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Sunday, 2 June 2013


Rev. Brian Wilkie
By Rev. Brian Wilkie                                                                                    

Pastor of St. Andrew's Christian Community
Rockland, Ontario

PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, June 2nd, 2013:


Broadcast Notes:
‘Can You Make A Difference?

Welcome to Good News In The Morning, a program of words and music bringing a Christian message of hope and courage to those who are looking for an intelligent, meaningful and spirited approach to faith and to life. This program is sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184, Rideau Ferry, Ontario K0G 1W0 and this is Brian Wilkie speaking. Thank you to all our listeners. We are grateful for your encouragement and support. Remember that you can always visit our website,, for materials to encourage and support you in your Christian walk.

Today I would like to speak a message that was prepared originally for a Men’s breakfast at the Ottawa Church of God during Holy Week. And the theme is Can You Make A Difference? The Scripture that I’d like to speak about is from Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 8.  The Scripture begins like this:

“All creation waits in eager expectation for the Sons of God to be revealed. The creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption as Sons, the redemption of our body.”

This passage speaks about the significance of human beings and the significance of the process that God is bringing us through as He redeems us through His Son Jesus Christ.

Significance is such an important issue for human beings. We are caught up in the importance of significance. You see, it is important to us that we have significance; and yet it too much significance can overwhelm us. When something we have to do is too important we can feel inadequate we can feel like too much hangs on our success or failure, and yet if we feel that our life has too little significance. It’s extraordinarily depressing and it makes life very difficult to maneuver through when significance is out of balance. So we’re going to talk about that today, as we explore this theme, but first let’s listen to a song that speaks about the great love of God. It’s called Could It Be and it’s a song written and performed by Michael Card from his album Present Reality.

Can we make a difference? Do our lives make any difference? We look around and we see we are in a world of 7 billion people. We see ourselves sometimes as cogs in a great big machine. We want our lives to make a difference. Some people try to make that difference through their workplace, try to achieve great things and change the world through the efforts they make in their work.  And some people succeed! My goodness! We’ve seen the world changed by inventions and by ideas. We have seen the world changed by service. We’ve seen entire cultures turned around by writing of an inspirational nature, by the work of people dedicated to the mission of God; and we’ve also seen cultures take a downward trend, and nations take a wrong direction because of the significance of misguided or even wicked leadership. Some people can have significance, clearly some people make a difference. But the question is, “Can you make a difference? Can I make a difference?” Is it possible for us, with our skills, with our talents, with our lives, in this great mass of humanity to make a difference? Some people try to make a difference through their family by devoting themselves to their spouse, to their children, to the grandchildren and their nieces and nephews. They do make a great difference in the contribution into the lives of others. Even if they aren’t the  parent they sometimes are able to be, for a particular individual, the person who is looked at as the biggest influence and the most profound and effectual person in their lives. The person who pours love into another person’s life is doing a great service and making a great difference, and yet sometimes we feel that all that effort is very ‘touch and go’: that sometimes you wonder whether all that work in all that time has made the difference that you hoped it would. So can God answer this question for us about whether we can make a difference? Can the Scriptures tell us about whether people today in this great big complex world can make a difference that matters, that can have significance?

Well. Unfortunately, the first thing I want to speak about in terms the significance that we have, the difference that we can make, is something that’s so obvious we often don’t mention it. It’s clear that our sin can make a difference. We don’t even need a great deal of theology to recognize that the things which  we do wrong have a profound effect on the world around us. We are very fortunate if the people closest to us do forgive us for the wrongs we’ve done, but we do see the harm that sin does. I certainly experience that in my daily life. I drive a school bus and I have got some wonderful kids on the school bus, but I do notice that kids are capable of being mean to each other and you see the harm that is done by a snide remark, a sarcastic comment or an outright insult. It doesn’t even take a physical blow to have a significant negative impact on another person’s life.

Again our own lives testify to that as we look through our past and we see how other people have caused us harm. Sometimes that pain doesn’t go away very easily. Sometimes it results in insecurities and in difficulties in dealing with life. Sin makes a big difference and the Bible certainly affirms that. As I consider the work of Christ on the cross, I see that one thing it declares loudly and clearly is that sin makes a difference to God. God doesn’t see sin as something insignificant, some little thing. In fact I want you to consider this: that Jesus Christ found it necessary to give his own life in order to atone for sin. Sin is something that can’t just be wished away or waved away by God’s hand. Sin is something that takes God’s involvement in repairing, in atoning and in reconciling the sinners to Himself. Sin is not easily fixed, and when we consider all that God has done by the work of his marvelous power, parting the Red Sea and delivering the people of Israel from Egypt; caring for them through the years in the wilderness and all the miracles that attended the prophets through the pages of the Old Testament, the power of God is displayed in so many ways. If we look at the stars and all creation, and we delight in the power of God, the glory of God displayed in all those things: and yet when it came to atoning for sin the whole of the Bible points to the greatest effort that God has ever made is in coming against sin. Sin has a great significance. Jesus Christ went to the cross to do something about the impact of sin on our lives and on the world. Creation itself waits in eager expectation for the Sons of God to be revealed, for creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay. That bondage to decay is the result of sin. This entire creation awaits the restoration that God is going to do. So sin certainly has a great significance. Jesus Christ has gone to the cross for you, and Scripture tells us that there are two aspects to that. Now it’s very familiar for me to make this appeal to you and to say that Jesus Christ would’ve gone to the cross if you were the only sinner that needed to be forgiven. I want to add to that what Scripture says, that Jesus Christ would’ve gone to the cross, and would’ve had to go to the cross,  just to repair the damage that your sin has done to his children and to his creation.

