God wants to change the world through Christian influence. We can’t hold people at gunpoint, but we may, should and are be influencing others.
How does ketchup come out of a bottle? It is through the “squeezing” action. Christian influence is God being able to release the treasure of the Holy Spirit through you and me.
We’re going to be looking at four things this morning.
A Right Source for My Identity
1 Peter 3:1-6, Luke 10:20
Who are you really?
Our tendency in life is to do things and identify with things that make us feel validated. Our identity is crucial. As a christian we need to, over the course of our lifetime, take on, more and more, the identity of Jesus Christ.
What we identify with, will form our identity. How much influence we can have in our church and in the kingdom is directly related to where our identity is.
We should be validated by the things that are hidden, not by our haircut, Facebook, cars, music, etc… instead be validated by the things that are hidden. It is a matter of the source. Are we forming our identity by things that are all outside of us? If so, what happens when those thing are gone?
We tend to value so much stuff. Stuff that God doesn’t value at all!
Philippians 3:4-21 – That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
What do people remember about us?
2 Timothy 2:1-4
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Having a battlefield mentality means having the mentality of being on duty.
Who is Jesus to me? Is he the captain of my life? Have you picked Jesus to be on your team or has he picked you to be on his team?
This is a calling that we come to in a submission. We don’t know what all God has in store for us, but we need to come with submission, admitting that we don’t have the answers, but we need to be willing to be formed, taught, chosen by Jesus.
The “American Dream Christianity” that says you can be whoever you want, do all these things that are selfishly motivated, and tack Jesus on at the end is a huge problem. It isn’t compatible with a battlefield mentality.
Is there anything more profitable than knowing that God is pleased by us, his soldiers, his children?
When others are making soft choices for short term rewards we need to be making hard choices for long term rewards. Perhaps asking whether something is “sin” as the first question is the wrong thing to be asking. Are the choices we are making wrapping us up and entangling us and hurting our ability to be used and useful in the kingdom?
Proper Boundaries in Sexuality
1 Thessalonians 3:1-13
This is one of the biggest boundaries that youth will ever face. The battle for sexual purity.
There are few of Christianity’s teachings more offensive, unpalatable, and likely to drive people away from hearing the Gospel than its sex ethic.
~ C.S. Lewis
The consequences of moral sin are devastating. There are few sins that are more shaming and painful to confess.
This is a battle that we all will face until we die.
This directly connects to our ability to have influence. It is hard to have influence if we are unstable. Having wrong boundaries in our sexuality causes instability.
You can win!
God wants to give you a settled peace in your heart.
The word “fornication” isn’t just related to sleeping with someone outside of the bonds of marriage.
So what can’t we do or “give in to?”
- Lust – Matthew 5
- Self gratification
- Fantasizing about relationships that are unlawful
- Marriage after divorce – Galatians 5
Sexual sins against others is one of the most dangerous hurts that can be inflicted upon or towards someone.
God’s plan is to make us holy. This involves giving us a clean cup of sexual morality.
We need to “know how to possess our vessel.” God has called us to holiness.
So what can we do?
- Let it not be named once – Ephesians 5
This is a battle that we really cannot win on our own. Humility and being willing to confess is where it has to start.
How do we develop purity?
Purity has to start in the heart. How can we develop “the inside?”
- Pursue God. Get passed the two minute devotionals in the morning. We are able to “draw near to God” and we can be sure of his promise to in turn “draw near to us.”
- 1 Corinthians 7:32 – Pursue service. How can we serve without distraction?
- Pursue Modesty. Pursue not the outward adornment… but pursue inward adornment.
Owning Responsibility for the Outcome in my Church
Why don’t we all feel responsible for our church? This isn’t something that is just for leadership. It is something that we need to all feel the burden of responsibility for.
This is a thing of attitude. What would happen if you’d ask God to birth this attitude of responsibility within us. Could this attitude not be transformational in your life and in your church?
God wants to birth this within us. For those of us who are youth especially… it is very rare to find youth who feel this kind of a responsibility for their church.
Instead of asking whether this is where we want to be church wise, perhaps we should be asking, “is this where God wants me to be?”
How to Ascertain the Will of God – George Müller
- I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s Will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
- Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
- I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
- Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
- I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.
- Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.
Is God able, through the pressure of the Holy Spirit, to release His will through me?