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 The Lord is Quick to Appreciate and Slow to Criticise by Zac Poonen


The Lord is Quick to Appreciate and Slow to Criticise
by Zac Poonen

In the letter to the messenger at Ephesus in Revelation 2:1, the Lord
describes Himself as “The One who holds the seven stars in His right
hand and walks among the seven churches.” The Lord is always walking
in the midst of the churches, examining everything that is said and
done by everyone therein, and especially by the messengers whom He
holds in His hand. And He measures everything, not by the low
standards that carnal Christians have, nor even by the standard of the
Ten Commandments, but by the plumb line of Divine righteousness.

He expresses His approval and appreciation first before He points out
the failures (Rev. 2:2). The Divine nature is like that. The Lord
always looks for that which is good first, and expresses appreciation
for that, before pointing out what needs to be set right. Man's nature
however is quite different. He does not look for that which is good in
others first, but for that which is bad. Man is naturally slow to
appreciate and extremely quick to criticise. This is but one mark of
the poison of the "Accuser of the Brethren" that is in our system (Rev. 12:10).
The more we partake of the Divine nature however, the more we will
be like our Lord - quick to appreciate and slow to criticise.

It is good to follow this principle all through life: "I will never
point out a fault to someone, in whom I have found nothing so far to
appreciate." Following that simple rule can lead us to greater heights
of godliness than we have ever imagined. It will make us a far greater
blessing in the church and far less of a nuisance to others than we
have been thus far. It is only when we appreciate others that we have
laid the foundation to constructively criticize them. Otherwise we
will only be hurling bricks at them. You cannot write with a chalk on
thin air. You need a blackboard if people are to see what you are
writing. Even so, expressed appreciation forms the blackboard on which
we can write and "speak the truth in love" to others. Then, what we
say is also more likely to be accepted by them. Appreciation and
rebuke are both signs of love. But we must begin with appreciation
first. Notice how Paul follows this principle even when writing to the
carnal Corinthian Christians (1 Cor. 1:4-10).

The Lord commends the messenger at Ephesus for his toil and
perseverance and for his efforts to keep the church pure from evil
men. No doubt he had fought a battle against worldliness to keep it
from entering the church. Not only that, he had also striven to keep
the church pure in doctrine. He had tested those who claimed to be
apostles and had proved their claims to be false. The messenger in
the church at Ephesus had also "endured" for the sake of the Lord's
Name without giving up (Rev. 2:3). What a wonderful man this messenger
was, according to the standards of most believers. And what a
wonderful church the Ephesian church appeared to be - one that toiled,
persevered, kept away evil men, kept out false doctrine and exposed
deceivers - thus emphasising both purity of life and purity of doctrine.

One would have thought that such a church had everything that the Lord
wanted to find in a church. But alas, it was not so. It lacked the
main thing that the Lord looked for. It had left its first love - love
for the Lord and love for one another (Rev. 2:4). What the Lord said
to them was essentially this: "In the midst of all your zeal and your
activity, you have lost sight of ME. You have lost that fervent
devotion that you once had for Me. You have kept yourself from evil
and you have steered clear of doctrinal error. But remember how you
loved Me fervently when you were first converted and how you did
everything out of love for Me then. Now everything has degenerated
into a dry routine. You're still going to the meetings, reading your
Bible and praying. But it has all become a ritual."

The church here had become like a wife who once served her husband
joyfully out of love for him, but who now considers the same tasks a
drudgery - because the fire of love has gone out of her marriage. In
the olden days, she used to wait eagerly for her husband to come back
from the office every evening. But not now. She is still faithful to
Him, but she has lost her first love. What does a true husband desire
from his wife first of all? Is it her love or her labours? Certainly,
it is her love. It is the same with the Lord. He desires the love of
our hearts first and foremost. When that is gone, everything that we
do becomes dead works. Good works become dead works when love for God
is not the motivating force behind them. The believers here had also
lost their fervent love for each other. They were no longer able to
bear with each other's weaknesses or to overlook each other's sins.
They had lost their first love for one another too. The messenger had
lost his first love - and gradually the church too had become like its
messenger. This was not a small error. It was a great fall - for the
Lord says, "Remember, therefore, from where you have fallen." (Rev. 2:5).


_________________
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2010/5/7 12:27Profile









 Re: The Lord is Quick to Appreciate and Slow to Criticise by Zac Poonen

This teaching is full of holes and dangerous in the spirit which it reveals. In fact, even the title to this teaching is deceptive because it doesn't truly demonstrate the genuine character and nature of the Lord. Let's look at some of the statements made in this teaching which will reveal whether this piece is truly from God, or from somewhere else.

Quote:
He expresses His approval and appreciation first before He points out the failures (Rev. 2:2). The Divine nature is like that.



