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Malevolent Marriages/Great Gospel

August 28th, 2011 | Posted by Steve Sanchez in Great Quotes | Steve's Sermons

Most evangelists are aware of John Wesley, that awesome itinerant open air preacher who God used to bring about the Great Awakening in the 1700s and was the founder of the Methodist movement. What you may not know is that he had a horribly lousy marriage.

William Carey is considered the father of modern missions, but did you know that he, too, lived a matrimonial nightmare?

John Wesley’s wife Molly was so unhappy she decided to make John’s life miserable as well. Because he was away often preaching to crowds of thousands in the open fields, she grew resentful of his long absences. She destroyed some of his writings, criticized him publicly and repeatedly accused him of adultery.

According to Church History Blog “on several occasions she left home, only returning after he begged her repeatedly. Although he had been unspeakably angry with her, he kept aiming at reconciliation.

“But the home life was unhappy. John Hampson of Manchester ‘once entered a room unannounced to find Molly dragging her husband across the floor by his hair.’ (John Pollock, Wesley, Hodder, p.238)

“Finally, she left for good. Wesley wryly reported in his journal, ‘I did not forsake her, I did not dismiss her, I will not recall her.’ ”

You’d think that this was straight from an 18th century edition of the National Enquirer, but sadly, it’s all true.

William Carey’s wife Dolly refused to go with him to India but was pressured to go. Once there, their 5-year-old died and the other children continually contracted tropical diseases.

His wife started to go insane and constantly followed him down the street berating him, accusing him of having affairs with women, even threatening him with a knife. Finally, he had to keep her in a locked room.

His motto for life: “Expect great things; attempt great things.” *

On one hand, I’m distressed that God didn’t change the hearts of these wives to support their husbands in their respective Gospel ministries. I’m bummed that these men didn’t love their wives like Christ loved the church. John Wesley’s philosophy about being married and ministering was this:  “I cannot understand how a Methodist preacher can answer it to God to preach one sermon or travel one day less, in a married than in a single state.”

Yet on the other hand, I’m greatly encouraged because God uses people who have lousy marriages. He uses less-than-perfect people to his will. You don’t have to have it all together, all your ducks do not have to be in a row. (By the way, I don’t condone at all the behavior of these insensitive husbands. Family should always be a first consideration ala the mandates from Paul’s letter to Timothy concerning leadership qualifications.)

He can even use you and me as long as we are willing to “Do something! Do something! Do something!”

That was the title of a sermon I did last week which included these two men as illustrations of what God can do even if your family doesn’t appreciate your zeal.  I also include a lot of other crazy people who did something for God.

You can read the sermon below or click here and scroll on down to August 21, 2011 to hear or watch it. I guarantee you will be encouraged.

**********

*(The One Year Christian History. E. Michael and Sharon Rusten)(And William Carrey by S Pearce Carey) & (Christianhistory.net http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/131christians/missionaries/carey.html )
Read John Wesley’s Journal here.

**********

DO SOMETHING! DO SOMETHING! DO SOMETHING!

( Mark 3:31-35)

 One of my favorite catch-phrases for life comes from a partial quote from Charles Spurgeon: “Do something! Do something! Do something!”

 

I have found that it works in all aspects of life: If I don’t have an hour to work out, I’ll do something, like a 20 minute work out.

 

If I wake up too late and fall short in my daily Bible reading, I’ll do something and read what I can.

 

If my “Honey-Do” list is too long and I get overwhelmed at the immensity of the tasks at hand, I can do something, like one item on the list—or come up with a great excuse.

 

“Do something! Do something! Do something!”

 

This is more than just a motivational statement to help me get things done though; it’s actually a biblical test of whether I’m in a right relationship with God. Am I working out my salvation with fear and trembling? (Philippians 2:12)

 

Yes, we’re saved by grace through faith; yes, Jesus paid it all on the cross; no, we added nothing to our salvation. But how do we show we are part of God’s family?

 

A lot of people say they know God, a lot of people claim to have faith, but how is that faith working itself out in their lives?

 

James writes, “…faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:26)

 

In other words, are you doing something, doing something, doing something with what you say you believe?

 

Week after week we gather here at Hope Chapel; we listen, we nod our heads (some actually nod off), we take notes… but is there any change in our lives?

 

James again: But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:22)

 

***If you are a member of God’s family, you will be doing what God says. It’s as simple as that. Jesus said this “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John14:15)

 

It won’t be easy; it takes perseverance; people will misunderstand your intentions, even mocking and ridiculing you, but you will have the blessed assurance that you are in the greatest family—ever—when you do God’s will.

 

How do I know that? Jesus said it in Mark 3: 31-35. Let’s read it.

