We Need Some Troublemakers
A. What we need in this church are some more troublemakers!
- Yes, Troublemakers!
- That's what the enemies of the church called the Christians at Thessalonica.
- They said they were the ones, "that have turned the world upside down" (v.6) or, “that have caused trouble all over the world.” [world changers]
- Our Church needs troublemakers like the troublemakers at Thessalonica.
- We need some people ready to shake up our world in the same way that the Thessalonians shook up theirs.
- Where there was darkness, they brought light.
- Where there was hatred, they brought love.
- Where there was sadness, they brought laughter.
- Where there was bondage, they brought liberation.
- Where there was death, they brought life.
- They took a world that was tired & troubled, tangled & tripped up, & they put that world back on its feet.
B. Are you ready to be a world changer?
- Are you ready to turn your world upside down for Jesus Christ?
- Let’s look at some key ingredients that enabled these believers to change their world for Christ.
Transition: The 1st key ingredient that enabled these Christians was their:
- Luke tells us (v.4) that Paul's preaching was successful in Thessalonica.
- Many believed including a large number of "devout [God-fearing] Greeks."
A. These were Gentiles who were drawn to the morality & monotheism (one God) of the Jewish faith.
- They could never actually become Jews, but they were Jews from a distance. The people of that day were looking for something “real”, just as your family, co-workers, neighbors are!
- They were those who were desirous for something more than their pagan culture could offer them, so they turned to the God of the Jews, & after Paul came to their synagogue they turned to the Messiah.
B. This world in which Christianity was conceived was a world of incomparable immorality.
- Slavery was a universally accepted system.
- Homosexuality was rampant, as evidenced by the Emperor Nero being paraded through the streets of Rome fondling his 12-yr-old male lover in full view.
- Sexual permissiveness was the rule of the day.
- Prostitution & all forms of sexual immorality were a major part of the various religions that they followed.
- Human life was cheap & pleasure was primary.
- And into that world of immorality Christianity introduced a new element--integrity.
C. A letter written to Greek teacher Diognetus in the middle of the 2nd century indicated how revolutionary Christian integrity was in this world of paganism.
- The letter marveled that Christians, "have their meals in common, but not their wives. They find themselves in the flesh & yet, live not after the flesh."
D. No wonder these Christians were causing trouble in their world.
- They were doing something that had been forgotten in that pagan culture.
- They were living lives of integrity, and the people didn't know how to react to it.
- 1 Thess. 1:9 tells us that these Christians had "turned to God from idols to serve the living & true God."
E. A fresh dose of integrity emanating from the lives of Christian men & women today is what we need to cause some trouble in our world.
- We are living in the midst of an integrity crisis.
D.L. Moody said that you can tell a person's character by what he/she does in the dark.
- "The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out."
-Christians are no exception, cheating on taxes, tests at the same rate as the world…lying at the drop of a hat, thinking nothing of it!
I'm reminded of the man who wrote a letter to the IRS: "Dear Sirs, I can't sleep. Last year, when I filled out my income tax form, I misrepresented my income. Enclosed is a check for $325. PS--If I still can't sleep, I'll send you the rest."
- During elections people say that a person's character doesn't reflect on the kind of job he/she will do in public office. Huh???? If a man won’t keep his most sacred vow made before God to his wife, what will he be willing to do w/ those piddly little vows of public trust?!
- In recent years we've seen a lot of preachers suffering from a lack of integrity.
- Coaches have been fired & athletic programs have been put on probation because of a lack of integrity.
- We are quickly becoming a nation that doesn't know what the word "integrity" means.
- Integrity means “The state of being unimpaired; soundness or wholeness.” [space shuttle lost it’s integrity!] And when we lose our integrity, we have lost it all.
- When we refuse to live by the truth, then we are not living the kind of life that will be approved by God.
- We as Christians, must live lives of integrity so that the non-Christian world will sit up & take notice.
Transition: The 2nd key ingredient of the church at Thessalonica was:
A. The accusation hurled at the Thessalonian Christians, & Paul & Silas implies this.
- Why else would they be accused of causing "trouble all over the world" or "turning the world upside down" if they were not intense in their commitment to Christ?
- And we know that the intensity of the Thessalonian church didn't die down for Paul later writes to them & says,
1 Thess. 1:8
For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
- These Christians had a faith that was so intense that their reputation had become known everywhere.
