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Summary: We are told what to do avoid and what to do in order to cease the troublemakers. 1- Avoid the foolish 2- Warn the contentious 3- Dodge the divisive

INTRO.- Troublemakers. Ever met any? Ever been one?

ILL.- After the revival had concluded, the three pastors were discussing the results with one another. The Methodist minister said, “The revival worked out great for us! We gained four new families.”

The Baptist preacher said, “We did better than that! We gained six new families.” The Presbyterian pastor said, “Well, we did even better than that! We got rid of our 10 biggest trouble makers!”

Troublemakers are found in every sphere of society. In the home, at school, in the work place, and sadly, even in the church. Troublemakers in the church comes in all sizes and shapes and genders.

ILL.- One church a board member in a church said to me, “I am the board.” At another church one deacon would never leave anything alone in board meetings. If no one said anything he always had something to say and usually it was argumentative. He always wanted to have the “last word.” It seemed like he always wanted to stir up some kind of trouble.

II Timothy 4:14-15 “Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.”

We’re not sure who Alexander was but he opposed the gospel message. I would hope there would never be a person like this in the Lord’s church.

III John 9-10 “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.”

Diotrephes doesn’t sound like a very good person. That’s putting it mildly. Again, we don’t know who he was but he may have been some kind of church leader. Nevertheless, he thought he was “Mr. Big” and loved to be first.

ILL.- I know of a preacher back in MO who could do everything well: preach, teach, call on people, organize, administrate things very well, etc. but he never had the attitude that he wanted to be “Mr. Big” or run the show. He worked with his church leaders very well. Some church leaders have the “run it” or “ruin it” attitude and neither is good.

Romans 16:17-18 “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.”

If someone is divisive in the church, that is, causing trouble, division, arguments, etc. They are not serving Christ. They are self-serving and that’s no good! We all are here to honor the Lord and edify the church, not serve ourselves!

PROP.- We are told what to do avoid and what to do in order to cease the troublemakers.

1- Avoid the foolish

2- Warn the contentious

3- Dodge the divisive

I. AVOID THE FOOLISH

9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Avoid foolish people and those start foolish controversies and arguments.

ILL.- There are Swatch watches, sport watches (as in Timex Ironman watches), $25 watches, $15,000 watches, moon watches, deep sea watches. There are Gucci watches, Swiss Army watches and, if you walk down Fifth Avenue, you can see miles of card tables displaying fake Rolex watches. Why all the watches, when presumably most of us already have a watch? Norman Lear, a watch merchant, said: “People no longer wear a watch to tell the time—they wear it to make a statement.”

What kind of a statement? “They are saying to the world that their watch speaks for who they are, and what they stand for, and how much time they have to spare.”

Not only do watches make a statement about us, about who we are or what kind of person we are, OUR FRIENDS DO THE SAME THING! That is, the people we run with also tell a lot about us.

And there are some people that we shouldn’t be seen with! Who are we talking about? Drug pushers, drunks, pimps, foul mouths, the immoral, the foolish, etc.

I Corinthians 5:9-11 “I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.”

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