What Manner of Spirit Are You Of? (Luke 9:51-56) - Sermon

Text: Luke 9:51-56
Living Word Chapel, SNGR
Sunday, October 09, 2011.

Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?" But He turned and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." And they went to another village.(Luke 9:51-56)

Every day, from morning till evening, we go through a number of experiences that excite our emotions, that compel our reactions, and that inspire our decisions. However, every time, we are reacting to something, we need to be asking this question "What manner of spirit is it that is compelling this reaction?" James and John needed to know that after 3.5 years of training at the feet of Jesus. How much more do we?

Proverbs 16:2 says, "All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits." We usually think that our actions are right until we submit ourselves to the discernment of the Lord. We need to examine ourselves in His light.

Let's look at four categories of spirit under which people usually operate and also see what the Lord desires us to have:

1. Rebellious Versus Obedient Spirit

Regarding the Israelites, God tells to Ezekiel that they are a rebellious house (Ezek.2:5). It was their hardened heart and rebellious nature that brought destruction into their lives. Psalm 68:6 says "God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land." A rebellious person will never experience prosperity and blessing, but only experience dryness and barrenness. He rebels against parents, teachers, leaders, authorities, and therefore ends up in solitariness. A rebellious spirit is blocked to the will of God.

Therefore, God says:
"If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword"; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Isaiah 1:19-20)

2. Haughty Versus Broken Spirit

The Bible says that Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Prov.16:18). It was a haughty spirit that turned an angel called Lucifer into the devil. Pride can begin like a grain of mustard, but will grow to become a cancer and turn a good person into a wicked man. Therefore, one must guard one's heart against pride.

The Bible tells us that "the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit" and that the Lord will never despise "a broken and a contrite heart" (Psalm 51:17).

We all remember the story of the pharisee and the publican. They both went to pray but the pharisee could not pray because he was filled with religious pride. However, the publican was justified because he confessed his sins and begged for mercy. The Lord resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

3. Angry Versus Patient Spirit

Let's look at a few scriptures here:
Pro 14:17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly.
Pro 21:19 Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.
Pro 22:24,25 Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.

The 70s and 80s are remembered as the era of the "angry young man" movies. History tells us that these were also the era of high violence among students, workers, and people everywhere. Bad company spoils good manners. Quick-tempered anger is a sin that the Bible prohibits. See what the Bible says:
"The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools." (Eccl 7:8-9)
"Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil." (Eph 4:26-27)

Patience builds character, the Bible says (Rom.5:4), and the test of our faith is the extent to which we can allow patience to work in our lives (James 1:4).

4. Distressing Versus Excellent Spirit

We are told in 1 Samuel 16:14 that a distressing spirit came and distressed Saul. This was a spirit that produced restlessness and robbed Saul of peace. However, when David used to play the instrument, that spirit used to leave Saul. Yet, not for long; for soon one day, Saul took a spear and hurled at David to pin him to death while he was playing the instrument. David escaped, but then that was the end of Saul's days of any peacefulness. Saul gave in to the distressing spirit.

But, let's look at the testimony of Daniel in the midst of foreign rule, enemies all around, and while in exile:
"Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm." (Daniel 6:3)
Daniel had an excellent spirit; and therefore, he experienced favor and promotion in his life. People are attracted to those who have an excellent and noble spirit; who don't give in to circumstances, who live by principle, who are trustworthy, and who have the favor of God upon them.

Do we have such excellent spirit?

Rebellion, pride, anger, and distress are evils that drive away people and promotion away from us. They are carnal, unspiritual, and sinful. The Lord still asks us today what manner of spirit is it that is influencing our lives.

Let's have an obedient, humble, patient, and an excellent spirit that brings glory to our Lord. We need to have a Holy Spirit controlled temperament.

Finally, this prayer:

"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10)

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