#1 – More Focused On Their Preservation Than The Needs Of People — Luke 16:1-13, 14-31
When money is easily spent for the pastor(s) or leadership’s preferred programs or projects rather than on needed raises for staff members who are knowingly underpaid, or on God’s people or others who would be personally or spiritually benefited, you are dealing with the spirit that worked in the hearts of the religious Pharisees — self-serving, selfish religious leaders.
“For me, but not for thee.”
“For ours, but not for them.”
I often said . . . . “Let’s just close the doors if we can’t help . . . .
- teens or children go to snow/summer camp
- buy a handbook or vest for a kid in AWANA
- cover the cost of ladies who want to attend a retreat
- give away free “cassettes” / CDs of the message
- pay for 300-400+ kids at VBS,
- pay for an over-the-road bus for the 60-120 teens who want to go to snow camp
- cover the cost for all visitors at the golf outing
- faculty and staff earn a decent and honest living with some sense of equity etc.
#2 – Think They Are Above Others – Luke 18:11
When there is a spirit of superiority, speaking and acting as if one is above others, you are dealing with a pharisaical heart. The attitude of superiority can often be subtle because it can be a covert sermonic message being sent and received as one exhorts others about Christlikeness. A lack of authenticity that fails to acknowledge a shared striving for greater Christlikeness, and/or worse yet, a belief that he has attained, conveys the message that he himself has achieved. The sermon is for those listening, spoken by one who knows spiritual accomplishment — It is pharisaical pietism!
#3 – Don’t Do What They Ask Others To Do — Matthew 23:3
Serving, going, helping, being present, calling, visiting, working, forgoing this-or-that, giving, taking the time to talk/know, et al. are all part of the pastoral exhortations of church life.
When these responsibilities are left undone, or passed off to others on the staff or among the lay-leaders, you are dealing with a Pharisee who tells others, but does not do!
Pharisees do what they enjoy doing and what brings them praise and attention.
Refuse and reject all the excuses of why someone else should be or is doing what a pastor has been called to do — which is to shepherd the flock of God!
Pharisees don’t personally visit, call, send a card, show up at the wedding, funeral, shower, all church events, graduation party, special services, school events, etc. — but some do “text” in order to be able to say that they have been “talking” with so-in-so, when questioned. Because appearances are what matter!
#4 – Burden The Souls Of Others — Matthew 23:4
Instead of lifting the load, they create and/or add to the weight. Rather than. . .
. . . . they burden down the souls of men with questions as to their salvation, God’s love of them, His great mercy and kindness, His everlasting love and commitment to His people.
While nothing can separate us from that love, the Pharisees make some feel like the prodigal’s brother — deserving because of his faithful service, not because of the Father’s grace.
#7 – Expect and Accept Privileges Others Don’t Get — Matthew 23:6
Going into the ministry does not entitle you to a lifestyle that God’s people don’t have. A Lifestyle that God’s people don’t have. Those in ministry are not the privileged class but are called to forgo those “seats” for others.
“Powering under” is a popular and hackneyed phrase of our day. While it is preached from the pulpit, it is often not reflected towards those in the pew or the local community.
Looking for favors from businesses in the community, accepting money and honorariums for doing what you are paid to do as a pastor, and pressing the envelope regarding the many freedoms accompanying ministry are all too prevalent.
#8 – Lack Compassion — John 8:3
The woman taken in adultery is a sufficient example of that lack of compassion for those suffering and even those sinfully suffering.
Let it be them or one of their loved ones, and you will hear about it over and over from the pulpit. Some will use the pulpit to elicit pastoral sympathy during difficult days of health, ministry, family rearing, and finances.
#9 – Love The Praises Of Men — John 12:43:
To see this one in operation, just offer some constructive, legitimate, or illegitimate criticism. The response reveals how much the praise of men is loved. Accusations of sowing discord, gossiping, being unloving, and causing disunity will be quickly launched — DARVO!!
Apparently, “dying to self” doesn’t apply in these situations. Instead of understanding how others think and/or why they disagree, some are more likely to be labeled the troubler of Israel — as Elijah.
No, this really is about loving “the praise of men.”
To be in the ingroup,
praise is the only coin of the realm.
The results of all this are being seen in church attendance and giving.
People were never attracted by or to the Pharisees — then or now.
As C.S. Lewis Stated . . . .
A Worthwhile Listen
“Those who love us the most have the potential to undermine our integrity!”