 

And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

 

Jesus had returned to his base of operations inCapernaum, probably at Peter’s house. Wherever Jesus went the crowds gathered because of the wondrous miracles he was performing. Everyone wanted to see the Jesus show.

 

Friends invited friends who invited friends who invited their friends and family. People who were sick, had demons, had issues—they all came. The crowds were massive.

 

Most rabbis during this time had small followings, but this teacher, the one who claimed to be the Messiah, was different. He spoke with authority, healed with authority; he cast out demons with authority. Who wouldn’t want to see Jesus? That’s entertainment!

 

But now the crowds are demanding. They’re getting unruly. The people are becoming an obstacle, a hindrance.

 

There is so much work and so many people—hundreds? thousands? tens of thousands?—that Mark 3:20 says, “Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat.”

 

If you are doing something for God, understand that ministry can be taxing.

 

Commitment can mean that you may miss out on a meal or two because you care about people. Commitment may mean standing at the end of the potluck line because you want everyone else to eat first.

 

Commitment may mean you face uncomfortable weather, strange environments and less-than-standard accommodations to reach people.

 

[Vietnam: 100+ degree temps, 100% humidity and gross hotel rooms.]

[Bugs and hair in sheets, stinky fruit and food you aren’t too sure about. Thit cay. Curses under the mattress and traffic w/o rules]

 

[We all had to remind ourselves why we were there. For the Gospel’s sake.]

 

Jesus is totally focused on the needs of the people who are coming to him for help. He’s pouring out his life, everything he’s got, for people, not caring a whit for his own physical needs. So what happens?

 

Mark 3:31: And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him.

 

You do know that Jesus had brothers and sisters don’t you? There are some who believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary, that the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus and that was it. But no, Jesus had half brothers and sisters, biological children of Mary and Joseph.

 

***Sisters are mentioned in Mark 6:3.

 

Catholic dogma says that Joseph had children from a previous marriage, but Scripture says nothing about that. Another explanation is that these children were from Mary’s sister, also named Mary. How many of you gave the same name to your children?

 

Nevertheless, his family is concerned because Jesus isn’t looking out for himself. The crowds are crushing, the work overwhelming, and sprinkled throughout the crowd are the religious leaders who have charged him with being possessed by the devil and a minion of Satan.

 

There’s an element of risk and danger to what Jesus is doing.

 

If you do something for God, there is no guarantee of safety and comfort.

If you are willing to love God and his people these are your marching orders:

 

Mark 8: 34-36: And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

 

His disciples understood those commands and were willing to lay down their lives. And most did.

 

  • Stephen, the first martyr (or witness), died of stoning.

 

  • James was the first of the apostles to be martyred. He was beheaded.

 

  • Matthew was pinned to the ground and beheaded.

 

  • James, Jesus brother was either stoned or thrown down from theTempleTowerthen had his head bashed in with aclub.

 

  • Andrew, Peter’s brother was crucified on an X-shaped cross.

 

  • Mark was dragged to pieces.

 

  • Peter was crucified upside down because he didn’t feel worthy to be crucified in the same manner of Jesus.

 

  • Paul, beheaded.

 

  • Jude, crucified.

 

  • Bartholomew, beaten and crucified.

 

  • Thomas was tortured speared and thrown into the flames.

 

  • Luke, hanged from an olive tree.

 

  • Tradition says John the beloved was cast into a large pot of boiling oil where it did him no harm then he was exiled, then died a non violent death at old age. (The New Foxe’s Book of Martyrs rewritten and updated by Harold J. Chadwick)

 

[We were impressed with Vietnamese college students who said they would share their faith despite the threat of arrest or loss of privilege. A while back students were sent out to share their faith at China Beach in Da Nang. Our contact, Loan, stayed behind because she was feeling well. All the students were arrested and written up in the local paper. Their scholarships were taken away.]

 

Jesus is unconcerned about the pressures and jeopardy he may be in but He’s doing what his Father has called him to do. Sadly, his family doesn’t understand.

 

Mark 3:32: And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.”

 

Now why exactly were they seeking him? Yes, the possible peril was a factor, his lack of concern for his health was an issue. But Mark 3:21 shows the real motivation behind their action:

 

And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

 

In their eyes, Jesus was a mentally unbalanced religious fanatic. In their opinion too much zeal and piety had warped his mind. The original language says literally that he’d lost his senses. And this is his own family!

If you do something for God, don’t expect to be respected by those closest to you.

 

Jesus certainly wasn’t respected by those who knew him.

 

After Jesus had healed a man with a demon and a woman who bled for 12 years then raised a little girl from the dead he went to his hometown ofNazarethto teach.

 

***Mark 6: 2-6: 2And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4

 

And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6And he marveled because of their unbelief.

