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Becoming A Difference Maker
It’s easy to assume that because we’re just one person we can’t possibly make or affect any sort of real change or difference.
In “It’s A Wonderful Life”, Jimmy Stewart plays a man named George Bailey. George has big dreams, but instead he winds up having to take over his father’s building and loan business. One day all the money disappears and he becomes so despondent he decides to take his own life.
He says, “I wish I’d never been born.” But his guardian angel, Clarence, intervenes and shows him what life would have been like had he never been born. Clarence shows him how many lives he touched and made a difference for good.
Isn’t that what we want for us? Don’t we all want our lives to count, to be able to touch the lives of others and make a positive difference? The reality is we all want to be difference makers.
In fact, that is our mission at Living Waters Fellowship, to make a difference in our community for Christ. That is, to make a difference in our families, in our neighborhoods, and in our workplaces, for the cause of Christ, for the cause of the Kingdom of God.
Today I’d like to look at those things that we can do that can help make a difference in our life that will then help make a difference in the lives of others.
1. Change Your Thinking
“Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” (Ephesians 4:23 NKJV)
Paul says being renewed begins through confession and ends with repentance.
Paul begins by saying that we are to put off our former conduct that he calls the “old man” that’s growing more and more corrupt through our sinful nature. The only way we take off the “old man,” that is, our sinful desires are to confess them.
Webster’s Dictionary defines confession as telling or making known a wrong. But it actually goes much deeper. In Greek to confess means to speak the same thing. But the question is, “The same things as what?”
It means to call is like it is. We don’t try to change the name to make it more palatable. Confessing is speaking or calling it the same thing that God calls it, that is, calling what we do by its real name. It’s calling sin what it is, sin. Let me give you some examples.
• It’s not calling the sin of homosexuality an alternative lifestyle.
• It’s not calling drunkenness going out and having a good time.
• It’s not calling fornication and adultery messing around.
Confession, therefore, means to call it like it is.
If we want to continue down the road to spiritual transformation we must make a choice. We can continue to conceal the truth of our sins, or we can confess them.
Solomon explains the results of each.
“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13 NIV)
The idea of renouncing our sins brings me to the second part and that is repentance.
The Apostle Paul went on to say to the Ephesian church that their desire should be to change their wardrobe, to put on the “new man,” that is, the person God created us to be in the first place before sin entered the picture and ruined everything.
The cry of our hearts should therefore be, “I want to change. I need to change. I have to change.” And, guess what, we can do it, because God is in the changing business! We can change!
Now, while there are a whole lot of different programs and methods available in society and the church to facilitate change, and many of them are good. But God has only one way, and that’s the way of Holy Spirit repentance.
“Repent and turn from all your transgressions so that iniquity will not be your ruin.” (Ezekiel 18:30 NKJV)
Repentance is the Hebrew word that means to turn, turn from the way we are going and start walking in the will and way of God. In Greek it means to have a change of mind. It means more than merely mental consent, however. It involves the whole of our beings; it involves our minds, will, and emotions.
And so to change one’s thinking is to have our minds renewed through the Holy Spirit, who now lives inside of us, which involves confession and repentance.
The second thing we can do to be those difference makers is to…
2. Meet the Needs of Others
To make a difference we must be willing to put the needs of others before our own. This, however, is not what most of us are taught. We’re taught, “Look out for number one.” And in the corporate world most people succeed by stepping on others. But this is not the way of Christ, nor is it the way to make a positive impact for Christ in our community.
The Apostle Paul said,
“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4 NKJV)
And while this doesn’t really say to put others before self, Paul does go further in his letter to the Roman church.
The Apostle Paul said,
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself.” (Romans 15:1-3a NIV)
Actually what we’re told is that with the same grace and mercy God showed us that helped us get through our trials of life, we are to show this same grace and mercy to those who are going through the same thing.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJV)
God didn’t take us through these trials and tribulations for nothing. He didn’t bring us through disease, divorce, or the death of someone we love so we could get on with our own lives. He did so that we can help make a positive difference in the lives of others so that we could help others who are going through the same thing.
