Influence Part 1
Sermon Summary
This is the first part of a two part sermon on influence. The main text for these two messages is found in 2 Peter 1:1-8. However, each of the blueprint details of influence found in this text are linked with other passages in the Bible that further explain the detail, concept or principle. The main point is that a person who exercises godly influence in his or her life is a person whom God will use in a powerful way to change lives and thereby the world!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. Did someone influence you in your decision to follow Christ? How did they do that?

2. Do you ever stop to think about the influence you have on other people by the way you live your life? Explain your answer. Here’s what Paul told Timothy in regards to influence...
1 Tim 4:12  Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

3. Seven details concerning areas in which we can be influencers in our lives are discussed in part 1 of this message: servanthood, apostleship, righteousness, faith, grace, peace, and knowledge. Look through the sermon notes for each detail and discuss why that particular thing could help influence someone to follow Christ. There’s additional verses to go with each detail. You may only have time to discuss a few. That’s ok. (Leaders, remind your folks the full sermon notes are available on any smart phone via our website)

Full Sermon Notes
Influence

"No thing can compare, You're our living hope! Your presence, Lord! I've tasted and seen of the sweetest of loves where my heart becomes free and my shame is undone!"
"Battistelli"

Jesus makes this possible for all who are willing to call on His precious Name! And the beautiful thing is this, His Holy Spirit lives in us and brings the very presence of God to us continuously. The difference this makes in a life is beyond measure and beyond explanation, but it is not beyond recognition! People see the difference in a true follower of Christ and that difference does carry with it influence! This past week I discovered the secret to reaching the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it has to do with influence! Let's pray and ask God to open our eyes and our hearts to His message today!

"Father God, how can we say thanks for Your willingness to be present with us? How can we say thanks for the price You paid to make it even possible? How can we not desire for others to know the transforming power that infuses our lives with hope, peace, and genuine love! While we can't earn what You freely give, we certainly want to live lives of gratitude! And we want that gratitude to be evident in everything we say and do and as a result we hope to influence our world with the truth and the message of Jesus Christ! Thank You for Your faithfulness to be with us no matter what we face in this world! Thank You for the blessed hope that can never be shaken! Now I pray that all of those of us who have been so blessed by Your presence will live our lives to influence others to come to know You as well! Hide me behind the Cross and thank You for being here in this place! In Jesus Name I pray and believe!"

I had a real spiritual epiphany this week! An ah ha moment! A realization of great importance! A revelation that came through a bitter sweet time in the life of our church. Bitter because we said goodbye to a dear friend, mentor, and spiritual leader in our church. Wayne Fisher. Sweet because we were able to truly celebrate a life lived to the fullest for Jesus Christ, and we witnessed the influence he had on so many. For two solid hours the receiving line wrapped around this room and not everyone got to speak to the family. And those who stayed for the service heard the family speak of this man's lasting influence. Later, as I reflected back on the hundreds of people who filed into this building, city leaders, law enforcement, fire fighters, rows of co-workers, one of his fellow soldiers in Vietnam, countless friends, and of course his precious family, it hit me! This is the way to win the world to Jesus. Living a life of influence! I looked up the meaning of the word influence...


Influence: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something

Influence: the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen
                                               
This is what Jesus did when He was here on the earth. He influenced people with the way he lived His life. He never used force. He used influence! The world likes to use power to force change! But forced change never changes the heart! Here's what Jesus told His disciples...

Mark 10:42-45 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

So the way to change our world is by living lives that influence people because they see Jesus in our very lives! How could we miss this. The very word Christian means "Christ-like!" So the most powerful way to win someone to Jesus is not a sermon, but a life! E.M. Bounds put it this way...

“Men are God's method. Until we have men filled with His Spirit and committed to His plan, none of our methods will work. This is the new evangelism we need. It is not better methods, but better men - men who know their Redeemer from something more than hearsay - men who see His vision and feel His passion for the world - men who are willing to be nothing in order that He might be everything - men who want only for Christ to produce His life in and through them."

Ok, sounds really great, but how in the world do we do that? I thought you would never ask! The Apostle Peter gave us the blueprint for living a life of influence in his second letter, 2 Peter 1:1-8…And boy you can see the influence of Jesus all over his words. We'll read all eight verses then go back and examine the details of the blueprint! Listen…

2 Peter 1:1-8 “Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Influence Blueprint Detail #1
 
Servanthood

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ...

What could be more influential than a volunteer servant? When you serve somebody because you want to, not because you have to, that will have an impact! Peter talked about this a little in his first letter.

1 Peter 4:9-10 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

Influence Blueprint Detail #2
 
Apostleship

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ...

According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, "An apostle is someone who is sent to accomplish a mission! An apostle represents the one sending and has authority to represent the sender in business, political, or educational situations." Talk about a position of influence. We are the representatives of Jesus in this world!

2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Influence Blueprint Detail #3
 
Righteousness  

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

A huge part of our influence comes from the new standards we live by. But make no mistake about it, we don't claim to be perfect. In fact we admit we are sinners, but sinners who have been made righteous because of Jesus' righteousness. So we brag on Jesus not ourselves!

Romans 3:22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

And speaking of faith...

Influence Blueprint Detail #4
 
Faith

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

It says we received a faith as precious as ours! Faith is a gift from God. An amazing gift. And we can have faith because we have someone trust worthy in whom we can place our faith. If God was not faithful and trust worthy, our faith would be in vain! Because it doesn't matter how big your faith is if your faith is placed in someone who is unreal, unreliable or unlovable. Paul said this...

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

And that takes us to detail 5 of the influence blueprint!


Influence Blueprint Detail #5
 
Grace

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Grace in abundance! When people see the amazing grace, the abundant grace, that you trust in and rely on, they may not say a word about it, but they see it, they think about it, they know they need it, and secretly many of them wish they had it! The cool thing is that God's grace is a very abundant spiritual resource!! God is very willing to give His grace to anyone who will only ask for it!

Paul talked about the impact grace was having in his efforts to influence people for the gospel. It was in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians. Check this out and tell me this kind of living wouldn't influence many...

2 Corinthians 4:15 - 5:1 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

Wow, that's powerful stuff!! Sometimes people don't understand how we can have hope even in the midst of troubles. But they see the impact of grace in our lives. They see the strength, and they see something in us that alludes them...

Influence Blueprint Detail #6
 
Peace

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

The world wants peace but they can't seem to find it. But they are deeply influenced when they see the peace we have in our lives! It's a peace that defies definition, but it is very real, non-the-less! Paul put it this way...

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Jesus said this to His disciples...

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

How is it that we have that kind of peace? Well, it has to do with the last influence blueprint detail for today…Knowledge...

Influence Blueprint Detail #7
 
Knowledge

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

You see, the knowledge we gain from studying God's Word gives us a confident peace because we have a level of understanding about things and know that God is ultimately The One who guides our very lives!

2 Corinthians 4:6-10 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

What does that mean? We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body? I believe it means that we are daily aware of the price Jesus paid for us to be cleansed and forgiven of our sin! That knowledge affects the way we live our lives. We live lives of gratitude for all we have been given. This in return influences those who see the thankful and appreciative way in which we live our lives!
Listen to these words to a song written by Bruce Carroll...

I'd rather see a sermon
Than to hear one any day
I'd rather one would walk with me
Than merely show the way
Actions speak much louder
Than all the words can say
That's why I'd rather see a sermon
Than hear one any day

Next week we're going to talk about the other blueprint details of influence found in 2 Peter 1:1-8. Now let's pray and ask God to help us begin building a life of influence as we follow His blueprint!