 

If you do something for God, your family may not understand.

 

John Wesley, one of the preachers of the Great Awakening in the 18th century was hindered by family: his wife Molly. Because he was away often preaching to crowds of thousands in the open fields, she grew resentful of his long absences.

 

Since she was so unhappy, she decided to make Wesley’s life miserable. She destroyed some of his writings, criticized him publicly and repeatedly accused him of adultery.

 

She left him for three years then suddenly returned. After Molly came back, a friend “entered a room unannounced to find Molly dragging her husband across the floor by his hair.”

 

John Wesley, one of the greatest preachers who ever lived and founder of the Methodists ultimately gave up on her when she left for good writing “I did not forsake her, I did not dismiss her, I will not recall her.” He was not even informed of her death. (The One Year Christian History. E. Michael and Sharon Rusten & John Pollock, Wesley, Hodder, p.238

 

William Carey suffered greatly from family and friends while in the Mission Field of India. His co-worker squandered all their money leaving Carey almost destitute. His wife Dolly refused to go with him toIndiabut was pressured to go.

 

Once there, their 5-year-old died and the other children continually contracted tropical diseases.

 

His wife started to go insane and constantly followed him down the street berating him, accusing him of having affairs with women, even threatening him with a knife. Finally, he had to keep her in a locked room. (The One Year Christian History. E. Michael and Sharon Rusten)(And William Carrey by S Pearce Carey) & (Christianhistory.net http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/131christians/missionaries/carey.html )

 

His motto for life: “Expect great things; attempt great things.”

 

William Carey is known today as the father of modern missions.

 

[In Vietnam believers face great pressures from family. Primarily a Buddhist society, there is a real cost for converting to the “American Religion” as the Communist government calls it. Still, they do.]

 

[Some may even be disowned by their families. Anne Trinh was kicked out of the Buddhist Temple by her Dad when she ran in to tell him to repent! Her husband Duc wanted to punch out Zac when she came to Jesus.]

***Matthew 10:33-37: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36

And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Chuck Swindoll has said that even if your family is against you, keep ministering.

 

If you do something for God, at some point in your life someone should say, “There’s something different about you,” or “Why do you do what you do?” or… “You’re crazy.”

 

Scottish runner Eric Lidell was considered crazy. You may have heard of him from the movie, “Chariot’s of Fire.”

 

During the 1924 Olympics he refused to compete in the 100 meter dash because of his conviction that he would never race on a Sunday.

 

This event was scheduled for a Sunday.

 

No one fromScotlandhad ever won a Gold medal in the Olympics and Eric was considered a favorite for the race. Because he wanted to honor God he refused to break the Sabbath and did not race.

 

The Brittish press attacked him, calling him “A traitor to Scottish sporting.”

 

Ultimately, he qualified for the 400 meter finals, but was not considered a favorite. A team member handed him a piece of paper with this Scripture on it: “He that honors me, I will honor.”

Eric won the 400 meter race and set a new world record, also becoming the first Scotsman to win the gold. (The One Year Christian History. E. Michael and Sharon Rusten)

 

Was he crazy to honor God? He became a missionary and ended up dying in a Japanese prisoner of war camp when he was captured during WWII.

 

William and Catherine Booth were crazy when they had the idea to start a ministry in 19th centuryEngland that was designed to attract “wife-beaters, cheats and bullies, prostitutes, boys who had stolen the family food money, unfaithful husbands, burglars, and teamsters who had been cruel to their horses.”

 

They decided that they’d rather be forceful than fashionable for God.

 

The record speaks for the results of this forceful approach: 122 years after its official beginning, the Salvation Army’s has over 2,000,000 members ministering in 124 countries of the world in 175 languages. (Christian History Magazine, Issue 26, 1990)

 

Are you crazy for God? If you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?

 

One man has said, “It is always true that a man who is on fire for God seems deranged to his contemporaries. If we set out to make a fortune, men will cheer us; if we are a fanatic for Jesus Christ, they will jeer us.” (William MacDonald)

 

InVietnam, we explained to an underground church elder how we have complete freedom to share our faith and preach on street corners. “But, I explained, “the ironic thing is, though we have religious freedom, very few Christians are witnesses for Jesus.

 

He replied, “I’m jealous that you can evangelize so freely.”

 

Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, said that less than 2% of believers share their faith.

 

What’s stopping you from doing something for the Savior? Fear? Apathy? Maybe you don’t even know the Savior. Maybe you are not really in God’s family.

 

***Jesus said the most frightening words in the Bible in Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

 

After being told that his mother and brothers were outside seeking him, Jesus didn’t get mad because he was interrupted. He didn’t huff and puff and complain because he couldn’t finish his thoughts; he didn’t lift up his palm and say “Speak to the hand!”

