ONE OF YOU SHALL CHASE A THOUSAND!
A. HUMOR: WHEN EVERYBODY GAVE
1. The pastor of a tiny country church had been having trouble with little giving in the offerings.
2. One Sunday he announced, “Now, before we receive the offering, I would like to request that the person who stole the eggs from Widow Jones’s chicken coop please DO NOT GIVE any money in the offering. God doesn’t want money from thieving hypocrites.”
3. The offering plate was passed, and for the first time in months everybody gave. God wants all of us to give of ourselves too!
B. TEXT & IMPLICATIONS
1. “One…of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you. Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God.” Josh. 23:10-11, NKJV.
2. Often we are overwhelmed by a sense of personal insignificance. Often people feel like “throw aways.” We feel useless believing, "I am just one--and what can just one do?" BUT ONE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
C. ONE VOTE PUT TEXAS & CALIFORNIA IN U.S.A.
1. On a sweltering summer afternoon in 1842, Henry Shoemaker, a farmer in Indiana, remembered it was election day and he’d forgotten to vote. He had promised to vote for Democrat state rep Madison Marsh. He saddled his horse, rode to the polling place, and cast his ballot. As a result, Madison Marsh was elected…by one vote.
2. At that time, state legislators elected U.S. senators. In January of 1843, Madison Marsh, after the sixth electoral ballot, changed his vote, triggering the election of Democrat Edward Hannegan to the United States Senate…by one vote.
3. In February 27, 1845, the United States Senate voted on admitting Texas. The original vote was a tie at 26-26. Senator Henry Johnson of Louisiana changed his vote, allowing the measure to pass 27-25. Senator Edward
Hannegan had cast a vote for Texas, keeping it a tie until Johnson switched sides. His vote was decisive!
4. In 1846, the U.S. Senate was deadlocked about whether to declare war with Mexico. Senator Edward Hannegan cast the deciding vote for war. As a result, California changed hands from Mexico to the United States. [these facts have been verified http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/imh/view.do?docId=VAA4025-031-2-a03]
1. It’s amazing what one person can do! Helen Keller said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do."
2. We’re going to look through Scripture and see examples of how God demonstrated that one person can make an incredible difference.
3. The title of this message is “One of You Shall Chase a Thousand!”
I. ONE LITTLE BOY – instrumental in feeding 5000 (Availability)
A. SCRIPTURE READING
9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten” John 6:9-13.
1. The little boy could easily have said, “I’m just a kid, what can I do? There’s thousands of grown-ups; if they can’t take care of the problem, what can I do?”
2. But he still offered what little he had and Jesus used his small offering to feed the multitude!
3. God uses what you have to fill a need. The widow who poured the oil to save her sons, undoubtedly had small vessels and large vessels to fill. Each one played a part in God’s plan.
4. Some of you feel like, “I’m just a small vessel; I don’t matter.” But that’s not true. God fills you with His oil for you to pour out to liberate someone. Your oil is needed.
5. God doesn’t need much to work a miracle. Every vessel matters. God will multiply your little bit to meet a need no one else could supply.
6. Isaiah said, “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ’Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ’Here am I! Send me." (6:8)
7. Make yourself available to God and you’ll be surprised what He does with your little bit!
II. ONE LITTLE GIRL – she was instrumental in healing a world military leader
A. STORY OF THE LITTLE MAID
1. “Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. 2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 2 Kings 5:1-3, NIV.
2. Instead of being glad God had afflicted Naaman with leprosy, the Little Maid was forgiving and compassionate toward her captors. She bragged on God to the lost people around her and had faith in the power of God that was an honor to God.
3. Her faith eventually converted the great general, who undoubtedly, was more careful with his treatment of God’s people after that.
1. There was a professor of philosophy at USC who was a deeply committed atheist. His primary goal for one required class was to spend the entire semester attempting to prove that God could not exist. His students were always afraid to argue with him because of his impeccable logic.
2. For twenty years he had taught this class and no one had ever had the courage to go against him. At the end of every semester, on the last day, he would say to the class of 300 students, "If there’s anyone here who still believes in God, stand up!" In twenty years, nobody had ever stood up, because they knew what he’d say next.
3. He would say, "Anyone who believes in God is a fool. If God existed, he could stop this piece of chalk from hitting the ground and breaking. Such a simple task to prove he is God, and yet he can’t do it." And every year he would drop the chalk onto the tile floor of the classroom and it would shatter into a hundred pieces.
4. A Christian heard the stories about this professor, but finally had to take the class, because it was required for his major. But he prayed every morning that he would have the courage to stand up no matter what the professor said or what the class thought.
