Summary: A call to be people of impact for Christ.
Influencing Our World For Christ
Today our topic is “Influencing Our World for Christ.”
The idea of our time together is to look at just some of the many ways we can make a difference as we live and work in a world that doesn’t seem to have much time for Christ or Christians.
But it doesn’t have to remain that way. In fact, things are improving in many places. However, there is still much we can do to show that Jesus lives and loves even those people who turn away.
As I have mentioned time and again, God has entrusted to us the task of telling the world about Christ. It takes more than just words. And while words are important, they are not the only things we are to use.
Our lives are to reflect a relationship with Christ that affects everything we do in public and in private. The areas we are going to deal with today are just a few of the ways we can make a positive difference.
I doubt you will hear anything new this morning. Much of life tends to be a reminder of lessons we should have learned before.
But I hope this will be some fresh encouragement to be a positive in a world of negatives.
II. Five Areas of Influence
A. Holy Lives
The first area of influence is holy living. We have already spent a good number of weeks on this, but it bears repeating. Holiness is crucial to pleasing God and influencing others for Christ.
Holiness sets us apart as a people who aren’t reliant on the world’s value system.
Allow me to read 1 Peter 2:11-12:
-Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.-
The idea here, friends, is that we need to live lives that are different from those who don’t love Christ. If we hang onto the world’s values and its lifestyles, we tell them we have nothing to live for that’s any better than what they have.
B. Treating well those who mistreat us.
The second area of influence is how we treat those who mistreat us. Listen as I read the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:43-48:
-“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
You see the point? We are to treat others DIFFERENTLY than the world does.
There are at least two benefits to treating others well. First, there is the benefit of making a statement about the world’s value system, as we mentioned already. The world wants revenge, we grant grace and mercy. And we reflect that mercy and grace God showers on us as His children.