THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

PROGRAM AIR DATE: 7-28-19



LESSON TITLE: THE ONE TRUE CHURCH AND ITS INFLUENCE



WELCOME

GOOD MORNING! LET ME WELCOME EACH OF YOU TO OUR PROGRAM THIS MORNING. IT IS ALWAYS A PRIVILEGE TO HAVE YOU WITH US TO HEAR THE LIVING WORD OF GOD. WE ARE EXCITED THAT YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO GIVE THIS TIME OF SACRIFICE TO OUR GOD. WON'T YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY THIS MORNING TO GIVE YOUR OWN REVERENCE TO GOD, AS WE TOGETHER OFFER THIS TIME OF WORSHIP TO HIM. MAY ALL THINGS BE DONE, TO GOD, FOR GOD AND UNTO HIS GLORY. LET'S BEGIN OUR OFFERING TO GOD WITH A PRAYER!

PRAYER: OUR GOD AND FATHER IN HEAVEN, WE ARE SO THANKFUL FOR THIS DAY AND EVERY DAY OF LIFE, WE'RE THANKFUL FOR THE PRIVILEGE THAT WE HAVE TO BE CALLED YOUR CHILDREN AND TO BE SERVANTS IN YOUR KINGDOM. AND HELP US THIS DAY AND EVERYDAY FATHER TO BE LIGHTS IN THIS WORLD FINDING THAT STRENGTH THAT WE NEED AND THAT MOTIVATION THAT WE NEED FROM YOU TO BE ALL THAT WE CAN BE ACCORDING TO YOUR PERFECT WILL. AND THANK YOU FOR THE TIME THAT WE HAVE THIS DAY TO WORSHIP AND DO THOSE THINGS PLEASING IN YOUR SIGHT. IN JESUS NAME WE PRAY, AMEN.

IF I WERE TO ASK YOU, "WHAT DO YOU PUT YOUR TRUST IN," WHAT WOULD YOUR ANSWER BE? I GUESS WE COULD EXPECT ALL TYPES OF RESPONSES, FROM THINGS OF THIS WORLD, MAYBE EVEN INDIVIDUALS IN THIS LIFE. TODAY, WE WANT TO BEGIN OUR SONGS OF PRAISE, BY SINGING A HYMN WHICH TELLS US WHAT WE SHOULD REALLY TRUST IN, AS WE LIVE IN THIS WORLD. IT TELLS US OF SOMEONE WHO CAN BE COUNTED, WHO IS TRUSTWORTHY AND WHO WILL NEVER LET US DOWN. SOMEONE WHO TRULY LOVES US! SO, WON'T YOU JOIN IN WITH THE CONGREGATION AT THIS TIME AS WE SING TOGETHER, "GOD IS LOVE."



DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS



IN EPHESIANS 4:1 TO 3, THE INSPIRED PAUL SAID, "I, THEREFORE, THE PRISONER OF THE LORD, BESEECH YOU TO WALK WORTHY OF THE CALLING WITH WHICH YOU WERE CALLED, WITH ALL LOWLINESS AND GENTLENESS, WITH LONG-SUFFERING, BEARING WITH ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE, ENDEAVORING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE." IF YOU NOTICE HERE PAUL IS BESEECHING OR STRONGLY URGING THE BRETHREN TO "WALK WORTHY OF THEIR CALLING." IN OTHER WORDS, IN THIS TEXT HE WAS TRYING TO HELP THEM TO KNOW SOME SPECIFIC THINGS WHICH ARE NECESSARY FOR THE CHILD OF GOD � IN ORDER THAT THEY MAY BE CONSIDERED AS WALKING WORTHY OF THEIR CALLING.

PAUL MENTIONS CHARACTERISTICS LIKE LOWLINESS, GENTLENESS, LONG-SUFFERING, AND EVEN LOVE. CERTAINLY THESE ARE ALL THINGS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE TO THE FAITHFUL FOLLOWER OF GOD. BUT NOTICE THE NEXT THING HE SAYS IN VERSE THREE, THAT IS ALSO A PART OF THIS "WALKING WORTHY," BEFORE GOD. THERE AGAIN IT SAYS, "ENDEAVORING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE." HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT OF UNITY IN CONJUNCTION WITH ALL OF THESE OTHER THINGS THAT MAKE US PLEASING IN GOD'S SIGHT? HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED THAT IF ONE IS WALKING WORTHY OF GOD, THAT THEY MUST BE ENDEAVORING OR STRIVING FOR UNITY. WELL THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HE IS SAYING.