This is what our mission at Living Waters is all about. It’s making a difference in our community for Christ. It’s all about making a difference in the lives of others, through meeting legitimate needs.
I’ve been asked by many, “What’s God’s purpose for what we’re going through?” You see, if they could see a purpose behind the chaos, behind the trials and tribulations they’re experiencing, then they can handle it.
But God doesn’t always share with us why He’s allowing these difficulties, problems, and trials in our lives when we’re going through them. First I think God wants to see if we’ll remain faithful to Him and to the call He has for our lives.
Next it’s to help others who are going through the same thing. Once we’ve gone though these trials we need to come alongside those who are going through these same difficulties and help them out with the same grace and comfort God gave us while we were going through it.
But while we are going through these difficulties, God gives us what we’re suppose to be doing, and it isn’t hiding out, retreating, or regressing. It’s to continue making a difference in the lives of others, to continue in the calling God has placed upon our lives.
Jesus gave us our walking orders when He talked about our need to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and visit those who are sick or in prison, and this wasn’t just when it’s convenient, but at all times.
And then He said that when we meet the needs of others we’re actually doing it for Him.
“I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40 NKJV)
Not only are we to pray for others, we are to help meet their needs, which are not just their physical needs, but their spiritual needs as well.
This leads me to the third thing we need to do to be those difference makers.
3. Share the Gospel
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16 NKJV)
The one thing that bothers me with many Christian food and clothing ministries is that while they do a great job providing food and clothing they miss the most important point, and that is sharing the Gospel message, which is the whole reason why they have their food and clothing ministry.
They take care of the physical but leave the spiritual. Jesus tells us,
“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” (Luke 9:25 NKJV)
If I were to sum up the Gospel message it would be that everyone is separated from God because of sin. And the result of that separation is death, not just physical death, but spiritual death.
But God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place, so that whoever believes in Him can have eternal life instead of eternal death.
How do we go about sharing this incredible message? I believe we can liken it to the way a jeweler displays a beautiful piece of jewelry. They place it on a black cloth to allow the beauty of the gems to shine.
In the same way we are to present the good news of Jesus Christ. We start by displaying the good news in direct opposition to the bad news. What’s the bad news? The bad news begins with the fact that we’re all sinners.
The Bible says that all have sinned and have fallen short of God’s holy and righteous standards for life, and that the wages of sin is death, Romans 3:23, 6:23.
The bad news continues when we realize that there’s no way for us to make it right with God.
The Bible also says that there is no one who is righteous enough for God, and that no one can pay the redemption price because it’s way too costly, that is, it’s over our pay grade, Romans 3:10; Psalm 49:7.
But then we place the gemstone of the gospel message, that though Jesus Christ we can come into a right relationship with God, and when we place this upon the black cloth of our sinfulness, then people will see their need. Paul said that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)
And through Jesus Christ, God reconciled all humanity to Himself, but catch this, through what He did for us, God gave us our ministry, and that is the ministry of reconciliation, that is, helping others get their lives right with God, that is, helping to make a positive difference in their lives.
The Bible says that God has therefore committed to us this word of reconciliation, that is, we’ve been given the gospel message that says people can be made right with God through faith in Jesus Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19.
The Apostle Paul then goes on to say,
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV)
God has committed into our care this gospel message of how people can get right with God through faith in Jesus Christ, who is the greatest difference maker there is.
And so we become those difference makers by first changing the way we think, that is, being renewed in our minds through the Holy Spirit by confessing our sins and then turning away from them, that is, repentance.
We then make a difference by helping others in their time of need, often times the same way we were helped by God in our time of need. But it cannot end there, because if all we do is help those in need, like feeding or clothing them, what good is that, they are simply full and well clothed but still on the highway to hell.
To be those true difference makers, we need to share with them the good news of Jesus Christ, and how through belief in His death and resurrection, we can be made right with God and as a result, saved.
So let’s go Living Waters Fellowship, let’s start making a difference, and let’s “Each One Reach One”
Wednesday Evening Bible Study