Sermons

Who is the Troubler

Sun, Jul 06, 2014
Teacher: Tom Blackford
Duration:17 mins 59 secs

Message text

WHO IS THE TROUBLER?
1 Kings 18:17,18

17. Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, "Is that you, O troubler of Israel?''
18. And he answered, "I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and you have followed the Baals.

INTRO: My lesson today is going to be taken from 1st Kings Chapter 18. I had a big change in my life recently. This past Monday I retired. I could have retired a number of years ago but to the dismay of probably a number of my fellow workers I decided to stay there awhile. Anyway I have not made that change.
I have found as I have gotten older that I like “change” a little less. I like my ruts. I like my favorite chair and I like that chair to be where it is suppose to be. I like my coffee mug, preferably filled. There are some “changes” of course that are undeniably good. I’m sure that this last change that I just had is going to be good also. Though it is probably going to take some getting used to.
There are times when we should probably seek change. I know when I was younger I stirred up change and probably there were times I shouldn’t have. Often as we study the Word of our Lord we see shortcomings in our lives, then must then seek to change our ways. On the other hand, there is “change” that is not good. The particular “change” to which I refer is the “change” which is taking place among the brethren today. I am not referring to change in times of worship, or the color of the carpet, or the sequence of the worship service. What I am referring to is change in doctrine and the questionable practices within the bodies of the Lord’s church resulting from that change. Changes that are away from the revealed word of God. However, if we challenge or confront that change, we are likely to be labeled legalistic, or divisive. That was exactly the situation in the text we read! There are changes that are occurring in this country and if we stand up to some of those changes we are going to be given labels there too. Elijah, the faithful prophet of God, was labeled as the “troubler”.

I AHAB BECOMES THE KING IN ISRAEL (1 Kings 16:29-33)
29. In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri became king over Israel; and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years.
30. Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him.
31. And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him.
32. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.
33. And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.
Those verses tell us so much about the man that is accusing Elijah for being the “troubler” in Israel.
1. He was an evil king - “did evil...above all that were before him” and if that was not enough
2. He married a pagan wife who often controlled him – Jezebel.
3. He served & worshiped Baal - the pagan god
4. He made an altar to Baal in the temple to Baal which he built in Samaria
5. His behavior provoked “the Lord God of Israel to anger...” the scripture tells us.

II ELIJAH ANNOUNCED TO AHAB THAT IT WOULD NOT RAIN (1 Kings 17:1)
1. And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.''
1. Elijah, was the faithful prophet of God – a man whose name has come to be representative of all the prophets of the first covenant! You will remember at the Mount of Transfiguration there appeared Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets.
2. Apparently, this action that Elijah took was at the direction of the Lord for Ahab’s sin
3. Elijah is mentioned at James 5:17,18 in connection with this event. 17. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
4. Elijah was decidedly a man of prayer - see 1 Kings 17:20-24 We can see this in the event of the death of the child of the widow 20. Then he cried out to the Lord and said, "O Lord my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?'' 21. And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the Lord and said, "O Lord my God, I pray, let this child's soul come back to him.'' 22. Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived. 23. And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, "See, your son lives!'' 24. Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.'' This is the man whom Ahab is accusing of being the troubler of Israel.

III AHAB’S ACCUSING QUESTION (1 Kings 18:17) Now it has been sometime since Elijah met Ahab, the rain has been stopped and there has been a drought in Israel. When Ahab sees Elijah again he asks. ..
17. ...., "Is that you, O troubler of Israel?''

