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October 8, 2019 1:00 am
One of the hardest things to do is to remain positive in the face of criticism specially if there are false criticism. I think one of the hardest things is to know how to turn on the progressive environment into an opportunity.
One of the hardest attitudes, at least for me to have is how to remain a loving toward a critical person, even if that person is falsely accusing you and I know this happens probably every single day. Husband comes home from work that a bad day.
The lots of problems and he comes home takes it on his wife that use of all kinds of things how to remain positive in the midst of that.
I wife wanted holiday with kids as soon as her husband walk in one hand to give for the whole thing on how to remain positive in the midst of the teenagers home and they are had a hard day at school. Somebody said something to them when they come and they take their anger on the parents how to remain positive. How determined that oppressive situation into an opportunity wife. This is a miss is really devastating in many ways. Why is it so destructive.
I wanted to listen to me very carefully because false criticism is dangerous not only for those who are being criticized, but is really even more dangerous to the critical person that slides destructive false criticism creates a poisonous environment, a poisonous atmosphere for everybody and in John chapter 7, the Lord Jesus Christ himself spoke of the danger of the critical spirit as it manifested itself among the Pharisees.
How because when you develop and when you nurture and when you cultivate the critical spirit listen to me carefully, you will foster gossip and backbiting and even worse, but it is something about critical people. Those who indulge in the critical spirit are always almost always someone to be careful almost always hypersensitive toward others. Criticism of them all was it never misses, at least from my experience, but not only that the critical people are often are suspicious people. They are paranoid they would hear a sermon or they get some counseling but they never take a moment even to apply to themselves long time ago. A dear friend of mine in Australia taught me never, never, never, never to try to preach to someone or some situation in your church because he said the very people you're talking to are the very people say I wish I was always here to hear this message. There always think that the message is for somebody else that the sermon is for somebody else.
Someone else needs this advised. In fact, I read about a couple who've been to a counselor and on their way out of the counselor's office into going to their car. The husband looked at his wife and he said well did what the counselor say about tact and consideration.
Finally got to your fix call. In fact, a critical spirit is nothing short of slender and a slender will not only not glorify God, but it is destructive to those who are constantly doing the criticizing. It really is to destroy them from the inside. A disturbing analysis by psychiatrist Larry Gilbert is what he said the average parent of teenagers speak 14 minutes a day to their children. 12 minutes is -1 minute is neutral and one minute is positive. That's very disturbing, but there is something else about the constant criticism specially false criticism. It's very oppressive. It's destructive. It's seldom productive.
It's hurtful. It hinders the work of God. It shrouds the truth was falsehood, then ended, never, never glorifies God away recently lamented the how tripling the stock of thing is is that is that the only exercise that some people are getting these days is jumping to conclusion running down their friends. Sidestepping responsibility and pushing the luck but I want to talk to you today about turning oppression into opportunity turning the oppression of false criticism into an opportunity for glorifying God. And I'm focusing of course on acts 2122 long ago. As I said, I don't really preach so much about on how a person can really change as much as I can tell you how to change a situation you find yourself in wanted to sharpen your principles because I give you some practical advice here on how to turn a negative environment that grows out of this criticism into a positive spirit and I believe with all my heart To the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul is a master of doing just that is a master of turning oppression into an opportunity in the last part of acts 21, we see that when the enemies of the gospel.
Sure, the apostle Paul walking in the temple. They saw this as an opportunity to make mischief. They immediately began to stir up trouble the stirrup rumors among the pilgrims who were there by the hundreds of thousands celebrating the feast of Pentecost – turn up this trouble falsely accusing the apostle Paul. What were their accusations, their accusations were basically three in number, listen carefully, here they are number one visit Paul was anti-Semitic. Actually, I heard people in modern-day say the same thing and I want you to imagine. Of course, in the midst of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims coming from all over the world.
These Jewish people coming to Jerusalem and somebody else anti-Semitic, you can imagine the attitude and the reaction which is natural course they call them the enemy of the Jewish people. They call them the enemy of Judaism. I want to tell you and show you how blatantly false. This criticism is the apostle Paul writes to the Romans not remember this Paul was a persecutor of the church. He was saying from maternal Helen destruction and damnation. And he writes about every episode. Literally, he would thank God for his salvation.
That is the most incredible thing that is ever happened to him, but he rise to the Romans and he says if my ending up in hell and damnation going to help save my fellow Jews from hell and damnation, willing to go now. I wanted to just visualize this this man this tenderhearted man who was ready to be damned for eternity. For the sake of his fellow Jews gets accused of being anti-Semitic. I mean can you see the falsehood here in the second false accusation was this visit Paul is all calls to the laws of Moses.
