YOU AND YOUR INFLUENCE.
1. All things and all beings are influenced to a degree by other things or other beings.
2 The moon influences the seas causing the rising and falling of tides.
3. The sun influences plants and other things to turn toward its rays.
A. Have you ever watched a large sunflower as its magnificent head of seeds and blooms turn every slowly as the sun moves across the sky?
4. So, also, human beings are influenced by other human beings.
5. Therefore, it is not a matter of whether we have influence or not, but rather our concern should be with what kind of influence we are having on others, and what kind of influence are others having on us.
6. Christians are in the world, but they are forbidden to be "of the world", Jno. 17:14.
7. Being in the world, they should be "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world", Mt. 5:13-16.
8.Thereby they are, or should ;be, an influence for good upon others.
9. At no time should the Christian become so unequally yoked to or allied with the forces of evil, so as to lose his good influence and good morals. 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 1 Cor. 15:33.
10. The Lord gave Himself for us, "that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works". Titus 2:14.
11. However, it is possible for the child of God to forget "that he was purged from his old sins", 2 Pet. 1:9
12. Also he may allow his affections to be set upon things other than "those things above", Col. 3:2.
13. He thereby becomes "barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ", 2 Pet. 1:8.
14. So often this wavering and departing process originates in the life of the Christian because of his succumbing to the improper influence of others. In other words: "He got with the wrong crowd".
15. Many of the chief rulers believed on Jesus but refused to confess Him, "because of the Pharisees", Jno. 12:42.
16. Though he was sorry, Herod "sent and beheaded John" due to the influence of Herodias and her dancing daughter. Mt. 14:6-10.
17. The apostle Peter, even after being miraculously informed of the acceptability of the Gentiles who feared and obeyed God, Acts 10, nevertheless, on one occasion, "withdrew and separated himself" because he feared "them which were of the circumcision." Gal. 2: 11,12.
18. His influence plus the influence of "other Jews" even caused Barnabas to be "carried away with their dissimulation." or their hypocrisy. Gal. 2:13.
19. Yet, on the other hand, a slave boy named Joseph, rose to great heights in Pharaoh's court and was consistently an influence for good. Gen. 41.
20. A Jewish captive named Daniel, generated respect in the king of Babylon for the God of the Israelites.
A. And let us not forget the three Hebrew children or boys in Babylon.
21. Philip brought Nathanial to Jesus. Jno. 1:45.
22. Andrew brought Peter to Jesus. Jno. 1:40,41.
23. An imprisoned apostle and his friend converted a jailer and his household, by there conduct and their teaching. Acts 16:23-34.
24. A young man, reared in a carpenter's shop and crucified on a rugged cross, changed the course of history by His life.
A. We are told that He left us an example that we should follow in His steps. 1 Pet. 2:21.
25. He "abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." 2 Tim. 1:10.
A. With these thoughts in mind, let us give some consideration to "You And Your Influence".
I. THERE ARE AT LEAST FIVE REALMS IN WHICH CHRISTIANS FUNCTION:
1. In each of these realms we influence others either for good or for evil.
2. Or it might be that we are influenced BY others either for good or for evil.
II. LET US CONSIDER EACH OF THESE REALMS SEPARATELY.
A. THE DOMESTIC:
1. Compare the influence of a faithful, pure, hard-working, devoted, Bible-following father with that of:
a. The indifferent, impure, negligent, unconcerned, seldom-if-ever Bible reading husband and father.
2. Compare the influence of the virtuous, clean-thinking, industrious, contented, spiritual minded mother with that of:
a. The cigarette-smoking, short's wearing, tantrum throwing, discontented, worldly minded, lazy wife and mother.
3. Compare the kind, obedient, clean living, God-fearing child with that of:
a. An unruly, disobedient, tantrum-throwing, Godlless child.
B. THE SPIRITUAL.
1. Compare the influence of the zealous, sacrificial, regular attending, cheerful, concerned, long suffering, truth-seeking member whose affections are "on things above" with that of:
a. The neglectful, tight-fisted, self-seeking, seldom-attending, morose unconcerned, short tempered, truth disregarder who pursues the religion of convenience while rejecting the religion of conviction. Acts 20:17-32.
1) How we conduct ourselves inside and outside the assemblies, is of great importance. Phil. 3:17-19; Rom. 16:17,18; Prov. 6:16-19; 1 Tim. 3:15.
C. THE SOCIAL.
1. Compare the influence of the neighborly, friendly, community-minded, helpful, example-setting person with that of:
a. The unneighborly, unfriendly, selfish, unconcerned, and impure individual.
D. THE CIVIL.
1. Compare the influence of the tax-paying, law abiding, patriotic person who is "subject to the higher powers" with that of:
a. The tax-evading, law-breaking, unpatriotic individual who continually speaks evil of the "higher powers."
E. THE ECONOMIC:
1. Compare the influence of the prompt, friendly, cooperative, hard- working, conscientious, company-concerned employee with that of:
a. The seldom-on-time, grouchy, uncooperative, "gold-bricking", company-despising employee.
1. We should also consider our influence among our peers in school and in pleasure, etc.
2. In each of these realms, mentioned in our lesson, our influence can work in one of two ways. For good or for evil.
3. Christians can "shine as lights in the world" Phil. 2:15, or they can "put it under a bushel", Mt. 5:16.
4. The strong can influence the weak for good, or the weak can influen- ce the strong for evil.
5. The fruit we bear affects our influence, and our influence affects the fruit we bear.
6. The life we live, should lend credence and respectability to the truths we believe.
7. None of us, by improper conduct or speech should ever be guilty of giving "occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully". 1 Tim. 5: 14.
8. WHAT is your influence, for WHOM is your influence, and for what CAUSE is your influence?
9. What about those closest to you, who know the most about you, and stand to be influenced as much or more by you than any other person?
10. Many times we influence others with our lives without sayhing a word to them about the Bible. 1 Pet. 3:1,2.
11. Have they become MORE spiritually minded, LESS spiritually minded, or NO apparent CHANGE either way?
12. Think seriously on these things. You and your influence may be much more important than you think.
13. Let us so live and so labor as to have our influence on the RIGHT SIDE OF EVERY ISSUE.
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