1. Things were going bad for Israel. Because of the lack of rain a great famine ensues (1 King 18:2b) 2. So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a severe famine in Samaria.
2. Israel is in serious trouble as seen in (1 Kings 18:5) 5. And Ahab had said to Obadiah, "Go into the land to all the springs of water and to all the brooks; perhaps we may find grass to keep the horses and mules alive, so that we will not have to kill any livestock. When it does not rain for 3 and ½ years things get really bad.
3. So when the meeting takes place between Elijah and Ahab, Ahab, this unfaithful ruler, accuses the faithful prophet of being the troubler! – saying in effect, “Elijah, you’re the cause of our problems in Israel”
4. This is the accusation of an unfaithful man to a man who is decidedly faithful! but such a charge as this from the unfaithful to the faithful is not all that rare. When people chose the unfaithful path and are then confronted with that choice by one who is concerned about them, they often try to find others to blame, or accuse, for their behavior.

IV HOW DID ELIJAH RESP0ND? (1 Kings 18:18) But here there was no one else to blame. In the 18th verse Elijah tells Ahab he is the troubler. 18. .... but you and your father's house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and you have followed the Baals.
1. Elijah’s response to the accusation was to identify the true cause of the trouble Israel was experiencing, “in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord”
2. So who is the problem? The person who has forsaken the commandments of the Lord. When the commandments of the Lord are forsaken, “change” results. In this case the worship of God was forsaken and replaced by that which the Lord had not authorized
3. Now how serious was this change? 1 Kings 19:18 – 18. "Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.'' There were only 7000 faithful in the northern kingdom.

V CHANGE TOWARD TOLERATION AND ACCEPTANCE OF ERROR
1. today, there are calls for major changes in doctrine and practice among the assemblies of the Church of Christ. These changes are not incidental changes like the color of the carpet or the time of evening worship.
2. These changes ultimately lead toward both toleration and acceptance of beliefs and practices long held by denominational bodies. The extension of these changes has become interrelationships on the part of Churches for Christ with denominations. Open fellowship included
3. these changes involve very basic and clear New Testament doctrines such as the necessity of baptism for remission of sins, the day of observance for the Lord’s supper, the role of women in worship, the use of instrumental music in worship, and other basic changes in the organization of the church,. These and many others are changes that are taking place in assemblies of the Church of Christ.
4. Here is what I read in scripture: 2 Timothy 1:13 The admonition of Paul to Timothy 13. Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. and - 2 Thessalonians 2:15 15. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
5. When changes which are in conflict with the pattern of scripture are advocated, we have no option but to stand fast with and in the pattern God has revealed.

VI ARE WE NOW THE TROUBLERS?
1. That is what some will say if you hold fast to the scripture. It is said with no little disregard and with much disrespect.
2. but my question is this, “Who moved?” - it was not us.
3. There is no “new revelation” from God to authorize these changes which are now showing up in so many places - what is happening is a widespread attack on the authority of the word of truth. And these wide spread attacks do not come from skeptics alone, but often come from preachers and teachers and others within the Lords church. “It does not matter what scripture says, it is just a love letter never intended to be a pattern. It is just an archaic document which grew out of a culture 2000 years ago and so now we must seek for a new message.”
4. No, we are not about to forsake the old paths, the message that is proclaimed in the scripture of truth which sets out plainly and clearly doctrines and practices, not about culture but about our salvation, yours and mine.

Yes, we may be called “those who would divide brother from brother” but according to 1 Kings 18:18, it is those who move away from God’s commandments who are the “troublers” of the church. We must hold firm in the pattern that has been set before us and teach the truth in love and concern – though many times we will have cause to wonder as did Paul in (Galatians 4:16) , 16. Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

CLOSE: We may not personally like or seek controversy and confrontation. But when it comes to the truth of God’s word, we have no choice but to teach and preach with clarity, with sincerity and with authority. I would like to close with Colossians 1:21-23. 21. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
22. in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and irreproachable in His sight
23. if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

If there are any here tonight that have never became a Christian, please become one today. If you are a Christian and have fallen away we encourage you repent of your sins and pray for forgiveness. Whatever your needs we will do what we can to assist you and we encourage you to come while we stand and sing.

Taken from sermon by Cecil A. Hutson
06 July 09

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