Join us as to gives a testimony and teaches on the subject of Religious Spirits
We are always facing religious spirits. They can be on us, on people to whom we submit, and on those to whom we minister. In Matthew 19, we find Jesus ministering to a man upon whom a religious spirit operates. Close examination of this scripture gives us insight on how some religious spirits operate, how to recognize when we are under the influence of a religious spirit, how to realize when we are dealing with a person with a religious spirit, and how to respond by changing our focus.
Read Matthew 19: 16-30 to become familiar to what is taking place. This type of religious spirit keeps one from seeing Jesus and our answer right before our eyes.
Now let’s look at the passage first by identifying the behavior of this religious spirit. This is one way to recognize when we are operating with or interacting with this type of religious spirit.
Religious spirits flatter without person knowing to whom they are speaking: Good teacher (verses 16 & 17)
religious spirits seek benefit/outcome through deed (What must I do to gain eternal life, verse 1)
religious spirits are selective, challenging you to become more specific (which of commandments are you talking about, verse18)
religious spirits leave out God but deal only with their relationship to mankind (ignored Jesus’ question of why call Him good (verse 1), for only God is good & Jesus, recognizing this, lists only commandments that deal with relationship to man, not those about God (verses18-19)
religious spirits are proud of their deeds (verse 20)
religious spirits know they lack but do not know what they lack (what do I still lack verse 20)
religious spirits love their posessions and accomplishments (verses 20 & 22)
Now let us look at how religious spirits don’t hear God, remember they are leaving God out of the conversation, and therefore, cause us to miss the answers.
verse 1-2: man asks about eternal life and Jesus offers the way to ENTER into life
verse 1-2: Man calls Jesus good; Jesus asks man why…for only God is good.
verse 21: Jesus offers treasures in heaven for possessions of man
verse 21: Jesus invites the man to come and follow him
In all of these, the man with the religious spirit did not respond. Did he not hear? Did he not understand? Did he not know the answer or how to respond?
Now let’s look at some of the outcomes of interacting with this religious spirit.
The man misses God. Calls Jesus ‘good’ to which Jesus offers that only God is good…so implying to the man, if you believe I’m good, then do you believe I am God? (verse 1&2)
The man misses the invitation to come, follow Jesus. (verse21)
The man has the answer to his quest for eternal life standing right before him.
The man leaves sorrowful for what he lacks (Jesus) was not as important or valued as what he possessed (verse 22)
The religious spirits jump onto Jesus’ disciples (verses 25, 27) as they ask ‘who can be saved’ and Peter is proud of their deeds and seeks the benefit. Further they miss Jesus’ teaching them about the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God (verses 23-24)
The last point above (#5) is important that even as disciples of Jesus, witnesses of might works of God, great teachings, close fellowship, we are vulnerable to the religious spirits.
In verse 28, Jesus speaks of a time of regeneration, a time for starting anew, of doing it over again. Easily this can be seen as a time of born again and of a new heaven and earth. Jesus in the same verse alludes to the disciples in position of ruling. We can stretch this a bit further to help us respond to situations where we find ourselves dealing with religious spirits. Reset our focus; regenerate the interaction; renew our words and our hearing.
The whole time that the man and the disciples were in this story, Jesus was there. When we find ourselves interacting with religious spirits, we need to stop, and step back, and look for Jesus. Renew our focus not on the person or the topic but on Jesus. Don’t miss Jesus or leave out Jesus as the religious spirit gets our focus on deeds, accomplishments, possessions, pride, and lack. Look for where Jesus is in the interaction, and join Him (come, follow me). You won’t leave sorrowful and lacking.
The religious spirit in this teaching had the man see Jesus as someone to tell him what he could do to acquire what he wanted and lacked. He did not see Jesus as the answer.
Verse 29, Jesus tells us that we ‘inherit’ eternal life while the man, in verse 1, wanted to know what he could do to possess (have) eternal life.