A true state of influence

(The following is an adaptation of a sermon by Pete Hughes (www.stmaryslondon.com) You can hear it here... based upon 2 Tim 3)
What is influence? What is your influence?
Influence on it's own is not enough - holiness and influence need to be taken together. Alone, paul makes it clear, this doesn't work.
With power comes great rssponsibility.
Paul said imitate me as I imitate Christ. He said examine me. Because Paul wanted to set the bar with himself. To be a great leader we need to be great followers of Jesus.
Paul tells tim in the chapter here that things are going to get messy and he needs to be weary and follow Jesus' example. People are allergic to God. Society thinks we have moved on from god.
This isn't that different today is it? People are animals. Then and now... You and me baby ain't nothing but animals... Unfortunately however this is all to revealing about how society feels about ourselves - animals.
What we believe about ourselves creates who we are. What we do flows straight out of what we believe about ourselves. Now, despite what we may believe about what Darwin had to say, and how we feel about Genesis, there is one bit that doesn't square up- the human race is set by God above the animals.
We are meant to be different - more than nothing but mammals. SET APART.
However we see in Genesis, that by taking orders for the animals; I.e. The serpent, Adam and eve upset the natural orde of things until they declined into being like the animals, because that is what they worshipped, images of Animals.
What you worship - you become like.
So God goes on a rescue plan through the Ark and the flood, and then to use Israel as a nation to be Gods holy nation. However again, without the salvation of Jesus they descend once more to being like animals, full of pride; the Jewish worldview became one where the Jews set themselves above the rest of mankind...
That's the mindset that the world was in when Jesus came, and when Paul is writing this letter. But Paul is not a part of this worldview, because under the power and rescue of the cross, the church has become the new Israel, the israel that will show the world what true humanity looks like.
So as Paul teaches Tim in this passage, he is encouraging tim that he will become an agent of restoration; showing people what their true humanity can look like. Leaders of churches, this is their modus operandi - their primary purpose is to lead people into a new understanding of what true humanity looks like.
True leaders, this is what true influence looks like, and why holiness and influence need to come hand in hand. As those who are led look to their leaders for a glimpse of what this new humanity looks like, they need to see someone who leads by practicing what they preach.
God takes the shit of our lives and uses it for manure. He stores to us our humanity, so we can show people the path to theirs. The church ands it leaders are truely the hope of the world.

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