Service Video Message Video Message Audio The service video is unavailable at this time. The sermon video is unavailable at this time. The sermon audio is unavailable at this time. Scripture Verses Philippians 3:19-21, John 11:35-36, 1 John 3:16-18, John 13:35, Matthew 25:31-46, 2 Timothy 4:2, 1 Peter 3:15-16 Downloads & Resources Maximum Influence Dr. Jon Morrissette - 11/6/2005 Do you realize that at every single moment of every single day someone is trying to gain influence over your life? Our world is all about influence. Our culture is all about influence. Our economy is all about influence. This vitamin will add years to your life. This medicine will restore your health. This clothing will make you feel young and attractive. This tool will simplify your life. This automobile will make you feel powerful and bring you status. "If only you would take this action. If only you would change your way of thinking." Billions upon billions of dollars are spent to influence your choices, your thinking, your feelings, your opinions, your beliefs, your values, your attitude, your behavior, your habits, your lifestyle, and ultimately, your character. Newspapers. Magazines. Billboards. Signs. Packaging. E-mail. The internet. Direct mail. Radio. Television. Cable. Satellite. Cell phones. Catalogs. Salespeople. Sports including NASCAR, baseball, and football. Companies want you to become a consumer. Politicians want you to become a constituent. World religions want you to become a convert. Charities want you to open your checkbook. There is no end. In general, people are exhausted and overloaded by the endless attempts made upon them. As you know, Lara and I enjoy going to NASCAR events. Okay, she’s a NASCAR addict and I am the classic enabler. There, are you happy? We are constantly amazed at how commercialized everything has become. Every inch of every car and of every driver's suit is covered with a company logo. Whenever a driver opens his mouth, he is talking about this sponsor or that sponsor. We were watching the other day while they were filming Dale Earnhardt, Junior. When his back was to the camera, he had his hat turned backward. But when he turned and faced the camera, he flipped his hat around so that the sponsor’s logo would be seen. Talk about making the most of every opportunity to influence his fans! This past year we went to the time trials for the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis. I was stunned by what I saw. But not at all disappointed. There, amongst hundreds of sponsors, was the ultimate sponsor of sponsors. Jesus! For some reason, the Jesus car always gets lapped in the time trials or crashes out. I’m glad that the real Jesus is always a winner. I like to take pictures of things that carry a message. When I saw this car it dawned on me that the message of Jesus Christ is just one out of the millions of messages people hear on any given day. But so often this message gets drowned out. It races in one ear and races out the other. It is nothing more than a blur, a momentary flash, a roar among roars. You know it really doesn’t matter what car you drive, what beverage you drink, what clothes you wear, what deodorant you roll on, or what cleaner you use to scrub your sink. Most messages can be tuned out. But it does matter whether a person comes to know Jesus Christ. It does matter whether a person responds to the call of God’s Holy Spirit. It does matter whether a person gets connected into a redemptive community. It does matter whether a person comes to see the power of God at work in his world. These things are a matter of salvation. The Christian is concerned about being an influence, but for entirely different reasons than people in the world. We want to please God. We want to build his kingdom. We want to change destinies. Other people just want to please themselves. They want to build their little kingdoms. As the Bible says in Philippians 3:19-21 (NIV), "Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." The Christian wants as many people as possible to know Jesus Christ, to participate in the resurrection, to receive the life of Christ, to experience complete transformation, and to ascend into the heavens to be with Christ for eternity. The Christian’s influence is not some ordinary influence. It is always eternal influence. But how are we to have an eternal influence when our voices are being drowned out? Zig Ziglar says, "The most important persuasion tool you have in your arsenal is integrity." Do you want to be an influence? Do you want to inspire others to take action? Do you want to win people to God’s way of thinking? Do you want to reform people’s attitudes, beliefs, opinions, and behaviors? Do you want people to abandon their positions and embrace Christ as Lord and Savior? Do you want to make a difference? Influence is all about integrity. Influence is about who you are. Influence is about how your life, your true inner life and your outer life that people see every day, impacts the message of Jesus Christ. Do you have integrity? Are you trustworthy? Are you a credible witness for Christ? Over the past several weeks we have been exploring the specific ways in which ordinary people like us can be an influence for Jesus Christ beyond these four walls. We talked about the power of prayer, the power of love, the power of invitation, and the power of telling people the good news of Christ. Praying + Loving + Inviting + Telling = Maximum Influence. But if you were to summarize all these ideas, they come down to just one thing. Integrity. The most important persuasion tool you have in your arsenal is integrity. The key to exerting maximum influence for Christ’s kingdom is integrity. First, there is the integrity of praying. Do you truly know the heart of God? It has always struck me that the essence of prayer is aligning our hearts with God’s heart. If you care what God thinks you get on your knees and you will spend time asking God, "God, what do you care about? What is your passion? What is your will?" If you care what God thinks you will open up his word and say, "God, speak to me through your holy word. Make these words come alive for me. Show me your heart. Give me understanding." I will promise you that the more you pray and the more you read God’s word, the more your heart will melt for those who do not yet know Jesus Christ. As much as any time in history, we need to align our hearts with God’s heart in prayer. There is integrity is aligning our hearts with God’s heart in prayer. I think one of the greatest reasons many people do