What do Netflix, Facebook, Airbnb, Amazon, Uber, Tesla and Napster all have in common? Not only have they appeared over the last 20 years or so, but more than that they have each in their own market brought about massive change and disruption.
Companies like these are known as disruptors because they change the landscape into which they were born. For example, the ride-sharing service Uber has drastically changed the way people are transported and very much disrupted the business model of the taxi industry.
A lot of people see these new businesses and companies as troublemakers, particularly those who have been impacted negatively by their arrival. Shareholders in traditional bookstores like Borders in the USA or Angus and Robertson here in Australia, both of which are now defunct, would see Amazon in a different light than a consumer who can now purchase a book with a couple of clicks of their mouse.
What we can agree upon is that they disrupted what was the norm at the time, and I think for the church we can learn a lot from these new disruptors. They have changed the world and how things are done. The same is true for a couple of guys in the bible called Peter and John, whom we read about in Acts 4.
These two guys disrupted what was going on in the world, and depending on who you were, they were either troublemakers or they were pioneers with a brand new message and a new model for life. I like to think about them as Holy Troublemakers, because the trouble they caused was for a holy purpose.
It all started when these two guys healed a lame man who begged outside the temple gates. The High Priests and religious rulers caught wind of this and tried to charge them, however there was no way they could do so. In the end they instructed Peter and John to go about their way but not to use the name of Jesus in any of their teaching. Peter and John ignored this directive multiple times, much to the displeasure of the members of the Sanhedrin. Peter and John brought disruption to the religious culture that was around them, much like Jesus had done earlier.
These two Holy Troublemakers can give us inspiration in 2018 and beyond in how we too can disrupt the plans of those who are against God’s church. We live at a time when it is increasingly challenging to stand up for the things of God and it is getting harder and harder to state biblical truth in a world where truth is so fluid and open to personal interpretation.
We can see as we read the passage about Peter and John, that there are least 3 characteristics of Holy Troublemakers:
Holy Troublemakers are Bold
Acts 4:13 states “ The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.”
Throughout this passage of scripture we see very clearly two men who are bold in their faith, who are bold in their declarations and who are bold in their dealings with the religious leaders of the day. They are bold to the point that it is clearly visible to those religious men. This wasn’t fake bravado, it wasn’t two guys trying to be mucho. Peter and John weren’t flexing their biceps or displaying how powerful they were. This was two men who had spent time with Jesus and clearly were doing what they had been called to do, that is to be witnesses and sharers of the good news. Nothing was going to stop them from achieving that.
And the same should be true for us. Often we can think that we need to have gone to bible college in order to share the gospel, that we need to be eloquent with our words or be a people person or have the gift of evangelism or one of many other things. But the truth is that like Peter and John, two ordinary men with no special training, we too need to be bold about declaring the gospel of the kingdom of God. This boldness doesn’t come from staying in a safe place and watching from the sidelines, it comes from getting in the action and doing what you have been called to do.
Holy Troublemakers obey God, not man
In Acts 4:19 we read Peter and John ask “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him?” and again in Acts 5:29 they state human authority.” “We must obey God rather than any These two men knew that they had to obey the Word of the Lord over and above anything, or anyone, even the religious rulers of the day. They didn’t allow the fear of man to stop them from fulfilling the purposes of God. As I look at the public ministry of Jesus I see a man who wasn’t afraid to offend people, because he knew the message he carried was way too important to say silent.
The same is true for Peter and John. It would have been easy for them to obey the demands of the religious rulers of the day and stop preaching in the name of Jesus, and stop healing people in that same name. They didn’t do that, yes because they were bold, but also because they were obeying God, and not man.
As Holy Troublemakers it’s ok to disrupt what the world says is true or right or acceptable by bringing an eternal truth into the conversation. If you and I are going to be Holy Troublemakers in 2018 and beyond, we need to make sure we are not timid or afraid or racked with the fear of man.
Holy Troublemakers are Holy Spirit powered
Nothing Peter and John did was in their own strength, but everything was powered by the Holy Spirit. In Acts 4:9 we read “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…”
Everything that happened after that, the boldness and the disruption of the high council, was done because of the Holy Spirit working through Peter and John. Earlier Peter had denied Jesus three times, yet now this humble fisherman has been empowered by the Holy Spirit and so in him we see a much different man than we read about earlier in the gospels.
There is only so much we can do in our own strength. In fact, it’s quite easy for us to make a whole lot of trouble for ourselves and others when we try and do things with good intentions but in our own strength. Yet when our trouble is powered by the Holy Spirit, when it is God-breathed and God-directed, when it is the Lord himself who is guiding every step, that trouble becomes Holy and it disrupts the plans the enemy has in this world
So as you go about your daily routine, at work, at school or university, I want you to remember to be a Holy Troublemaker. Holy Troublemakers are a lot of things, but most of all they are lifesavers and world changers. They are not just changing the way people watch TV or listen to music, they are changing the way people live both now and for all eternity.
Make some trouble this week. Just make sure it is Holy Trouble, and that it is done to make known the name of Jesus.
Written by Wayne Hindson, ‘The Big Breakfast’ Show Host