Now this is a very serious charge specially on the day of Pentecost when all these pilgrims came in order to be zealous for the law and stand for the law. The third false accusation was that assisted the apostle Paul spoke against the temple again. The accusation of blasphemy or the filing. The temple is a very serious accusation and it's a capital crime.
In fact, in Mark chapter 14 verse 47, 48, accused the Lord Jesus Christ himself of speaking against the temple in order to substantiate their claim in order to substantiate their accusation. Whether they do, they said. Paul brought Gentiles into the temple, but you know there is a section in the temple was designated for the gentlest goal, the court of the Gentiles. And that's exactly where Paul brought these Greeks with him and they were sitting there in the court of the Gentiles will the Gentiles, false accusations, false accusations, false accusations, burners, neurologic false accusations do not concern themselves with the truth. False accusations fabricate the evidence, false accusations, twist the facts. False accusations have only one intent, and it is to inflame it is to stir up false criticism has only one focus, vengeance, false criticism is almost always built on jealousy but most importantly, false accusations often spread like wildfire in here in acts 21 verse 30. The crowd got whipped into a frenzy and the temple guards immediately seized the apostle Paul and when the Roman captain Lucius comes in and start talking with the apostle Paul to control of the situation.
Paul gentlest extreme she Paul understood that in the midst of this frenzy of false criticism, no use speaking to your accusers at that point, there is no use understood that in the midst of inflamed emotions. No one is ready to hear the truth in the midst of mob rule.
He could not defend himself. So much so that the Roman captain did not even know who Paul was and what we do was accuse off so he finally Paul finally speaks to the captain and he speaks to him in perfect Greek language. I mean, the captain was literally shocked. He got to read the thing in the in the regionals on the sick see criminals in Jerusalem did not speak perfect Greek. This was a language that is reserved for the sophisticated. It's a language that is reserved for the highly educated people and judging by his name. Investors was obviously of Greek origin. He tells us that he bought his Roman citizenship, so he turns to partner effect and he says what did you just say he couldn't believe his eight years that they are bringing accusation against a criminal, but a highly sophisticated man. Why because the Greek Paul spoke is of the skull of the Greek it was sophisticated Greek which truly surprised Lucius the Roman captain and at that moment the captain looked at him and said and I love this one and I know you love it when you think of it. He said you mean you're not that the Egyptian guy who stood up trouble was the start of this Egyptian guy who stood up trouble. Well, Josephus the historian Jewish historian tells us that there was an Egyptian who was self-proclaimed prophet, and he had thousands and thousands of followers. Obviously he was a Jew from Egypt, probably from Alexandria.
And the reason I say that is because if he was not Jewish he would not of had that many Jewish followers.
So this Egyptian man gathered together all of his followers on the Mount of olives near Jerusalem and he not only declared himself to be the prophet and the Messiah.
He predicted that the walls of Jerusalem are going to fall at his command, and then the Romans are going to be driven out is going to claim but the father could find out whether this prophecy was true or not. The Romans came there arrested killed a lot of his followers, and he himself disappeared.
So that's the story behind this is saying to Paul you that Egyptian fellow who was trouble, no sir Paul citizen.
I'm not that the Egyptian guy would blame him. I wouldn't proclaim it either his and I'm a Jew from Tarsus and then Paul at this moment uses the oppression of false criticism into an opportunity to testify, listen carefully, please. Paul used the captain's authority to hush the crowds put a brilliant strategy. Keeping quiet and outreach to kill. There are no absolute ultimately what I think of that and then Paul switches into the Aramaic language which is a colloquial of the Hebrew language he switch into that language. And he begins to testify of how he was a persecutor of the church of Jesus Christ and then on his way to Damascus.
We had an encounter with the risen Christ and then he was commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ himself to preach in a very possible that he once belittled the very gospel that he wants it back pleasing run on this one. That is nothing more defusing to false criticism than the personal testimony. There is nothing more disarming for false criticism than the telling of your story.
There is nothing more confounding to your critics than the truth as it is experienced by you now course, I'm aware of the fact that not everybody can do this. Not everybody can turn oppression into opportunity.
