A Person of Godly Influence

Daniel 1:1-21

When Daniel was taken to Babylon, he had no idea God would give him an ever-widening sphere of influence. So what made him different from the other captives from Israel? His godly influence flowed from his strong beliefs based in Scripture.

Commitment. Daniel did not simply know God’s law; he was convinced there was no other way to live. When tested, he remained unswervingly faithful to God and His Word, because he considered obedience non-negotiable.

Following God doesn’t mean living out biblical principles only when it’s convenient or easy. Obedience is to be our consistent lifestyle no matter what the circumstances are. Without a firm commitment to our beliefs, we’ll waver back and forth, be a poor witness, and eventually give in to temptation.

Courage. As a captive, Daniel had no authority. Therefore, approaching the king’s chief official for special dietary consideration required courage. Although he had no way to know the outcome, Daniel didn’t let fear dominate his emotions. He simply trusted the Lord and spoke out.

God rewarded Daniel’s faithfulness with superior knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of all kinds, which resulted in his gaining greater influence in the Babylonian and Persian empires. Because of Daniel’s commitment to God and his courage in standing firm, his godly impact extended for many years.

The Lord doesn’t raise all believers to high positions of influence. But He wants to use each of us to impact others for Christ in whatever sphere of influence He’s given us. Therefore, we too need commitment to God’s Word, the courage to obey, and the confidence to trust the Lord with the outcome.

The trying of your faith worketh patience

The General Epistle of James

James 1

This was probably written by that apostle who has been surnamed The Just, who presided over the council at Jerusalem. His epistle is practical rather than doctrinal. Alford remarks,—”The brother of him who opened his teaching with the Sermon on the Mount, seems to have deeply imbibed the words and maxims of it, as the law of Christian morals.”

James 1:2-4

temptations or trials

And patience will be a crown of honour to you; therefore, viewing trial as an opportunity for proving your graces, you may rejoice in it.

James 1:5-18

All our good is from God, but all our evil is from ourselves and Satan; let us always impute things to their true causes.

James 1:27

These are the best externals of worship—the rubrics of the only divine ritual. The more of daily prayers at sick beds, and offertories received by orphans, the better. Can we not, as a family, remember the orphans to-day and help to support them?

 

Jesus, poorest of the poor!

Man of sorrows! Child of grief!

Happy they whose bounteous store

Ministers to thy relief.

 

Happy they who wash thy feet,

Visit thee in thy distress!

Honour great, and labour sweet,

For thy sake the saints to bless.

 

So, Why Am I Here Anyway?

Who worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator;… God gave them over to a reprobate mind. (Romans 1:25, 28)

Since the first fallen man got still long enough to think, fallen men have been asking these questions: “Whence came I? What am I? Why am I here? and Where am I going?”

The noblest minds of the race have struggled with these questions to no avail. Did the answer lie somewhere hidden like a jewel it would surely have been uncovered, for the most penetrating minds of the race have searched for it everywhere in the region of human experience. Yet the answers remain as securely hidden as if they did not exist.

Why is man lost philosophically? Because he is lost morally and spiritually. He cannot answer the questions life presents to his intellect because the light of God has gone out in his soul. The fearful indictment the Holy Ghost brings against mankind is summed up count by count in the opening chapters of Romans and the conduct of every man from earliest recorded history is evidence enough to sustain the indictment.

Apart from the Scriptures we have no sure philosophy: apart from Jesus Christ we have no true knowledge of God; apart from the inliving Spirit we have no ability to live lives morally pleasing to God!

 

Doing What God Can Bless

“The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy,, storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto.” Deut. 28:8

If we obey the Lord our God He will bless that which He gives us. Riches are no curse when blessed of the Lord. When men have more than they require for their immediate need, and begin to lay up in store-houses, the dry rot of covetousness or the blight of hard-heartedness is apt to follow the accumulation; but with God’s blessing it is not so. Prudence arranges the saving, liberality directs the spending, gratitude maintains consecration, and praise sweetens enjoyment. It is a great mercy to have God’s blessing in one 5 iron safe, and on one 5 banking account.

What a favor is made ours by the last clause! “The Lord shall bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand unto.” We would not put our hand to anything upon which we dare not ask God’s blessing, neither would we go about it without prayer and faith. But what a privilege to be able to look for the Lord’s help in every enterprise! Some talk of a lucky man: the blessing of the Lord is better than luck. The patronage of the great is nothing to the favor of God. Self-reliance is all very well; but the Lord’s blessing is infinitely more than all the fruit of talent, genius, or tact.