SO LET ME ENCOURAGE US ALL TO STIRVE FOR UNITY IN THIS LIFE, UNDERSTANDING THAT TRUE UNITY IS BASED ON GOD AND HIS WORD. GODLY UNITY IS ABOUT AGREEING WITH GOD AND THUS AGREEING WITH ONE ANOTHER, NOT AGREEING TO DISAGREE AND STILL BE UNIFIED. THE QUESTION IS, "WILL YOU STAND WITH GOD TODAY AND BE ONE WITH HIM," KNOWING THAT BY DOING THIS WE WILL BE ONE IN HIM AS THE CHILDREN OF GOD. TODAY WE ARE HAPPY TO HAVE BROTHER TREY SULLINS WITH US. BROTHER TREY IS THE MINISTER FOR THE OMAHA CHURCH OF CHRIST IN OMAHA, ARKANSAS. WE THANK HIM FOR JOINING US THIS MORNING TO LEAD US IN OUR MAIN STUDY FROM GOD'S WORD. AS FAR AS OUR SERIES, WE WILL BE CONTINUING TO TALK ABOUT, "THE ONE TRUE CHURCH." TODAY WE WILL BE CONSIDERING, "THE ONE TRUE CHURCH AND IT'S INFLUENCE." SO STAY WITH US AND AFTER OUR NEXT SONG TOGETHER, BROTHER SULLINS WILL BE LEADING US IN THIS LESSON OF THE DAY. BUT FOR NOW LET'S JOIN TOGETHER IN OUR SECOND SONG OF THE MORNING. THE NAME OF THIS HYMN, "BLUE SKIES AND RAINBOWS."



LESSON

BY Trey Sullins



GOOD MORNING AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US AGAIN. IT'S GREAT TO BE BACK WITH YOU AS WE CONTINUE STUDYING OVER THE ONE TRUE CHURCH. THINK BACK TO WHEN YOU WERE MUCH YOUNGER PROBABLY A CHILD LIVING IN YOUR PARENTS HOME. AS YOU LOOK UP TO YOUR PARENTS AND TO ALL THESE OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR LIVES, LITERALLY AND ALSO FIGURATIVELY THERE, THINK ABOUT HOW SO MANY PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE WERE AN INFLUENCE TO YOU. YOU CAN PROBABLY GO BACK IN YOUR MIND AND THINK ABOUT ALL THESE SPECIFIC INDIVIDUALS WHO HAD A GREAT INFLUENCE OVER YOU. MAYBE THE WAY THAT THEY TALKED OR THE WAY THAT THEY ACTED OR EVEN SOME OF THE FUNNY THINGS THEY MAY HAVE DONE AND YOU WANTED TO COPY OR IMITATE THEM. IT IS OFTEN FUNNY TO WATCH LITTLE BABIES AS THEIR GROWING INTO TODDLERS AND EVEN THEREAFTER THAT THEY WILL IMITATE THE THINGS THAT THESE OLDER PEOPLE ARE DOING TO TRY AND GET PEOPLE TO LAUGH. AND IF THEY GET A GROUP LAUGHING AT THEM THEY WILL KEEP DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. IT'S USUALLY SOMETHING THAT THEY COPIED OFF OF SOMEONE ELSE. BUT THIS IDEA OF INFLUENCE AND IMITATION ISN'T JUST SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS WHEN WE'RE YOUNGER BUT IT'S IMPORTANT BECAUSE AS GOD'S PEOPLE, CHRISTIANS, IT IS SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE TO BE DOING EVERY SINGLE DAY OF OUR LIVES IMITATING OR RATHER INFLUENCING OTHERS TOWARDS CHRIST AND TOWARDS THE GOOD THINGS THAT GOD WANTS US TO BE IN THIS LIFE.

