member of the body of Christ would become a troublemaker! We
need an army of troublemakers who have become so full of the
Holy Ghost they will stir up and trouble New York City and every
other city around the world; trouble their wicked institutions -
challenge the established dead churches - trouble the leaders,
the mayors, the city councils, the community leadership! In other
words, we need Holy Ghost troublemakers moving in the Spirit,
proclaiming the kingship of Christ so effectively that whole cities
Paul and Silas were two the world's biggest troublemakers! The
Bible speaks of "men that have risked their lives for the name of
our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 15:26, NAS). Paul, Barnabas, Silas,
and Timothy were such men, walking in the power of the Spirit.
As seen in Acts 16, when the Holy Ghost forbid them to speak
the Word in Asia, they obeyed. When they tried to go to Bithynia,
but the Spirit would not permit them, they went instead to Troas,
under the Spirit's direction. Paul then had a vision of a man
calling them to Macedonia, so they set out immediately to
Philippi, the chief city of Macedonia. When they arrived, a fortune
teller followed them about, crying, "...These men are the servants
of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation"
(Acts 16:17). After enduring it for many days, Paul turned and
"...said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ
to come out of her. And he came out the same hour" (Acts 16:18).
Suddenly the whole city was in an uproar: this fortune teller was
apparently a big tourist attraction, but now she was healed and
praising the Lord!
Paul had upset the status quo. He had challenged the devil who
had been having his way for years. The slave-owners of the
delivered woman then dragged Paul and Silas into the market-
place to stand trial before the city magistrates. The charge was,
"...These men... do exceedingly trouble our city" (Acts 16:20).
"And the multitude rose up together against them: and the
magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them
into prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks" (Acts 16:22-24).
It looked as though Satan had won. The new converts must have
been stunned! But all the power of God is with Holy Ghost
troublemakers! "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and
sang praises unto God... and suddenly there was a great earth-
quake, so that the foundations of the prison was shaken: and
immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands
were loosed" (Acts 16:25-26). The jailer, seeing what had
happened, even fell down before Paul and Silas, saying "...Sirs,
what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30). Those city officials
and religious leaders went to bed thinking, "We did it to them!
That's the last we will hear of those vagabond troublemakers. We
really shut them up and scared them!" But what a commotion the
next day! I can imagine sergeants knocking on the doors of the
mayor, city council members, and the religio us leaders, telling
them, "Quick! Get down to city hall - we've got a big problem!"
In a state of shock, the officials probably responded, "What? An
earthquake? The prison doors opened? Their chains all fell off?
They didn't even try to escape? The jailer joined their faith?
They're Romans?!?" Now, they were really afraid. It was a crime
to beat Roman citizens (Paul and Silas were both Romans).
"What do you mean they won't budge from our jail? They demand
what? For us to come down and apologize and escort them out
of jail? " And they came... and brought them out... begging them
to leave the city" (Acts 16:39).
I love it! Here they were, not flaunting their spiritual authority, but
merely acting as ambassadors of King Jesus. As they had
witnessed Christ's power being mocked, Paul and Silas now
wanted that little riverside prayer group to see how God manifests
His power to those who stand up against the forces of hell. They
went directly to the house of Lydia - and what a meeting that
must have been! I would think Paul told that house group, "See!
The devil can rage, the powers that be may threaten - but God
has all the power! God will stand by you if you take a stand!"
I preach a great deal on prayer and I believe in the effectual,
fervent prayer of the righteous. But praying alone, praying by two's
and three's, or even in a large prayer meeting will not alone shake
a city! Elijah was a man of powerful prayer, but it was more than
his prayers that shook Ahab's kingdom and enraged Jezebel: He
called the false prophets to Mount Carmel and challenged them.
Jezebel had slain God's prophets and led Israel into apostasy
and the horrible idolatry of Baal worship - and no one had
challenged her! Seven thousand believers had not bowed, but they
were silent, unknown, and afraid. So along comes Elijah, the
troublemaker! Ahab called him "the troubler of Israel!" (1 Kings
18:17). Elijah ended up at the Brook Kishon with a sword in his
hand, slaying hundreds of Baal's false prophets "in the name of Jehovah."
Elijah was not a polite gentlemen with the devil and his crowd.
While "...they leaped upon the alter... Elijah mocked them
[derided them]" (1 Kings 18:26-27).
The church of late has cowered before the powers of darkness
due to the lack of holiness, for the Scripture tells us, "...The
righteous are bold as a lion" (Proverbs 28:1). Some will say, "But
Jesus was meek - He never opened His mouth or resisted when
they took Him to be crucified!" But that was because the hour
of darkness had come, the hour He was to be given into the hands
of the enemy. He was not silent in the temple when driving out
the money-changers. He was not silent when calling religious
leaders serpents - blind guides - whited sepulchers - a brood of
vipers (see Matthew 23). He even told some boldly that Satan
was their father!
Many churches today are full of silent, gentlemanly diplomats,
not wanting to make waves! Nobody wants trouble! So the devil's
kingdom goes unchallenged. We have more than enough smiling,