SGC Pastor's Conference 2016 Some of the people who regularly and deeply influence me with the gospel

Yesterday we honored Fathers and their influence on our lives.

However, some of you men (and women) may be so aware of your limitations that you doubt that your life can be an influence for God.

The famous people in the world certainly seem to have far more influence than the people who serve Christ. However, where it counts most, they are completely impotent!  Just as this world will end, so will the influences of those who follow its values. But the influences for Christ’s eternal Kingdom will last as long as his kingdom does!  

To be a godly influence two truths reign supreme:

1.  The focus of our influence must be the Gospel

Romans 1:16 tells us the gospel is “the power of God for salvation”. There is no greater influence we can have on people than for the gospel. This is not just true for unbelievers. Every believer needs regular encouragements in living out the gospel.

2.  The power in our influence is the Holy Spirit

Our influence is not meant to be what we can be to others; it is what the Holy Spirit can accomplish in and through us. Wouldn’t you rather have your potential be what God will do?

Conclusions about our influence through the Holy Spirit and for the gospel:

1.  Our influence goes beyond our abilities (Acts 4:13)     

2.  Our influence goes beyond our what we can see (1 Corinthians 12:21-22) 

3.  Our influence is not lost due to weaknesses or past failure (John 4:16-18 & 39)

General observations concerning being an influence:

1.  Each person you can influence is worth influencing

We often think and act as if we have no vital ministry from God. Yet, every person already in our life needs gospel influences. Perhaps we will be the only person to be praying for them this way!

2.  Every person who can observe you, can be influenced by you

Just by living a life in contrast to the world, we are an influence on those who see us. The people in your life need to be surrounded by those who love and live by the gospel.

3.  Small things can have an effective influence

The key to every godly influence is how God will use that influences. This should encourage us concerning small actions for Christ. If God honors a small action for Him, should we still consider it to be a small thing?

4.  The world desperately needs the influence of the gospel and godliness

At times if feels as if we live in the middle of a swamp of ungodliness. Rather than bemoan this fact, recognize that it sets up a vivid contrast when we live whole-heartedly for God. In our self-centered culture, godliness will stands out and be noticed. Be encouraged that your life can be a place of solid ground in the midst of the swamp.

And while you are at it, do not tire in thanking those who are an influence in your life. They need encouragement too!


 “We are Ambassadors of Christ”

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Ambassadors represent something greater than themselves

Our identity as an Ambassador reminds us we no longer live for ourselves

One of the most foundational realities of life in Christ is that we are no longer king

It seems hard to give up self-rule, which is a major stumbling block to our fulfilling the Great Commandment

We need to recognize that no longer living for ourselves is the most fruitful and freeing step we can take

It is fruitful – because we exchange our meager kingdom for Christ’s glorious kingdom

It is freeing – because we are no longer bound by our own flawed goals and expectations

As Ambassadors, we represent Christ to a world that desperately needs him

This role is not limited to pastors, the outgoing or those gifted in evangelism (Matthew 5:13-16)

This is our identity; Jesus said we “are” the world’s salt and light

Everyone who can observe you, can be influenced by you

You have impressions about the people you meet; what impression do you leave?

This is more than not cursing etc., we are to live in contrast to the world and in the power of the gospel

We show Christ in what we value

We show Christ in how we respond differently to pressures

We show Christ in how we care for and serve those the world neglects

Each person you can influence is worth influencing

We would never admit otherwise, we interact with people, without even attempting to influence them for Christ

How many people do we know, who have no one that even prays for them?

Small things can have an effective influence

The effectiveness is in how God will use us in these small things

Make as many small influences as you can and trust God to use them

As Ambassadors of Christ, we are to conduct ourselves to bring honor to him

Our standards are not to be How close can I get to sin and still be a Christian?

Our perspective is to be How can I honor Christ more fully?

This is carried out in what our speech emphasizes, how we respond to offenses, and what we pursue

This is not asking too much of us, Christ is worth our all!