Not everybody knows how to turn false accusation into testimony, but I'm sure trying effect on it about the pastor got a letter in the mail and is only one word in that letter full so I got up the next Sunday, and he opened the letter and he held it up to the congregation uses in my years of ministry. I had many letters that were written where the writer forgot to sign his name is about this one is the first one I've ever received where the writer signed his name did not write the letter it might be clever, but it is not emulating the apostle Paul, I want to summarize for you.
Paul's attitude toward his accusers, and I pray the Holy Spirit will teach me and teach you these five principles about turning oppressive environment of false criticism into an opportunity of testifying in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ number one principle number one. Write it down. Paul saw the hand of God before he even got to Jerusalem. Oh yes, he was warned that a gun be difficulties in Jerusalem. He was born. There's going to be persecution in Jerusalem. He was born is going to be trouble in Jerusalem, but he trusted in his full trust was in the Lord Jesus Christ, who called him and he says no matter what the circumstances are. No matter who I'm gonna face. I know that he holds me in the palm of his hand and is what he said. He said I am ready to even die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He saw the hand of God with him all the time and the second principle is this Paul was able to see the positive in the midst of a negative environment. He was able to see the positive, while others have panic and say all God you doing this to me after all that I'm doing for you. Look not on probably pull thought to himself this is me. I couldn't have paid money to get an opportunity to testify delicious this government official Roman official man, what an opportunity I got the crap in the gutter. Besides, I never dreamed of having such a large crowd of my fellow Jews listening to me testify.
What an opportunity. You know what he did something that is absolutely blows my mind. It blows my mind. He even said youis bleeding, they beat them up in his as you know I understand you did this out of zeal for God, it's okay to talk about positive mental attitude. This guy while everybody was being terrified.
The apostle Paul was counting the blessings of his arrest, while everybody else probably was running and hiding. Paul was thanking God for the opportunity to testify is he he saw the hand of God everywhere he went he saw the and positive in the middle of the negative circumstance and thirdly he spoke with respect to his persecutors. He did not do what I would probably have done me and I would have probably said listen here you knuckleheads don't you read your Bibles don't understand that the Messiah was prophesied hundreds of years.
Don't you understand that Jesus is the Messiah, he rose from the dead, don't you get but thank God no Paul in chapter 22 verse one. He addresses them as fathers and brothers listen to this. He says even the beating is out of zeal for God, as if to say all is forgiven. I treat you with respect despite of what you have done to me. Paul told the Roman Christians in Romans 1214 bless those who persecute you, bless and curse not.
And he practiced exactly what he preached in his epistle to the Romans. He saw the hand of God in every circumstance.
He saw the positive in the midst of the negative he blessed us persecutors forcefully. He saw in this oppressive environment an opportunity to lift up the name of Jesus.
That was the most important thing for him that Paul focus on his impressive credentials know he could have, and he had many of them just introduced himself and went off. He thought of dwell on his achievements. He could've dwelt on his background to go to.
Just let me tell you about me not know about Jesus and he focused on what God has accomplished in his life to dwell on the glory of God.
He preached what he told the Corinthians in first Corinthians chapter 1 verse 31. He said that heron who boasts boast in the Lord. He saw the hand of God in every circumstance. He saw the positive in the middle of the negative he blessed us persecutors. He saw this as an opportunity to lift up the name of Jesus. And finally, perhaps the most important thing Paul maintained his attitude of selfless love, something it's very difficult to do when you are falsely accused. He maintained his attitude of selfless love. But you see, it was Paul's selfless love for the church of Jerusalem is fellow Jews that really brought him to Jerusalem to begin with. He was bringing an offering from the Gentile churches to the church in Jerusalem. It was his love for his weaker brethren that brought him to Jerusalem. It was his love for the unsaved jurors that led him to evangelize the hostile crowd and ultimately it was his love for the Lord Jesus Christ that motivated him to love people see loving people. That is not motivated by love for Christ is temporary. It's really depending on the benefits that comes out of it and therefore is not permanent, not lasting contractual when you love the Lord, you will love the unsaved people and when you love the Lord and you love the unsaved. You will have the strength to turn oppression into opportunity you will have the wisdom to turn false critics into listeners. You will have the courage to turn your false accusers into a congregation father is impossible to do any of this in our own strength. We know that's a Paul because Christ was everything he was able to turn oppression into opportunity.
Father we pray that you strengthen us to do the same that you empower us with the Holy Spirit to know that we can do nothing without you without your strength, but through you we can do all things in Jesus name, amen.
Thanks for listening to this message from Dr. Michael. You sat recently featured on leading the way. If you'd like to know more about us, please visit LTW.org that LTW.Ward