Summary: Christians must somehow influence others for Christ in a positive way.
Prov. 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
I Cor. 15:33 “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”
INTRO.- ILL.- A mother took her young son shopping. After shopping in one store, a clerk handed the little boy a lollipop. "What do you say?" the mother said to the boy, to which he replied, "Charge it!"
Parents do influence their children in certain ways. What do you do today that one of your parents did when you were a kid? Do you do anything just like they did? Do you have any of their habits?
ILL.- And old TV commercial used to show a father walking along with his little boy. The little boy was probably about 3 years old. The dad picked up a rock and threw it. The boy did the same thing. The father sat down against a tree, lit up a cigarette and laid his pack of cigarettes on the ground. And the last scene showed the little boy picking up that pack of cigarettes.
Parents do influence their children whether they realize it or not!
What we do influences others! Sometimes we sharpen others and sometimes we drag people down, but we do influence one another! We influence one another in many ways and about many things.
We influence one another in regard to sports (Cardinals and Cubies), hobbies, habits, vacations (Cancun, Mexico), houses, cars (Ford has a better idea, you know), clothing, food, religion, etc.
ILL.- In 1978 I bought a foreign car. A Japanese Subaru. It was a little four-door car with a 5-speed overdrive floor shift. It got fantastic gas mileage. I could get 45 miles per gallon with that car while driving 70 and 75 miles per hour. And believe it or not, I got as high as 52 miles-per-gallon. No kidding! I bought the car when I was preaching at the First Christian Church of Iberia, MO.
Why did I buy a car like that? It was all because of one deacon in our church. He had bought a Volkswagen Rabbit. They were very popular at that time. He kept talking about the good gas mileage and the good traction he had with that front-wheel drive car. He just kept talking about it until I couldn’t take it any longer. Finally, I went to look at those cars. I liked the VW Rabbit, but I didn’t like the price tag. That’s why I ended up buying that Subaru which was also a front-wheel drive car. And it turned out to be a great car and it was much cheaper than the Rabbit. SO THEN I LET HIM HEAR ABOUT IT!
We do influence people! And our greatest concern should be to influence people for Christ and His church.
What are we doing to influence people for Christ? That is, people inside the church and people outside the church. We are doing something even when we don’t realize it.
ILL.- We had an elder in the church at Iberia, MO, named Ralph Riemensnider, who did everything he could for the church. He had a good voice and led the singing on Sunday morning. He taught a Sunday School class and a midweek Bible study. He would even preach if I had to be gone. Whenever there was manual work that needed to be done around the church, he was there to help. Clean snow from parking lot or whatever.
I asked him one time why he did so much for the church and he gave a man’s name as his answer. He said, “Virgil Burks is the reason.” Virgil had been an elder in the church years earlier and he was a diligent worker in the church. Virgil’s good and godly example had a positive influence on Ralph.
We do influence others for Christ whether we realize it or not.
Of course, sometimes we exert a negative influence on people. I’ve known of some people who wouldn’t come church because of someone else in the church. He may have been a nasty foul-mouth or something else which was very negative.
SUCH PEOPLE INFLUENCE PEOPLE AGAINST CHRIST. And this is something we don’t want to do. We don’t want to turn people off to Christ. WE WANT TO TURN THEM ON!
I want us to think about the influence that we have on people for Christ. Family members, friends, fellow workers, neighbors, social acquaintances, and even people we don’t even know but may happen to rub shoulders with them in the grocery store and Wal-Mart and so on.
PROP. - The apostle gives us some things we can do to influence people for Christ.
1- Devoted prayer
2- Clear preaching
3- Wise conduct
4- Gracious speech
I. DEVOTED PRAYER
V. 2-3 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door...”