What would be accomplished if we lived and died and the society in which we lived was not positively affected by our presence? If there was no affect, then our life would be null and void. Every one of us should make a difference where we are. Something should change for the good because of our influence upon the surroundings where we are.
"For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lordís." (Rom 14:7-8)
Think for a moment about those who have made a difference in our lives. Parents, friends, teachers...
I. Making a Difference Requires a Great Sacrifice.
"So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done." (Acts 4:21)
"And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." (Acts 5:40-42)
A. Sacrifice of Time. cf 5:42
1. Time is our most precious possession.
2. Many people are willing to give up material things in order to avoid giving of their time.
3. We will not sacrifice our time until we realize that it isn't ours!
4. Like everything else we have, God has given us time.
5. We are to use it for His glory and honor, not for our own selfish desires!
B. Sacrifice of Money. cf 4:32
1. I realize that this is a touchy subject.
2. Just as with our time, we need to realize that God has given us the material things in this life as well.
3. Again, we are to be good stewards of what God has given us.
4. Wrong thinking often creates a problem in this area.
a. We begin to think that we earned it, so it is ours.
b. If it is ours, we can decide what to do with it and how to spend it.
c. This is a fundamental mistake that too many of us make.
5. When we come to realize that it is God who has blessed us financially, then we can begin to make a difference with what He has given us.
a. It isn't a question of how much money we have!
b. It is how we use what He has given us .
c. We can make a difference if we are willing to sacrifice.
II. Making a Difference Requires Unity.
A. Unity in Prayer. v 23--31
1. Prayer makes a difference.
2. Many of us could give testimony to that fact.
3. Individual prayer is important, but there is something special about coming together to pray.
4. Our focus is removed from ourselves and we see the needs of others.
5. There is strength in that kind of praying.
6. Note the results of their prayer in v31
B. Unity in Purpose. cf 4:32
1. A small group unified is more powerful than a larger group going in all directions without unity.
2. I am not talking about unity among denominations...That will never work.
3. I am talking about unity among the individual local church.
4. You may say, "I thought we were a church in unity." Not completely.
5. There are some who still have the consumer attitude. "What is in it for me?"
6. Others have been on the sidelines for years, not opposing, but not actively involved in doing the work of God.
7. If we could have the kind of unity that we see in v32, there is no telling what could be accomplished for the cause of Christ.
III. Making a Difference Requires Evangelization
A. People need the Lord.
1. That isn't just a song title or theme for a mission's conference.
2. It is a fact!
3. Without Christ men, women, boys, and girls will be lost for eternity.
4. God has called us to make a difference in the lives of others by our witness.
5. Note: 4:33
B. The Results of Witnessing. cf Ac 5:14
1. A witness is someone who testifies to what they know.
2. It isn't up to the witness to fabricate testimony or embellish it.
3. Just tell the truth!
4. People need to hear the truth, and they won't hear it from the world!
C. What is the truth?
1. Man cannot save himself.
2. God has provided salvation through the finished work of Christ on Calvary.
3. Whosoever will may come.
4. It is not in what we do, but in what Jesus did!
5. Salvation is free for the asking!
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Rom 3:23)
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom 6:23)
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom 10:9)
"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Rom 10:10)
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Rom 10:13)
Will we make a difference? Twenty years after we are dead and gone, will it have mattered that we lived? Let's determine to make a difference for the Lord!
If you are here without Christ today, would you come to Jesus. It will make all the difference in the world in your life! Will you come to Him today?