We Can Make a DifferenceAugust 7th, 2013 by Rev. Ruel Camia
Posted under Worship
Today, we’re going to look at one man whose life is a testimony to making a difference in the lives of the people around him.
– Most of you are familiar with the story of Noah, the one man on the face of the earth that was still following God in an age when everyone else was walking away.
– Noah’s story relates to us what God can do through one man or woman who is willing to be used by Him to make a difference in the world.
– We’re going to look at Noah’s story through three statements, personally applied to each and every one of us.
I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHEN I…
1. LISTEN TO GOD’S VOICE
– God looked out over all the earth and found only one man that He could relate to.
– The fall of God’s creation began with the sin of Adam and Eve and continued to go downhill, until righteousness was absent from the face of the earth.
– Genesis 6:5-8 Now the LORD observed the extent of the people’s wickedness, and he saw that all their thoughts were consistently and totally evil. So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them. It broke his heart. And the LORD said, “I will completely wipe out this human race that I have created. Yes, and I will destroy all the animals and birds, too. I am sorry I ever made them. But Noah found favor with the LORD.
– As God considered the sinfulness of humankind, He was looking for someone that He could count on to make a difference.
– God was going to destroy the world because of its evil, but He had not yet given up on humankind entirely, He needed one man who He could use to begin again.
– That one person was Noah – the one person on the entire planet who found favor with the Lord.
– While all the people around him were running from God and His cause, Noah was ready and willing to hear God’s voice and act upon it.
– Hebrews 11:7 It was by faith that Noah built an ark to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about something that had never happened before. By his faith he condemned the rest of the world and was made right in God’s sight.
– I’m quite certain that God isn’t calling any of us to build an ark and repopulate the planet – but I am just as certain that God is calling each of us to make a difference in our world, just as Noah did.
– You and I will only make a difference in our families, and in our church, and in the world around us, when we learn, like Noah, to hear the voice of God. Sa mundo na napakaingay tila ang marinig ang tinig ng Dios ay hindi na posible…ngunit kung hahanapin natin siya sa kanyang mga salita(bible) tiyak matatagpuan natin ang kanyang kalooban.
[- In Directions, James Hamilton writes: Before refrigerators, people used ice houses to preserve their food.
– Ice houses had thick walls, no windows, and a tightly fitted door.
– In winter, when streams and lakes were frozen, large blocks of ice were cut, hauled to the ice houses, and covered with sawdust.
– Often the ice would last well into the summer.
– One man lost a valuable watch while working in an ice house.
– He searched for it, carefully raking through the sawdust, but didn’t find it.
– His fellow workers also looked, but their efforts, too, proved futile.
– A small boy who heard about the fruitless search slipped into the ice house during the noon hour and soon emerged with the watch.
– Amazed, the men asked him how he found it–“I closed the door,” the boy replied, “lay down in the sawdust, and kept very still. Soon I heard the watch ticking.”]
– Often the question is not whether God is speaking, but whether we are being still enough, and quiet enough, to hear.
– God doesn’t always speak to us as He did to Noah – He doesn’t always come to us with a loud, booming voice.
– Once the prophet Elijah needed to hear a word from God and the Lord instructed Him to go stand on the mountain – a violent whirlwind passed by, but the Lord wasn’t in the whirlwind – next there was an earthquake, but the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake – next there was a fire, but the Lord wasn’t present in the fire.
– 1 Kings 19:12b After the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.
– God spoke to Elijah, not in the violence of the whirlwind, earthquake, or fire, but in the still small voice of a whisper.
– I contend that this is the way that God normally speaks to us – and I am certain that God is speaking to us today, just like He did in the days of Noah.
– We aren’t going to stand by and wait for the thunder–if we want to hear His voice we have to slow down enough to hear what it is He is calling us to do – only then will we learn how to make a difference in our world.
I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHEN I…
2. LIVE FOR GOD’S PURPOSE
[- Here’s an easy question: What is the primary purpose of an ink pen?
– The answer, of course, is to write.
– A $100 gold pen that’s out of ink might be pretty to look at, but it’s a failure as a pen – it’s not fulfilling its purpose – it’s useless.
– In fact, when it comes time to endorse your paycheck, you’ll bypass the gold pen, and use a 29¢ Bic.]
– Let me ask you a harder question: What is your primary purpose in life?
– I think we can learn the answer to that question by returning to Noah’s story.
