Elena and I are preparing to teach a lesson this Saturday night at another church’s youth group. We want to encourage them to be good students of the Scriptures and apply what they learn so that they can have a positive impact in society, especially in the lives of their classmates. As Christians, we are called to change the world because that is what our Savior did. He calls us to be like Him. He calls us to be salt and light in this world. The essence of these two things is to overcome darkness and decay. Sin causes individual lives as well as society as a whole to decay and believers are called to stop it. Darkness keeps people ignorant of where they are and where they are going. That is what sin does to people. It deceives them into not understanding how they are destroying their own lives and the lives of others. As light in this world, we are to drive out the darkness and show people the reality of sin, stopping it in its tracks. This lesson is going to teach us how to do that.
To begin, I would like to take a look at a few motivational quotes.
Christians are supposed not merely to endure change, nor even to profit by it, but to cause it. (Harry Emerson Fosdick)
Be the change you want to see in the world (Mahatma Gandhi)
As believers, we are not to be impacted by our culture, we are to impact the culture for good. God gives us the way to do it in His Word. I have a few questions that I would like to ask you. Who is the person who has influenced you the most in this life?
How has this person influenced you? Where are you now in life because of this person’s influence? Would you like to be a person who influences others? How is it possible to be an influential person?
Now thanks be to God, who always causes us to triumph in Christ, and He revealing through us the odor of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are to God a sweet aroma of Christ, in those being saved, and in those being lost; to the one we are the savor of death to death, and to the other we are the savor of life to life. And who is sufficient for these things? (II Corinthians 2:14-16)
I. God has to do it through us.
We have to understand that we are not the ones who impact people and change their lives. God is the One who does it through us. If I try to do it on my own then I will fail. The phrase “triumph in Christ” is very important to our understanding of allowing God to influence people through us. The word “triumph” refers to the Roman victory procession called “triumphus” which celebrated the Roman general who was victorious in battle. The entire city would come out to see the procession. The prisoners of war were led in, chained to the general’s chariot and would be ceremoniously executed or killed in the coliseum. The general rode triumphantly in the chariot. It was a place of honor. That is the place where God sets us when we are in Christ. Incense and followers lead and followed the procession. The flowers and incense were a sweet aroma of life and victory for the general and people while they were an aroma of death for the prisoners. When we walk with God and ride with Christ in the chariot, we give an aroma of Jesus Christ (by the way that we live and the words that we say) and to those around us who accept Christ, it is an aroma of life, a sweet aroma while the same aroma is an aroma of death for those who do not want to accept Christ. When we walk with Christ, He seeps through our pores and everybody knows who we are and in whose chariot we ride. God has his part and I have mine. I must allow God to place me in the chariot. I must do all that I can to allow Christ to live through me. I must surrender my life, my thinking, my will to Him. When I do that, He works in me and through me. To make it even more practical, I must study the Scriptures so that God can work in me (get in me so that Christ can seep through my pores). Then, I must share what I learn and how God is working in me with others. In order to understand this even more clearly, we need to see an example and we will take a look at the Apostle Paul for our model.
II. Paul’s Example
- Paul proclaimed the Gospel in every situation in life.
- He knew what results awaited him.
So my friend, are you allowing God to carry you in triumph in His chariot, causing you to be a pleasing aroma of Jesus Christ to all the people around you? Do you study the Scriptures daily so that you have something to share with the people around you? Are you being discipled so that you can disciple others when the time is right? The method is the same each and every time. The different results come as a result of the hearers. As Jesus said, some are wise men and some are foolish men. The wise men will accept Jesus Christ and His Word while the fool will reject Him and His Word. How do you respond to Jesus Christ and His Word? How do you live out the Word of God? What kind of impact are you having in the lives of others? Are you investing in them with the Word of God? May the Lord help us.