Summary: In this message we'll examine the characteristics of the person God uses to change the lives of others
* Purpose of a job description: describes responsibilities and expected actions of a person in a particular job setting...mostly imperative
* A job description often defines a person - “What do you do?”
- We do what we do because of who we are
* The job description of every person who has experienced salvation and received forgiveness: to be a life-changer as you share the Gospel
* The theme of Acts (1:8) gives the job description = to be witnesses in the world for God
* TEXT: Paul and Barnabas have been/continue to be life-changers; they are faithfully fulfilling their job description
* The text paints a picture of a few requirements they met that allowed them to be used by God to change people’s lives with the Gospel
* How we can make an eternal difference in the lives of people today...
1. A life-changer must have passion (15:36)
* “Let us go back...in all the towns...” = what happened in some of those towns (i.e., stoned)
* Paul couldn’t stay away because he had a passion for people that was givento him by God
* Examples of his passion:
- 1 Thess. 4:1
* We will have passion, but what is the object of our passion?
* What Paul was passionate about...
1) He was passionate about people: “the brothers” = 2 Peter 3:9
2) He was passionate about the Gospel: “we preached the word of the Lord” = Rom. 1:15-16; 2 Tim. 1:10
3) He was passionate about obedience: “and see how they are doing” = 2 Cor. 2:9
2. A life-changer must be committed to his calling (15:37-41)
* Commitment was the issue Paul had with John Mark
* Satan attempted to divide and subtract, but Paul’s commitment enabled God to multiply and add to the work
* If Satan can cause our commitment to our calling to wane, he’ll keep us from being a life-changer
* A few things had to happen before Paul could be committed to his calling...
1) Paul had to know and believe his calling before he could be committed to it.
- Impossible to be committed if we don’t know we’re supposed to be committed or if we don’t believe in what we’ve been called to
- Paul’s understanding: 1 Cor. 1:17
2) Paul had to fulfill his calling before he could be committed to it.
- Commitment cannot begin until you start doing something
- Paul’s faithfulness to fulfill his calling: 1 Cor. 15:58
3) Paul was then fully committed to his calling.
- Knowledge/Belief + Fulfill = Opportunity to be committed
- Paul’s commitment summarized: Acts 20;24
3. A life-changer must remove obstacles to the Gospel (16:1-5)
* Timothy joins Paul and Barnabas - note verse 3
- Timothy’s mother was a Jew; his father was a Greek
- The Jews to whom Paul would be preaching the gospel would be offended if a man with a Jewish mother was uncircumcised.
* Paul is not compromising or giving in to pressure; he wants to see life-change so they remove any obstacles that would keep their hearers from listening to their message
* 1 Cor. 10:32
* Need to ask ourselves - “Do my actions point people to Christ or do my actions point people away from Christ?”
4. A life-changer must be sensitive to the Spirit (16:6-10)
* The role of the Holy Spirit in the text = it wasn’t God’s plan for them at that time
* What would have happened had Paul and company not listened to the Spirit? (no life change; no activity of God; no power of God)
* Our use as a life-changer hinges on our sensitivity to the Spirit
* The role of the Holy Spirit in a life-changer...
1) It’s the Spirit that tells us where to go (Acts 8:29)
2) It’s the Spirit that tells us what to say (Luke 12:12)
3) It’s the Spirit that tells us what to do (John 14:26)