Summary: The sermon deals with the importance of a good Christian influence on unbelievers.
A. Hobo that comes to Mayberry.
1. Andy and Opie meet him while fishing at a local lake.
2. He steals their lunch from the car so we immediately know he is up to no good.
3. Barney arrests him for loitering and vagrancy.
4. Andy offers to let him work at his house trimming hedges.
5. Not long before he is showing some things to Opie that are not kosher.
6. Teaches him it is okay to steal gum from a gumball machine (What does a gumball machine need with money?).
7. Teaches him that it is okay to put off work until tomorrow or procrastinate (Tomorrow is the perfect day to start any job).
8. Teaches him to steal food from others to feed himself.
9. Teaches him to cut school to go fishing.
10. Barney has him pegged from the start, but Andy is more trusting.
11. Cutting school was the last straw and the thing that opened Andy’s eyes.
12. Takes a ride out to his shack beside the railroad track and invited him to leave town.
13. Shares with him how he has influenced Opie, but he asks Andy why he doesn’t let Opie decide which way he wants to go.
14. Andy tells him it doesn’t work that way because a child will grab at the first thing with frills attached to it, so a parent has to keep temptation away.
15. Hobo decides to redeem himself in the eyes of the sheriff.
16. Steals one of Aunt Bea’s pocketbooks but one she had thrown away.
17. Barney doesn’t know this, so he arrests him.
18. The scene plays out in front of Opie who becomes disillusioned with the bum.
19. Realized he had been a bad influence and wanted to redeem himself.
B. We influence others whether or not we consciously try to.
1. What kind of influence are you having on others?
2. Are others convicted of wrong when they are around you?
3. Do others behave better when they are around you because they know you are a Christian?
4. Are you trying to bless others by serving them in a good manner, or do you really care about the needs of others?
5. Do you ever feel that your influence is insignificant?
C. Influence and being a preacher.
1. People who would shape up when you came around.
2. People who would not be themselves if they knew you were a preacher.
3. Not as big a thing as it once was.
4. Want people to be themselves around you, but it is also nice to know you are influencing them.
D. Do you ever wish your influence was greater than you perceive it to be?
1. Think of Jesus’ disciples. Just a handful of men and women against the entire nation of Israel and the pagan Roman Empire.
2. Can we imagine how they must have felt when Jesus issued them the Great Commission?
E. What seems a small influence can really be more than we imagine.
1. Think of our alphabet. Only 26 letters, and every poem, great work of literature, novel, history book, letter, essay and every other work of English literature has been composed with combinations of them.
2. Our worlds of influence may be small, but we can make a great impact on that small world.
F. Lord Kelvin’s experiment with a large piece of metal and small wads of paper.
1. Hung a large piece of metal from a cord in his laboratory.
2. Waded up pieces of paper about the size of a pea and threw them at the weight.
3. At first they seemed to have no effect, but eventually the weight began to sway.
G. God is demonstrating his influence through the church.
1. A handful of weak and inept believers turned the world upside down.
2. God’s kingdom will grow despite the opposition from Satan.
3. God’s kingdom will ultimately permeate the world.
OUR INFLUENCE IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE GOD’S KINGDOM OFTEN SEEMS VERY SMALL
A. Jesus appeals to the mustard seed.
1. Some use this passage to say that Jesus sometimes didn’t know what he was talking about.
2. The mustard seed is not the smallest seed, but it is the smallest seed used in Palestinian gardens.
3. Widely used as an herb throughout the world.
4. Though small, the bush would eventually grow to a height of 12 to 15 feet.
5. It was so large that birds could build a nest and nest in it.
6. Jesus would later compare the size of the mustard seed with faith, “I assure you, even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”