Summary: Jesus taught us that a believer should be like salt (Matthew 5:13). We should act, as agents of influence in society, not isolate ourselves from it. Paul moves beyond the analogy to provide some practical ways that Christians can be salt. Paul tells us ho
Opening Statement: I began a series last week called “Leadership and Service Excellence.” It was the introductory message that will serve as the “setup” for many messages to come regarding God-glorifying excellence. We’re not about perfectionism. Neither are we about a snooty sophistication, elitism and professionalism. Rather, we believe that excellence in Christian living and work, when expressed with humility and authenticity, glorifies God and inspires people. When we do all we can within our God-given resources to pursue our tasks at hand with excellence in mind, that moves people toward the majesty and beauty, and order of God. It makes the New Community an inviting place to be. People like to hang around excellence.
Transition: Today, we are talking about…
Title: Excellence in Your Influence
Explanation: The influence that you have in your family and in your community can be a wonderful thing. I want Sunman Community Church people to be excellent in their influence.
Transition: Jesus taught us that a believer should be like salt (Matthew 5:13). We should act, as agents of influence in society, not isolate ourselves from it. Paul moves beyond the analogy to provide some practical ways that Christians can be salt. Paul tells us how we are to live in order to have a positive, lasting influence on those around us.
Synopsis: In 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4, we come to the main section of Paul’s letter in which Paul teaches on some very practical matters. We know this because in 1 Thessalonians 4:1, we read "Finally (I’m at the main body of the letter)…how you ought to walk (a metaphorical image of the believer’s progress in the faith. The reader was to understand what correct Christian living or conduct is and what it is not)…(v.1)." Today, we are going to talk about it momentarily.
Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Recitation: 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 “And to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you; so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.”
Key Word: In these verses, Paul sees our influence coming in the typical, run-of-the-mill affairs of our day-to-day lives. If you want to have a lifestyle that is conducive to a positive influence, then do these three THINGS. Let your neighbors see you doing these three THINGS faithfully. Model them at school. Demonstrate them at work. But always remember, that even if no one else is looking, you do them out of personal commitment to “Excellence in Influence.”
Transition: I want to run these by you quickly, and then make some broad applications at the end.
Quotation: Steven Covey states: “In order to have influence, you have to be influenced.” Paul influences us today, when he stated…
I. Lead a Quiet Life
Exposition: "And to make it your ambition (life goal) to lead a quiet (restful, peaceful - Paul isn’t opposed to those who are talkative by nature) life… (v.11a)."
Illustration: Not long ago, I began sketching out a plan for the Nelson family. Where we’re at, where we’re headed, and what I’d like to see happen in the next several years in our own personal lives. As I recall, it was not one of my ambitions or goals for us to “lead a quiet life.” But it should have been. Let me explain.
Explanation: Some in the church had misunderstood the promise of Christ’s return and had become "parasites" who lived off the other Christians. They had quit their jobs, stopped paying their bills, and had lost credibility with the local merchants of Thessalonica. In a word, a spirit of chaos had come over some of them. They had lost their peace. Every time they read the newspaper, they were stricken with panic and waves of uproar rippled through the ranks.
Interpretation: Paul is saying that we cannot maintain a positive testimony toward those in the faith, much less those outside of the faith, if a spirit of restlessness and panic dominates our lives. Let those outside the faith see you leading a peaceful life.
Illustration: Do you know who has a quiet center to life? Little Paul Helmers. He has his bad days, like anybody. But there’s a quiet center to that little boy. He has never questioned the love of his mother and father. Glenn Robinson, who lives across the street, goes over to pick him up for a golf cart ride. You’ll never see a broader smile. He doesn’t say much, even though he probably only knows a few words. He’s quiet and at peace.
Illustration: It reminds me of John Wesley’s experience. After being a failure here in the states, he was returning to England. The ship encountered a storm. A group of Christians on the ship gathered together and had peace. John was in turmoil. This experience led him to a deeper walk with the Lord. He wanted peace.