Really? Is this always true, or even true most of the time? How often in the Scripture do we have examples of God praising people for things before rebuking them?

Quote:
The Lord always looks for that which is good first, and expresses appreciation for that, before pointing out what needs to be set right.



Really, is it true that God ALWAYS looks for something good to point out first before sending correction?

This is so obviously false that there is no need to even cite the vast number of Scriptural examples which totally make the quoted statement look foolish. For if this is true, then that would mean that all of the prophets, the apostles, and even my Lord Himself weren't demonstrating the divine nature when they pointed out the errors and corruption in people because they first didn't find something to praise first.

How often did the propehts praise their intended targets? How often did my Lord Jesus praise the scribes, Pharisees, and the Sadduccees? Did John praise Diotrophes?

By using such a term as "always", the writer of this article has put God in such a box that there is a serious danger of swaying people's understanding of God's nature. This danger is very reminiscent of the spirit which attempts to parry godly correction because a person may not want to hear it or accept it. The only way to deal with it, other than actually correcting the error, is to dismiss the correction by implying that the correction wasn't sent in 'love', which is further built upon as the article progresses.

Quote:
This is but one mark of the poison of the "Accuser of the Brethren" that is in our system (Rev. 12:10). The more we partake of the Divine nature however, the more we will be like our Lord - quick to appreciate and slow to criticise.



The simplest way to know whether one is delivering a godly reproof or rebuke versus simple criticism or condemnation, which indeed would demonstrate a corrupt/unclean spirit is that God offers mercy through repentance. When one corrects ones ways, then all is forgiven. When someone is walking in an unclean spirit, there is no direction or command to turn from a sin, if it really is a sin being pointed out. There is only condemnation without hope. The more we grown in the Spirit of God, the more we are able to recognize the difference, and to offer reproof or correction in hypocrisy.

Quote:
It is good to follow this principle all through life: "I will never point out a fault to someone, in whom I have found nothing so far to appreciate." Following that simple rule can lead us to greater heights of godliness than we have ever imagined. It will make us a far greater
blessing in the church and far less of a nuisance to others than we have been thus far. It is only when we appreciate others that we have laid the foundation to constructively criticize them. Otherwise we will only be hurling bricks at them. You cannot write with a chalk on
thin air. You need a blackboard if people are to see what you are writing. Even so, expressed appreciation forms the blackboard on which we can write and "speak the truth in love" to others. Then, what we say is also more likely to be accepted by them. Appreciation and rebuke are both signs of love. But we must begin with appreciation first.



Though this may appear to carry the mark of spirituality, at the very least, the foundation of this thought is totally devoid of any balance whatsoever and can't possibly be from the Lord. If it was then it would exclude the possibility of Him ever sending anyone from the outside of a person's or group's peer group to deliver any kind of reproof or rebuke, which is most certainly one of the ways of the Lord. Most especially since it is often the case that everyone in that peer group are all walking in the same error and can't be used to deliver the correction due to ignorance, hypocrisy, and even outright rebellion. It's only when a person or people refuse to listen to the Lord themselves, that He sends a messenger to deliver correction or rebuke anyways.

Quote:
It had left its first love - love for the Lord and love for one another (Rev. 2:4). What the Lord said to them was essentially this: "In the midst of all your zeal and your activity, you have lost sight of ME. You have lost that fervent devotion that you once had for Me. You have kept yourself from evil and you have steered clear of doctrinal error. But remember how you loved Me fervently when you were first converted and how you did everything out of love for Me then. Now everything has degenerated
into a dry routine. You're still going to the meetings, reading your Bible and praying. But it has all become a ritual."



Notice the subtle addition of ..."and love for one another". Our first love is supposed to be for God, period. The NEXT, or SECOND, commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. There was no mention of the Lord calling into question their love or devotion to one another. This subtle portion was added to give the previous portions of the article, and the thoughts trying to be established, credibility. This section of the article would have truly been beautiful if the author would have omitted his addition in order to attempt to twist the meaning of the Scripture to his own purposes.

Quote:
The believers here had also lost their fervent love for each other. They were no longer able to bear with each other's weaknesses or to overlook each other's sins. They had lost their first love for one another too. The messenger had lost his first love - and gradually the church too had become like its messenger. This was not a small error. It was a great fall - for the Lord says, "Remember, therefore, from where you have fallen." (Rev. 2:5).



This is NOT the point which the Lord was making in this passage of the Scripture. The author, and promoters of this article as being representative of Godly wisdom or from God, clearly have an agenda and demonstrate gaping holes in their walks. I sincerely hope that discernment is used when being tempted to accept anything from this article as being from God.

Is Zac Poonen a visitor to this website or is there anyway to contact him to point out the errors of what he has written?

