“What ‘Spirit’ Do I Have”
* What do you think of when you hear the word, “Pharisee?” Do you think Religious leaders? Or maybe Killers of Jesus? Do you think of their reputation for being judgmental, arrogant, or a people of Law & Rules? Several years ago, I heard Jack Taylor say, “Anyone exposed to any form of religion in USA for more than 6 months has been ministered to in Spirit of Pharisaims.”
* Back in the 50’s, a nationally known Christian leader received a “vision”, a “dream”, a “word”, from God and talked about many things which we have seen come to pass. This leader went on to say that as bad as we need revival in the USA there are 5 great opponents which have to be overcome. These are;
* The Spirit of Jezebel- This is seen in “taking control.” She took control in an ungodly way. We see that spirit taking over in the church today. Truth is, God is in control & He takes high offense to our overstepping our position as His creation.
* Spirit of Absalom- This is a spirit of sedition, rebellion, and even disloyalty. A true Holy Ghost, Heaven Sent revival will reveal just how rebellious we have become.
* Spirit of Witchcraft – Today, we see more than ever, the Eastern Religions, the New Age, Cults, Satanism and much more finding an open mind in America. Make no mistake; Satanism is on the rise in our area.
* Spirit of Pseudo-Counseling- First, counseling in and of itself is not bad. The problem comes in the counselors we choose. The modern day secular mode of counseling finds itself borrowing from scriptural terms to brace the person up instead of dealing with the issues at the cross.
* Spirit of Pharisee – I heard Jack Taylor say this; “It was birthed in the Garden of Eden and is filled with deadly hostility. It killed Able, Crucified Jesus, Stoned Stephen, & tried to do away with Paul, whose target is still the Christ life. It hates the grace of God & love legalism. It is through these traditions while receiving the praise of men that the pharisaical spirit seeks to manipulate and control the lives of people to their “own” benefit. When they tried to judge Jesus according to their own traditions, He challenged the legalism they held so dear. It loves the darkness and refused to come to the light. It militates against worship & a relationship to God. It love praise of men and is more concerned about position than honor, influence than power, insists on ruling people with their rules & traditions. It is not impressed with the humble way Jesus came healing the sick & feeding the multitudes. It is content to receive glory for itself.
* It masquerades as super spiritual and cannot stand to be corrected. It despises authority and cannot flow in unity with God’s anointed leadership. It exalts its own opinion, becomes bitter, critical, censorious of others.
* A Pharisee lives on a island unto himself and literally exalts himself above the Spirit of God. His intent is to kill the Christ life in each of us.
* We owe Pharisees much. They initially implemented a system to protect scriptures. However, in implementing their system based on the scriptures, they raised their interpretation above the truth, the heart, & spirit of word.
* The Pharisaical Spirit esteems the written word above the living word. So intent were they to abide by the letter of the written scriptures that when the living word, Jesus Christ, came by, they missed Him, refused Him, & rejected Him. That was the tragedy. And that tragedy is being repeated today.”
* The very reason which I have detoured from our study of Romans for a week or two is that our nation is in desperate need of a Spiritual Awakening. For years, we have had meetings which we called “Revivals” and in fact, we are planning a “Community Revival” in February. That’s good and that’s okay. However, personally I don’t really need one more meeting. Yet the truth is, “We are in need of a ‘heaven-sent’, ‘spirit-lead’, ‘Holy Ghost’, ‘life-changing’, ‘priority-arranging’ Revival!” However, revival will not come until the Spirit of the Pharisees is extricated from the life of His children. If we cannot recognize the spirit of the Pharisee, then we have no hope in dealing with it.
* This morning we have read from John 9 and as you have heard this story let’s consider the contrast between the Spirit of Jesus and the Pharisees.
I. THE SPIRIT OF JESUS- I will suggest 3 characteristics of our Lord.
a. He is Concerned about People- If we back up to verse 1, Jesus saw the needy man. It seems that everywhere Jesus went he saw needs & never let anything or anyone get in the way of Him touching people. By the way, He is not only concerned with convinced people.
b. He is Committed to truth- This entire section begins with 2 questions from disciples loaded like there was no other choice. The Pharisees had taught this is either “a” or “b”. However, Jesus quickly said throw away your traditions and conceptions and understand the truth. The truth comes from the Lord. Many times we try to make quick conclusions about things, when the real reason might be something deeper.
c. He is Consumed with the Work of God—Jesus is always found trying to impress the spiritual truth the disciples that God’s work is our business. The word ‘work’ is to be taken serious; we are not to be lounging around. Jesus was always busy about the Father’s work & He expects us to be the same. Never forget that God’s agenda is reaching & teaching, anything less is not His word, will, or agenda.
d. He Cuts thru the facade of Religiosity Jesus never had time for nor was He impressed with religious talk. He always had a way of cutting thru the religious talk and getting to the crux of matter. It was not an issue of a committee meeting about whether to do this on the Sabbath or not, the truth was, the blind man needed to be healed. How would He and how could He? What would He do? There was no SOP for this. So, HE SPITS! How offensive! As if that is not bad enough, He then He plays with spit in the dirt. (Must have been a lot of spit because He makes a couple of mud pies) When you think it can get any worse, He sticks those mud pies “right there in His eyes!” It may well be that when Jesus begins to move in your life, He might offend all within you that is able to be offended. Can you imagine a marginal follower of Christ seeing this? Nothing is as offensive to SOP as a move of God.
