Critical Approval

Express love and agreement with your critic, wherever you can, and the Lord will see you through.

Scripture: Mark 3:20-21, 1 Samuel 17:28


Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing all right today? I’m fine, thank you. I got no complaints at all. Hallelujah! Glad to be alive and serving my blessed Lord, and so thankful, may I say, that you are there on the listening end.
All right, we’re looking at Mark chapter 3 and the Lord Jesus has chosen His apostles and has come back now, probably to Simon Peter’s house, and, “The multitude came together again”, it says, “so much so they could not so much as eat bread”. They were so busy they couldn’t even have a meal. “When His friends heard of it”, that word friends means kinfolk, all the laws and in-laws, “they went out to lay hold on Him for they said, ‘He is beside Himself”, and the scribes and the Pharisees, the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, “He hath Beelzebub”, that’s another name for Satan, “and the prince of the demons, He casts out demons”. We’ll get into His answer later on. I want to show you couple things. Criticism comes from a number of different sources.

If you go back into 1 Samuel 17, you find the source of criticism there, is pretty well lined out in what happened to David when his father sent him with the food to help feed his brothers, who were in the war, and his elder brothers were offended because David said why doesn’t somebody go out and kill this giant, and Eliab, his elder brother heard what David said. He said, “Why camest down hither, with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness”, number one they’ll learn criticize your work. “Those few sheep in the wilderness”, they’ll criticize your work. Then he says, “I know thy pride in the naughtiness of thine heart”, they’ll criticize your character and then he says, “Thou art come down that thou mightiest see the battle”, they’ll criticize your motives.

In first Samuel 17 verse 28, you have that threefold criticism. People criticize your work or your character or your motives, or all of the above. Over in Mark three you have something quite similar, although just a little different, our Lord Jesus was criticized because healed this man, the withered and healed him on the Sabbath day. He went against religious routine, people were more interested in keeping their routines then they were in helping anybody, and of course this human nature factor continues to this very day, as you know.

I had a young man call on me one time a few years ago, while I was still at the college serving as President, he came into the office and he was literally in tears, tears just coming out of his eyes, he couldn’t stop crying. I said, “What’s the matter”? He says, “I got fired yesterday”. “Why?”, said, “You just began there”, “Yea”, he said, “I know but they fired me”. Young pastor, here’s what had happened, and he didn’t realize it when you come into a church you have to make changes slowly, bless his heart, you know, you give yourself three years to make any drastic changes in any church when you come in pastor. Don’t come in swinging, because you’ll go out, they’ll swing you out. They’ll say, “Brother, we were here when you came and we gonna be here after your gone”, so he made a mistake. He tried to change things a little too fast. One of the things he changed, it seems, is that he but instead of the doxology at the beginning of the service, where it ordinarily is in many churches, he changed it to come right after the offering, and he had the offering at the end of the service.

Well now there is nothing sinful about that except that it broke up a routine that had been in practice for who knows how many years, and the dear people were absolutely upset and they fired him summarily. Well of coursegot over his grief and we helped a little bit, found him another place to minister. He’s doing very well now after the years have gone by. Yes pastor, let me remind you, don’t try to make strategic changes in anything until you have gained the love and confidence of your people. That takes a while. You specialize in preaching the word of God, expository preaching, three calls a day, to tell somebody about the Lord Jesus, three times a day, thousand calls a year, don’t let your frustrations get into your sermons, and love the people.

Dr. Maxwell who was one of my profs at Eastern Baptist Seminary many years ago, he was I guess, approaching his 80’s then, still very vigorous and got up at 5 o’clock every morning to work in his garden, and all that sort of the thing. Remarkable man. He used to say to us as he looked at us, “Now brethren”, he says, “remember, love the people and wait for the undertaker”. Well, that I would shorten that sentence and just say “love people, love your people, and they’ll respond to you with love, and they’ll acknowledge your leadership as you go on.” That was a detour but I threw it in free, no charge.

