Pastors Don’t Do This 07: Become Pastor Pharisee (Part 6 – They Love to Be Seen)

In Matthew 23, Jesus talks about what kind of leaders the Pharisees are. Last post we looked at verses 2-4, but today I want to look at verse 5:

But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

(Matthew 23.5, KJV)

One of the signs that you are becoming Pastor Pharisee is actually one of the best ways of checking your heart. You only do things when it is seen by people. You only pray when people are watching, you only read the Bible to write your sermons, you only go to conferences that platform you. You develop a dual personality – your out-and-about seen-by-people personality which is godly, kind, full of the Word, impressive, prayerful, prophetic. Then as soon as the spotlight is off, you go back to being selfish, bitter, grumpy, prayerless. You are like the Incredible Hulk – big and impressive in public, puny in private.

In Matthew 6, Jesus says the Pharisees have to make public their giving. It’s never secret or quiet or with some discretion and dignity. They cannot fast one meal without letting everyone know. They cannot pray without it being told to everyone! That’s a dangerous place to be in, because you cannot serve people if you seek validation from people.

The reason this marker of a Pharisee Pastor is so helpful to checking yourself it is quanifiable – it is measureable. This weekend I am preaching 3 times. That’s about three hours of public serving of Jesus Christ. So, I will make sure I am in the prayer closet as an absolute minimum twice that, because I never want to become a hypocrite and just serve Him publicly. I can quantify if I am less Christ-like when people are not watching. I can tell. And I can change. And I can grow. And so can you. If you are catching yourself here, do something about it – the world does not need more spotlight hungry false prophets elbowing their way in where they do not belong, helping no one.

That is one of the best ways to spot yourself if you are Pharisee. And the first person you should deal with is always yourself. But as a pastor, when you are thinking of inviting someone as a guest speaker, find out the last meeting they went to they were not platformed at. It’s a question I love asking as it helps me so much know if that guest speaker is the real deal or not. If we can only go to places where we have the spotlight, we love the spotlight not Jesus. If we are different around people, people mean more to us than Jesus.


Published by Tree of Life Church

We are a growing network of growing churches, with services weekly in Dagenham, Guildford, Watford, Croydon, Brentwood and Dorset. We are also planting churches in Cambridge, Suffolk, West Midlands and Hemel. Find out more at, and

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