 

VIDEO An Empathetic High Priest – Lessons Learned in the Temptation of Jesus

An Empathetic High Priest

For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. Hebrews 2:18

Two similar English words are often confused: sympathize and empathizeSympathize means to express sympathy based on agreement; empathize means to express understanding based on experience. You can sympathize with someone without having personal experience with their plight. But empathy is stronger—it means, “I understand because I’ve been there myself.”

Jesus was capable of both, of course. But many find it surprising to learn that His capacity to express empathy (concern, care) for our situations in life is based on the fact that He, in His humanity, has a deep level of shared human experience. When we suffer and are tempted to yield to poor choices, we can remember that “He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). And because He suffered as we suffer, “He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

Because He is our great High Priest who identifies with our human conditions, we can approach Him boldly in prayer with confidence of receiving grace and mercy to help (Hebrews 4:15-16).

If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.  Robert Murray M’Cheyne


Lessons Learned in the Temptation of Jesus – Dr. Charles Stanley

5 Signs Your Church Might Be Heading toward Progressive Christianity

 

 1. There is a lowered view of the Bible

1. There is a lowered view of the Bible

Slide 1 of 8

One of the main differences between Progressive Christianity and Historic Christianity is its view of the Bible. Historically, Christians have viewed the Bible as the Word of God and authoritative for our lives. Progressive Christianity generally abandons these terms, emphasizing personal belief over biblical mandate.

Comments you might hear:

  • ​The Bible is a human book…
  • I disagree with the Apostle Paul on that issue…
  • The Bible condones immorality, so we are obligated to reject what it says in certain places…
  • ​The Bible “contains” the word of God…

2. Feelings are emphasized over facts

Slide 2 of 8

In Progressive churches, personal experiences, feelings, and opinions tend to be valued above objective truth. As the Bible ceases to be viewed as God’s definitive word, what a person feels to be true becomes the ultimate authority for faith and practice.

Comments you might hear:

  • That Bible verse doesn’t resonate with me….
  • I thought homosexuality was a sin until I met and befriended some gay people….
  • I just can’t believe Jesus would send good people to hell….

3. Essential Christian doctrines are open for re-interpretation

Slide 3 of 8

Progressive author John Pavlovitz wrote, “There are no sacred cows [in Progressive Christianity]….Tradition, dogma, and doctrine are all fair game, because all pass through the hands of flawed humanity.” Progressive Christians are often open to re-defining and re-interpreting the Bible on hot-button moral issues like homosexuality and abortion, and also cardinal doctrines such as the virgin conception and the bodily resurrection of Jesus. The only sacred cow is “no sacred cows.”

Comments you might hear:

  • The resurrection of Jesus doesn’t have to be factual to speak truth….
  • The church’s historic position on sexuality is archaic and needs to be updated within a modern framework…
  • The idea of a literal hell is offensive to non-Christians and needs to be re-interpreted….

4. Historic terms are re-defined

Slide 4 of 8

There are some Progressive Christians who say they affirm doctrines like biblical inspiration, inerrancy, and authority, but they have to do linguistic gymnastics to make those words mean what they want them to mean. I remember asking a Pastor, “Do you believe the Bible is divinely inspired?” He answered confidently, “Yes, of course!” However, I mistakenly assumed that when using the word “inspired,” we both meant the same thing. He clarified months later what he meant—that the Bible is inspired in the same way and on the same level as many other Christian books, songs, and sermons. This, of course, is not how Christians have historically understood the doctrine of divine inspiration.


Including the Word “Love”

Slide 5 of 8

Another word that tends to get a Progressive make-over is the word “love.” When plucked out of its biblical context, it becomes a catch-all term for everything non-confrontative, pleasant, and affirming.

Comments you might hear:

  • God wouldn’t punish sinners—He is love….
  • Sure, the Bible is authoritative—but we’ve misunderstood it for the first 2,000 years of church history…
  • It’s not our job to talk to anyone about sin—it’s our job to just love them….

Alisa ChildersAlisaChilders.com

https://www.crosswalk.com/slideshows/5-signs-your-church-might-be-heading-toward-progressive-christianity.html?p=1

Influence of Our Convictions

2 Timothy 1:8-14

We usually think of influential people as those who have authority, position, or power in the world, but in reality, we all have influence to one degree or another. The term describes the capacity to have an effect on someone else’s character, development, or behavior.

This is exactly what Christ has called believers to do by proclaiming the gospel and encouraging one another in the faith. However, in order to have a godly impact on others, we must first be convinced that the Bible is true. Then as we grow in knowledge of the truth, we can help others know Jesus, understand scriptural principles, and live obediently by them.