So, one source of criticism here, quite evidently was, the Lord Jesus dared to go counter to religious rules and routines, and it upset them to no end, and so much so that the Pharisees went out and got together with their traditional enemies, the Herodian’s, they wouldn’t be seen with a Herodian otherwise, but now they got together with them, plotting to kill this man, “How they might destroy Him”. That word destroy means kill. Religious people can have murder in their hearts. Did you know that? Oh, yes. So, they were plotting with their traditional enemies. They got together on the basis of their hatred for somebody else. Well now, down into the chapter, it says, “The multitude came together again so much that they cannot so much as eat bread, and when His kinsman heard of it they went out to lay hold on Him but they said, ‘He’s beside Himself’”. Second criticism is that He went against the prevailing idea that religion should never interfere with the ordinary creature comforts or your daily schedule. You be surprised how many people live on the basis that, religion’s all right, but don’t let it, you know, don’t run into the ground, don’t overemphasize it, and that’s a pity, because you see, Jesus said, “Seek you first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things shall be added unto you”, food and shelter clothing, the necessities of life, and security for your future. All these things he said that would be added if you put God first. All the way through the Bible you have this truth taught.

You remember all the way back in the Old Testament, when Elijah was sent after the brook had dried up during the drought, the three-year drought that came to Israel, and Elijah lived alongside of the brook for a while, drank of the brook and the ravens brought him food, morning and night, remember that? Well, the brook dried up and God said, you go to such and such a town. I’ve commanded a widow lady to feed you there. Now, ordinarily widows, unless they were taken care of by some relatives, didn’t have very much to look forward to except extreme poverty, and in this case the lady to whom he went, told him frankly, she said, “I’m gathering a couple of pieces of wood, I’m going to make a fire and cook the last morsel of food we have in the house and after that we have to starve”. He said, “Don’t worry”, he said, “Go and do as thou has said that make me”, said he, “a little cake first”. The nerve of some man saying to a lady who was preparing to starve to death, you feed me a little first. Well, was the point? God says you put Me first of I’ll take care of you. It’s that simple.

You put Me first and I’ll take care of you. God will indeed take care of His own, and so the Lord Jesus was busy about the work of God, so busy that ordinary routine things were set aside, things such as eating meals. They were simply set aside, and people said, “Why, He is beside Himself”, He doesn’t have both oars in the water, He isn’t even taking time to eat. Oh, dear. Well, here you have the second source of criticism. When you dare to put God first, over against the usual routines of life, first source was the routines of religion, second the usual routines of life, and then of course the scribes came down from Jerusalem. These know it all folk, who were experts in the Mosaic law, but whose hearts were hard against God, and they couldn’t, they couldn’t explain the power by which He was delivering people from the grip of Satan, and so all they could do was to ascribe the power to Satan himself, and in so doing the committed blasphemy. They said, “He hath Beelzebub”, that’s another name for the devil” and by the prince of the demons he casts out demons”, so here are the three sources of criticism: if you go against religious routines, if the your activities for God go against the prevailing notion that religion shouldn’t interfere with creature comforts and ordinary living, and if you are manifesting the power of God over and above what can be done by ordinary, busy people and religion, you’re going to get criticized.

Now, what about criticism? Let’s take a minute just to talk about it. Number one; expect it. If you’re doing anything for God you’ll get criticized by somebody, expect it. Number two; don’t fight it, learn from it. Most of the criticism I’ve gotten in my life, I deserved. I don’t know about you, but most of the criticism I received in my lifetime, I’ve deserved and I could learn by it, if I’d had the sense to listen and to learn. Number one; expected be criticized. Number two; don’t fight it, learn by it. Number three; love your critic. Return love. You know, you’d be surprised how shocked a critic will be if you dare to agree with him or her. I’ve done that many a time. People would be saying something critical and I’d say, you know I agree with you, and if I were in your place I’d be saying the very same thing you’re saying, I’d feel just as you do, I certainly agree with you. Well, what can a person do? Can’t fight you anymore if you’re agreeing with him, you see. So, express love and agreement with your critic, wherever you can, and the Lord I think will see you through. Keep on doing, number four; keep on doing what you know K-N-O-W underscored, what you know God has told you to do, and oh how wonderful it is when you see Him leading and guiding and when His leadership produces the approval of other people, finally. There have been some folk in my lifetime who criticized me roundly, on some things, and a few years later they would write a letter and say, “You know I’m, I just rejoicing in what the Lord has done through you”, and so on and so on and so on. Give God time with your critics. You don’t have to answer them, you don’t have to fight them, you don’t have to defend yourself, just give God time with your critics and keep on keep on obeying Him. Good idea? Our Lord Jesus didn’t answer their criticism, He did give them however, a spiritual principle that we’re going to take up the next time that we get together.

Dear Father today, help us to learn from our critics, help us to love them, and help us to keep on serving Thee in Jesus name I ask it, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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