Faithlife Sermons

Making a Difference

Boy throwing starfish into the ocean
We long for significance - make a difference
Look at the world around us - Can I really make a difference?
7 Billion people in the world
To share the gospel with each of them in groups of 100 would take 4,000 years.
But, We are commanded - commissioned - to go spread the gospel.
This is a commission for every Christian!
Truly a privilege.
You may not be able to be a pastor, missionary, teacher, but every Christian is called to share the gospel!
We need to take it personally to one person at a time
We can make a difference - one life at a time.
We can look at around at the billions of people, we can see our own community and see hundreds and wonder if we’ll ever make a difference.
Or, we can hear Christ’s call, rely on the Holy Spirit, and personally share the gospel - and make a difference to that one!
Teach that one to do the same!

I. The Value of One

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, was asked to share a few thoughts:
“When everybody was fleeing that building, and the cops and the firefighters and the EMS people were heading up into it, do you think any of them said, ‘I wonder how many black people are up there for us to save? I wonder what percentage are white up here? How many Jews are there? Let’s see - are these people making $400,000 a year, or $24,000? No when you’re saving lives, they’re all precious…I’m convinced that God wants us to…value every human life the way He does.”
We need to see the value of every human life the way God sees it!
Jesus placed tremendous value on every life.
Christ went out of the way to reach individuals.
Parables - Luke 15 -
Shepherd searching for one lost sheep,
Woman searching for one lost coin
father waiting for his wayward son
God values every single soul
He said,
Luke 15:10 KJV
10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Why is one soul so valuable?
We will see the truth when we realize the...

A. The Real Focus

A Soul Is Eternal
God created the human soul in His own image
Genesis 1:27 KJV
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
This means we have an eternal soul, among other things.
Because of sin, our bodies decay and die, but our soul never dies.
Most do not think of eternity
Satan distracts us with everything around us
Reality - Life is short compared to eternity!
Best life on earth that ends without Christ will bring the worst eternity.
Jesus said,
Mark 8:36 KJV
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Every person has an eternal soul!

B. The Real Future

Heaven and Hell Are Real
Not only does every person’s soul live somewhere forever, but there are only two places where that can be: Heaven or Hell
Jesus spoke of both.
He spoke more often of Hell than of Heaven.
Luke 16:22–24 KJV
22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Scripture is clear - those who do not trust Christ as Savior will spend eternity in a real lake of fire, and those who receive Christ’s gift of salvation will spend eternity in Heaven.
Revelation 20:15 KJV
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
1 Peter 1:3–5 KJV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Lost people - tend to forget they have an eternal soul
Christians - tend to forget every single person will spend eternity in Heaven or Hell
grocery clerk
guy walking his dog
If we remember this, we will be more likely to tell others of salvation.

C. The Real Fact

Jesus Is the Only Way
Welsh Poet and pastor John Dyer wrote,
“A man may go to heaven without health, without riches, without honors, without learning, without friends; but he can never go there without Christ.”
Do you remember a time in your life where you realized Christ was your only hope of salvation?
Was there a time when you turned from your own efforts to save yourself and trusted in Christ?
Pluralistic society - hates Jesus’ claim
John 14:6 KJV
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Society doesn’t mind if we are one of the options.
But when we stand up, like Peter and say,
Acts 4:12 KJV
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
The World doesn’t like it!
“All roads lead to Heaven”
Don’t mend your message to agree with people we love.
Christ is the only way to Heaven!
We are responsible to share that message!
Every person has an eternal soul
Heaven and Hell are Real!
Jesus is the only way to Heaven
We must believe them, remember them, and learn to see people as an eternal soul.
Remember this will help us see the value of each person, and invest ourselves in making a difference!

II. To Seek and to Save

What is your purpose statement of your life?
Roles - “to be the best, parent, nurse and friend I can be...”
Goals - “to find a cure for cancer by...”
People you want to influence?
how you want to be remembered?
Jesus -
Luke 19:10 KJV
10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Heartbeat of Christ!
Did not desire admiration or recognition, especially not comfort!
He came to save the lost!
He went to the lost - the pharisees criticized Him for spending time wiht sinners...
Mark 2:17 KJV
17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Was willing to rearrange His schedule to reach the lost.
Went out of his way to talk to the woman at the well.
Pause a procession to speak and heal Blind Bartimaeus.
Came to the crippled man by the pool of Bethesda.
He went out of his way to reach people.
Gave his life for our sins -
Mark 10:45 KJV
45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Before he returned to Heaven, He left us wiht instructions to reach the world with the message of the gospel.
This is the Great Commission.
Matthew 28:18–20 KJV
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Four parts -

A. Go

All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore....
Basis of our call - is His power!
Exousia - power, not in the sense of might alone, but authority.
“I have all might and all authority - therefore [because of that] go!”
When we go, all the power of God is behind us!
This command involves action - you can’t go while doing nothing!
Not just a realization that people need the gospel, but go and do something about it!
Personal action - Go to the lost and tell them!
People don’t come to you - You have to go to them.

