Summary: One of the greatest hindrances you will encounter in your Christian walk is that of the religious spirit. Religious spirits endeavor to interfere with the free flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
What Kind of Spirit Do you Have?
Bishop Melvin Maughmer
OPENING: - Last night before I went to bed, I was watching the local news and this church here in Florida received a violation for violating covid restrictions. They didn’t have a permit to have the event that had several thousand attend. When they interviewed one man he said “We are just trying to spread the love of Christ and you cannot do that when you 6 feet apart”. I heard that and said that is a religious spirit because God is omnipresent, and His love is omnipresent you can spread the Love of Christ and be continents apart.
One of the greatest hindrances you will encounter in your Christian walk is that of the religious spirit. Religious spirits endeavor to interfere with the free flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives. They can be hard to discern simply because they are religious; they are pious, even hyper-spiritual. Their influence can spread through every aspect a person’s life and church like yeast in a lump of dough. That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 16:6 “Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees”. The religious spirit is a demonic spirit that influences a person, or group of people, to replace a genuine relationship with God with works and traditions. When people operate out of a religious spirit they attempt to earn salvation by adopting nonbiblical beliefs, traditions and customs.
At the early part of Jesus’ ministry, He gives seven blessings on the righteous. Matthew 5:3-10 we find the portion of the Sermon on the Mount which is the Beatitudes. It is the first of the Five Discourses of Matthew and takes place shortly after Jesus has been baptized by John the Baptist, finished his fasting and spiritual battle with Satan in the desert. In this message Jesus says to the righteous “Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven, they shall be comforted, shall inherit the earth, shall be filled, shall obtain mercy, shall see God, and shall be called the sons of God”.
Near the end of His ministry, He declares eight woes on the unrighteous or self-righteous Pharisees Matthew 23 13–31 because WATCH THIS: - They shut up heaven, took advantage of widows, misled men to eternal destruction, were covetous of worldly things, refused to show compassion, were inwardly corrupt and afflicted the righteous.
SCRIPTURE: - Matthew 23:1-31 focus verses 13 -31.
THE FOURTH WOE: BLIND GUIDES AND FOOLS.
The 4th woe extends from verse 16 to verse 22. Matthew 23:16-22 says, “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.' You fools and blind men; which is more important, the gold, or the temple that sanctified the gold? And, 'Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering upon it, he is obligated.' You blind men, which is more important, the offering or the altar that sanctifies the offering? Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. And he who swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. And he who swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it”.
Here Jesus focuses in on the Pharisees inability to lead the righteous. He labels them as blind guides and fools that have no spiritual understanding of the Word of God. UNDERSTAND THAT: - A religious spirit can never lead people into a greater walk with Jesus because one cannot take someone to a place that one has not already been.
The Pharisees were teaching that if you swore by the temple or by the altar, then you were not bound to keep your word. But if you swore by the gold of the temple or by the gift on the altar, then your word was binding. Isn’t it just amazing how the love of money corrupted their decisions? They were legalistically splitting hairs, and they were placing the emphasis on material things rather than upon the spiritual purpose.
WATCH THIS: - I came across in my studies - If a Pharisee says, I swear to you by the temple that this is so and so, that oath is not binding. If he says, I swear to you by the altar in the temple of God, that oath is not binding either. But if he says, I swear to you by the gold of the temple, that oath is binding. This sounds like they had things backwards, but it is deeper than you understand. According to the Mishnah, the Jewish book of law, there is a section that deals with the technicalities of oaths. It is explained like this, if a Pharisee says to his friend, I swear by the Torah that I will give you $5000, he does not have to give him a cent. It is only when he swears by the content of the Torah that he is bound to keep his oath. So, if the friend was not aware of that, he will never get the $5000. And yet, the Pharisee thinks that he is right because in his mind, it is the other person's responsibility to know that an oath by the Torah is not binding. If you do not know enough of the Pharisaic teaching, it is your problem. It is too bad for you. In other words, they would manipulate and twist the word (LAW) to benefit them.