Summary: Only in a good way! The disciples rocked their world with their unordinary INTEGRITY, INTENSITY, and INVOLVEMENT they practiced. Link included to Formatted Text and Powerpoint Template.
We Need Some Troublemakers
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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 the last presidential election people were saying 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.