Please read Matthew 5:13-16

In the text Jesus is explaining our purpose and it's an important one. It's the same purpose He gave the apostle Paul in Acts 26:18 ...to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Salt is a preservative and gives flavor. Light expels darkness and reveals. A city on a hill can be seen from far away. Salt that's lost it's saltiness is cast out, a light is not set forth to be hid under a bushel and a city on a hill is not there to be hidden.

At some point we hopefully must face the question, what is our life going to be about? I'm going to presume to speak on behalf of our Savior just a moment and say, “Jesus doesn't care that much about your past, He's concerned about your present and your future”. No matter how much time you have left it absolutely matters what you do with it. Salt, light and a city on a hill are meant to make a difference, and so are we.

When we think or speak about making a difference we do what we often do concerning spiritual matters, we sensationalize it, turn it into something larger than life by imagining we must accomplish a series of sensational things to make a difference. Another thing we do is compartmentalize, which means we set aside time to do specific things we believe will make a difference. In doing so we fail to understand our whole life is suppose to show people Jesus and therefore make a difference.

A great failing of Christianity has been and continues to be in the area of seeking to motivate God's people to accomplish His work. That's something only God can do yet we seem to have taken it upon ourselves through sermons, stories, books and music to excite people into action. What's wrong with modern preaching, teaching, books and music is just that. It's to try to do in the flesh and with the emotions what can only be done in the heart through the Holy Spirit.

Peter and the other disciples often made the mistake of looking to their emotions, self-will and determination instead of to God. We find an example in Matt 26:31-35 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. We know what happened. Peter denied Jesus and all but John forsook Him and fled.

Making a difference is not going to come about by attending regular pep rallies or having motivational speakers, books and contemporary music excite us into action, but by allowing God to do a work in us. I want to share with you a sure way to bring that about.

One thing to note before we begin. Making a difference is not a privilege reserved for those who have been saved a long time or have great knowledge and wisdom. It's possible for all God's people to make a difference no matter their level of spiritual growth. It's simply allowing God to do a work in us.

I. The Holy Spirit wants to give us assurance. Jesus speaking to His disciples said in John 14:16-17 ...I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. The disciples already knew the Holy Spirit because they knew Jesus. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one and the same. We are indwelt by God's Spirit when we receive Christ as our Savior. Speaking of Christ, Paul said in Eph 1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. God's Spirit seals and indwells all who receive Jesus Christ as Savior. Paul also said in Rom 8:8-9 ...they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Believers in Christ have been given new life through God's indwelling Spirit. With that new life and God's indwelling Spirit it's possible to please Him by being under His authority. If we are going to make a difference we must be sure of what we have in Christ. Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. The Holy Spirit bears witness with us that we are a child of God through enlightenment He gives us in the Word of God. Any of us that truly know we are saved know it because of what the Bible declares. Consider that TV, movies, internet, social media, commentators and news organizations are not very concerned about giving you assurance of God's salvation. The Holy Spirit wants to give us assurance. Without it we would have a shaky foundation from which to try to make a difference.

II. The Holy Spirit wants to renew us everyday. Paul wrote in Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. The washing of regeneration is the salvation of our soul through faith in Christ. The renewing of the Holy Ghost is the salvation that comes to us daily through enlightenment in the Word of God. Applying God's truth in our life saves it and makes us an influence for God's glory. Paul spoke of it in Rom 12:2 ...be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Paul said to the Corinthians in 2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? How do I know I have the right faith? How do I prove myself? How do I know that Christ is in me? How do I know I'm not a reprobate? By allowing the Holy Spirit to enlighten me through the Word of God. Where there is no renewing there is only the reasoning of man, the influence of this world or even worse, the influence of the devil. Consider that TV, movies, internet, social media, commentators and news organizations are not helping to renew your mind in the things of God. It's hard to imagine how we could make a difference if God's Spirit is not renewing us through His word.

III. The Holy Spirit wants to reprove us. Jesus said in John 16:7-11 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. The most important way the Holy Spirit reproves is through the Word of God. He reveals the unbelief and sin of man, the righteousness of God, and the judgment to come. He continues to do this daily, if He is allowed to, as we look into the word of God. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the "Spirit of Truth" because He bears witness of the truth, by doing so He reproves our sin. Paul said in Gal 5:16-18 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. The reproof of the Holy Spirit gives us the opportunity to agree with God. 1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. If we fail to make the Word of God a regular part of our life we deprive the Holy Spirit of the best tool He has to reprove us. Consider that TV, movies, internet, social media, commentators and news organizations are doing little to show us our rebellion against God. It's hard to imagine how we can make a difference if God is not reproving us daily.

IV. The Holy Spirit wants to teach us. Paul wrote in 1 Cor 2:9-12 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Jesus said in John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. The Holy Spirit teaches us primarily through enlightenment and understanding in the things of God through His Word. An important key to being taught is found in Ps 25:9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. Consider that TV, movies, internet, social media, commentators and news organizations are not very interested in you learning the ways of God. If we are unwilling to come daily to the Word of God with a teachable spirit it's hard to imagine how we can make a difference in this world.

V. The Holy Spirit wants to comfort us. Jesus said in John 14:16-18 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Comfort means to call near and encourage. The best encouragement comes through truth and love. The Holy Spirit will seek to comfort us by reminding us of God's truth and God's love as found in His Word. Jesus said in John 14:26 that the Holy Spirit would "bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." Job rightly said in Job 14:1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. How sad it is we refuse God's comfort through His Holy Spirit because we will not hear the word of God. Consider that TV, movies, internet, social media, commentators and news organizations are not all that concerned with you hearing God's word or being comforted. It's hard to imagine making a difference in this world if we're not letting God's Spirit comfort us through His word.

VI. The Holy Spirit wants us to trust in God with all our heart. Prov 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. “With all thine heart” means the inner man or the hidden part. That kind of trust is only possible when we are allowing the Holy Spirit to do in us all He wishes to do. God's people become ineffective when they fail to trust Him unconditionally. Consider that TV, movies, internet, social media, commentators and news organizations are not really compelling you to trust in God unconditionally. If we acknowledge God in all our ways He will direct our path. It's hard to imagine how we make a difference in this world if we won't trust in God with all our heart.

VII. The Holy Spirit wants us to pray. Phil 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Prayer is talking to God. It's telling Him what He means to you. It's thanking Him for what He's done. It's interceding of behalf of others. It's making requests for yourself. It's finding peace by casting all your care upon God because He cares for you. Consider that TV, movies, internet, social media, commentators and news organizations are not really going to help you pray. It's hard to imagine how we can make a difference in this world without effectual and fervent prayer.

Conclusion. The remedy for a Christianity that's failing to make a difference in this world is really very simple. Let God make us into people that can make a difference. TV, movies, internet, social media, commentators and news organizations may have their place and may even help a little in making a difference, but they cannot do what only God can. Making a difference is possible through God's word and His Spirit. Are you living for the world to see only Jesus?