Summary: We often wonder what one person can do, but God says one person’s intercession can change the course of history.
PATTERN: INDUCTIVE - Relational Outline by Andy Stanley
Me (my dilemma or question)
I’ve felt a little tired over the summer.
• Lots of changes in our house
• Changes in my responsibilities with the District
I’ve begun thinking things like, “One person can only do so much.” Then later I thought, “What can one person do anyway?
We (our common ground on this)
Have you ever felt that way? When you watch the news or read the newspaper, have you ever thought one person cannot make much difference?
We often wonder what one person can do. In a world ruled by greed, hunger for power and dishonesty, what difference can one person make?
God (what the Bible says about this)
23 Again the word of the LORD came to me: 24 "Son of man, say to the land, ’You are a land that has had no rain or showers in the day of wrath.’ 25 There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her. 26 Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27 Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. 28 Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ’This is what the Sovereign LORD says’ - when the LORD has not spoken. 29 The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice.
30 "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. 31 So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD." (Ezekiel 22:23-31 NIV)
1. Normal world – ruled by greed, hunger for power and dishonesty
My EARS hear – victims crying & crooks snickering; coins jingling; stomachs growling while others burp; God saying, “Enough is enough! This must stop. But where’s this generation’s Moses? Where is Samuel? Where are the Hannah’s and Anna’s? Won’t someone come out to meet me in prayer?”
2. Hint of Trouble – The Lord is coming to end the injustice
My EYES see – God coming in judgment, armed for battle, approaching a broken down wall with weeds growing up around the toppled stones; he’s looking for someone to stop his attack; he doesn’t want to punish; he wants to send renewal in answer to someone’s prayers; but he cannot find any one to pray
3. Trouble Arrives – He pauses to look for an intercessor
4. We learn something – God will end sin and injustice one way or another; one person can make the difference between wrath and renewal
5. Our World is changed – (Thesis)
“History belongs to the intercessors.”
Source Unknown, quoted by me in funeral sermon for Almyra Britton, 9/13/95
Bible illustrations of power of single intercessors or a few
1 SOMETIMES THE NEED WAS OBVIOUS
A Moses stopped the Lord from destroying rebellious Israelites
B Samuel committed himself to keep on praying for the Israelites after they decided to crown a king – kept their enemies at bay
2 SOMETIMES THE NEED SEEMED DEEPLY PERSONAL BUT OPENED THE DOOR FOR GOD TO WORK
A Hannah prayed to have a son – Samuel
B Zechariah and Elizabeth prayed to have a son – John the Baptizing prophet who prepared the way for Jesus
3 SOMETIMES THE PRAYERS GREW OUT OF AN UNDERSTANDING OF GOD’S PROMISES IN THE BIBLE
A Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah – knew God had promised through the prophet Jeremiah that Israel’s captivity in Babylon would only last 70 years; prayed and worked to see the captives restored to Jerusalem
B An old widow named Anna and an devout old man called Simeon watched and prayed for the Messiah to come – (along with a few others) they saw Jesus brought to the Temple as a baby
You (personal application of biblical principles)
REPENTANCE POINT: Perhaps you often wonder what one person can do. In a world ruled by greed, hunger for power and dishonesty, what difference can one person make? BUT God says one person’s intercession can change the course of history. God says your prayers can make all the difference in the world.