Paul advised Timothy to “retain the standard of sound words” in the faith (2 Timothy 1:13), and these same truths have been delivered to us.

1. The Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God. There are no mistakes in it, and it is wholly true (2 Timothy 3:16; John 17:17).

2. There is one God, and He exists in three persons. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all members of the triune Godhead (Matt. 28:19).

3. Eternal life is received only through faith in Jesus. Salvation cannot be earned by good works (John 14:6; Eph. 2:8-9).

4. Jesus will one day return for those who believe in Him, and He’ll take them to heaven (John 14:2-3). But unbelievers will remain under divine wrath.

As the culture around us becomes more resistant to Christian influence, holding to these convictions will require solid commitment and steady courage. So determine not to let compromise steal your godly influence.

Some Creeping in Unawares

“For there are certain men crept in unawares . . . ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4)

The special word chosen by the Holy Spirit is most helpful in understanding this warning. The Greek term translated “crept in unawares” is pareisduno, a uniquely compounded word meaning to “sink down in alongside.” What could be more descriptive? These kinds of sneaky people have been written about before, Jude says, and are prime examples of those who transpose the grace of God into uncontrolled lust.

Paul uses a similar word in his letter to Timothy to warn him about the ungodly men of the last days who “creep into houses” and undermine the lifestyles of “silly women” (2 Timothy 3:6-7). The imagery implies the subtlety and cleverness of these “ungodly men,” but there is a horrible consequence of this replacement of God’s grace with “lasciviousness.”

Jude lists the terrible judgment on the people of Israel who refused to believe the good report of Joshua and Caleb when the 12 spies returned from the land of Canaan. God “destroyed” those who embraced the fearful and faithless report of the 10 (Numbers 14). Even the angels who led the world of Noah into corruption (Genesis 6:1-4) were chained in “darkness” for their disobedience (2 Peter 2:4).

Sodom and Gomorrah, Cain, Balaam, and Korah (Core) are all given as examples by Jude of God’s stern judgment on those who knew better but chose to lead a rebellion against the righteous lifestyles or leadership of God’s people. God does not take lightly the misuse of His instructions. Even the “least” of the commandments are important (Matthew 5:19). After all, “thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (Psalm 138:2). HMM III

Run with patience

After that wonderful list of the heroes of faith of whom we read on a former occasion in Hebrews 11, Paul goes on to say:—

Hebrews 12:1-14

Hebrews 12:2

The eyes of onlookers stimulate the runners in a race, therefore since all heaven looks on, let us not flag till the goal is reached.

Hebrews 12:3

Let the grandest of all examples nerve us. Think how Jesus ran the race!

Hebrews 12:4-6

Our trials are little compared with those of the martyrs of the olden times. Courage, brethren, these are small matters to faint about! Moreover, our chastenings are love tokens from God, let us not be alarmed at them.

Hebrews 12:8

Yet no one should pray for troubles, or be anxious because he is without them: they will come fast enough and thickly enough ere long, and when they do, a blessing will be in them.

Hebrews 12:9-11

While we are smarting, we cannot expect to feel the good result, but afterwards it will be seen. Let us wait and pray.

Hebrews 13:16-21

Hebrews 13:16

Give help in money, in comfort, and in instruction, as men require it.

Hebrews 13:20, 21

A rich benediction, fitly closing an epistle, in which the prominent theme is the perseverance of the saints. Lord, fulfil this blessing in us.

 

When my comforts fade and languish,

When bereaved of what was dear,

When the body faint’s with anguish,

And my bright hopes disappear:

Jesus only

Can my spirit soothe and cheer.

 

When in heaven I bow before him,

Trace his love’s continued stream,

And in perfect songs adore him,

Where his unveiled glories beam;

Jesus only

Shall be my eternal theme.

 

Live Best, Live for God’s Glory

That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:6)

It may be difficult for the average Christian to get hold of the idea that his daily labors can be performed as acts of worship acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

We must practice living to the glory of God actually and determinedly. By one act of consecration of our total selves to God we can make every subsequent act express that consecration. By meditation upon this truth, by talking it over with God often in our prayers, by recalling it to our minds frequently as we move about among men, a sense of its wondrous meaning will begin to take hold of us.

The New Testament accepts as a matter of course that in His incarnation, our Lord took upon Him a real human body. He lived in that body here among men and never once performed a non-sacred act!

Brethren, we must offer all our acts to God and believe that He accepts them. We should then keep reminding God in our times of private prayer that we mean every act for His glory. We thus meet the temptations and trials by the exercise of an aggressive faith in the sufficiency of Christ!