Summary: I would like to thank Pastor Jerry Shirley for sharing this series on Acts. It has been a blessing as well as a great help. I have used these for our church, as I spend my days caring for my dying father.
“EBC Needs a Few Troublemakers” Acts 17:1-9
If you paid any attention to the sign, as you turned in this morning it may have shocked you. The title of the message is “EBC Needs a Few Troublemakers.”
I know what you’re thinking, “Pastor, you’ve been in the sun too long! The church has enough troublemakers already! We sure don’t need anymore!”
But according to our passage, that's exactly what the enemies of the church called the Christians at Thessalonica.
Look at the last half of verse 6, in the NLT. “…"Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world," they shouted, "and now they are here disturbing our city, too.”
Elim Bible Church needs troublemakers like those found in Thessalonica.
We need a few troublemakers ready and willing to rock their world in much the same way the Thessalonian believers rocked theirs.
We need troublemakers who will bring life and light into a world of death and darkness.
We need troublemakers who bring love instead of anger and hatred.
We need troublemakers who will rescue those in bondage to sin.
The believers at Thessalonica took a world that was twisted & broken by sin, and moved that world, from the path of self-destruction to the glory road.
Let me ask you, this morning; Are you ready to be a troublemaker and change your world?
Are you ready to turn your world upside down for Jesus Christ?
I want to look at some key ingredients that enabled the Thessalonian believers to change their world for Christ and I believe will help us change ours.
The 1st thing that enabled these Christians was their:
1. INTEGRITY. Look at verse 4.
Luke tells us that Paul's preaching was successful in Thessalonica and the evidence is that many believed on Jesus.
The people of that day were looking for something “real.”
People of the 21st century, your family, your co-workers, your neighbors are looking for something real!
The world in which Christianity was conceived was a world filled with immorality. Paul and his team faced many of the same issues the 21st century church faces.
In his day, many were happy with the immorality and if you look around our world you’ll see, for the most part, people are happy with the immorality that’s plaguing our nation.
These Christians were causing trouble in their world by doing something unheard of in that pagan culture and the people didn't know how to react to someone living a life of integrity.
These troublemakers were literally imitating Christ.
1 Thess. 1:9 tells us that these Christians had "turned to God from idols to serve the living & true God."
What our world needs, today, is a fresh dose of integrity rising up from the lives of Christian men/women.
Our world is facing an integrity crisis and the church needs to stand up and display the characteristics of these early believers.
We need a few trouble makers in the church today!
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." What would you do if you knew no one would ever know?
I ask that question because Christians are no exception. Many are guilty of cheating on taxes. Christian students cheat on tests at the same rate as those living without Jesus Christ. Lying at the drop of a hat! Living in sexual sin. Accepting the world’s standard, as couples professing to be Christians living together and expecting God to bless that union.
A man wrote a letter to the IRS saying, "Dear Sirs, I can't sleep. Last year, when I filed my taxes, I lied about my income, so I’m sending this check for $325. PS--If I still can't sleep, I'll send you the rest."
We are in a presidential election season and people seem to believe that a person's character doesn't reflect on the kind of job he/she will do in public office. The highest office in the land should be filled with honor and integrity.
Going back a few years, I’ll remind you of the sex scandal that took place in the white House and people just brushed it off. Decisions are made, based on “what’s in it for me” rather than what is good for the people. When we look at politicians, today we’ve seen many brought before the ethics board for questioning. I hope, as you listen to the political hogwash that people are spouting this year that you will do some research as well as soul searching and be more concerned with the integrity of the man/woman than you are with their popularity among those who are unconcerned about integrity!
In recent years we've seen a lot of preachers suffering from a lack of integrity. They lie steal and cheat in the name of Jesus