IN 1 TIMOTHY CHAPTER 4 IN VERSE 12 PAUL IN WRITING TO TIMOTHY SAYS -LET NO ONE DESPISE YOUR YOUTH BUT BE AN EXAMPLE TO THE BELIEVERS AND HE GOES ON TELLING DIFFERENT WAYS THAT YOU DO THAT AND IN THESE DIFFERENT WAYS YOU MUST BE AN EXAMPLE AND REALLY THE ENTIRE BOOK OF 1 TIMOTHY OF THE EVEN 2 TIMOTHY IS TELLING TIMOTHY THE WAYS THAT HE NEEDS TO BE AN EXAMPLE AND HOW TO DEAL WITH SITUATIONS; HOW TO TEACH AND HOW TO LEAD PEOPLE TO THE RIGHT PATH. BUT THE POINT IS BE AN EXAMPLE TO HAVE THAT INFLUENCE OVER OTHERS THAT IS GOOD AND TO LEAD THEM TO GOD. AS WE THINK ABOUT THIS INFLUENCE - OF COURSE WE MENTIONED IT SO IMPORTANT FOR US TO HAVE - ONE THING WE CAN'T FORGET IS IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 5 IN VERSE 13 CONSIDERING OUR INFLUENCE THERE'S AN IMPORTANT FACTOR THAT IT HAS TO BE SOMETHING THAT'S CONTAGIOUS. AND REALLY THAT'S ALMOST THE DEFINITION OF INFLUENCE IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT. BECAUSE INFLUENCE IS WHERE YOU ARE OR OTHERS ARE RECOGNIZING BEHAVIORS OR ACTIONS AND SEEING WHETHER THEY'RE GOOD OR BAD AND SEEING THOSE THINGS THAT YOU DO. AND WHEN YOU'RE INFLUENCING PROPERLY YOUR GOAL IS TO GET THEM TO COPY SUCH THINGS IF THEY'RE GOOD THAT IS. BUT IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 5 IN VERSE 13 THE BIBLE SAYS YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH. BUT IF THE SALT LOSES ITS FLAVOR HOW SHALL IT BE SEASONED? IT IS THEN GOOD FOR NOTHING BUT TO BE THROWN OUT AND TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT BY MEN. SUCH A FAMILIAR PASSAGE THERE BUT TELLS US SO MUCH ABOUT THE KIND OF INFLUENCE THAT WE NEED TO HAVE. WE NEED TO BE THOSE GOOD SALT OF THE EARTH KIND OF PEOPLE. JUST LIKE IF YOU PULLED UP YOUR TABLE SALT AND YOU STARTED TO SHAKE IT OVER YOUR FOOD AND IT HAD NO FLAVOR WHATSOEVER AND DIDN'T SALT ANYTHING - WELL, YOU WOULD YOU THROW IT AWAY YOU'D GO AND GRAB SOME MORE, BUY SOME MORE AND YOU WOULD USE THE NEW ONE INSTEAD OF THIS OLD ONE. WELL THE SAME THING IS THE CASE WITH PEOPLE. IF WE DON'T HAVE THAT GOOD INFLUENCE OVER WHATEVER IT IS WE'RE TRYING TO INFLUENCE LIKE THOSE PEOPLE AROUND US, THOSE CO-WORKERS, FAMILY...WHATEVER THEN WE'RE NOT GOOD FOR THE USE OF GOD'S KINGDOM. WE'RE NOT GOOD FOR FURTHERING HIS WORK. WE'RE NOT GOOD FOR BRINGING PEOPLE TO CHRIST. WE NEED TO BE THAT GOOD SALT OF THE EARTH. ALSO THERE IN VERSE 15. HE SAYS - NOR DO THEY LIGHT A LAMP AND PUT IT UNDER A BASKET BUT ALL LAMPSTAND AND IT GIVES LIGHT TO ALL WHO ARE IN THE HOUSE. YOU THINK ABOUT THIS ONE EVEN MORE CLEARLY PROBABLY IN OUR MINDS IS THAT IMAGE OF A CITY. NOW, MANY YEARS BEFORE OUR TIME THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN ESPECIALLY MORE APPLICABLE BECAUSE TODAY WE HAVE STREETLIGHTS EVERYWHERE AND WE HAVE GPS THAT CAN LEAD YOU WHEREVER YOU'RE TRYING TO GO EVEN IF YOU HAVE NO LIGHT AVAILABLE. WE EVEN HAVE TECHNOLOGY THAT ALLOWS US TO SEE IN THE DARK BETTER THAN WHAT YOU NORMALLY WOULD BE ABLE TO JUST WITH YOUR OWN EYES. BUT IF YOU THINK ABOUT THOUSANDS OR HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO, BEFORE THIS TECHNOLOGY WAS AVAILABLE AND LET'S SAY YOU'RE TRAVELING SOMEWHERE AND THE SUN STARTS TO SET AND YOU ARE WALKING DOWN THIS ROAD AND THEN YOU SEE THE CITY UP ON THE HILL AS YOU PASS THIS CORNER HERE AND THIS CITY UP ON THE HILL HAS ALL THESE DIFFERENT LIGHTS AND TORCHES ON THE WALLS AND LIGHTS IN THE HOUSES AND THE BUILDINGS ARE LIT UP - YOU CAN SEE PEOPLE HOLDING THESE DIFFERENT TORCHES AND LAMPS AND ALL THESE THINGS - IT'S AN ICON. IT'S AN INFLUENCE. AS YOU'RE TRAVELING YOU SAY THAT'S WHERE WE ARE GOING. THAT'S WHERE WE NEED TO BE AND WE CAN NOW SEE IT TO FOLLOW SAFELY THE PATH TO IT. BUT YOU CAN EVEN THINK ABOUT TODAY AND A MORE FAMILIAR EXAMPLE TO US WOULD PROBABLY BE EVEN THE LIGHTHOUSE - AND AGAIN BEFORE GPS THESE WERE SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT. BEFORE DIFFERENT KINDS OF RADAR TECHNOLOGY AND ALL THE THINGS WE HAVE - BUT A LIGHTHOUSE IS BASICALLY THE SAME PURPOSE; TO SHOW SHIPS ON THE OCEAN AND BOATS AND ALL THESE DIFFERENT KINDS OF WATERCRAFT, HOW TO GET TO THE SHORE, WHERE NOT TO GO IF THEY'RE NOT TRYING TO GET TO THE SHORE, AND TO STAY SAFE TO KEEP FROM HARMING THEMSELVES. IT'S A GOOD INFLUENCE TO DIRECT THESE THINGS WHERE THEY NEED TO GO. AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT JESUS IS TALKING ABOUT HERE. IN THE WORLD WE NEED TO BE THESE BEACONS OF LIGHT, THESE BEACONS WHERE EVERYBODY ELSE CAN DRAW INTO AND SEE HOW TO GET TO CHRIST FOR AND FROM. AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT JESUS WANTS US TO BE, OF COURSE GOD ALSO BEING JESUS THERE, THAT'S THE PATH WE HAVE TO FOLLOW. BUT YOU CAN THINK ABOUT AS WELL SOME MANY EXAMPLES OF THIS - THIS CONTAGIOUS IDEA OF INFLUENCE.

