by Steve Klein
INTRO: Perhaps you've heard the story about the monk who joined a monastery and took a vow of silence. After the first 10 years his superior called him in and asked, "Do you have anything to say? You are permitted two words." The monk replied, "Food bad." After another 10 years the monk again had opportunity to voice his thoughts. He said, "Bed hard." Another 10 years went by and again he was called in before his superior. When asked if he had anything to say, he responded, "I quit." "It doesn't surprise me a bit. You've done nothing but complain ever since you got here."
· Untold suffering seldom is. ~Franklin P. Jones
Constant complainers are not pleasing to God.
The Israelites were some of the worst complainers ever.
We are not to be like them! 1 Corinthians 10:10 "nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer"
I. We should be careful not to complain to God about . . .
A. Suffering the consequences of our sins. Lamentations 3:38-39 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed? 39Why should a living man complain, A man for the punishment of his sins?
§ ILLUS: The pig who kills the oak tree by rooting around it's base and laying bare the roots has no right to complain later that there are no acorns.
§ ILLUS: "I will not be as those who spend the day in complaining of headache, and the night in drinking the wine that gives it" Geothe
§ We have first raised a dust and then complain we cannot see. - Bishop George Berkeley
B. Because of the grace He extends to others. Matthew 20:11-12 11And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, 12saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.'
C. The Leadership He has ordained Complaining against the Lord's leadership is complaining against the Lord (Numbers 16 - esp. 11, 41)
D. The Blessings He provides (Numbers 11:4-6, 18-20, 31-33)
QUOTE: All our murmurings are so many arrows shot at God Himself, and they will return upon our own hearts; they reach not Him, but they will hit us; they hurt not Him, but they will wound us; therefore it is better to be mute than to murmur; it is dangerous to provoke a consuming fire. - James H. Aughey
E. The commandments of God -
1. The Israelites complained when God commanded them to enter Canaan and take it -- Deuteronomy 1:26-27 "Nevertheless you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God; and you complained in your tents, and said, 'Because the LORD hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.
2. We must do all things without complaining -- Philippians 2:14-15 "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world"
II. We should also be cautious about complaints against our fellowman
A. There are beneficial complaints -
1. Those that are based on fact and are offered for the benefit of others.
a. Acts 6:1 "Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution"
b. However, many complaints do not fall in this category because they are not based on fact: ILLUS: A customer was bothering the waiter in a restaurant. First, he asked that the air conditioning be turned up because he was too hot, then he asked it be turned down cause he was too cold, and so on for about half an hour. Surprisingly, the waiter was very patient, he walked back and forth and never once got angry. So finally, a second customer asked him why he didn't throw out the pest. "Oh, I really don't care or mind," said the waiter with a smile. "We don't even have an air conditioner."
2. Those that resolve sin -- Colossians 3:13 "bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do."
B. But in general, we should avoid complaints against each other.
1. James 5:9 "Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be £condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!"
2. ILLUS: A typical American family was driving home from church one Sunday. Dad was fussing about the sermon being too long and sort of boring. Mom said she thought the song leader sang too loudly during the second hymn they sang. Sis, who was a music major in college, said she thought he was a half note off key during most of the song. Grandma said she couldn't hear very well -- since they were sitting toward the back. As they pulled in the driveway, little Willie, who had listened to all of this, started to fuss about the woman who sat in front of him with that big hat. Then he paused, nudged his dad, and said, "But, Dad, you gotta admit, it was a pretty good show for that $5 you put in the collection plate."
3. Such complaints say a lot more about us then about the ones we are complaining about.
a. Jude 1:16 "These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage."
b. You will find that, as a rule, those who complain about the way the ball bounces are usually the ones who dropped it.
Conclusion: Joe Walsh famously said, "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do." We should resolve that we can't and we won't.
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