Series 41


by Francis Dixon
Key-verse: “But Jesus turned and rebuked them…” (Luke 9:55)

Jesus spoke these solemn words to His disciples. They contain a rebuke, and they are the key that unlocks Luke chapter 9. Notice that His challenging words tell us that it is possible to know the Lord, to belong to Him, to be His servant, friend and follower, and yet to be out of touch and out of fellowship with Him – in other words, to have a wrong spirit. These twelve men to whom our Lord was speaking had been chosen and called by Him, and they had enjoyed His intimate fellowship for over two years; and yet their hearts did not really beat in harmony with His heart; their spirits did not blend with His and their outlook was quite different from His. In many ways they were totally unlike Him and their feelings and sympathies were contrary to His. We, too, have been called and chosen by Him, and perhaps we have walked closely to Him for many years, and yet it may be true that in many respects we are out of touch, out of harmony and out of sympathy with Him; we may have a wrong spirit, and the Lord has to rebuke us and say, ‘Your spirit is wrong!’ Notice here seven ways in which the Lord’s disciples may be characterised by a wrong spirit:-


1. The professional or official spirit, as seen in verse 12

These disciples had been commissioned by the Lord to evangelise, and they had actually been engaged in that task – look up verse 6; but how strange it was that when they had a great opportunity to preach the gospel to a large crowd their only thought was to “send them away!” Jesus’ loving concern in verse 13 is very different! There is a great danger which faces every servant of the Lord, the danger of professionalism. It is possible to go through all the motions of service, whether by preaching, teaching or visiting, and for that service to lack soul and heart and reality.


2. The impulsive, undisciplined spirit, as seen in verse 33

How impulsive Peter was! He frequently said and did things and then wished he could recall his words and cancel out his actions (John 18:26). Notice the last few words in verse 33. Peter was out of touch and spiritually blind. He suggested building three shelters, but he missed the deep significance of the occasion, only being concerned about external things. Are we like that? – only concerned about the crowd, the great music, the large offerings, and all the time we, like Peter, are without any depth in our spiritual experience.


3. The faithless and prayerless spirit, as seen in verse 40

Read verses 37-41. What had happened to these disciples? Verse 1 tells us that Jesus had given them “power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases”, but now they were powerless and ineffective. Certainly they were out of touch with the Lord, because Jesus had to say to them – verse 41. Look up Matthew 17:19-21. There were two reasons for their powerlessness: unbelief and prayerlessness; the result of these two things is always powerlessness, and that is where many Christians fail. They do not really believe God, do not really pray, and then they wonder why nothing happens. The reason is that there is a wrong spirit, a faithless and prayerless spirit.


4. The blind, undiscerning spirit, as seen in verse 45

Although these disciples had been with Jesus for so long they still could not understand the truth that He longed to show them (John 16:12). They were spiritual babes with little capacity for the deeper truths; they were immature and undeveloped, and their spirit was wrong; their hearts were not beating in harmony with His. How greatly we need the enlightenment which the Holy Spirit gives to the humble and believing Christian! Look up 1 Corinthians 2:10 and 14.


5. The self-seeking, ambitious spirit, as seen in verse 46

Who would have thought these disciples, in the presence of the meek and humble One, would act as verse 46 tells us? What a contradiction in terms! – a proud, self-important, self-assertive, self-seeking disciple of Christ! Is it possible that you are like that? In verses 47-48 we notice Jesus dealt with this wrong spirit; He knew exactly what was going on in their hearts, just as He knows the thoughts of our hearts. Pray for deliverance from this evil spirit.


6. The sectarian spirit, as seen in verse 49

It is possible to be intensely jealous of our ecclesiastical and denominational position and yet to be completely out of touch with the Lord. Verses 49-50 should caution us to be large-hearted and generous in our sympathies. God has His own true children who meet and worship in many different assemblies, denominations and churches, and to these born-again, blood-washed children He says that they are “all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).


7. The vindictive, intolerant spirit, as seen in verse 54

Now read verses 55-56. Religious intolerance is one of the most dreadful things imaginable. It leads to bitterness and dissension, and it most certainly always blocks the way to revival. We must certainly contend for the faith in a day of apostasy, as Jude 3 exhorts us – but look up 2 Timothy 2:24-25.

We have considered seven wrong spirits which characterised the twelve disciples; in all probability they characterise us in some measure. Has the Lord shown us that our spirit is contrary to His, and that although we have served Him for many years, often we are out of touch with Him? We must confess our failure, and pray David’s prayers recorded in Psalm 51:10 and Psalm 19:14.