Part 1 of Prepare Now to Make a Difference
The qualities of 7 people who made a difference, and why these particular qualities are the ones that we need today.
As we submit to God’s work in our lives not only will we begin to change, but we will have the help of God to make a difference in many situations that we find ourselves in. Why? Because now we will be bringing God’s perspective to the scene.
In today’s episode:
- 7 Characteristics of 7 people who made a difference
- King Josiah, Moses, John the Baptist, Caleb, Joshua, Paul, Nehemiah
- Why these particular qualities are the ones that we need today
- Short-term missions: interview with Wayne and Nancy Reigel
7 characteristics of 7 different people in the Bible who made a difference in the lives of others
1. King Josiah: committed to following God’s truth [1:29]
- King at age 8 when father was assassinated
- Started renovating temple and Book of the Law was found
- Repents and begins leading the people to follow God
- Story found in 2 Kings 22
2. Moses: submitted to God shaping his desires [2:53]
- Known for being a great leader, but didn’t start out very enthusiastic about leading the people.
- Initially rejected the idea – Exodus 4
- Exodus 14:13-14 Moses has become a different man on the inside.
- Chapter 15:1-2 Moses sings to the Lord.
3. John the Baptist: had a heart for wanting to help others find peace with God [5:09]
- Preached to crowds of people who would come to the desert and listen to him
- Prepared the crowds for the ministry of Jesus – John 1:29
4. Caleb: tried to encourage God’s people to have faith [7:15]
- Moses sent 12 men to scout out the land of Canaan, a land God had planned to give to the Israelites.
- They talked about how great the land was, but 10 of the 12 chose to emphasize the obstacles in getting the land – the strong people would fight them, the fortified cities, and most terrifying…the giants!
- Joshua and Caleb had faith in God, not denying the obstacles but choosing to emphasize the great power of God. Numbers 13:30 and 14:8-9
- Caleb is an example for us to have faith in God. He tried to encourage the people, but they didn’t listen. So, how did he make a difference? First, Caleb stood with Joshua (the future leader of Israel) and encouraged him. Second, he inherited the land for him and his family.
- Numbers 14:23-24 “And none of those who despised me shall see it. But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which we went, and his descendants shall possess it.”
- Caleb also mentioned in Joshua 14
5. Joshua: helping God’s followers to think correctly about themselves and who they are [10:30]
- In chapter 1, Moses dies and Joshua is the new leader. Joshua 1: 3, 5
- Joshua would help the people to have the right mindset –they will be victorious! Joshua [1:11]-13
6. Paul: familiar with the Word of God [12:58]
- Well educated in the OT Scriptures before his conversion. But after he became a Christian he received new education about the Bible, because he had the Holy Spirit in him. Galations [1:16]-18
- Looks at the Scriptures in a different way, and we see him (with the help of God) inserting portions of the OT into what we call the NT.
- Romans 1:17 (Habakkuk 2:4) and Romans 3:10 (Psalm 14:3). He used the phrase “as it is written” 16 times in Romans, and 18 times in his other books. Many other times he quoted the OT without writing “it is written”. In fact, almost 100 times he came to subject areas in his NT books and decided to insert a portion of Scripture from the OT.
- Paul was familiar with God’s Word enough that he knew which Scriptures had to do with certain subject areas. He made a big difference in people’s lives. He helped the world to see that the God of the OT is the same God of the NT.
7. Nehemiah: took prayer seriously [16:40]
- When he heard that the wall of Jerusalem had broken down, he went to organize the rebuilding of it, and was finished in 52 days.
- But there were obstacles along the way: need for physical protection from opposition, so that construction could go forward. Conspiracy was created so that the work would stop, and there were even financial obligations among the people that were a great burden.
- However, in the middle of all of that was a leader who believed prayer could make a difference. It began with a tender heart toward God – Nehemiah 1:4
- Continued with praising God verse 5
- Included praying on behalf of others verse 6.
- He prayed with a humble spirit verses 6-7
- And at different times throughout the project, Nehemiah made time in the middle of the work to pray.
There is an important reason we looked at these particular 7 characteristics in different people of the Bible. [19:50]
Having these qualities as a part of our life is not just for making a difference in the lives of others. These particular characteristics are important for our own protection in the spiritual battle that is against us every day. You see, the system of the way this world thinks is not an accident. It is planned. It is very well thought out. And it is designed to keep you and I from making a difference for God.
Ephesians [6:12]-13 ESV
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth (this is why I mentioned King Josiah), and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (the breastplate protected the most vital organ – the heart. The heart reminds us of our desires. Moses was an example of someone whose desires were changed by God), and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace (John the Baptist was our example for this).
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith (Caleb is an example of someone having faith in God) with which you can distinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. And the helmet of salvation (God helped Joshua to think correctly about who he was. Salvation can protect the way we think), and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (in order to use this sword, we need to be familiar with the Word of God. Paul is an example of someone who was familiar with God’s Word), praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication (Nehemiah was an example of prayer).”
We will pick up here in the next episode. We will be looking at practical ways that we can wear the armor of God on a regular basis – so that it can become a part of our lifestyle.
So that we can make a difference for the glory of God…for the rest of our lives.
Short-term missions: Part 2 of interview with Wayne and Nancy Reigel [23:00]