by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Matthew 5:13-16
I. Few credit the influence we have on the lives of those around us.
A. The things we do and say impact the lives of those we come in contact.
B. Sometimes our influence spreads to people we may not have seen.
II. The example of Jeroboam
A. Following the death of Solomon, the nation of Israel was divided by two rival kings.
1. Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, took his father’s place upon the throne.
a. Yet when he was asked to reduce the tax burden that his father had initiated, Rehoboam vowed to increase the burden to the point that Solomon’s burden would seem light.
b. The people, naturally, rebelled. Only one tribe acknowledged Rehoboam as their king.
2. Because of Solomon’s sins, God had selected Jeroboam to lead the rebelling tribes - I Kings 11:26-40
a. Notice, though, the restriction God placed on Jeroboam in verse 38.
b. Jeroboam returned from Egypt after Solomon’s death, but he did not obey God - I Kings 12:25-32
(1) Notice the lack of trust in God
(2) Notice the substitute religion was similar to the old, but with changes.
c. Of course, this angered God - I Kings 14:7-10
d. But God also knew the influence Jeroboam’s sins would have on Israel - I Kings 14:16
B. Nadab became the next king - I Kings 15:25-26
1. Where did Nadab learn his evil ways?
2. From his father, of course.
C. Nadab was assassinated by Baasha - I Kings 15:28-30
1. Did Baasha learn from history?
2. No, he repeated the same sins - I Kings 15:34, 16:7
D. Elah, the son of Baasha, became the next king, and history repeats itself - I Kings 16:8-13
1. His own general took him out
E. So Zimri learned the lesson of following God? NO! - I Kings 16:15-19
1. Imagine that! He was able to reign seven whole days and he already proved to God that he walked in the ways of Jeroboam.
F. Omri, Zimri’s fellow general, becomes the next king and was no better - I Kings 16:25-26
G. His son, Ahab, we have all heard about. He had his infamous wife, Jezebel - I Kings 16:29-33
1. He and his father did not simply repeat Jeroboam’s sins, they went beyond them.
H. His son, Ahaziah, learned from his father and kept the combined false religions - I Kings 22:51-53
I. He dies from complications of a battle wound and his brother, Jehoram, takes his place
1. He at least stopped worshiping Baal - II Kings 3:1-3
J. God eventually appoints Jehu to wipe out Ahab’s lineage, which he does thoroughly. He also destroyed all supporters of Ahab and killed all Baal worshipers. But he kept one thing. Would you like to guess? - II Kings 10:28-31
K. We could go on. Every king of Israel repeated the same pattern established by Jeroboam.
1. Eventually, God delivers Israel into the hands of the Assyrians - II Kings 17:20-23
III. We often talk about the influence for good that we need to exert, but consider the impact the evil a person does.
A. Jeroboam did it out of fear of losing his kingdom.
B. That decision to sin was not contained in his lifetime.
C. It continued on for hundreds of years.
D. Think about how many lives were lost because of his sins. Think how many lives were influenced to do evil because of his fear.
IV. Our lives are not contained to just the time we have on this earth.
A. We influence people every day with our words and our actions.
1. The influence may be to the good or the evil.
2. Matthew 5:13-16
B. We cannot avoid influencing others, so what have you done in your life?
1. The way you attend services will set a pattern for your children and others you know.
2. If recreation is more important than serving God, is it a wonder that others follow your footsteps?
3. If prayer is only casually engaged, is it a wonder others do not pray as they ought?
C. Revelation 14:13 - Our works follow us.
1. Even after death, the influence of a godly father or mother will carry on in their children.
2. The influence of a godly person can bring others to Christ and that change will impact generations of people.
3. Prepare the next generation for living godly tomorrow by living a righteous life today.
V. The Bible records the names of influential people
A. Noah, Abraham, Job, Moses, Joseph, Paul, Peter, and Timothy set faithful examples for us, even today.
B. Lot, Ahab, Jezebel, Judas, and Demas have made their impact as well.
C. How will you be spoken of in the years to come?
D. Even more important is how God will find you in the day of Judgment.