THE POWER OF INFLUENCE
*WISDOM FOR TODAY.*
*THE POWER OF INFLUENCE*
Acts 8:3 *As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.*
*Insight and Highlight.*
Who is your influencer?
We are in a world of influence.
There are influencers, and we must be careful of who we allow to influence us.
An influencer is a person whose action or opinion strongly modifies or changes a person's or people's thought processes and behavior. It often develops into a relationship in the social, personal, business depending on how far it is allowed to go.
People can influence people's mind by the words they say, the music they play, their achievements, etc.
Influence can either be positive or negative. As much as there are people who can, by their good works, influence others to succeed, there are others who teach to mislead people, misguide people to do wrong, or encourage wrong actions and thoughts.
In our look at influence, we will look at three things.
First, Saul of Tarsus, as an influencer.
Second, his effects on people and how
influential his negative influence was on the people he negatively impacted.
Third, we will see how God can loosen us from negative influencers. Saul was judged unsuitable for change
but God, through the conversion of Saul, removed our error of limiting what is practically unlimited with God.
Today, we will look at the first and the second.
The Bible from Acts 8 gives a rather sad but moving saga of the first matyr of the early Church called Stephen.
The story of a man called Saul, of Tarsus, also emerged, and his story is a lesson on the power of influence and the power of an influencer
First, Saul was an example of a negative influencer.
Acts 8:1 tells us how he was on top of the killing of Stephen. Acts 8:1 identified him as the one who approved, consented to the killing of Stephen.
Second, Saul became the first well-known persecutor of the church, Gal 1:13, and he commanded a lot of followers. He influenced the people, the Sanhedrin, the council members, etc.
His influence did not stop there. He was named as spearheading the supervision to ensure the execution happened. Acts 8:58 says, *"....the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul."*
It was under him that unlimited widespread persecution began and gained immediate momentum unanticipated in biblical history.
Third, Saul had many people he influenced. Saul 'mentored' people to wreck havoc.
Acts 8:1-3 further tells us the impact of Saul's followers as their exploits were summed up as *....a great persecution.*
*against the church, which was at Jerusalem....'*.
He, as the leader, was said to have done *'..... havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.*
The conspiracy as explained in the passage further explains how wide Saul achieved his bad influence on the people when Acts 8:3b further says the Christians under persecution *....were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.*
Though Christ had predicted the persecution, it led to the 'spreading of the word by persecution'.
Saul led a great army of persecutors, who, though, were acting under the permissive will of God, became condemnable by Christ.
Jesus says in Matt 23:13
*But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.*
While those that are persecuted are blessed by Him . Christ says in
Matt 5:10-12 *Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you,....*
Saul raised followers who followed his mindset as a man who thought he was doing God a favor. He said before Agrippa in Acts 26:9 *I verily thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.*
In Acts 22:3 *I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia,.....I am just as zealous for God as any of you here today.*
Evil influencers make images of themselves through the people they influence.
They make you feel you are enjoying life, not sinning against God, and a sense of false security.
You can see the badly influenced through their bad influencers.
You are who you follow.
Choose Godly influencers.
Who is your influencer?
Who is your role model?
Choose the God-fearing influencer.
Be careful to look and think beyond what persuades you to follow them.
*Call to Word action.*
Always think. Just because everybody is following does not mean it is right to do so.
Exodus 23:2 *Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil;...."*
*The Christian clarion duty.*
1 Cor 15:33 *Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.*
Do not allow bad influencers to influence you. Some of their bad influences you acquired into your life may not change, while the influencer may have repented to change or turn a new leaf.
Lord, help me to refuse evil influence in Jesus name.
Good morning all, and be blessed as you cone into His presence.
God bless you.