NOT! Don’t be fooled by the title of this blog, there are those out there in the blogosphere and other places in the social media world and in way too many churches who feel it’s their God-given calling to criticize the work of the Lord that genuine brothers and sisters are doing, for the Lord. If this is you, stand by to stand by, because the ministry of criticism is not one of the spiritual gifts no more than tearing a brother or sister down for their work and service to the Lord builds up the body of Christ. As a pastor for over 35 years, I have noticed that way too many so called believers in the church have hurt and criticized other believers and church leaders for their efforts and style of stewarding the Lord’s work.
I remember helping Evangelist Johnny Jacobs back in the 80’s shoot some Power Team videos at TBN studios in Santa Ana, CA (I am from SoCal). These guys were muscle men who lifted weights and broke bricks and boards, ripped phone books, blew up water bottles until they exploded, and other physical feats; and then they would preach the gospel. Many people, a lot of young people, got saved. This is what these guys were doing for Jesus back then. When people would criticize brother Jacobs, he would always respond, ‘This is what God has lead me to do for Him. What has God called you to do?’ In other words, Is your calling to criticize the work that God is doing in the life of another believer? This is pharisaical at best, and demonic at worst.
Jesus dealt with this same spirit that was manifest in the heart of the Pharisees.
“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:1-12
While much can be said about this passage that pertains to a critical spirit; suffice it to say, the person that Jesus is describing here is one who says one thing and does another; all the while demanding that others act in a certain way and manner, or not act in another way or manner. This is legalism at its worst. The following passages in this chapter deal with the seven woes of Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees, which is contained in another blog. For this blog I should like to emphasize that criticism, slander, character assignation, and putting another believer down for their belief or ministry calling and style is pharisaical.
There are a lot of well meaning and genuine believers out there who are doing the work of the Lord. They are posting and podcasting their best for Jesus and many of them are criticized by their fellow so called brother or sister in the Lord who has taken it upon themselves to criticize them in the name of ‘exposing their unfruitful work of darkness’ (Ephesians 5:11). What is really happening here is that these legalist naysayers are as immature in their faith as they are unloving. They are being used by the devil to so dissension, pain, and division within the body of Christ. They are hurting the genuine servant of the Lord with their criticisms.
I remind you of the words of the great apostle, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 11:1-3
If we’re not loving one another, then we’re not loving Jesus that way He has instructed us to do so. Critical people often lack essential elements in their own life.
If you follow them home, you will quickly discover their pharisaical lair and lifestyle that is far less than what the Lord’s standard is for His children. While I feel sorry for these folks, I also challenge you not to be influenced by them or their wares. They are trying to disrupt what God is doing through you, thinking that they are doing the Lord’s work, but in reality, they are really working for the other guy. Jesus said that we will be know by our fruit. When I look at some of the fruit that I am seeing posted in the comments of many of these watchman podcasts, it becomes very clear that God is doing a marvelous work in the life and ministry of His Church in these last days. People are being saved and restored to the glory of God the Father!
Everyday we wait for the Rapture is one more day that someone comes to genuine faith in Jesus and one less person who will be left behind after the Master calls us home. I know that for many of us who are watching and waiting, we are really hurting and aching for the Lord to pull us out of this sin-laden world and into our heavenly and eternal home. The problem is that there are still a few more who need to come into the fold before that trumpet blows. God may use you to win that last convert to Jesus.
Paul reminds us “…that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” – Romans 11:25
While it’s true that many more Gentiles (and Jews) will come to faith in Jesus during the seven-year tribulation, it’s equally true that the remnant that God has chosen as His Church, His bride, will be caught up into heaven to be with Him before Daniel’s 70th week commences. Right now, the focus is on the NT Church, but after the Rapture, the focus will move toward the Jews.
For every believer out there who is doing their part in serving the Lord in the manner in which He has called you to serve Him, I commend you and encourage you to keep on keeping on in your discipline of obedience to the Lord and His calling on your life. To those same people, I warn you that you will be criticized by well meaning people who think that they are doing God a favor, but in reality, they’re acting out of their unmet needs. Try not to hate them, just lovingly confront if they are willing to hear, if not, separate yourself from them, pay them no mind, and keep serving Jesus as best you can. In the end, when the trumpet blows, those who stay will have to make recompense for their shortsightedness and pharisaical attitude; and those who are taken up will finally be with Jesus and all those who have truly loved Him.
If you’re reading this and you’re the culprit, the criticizer, the Pharisee; may I remind you of the words of Jesus: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34,35
You may have to redefine how you love, what love is to you, and how you express love toward others; but in the end, if you can love like Jesus loves, the Spirit of the Lord will remove that critical, legalistic, and pharisaical spirit from your heart and replace it with a heart of flesh, that feels, cries, and bleeds, just like His.
May I encourage you all with this simple truth. This close to the Rapture things are going to spin a bit and each of us must be on guard like never before. It’s one thing for the world to be going crazy, but for believers in Jesus to hate on one another with critical jabs and cutting words; well this breaks the heart of God. May I challenge you to be the person that Christ has called you to be; the one whom He shed His precious blood for. There is greatness within you my brother (and sister). Invite the Lord to help you to discover it and then use it for His glory, not yours.
Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Southern Missouri. He lives with his wife of 33-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren). Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate. He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry.
2 thoughts on “The Ministry of Criticism”
My 13 year old daughter told me that she had a dream about drones everywhere spying on people. She said, I think this is pre rapture because you were in the dream. She said it was a scary dream and she hopes that there isn’t too much adversity before the Lord comes.
Powerful and loving words of truth Pastor Rob. Caught myself struggling with that very thing recently, and have been praying and seeking God about my response in answering questions about a particular ministry. Thank you for this timely reminder to always respond and act in the Spirit of love.
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