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The Power of One Person

The Power of One Person

Date:7/28/19

Series: 2019 Miscellaneous Sermons

Passage: Genesis 6:5-9

Speaker: Reggie Ogea

The Power of One Person         
Genesis 6:5-9
Dr. Reggie Ogea

Last Sunday we considered A Life That Pleases God, involving four case studies of Old Testament men of faith.  We identified Noah, one of the oldest patriarchs in the Bible, as a man of authentic faith who believed it before he saw it. For our time this morning, we consider The Power of One Person.  Genesis chapters 6 and 7 record the powerful and personal influence of Noah.  To introduce Noah’s case study, we focus on Genesis 6:5-9.

5) When the LORD saw that man’s wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every scheme his mind thought of was nothing but evil all the time, 6) the LORD regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7) Then the LORD said, “I will wipe off the face of the earth: man, whom I created, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky – for I regret I made them.” 8) Noah, however, found favor in the eyes of the LORD.  9) These are the family records of Noah: Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God. 

One Person has the power to make a difference.  People who make a difference rise to the top of every era of history, every vocational profession, every category of business, every region of America and the world.   Some of these difference-makers assumed positions of leadership, some served in relative obscurity.  Some of their names placed them in the category of the famous and well-known, but scores of others lived as obscure and unknown. 

Mother Theresa brought hope to the destitute of Calcutta. Jonathan Edwards brought a great awakening to New England.  George Washington brought freedom to America.  Abraham Lincoln brought emancipation to the slaves.  And let’s not forget those scattered throughout the pages of Scripture: Abraham fathered a nation.  Moses delivered a people in captivity.  David killed a giant.  Elijah stood against false religion.  Esther saved a nation.  Nehemiah rebuilt a wall.  Jesus made eternal life possible.  Paul evangelized the world.  John received the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

I urge you to engrave this challenge permanently on your mind: “I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  Just because I cannot do everything, I will not fail to do the something that I can do.”

Do you believe in the power of one?  Do you believe you can be that one person?  Noah purposed to make a difference and he proved that one person can make a difference in three areas.

  1. You can make a difference in your FAMILY.

Genesis 6:9 – “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries, Noah walked with God.”  That one statement defined what Noah did next.  The remainder of Genesis 6 confirms that Noah built an ark according to God’s detailed specifications.   Noah’s  righteousness, faithfulness, and commitment saved his family from extinction and ruin. What is God able to accomplish through one man who determines to be righteous, faithful, and committed?

My father was the youngest of six children.  When he was two years old, his father (my grandfather) divorced his mother (my grandmother) and left their family for another woman.  My grandmother never remarried and raised those six children as a single mother.  What is common place in this society was uncommon in that day.  When dad was age 12, his  next oldest brother joined the navy and my dad was suddenly the “man of the house.”  He worked for a rice farmer afternoons and weekends, not for spending money as a teenager, but to provide for him and my grandmother.  He seldom went to church, until he met a girl two years younger.  The only time he had to date her was on Sunday afternoon and evening.  She was a Christian girl and a Baptist, so that in the courtship, when it came time for Sunday evening church, he either had to go to church with her or go home.  Sitting on the back row of a little Baptist church, courting the girl he would marry, he heard the Gospel for the first time.  After high school graduation, he joined the Air Force, and the chaplain of his commission led him to a faith experience with Jesus Christ.  He married that young girl, and two year later after discharge, I was born.  He told me about holding me in his lap as an infant, and praying out loud, “God, I don’t know how to be a father, because I’ve never had a father.  But if you will help me, I will become the kind of father to this boy that I never had.”  From that day to this, my dad has been the greatest Christian man I’ve ever known.  He publicly professed his faith in Jesus Christ, joined the Baptist church, served as a deacon and Sunday School teacher for over 60 years.  He raised me and my sister in a Christian home, and today, at the age of 87, he stands tall as the patriarch of our family -- two children, five grandchildren, six great grandchildren. 

I want to ask you a serious question:  HOW MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE WILL YOUR LIFE MAKE FOR YOUR FAMILY?  When you die and your family gathers around your casket, what will they say about you and the influence you’ve had on their lives?  Some of you dads and granddads are messing around with God.  You’re wasting your opportunity to make a difference in your family.  WAKE UP.  STEP UP.  It’s not too late to get right with God and start making a significant difference for your family.

