Sermon on Christian Influence
TITLE: Our Christian Influence
PROPOSITION: Our Christian influence 1) should reflect good, not evil, 2) is wielded through our example of words and actions, 3) can be seen through our associations, 4) should be obvious to all, 5) will ultimately affect our salvation.
OBJECTIVES: Each hearer should be able to understand that he or she has an influence and that this influence must be used to further the cause of Christ, not hinder it. Hindering the cause of Christ with one’s influence is a sin in and of itself.
AIM: I want to reinforce the concept that we must excel at having a good influence on others.
1. Read: Matthew 5:13-16
2. About the Text:
1) From this passage we understand that Christians are to be like salt and like light.
2) Salt is a seasoning that influences other things that we eat. It is an influence that improves flavor and adds to the taste of what we are eating.
3) It is not typical for someone to just pick up a shaker of salt and start eating it to appreciate salt.
4) Light is something that we use to see other things that are around us. It is an influence improves our visibility of other objects.
5) It is not typical for someone to just stare at a light source, such as the Sun, to appreciate light.
6) These things are influences for the purpose of flavoring or illuminating something other than itself.
7) Christians are like salt and light in that they ought to have an influence on those around them.
8) But if our influence is not being used for good, then we are like salt that has “lost its savor.”
3. What does the word “influence” mean?
1) One definition reads, “The power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways.”
2) Another definition is as follows, “To affect or alter by indirect or intangible means.”
3) Christian influence would therefore be to positively affect or alter someone or something through the way one lives the Christian life (i.e. through the words that we speak or the actions that we do) so as to indirectly cause another to choose that which is right.
4) From the perspective of Christianity, a bad influence would be to negatively affect or alter someone or something through the way one lives one’s life so as to indirectly cause another to choose that which is wrong.
4. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
DISCUSSION: Our Christian influence . . .
I. Should reflect good, not evil.
1. Must know difference between good and evil. Hebrews 5:14
2. Influence must reflect that which is holy and pure. Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect?;” 1 Peter 1:15-16 “Be holy.”
3. Our influence must not give place/opportunity to the devil to speak evil of us, Christ, or the church. Ephesians 4:27 “Neither give place to the devil.”
4. Example of Balaam; Revelation 2:14 He used his influence for evil. “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”
II. Is shown through our example of words and actions.
1. The choices that we make have repercussions in the lives of other people. Titus 3:8 “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”
2. Words and actions must harmonize–hypocrites don’t have a good influence. James 3:17 “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”
3. Examples in the New Testament
1) Acts 9:36 Dorcas/Tabitha
2) Titus 2:7-8 “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”
3) 1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
III. Can be seen through our associations.
1. Must not follow a multitude to do evil. Exodus 23:2
2. Not to associate with unfruitful works of darkness. Ephesians 5:6-13
1) Have no association with evil because it will affect your influence.
2) By not associating with wickedness, we shine the light of truth on that which is wrong.
3. Our fellowship should be with the Father and His children. 1 John 1:3-7
IV. Should be obvious to all.
1. We should reflect the “excellencies” of God in our life. 1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises/excellencies of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
1) Excellence is obvious.
2) If it is not obvious that something is a good influence, then it is NOT a good influence.
2. If someone does not know you are a Christian, then your influence is not good.
3. It should be obvious to everyone we know whether we are a Christian or not.
Philippians 2:14-15 “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”
V. Will affect our salvation.
1. Matthew 5:13 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
1) Salt that has lost its savor is cast out.
2) If we have lost our influence for good over those around us, then we will be cast out as well.
2. If we do not have a good influence on others, then they will have a bad influence on us.
1) Galatians 5:9 “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”
2) Gal. 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
3. However, those who have influence for good will be rewarded by God for that good influence.
1) Rev. 14:13 “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
2) Matthew 13:43 “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
1. We have discussed our Christian influence.
1) It should reflect good, not evil.
2) It is shown through our example of words and actions.
3) It can be seen through our associations.
4) It should be obvious to all.
5) It will affect our salvation.
1) If you are a Christian but have fallen away
a. Has your salt lost its savor?
b. Is your influence working for good or evil?
2) If you are not a Christian this morning . . .
a. You need to bring your influence under the dominion of Christ.
b. Heed the plan that it has for man’s salvation today!
a) Hear the word; Romans 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing . . .”
b) Believe with all your heart; Hebrews 11:6 “For without faith it is impossible . . . .”
c) Repent of your sins (Acts 17:30).
d) Confess Jesus as the Son of God (Matthew 16:16).
e) Be baptized for the remission of your sins (Mark 16:15-16).