Purely of the Kingdom: Matthew 16

Not Even a Hint of the Pharisaical Spirit

The developments in Matthew 16 all point to a single thing--a Pharisaical spirit diverts us from being purely of the Kingdom of God. Jesus said the only key to finding life is to lose it--and the Pharisaical spirit will make sure that you don't.

The Pharisaical Spirit

This spirit has the following characteristics:

1. It refuses to see the obvious. Jesus was performing miracles here and there and yet the Pharisees were asking him for a sign from heaven. Today, God daily talks clearly through the bible about what we should do. But if we keep ignoring this and keep asking for confirmation, we belong to the "wicked and adulterous generation."

2. It births a wicked and adulterous generation. Even in church today, many people choose to pretend ignorance (or downright reject) when it comes to bible issues that need to be seen working in the church. Jesus espouses a one-church policy where unity is complete, according to John 17. How complete? He said it should be as completely united as the Father and Son are completely one. Ignoring this, for instance, breeds a wicked and adulterous generation, spiritually and sexually.

3. It makes you have in mind the things of men, not of God. Even Peter lost Kingdom insight when he started having concern about earthly things--even his place in Jesus' ministry. He didn't want Jesus to be killed, thinking that his concern for Jesus pleased God. He didn't realize worldliness (having the things of men while doing ministry) had started creeping into his value system. Why did this happen? Because Peter probably took in a hint of the Pharisaical spirit--which every Jew at the time had. Just like every Christian has a denominational spirit that should be rid of. Even a "yeast" or hint of that is not acceptable to God.

4. The yeast of the Pharisees makes you comfy with the status quo. When you cling to this spirit (lots have this and think it is God's will), it makes you want to save your life here instead of lose it. That's why many church people look for great things to achieve and be recognized. Only by losing your life here will you save it, Jesus said. But this spirit makes you fear or hate radical changes for Jesus.

Having Jesus killed was a radical change for Peter who was then enjoying the popularity that the Jesus ministry was having. Popular ministries today hold on to their achievements. They would never like the idea of giving up their ministries, dismantling them, to give way to the complete unity of the true Jesus Church, the glorious church, which is completely one as the Father and Son are one (John 17).

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