Summary: Jesus commands that his followers have an effective influence on their worlds.
How to Be an Effective Influence
A. John Donne said: “No man is an island.”
B. Andrew Murray’s holy and pure life was reflected in his children and grandchildren. Said of him, “Five of his six sons became ministers of the gospel and four of his daughters became minister’s wives. Ten grandsons became ministers and thirteen grandchildren became missionaries.”
C. Elihu Burrit wrote, “No human being can come into this world without increasing or diminishing the sum total of human happiness, not only of the present but of every subsequent age of humanity.”
D. We make an influence.
1. Don’t have a choice in the matter.
2. Whether we are popular or unknown is irrelevant.
E. Influence can be good or bad.
1. Living for Christ makes a good influence.
2. Inconsistency and complacency are bad influences.
F. Christians have an awesome responsibility.
1. Our actions could determine someone’s response to the gospel.
2. Must influence but not reflect the lifestyle of the unsaved.
3. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them.” (I John 2:15)
G. We carry the message of life.
1. Don’t reflect the world.
2. Permeate the world as salt does food.
3. Reflect Christ in our words and actions.
RECOGNIZE THE PROBLEM OF SIN
A. Command to influence presupposes some things.
1. There is something wrong with the world system.
2. There is something wrong with others.
B. Our world needs salt and light.
1. It needs salt because it is corrupted with wickedness.
2. It needs light because it is overrun by the darkness of sin.
3. Condition will get worse; “evil persons and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (II Timothy 3:13)
C. Story told to John MacArthur by college student.
1. Professor taught that marriage was declining.
2. Reason: man was evolving to a higher level.
3. Marriage was only needed at the lower level.
4. Marriage was falling off “just as his prehensile tail had done millions of years ago.”
5. We don’t have to look far to see the evil in our world. Sept. 11, 2001 was a good example.
D. Our advancements don’t negate our sinful nature.
1. They often lead to disobedience to God.
2. Increase in technology and knowledge but used in wicked ways.
3. More knowledge can bring more wickedness.
E. Noah’s time.
1. Wickedness was so great God couldn’t stand it.
2. Sent a flood: “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only on evil all the time.” (Genesis 6:5)
3. Not long after, Sodom and Gomorrah became wicked and were destroyed with fire and brimstone.
4. David recognized his sinful nature: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5)
F. Humanity is sinking not evolving to a higher level of goodness.
1. People are affected by sin and contribute to the problem.