Under The Influence
June 25, 2006
One of the primary roles of a parent I am learning is to be
a censor for children.
a screening device for my family
As a parent I am continually setting boundaries:
on the TV - can’t watch this show - you can watch this one.
on friends - she is a bad influence - he is a good influence.
on activities - No, you can’t play with knives honey - blocks are better.
On clothes, video games, radio stations, food choices.
Parents have the role of filter, censor, and screener in order to limit the dangerous, harmful activities.
Why? Because children aren’t able to discern any danger.
children don’t understand the consequences of playing with a knife verses
Parents are continually assessing situations - at home, in the yard, while at church, at school, at the store, in order that their child be safe and influenced properly.
As you pastor, I have this role as well. Though I am not old enough to be a parent to many of you. And though many of you are quite satisfied thank you very much with the parent or parents you already have, a pastor has the responsibility to watch over the sheep, to warn you of harm, to help the people of the church learn to identify the devil’s dark and deceptive schemes that can lead a sheep astray.
One of the great pastors in the faith was a man named Paul. He wrote in Ephesians 4 that God made some people to be pastors and teachers to prepare God’s people for service so that the body of Christ may be built up becoming mature. "Then" he writes, "we will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men."
Paul recognized that God gave the people of God, certain persons who have as their responsibility the duty to help other’s recognize, confront and flee from the false truths, the empty words of false teachers. Paul identified that because there are cunning and crafty men and all words kinds of teachers out there tossing and turning people in all directions that humans need people to create boundaries, to educate, to watch over them. Because people are like sheep - they stray off.
People are easily enticed.
People are easily influenced and if they aren’t careful they can leave the way of faith without really realizing it. (Regent story?)
Let none of us here today believe even for a moment that the serpent who got Adam and Eve off course is dead - no the serpent is alive and as active as ever and desires to call into question everything we believe.
I’ve told you before but let me say it again. For each degree a pilot is off course every 62 miles he flies he is 1 mile off from his intended destination. A small degree off from the truth can end up getting one in big trouble over time.
No one wants to be under the influence of that kind of pilot. No - we want to end up where we are intending to go.
Throughout the book of 1 John - John takes on the role of pastor and parent.
John in our text, perhaps more than those to whom he is writing recognizes
the consequences a bad situation can have/an evil person can be.
So throughout this book - 19x he writes a trip tick.
He gives guidelines.
He clarifies God’s way amidst all the other ways.
"This is the message," he writes.
"This is God’s command,"
"This is how we know what love is."
And in today’s text "this how you can recognize the Spirit of God." v. 2
"This is how we recognize the spirit of truth and
the spirit of falsehood." v. 6
John wants to put these people - who had been led astray back on to true north, back on the right path away from the influences that were slowly leading them astray, getting them off course. Because the longer they found themselves under the teachings of these false teachers, the more their destination would be other than what God intended for them.
So John writes as a Spiritual Father desiring that his children (v. 4), these friends (v. 1) be able to recognize their dangerous situation.
His words give Jesus followers, then and now, a response to the many false teachers in the world.
You noticed he began by saying, "Don’t believe every Spirit" or "don’t believe everyone you hear." Not everything that anyone says is true.
There are people you and I know who react to everything they hear or read. They live their life being pushed back and forth, being manipulated by voices. They have no foundation, no plumb line to measure things against.