Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Pondering our Influence in the New Year

As we face 2008, a crucial election year and another year of uncertainty as far as the world situation is concerned, I’m not going to be so presumptuous as to attempt to  prognosticate the future.  Rather, I would like to direct your attention to James 4:13-17 where James asks a very practical question.  “What is your life?  What does it mean to be a Christian?  If you are a Christian, what imapct do you have on those around you?  Then James answers that question  by likening our lives to a puff of steam. In this message let’s consider our influence on others as Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount likens it to salt and light in Matthew 5. and as James likens it to a vapor. 

OUR INFLUENCE AS SALT   Matthew 5:13

As salt, our lives should bring flavor to life.   As salty Christians, we ought not be noticed.  Rather, we ought to be calling attention to Jesus by our lives.  Our motto ought to be that of John the Baptist’s, as we find it in John 3:30.  “He (Christ) must increase and I must decrease.” Just as we are not aware of salt, when eating a good meal, so people will not be as aware of us as much as  they are of Christ living in us.   If we are aware of salt in a meal, it’s because there is too much salt.  The salt is calling attention to itself.  We don’t remark after eating a delicious meal, “My, wasn’t the salt wonderful!”  

People who call attenton to their self-righteousness or to their self-importance are detracting from the message and purpose of the church, and from the glory that should go only to God. As salt, our lives should prevent corruption.  As salt helps prevent food from decay, so our presence as Christians in this world should help slow down total corruption and decay in the world.  

One day Christian will be caught up to Heaven and when that time comes, this world without a single Christian on earth will be plunged into total spiritual darkness and corruption such as the world has never seen.  But until then we are a quiet influence for good in this world. 

OUR INFLUENCE AS LIGHT   Matthew 5:14-16 

The reason we are called the Light of the World is because Christ, who is the Light of the World, lives in us and shines through our personalities.  Philippians 2:14-16 instructs Christians as to how we are to show forth that light to a lost world.  “Do all things without murmurings and disputings that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and  preverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding forth the Word of Life.”   That’s the way we influence others around us. Our purpose as lights is not to glare in the eyes of those to whom we are a witness of Christ,  but to reflect Christ to those who observe us. 

Matthew 5:14-16  and II Corinthians 4:3-7 remind us to not attempt to hide our light, but let it shine as we live consistent, pleasant, holy lives; not just in church, but in our homes and in our places of employment and in our daily living in this sinful world.  Christ will be seen as we allow the indwelling Holy Spirit to bear His fruit in our lives.  The fruit is described in Galatians 5:22-26.

OUR INFLUENCE AS VAPOR    James 4:13-17 

First, what is vapor? The dictionary defines it as a visible, diffused matter, such as steam, gas or perfume.     Others are continually observing us; including our families, friends, strangers, and especially children.  The lost, as well as younger, weaker Christians, are continually scrutinizing us as they look for “chinks in our armour”.  They are checking to see if our Christianity is genuine, or just a farce.  If our children observe us putting on our cloak of piety when we go to church, but living like the devil at home, they are going to become bitter and will totally reject our Christianity.  

The lost are continually looking for flaws in our character so they will have an excuse to trash Christianity and ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit in their lives as He calls them to come to Christ.  

Vapor is not only visible, but it is a powerful force for good or for evil.   When steam or gas is under control it can be used to run engines and turbines, to run vehicles and to heat homes and office and factories.  But when vapor is out of control, it can cost explosions and damage and death.  So, when we are out of control, we can do great damage to others, including churches.

Some vapors are fragrant and attractive and others are sickening and repulsive.  A little perfume on a woman is attractive.  Too much can be sickening.  Certainly body odor or halitosis is repulsive.  As Christians we are called upon in II Corinthians 2:14-16 to bear the fragrance of Christ wherever we go.  As we grow older, if we have been walking with Christ, His fragrance should increase, just as the light of Christ, according to Proverbs 4:18,  grows brighter and brighter as we grow older. Understand, young people, that right now you are becoming the old man or the old woman you will one day be.  Will you become crabbier and more crotchety or will you develop a sweeter disposition with old age?  It all depends how you respond to life now.  

December 23, 2007 - Posted by | New Year

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