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May 25, 2022 8:00 am
The only exercise that some people are getting these days is jumping to conclusions running down their friends. Sidestepping responsibility and pushing their luck, but I want to talk to you today about turning oppression. This is an enduring opportunity for glorifying God.
And I'm focusing of course on I 41 and 22 sharpening pencils because I give you some practical advice here on how a negative environment that grows out of criticism into a positive spirit today leading the way with Dr. Michael and Frank from God's word. Looking right. It's a deep dive into the life experiences of the apostle Paul in the book of acts, revealing how Paul looked when circumstances of life seem to transcend from all sides and you may not realize this but leading the way is a listener supported when underwritten by a large church organization supported by the prayers and the financial gaps of those who are blessed by the teaching and the worldwide ministry of Dr. Michael you sent into Steens.
Learn more. When you go to LTW.org I have more on that later. Right now they listen with me as Dr. Michael you set against today's teaching of one of the hardest things to do this 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 hottest place for me to have is how to remain a loving for the 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. Lots of problems and he comes home on his wife accuse of all kinds of things how to remain positive in the midst of the wire for the holiday with kids as soon as her husband walked down to give her the whole thing on how to remain positive in the midst of the home and there 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 to turn the oppressive situation into an opportunity. Why criticism is 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 slides. Destructive 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 play 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 the always misses at least from my experience, but not only that the critical people are often suspicious people they are paranoid they would hear a sermon to get some counseling but they never take a moment even to apply to themselves.
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 on 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 so productive it's hurtful. It hinders the work of God. It shrouds the truth was falsehood and never never modifies God away recently lamented the how to bring the stock thing is is that is the only exercise that some people are getting these days is jumping to conclusion running down their friends. Sidestepping responsibility and pushing their 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 in the last part of acts 21, we see that when the enemies of the gospel. Sure, the apostle Paul walking in the temple.
Then I saw this as an opportunity to make mischief. They immediately began to stir up trouble the stirrup room was among the pilgrims who were there by the hundreds of thousands celebrating the feast of Pentecost – turn up this trouble accusing the apostle Paul. What were their accusations, their accusations were basically three and 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 wanted 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 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 the salvation that is the most incredible thing that is ever happened to him, but he rise to the Romans and he says my ending up in hell and damnation going to help save my fellow Jews from hell and damnation, willing to go now I want you 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. And can you see the falsehood here in the second false accusation was this visit Paul is all almost 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 firm 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, very accuse 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 call 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 and other Gentiles false accusations, false accusations, false accusations, but there is no logic. 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 the Roman captain Lucius comes in and start talking with the apostle Paul for 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 will use understood that in the midst of inflamed emotions. No one is ready to hear the truth in the midst of mob rule could not defend himself. So much so that the Roman captain did not even know who Paul was when he 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 originals on this 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 just was obviously of Greek origin. He tells us that he bought his Roman citizenship, so he turns to partner effect and this is what did you just say he couldn't believe his ears that they are bringing accusation against a criminal, but a highly sophisticated man. Why because the Greek Paul spoke 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 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 that 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 argue that Egyptian fellow who was trouble, no sir, Paul said Islam. Not that the Egyptian guy would blame him. I wouldn't proclaim it either is on 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 brilliant strategy for keeping quiet outreach to the doctor. Ultimately what I think of that and then Paul switches into the automatic language which is the colloquial of the Hebrew language 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. They had an encounter with the risen Christ and then he was commissioned by the Jesus Christ himself to preach the gospel that he once belittled the very gospel that he wants it that pleasing run on this one. That is nothing more defusing 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. 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.
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 going to face. I know that he tells 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 saying all God why doing this to me after all that I'm doing for you.
Look not on probably Paul thought to himself this is me. I couldn't have paid money to get an opportunity to testify delicious this government official Roman official. What an opportunity I got the crowd on the ground beside us. I live a dream of having such a large crowd of my fellow Jews listening to me testify. What an opportunity. You know what he did something else 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 was thanking God for the opportunity to testify is he saw the hand of God everywhere he went he saw than 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. I mean I would have probably said listen here you knuckleheads don't you read your Bibles understand that the Messiah was prophesied hundreds of years that you understand that Jesus is the Messiah, he rose from the dead, don't you, 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 this part of what you have done to me. Paul told the Roman Christians and 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. He had many of them just introduced himself and went off of dwell on his achievements could've dwelt on his background just said, let me tell you about me is Jesus 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 cruises. Chapter 1 verse 31. He said that ghosts boils 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 bring 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 Jews 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 business. 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 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 string, but for you we can do all things in Jesus name, amen. Thank you for making leading the way with Dr. Michael, you set apart.
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