B. Win

and teach all nations...
Teach is used two times in the Great Commission
First - gospel itself
Mark uses the word preach
Mark 16:15 KJV
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Go with the intent to lead them to Christ.

C. Baptize

…Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost....
The Job doesn’t end at salvation, we need to lead them into the church, especially into the first step of obedience in their Christian life.
We look at this in detail later in this series.

D. Teach

…Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you...
Here’s the second teach
Not the gospel - but how to live the Christian life - Discipleship.
We don’t automatically know everything about Christian living when we get saved.
Like a newborn baby needs nourishing care and teaching, we need to teach new believers biblical truth so they can mature.
Jesus begins the Commission with a statement of His power - and ends it with His presence.
Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
Lo - Look! See! - Drawing attention to...
I can’t save someone
I can’t make someone see there need of salvation.
I can’t bring spiritual growth in another person’s life.
Neither can you!
But Christ will be with us and helping us by His power!
Embrace this Great Commission today!
Engage people today with the Gospel of Christ!

III. Owning the Mission

A deacon had fallen into the habit of using the same phrases over and over as he led prayers in church. One day as he prayed, he said, as he did in every public prayer, “Oh Lord, touch the unsaved with Thy finger.”
On this occasion, however, he suddenly stopped and fell silent. After a few seconds people began looking to see what had happened. When he continued to stand there without saying anything, someone finally went up and asked if he was OK.
“Yes,” he replied, “it’s just that something seemed to say to me, ‘Thou art the finger.’”
We all want to see people saved!
Every Christian who is walking with God wants to see the Great Commission obeyed!
Sometimes we forget that we are the ones supposed to obey it!
We need to take it personally!
Hudson Taylor, nineteenth century missionary to china, said, “The Great Commission isn’t an option to be considered; it’s a command to be obeyed.”
“Thou art the finger!”
So what does it take to engage in the Great Commission?
What would that look like in our lives?

A. Make a Commitment

D.L. Moody used to tell the story of a lady who came to him criticizing his methods of attempting to win people to the Lord. Moody had only received a fifth-grade education, had poor English skills, and was aggressive in seeking people out and pointedly asking them if they were saved. God blessed his preaching and witnessing ministries greatly, but some people took offense at his style.
Moody’s reply to this critic was gracious. “I agree with you. I don’t like the way I do it either. Tell me, how do you do it?
“I don’t do it.” she replied.
“Then I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.”
In coming weeks we’ll unpack the how behind the four parts of the Great Commission.
But the how means little if we haven’t committed to the what.
Remember the four words we looked at?
Go, win, baptize, teach?
These are all verbs - Action verbs!
Make a decision today, commit to the Lord that beyond just being a part of your church, or giving to support missionaries, commit to personally share the gospel with people as the Lord opens doors around you.

B. Set a Plan

We all have a lot to do!
I’m not getting a lot of what I need to do accomplished!
We often are in emergency mode only taking care of the urgent and important, and other vitally important things get pushed aside!
What gets scheduled gets done
Family times - We need to sit down and put it on the Calendar!
Sharing the gospel is a very important thing that God commands us to do.
In addition to watching for opportunities to share as we go about our life, we need to maybe schedule a time that we will share the gospel.
Special outreach days a couple of times a year -
But also we need set a plan as to what we would say, when we meet someone that needs the gospel.
In the coming weeks, I want to share some tips that may help us.

C. Seek God’s Help

When cutting wood to heat our home, or for a fire pit, it is very important to sharpen your axe.
When it comes to sharing the gospel, it is important to be able to clearly explain salvation.
Learn questions or statements that bring people to consider spiritual truth.
Ultimately, however, we need the help of the Holy Spirit.
Witnessing is not salesmanship; it’s dependent on the power of God!
Paul avoided “trickery” in the gospel message.
He was passionate in sharing the gospel, but he didn’t coerce people into professing an insincere decision:
1 Thessalonians 2:3–5 KJV
3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: 4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:
we use the word soulwinning to refer to leading - or winning over— a soul to Christ.
This comes from
Proverbs 11:30 KJV
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; And he that winneth souls is wise.
We may be soulwinners, but the Holy Spirit is the true Soulwinner.
Only He can convince the lost souls of their need for salvation.John 16:8-11
John 16:8–11 KJV
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
Paul said,
1 Thessalonians 1:5 KJV
5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
And then lastly...

D. Prepare a Message

Many do not win souls because they simply do not know what to say.
If you have trusted Christ as your Saviour, you know the gospel - that Jesus died for your sins, rose from the dead and gave you the salvation when you called upon Him to save you.
1 Corinthians 15:3–4 KJV
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
But it can feel overwhelming
How do you begin the conversation?
How do you communicate the message clearly?
How do you know if there is misunderstanding?
How do you lead someone of knowledge of the truth to a personal decision to receive Christ?
We will look at these int he next few weeks.
But remember the Great Commission begins with the command to Go!
No amount of knowledge of how to share the gospel can compensate for a lack of going!
Commit to the Lord today that you will take it personally and Go with the gospel.
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