 

No, he accepted the interruption and used it as a teachable moment to explain who’s really in God’s family.

 

Mark 3:33-36: And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

 

Jesus was not being disrespectful. He also wasn’t declaring that he didn’t know who his family was. He was explaining to all who were around him that a spiritual relationship is even closer than a blood relationship.

 

And one can only enter that spiritual relationship through repentance and faith in God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ. That relationship is evidenced by doing the will of God.

 

Are you doing something for God? Have you lost your religious fervor? Did you ever have it? Ever wanted to be a Jesus Freak? What happened? We need more crazy people for Christ.

 

Not bad crazy like the guy Robert the Jesus Guy at Trader Joes inRedondo Beachwho believes the organized church is evil and corrupted. (Show picture)

 

Not bad crazy like Rollen Stewart, a man who wore rainbow wigs while holding up John 3:16 signs at sporting events in the 70s.

 

He’s now serving 3 consecutive life sentences for kidnapping, threatening to shoot jets out of the sky at LAX, and for 4 stink bomb attacks. He believed at the time that the Rapture was to happen in 6 days.

 

At the police stand-off, he covered the hotel room windows with John 3:16 placards.

 

What’s the difference between “Bad crazy” and “Good crazy”? Accountability. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. I’m accountable to my pastor, our church council, and fellow evangelists.

 

[My first preaching dummy]

 

Is crazy, freak and fanatic too strong of words for your conservative comfy couch Christianity? Well then, are you still salt and light? Jesus said you are.

 

Matthew 5:12-17: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

InVietnamI tasted lousy unsalty salt. I wanted to spit it out. And the light in most of the place are those darn 60 watt fluorescent bulbs. You can’t see anything! Don’t be like that!

Do something! Do something! Do something! Why? For the sake of the Gospel. So others may see in you something attractive and want to know the Savior so they may be saved from Hell.

 

If you won’t speak of Jesus live for Jesus so others may see that Christ lives—in you!

 

Here’s how you can start doing something right now. People will think there is something different about you, maybe a little crazy. But you will be doing the will of God:

 

If you are single, make a commitment to live a celibate life until you are married. Talk about crazy?

 

If you are married, husbands love your wives, live with them in an understanding way and do not be harsh with them.

 

Wives, respect your husbands and submit to them as to the Lord.

 

Children, obey your parents. Christian, start tithing. Christian, take those trillion dollar bills and hand them out. Are you really in God’s family?

 

For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.

 

I will now close with the full quote from Charles Spurgeon: “Brethren, do something; do something, do something! While societies and unions make constitutions, let us win souls. I pray you, be men of action all of you. Get to work and quit yourselves like men. Old Suvarov’s idea of war is mine: `Forward and strike! No theory! Attack! Form a column! Charge bayonets! Plunge into the center of the enemy! Our one aim is to win souls; and this we are not to talk about, but do in the power of God!”

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10 Responses

  • Eric says:

    hello pastor Steve,
    Could you tell me what does it mean,

    Get to work and quit yourselves like men.

    Thanks!

  • Great blog. Encouraging to see how God uses imperfect men with imperfect wives to still continue to carry out the Gospel.

  • Great sermon, Pastor Steve. Thank you for encouraging (and convicting) me as usual.

  • Garrett says:

    I understand you guys and gals think marriages are ordained or somehow “chosen” by God, but the stance against divorce confuses me. You see things as part of a fallen or corrupted existence. Why wouldn’t marriage fall under that? Clearly some marriages aren’t going to work. No matter how hard you try, some personality clash that went unforeseen during the courtship process has cropped up and made thing unmanageable.

    Clearly it’s best for this marriage to end in the hopes of each person finding another spouse that would be a better match. The alternative is to miserably work towards the futile effort of making a bad match work. Why force people into that kind of life?

    Not to say that you should abandon ship at the first sign of conflict, but you reach a point where you see that things aren’t going to work out in the long term.

  • Richard Chavarria says:

    Great encouragement to believers with difficult spouses. Men and women can take heart in this blog post. Those who stay behind and help their spouses are a reward. Those who go out as husband and wife and evangelize the lost are a treasure and in my limited experience very rare.

  • Garrett:

    Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

    To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:8-11)

    There’s also some silliness that follows about if your spouse is an unbeliever, you can’t divorce them, but they can leave you – go figure.

    Apparently, God hates divorce. And Newt Gingrich…

  • Garrett says:

    Yeah Cynic, but that’s just a command with no rationale behind it. What I want is the reasoning behind it. Well, besides “Cuz God sez so.”

  • Thomas Moore says:

    Thank you Pastor Steve for sharing this info. It really is encouraging because of who God can use!

    God bless!



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