who is not involved in it in some form. Verse 30 makes that clear.

We are engaged in a conflict. Everyone is. The only question is – which side are you on? Not one of us is excluded.

When Jesus spoke with His disciples later He told them that He is going to build His Church, and that would and does involve spiritual warfare.

When the Father gives the Holy Spirit, we can become more aware of spiritual conflict, and involved in spiritual conflict.

This was the experience of Jesus. This was the experience of each of His disciples.

Jesus is casting out a demon - a bad spirit - that had made a man blind and dumb. Not only was this man unable to carry on a conversation, but he would not be able to express gratitude and praise in worship, nor would he be able to pray out loud.

These matters are important - the way we pray - the way we sing - remember we are appearing in the presence of the King - Jesus Christ.

The way we sing and praise reveals a lot, about our love for Jesus, and about our commitment to Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ casts out this evil spirit. The man is set free. He is able to speak. Jesus wants us to be able to speak. It is not easy, but it is possible.

People are wondering if this is the Messiah. This is certainly one of the signs. People thought that when the Messiah came the whole demonic world would bow before Him. The Pharisees however tried to answer in a very different manner.

This is warfare. Look at the two combatants – verse 26. There are two kingdoms. These are two irreconcilable kingdoms. Now, the world is unaware of this.

The whole theme of the Gospel record is the warfare between Christ and Satan.

Where is the sphere of this war? Where are we likely to meet this today? Wherever we are involved in building the Church of Jesus Christ, there will be demonic activity.

And then, some people accuse Jesus of committing the unforgivable sin. These religious critics said Jesus was casting out evil spirits by using the power of the devil. They were saying that Jesus got His power from Beelzebub - the king of demons - lord of the flies - insects. You could not get any more blatant opposition than this.

Some of these people were so frantic to discredit Christ and His Word and His ministry that they were saying that Jesus was in league with the devil.

Matthew tells us it was the Pharisees who said this.

This time - these people just went too far. At times to criticise can be very dangerous, especially if the negative comments are levelled at what God is doing.

Be very careful regarding speaking judgmental words of criticism. We have to be very cautious in this area. It is dangerous to do so. There are occasions when it is better to be silent - when it is better to be quiet.

These people should have been the first to recognise that this was the Living God at work, but they are closed and blind and their hearts are cold and critical.

The two kingdoms are brought into the open and into conflict.

Jesus is preaching and teaching and ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit - and they say it is in the strength of the evil one.

Paul was hindered at times from going where he thought he should have gone.

The enemy tries to hinder the work of God, and to silence the Word of God, and his tactics have not changed very much over the centuries.