Making A Difference

He wants you to be something for Him – He wants other people to be different and better because you came along.

Scripture: John 1:6-9, 2 Corinthians 6, Acts 4:19-20


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today? Well, if you’ve struck a rough day, as I always say, look up and say, “Lord Jesus, see me through,” and He will. The key word is ‘through.’ “When thou passeth through the waters, they shall not overflow thee. Yea, though I walk through the valley, I will fear no evil.” God brings you through, if you let Him. Look up and trust Him today, if you’ve struck a rough one. And if things are going alright, remember the warning, that says, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed, lest he fall. Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation,” our Lord said. If things are going well, thank God for it, but keep alert, and keep trusting, and keep obeying God. Good idea, wouldn’t you say?

Well, we’re looking at John’s Gospel, Chapter One. We talked about John the Baptist. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. Jesus called him a burning and a shining light, the greatest person ever born of women. That’s what He called him, greater than Solomon, a greater person. Well, there he is. Now, what is his basic job? He said, “He came for a witness, to bear witness of the light that all through Him, through the light that is, through Jesus, might believe. He was not the light, but was sent to bear witness of the light.” Now, this word ‘witness’ is related to our word ‘martyr,’ the Greek word ‘marturion,’ and the verb ‘to witness’ is the same root that, “He came for a witness, to bear witness.” What does it mean to bear witness, ‘marturasae?’ ‘Marturion’ is the noun, ‘marturasae’ is the verb form right there. And what do we make of that? Well, you know what I think about this matter of witnessing? He came to be something, the same came to be a witness.

Have you ever meditated on the fact that God wants you to amount to something? To be something for Him? And I’m not talking now about some extravagant, wild eyed, hysterical concept, that would send you from West Oscaloosa over into Africa, or whatever. I’m not talking now about some extravagant possibilities here. God starts with us where we are, doesn’t He? Has it ever come strongly to your own heart, that God wants you to be something for Him? This matter of a witness was related to John’s destiny. Jesus said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me,” said it to His disciples, and Peter amplified the statement, by saying, “This is not for us only, but for all whom the Lord our God shall call.” So that includes you and me, doesn’t it? “Ye shall be witnesses.” And Peter, speaking to his accusers, as we find it recorded in the Fourth Chapter of Acts, I believe, he said, “Whether it be more important in the sight of God to hearken to you, more than unto God, you’ll have to be the judge. We cannot but speak the things, which we have seen and heard. We are His witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him. There’s none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.” We are His, we are His witnesses.

Now, I don’t know what your situation is, all different kinds of people listen to this broadcast, and I’m glad that’s so. I have educators, I have a college president or two, and some high school principals, and lots of teachers, and some lawyers, and some doctors, and some nurses, and some priests, and some sisters of the church, and the occasional Jewish friend is listening. I’ve got engineers, and I’ve got vice presidents, and sales managers, and housewives, and college students, and now and again, I’ll get a little letter scrawled by a six-year-old, saying, “Dear Dr Cook, I listen to you.” Well, I’ll tell you, that touches my heart. If I can get the kids listening, I’ll have their mothers and dads listening too, that’s the way things are. So we’ve got a very gated audience, all different kinds of people. Now, what does it mean for you, to be something for God? Well, as I said a moment ago, God starts with you where you are, He starts with you where you are. He uses what you have and identifies Himself with it.

Now, I don’t know what that means to you, because I don’t know your circumstances, but just think for yourself, “Who and what am I? What are my talents? What am I doing? What do I do best? What really characterizes me? What kind of person am I?” You think about that, and if it helps you, write it down, so that you can clearly verbalize it to yourself. And then you bring that to God, and say, “God, I want this to be yours.” If you can speak well, you say, “I want my speaking ability to be yours.” If you can write well, say, “I want my writing ability to be yours.” If you can sell, say, “Lord, I want my selling ability to be yours.” See, I don’t know what your abilities are, but you write down what you are, and what you can do, and what you’re good at, and all of that, and then when you have that, then give that to God, and say, “God, here, I wanna be yours.” I’ll tell you something. It will be a turning point in your life, something about which you will always rejoice, as you look back to it, I can guarantee that. To be something for God, is the greatest experience in the world.