Our influence is not lost due to weaknesses or past failure

John 4 describes a Samaritan woman who had 5 failed marriages, an immoral lifestyle and was ignorant of spiritual truth.

Yet after meeting Jesus, we read “many Samaritans . . believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony”

Our influence is based upon what God does in and through us (1 Corinthians 3:5-9)

It is best to live our entire life in obedience, but God can use anyone who will be faithful now

Ambassadors are responsible to share the message that was given to them

Ambassadors have no right to give their own message, or a partial one

One famous pastor says, “My calling is a ministry of encouragement”. No that is the message he chose, God calls us to proclaim His word

v18 God “gave us” our “ministry”

v19 God “entrusted us” with his “message”

This ministry and message is the full truth of Christ:

He is the Lord God who became God-in-flesh

He came to this sinful and condemned world which cannot save itself

He died to pay the penalty for our sin and was raised in victory over sin and death

Anyone who will bow and trust in what Christ has done – will be saved

An Ambassador must be clear about their message

Focus on Christ and our need to respond to what he has done

As Ambassadors it’s important that we understand our audience

Everyone has the same need and our message is unchanging

Yet, each person we meet is a unique opportunity (1 Corinthians 9:22-23)

Listen to understand their heart

Show you care

Build their respect

Where and how are we Ambassadors?

1.  In our natural sphere of life

2.  Going beyond to people we can meet and impact

3.  How we receive people who come to our church

Be an ambassador of hospitality to those who come to your church

Exercise grace to those who are rough edged and may be an inconvenience to you


Influence . . . It is a wonderful privilege to have an influence on other lives. We should not take any opportunity for influence lightly.

For most of us, our influence is ordinary, yet it can be extraordinarily meaningful. This is because when we know, trust in and live by the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are being influenced ourselves in extraordinarily meaningful ways.

Every place you go, the people who are there need the influences of the gospel. So let us be more deeply committed than ever for the gospel to have its way in our hearts and minds, so it can flow out of our words and actions. May we freshly seek to love God with all that we are – and our neighbor as our self, so that the heart and character of God is the heart of our influence.

The question actually isn’t whether or not we are an influence, the questions is what kind of influence do we have?

As we enter Mother’s Day weekend, we celebrate the value and influence that all the women in our lives bring to us. Ladies, God doesn’t need you to be a HGTV approved woman. He wants you to be a woman so influenced by Him, that it touches every life that brushes up against you

As a reminder of the influence that God values, I leave you with this biblical counsel to women:

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” (Titus 2:3-5)

“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (I Peter 3:3-4)


Michael Gerber is an author who writes for the entrepreneur. I don’t spend much time reading in this area, but I recently saw an article that quoted Gerber as he creates this interesting scenario for our contemplation:

Imagine that you are about to attend one of the most important occasions of your life. It will be held in a room large enough to seat all of your friends, family, business associates—anyone and everyone who is important to you and to whom you are important. Do you have the picture?

The walls are draped with deep golden tapestries. The lighting is subdued, soft, and casting a warm glow on the faces of your expectant guests. The chairs are handsomely upholstered in a matching golden fabric. And the golden carpeting is deeply piled.

At the front of the room is a platform, and on the platform a large, beautifully decorated table with candles burning at either end. On the table, in the center, is the object of everyone’s attention- a large, shining, ornate box. And in the box… is YOU! Can you see yourself lying in the box? There’s not a dry eye in the room.

Now, imagine that these people that matter so much to you have five minutes to speak. What do they remember most about you? Appreciate most about you? What did your life mean to them? What impact did it have? What have they lost with your passing?

We don’t realize until near the end, that our funeral is the event in question. Gerber did not write this from a Christian or spiritual perspective, but his questions are good ones for us to consider. 

What impact is our life having?

How will people remember us?

How would people describe us

What would people say right now about what we value and pursue?

Good questions indeed!