Influence And Example Vital To Church Growth


  1. INTRODUCTION:
    1. OPENING COMMENT:

      Many members of the Church have remarked, that they do not gave any talent to serve the Lord for they are not able to preach, lead singing, lead public prayers, or even teach a Bible class. Therefore, they sit back doing nothing, overlooking their ability to carry out two fundamental factors in spreading the gospel which everyone possesses: Influence and Example. It is felt by these since they are not able to take a leading part in the assembly they are useless. However, this is far from correct, for every child of God us useful and plays a vital role in teaching the lost.

    2. INFLUENCE AND EXAMPLE DEFINED:
      1. Influence: "The act or power of producing an effect without apparent force or direct authority upon". [WEBSTER].

        QUOTE: [Thomas T. Carter, in LEAVES OF GOLD, Edited by Clyde Fracnis Lytle, p. 118.] "The least may influence the greatest. It was St. Andrew that influenced St. Peter to "come and see" Jesus. One least spoken of among the apostles influenced the one who took the foremost place among them as if to show that such power is independent of personal superiority. It is not the great and gifted alone who exercise this mysterious power of influence. It is a universal law of life. These personal influences, first of Jesus on Andrew, then of Andrew on Peter, were the beginning of the conversion of the world."

      2. Example: "That which is to be followed or imitated". [WEBSTER]

      ILLUSTRATION: A man who lived some six miles from the house of worship, complained to his minister of the distance he had to go to attend worship. ‘Never you mind’, said the minister, ‘Remember every Lord’s day you have the privilege of preaching a sermon six miles long -- you preach the gospel to all the residents and people you pass.’"

    3. GOD’S WORD DEMANDS BOTH OF CHRISTIANS:
      1. Influence:
        1. Christ spoke of influence in the likeness of salt and light. Matthew 5:13-16 = "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
        2. Christ further spoke of influence as the likeness of leaven. Matthew 13:33 = "Another parable spake he unto them; the kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."
      2. Example:
        1. Paul exhorted Timothy to be an example. I Timothy 4:12 = "Let no man despise thy youth: but be that an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."
        2. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to imitate him as he imitated Christ. I Corinthians 11:1 = "Be ye imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ." [ASV]
    4. IMPORTANCE OF INFLUENCE AND EXAMPLE IN SAVING THE LOST:
      1. Influence -- This let’s us reach out into the depths of darkness with spiritual light to guide others to Christ.

        Luke 1:79 = " To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

        Acts 26:18 = Paul said, "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."

      2. Example -= Let’s us manifest before others an example, or pattern, of what God wants them to be.

    II Thessalonians 3:7-9 = "For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: not because we have not power, but top make ourselves an example unto you to follow us."

    I Peter 2:21-24 = "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."

  2. DISCUSSION:
    1. CHRISTIAN INFLUENCE WORKS IN TWO WAYS:
      1. Working internally influence is like salt.

        Matthew 5:13 = "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men."

        1. Salt penetrates food as Christians penetrate worldly wickedness.
          1. Matthew 28:19-20 = "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
          2. Acts 8:4 = "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word."
          3. Comment: The penetrating ability of salt is like that of leaven [Matthew 13:33] that works throughout the dough. Paul said in Galatians 5:9 = "A little leaven leaventh the whole lump".
        2. Salt preserves - The gospel influence also has preservatives powers:
          1. The gospel preserves. Romans 1:16 = "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
          2. The gospel preserves, however, only when it is allowed to come into our hearts and work.

Mark 16:15-16 = "And he said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

Matthew 24:13 = "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."

2. Working externally influence is like unto light. Matthew 5:13-16 = "ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before me that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

a. The visible opposite of evil:

    1. The difference between light and darkness noted in the beginning. Genesis 1:4 = "And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from darkness."
    2. It reveals sin as evil.

      John 3:19-21 = "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

          1. Light reveals good works, while darkness tries to hid the evil.

            Matthew 5:16 = "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

            1. Let true Christians be seen as doers and not only hearers. James 1:22 = "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
            2. We were created in Christ to do good works.
              Ephesians 2:10
              = "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
      1. CHRISTIAN EXAMPLE SEEN IN THE WRITINGS OF PETER AND PAUL:

        Comment: We are to pattern ourselves after the example of Christ:

        Peter wrote in I Peter 2:21 = "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." Paul wrote to Timothy I Timothy 4:12 = "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity". [ASV] Let’s take a closer look at how Paul wrote to Timothy to be an example:

        1. In Word:
          1. A careful study of the word and it’s use:

            Acts 17:11 = "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

            II Timothy 2:15 = "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

          2. Speaking as the oracles of God.

          I Peter 4:11 = "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God’ if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

        2. In manner of life:
          1. Walking in the light. Ephesians 5:8-12 = "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all good and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove the, for it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret."
          2. Walking worthily. Ephesians 4:1-3 = "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
          3. To be blameless. Philippians 2:15 = "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;"
        3. In love:
          1. After the pattern of God’s love. Ephesians 5:1-2 = "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour."
          2. Manifesting itself in unity. Psalms 133:1 = "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."
        4. In faith.
          1. To please God. Hebrews 11:6 = "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
          2. That we may be examples of faithful living before others, as was manifest by the Thessalonians. I Thessalonians 1:6-8 = "And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that ye were examples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to god ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing."
          3. To receive the crown of life. I Peter 1:9 = "Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."   Revelation 2:10 = "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
        5. In purity:
          1. Purity of thought. Proverbs 23:7 = "For as he thinketh in his heart so is he: eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee." Matthew 5:28 = "But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
          2. Keep yourself pure from all sinful connections. I Timothy 5:22 = "Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins; keep thyself pure."
          3. Shun even the appearance of evil. I Thessalonians 5:22 = "Abstain from all appearance of evil."
  1. CONCLUSION:

    COMMENT: Unless Christians use their influence in reaching those wandering about in darkness to guide them to Christ and live an example before them, the preaching and teaching just becomes empty words.

    1. WE MUST BE DOERS. James 1:22 = "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."

      NOTE: Many have deceived themselves into thinking there is nothing they can do. Letting their valuable influence and example go unused. They fail to realize how great a service they can fender, encouraging others and living the gospel example.

    2. WE MUST NOT BE GUILTY OF THE SIN OF NEGLECT. James 4:17= "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not to him it is sin."
    3. DO YOU NEED TO REPENT OF YOUR NEGLECT OF USING YOUR GREATEST TALENTS OF INFLUENCE AND EXAMPLE? Remember what happened to the one talent man. [Matthew 25:24-30]

Back to the Top