This post is part of a larger series of teaching we have been doing on the Letter to the Galatians. Free CD's are available through chapter five. E- mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716.537.3222 and leave a detailed message.
This post is based on Galatians 5:16 - 26. The full message is on cd but there are a couple elements here that are not on that cd. The Spirit led me to have a twist on this that I found interesting and most certainly true to the Word and my personal experience. So I said to the Lord, 'I am going to give it shot and see where it goes.' This message is like a journal entry, flowing from His Spirit. Praise the Lord!
I could take at least an hour and share my experiences with people scared of the Spirit. Of course, they never admit to fear of the Spirit but friends that in large part is exactly what it is.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is a personal reality to be embraced and a corporate blessing to be nurtured. But, drawn from this passage, are reasons religious people are frightened of the Spirit.
1. BATTLE for the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh (17)
The Spirit scares folks because He makes one very aware of the battle for the soul of a person. The Spirit lets one know the flesh is rising up. This battle is daily and if you hear the Spirit then one has to aware of His voice telling us, strengthen yourself in the Lord, gird up the loins of your mind, put on the whole of God...
Too many religious people want nothing to do with the battle between flesh and spirit. They don't want change. they say old dogs can't learn new tricks. You want to know why people are scared? Because His stated intention is to change a person, to grow and mature a person.But these folk like their life just the way it is. It is their choice and what a sad one indeed. if we are have the fruit of the Spirit, then the battle for between Spirit and flesh must not be ignored. To ignore this battle is to put one's soul in grave danger, it makes the Christian life a kind of public show with no substance.
Can the Spirit transform a person? A thousand times yes! But the more pertinent question is if change and life transformation is desired. Too many religious people want only what is available at the lowest cost if not free. My friends, the battle is raging and the cost is high ... pay up or die.
2. AWARENESS but if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law (18)
Religious people are scared of the Holy Spirit because it is their fear he will enlighten them as to the high level of faith and obedience that is possible in Christ.
Frightened religious folk do not want a light shining on their conceit, their provocations or the evil of envy at the prosperity of others. However, they are quite skilled at revealing these items in others. Very sad isn't it? And we wonder why the church is operating on such low appeal.
Religious people are scared of the spiritual gifts and they use Scripture to support their fears. This a famous retread, but when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away (1 Cor. 13:10) This is not telling us that there is no need for the gifts because we have a full canon of Scripture. So, unbelief and fear is set in stone (lol) because of a single verse of Scripture. Well, try these on,
pursue love and desire spiritual gifts(1 Cor. 14;1) now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you ignorant.(1 Cor. 12:1) and 1 Cor. 12 esp. 4 - 6 and 14:12 and on and on.
Frightened religious people use the Bible to support their fears. They find an expression of worship to support their laziness.
But HOTH will be zealous for the gifts, we will embrace, cultivate and demonstrate the advancing movement of the Holy Spirit, and the hope of Christ for the Church, the community and the world.
3. PERSONAL if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (25)
You know what frightens religious people? God living with them. God walking with them. These folks would rather leave God in the sanctuary. They have no intention nor do they want to give the Spirit a say, an influence in their walk, i.e. jobs, how they spend their money, decisions, values ... They may never tell the Pastor, but privately their thoughts can be summarized as doing well without any interference from God, I have it figured out quite nicely. Thanks but no thanks.
The Bibles of the frightened stay home, unopened and unread. WHY? Is it sloth? Is it enmity or apathy? Why do the Bibles of so many rest unattended and orphaned? The Bible remains a best seller but is it a best read?
But the untold story of the walk of the frightened is listed here in detail. And to some degree they are the reality of the frightened religious. Paul calls them the works of the flesh or the acts of the sinful nature. Their is no victory over sin for the frightened. Their is no victorious witness for the scared. No, but there lurks just under their surface, just under their religious and polite religious veneer the acts of the sinful nature and they are waiting to explode and most assuredly they will. They will find the high cost of fear.
4. TIME - you know what frightened religious people like? Short worship and convenient sermons. They like the microwave religious experience. I have heard a lot of lousy excuses covering a fear that has way too much power in the frightened religious folk.
CLOSE - my friends, there is only way to live an authentic Christian life and it is to embrace the Spirit and turn away from fear. I break the grip of fear over your mind and soul now in the Name of Jesus. I plead the blood over you now in His Name. Now Live and walk by His mighty, powerful, awesome Spirit! AMEN.