IN ACTS CHAPTER 2 WE HAVE THE DAY OF PENTECOST. ALL THESE APOSTLES PETER ESPECIALLY THERE PREACHING TO ALL THESE JEWS AND OTHERS THAT WOULD BEEN GATHERED THERE IN THE CITY OF JERUSALEM. IN ACTS CHAPTER 2 YOU NOTICE BY THE END OF THAT CHAPTER HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE BROUGHT TO CHRIST. THOUSANDS BECAUSE OF THIS WORK. WITHIN JUST A FEW CHAPTERS LATER YOU HAVE THOUSANDS MORE BROUGHT TO THIS WAY OF CHRIST AND THIS PATH OF JESUS. AND THIS CONTINUES TO GROW. REALLY THE BOOK OF ACTS READS ALMOST LIKE ONE CONSTANT CONVERSION AFTER ANOTHER ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE BOOK AS YOU SEE ONE GROUP OF PEOPLE OR ONE PERSON AS AN INDIVIDUAL OR WHATEVER THE SITUATION IS. PEOPLE CONSTANTLY BEING INFLUENCED UNTO CHRIST. AND THAT'S EXACTLY HOW WE HAVE TO BE. THOSE KINDS OF PEOPLE THAT ARE LIVING IN SUCH A WAY THAT OTHERS ARE ATTRACTED AND DRAWN TO US AND THEN WHEN THEY GET TO US THEY SEE CHRIST. THEY FOLLOW CHRIST, AND THEY TOO CAN DO THE SAME AS WE DO IMITATING JESUS. THAT'S THE PATH. THAT'S THE CONTAGIOUS WAY THAT WE NEED TO BE WITH OUR INFLUENCE.

