Summary: Revival, Obedience, Making a Difference
I WILL – “I Will” Make a Difference
Ephesians 5:14-15 (pg. 816) November 29, 2015
I have always loved history and the stories that come from it...maybe that’s why I love the history from the Greco-Roman world and the myths that come from it...the Greeks and so many gods, that when the Apostle Paul was there in Athens in Acts Chapter 17 it says “he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.” And since the Athenians loved to discuss new things...Paul went to the Areopagus and addresses these very religious people...He gives an amazing testimony and history lesson. Listen to it:
ACTS 17:22-34 (p. 772)
Paul says, “You’re uninformed about the one true God you don’t know...let me inform you and then from creation, to Abraham to Jesus’ resurrection He informs them...it’s a brand new thing...some sneer at the message, but others believe and become disciples.
It’s a wake up call for very religious people...who do the same things over and over again...who love nothing more than talking about their religion to have a resurrected life in Christ...some mocking say “I’ll keep doing what I’ve always done...there is no resurrection from the dead! And others “wake up...live...and make a difference.
[The Greeks have a myth about a King named Sisyphus
SHOW PIC OF SISYPHUS
He tricked the god Zeus and for his punishment He had to push a rock up a hill...But Zeus had enchanted the rock so it rolled away from Sisyphus...just before he reached the top of the hill. So Sisyphus would spend eternity continually pushing this rock up the hill without accomplishing his goal. Sisyphus was consigned to an eternity of useless efforts and unending frustration because of his rejection of Zeus’ authority.]
God has a plan...from the creation of the world...He doesn’t need anything...He is not served by human hands...rather He gives everyone life and breath and everything else...Paul knew that his purpose...His calling...everything that meant anything was because “In Him we live and move and have our being.”
Religion will put you in a dangerous sleep...Jesus’ resurrection wakes you up to say “I will make a difference.” Religion makes you endlessly and uselessly push a rock up a hill...The resurrection rolls away the stone that holds you back!
So what’s the problem with our churches today?
I. THE PROBLEM IS ME AND YOU
You see churches are no stronger than their church members...and way too many of us are spending our time and efforts pushing rocks up hills instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to enable us to roll away the stones in people’s lives.
Until you and I are willing to be obedient...to wake up and rise from the dead nothing changes...It’s time for church members to become obedient and seriously be part of the body of Christ that 1 Corinthians 12 talks about. It’s time to say, “I Will.” (The challenge we’ve heard about for the last 10 weeks)
I will have the attitude of Christ and put other church members before my wants and desires.
I will gladly participate in corporate worship with my fellow church members as long as I am physically able.
I will get involved in a group or a class so that I might grow spiritually together with others, and so that I might be accountable to them.
I will go and share the gospel with others in words and deeds, and not be ashamed of my Savior.
I will give abundantly and joyfully, recognizing that God is the owner of all things I currently steward.
I will participate in the life of my church because God leads me to do so, not becaue I feel compelled to please people and overcommit.
I will focus on what Christ has done for me, and not on the flaws of my church, its leaders, or its members.
And I will pray that God will use me as an instrument to revive His church, for His name, and for His glory.
Thom Rainer shares a great story in the concluding chapter of “I Will” and I’d like to share it here:
His name was Jeremiah Lanphier. The date was September 23, 1857. The location was New York City.
For days Lanphier had been handing out flyers about a time of prayer. He likely distributed more than twenty-thousand flyers by himself.
He was a man under God’s conviction. He was desperate for a move of God, and He knew no human-powered system or organization could manufacture such a move.
So he prayed. And he called others to prayer as well. Lanphier probably had great anticipation that many would show up at noon on September 27. The city had a population of one million. His flyers were likely seen by more than the original twenty thousand recipients of the flyers.