Summary: This sermon looks at how we can make a positive difference in our communities for Christ. We look at things that we can do 1) Change our thinking (Confession and Repentance). 2) Meet the needs of others, and 3) Share the Gospel message.
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.