Sunday, January 22, 2012

Influence others to worship God

Do you influence others? And they glorified God because of me.”  Does your Christian walk inspire others to draw closer to God?  Do those who come in contact with you see a difference in you.  What about the people at work or school or even your friends, do they know that you belong to Christ?

Those, who were alive at the time, would tell you that Paul the apostle inspired them to grow closer to God.  They would tell you that his excitement for the Lord was contagious.

So, what was it about Paul that accomplished this?  What was it that led the believers to glorify God?

He reflected God in his everyday life.
What God did in his life inspired others.  In fact, generation after generation many people have dropped to their knees and surrendered themselves to glorify God.

In the previous verse we get a glimpse “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” of a few key attributes that lead believers to glorify God. These are attributes that all Christians should exhibit.

So, what are the attributes that Paul conveyed?

First, I'll tell you what they're not.  Paul didn't raise his voice, shake his hands, or use inflections in his speech(and God-ah smote-ah...) He didn't conjure up any emotion or plead for believers to worship as he fervently wiped his forehead with a handkerchief.

Rather, it was organic.  It just naturally occurred.  He lived his life in pitch with God's melody and resonated. Who Paul was, what God did, and what Paul became, reflected God's love, grace, and power.
  • Love
The believers said, “he used to...”, because Paul was headed in the wrong direction.  He was ignorant and tried to stifle the church.

But, God revealed his love and reached out to him in spite of his declared war on Christians.  God's action of love validated that God does seek and save those who are lost, that God truly leaves the 99 for the lone stray, and that God really does love the world enough to give his only son!

Love!  Paul's very being declared God's love.
  • Grace
The believers said, “he used to persecute...”, because our Lord forgave Paul at the height of his sin, even when he didn't deserve God's mercy.  God revealed his grace by overlooking Paul's past and giving him a new future.  Oh, the wonder of God's words: "Your sins are forgiven."

And so, the believers saw the depth of God's grace and fell to their knees in praise.
  • Power
The believers said, “he used to persecute us and now he's preaching the faith..."  God not only showered Paul with grace but he also transformed him.

This demonstrated God's power.

When Jesus raised a man from the dead, the people saw his power and glorified God.  In the same way, Paul was dead and God gave him a new life.  He was dead but then alive.  He was lost but then was found!

He was set apart from who he was - his past, what he believed, and his influences – and it was apparent in Paul's daily life.

Paul acted in love.
He was so concerned for others that he made it his passion to bring the gospel to anyone and everyone he possibly could.

Paul acted in grace.
He forgave those who hated him, imprisoned him, beat him, and left him for dead.

Paul acted in power.
He preach the faith without fear.  He stood up for righteousness and boldly spoke about salvation to those in authority, both to religious leaders and to political leaders.  He even presented the gospel to Nero, who was ultimately responsible for Paul’s death.

God wants us to be influential.
This is God's desire for each and every one of us.  That 'who we are' would demonstrate God's love, grace, and power.  That we would be set apart.  Different.

It is in this, your separation, the contrast, the difference from 'who you were' to 'who you are' in Christ that lead people to glorify God!  You were blind, aimless, pursuing empty goals.  But, God intervened!  He built a beacon with the cross as its support beam.  And then led you away from the inevitable shipwreck and brought you into the safety of his harbor.

Now you're the beacon.
You are a light.  Climb to the top of God's Holy hill and shine!  Let God's intervention be known!  Reveal your true nature and publicize it.

And, all those around you will see the light!
The believer will bask in it and worship the Lord. The sinner will see the path of salvation and follow it to Jesus.

Radiate!  And drive them to their knees.

Demonstrate!  And they will lift their hands in surrender, their hearts in worship, their voices in praise, their souls in gratitude.

Love!  And they will give their lives in sacrifice.

Live, and 'they will glorify God because of you!'