B. We see the same spirit in Peter & John before the Sanhedrin.
But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
C. These Christians had an intensity about them for they were proclaiming an intense message.
- They preached Christ crucified, & Christ risen, & Christ available to all who would come.
D. We must recover this spirit of intensity in our churches today.
- We have too many members at ease.
- Too many preachers w/o a message to proclaim.
- Too many church leaders mired in unfaithful mediocrity.
- Too many Sunday School teachers captured by complacency.
- We have too many people who have lost their intensity.
E. The message heard so often from churches today is "let's not do anything to bring attention to ourselves".
- "Let's not get involved in anything controversial."
- "Let's not take a stand politically."
- "Let's not do anything to trouble the waters."
- And by proclaiming this message of non-involvement, what we're really saying is "We don't want to be world-changers"--"We don't want to turn our world upside down like the Thessalonians did".
- You see, to be a world-changer for Jesus Christ I have to get out into the world & let them know what I believe if I ever expect them to join me in my cause.
- Jesus said,
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
F. We have got to reach the point where we live out the conviction that nothing is more important than the expansion of God's kingdom.
- It is more important than our personal well-being.
- It is more important than our education.
- It is more important than our success.
- We must become Kingdom people if we are to turn our world upside down for Jesus Christ.
- And Kingdom people are people who put the kingdom first in their lives.
- We see that in the Christians at Thessalonica.
- And my prayer to God is that we would see the same thing in ourselves.
Transition: The 3rd key to the church at Thessalonica was its:
Transition: In this passage we see that Christians were willing to get involved.
- Paul & his companions were willing to be involved in the lives of the Jews, God-fearers, & leading women of Thessalonica.
- Jason was willing to get involved by welcoming these Christian leaders into his home even though he knew it could mean trouble for him.
- I'm afraid there are a lot of things that we would like to see happen in our church and in our world that are not going to happen unless we all get personally involved.
- There are too many armchair quarterbacks & backseat drivers in the church of God today.
- Everybody knows what everybody else ought to be doing but they're not doing anything themselves.
C. We, like the Thessalonians, need people to be involved in our church.
- We need you to help us in our attempt to build the kingdom of God.
Ill.--There was once a man who always seemed to bring home a boatload of fish.
- It was uncanny, & people wondered how he could be so successful.
- Another man heard of this man's great success & asked to go w/him.
- The two men started early one morning & went across the lake to a secluded area, way out from shore.
- The warden noticed that the man didn't have a fishing pole, just a net & a rusty old tackle box.
- When they got to the appointed place, the fisherman opened up the box & pulled out a stick of dynamite--lit it--& tossed it into the water.
- It blew up & the fish rose to the surface.
- The fisherman began dipping his net into the water & putting the fish in the boat.
- The man then reached back & revealed from his hip pocket the credentials of a game warden!
- Calmly, the fisherman opened the tackle box again, got out another stick of dynamite, lit the fuse & handed it to the game warden.
- Then, as the fuse burned down, the fisherman asked, "Are you going to fish or are you just going to sit there?"
- And is that not the question we must be asking of ourselves?
- We have the most powerful force ever known in our world--the message of a resurrected Savior--are we going to fish or just sit there? Are we ever going to get our own lives together enough that we can move on the work of “others” which Christ left us here for? Don’t wait ‘til your life is perfect…it won’t be until you get involved in kingdom work!
Revive Me, Lord! Revive My Family! Revive My Church! May the Revival continue!!
- To carry out the work of Christ & to communicate the work of Christ, we must be personally involved in the church.
- To continue the witness of Christ & to conform to the will of Christ, we as a church, must be involved in the world.
A junior high youth group prepared a Palm Sunday passion play for their church.
- Instead of memorizing a script, they decided to familiarize themselves thoroughly w/the story by studying a paraphrased translation of the Bible & then they would ad lib their lines.
- When the boy playing Jesus came back to the disciples the 2nd time after praying alone in the garden, Jesus said: "Asleep again! Boy, they just don't make disciples like they used to!"
- The disciples at Thessalonica were involved in the life of the church, intensely committed to God's work, & characterized by integrity.
- Do they still make disciples like that?
- I believe they do--& I believe that you can be one of them.
- You can be a world-changer, a trouble-maker!...not because you are so smart, or because you know all the right things to say--but because God is empowering you to be a mighty force in His Kingdom, and He left you here specifically to do so!
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