Happy March everybody! It’s Guest Writers Month this month and our first post is from my good friend Brook Potter, better known as The Great White Islander…
Matthew 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
Jesus Christ was the biggest challenge that the Pharisees of his day had ever encountered. They were unable to stop his message, neither could they deny the miracles, not even pointing out Jesus’ supposed unholy behavior deterred people (Luke 7:34), so they resorted to the only option they had left, demonize him, literally. We learn a very important lesson from the Pharisees in their handling of Jesus Christ: religious spirits will always try to make aspects of the person preaching the main focus rather than their message.
John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
The value of a message is not tied to the person speaking it, rather in the content of the message and if it is Spirit and True. We see this fact illustrated in the recorded ministry of Paul. Often in his letters and preaching, Paul quoted outright pagan sources to make his point.
Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. (From the Hymn of Zeus)
1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (Menader Thais)
Titus 1:12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. (From the Epiminides Oracles)
Paul’s use of secular pagan sources did not have a condoning effect on the people who wrote it, nor does it retroactively make those works inspired, it simply means that what they wrote was true. But the religious spirit would make the issue about the person or their behavior, as an excuse not to get people to listen to the message. It is a failed tactic, that anyone who has ever debated will tell you, the minute you attack your opponent’s character rather than presenting rational arguments, you have lost the debate.
I say all of that so that people are aware of the tactics of the religious spirits. The Gospel is a message about inclusion and unity in the finished work of Jesus Christ, while the religious spirit will always try to make it about the character of people. The Gospel is about seeing Christ in people and encouraging their approval of God, religion will see the sin and hurts in people to disqualify them from being used by God, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. The religious spirit keeps people from thinking for themselves and seeing, what is clearly evident. It is the reason that the Pharisees could not recognize their Messiah standing right in front of them.