Here is a truth; When God gets loose, things change! The rules are gone. The standard operating procedure is rewritten. Jesus always does it His way. This is the Spirit of Jesus.
2. THE SPIRIT OF THE PHARISEE- As we read John 9, there are some characteristics which we can find in the Pharisees. These things will serve us well to take note of and see how they impact us.
a. Resists Personal Testimony—let’s keep a sound approach to personal testimony. Every testimony must be tried by fire of God’s word to make sure it’s authentic. If it stands that test of the word “who are we to question.” Many divine things happen that we haven’t been taught, and the result is; we tend NOT to believe it’s true. But listen, many people have been healed, delivered, change, saved, protected, blessed, and more and we need to hear, receive, and believe. Don’t you like the word of this blind man, “whether He’s good or bad, whether He’s Pentecostal or Baptist, whether He sings contemporary, classical, gospel, or out of the hymn book, it doesn’t matter to me. I only know that all my life I have been blind, but HE healed my blindness and now I can see.” To meet Christ in a personal way births a testimony like this. It has been said that a man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument. The Pharisee is afraid of the personal.
b. Rebells against anyone with whom God is personally involved- They not only didn’t believe the healed man, but they put him and his parents on trial. They tried to discredit Jesus. And finally became so frustrated with the truth that they put the healed man out! Why did they do this? Because God had performed a worked in His life. Interestingly, man who was healed gave an invitation to the Pharisees, “wouldn’t you like to be one of disciples?”
* The Spirit of the Pharisee is so tied up on rules & regulations, (I.E. constitution & bylaws, policy and procedure manuals) that they refused to see God hand and heart working in lives of anyone.
c. Rejects the miraculous in face of full-fledged miracle- Since being your Pastor, we have prayed and have seen God heal people within our family. The Pharisee doesn’t see it this way. When someone says, “God healed me”, the respond is met with skepticism. Do you realize that we have the same God who parted the Red Sea, saved the 3 Hebrews in the fire, protected Daniel in the Lion’s den, and raised Jesus from the dead? Perhaps the reason we don’t see more miracles in our midst is because we refuse to recognize and believe them. God is still capable, able, and willing. Jesus intimated that it is because of our “Lack of faith.” So modernized, urbanized, that we have become petrified & paralyzed in the matter of God working miracles. Could it be that we have become like the Pharisees?
d. Resents the people in which God is working - When they couldn’t have their way, like a child, they put the healed man out. This was an act of not just rejecting Jesus, but anyone who has something they don’t have. I am reminded of the story Jesus told. As I read the story and imagine the scene in my head, I can see a Pharisee indignant that this tax-collector was in the same building as he. This is the spirit of the Pharisee. It’s deadly.
3. THE SPIRIT OF THE BELIEVER- The blind man had now been transformed into a believer. From him we can discover at least 3 attributes.
a. AMAZEMENT- Think about this, the blind man said, “He put mud on my eyes and now I see!” He was simply amazed. There was no hope for this man to ever see. To think that a little mud put on and washed off can cure blindness is about as unbelievable as the concept of red blood washing black sin as white as snow. It’s amazing. To the the human mind all of this is unbelievable? Why? Because we cannot see it being done. There is a reason we call this “Faith”. Are you amazed at the Love of God? Are you amazed at His desire and determination?
b. APPRECIATION- Just for the record I really like this blind guy because he was a plain talker. This world is full of those who live on half-truths and slanted truth. In the middle of this presidential debate who is telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I have never been so frustrated in all my life. They seem to get caught up in self-preservation and make things complicated to the point of confusion. The blind man was so appreciative of the work Jesus did in his life that he was not going to be ‘suckered’ in. When the Pharisees tries to make his experience with Jesus complicated, he responded, “I only know one thing, I was blind, but now I see.” You can hear “appreciation” in his words. Just as surely as Jesus healed the physical blindness of this man so He heals spiritual blindness when we accept Him. He makes the offer, we must accept. When He heals us, we know it and what follows is a life of love, service, and security encapsulated with appreciation. Think about all the things we do when we are genuinely appreciative.
c. AFFIRMATION- The greatest affirmation we can give is “I believe.” When we can say nothing else, “I believe.” In verses 35 and following the healed man is presented with the claims of Jesus and his response? “I believe.” In believing, he had already begun challenging other.
* Pharisees believe in laws, rules, and being judgmental. A Christian school that was connected to a church held out tithe of teachers, “to make sure”. Those teachers lost the joy of giving and the church lost blessing of the offering. The Spirit of the Pharisee is destructively built on law versus grace.
* The story is told of a tyrannical husband who demanded that his wife conform to rigid standards of his choosing. She was to do certain things for him as a wife, mother and homemaker. In time she came to hate her husband as much as she hated his list of rules and regulations. Then, one day he died - mercifully as far as she was concerned. Sometime later, she fell in love with another man whom she married. She and her new husband lived on a perpetual honeymoon. Joyfully, she devoted herself to his happiness and welfare. One day she ran across one of the sheets of do’s and don’ts her first husband had written for her. To her amazement she found that she was doing for her second husband all the things her first husband had demanded of her, even though her new husband had never once suggested them. She did them as an expression of her love for him.
*Now, which spirit do you have?