Jesus told James and John, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." I want to take Jesus' rebuke and turn it into a question. Of what spirit are we? I want us to think about this question from the passage in Luke 9.
It is a relevant question. It is a question we may need to ask of ourselves with increasing frequency. As the cultural decay continues, as the intolerance to truth becomes more acute, and as Christian commitment continues to be redefined; as the task becomes more difficult and the environment more hostile emotions of all kinds sweep over our heart and soul.
We can find ourselves vacillating between anger and fear, discouragement and hope, despair and faith. It is in these tumultuous times that we should be asking ourselves, Of what spirit am I? When the world is falling apart and chaos reigns I still must be Christlike! I must live out Christ before a hostile enemy! My spirit must be submitted to his Spirit.
Vs. 53 - The Spirit of the Samaritans: They did not receive him
This is the prevailing spirit of the day. It always has been. The only difference is the intensity with which people do not receive him. Passive or active rejection? Complacent or defiant rejection? Ours is a day when people are not receiving him actively and defiantly. But really does it matter that much? The result is the same. People are not receiving him!
The bible actually gives us a heads-up about this very thing.
John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
Romans 3:10-11 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Why does the spirit of the Samaritans prevail?
The natural bent is to not receive him
Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.
Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
The bondage of sin hinders men from receiving him
John 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Proverbs 5:22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
The darkness in which men exist hinders them from receiving him
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
The blindness to which they are subject hinders them from receiving him
2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
If we were to come across a person who, going about his business, found himself blind, and in a dungeon with no light and consequently helpless and hopeless would we call down fire upon him or, would be be moved with compassion on him and do what we could to help him.
Next we see:
Vs. 54 - The Spirit of James and John: They wanted to call down fire to consume them
Theirs was a spirit of wrath. It is important to temper our initial reactions with biblical truth.
James 1:19-20 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Psalm 37:8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
The spirit, quite frankly, is understandable. How could the Samaritans so blatantly reject him? James and John knew him to be the Messiah. They loved Jesus! However the spirit is misguided.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Our preoccupation with a perceived enemy hinders us from addressing the real enemy. We therefore apply ourselves to political, legislative, and social remedies. These things are important in their place but they are limited in their scope. None of these things can change the heart of a man. We should be applying the lion's share of our effort and resources to prayer, gospel preaching, discipleship, missions and all things that advance the spiritual kingdom of which we are a part and in fact has the capacity to sway earthly kingdoms!
Vs. 55,56 - The Spirit of Jesus: Not to destroy but to save
In verse 55 James and John were rebuked. Jesus turned to them and said, "Ye know not what manner of spirit you are of." If we are not careful we will find ourselves with a spirit that is not consistent with the Christian message. It will be a spirit that would rather call down fire than preach the everlasting gospel. We especially must be careful in an environment that is increasingly hostile. When the hostility heats up we are predisposed to fall prey, as previously mentioned, to misidentifying the enemy. The devil and the works of the devil we should desire to be destroyed and they will be one day. Lost sinners we should desire to see saved!
They were rebuked for not being like him. "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the son of man . . . . " In other words you do not have the same spirit I do! Yours is a spirit that wants to call down fire, mine is a spirit that wants to reach out to and save sinners! You need to bring your spirit into line with mine!
Verse 56 relates the spirit of Jesus.
The Son of man is not come to destroy lives.
John 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
John 3:17-18 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Jesus did not come to destroy lives. They are already being destroyed. The one who does not believe is condemned already. The wrath of God already abides on him. He needs deliverance!
While he did not come to destroy them he did come to save them.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Matthew 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Let us ask ourselves of what spirit are we?
Finally in the last part of:
Vs. 56 - The Spirit of Perseverance: And they went to another village
They kept on doing what they were doing! We have a message to proclaim! We have a bible to follow! We have a kingdom to advance! We are to stay at it! Whether in favor or out of favor with the current generation we are to stay busy doing what our spiritual forefathers have been doing for two millennium.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.2 Thessalonians 3:13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Hebrews 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
2 Corinthians 4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.Hebrews 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
There is always another person! Remember Jesus came to seek and to save. The seeking came before the saving. Some generations, some cultures, some nations require more seeking before there will be any saving. What are we to do in a day, and in a culture, and with a generation when so few want to hear? We just keep preaching being mindful of what spirit we are.