OceanSide church of Christ
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HOW TO INFLUENCE EVIL
Victor M. Eskew
A. Two familiar passages of Scripture from the Sermon on the Mount.
1. Ye are the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13).
2. Ye are the light of the world Matt. 5:14).
B. As salt and light, Christians are to have an influence in the world.
1. Influence: the capacity or power of a person to be a compelling force on others
2. Who we are and how we live can move others, even those who are evil, to action.
C. The question is: “How do we influence evil?”
I. WE CANNOT PARTICIPATE IN EVIL
A. Numerous passages exhort us not to be like the world.
1. Ephesians 4:17
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.
2. Ephesians 5:7-8
But not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.
B. What happens when we engage in the practices of those who are evil?
1. We show we are no different than they are.
2. We fail to show them a better way of living.
3. We convince them that their evil ways are acceptable.
II. WE MUST STAND AGAINST EVIL
A. Not engaging in evil is good and right. Such a practice can influence evil.
B. We, however must also, stand against evil (Eph. 6:10-11).
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
1. Paul tells us to “stand against” the wiles of the devil.
2. Paul stood against Elymas on the isle of Cyprus (Acts 13:6-12).
a. Paul and his company met Elymas in the town of Paphos (Acts 13:6).
b. He was a sorcerer, a false prophet, and a Jew (Acts 13:6).
c. He had some type of a relationship with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:7).
d. When the deputy called for Paul and Barnabas to hear the word of the Lord, Elymas the sorcerer…withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith (Acts 13:7-8).
e. Paul stood against this evil man (Acts 13:9-11).
Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, and said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, enemy of all unrighteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness, and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
C. Question: Has evil taken over our nation?
1. To answer that question in the negative would be to ignore the facts.
2. What’s the cause? Have you ever heard of the “silent majority”?
a. There multitudes of individuals who do not agree with the evil and do not participate therein.
b. But, they do not stand in opposition to the evil.
3. NOTE: Evil that is not withstood marches through human hearts, church aisles, city streets, and national governments until it completely takes over.
III. WE MUST TEACH GOD’S WORD
A. God’s Word has the power to influence the human heart.
1. Psalm 19:7-11
The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul, the testimony of the Lord is sure making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
2. II Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thorough-ly furnished unto all good works.
B. Most people upon the earth are ignorant of the teachings of the Bible.
1. If it is going to influence, it has to be planted into human minds.
a. Seed will not produce sitting in a barn.
b. Food will not satisfy hunger as long as it remains in the storehouses.
2. My friends, we are the ones who have been called upon by God to sow the seed of the kingdom.
a. Mark 4:14
The sower soweth the word.
b. II Corinthians 9:6
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
c. Luke 14:21b-23
Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and ye there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
C. Many churches need to sit down and seriously consider the various means they are using to spread the Word of God. Somehow we must get every member to become soul-winners for Jesus.
IV. WE MUST LIVE WHAT WE TEACH
A. Jesus did (Acts 1:1)
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.
B. Paul did (I Cor. 9:27)
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
C. When we live what we teach:
1. We show the world that our religion is real.
2. We tell the world that we are sincere.
3. We let others know that what God authorizes makes a powerful difference in the lives of men.
D. When we do not live as the Bible directs, we show the world a lack of faith at best and hypocrisy and rebellion to God at worst. In either case, they will not believe our message if our lives are not conformed to God’s Word (Tit 2:7-8).
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
V. WE MUST SHOW OTHERS WE CARE
A. There is a common statement that says: “Other will never care how much we know until they first know how much we care.”
B. The word “care” means “to be concerned about.” How do we show others that we are concerned about them?
1. We have to know them.
2. We must be involved in their lives.
3. We display Christian qualities before them: kindness, patience, humility, etc.
4. We render assistance when and where we can.
C. Basically, to show care is to show love (Gal. 5:14).
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
1. This can be hard because it goes against our personality.
2. This can be hard because others will not let us in easily.
3. This can be hard because we have to make sacrifices to do it.
4. This can be hard because there may be no return on our investment.
A. The Christian life is about influence.
B. As both individuals and as a church, we should be seeking to be a positive influence on others.
C. Two verses:
1. Matthew 5:16
Let your light so shine before me, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
2. I Peter 2:12
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.