BUT THE OTHER THING TO THINK ABOUT IS THAT OUR INFLUENCE NEEDS TO HAVE A POTENTIAL TO CHANGE OTHERS. AND REALLY THAT'S THE WAY THAT GOD WANTS IT TO BE - AS IN CHANGING OTHERS FOR GOOD. WE TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT IT'S CONTAGIOUS AND OTHERS ARE DRAWN TO IT BUT WHEN THEY GET THERE IT HAS TO CHANGE THEM. IT HAS TO SHOW THEM THE WAY THAT THEY NEED TO GO. IN ACTS CHAPTER 14 AND VERSE 19 WE HAVE THE EXAMPLE OF MANY JEWS WHO WERE GOING AROUND AND IT ALMOST SEEMS AS IF THAT PARTICULAR GROUP OF THESE PEOPLE WERE FOLLOWING THE MISSIONARY JOURNEYS AROUND WHEREVER THEY WENT BUT IN ACTS CHAPTER 14 VERSE 19 IT SAYS: THEN THE JEWS FROM ANTIOCH AND ICONIAH CAME THEIR HAVING PERSUADED THE MULTITUDES THEY STONED PAUL AND DRAGGED HIM OUT OF THE CITY SUPPOSING HIM TO BE DEAD. NOW, WHAT THESE PEOPLE WERE DOING WAS GOING FROM CITY TO CITY ALMOST FOLLOWING MANY TIMES THIS MISSIONARY JOURNEY AND CONVINCING OTHERS THAT THESE GUYS WERE EVIL - THAT THESE CHRISTIANS; THESE APOSTLES WERE BAD. THEY'RE TRYING TO STIR THINGS UP. THEY WERE TRYING TO REMOVE CHRISTIANITY. THEY WERE SPEAKING BLASPHEMIES - ALL THE THINGS THEY SAID WAS FOR THE SAME PURPOSE...TO INFLUENCE PEOPLE TO DO BAD. TO REJECT CHRIST AND TO TURN AWAY FROM THESE GOOD TEACHERS OF THE LAW OF CHRIST. AND IN ANY CASE YOU CAN SEE HOW THAT POWER THAT THEY HAD TO CHANGE OTHERS IS VERY, VERY EVIDENT. CONSIDER SOME GOOD EXAMPLES THOUGH - JOSEPH, ALL THE WAY BACK IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AND WE KNOW THE STORY OF JOSEPH HOPEFULLY THERE - HOW HE WAS EVEN FROM EARLY ON IN LIFE BEING SOLD BY HIS BROTHER AND SENT INTO A SITUATION THAT WAS A BAD SITUATION BY HIS OWN FAMILY, HIS OWN BLOOD. YET THROUGH LIVING FOR GOD AND DOING AS HE SHOULD HIS INFLUENCE WAS INCREDIBLE. EVENTUALLY HE RISES TO EXTREME POWER IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, A FOREIGN NATION, EVEN SO MUCH POWER SO THAT THROUGH HIS ABILITY HE'S ABLE TO HELP AND SAVE THE LAND OF EGYPT AND SAVE EVEN THOSE OF HIS OWN FAMILY LATER ON THROUGH HIS HISTORICAL ACCOUNT. SUCH INCREDIBLE INFLUENCE SO THAT EVEN THOSE AROUND HIM A PAGAN LEADER AND KING BASICALLY OF THE LAND OF EGYPT WAS ABLE TO SEE THIS MAN IS GOOD. THIS MAN DOES WHAT IS RIGHT AND THINGS PROSPER AROUND HIM AND SO THEY WANTED HIM TO BE CLOSE. THEY WANTED HIM TO BE IMPORTANT AND HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES TO SEE THEIR OWN PROSPER GROW. ANOTHER EXAMPLE WOULD BE A ESTHER. ANOTHER GREAT EXAMPLE THERE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT WHERE A FEMALE; A LADY BASICALLY A JEW WHO GOES AND MARRIES THE KING OF A FOREIGN POWER AS WELL. AND THE KING CHOOSES HER AND THEY GET MARRIED BUT THROUGH HER INFLUENCE AND EVEN PUTTING HER OWN LIFE ON THE LINE SHE IS ABLE TO CAUSE THE KING TO ALLOW THE JEWS TO SAVE THEMSELVES. SO YOU KNOW IN TURN SHE SAVED THE JEWS PUTTING HER LIFE ON THE LINE TO MAKE IT SO THAT THOSE JEWS WHO ARE LIVING ALL OVER THE WORLD AT