  1. You can make a difference for FUTURE generations. 

Noah not only made a difference for his family, but his obedience to God made a difference for future generations.  The entire second half of Genesis chapter 6 describe and define how Noah’s obedience of God’s instruction preserved life for future generations.  God’s verdict upon worldly corruption caused Him to choose Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth as the remnant to future generations.  God even validated the dimensions of this ark to be constructed as a vessel of salvation: 450 feet long (the length of 1 and ½ football fields), 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.  I’m not that astute with dimensions but I can envision a ship that would fill up ½ of this worship center but be four times the length of this building!  Incredible!  Large enough to house two of everything created: birds, livestock, animals that crawl, and all of the food and water needed. Genesis 6:11 and 7:1 create the bedrock of Noah’s influence:  “And Noah did this.  He did everything that God had commanded him.  Then the LORD said to Noah, ‘Enter the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation.’”

Two words define difference-makersFocus and Action.    It is incredibly amazing when you think that Noah’s ark-building project lasted 100 YEARS!  How do you keep going when something is taking so long?  FOCUS.   Every day, Noah focused on the task God gave him – 365 days for 100 years = 36,500 days!  What Noah was doing would make a difference for future generations.  Most of us are so busy doing so many things that we fail to focus on the tasks that will make a difference for future generations.  We often think that “more is better,” but in reality, to accomplish “more” we should focus on “less.”

A second word describes difference-makers:  ACTION.  Noah had no idea that his boat project would take 100 years.  He just had to get started - take action. As a church family, you have entered a period of pastoral transition.  Did you know that the transition period between one pastor and the next is one of the most vulnerable positions a church will ever experience?  During periods like this, many churches go backward instead of forward.  During seasons like this one, some churches experience conflict and chaos instead of peace and unity.  Could I just tell you one way to keep that from happening here?  Each one of you must determine to step up and do more than you’ve ever done, serve more passionately then you’ve ever served, be more committed than you’ve ever been.  Don’t sit back and wait until a new pastor comes – step up and take action now!   John Maxwell proposed that the greatest gap in life is the one between I SHOULD and I DID!  It’s commonly called the procrastination gap, and we’re all guilty at times.  The way to make a difference for future generations is to focus on doing what needs to be done NOW, and then go DO it!

  1. You can make a difference at any AGE. 

Genesis 7:6 is an amazing Bible verse:  “Noah was 600 years old when the ark was finished.”

What seems to be your problem?  Not one of us will get to Noah’s age.  Most of us will not live

to be 100!  That means that whatever age you are right now, you are still young enough to make

a difference.   Harland Sanders was 65 when he started making Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Bill

Gates was 19 when he started designing Microsoft computer software in his garage.   In the eyes

of God, no one is too old or too young to make a difference.  Abraham was 75 years old when

he relocated his family on a journey to become the father of Israel.  David was just a teenager

when he stood against the giant Goliath. If Noah could speak to us today, I think he would say,

“Don’t be afraid to obey God.”  Noah stood with God when no one else would.  Imagine what

people must have thought of him building that ark when there wasn’t a large body of water in

sight and when it hadn’t rained a flood in the history of the world.  What a fool they thought he was.  But his faithfulness saved his life and his family.  Difference-makers are different.

If Noah could speak to us today, I think he would also say, “Don’t be afraid to do something for

the first time.”  Noah built a boat when there was no earthly reason to build a boat.  Noah was

the first person on Earth to build an ark.  When’s the last time you did something for the first

time?

  • If you’ve never led another person to a relationship with Jesus Christ, you need to do it for the first time.
  • If you’ve never encouraged a young person, you need to do it for the first time.
  • If you’ve never been involved in a ministry, you need to do it for the first time.
  • If you’ve never tithed your income, you need to do it for the first time.
  • If you’ve never told your spouse and your children how proud you are of them, then you need to do it for the first time.
  • If you’ve never reached out to a lonely senior adult, you need to do for the first time.
  • It’s not too early and it’s never too late to make a difference.

CLOSING THOUGHTS AND A QUESTION

Every time you see a rainbow, remember that one person can make a difference.

Every time you think that your life is insignificant, remember that one plus God is always a majority.

What if the power of one became the power of many and the power of many became the power of one?