 2010/5/7 14:06









 Re:

Greg Gordon, where did you find this article in it's entirety?

I ask because I've found what you posted, word for word, in a portion of a book which Zac Poonen wrote called "The Final Triumph", a book written as a study on the Book of Revelations. The portion which you posted was taken from different sections of Chapter 2, and it was taken out of the context of the entire chapter. Though what Zac is saying is lacking in balance, the context of what he's speaking of is different than the one which the article posted by you is speaking of.

It can be located [url=http://books.google.com/books?id=FTQdRwVq2QQC&pg=PT12&lpg=PT12&dq=The+Lord+is+Quick+to+Appreciate+and+Slow+to+Criticise+by+Zac+Poonen&source=bl&ots=pgeeiw1Mjz&sig=e6nVoNruPFfC-q4RA3IWN3KoVKU&hl=en&ei=p13kS7T4H4GsswPHs6m8Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBUQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false]here[/url]
Greg, has Zac Poonen released this article as it is or did you take bits and pieces of his writing on your own?

I can't find any stand alone article from Zac Poonen like the one which you posted.

 2010/5/7 14:57
Pandora-B
Member



Joined: 2009/9/13
Posts: 26


 Re: The Lord is Quick to Appreciate and Slow to Criticise by Zac Poonen

~ In all, The Seven Churches
Jesus stated He Knew their Works.

Is this,
an Approval Rating of His Appreciation?

- Or, His account of what their obedience was to;
in what they had to Overcome?

Is Loving One Another, A Command?

Or, an appreciation find, to do so?

Do the Scriptures say Love is appreciation?
Is the word appreciation even in the Bible?

Isn't appreciation Earned?
Can we earn God's appreciation?

So, God appreciates us?
He's 'grateful' for us?
We're just what He needed.

Becareful, this may lead to
'taking delight in false humility.' -





 2010/5/7 15:22Profile
passerby
Member



Joined: 2008/8/13
Posts: 604


 Re:

There is a saying, 'God is fast to appreciate but is hard to satisfy'.

How should we read the bible, in a theological manner_ or 'read it by heart'. Many said that the bible blessed them in different ways as they read it over and over again.

Authors do 'copy' from their previous articles and paste them in their new articles.

What do you think.

 2010/5/7 17:28Profile
Pandora-B
Member



Joined: 2009/9/13
Posts: 26


 Re:

~ Did God say it?

What is The Heart,
but one's Intentions. -

 2010/5/7 17:54Profile









 Re:

Quote:
How should we read the bible, in a theological manner_ or 'read it by heart'.



It should be read as revealed by God's Spirit, not theologically or even by heart.

Quote:
Authors do 'copy' from their previous articles and paste them in their new articles.



Well then, Greg will have no problem answering my very simple questions. Did Greg cut and paste portions of Zac Poonen's book himself to form an article for his own reasons or was this article, as it is written, genuinely a separate release from Zac?

If Greg did it himself, then he's responsible for this article. Otherwise it's Zac.

Quote:
What do you think.



I'm still testing the spirit which Greg is operating in. His response, or lack of one, will reveal it all.

 2010/5/7 18:25









 Re:

bump

 2010/5/7 23:07
Lysa
Member



Joined: 2008/10/25
Posts: 3393
East TN (for now)

 Re: Article and Book


Zac Poonen puts a weekly devotion-like email and this was today's weekly email. They are taken from his sermons and books:


WORD FOR THE WEEK 9 May 2010
Christian Fellowship Church, Bangalore, India
http://www.cfcindia.com
-----------------------------------------------------------

The Lord is Quick to Appreciate and Slow to Criticise

Zac Poonen


As of this minute, 11:45 pm Friday night, cfcindia has not posted this on their website although it is in my email inbox! Maybe Greg is out of town or off line; he does not live on this website. Patience is one of the fruit of the Spirit!! (huge grin)

PS:: Oh yes, to instruct Zac on the "gaping holes" in the article, you can contact through cfc@cfcindia.com.

And if you go to his website, give a listen to this excellent sermon series: From Babylon to Jerusalem
http://www.cfcindia.com/web/mainpages/from_babylon_to_jerusalem.php



God bless you,


_________________
Lisa

 2010/5/7 23:36Profile









 Re:

Quote:
As of this minute, 11:45 pm Friday night, cfcindia has not posted this on their website although it is in my email inbox!



Was it from cfcindia or from sermonindex?

Quote:
Maybe Greg is out of town or off line; he does not live on this website.



He has logged in already, yet no response.

Quote:
PS:: Oh yes, to instruct Zac on the "gaping holes" in the article, you can contact through cfc@cfcindia.com.



I've already contacted him. That's why I've asked the questions which I've asked.

 2010/5/8 0:28





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