INFLUENCED TO INFLUENCE

A sphere is defined as an area of activity, interest, or expertise. It can also be defined as an area of influence.

Main text Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.



I can imagine the scenario- the learned, distinguished and noble rulers and elders looking at Peter and John, common men, and trying to figure out where they got this power. The Scriptures say that they marveled at the fact that these were very ordinary guys with nothing to set them apart or to distinguish them in the natural. Surely it was not their background or their education but it was something else! When they looked at them keenly they saw the influence of something else, rather of someone else.
As we embark in our journey into new territories (from our theme “mission occupy”) we have so far established these two important points:

  • God is guiding us into new lands, new spaces for us to occupy
  • God has QUALIFIED us to take possession of this land (refer to our #QUALIFIED SERIES)

Now what we are about to see is that God has done all this for us not only to so that we can step into the lands, but He desires above all that we may influence these lands for His glory.

So the model looks like this:
God sets us apart, gives us purpose and ordains what He has called us to be then He qualifies us in Christ Jesus so that our strength and ability do not stem from ourselves but is a product of grace. He then gives us a territory, a land to influence for His glory.

IDENTITY

For us to influence, we have to first be sure and certain of who we are, and our position in Christ. When speaking to the churches, Paul always introduced himself as an apostle of Christ. He knew who he was and he was confident in this knowledge. Even when his apostleship was questioned, he stood firm for he understood his source and his foundation. In Galatians 1:1→ he identifies himself as “Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father”. He knew where he belonged and on whom his identity was founded and based on.

QUALIFICATIONS

The issue of qualification has always been big to most of us. Most of the times we want to qualify ourselves through our actions or we want the world to qualify us. But none of that can sustain. None of that lasts. Our qualification and calling comes from God and He qualifies us through the gift of grace. Through the sacrifice of His Son we are able to access all things and we have been qualified by His blood. In the above verse, Paul points out that he is an apostle (identity) through Jesus Christ (qualification). We are qualified in Christ Jesus by His sacrifice on the cross.

We have been given territories to influence, but the question is what influences us?

CONNECTION POINT : We influence how we are influenced.

This was true for the apostles Peter and John. When the rulers of Israel looked at them, they could not see anything unique about these guys but the one thing they saw is that these guys had been influenced by Christ. Christ went about healing and restoring the broken, giving hope and changing lives through awesome miracles and when the elders looked at Peter and John they could see the influence of Christ through them. They influenced the same way Christ influenced because they had been influenced by Him.

When Joshua led the children of Israel into Canaan, they were not going to find an empty land just waiting for them. On the contrary, the land was full of great cities and kingdoms. They had not only to conquer the lands but they had to influence the land. The flip side of this is that they could just have entered the land and been assimilated and become like the people there. But that was not God’s plan. He wanted a nation that was strong and unique, a nation that could influence the world and show His greatness.

Every time the nations influenced the Israelites they changed and forgot their God. Usually they were conquered and taken up as slave. But every time they remained focused on the strength of their God, they influenced the nations and they conquered and reigned as kings.

CONNECTION POINT: When we influence our territories we are reigning as kings but when our territories influence us we become slaves of its elements; we lose our uniqueness

The stars are visible in a very dark expanse of space. In fact, the darkness is far more expanse than the stars. But because they shine, they are able to influence the sky so much so that when we look at the sky at night, we are not awed by the expanse of darkness but by the shining of the stars.

The apostle Paul in Philippians 2:15→ likens us to these stars. In this passage he reminds us that we are different because we shine like stars in the world. We are influenced by Christ to influence our territories.

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