I want you imagine for a moment that Adam’s temptation the garden were little bit different. Imagine if instead of a tree, in center of the  garden God placed a great big huge mountain and God would take Adam up the top of that mountain and show him that he had given him a beautiful vantage point to see all the wonderful things that had been made and had been given to him. He could look out across the valleys to  the forests, the lakes and streams, and just enjoy God’s creation from the mountaintop and fellowship with God. Then imagine if God said, “Just one thing Adam. While you’re up there, don’t take any of the pebbles and throw them down the mountain. Adam would nod, and say, “Thank you very much,  I’ll be careful not to do that. But then one day as he was toying with one of the pebbles in his hands. He thought he want to see how far would go if you gave a little bit of the toss. “One pebble couldn’t do any harm, could it?” and then Adam throwing that pebble down, that pebble struck another and another on this very steep mountain and a great avalanche took place, wherein thousands of tons of rock moved from the side of the mountain down its slopes wiping out trees and animals. Now imagine Adam’s shame and confusion: How could he have known that one little sin would have such a great consequence? He could try to repair it himself and go down the mountain find the pebble that he had thrown and pick up that pebble and put it back where he found it. But it wouldn’t do the job, would it? No, and that’s exactly what has happened with sin in the world, that it has in fact changed everything. Our sins have had an impact that we could not have imagined.  Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. How could they know that it would result in one of their sons becoming a murderer? How could they know what the consequences of sin would be? They couldn’t have known, but they could have obeyed, because God set order in the universe, and set his commands in the universe in order to guard us from the consequences of sin.

Now if sin is the only difference that we can make that would be a terrible thing, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it be a horrible thought if all that we could imagine was that we can only have a negative significance? We will get to the positive significance that we can have, but first let’s listen to this beautiful hymn about Jesus’ victory over all things, His victory over the significance of sin and death, as we hear this familiar hymn Jesus Shall Reign.

Well I’ve spoken about how sin is one of the things that is significant in our lives, one of the ways that we have already made a difference. But there is a real positive difference that we can make, a difference that we can make which affects not just life here on earth, but actually has a heavenly and eternal effect. And of course that is our salvation. That the salvation that Jesus gives us has a tremendous significance when we accept it, when we trust in Jesus and repent of our sins. There is a significance for all of creation because creation is waiting in eager expectation for the Sons of God to be revealed. The creation is hoping and expecting to be liberated from its bondage as humanity itself is set free from sin. Now, not only the inanimate creation, but the people around us are affected when we turn to God, and turn away from our sin. It may take time for our family and our friends to realize the difference that God is making in our lives. But when the difference is evident and when God uses our lives as a testimony in the lives of others there is such a wonderful effect, that there is rejoicing in heaven when a single sinner repents. Can you imagine that your repentance has such significance that Jesus says there’s more rejoicing in heaven over you, turning to God, and there is over many, many who have never needed to turn from the sin. Angels rejoice, the Heavens rejoice, Creation rejoices at your salvation. It has an eternal significance when we turn to Jesus because we turn from death to life, and Jesus tells us that he has come to give eternal life. The one who believes in him though he die, he yet shall live, and the one who lives and believes in him will never die. God has given an eternal significance to the work that he does in us through Jesus Christ. I want you rejoice in that. We all should rejoice that we can actually have an impact in the heavenly places when we turn from sin. Is that not wonderful?

Yet beyond that, beyond the sin that is our first and certain significance and difference that we make, and beyond our salvation which makes a difference in the heavenly realms;  after we have turned to Jesus and we begin to obey him our service makes a difference for him. It really does make a difference that God has set us into a service that actually changes lives of other people when we bear witness to Jesus Christ. We  are told that the word of God as it goes forth from us does not return empty, that it effects what God planned for it to do. We are told that we are even set as ambassadors of Christ, that God is making his appeal to others through us. The salvation that affects the heavenly realms is something that we can communicate and share with others, so they too might turn and cause rejoicing in their own lives and in heaven. Whenever Jesus tells us about the work that we are to do, whether it’s the parables about feeding the poor and hungry and doing it to the least of our brothers so that we might do it to him. Or whether it’s the parable the servants who were given talents of gold, and are told to put them to work for their master and the ones who do put them to work and make a difference for their master are commended. In each case God, by filling us with his Holy Spirit and giving us his works to do, has given us a great significance in the sharing of his kingdom with the world around us. God has prepared us for good works, “we are his handiwork prepared for good works,” so that he might be glorified in what we do.

We can have a great significance; you can make a great difference as you follow Jesus Christ. He has atoned for the significance of your sin, and will lead you into a life actually has a positive impact in the world. We can be encouraged as we follow that it does make a difference. 

Let’s pray to a mighty God:

Thank you that you’ve made a difference in our lives.  You’ve given us a new life that makes a difference for your kingdom. Lead us in all your power, in all your grace and all your wisdom, that we might be your ambassadors and that we might glorify your name with our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Thank you, listeners, for your encouragement, prayer and financial support. You keep us on the air week by week. So if you can, please make out a check payable to Good News Christian Ministries and send it to Box 184, Rideau Ferry, Ontario K0G 1W0. We will send you a receipt at income tax time. Please also tell others about this program and don’t forget to visit our website. You can find several of our programs available on podcasts and a series of devotions written by our founding preacher the Rev. Dr. Allen Churchill.

Be sure to worship in a church where the gospel is soundly proclaimed and lived out with compassion, integrity and resolve. And now to conclude our program here is a song from delirious? Lord You Have My Heart.
And I do pray that the Lord would have your heart and you would know Jesus personally and profoundly. May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart.  And may the heavenly Father surround you with his constant and abiding and accompanying love. 
- Rev. Brian Wilkie
To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link: 

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