Be an Influencer! A Sermon from Jeremiah 15
Be An Influencer!
† I.H.S. †
May the grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ influence others through you, even as it has influenced you!
- Word of Mouth
IT has been true for a long time that “word of mouth” advertising is the best way to build a business, a school or any other ministry. You can have the greatest media campaigns, the most state-of-the-art equipment, the greatest of staff people, and if no one recommends you to their friends, nothing happens!
Some people have made this a fine art and use the internet and social media to help people hear the words of their mouth, and they are called influencers. For one reason or another, people trust them, listen to them, and try what they say. Some of the infleuncers are teenagers, not even old enough to work at McDonald’s. But they make significant money because millions of people trust the words that come out of their mouth and the pictures they post on Instagram.
Jeremiah foresaw this, or actually God did, when he had Jeremiah write, “You must influence them; do not let them influence you!
So how do you become an influencer?
You start by sharing your story…like Jeremiah did…
- The Journey
For Jeremiah, the journey began with these words, “15 Then I said, “LORD, you know what’s happening to me. Please step in and help me. Punish my persecutors! Please give me time; don’t let me die young. It’s for your sake that I am suffering.
So many of our journeys start when we give up, and we turn in despair to God. We may be believers who have been around forever, some of us are newer, and all of us try to do it on our own, But there is a point, where we realieze the presence of God and reach out in desperation.
This call for help can only be heard because God has been waiting for us, gently drawing us closer, until we call out… and He answers.
That answer explains the next section of Jeremiah’s prophesy, “6 When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies.”
For someone desperate enough to call out on an unseen God, the promises sin the word of God are a breath of fresh air! That’s why Jeremiah wants to devour them – the blessings and the curses, the sin and the reconciliation. The hard times and the rescues where God comes ot the aid of His broken people.
You see, reading God’s word isn’t because Greek and Hebrew are so interesting, nor is it to become the world’s greatest theologian.
The reason Jeremiah found such joy in reading scripture, the reasoned he devoured them is because it is told Him that God would be there for Him, as God was for so many across the pages of Scripture.
- Righteous Indignation?
The next phase of growth is different in fact, Jeremiah’s words describe someone who is going backwards,,,,
17 I never joined the people in their merry feasts. I sat alone because your hand was on me. I was filled with indignation at their sins. 18 Why then does my suffering continue? Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook, like a spring that has gone dry.”
I think there is a part of Jeremiah here that is like the prodigal son’s older brother. He is so into God’s word, and trying to do what pleases God, that he forgets his responsibility to his family and friends.
That’s the danger we have to watch out for, the more we see how much God loves us, we have to remember that God loves them just as much.
To say it another way – the first 3 commandments tell us how we relate to God, but we fail at that, we sin, if we don’t follow the next 7, and love our neighbor, even our sin plagued neighbor. The more we focus on their sin, the more our own weaknesses haunt us, that is why Jeremiah says the wound is incurable.
And why we feel our sin, and the brokenness of the world – even now. The more we look at the sin of the world, the sin of those who oppose us, the more we feel the guilt and shame of our own.
However, the more we try to reach out with His grace, with His love, the more we realize the power of Christ that has cleansed us.
- How is this possible?
Hear Jeremiah’s record of God’s response, “19 This is how the LORD responds: “If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you!
Here is God’s idea of an influencer!
It is each one of you! Just as it was each one of Israel, who remembered the promises of God that hade made them. So the natural reaction to His drawing us back to Him, to our returning, it s to serve God as His messengers to the world. Each one of us, from Manny and the elders to Jonah and Violet. Each of us has the ability to be influencers with something far more influential than a car, or a new computer. Our influence leads people to peace, to freedom from guilt and shame, into an eternal relationship with God.
And not just any relationship – a relationship where God adopts us as His children, where Jesus welcomes us as His brothers and sisters.
This won’t be an easy journey, we will face some opposition, even as Jeremiah did.. but hear what God promised,
“They will fight against you like an attacking army, but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall of bronze. They will not conquer you, for I am with you to protect and rescue you. I, the LORD, have spoken! 21 Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men. I will rescue you from their cruel hands.”
He will rescue us, for He has invested in us the blood of His Son, And He will always save us, grabbing us when we take our eyes off of Him and begin to sink.
He will be there for us, He is there for us now.
For the Lord is Risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!) therefore… (we are risen indeed! ALLELUIA!)