– Genesis 6:9 …Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless man living on earth at the time. He consistently followed God’s will and enjoyed a close relationship with him…
– After God gave Noah instructions for how the ark was to be built, and who and what he was to bring into the boat, we read:
– Genesis 6:22 Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.
– When it came the day to load up the ark, God gave Noah a number of other details and we read that:
– Genesis 7:5 Noah did exactly as the LORD had commanded him.
– Genesis 7:9 They came into the boat in pairs, male and female, just as God had commanded Noah.
– Noah knew something that many of us still need to learn – Noah understood how to follow both God general purpose, and His specific purpose.
– God’s general purpose for Noah, and for each one of us who have ever lived, is really quite simple – God’s general purpose is summed up in:
– Philippians 2:12-13 Dearest friends, you were always so careful to follow my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away you must be even more careful to put into action God’s saving work in your lives, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him.
– Our general purpose is to live in obedience to God and to please Him.
– How do I do that? By following the simple instructions He has given to us.
– But then there is God’s specific purpose: God’s specific purpose for Noah was to build an ark, load it up with his family and a whole bunch of animals, so that when the flood was over, they could repopulate the earth.
– That was God’s specific purpose for Noah – it is the only time in all of history that God had this purpose for one of His creation, and it is the last time.
– But God has a specific purpose for each and every one of us.
– How do I know what that specific purpose is? A few ways:
1) Listen for God’s voice;
– What is God saying to you during your time of prayer? How is He convicting and leading you?
2) Discover your spiritual gift;
– Come to our 301 CLASS the next time it’s offered and find out what God has gifted you to do – for now, focus on what you know are your areas of strength.
3) Focus on ministering to the people around you now.
– There is no doubt that God has called each of us to minister within our family and church settings – begin there to fulfill God’s calling to be like Him.
– When you know what God’s general and specific purpose for your life is, you will begin to make a real life-impacting difference in both your own circumstances and in the lives of the people around you.
– Begin to live for God – and I guarantee you that your life will take on a new quality of meaning that you’ve never known before.
I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHEN I…
3. LOVE GOD IN WORSHIP
[- In his book Good Morning Merry Sunshine, Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene chronicles his infant daughter’s first year of life.
– When little Amanda began crawling he records:
– “This is something I’ve had trouble getting used to. I will be in bed reading a book or watching TV. And I will look down at the foot of the bed and there will be Amanda’s head staring back at me.
– “Apparently I’ve become one of the objects that fascinates her…it’s so strange. After months of having to go to her, now she is choosing to come to me.
– “I don’t know quite how to react. All I can figure is that she likes the idea of coming in and looking at me. She doesn’t expect anything in return.
– “I’ll return her gaze and in a few minutes she’ll decide she wants to be back in the living room and off she’ll crawl again.”]
– There’s a great analogy here for worship – we’re like the little kid standing at the end of the bed, peeking over the top in wonderment at God.
– I’ll bet that’s how Noah felt when he finally got off the ark.
– Genesis 8:20-21a Noah built an altar to the LORD and sacrificed on it the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose. And the LORD was pleased with the sacrifice…
– Here’s old Noah, building an altar, and looking up in worship to this God – this God who had chosen him out of all the people who lived on earth – this God who had instructed him on every detail concerning what He wanted him to do – this God who had proven His love to Noah and his family – this God who had protected them in what had to be the scariest experience anyone has ever had.
– Noah reaches the end of this fantastic journey and He has no choice but to stop and take a peek over the top of the bed at God.
[“Our greatest claim to nobility is our created capacity to know God, to be in personal relationship with him, to love him and to worship him. Indeed, we are most truly human when we are on our knees before our Creator.” – John Stott]
– You see, this is what it all boils down to, doesn’t it?
– The reason that we listen for God’s voice, and the reason that we want to live for God’s purpose, is because we love God, and we express that love to Him in worship.
– It is only in worship, whether here in a church setting, or in my own time of quiet reflection – when it’s just God and me – that I realize I can make a difference in this world, because the One that I’m worshiping is here to guide, direct and comfort me.
– And I have no choice really, but to get down on my knees and lift my hands toward heaven, and offer myself as a living sacrifice before Him.
– I wonder, can God count on you today? Are you ready to make a difference for Him in the Kingdom, in your family, in this church?
– Is today the day that you pledge yourself to refuse to live a life of mediocrity?
– God is here, if you’ll just listen to His voice – if you’ll just begin to live for Him – if you’ll just acknowledge Him in worship – He will show you how to make a difference for Him.