How to Ruin Your Influence

Text: Luke 14:34-35


I.         Your reputation, your ability to influence others is valuable

            A.        Ecclesiastes 7:1 - Better than expensive perfume

            B.        Proverbs 22:1 - Better than great wealth

            C.        Christians are expected to influence the world - Matthew 5:13-16

            D.        But if we ruin our ability to influence others, what good are we? - Luke 14:34-35

II.        Inconsistent

            A.        If you say one thing but act differently people will notice - Proverbs 26:7

                        1.         Inconsistent in application: it applies to you, but I have an exemption

                        2.         Why listen to someone who obviously doesn’t believe it himself?

            B.        Inconsistency in life or example

                        1.         Can a social drinker effectively warn against the dangers of drinking? - Romans 2:21

                        2.         Ecclesiastes 10:1 - A little folly ruins the reputation of a wise man

                        3.         The world is eager to catch those who claim to be Christians but do not act like one.

                                    a.         That is why Jim and Tammy Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, and the scandals in the Catholic clergy make headlines.

                                    b.         It is the inconsistency of their claims in comparison to their lives that made them targets.

III.       Unreliable

            A.        If you want to ruin your reputation, just fail to be dependable

                        1.         Don’t always do what you are asked or expected to do

                        2.         Don’t be responsible.

                                    a.         Don’t take on duties.

                                    b.         Don’t ever go beyond what you have to do.

                        3.         Don’t be trustworthy.

                                    a.         Just because you say you will do something doesn’t mean you will.

                                    b.         Get sidetracked easily.

                                    c.         You can always say “Oh! I forgot!”

            B.        Would you hire such a person? Would you marry such a person?

                        1.         You can’t trust them.

                        2.         You can’t expect help from them.

                        3.         You can’t depend on them.

            C.        One of the Pharaoh’s of Egypt had such a reputation - II Kings 18:21

            D.        Proverbs 25:17 - Depending on such a person is a good way to cause yourself pain.

            E.        It was John Mark’s unreliableness that caused Paul to be unwilling to travel with him - Acts 15:38

                        1.         It took a lot on Mark’s part to change Paul’s opinion of him - II Timothy 4:11

                        2.         Demas proved unreliable - II Timothy 4:9-10

IV.      Unfriendly

            A.        A friend is dependable - Proverbs 17:17

            B.        Ruth showed the power of friendship to her mother-in-law - Ruth 1:16

            C.        Jesus demonstrated his faithfulness and asks the same of us - John 15:13-14

            D.        The unfriendly doesn’t care and those who don’t care can’t impact the lives of others.

V.        Easily angered

            A.        Proverbs 22:24-25 - Avoid the angry, else you pick up the habit

            B.        Angry people act foolishly - Proverbs 14:17, 29; Ecclesiastes 7:9

            C.        Reasonable people don’t want to be around quick tempered people.

                        1.         You never know when you might be the next victim of their wrath.

                        2.         Without contact, there is no influence

            D.        Even when dealing with them, you can’t depend on them to act rationally in difficult situations.

VI.      Quick to speak

            A.        A fool is seen by their talkativeness - Ecclesiastes 5:3

            B.        They can cause strife - Proverbs 26:20-22

            C.        The complainers - Jude 16

            D.        The Classmate by C. A. Lugfburrow

I shouted aloud and louder

While out on the plain one day;

The sound grew faint and fainter

Until the words had gone forever,

They left no trace or track,

But the hills near by caught up the cry

And sent an echo back.

I spoke a word in anger

To one who was my friend,

Like a knife it cut him deeply,

A wound that was hard to mend.

That word, so thoughtlessly uttered,

I would we could both forget,

But its echo lives and memory gives

The recollection yet.

How many hearts are broken,

How many friends are lost

By some unkind word spoken

Before we count the cost!

But a word or deed of kindness

Will repay a hundredfold,

For it echoes again in the hearts of men

And carries a joy untold.

            E.        The wise, the influential:

                        1.         Use few words - Proverbs 10:19-20

                        2.         Use well chosen words - Proverbs 15:28

                        3.         Use well seasoned words - Colossians 4:6

VII.     Refuses to accept blame

            A.        A fool is right in his own eyes - Proverbs 12:15

            B.        A man was arrested for collecting his mother’s Social Security checks for six years after his death. Was it his fault? Oh no! He suffered from extreme procrastination behavior cause by depression over his mother’s death.

            C.        Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne W. Dryer

“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness and frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty of something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.”

            D.        The wise changes, the fool continues - Proverbs 14:16

            E.        Who wants to listen to someone who refuses to accept responsibility for his own choices?

VIII.    My Life, author unknown

My life shall touch a dozen lives before this day is done;

Leave countless marks for good or ill, ere sets the evening sun.

This is the wish I always wish, the prayer I always pray;

Lord, may my life help other lives it touches by the way.

            A.        You are the light of God in a dark world

            B.        You are the salt that gives meaning to life.

            C.        Have you ruined your salt? Are you worth something to God?

Based on a lesson by Wayne Greeson