Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Trouble Makers

John 5:1-9 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and troubled the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" 7 The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled; but while I am coming, another steps down before me." 8 Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked..."

This afternoon, as I was driving through a devestated area of New Orleans having just emptied my trailer of medical supplies, food and clothing items--the brother in the Lord who was helping me said, "Pastor Troy, you can sure get people upset without even knowing it."

I didn't know how to take what he had said. I kind of consider myself a pretty "friendly" person who typically gets along well with everyone---so I had to ask him to clarify what he meant. He said, "I have worked with you for over ten years and I have seen people get upset with you time and time again because..."

I'll get back to that in a minute.

In John's Gospel, chapter 5, we have a great scene unfolding that the Lord quickened to me this afternoon. Here you had a place that was known for attracting the infirm or those who had something wrong with them and needed assistance. The place was the Sheep Gate Pool and there were "multitudes" of people brought there regularly for the opportunity to be healed.

It says that "at a certain time" an angel would come down and trouble or stir up the waters and whoever stepped in first was healed regardless of what the disease they had was. Now, this is exciting stuff! The first one in got the prize! It played out kind of like a spiritual King of the Mountain.

What caught my attention was that #1 it was located at the Sheep Pool and that those in attendance represented the worst cases imaginable; blind, lame, paralized...not your average run-of-the-mill sore throats and back aches! #2 that the healing came following the waters being troubled or stirred up!

Back to my earlier conversation: He said, ""I have worked with you for over ten years and I have seen people get upset with you time and time again because most people (speaking of ministers) talk about the things that they want to do or should do, while you just jump in and actually do it. They see you as a trouble maker because you stir things up when people just talk about doing things for Jesus, but make all kind of excuses for not doing them."

Hmmm, I have to admit it, I never looked at it that way until he told me what he did. I guess the thing about it is, is that I would rather try and fail than fail to try. I came to the conclusion nearly twenty years ago that I if I was going to serve Jesus, then I would serve Him with the same reckless abandon and passion that I served the world before I was born again.

I am of the opinion that there is w-a-y to much talk and w-a-y to many excuses and politics in the Modern Church. It is soooo governmental that most spiritual things are caught up in ecclessiastical grid-lock or have been spiritually "pork-barreled" to such a degree that JESUS has become lost in the religion that bears His name.

What's the point if there is no power? Why the effort if there is no evangelism?

"For our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but in power also and in the Holy Spirit."

The problem in the Church today is the same problem faced in John Chapter 5:

  1. The angel only came at certain times
  2. Only the first one in received the benefit

It doesn't even say that the "certain time" was every day or when-just that it was at a certain time. They could have waited for hours or even days for the waters to be troubled and then only ONE would make it in first.

That tells me something--the Church needs more angels (messengers) that are willing to dive in and trouble the waters! In Revelation Chapter 1, "pastors or ministers" of churches are called "angels." We need preachers of the Gospel with enough righteous backbone to FINALLY stand up for the truth even in the face of overwhelming odds (multitudes of infirm people) and cause some trouble to the devil!

This may mean going agains the grain at times or in standing up when everyone else is sitting down---but notice---the TROUBLING was the catalyst for the MIRACLE. It was here in John 5. It was when John the Baptist came with the radical "troubling" message of repentance. It certainly was when Jesus came and preached like "never a man spoke."

Sure, you WILL upset some people--but maybe they need to get upset---it could be what causes THEM to "rise, take up THEIR beds and WALK."


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