not give their lives to Jesus Christ is because they don’t think we really care. They don’t sense that our hearts melt for their salvation. They don’t feel our passion. They can’t see our hearts. When one of Jesus’ friends named Lazarus died in John 11:35-36 (NIV) we are told that quite simply that, "Jesus wept." But as Jesus wept, the people around him said, "See how he (Jesus) loved him!" Who do you weep for? Whose salvation are you concerned about? Do you have the same heart for the people around you that God has for the people around you? Do the people around you who do not know Jesus Christ sense your concern for their salvation? Is there integrity in your prayers? If the answer is "no", then get down on your knees in prayer. Open up God’s word. Align your heart with God’s. Praying for the lost is as much for us as it is for them. Often, God needs to do something in us before he will do something through us. Second, there is the integrity of loving. Do you truly have the love of God in you? There is great irony in celebrating God’s love while not showing God’s love. I am always challenged by the writings of John in the book of 1 John. John has a way of cutting through all phony baloney right down to the heart of a matter. John 3:16 is all about God loving the world so much that he sent his one and only Son. But 1 John 3:16-18 (NIV) is all about the application of that love. "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." I knew a guy who kept trying to share his faith with one unbeliever, in particular. Repeatedly he would approach this unbeliever, talk about his faith, and tell the guy he needed to be in church, that he needed to get right with God, and whatever else. This continued on for quite some time. He would go into the unbeliever’s workplace, get kind of pushy, force his beliefs, and threaten and ridicule the unbeliever. Finally the unbeliever said, "I don’t want to become a Christian. Don’t you understand? I don’t want to be like you. I don’t like you as a person." Could you imagine witnessing to someone and having them say that to you? The truth is that we don’t always have the integrity of love. Loving people doesn’t just give our message credibility. Loving people is our message. Jesus said in John 13:35 (NIV), "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." There is integrity in aligning our hearts to God’s heart in prayer. There is integrity in living out the love of God we so zealously profess. Third, there is the integrity of inviting. Do you truly welcome Jesus Christ? Inviting is nothing more than a further application of God’s love. Inviting isn’t being friendly. It is being a friend. It's about getting involved, sacrificing, and committing. It’s a familiar parable, but please consider it once more. In Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV) Jesus tells us about the day of his return, when he will judge the nations. "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left." "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' " "Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' " "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' When they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." Mother Teresa believed that we serve Jesus Christ in the face of the poor, hungry, and thirsty. There is integrity in giving Christ food to eat and water to drink. There is integrity in inviting Jesus Christ into our lives and into our homes. There is integrity is giving Christ clothes to wear, helping him through sickness, and visiting him while in prison. There is integrity in getting involved in people’s lives more than the superficial level of, "Hey, how you doing? What do you think of the weather? Well good luck with that." Quite frankly, a lot of people don’t want anything to do with Christianity because we don’t want anything to do with them. They're not good enough to be our friend, to come to our home, to share a meal with us, to be part of our small group, for us to talk with regularly, for us to go out of our way for, or for us to make a long-term commitment to. Integrity is making a lasting connection with a person, regardless of their need. It's not passing them off. It's truly accepting and loving and welcoming them. Fourth, there is the integrity of telling. Do you truly know Jesus Christ? 2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV) says, "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage— with great patience and careful instruction." 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV) says, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." So many people I run into have absolutely no idea why they are Christians, nor why someone else(that is, an unbeliever) should become a Christian. Most Christians do not know how to share their testimony about how God’s grace changed their lives. Most Christians do not know the whole counsel of God, nor how to pass it on to their family and friends and associates. Most Christians do not know how to give a reasonable defense of their faith to an unbeliever. If someone walked up to the average Christian and said, "Tell me how to become a Christian", the Christian would have no other recourse but to say, "Come meet my pastor who told me everything I should know." It is not enough for us to attend church, listen to sermons, and read our Bibles. Every single one of us needs to be able to share our faith intelligently and systematically. Your pastor can’t show up everywhere the gospel needs to be proclaimed. The probability of people you know, the people you have the opportunity to share the gospel with, showing up at church to hear the gospel is slim to none. Every single one of us needs to be able to deliver the goods. There is integrity in telling and in knowing your faith well enough to share it with others. The average unbeliever is left scratching his head, "If this is so eternally important, why don’t you understand it well enough to explain it to me clearly?" As Zig Ziglar says, "The most important persuasion tool you have in your arsenal is integrity." The key to exerting maximum influence for Christ’s kingdom is integrity. There is integrity in aligning our hearts to God’s heart in prayer. There is integrity in living out the love of God we so zealously profess. There is integrity in making a lasting, sacrificial connection with believers. There is integrity is being able to share eternal truth clearly and boldly. Integrity translates into maximum influence. Praying + Loving + Inviting + Telling translates into maximum influence for Christ.