“Sent from God, whose name was John, the same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all through Him might believe.” This matter of witnessing is not just speaking. We think of a witness in a court trial, as somebody who tells about what he or she knows to be a fact. And that, of course, is important, but it’s not the whole story. Our witnessing is not only telling what we know to be a fact, Peter said, “We cannot but speak the things, which we have seen and heard.” And John, writing in his first epistle, said, “That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you.” That’s witnessing. But it is witnessing, it is speaking what you know to be a fact, with a view to changing another person’s commitment, that all men through Him, Christ, might believe. God hasn’t called us to deliver a religious lecture to people, beloved. You don’t get anywhere just lecturing people. Nor indeed do you get anywhere just spouting off your own religious beliefs, be they ever so well laced with scripture verses or whatever. That isn’t the basic purpose. God didn’t save you to give you an audience. He saved you to use you to change other people’s lives. Do you see the difference?

Now, there are some of us, who, congenitally, are suited to need an audience. [chuckle] You meet people like that. And I think that God uses that very trait to gather people around you, who like to listen to you. That’s alright. There’s no harm in being the kind of person who gathers people around you, who like to listen to what you have to say. That’s alright, it seems to me. But the point is, God’s call for your witnessing, is not just that you might have an audience, or that people might enjoy listening to you, or talking with you, because you’re an interesting person. God’s call for you to be a witness, is that they might be different, because they’ve met Jesus as they listened to you. “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light,” that’s the Lord Jesus, “That all through Him, Christ, might believe.” Now, ask yourself this question. Is anybody any different, because I came along and talked about Jesus? Whoa. That is such a penetrating… I wince, I wince at it, even to ask it. Is anybody any different, because I came along and talked about Jesus?

Oh, I know how you feel, pastors, 18 years in the pastorate. I preached at many sermons during that time, at least three a week and many times more. And about three times a day, I would call on people, telling them about the Lord. 1,000 calls a year was my average. I found out that, if you’ll preach expository sermons and make 1,000 calls a year, your church will grow. I found that out. You try that for yourself, preacher. But oftentimes, as I looked in the mirror, I would say, “My Lord, is anything happening? Is anything going on, but the rent here? Is anybody any different, because I say these things?” And oftentimes, you get discouraged thinking about it, don’t you? And then you get a letter, like I received the other day. It said, “I should have written to you years ago. You said something back in 1982, that changed my life, and I went on, and I went to seminary, and now I’m in the ministry, because of what you said back there.” Oh, hey, that’s great, isn’t it? [chuckle] Hallelujah. [laughter]

I can stand a lot of letters like that one. Well, this is God’s plan for you, my beloved friend, not just to exist, not just to make your way safely to Social Security and the grave. It’s gotta be more than that. Jesus didn’t die, just to make you an evangelical clod. Oh, He wants you to be something for Him, and He wants other people to be different, because you came along, and it can be so. Maybe you’re anchored to a wheelchair. Maybe arthritis has slowed you down, so you can’t get around. Maybe, my friend, you think that you don’t have the abilities that you see in other people, who seem to be more liberally gifted than you. Forget it, God is almighty, He can use anybody He chooses to use, if you’re available. Let Him so fill your life with Himself, that as you move through life and talk with people, they’re gonna be conscious of His presence.

The promise you’ll find in Second Corinthians Six says, “I will dwell in them and walk in them.” God, walking in your shoes, what a tremendous concept. He came for witness, to bear witness. And you bear witness, not only by what you say, but by what you are, and by the commitment of your life, your willingness to risk your whole life and destiny on the truth of God’s Word. That’s what it means to witness. But the real reason for it all, is that somebody might be brought to faith in Jesus, our blessed Lord. That’s the ultimate aim of witnessing. May God make it true in my life and in yours, today and every day, is my prayer.

Dear Father, today, make our witness to count for thee. May people be different, because we came along and told them of Jesus, I ask in His name. Amen. ‘Til I meet you, once again, by way of radio, Walk With the King today and be a blessing.

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