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50 CHARACTERISTICS Of PHARISEES – Zac Poonen [podcast]

Here is a list and some notes taken from the three sermon series from Zac Poonen title 50 Characteristics Of Pharisees. Even if you’ve listen to the sermon it is beneficial to read through the list and examine our own hearts. Zac Poonen, realizing that he being a holiness preacher was therefor in danger of falling into Pharisee-ism and legalism so he went through the entire New Testament and found ever characteristic of a Pharisee he could find. This is a list that we need to go through regularly to make sure we are not falling in to this terrible trap. Although all of the points may not apply to you specifically I think if we have a open heart we can all at very least see the tendencies we have to lean toward certain of these characteristics. I know I can see many in myself both past and present – may the Lord search our hearts.

Here are the three sermons from which the list and notes were compiled.

50 Characteristics of Pharisees Part 1 (below)


50 Characteristics of Pharisees Part 2 (below)


50 Characteristics of Pharisees Part 3 (below)


Here are the first 10

The list and notes:

We are going to be thinking of the same theme through these 3 days, led by the spirit and not by the law. Jesus was in conflict with the Pharisees most of the time. Pharisee-ism is one of the leavens Jesus warned about Mark 8 Matthew 16. The Pharisee had all their doctrine correct and talked of holiness. The Herodians were the opposite they were worldly like modern worldly Christian’s”. They can listen to sermons and go home and watch smut on TV. The third group was the Sadducees. They don’t believe in the miraculous. They didn’t believe in angels or the super-natural and spiritual. These are 3 groups of Christians. It is interesting to see he was always falling out with the Pharisees. They were the ones who crucified Jesus. Which group do you fall into. The Pharisees are the worst type of Christian on the earth. We need to understand the characteristics of the Pharisees. It must be that God wants us to know. I am personally in more danger of becoming a Pharisee than the others. We need God to open our eyes. I am going to go through the gospels. The spirit of the Pharisee is against the Holy Spirit. I have sought over the last few years to find the Pharisee in me. God gives you light on yourself. If you are not getting insight into the light in your life God is not blessing you. God wants to clean you.

Matthew 3v9
1. A Pharisee glorifies in his connections with Godly men. There are many who connect with someone as a form of Godliness. “We have so and so as our spiritual father.” They may have no holiness themselves. So think they are holy because they go to a good church or listen to the right preachers. I tell some of my church they will go to hell.

2. Glories in external righteousness. You must exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees. If you get angry and do not overcome it you will go to hell.

Matthew 9v11
3. A Pharisee does not mingle with unconverted people. That is not holiness. Jesus was a friend of sinners – not a condemner of them but a savior. Jesus would have gone to an unconverted relative’s wedding reception. He did not avoid sinners, His righteousness was inside. How will you win sinners if you do not seek to be friendly with them. How many converted people in your church have been bought by you? Probably zero after 20 years. You are a Pharisee.

Matthew 9v14
4. The Pharisee are ascetics. They boasted of their fasting. External self control. Jesus made so much wine. He was not afraid to eat with people. Jesus started His ministry by making wine. He did it to demolish religion. Many think they are holy but they are hypocrites.

5. The Pharisees are very critical of others in small matters. Why do you break the Sabbath. The church becomes like the elder brother. If the elder brother is legalistic the whole church will be. Do not follow a legalistic person. Matthew 15v1

Matthew 12v9-16
6. The Pharisees live by rules. In our church you can’t do that. “What does your rule book say.” Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath.” They live by accusation.
Don’t follow such elders, you will destroy yourself and others.
Matthew 12v14

7. The Pharisees are motivated by jealousy, hatred, murder. It is a progression. You may take only take step one. But it leads to others. It is Cain’s religion.

Matthew 12v24
8. Pharisee are suspicious and assume the worst of others. When you see someone doing something and you assume the worst you are a Pharisee. Pharisees are extremely suspicious always looking for the wrong.

Matthew 12v24
9. Pharisee are very careless in their speech. They said it about Jesus casting out demons. If you carelessly speak about God’s prophets you have the mark of a Pharisee.

Matthew 15v1-9
10. A Pharisee is one who neglects his family responsibilities in the name of religion. Giving money to God when your family suffers. 1 Timothy 5v8

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