Summary: In this message, let’s look at five pro-active commitments that will help us be positive in a negative world.
A. One time after church, a father gripped to his son all the way home. He’d found fault with everything in the service. He criticized the preacher, the sermon, the music, and everything in general. The boy, who had noticed what his father put in the offering plate, said, “Well, Dad, what can you expect for a dollar.”
B. If there is one thing that I can’t stand in relation to the church– it is a negative/critical spirit. I’m under the impression that we should be characteristically positive. Are we not called to share the “Good News”? You can’t do that with a critical tone. Sure, everyone has problems. We all have our issues. There will be sin to confront. There’s issues to address. But our spirit doesn’t have to be negative– does it?
C. If you want to get me uptight, just put me in a pen with the spiritual Eeyors of our day. I’ll go nuts! . “ It will never work, We’ve never done it that way before. We’re doing fine without it. We can’t afford it. We’re not ready for it. It’s not our responsibility. I just don’t like it.” Someone said: “A Pessimist is someone who complains about the noise when opportunity knocks.”
D. Today, as we continue our summer series, “How To Treat Others”, I’d like for us to learn from Jesus as he deals with a very critical crew. In our story today, Jesus provides an example of how to treat those who are critical and negative.
E. Text: Luke 11:14-20.....14 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebub, a the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven. 17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
F. T.S: In this message, let’s look at five pro-active commitments that will help us be positive in a negative world.
1. Expect Negativity/Criticism in this World! Nothing you can do about it, it’s going to happen. Jesus was going about his business, healing people, casting out demons and that only gave his critics fuel for their fire. And I can warn you right now, if you choose to follow Jesus and do good for the Kingdom, you will be criticized! (In this world, you will either be giving it or receiving it.)
2. Understand the Nature of Negativity.
A. Negativity is an easy trap to fall into. It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.
B. Negativity is contagious. In fact, after being around someone negative, I find myself complaining about his/her negativity. And, a negative spirit is a lot like that one rotten apple in the bunch, it will affect all!
C. Negativity often involves personal criticism. Look at the insult and exaggeration the Scribes used on Jesus. They said that he was “possessed by Beelzebub” - the identity of Beelzebub is found in the Old Testament (II Kings 1) the name meant “Lord of Flies or Lord of Filth or Lord of Manure (the poop)” and came to be another name for Satan. I agree with Kent Hughes when he says in his discussion of this passage that “It is a fitting name for Satan, but a monstrous slander when used for Christ. . .
D. Negativity is a choice! It may be easier for some than others, but it is a choice. In the desert, two very different birds thrive. The vultures see nothing but dead and stinking carcasses. The hummingbirds seek the lovely blossoms of cacti. The vultures live on the dead past. The hummingbirds live on the fragrant present. Each bird finds what it is looking for. So do people. (Let me give reason for warning).
E. Negativity is Indicative! Criticisms often expose more about the critic than anything else. When people try to whip up criticism it is often a reflection of their own heart....
1. Negativity often reveals inactivity. Criticism often comes from those not doing anything. I love that Chinese Proverb: “Him who complains, “It can’t be done!”, needs not interrupt him who is doing it.” Someone said, “A critic is one who points out how imperfectly other people do what the critic does not do at all!”