THIS POINT AND WHO LOST THEIR OWN HOMES TO BE ABLE TO DEFEND THEMSELVES WHENEVER THE ENEMY COMES AGAINST THEM. WITHOUT GETTING IN ALL THE DETAILS EVEN THERE YOU CAN SEE HOW GREAT THAT INFLUENCE IS WHERE THESE PEOPLE WHO DON'T BELIEVE IN GOD AND DON'T SERVE GOD ARE ALLOWING GOD'S PLAN TO BE FULFILLED THROUGH THEIR OWN HANDS BECAUSE OF THE GREAT INFLUENCE OF THESE PEOPLE WHO DID SERVE GOD. THE JUDGES ARE ANOTHER BOOK. GO BACK TO THE BOOK OF JUDGES AND JUST READ IT. CONSTANTLY THE PATTERN IS THIS; ISRAEL WAS DOING OKAY - THEY WOULD SIN -THEY WERE PUNISHED - THEY WOULD RETURN TO GOD WITH REPENTANCE AND THEN YOU KNOW YOU JUST RINSE AND REPEAT THAT CYCLE OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. BUT IN EVERY SCENARIO WHAT HAPPENS? WELL, WHENEVER THEY GET TO THAT POINT OF PUNISHMENT THEY START CRYING OUT TO GOD - HELP US! SAVE US! ALL THESE THINGS AND GOD SENDS A JUDGE. THIS JUDGE THROUGH THEIR INFLUENCE BRINGS THESE PEOPLE BACK TO GOD TO SERVE AS THEY SHOULD. AND USUALLY THE CASE IS THAT THEY STAYED WITH GOD AT LEAST UNTIL THE LIFE OF THE JUDGE WAS OVER BUT USUALLY AFTER EVEN. JOSHUA WAS ANOTHER EXAMPLE, THAT THE PEOPLE SERVED GOD AFTER THE LIFE OF JOSHUA ALL THE WAY UNTIL THE END OF THE LIVES OF THE ELDERS WHO SERVED WITH JOSHUA. THAT INFLUENCE IS CERTAINLY SOMETHING POWERFUL TO CHANGE OTHERS. CONSIDER AGAIN THAT MATTHEW CHAPTER 5 13 THROUGH 15 THE EXAMPLES OF THE LIGHT IN THE SALT HOW THAT INFLUENCE CAUSES PEOPLE TO DO THINGS AND CAUSES PEOPLE TO CHANGE THEIR PATH AND CHANGE THEIR WAYS. AND THAT CERTAINLY IS AN IMPORTANT THING WE HAVE TO REMEMBER IN OUR LIVES. ONE ANOTHER EXAMPLE WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT IS THE BOOK OF DANIEL BECAUSE THIS ONE SHOWS US JUST HOW POWERFUL INFLUENCE CAN REALLY BE. IN THE BOOK OF DANIEL AND IN CHAPTER 3 WE FIND HERE THE ACCOUNT WITH NEBUCHADNEZZAR AND WE HAVE OF COURSE SHADRACH, MESHAK AND ABEDNEGO AS THEY'RE GOING AROUND AND BASICALLY INFLUENCING PEOPLE TOWARDS GOD'S PLAN. THE ENEMIES OF GOD BRING FORTH THIS PATTERN, THIS PLAN TO CAUSE THEM TO BASICALLY REJECT GOD AND TO SERVE A FALSE GOD. TO SERVE PAGANISM AND WHATEVER THE KING DESCRIBED HIMSELF IN WHATEVER FORM OF DEITY HE THOUGHT HE WAS. NEBUCHADNEZZAR THERE IN VERSE 19 AFTER SHADRACH, MESHAK, AND ABEDNEGO REJECT THIS PATTERN OF FOLLOWING THIS FALSE GOD HE'S FURIOUS. VERSE 19 OF DANIEL CHAPTER 3 SAYS THEN NEBUCHADNEZZAR WAS FULL OF FURY AND THE EXPRESSION ON HIS FACE CHANGE TOWARD SHADRACH, MESHAK, AND ABEDNEGO. HERE YOU HAVE A MAN WITH ALL POWER IN THE LAND OF BABYLON. HE'S ANGRY AT THESE PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY REFUSE TO SERVE HIM AND WORSHIP HIM BUT NOTICE WHAT HAPPENS. THEY DON'T TURN, THEY DON'T CHANGE, THEY CONTINUE ALL THE WAY THROUGH THEIR BEING THROWN INTO THE FIRE AND BEING BASICALLY PUT TO THE POINT OF WHERE MOST PEOPLE WOULD HAVE DIED AND OF COURSE WE KNOW THE ACCOUNT. GOD SAVES THEM. BUT NOTICE WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END