Summary: There are some troublemakers in our own lives that hinder us in the Christian life.
INTRO.- ILL,- A preacher named Mitchell said that someone in his congregation pointed out several faults in him and his preaching. Instead of retaliating, or trying to defend himself, he looked at the woman and said, "If what you say is true, would you mind praying for me?"
Generally, critics are troublemakers, but they are not the only ones. Troublemakers come in all shapes and sizes and in all worlds. Many of them are out in the world and some of them are in our churches.
ILL.- Madalyn Murray O’Hair. What do you think of her? I think she has been nothing but a troublemaker for the Christian world.
Madalyn achieved infamy in the 1960s simply because she couldn’t bear to see her oldest son begin each school day reciting the Pledge of Allegiance ("one nation, under God") and the Lord’s Prayer.
In one 1973 "Dear Diary" entry, Madalyn listed her modest goals for the year: "File at least a couple of suits and win one of them, get a building, get a Bible chair at University of Texas, get a mink coat and a Cadillac, humiliate Billy Graham for money and move into a bigger and better home."
She was born Madalyn Elizabeth Mays-on Palm Sunday in 1919. The Mayses weren’t devout at anything, but Madalyn and her older brother were baptized in 1923 at a Presbyterian church. Years later, Madalyn supposedly read the entire Bible in but a weekend-cover to cover, like a novel, she said - an ordeal from which she’d never recover. "The miracles, the inconsistencies, the improbabilities, the impossibilities, the wretched history, the sordid sex, the sadism," she told a Playboy interviewer. "I’ve never gotten over the shock of it."
She’s gone now and her troublemaking days are over.
Heb. 9:27 “It is appointed unto men to die and after that the judgment.” That is, to face their judgment. And Madalyn Murray O’Hair has faced hers.
ILL.- Cable television mogul Ted Turner criticized fundamentalist Christianity and said Jesus probably would "be sick at his stomach" over the way his ideas have been "twisted," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Turner said he had a strict Christian upbringing and at one time considered becoming a missionary. "I was saved seven or eight times," the newspaper quoted him as saying. But he said he became disenchanted with Christianity after his sister died, despite his prayers. Turner said the more he strayed from his faith, "the better I felt."
Personally, I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Ted Turner. And if it’s not him, it will be someone else.
God takes care of some troublemakers and some of them we have to deal with ourselves the best we can.
Col. 3:5 “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature....”
There is a beast lurking within us all. He occasionally rears his ugly head to cause us trouble and cause trouble for those around us.
WE NEED TO KILL THE BEAST WITHIN US OR AT LEAST, KEEP HIM ON A LEASH AND NOT ALLOW HIM MUCH FREEDOM.
PROP.- I want us to consider some troublemakers in our own lives from the book of Proverbs and what to do about them.
Prov. 10:4 “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.”
ILL.- Employee to employer: I have been here eleven years doing three men’s work for one man’s pay. Now I want a raise.
Employer: I can’t give you a raise but if you’ll tell me who the other two men are, I’ll fire them.
ILL.- A sign in a Nashville supermarket read: “Wanted: a clerk to work 8 hours a day to replace the one who didn’t.”
ILL.- A father told his little son that he couldn’t go to church because he was suffering from a severe case of voluntary inertia. “I bet you aren’t,” the little boy said to his father. “I BET YOU ARE JUST LAZY.”
Laziness is a troublemaker in our lives. How could that be? Because laziness keeps us from doing what we should in life. And it’s not just the matter of our work.
Laziness affects everything we do in life.
When we are lazy we will not attend to our marriage, we will not be effective parents, we will be poor workers (more like shirkers), we will not care about others, because that takes time and energy and attention. We will not get involved in any form of Christian service.
ILL.- After several years of married life, the glamour wore off and the young couple went to see a marriage counselor. After talking with the couple for awhile, the counselor suddenly swept the woman into his arms and kissed her passionately.
“Now,” said the counselor, “this is the kind of treatment your wife needs on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. At least, these three days.”