5. Finally, the day came. The professor said, "If there’s anyone here who still believes in God, stand up!" The professor and the class of three hundred people looked at him, shocked, as he stood up at the back of the room. The professor shouted, "YOU FOOL! If nothing I’ve said all semester has convinced you that God doesn’t exist, then you ARE a fool!
6. “If God existed, he could keep this piece of chalk from breaking when it hit the ground!" He proceeded to drop the chalk, but as he did, it slipped out of his fingers, off his shirt cuff, onto the pleats of his pants, down his leg, and off his shoe. And as it hit the ground, it simply rolled away, unbroken.
7. The professor’s jaw dropped as he stared at the chalk. He looked up at the young man and then walked out of the lecture hall. The young man who had stood up proceeded to share his faith in Jesus. And what had been the devil’s territory was turned into God’s territory!
III. ONE WOMAN – instrumental in saving a nation (Courage)
A. ESTHER’S DILEMMA
1. You all know the story. The King of Persia had a chief counselor who decided to annihilate the Jews as a race. He got the King to ignorantly sign a decree to that effect. Mordecai, a Jewish counselor, urged Esther, the Queen, who was Jewish, to go to the King and intercede for the Jews. Here’s what Mordecai said to her;
2. Esther 4:14 “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
3. Esther had to risk her life to even speak to the King; she had to overthrow the King’s most favored Cabinet member, almost on par with Prime Minister. She had no assurance whether the King would side with her or with Haman, but she had to try or perish. Could one woman save a nation? She did!
B. THE POWER OF ONE LADY’S COURAGE
1. Gilbert K. Chesterton has said, "Courage is almost a contradiction in terms: it means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die."
2. Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
3. It was Andrew Jackson who said, "One man – with courage – makes a majority." I would say, “One man and God is a majority.”
4. Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
IV. ONE MAN – instrumental in saving mankind from extinction(Faith)
A. ONE MAN, NOAH, RESCUED MANKIND
1. Genesis 6:5-8 “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every
intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil….So the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
2. Hebrews 11:7 "By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he
condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."
3. Noah saved the human race from destruction, giving all of us a second chance at eternity.
B. WHAT ONE BUSINESS MAN DID
1. In September, 1857, the nation was facing a grim economic depression. Factories were shutting down; men were lining up at the unemployment offices and charity food kitchens.
2. Jeremiah Lanphier, a businessman and convert of Evangelist Charles Finney, began a noon day prayer meeting on Wednesdays in a New York church.
3. Within six months over 10,000 business men were meeting in similar meetings across America; confessing sins, being converted and praying for revival. This lay-led movement harvested a million souls in two years.
4. The moral tone of the nation was affected, and there was a great upsurge in the spiritual life of the people. Some historians say that this effort of united prayer and faith was an integral part of the improvement in the economy, which soon followed.
5. Matthew 17:20, "So Jesus said to them, "…if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ’Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."
1. Nicholas Winton was a British man who was on vacation in Czechoslovakia when he learned of the danger to all the Jewish Children there, just before WW2.
2. He notified America, but they refused to receive the children. Great Britain also refused, but then said they would accept them if Winton found families who would accept/sponsor them.
3. Ultimately Winton supervised the rescue of 669 children, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II.
4. Winton found homes for the children and arranged for their safe passage to Britain. His work went unnoticed by the world for over 50 years, until 1988 when he was invited to the BBC television program, “That's Life!”
5. Watch the video where he was honored by them:
6. YOU SEE, ANY ONE OF YOU REALLY CAN SAVE MANY LIVES IF YOU’LL HAVE COURAGE TO STAND UP for good!
B. AND ONE MAN, JESUS, REDEEMED ALL THE WORLD
1. Romans 5:19 “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”
2. The One who made every tree—He died on a tree. The One who made the oceans, the rivers, and the streams, said, “I thirst.” The One who flung that sun out into space was the One who was blistered by the noonday sun.
3. He’s the One that took my sin—your sin, our sin—to the cross; and, there, He made peace with His blood. On the Cross, He took sinful man with one hand, holy God with the other hand, and reconciled God and man!
C. ALTAR CALL
1. Have you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ? Only then can He wash your sins away and give you peace! If you want that, raise your hand.
2. Do you realize that YOU, by yourself, can make a big difference in the world? As Helen Keller said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do."
3. What can you do for the Kingdom? Your contribution may seem small, but only God knows what mighty powers it can incite. Will you give your all to the Master? If you will, stand up with me. Prayer.
[This message was based on Jerry Flury’s “The Power Of One” in 2005.]