DANIEL CHAPTER 3 IN VERSE 28. NEBUCHADNEZZAR SPOKE SAYING - BLESSED BE THE GOD OF SHADRACH, MESHAK, AND ABEDNEGO WHO SENT HIS ANGEL AND DELIVERED HIS SERVANTS WHO TRUSTED IN HIM AND THEY SHOULD HAVE FRUSTRATED THE KING'S WORD AND YIELDED THEIR BODIES THAT THEY SHOULD NOT SERVE OR WORSHIP ANY GOD EXCEPT THEIR OWN. THEREFORE, I MAKE A DECREE THAT ANY PEOPLE NATION OR LANGUAGE WHICH SPEAKS ANYTHING AMISS AGAINST THE GOD OF SHADRACH, MESHAK, AND ABEDNEGO SHALL BE CUT IN PIECES AND THEIR HOUSES SHALL BE MADE IN ASHE BECAUSE THERE WAS IS NO OTHER GOD WHO CAN DELIVER LIKE THIS. NOW OF COURSE YOU NOTICE RIGHT AT THE END HE STILL IS A BAD WICKED MAN AND SO HE MAKES A BAD WICKED DECREE BASED UPON THIS. BUT THE BEGINNING PART OF THE DECREE AT LEAST IS GOOD. HERE YOU HAVE A WICKED GUY WHO SAYING ANYBODY WHO SAYS ANYTHING BAD AGAINST THESE GUY'S GOD IS GOING TO BE PUNISHED FOR IT. NOW THINK ABOUT THAT INFLUENCE. HOW POWERFUL THAT IS, AND IN OUR LIVES WE WILL NEVER BE THROWN INTO SITUATIONS LIKE THAT HOPEFULLY BUT WHAT WE DO HAVE IS PEOPLE EVERY SINGLE DAY OF OUR LIVES WHO SEE US. WHAT WE'RE DOING. HOW WE ARE ACTING. WHAT WE'RE SAYING AND THEY NOTICE WHETHER OR NOT WE'RE ACTING LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE OR WHETHER OR NOT WE'RE ACTING GOOD - ACTING LIKE GOD - ACTING DIFFERENT. WE DON'T SAY THE SAME THINGS, WE DON'T TREAT OTHERS IN THE SAME WAY, WE DON'T ACT SELFISHLY AS MANY OF THEM DO. ONE OF THE GREAT EXAMPLES OF THAT IN OUR WORLD TODAY IS THAT VERY THING. THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT AREAS AND ASPECTS OF LIFE WHICH TEACH EVEN CHILDREN FROM A YOUNG AGE BUT EVEN ADULTS AS YOUR LIVING THAT YOU LIVE HOWEVER YOU WANT, WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO AS LONG AS IT MAKES YOU HAPPY YOU CAN DO IT IN AS SO FAR AS IT DOESN'T HURT ANY OTHERS OF COURSE JUST DO IT. DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. BUT THAT'S CERTAINLY NOT ANYTHING THAT GOD WANTS US TO DO. HE DOESN'T TEACH US TO LIVE HOWEVER WE WANT AND JUST TO IGNORE ALL THE RULES SO FAR AS WE'RE HAPPY WITH IT. BUT HE TEACHES US TO LIVE FOR HIM, TO SERVE HIM, AND TO BE THOSE GOOD INFLUENCES IN THE WORLD LIKE HE WANTS US TO BE.

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



CLOSING COMMENTS

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR CHOOSING TO BE WITH US TODAY, IN GIVING THIS TIME TO GOD. I HOPE OUR TIME TOGETHER HAS BEEN AN ENCOURAGEMENT AND BLESSING TO ALL OF US. WE INVITE YOU BACK EVERY SUNDAY MORNING AT 7:30, AS WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO THIS SERVICE OF GOD!

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HOW BLESSED WE ARE TO HAVE AN EXAMPLE FROM CHRIST TO FOLLOW, THAT WE CAN KNOW HOW TO LIVE IN THIS LIFE, BY FOLLOWING IN HIS FOOTSTEPS. WHEN WE IMITATE THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST, WE WILL NEVER GET IT WRONG. ARE YOU USING YOUR INFLUENCE FOR CHRIST TODAY?