Sunday, August 30, 2009

12 Influence Strategies of Jesus--Part 1

The 12 Influence Strategies of Jesus

· In studying the four Gospels, I have been making a spreadsheet of every person or group mentioned that knew Jesus, and categorizing them simply by whether they liked Jesus or not as measured by
o 1.) Whether they were drawn to him in some, and
o 2.) Whether they gave him a hearing. At least 95% of people who met Jesus responded positively to him or liked him.
· Statistically, it is probable that any person will be liked by 68% of the people they meet.
· So what made Jesus as a human being more liked, his message more heard, and his influence more impacting than the average person?
· I believe there are 12 INFLUENCE STRATEGIES of Jesus that caused people to like him. The more people liked Jesus the probability of their following him increased.
· As his followers, if we can increase our LIKEABILITY we can increase our impact on the world.
· Just look at how media tries to minimize Christianity--by trying to make people not like us!!!!!
· As we see in most political elections, LIKEABILITY is the door that gives people an opportunity for the world around us to listen to what we have to say, and possibly even support us.
· In the past election cycle some people liked President Obama and others Sara Palin and this increased the candidates influence.
· Decades ago Pres. Eisenhower ran on “I like Ike” and in 2004 people had a hard time liking John Kerry as a person which was a more powerful deterrent than their not liking Pres. Bush’s policy—the War in Iraq.
· When a person or a group of people listen to us, we can begin to have an influence that affects the world for the good in positive ways.
· This is the first time in 17 years of preaching I have studied the likeability of Jesus, and the correlation it has to the effectiveness and significance of his ministry.
· There is nothing wrong with people liking us unless we become driven for the approval of people and are willing to compromise our core convictions about life to be liked.
· In fact, if less people do not like you, that will be a problem for you as a Christian seeking to have a positive influence for Christ on the world.
· So my question is, do you want to have an influence on this world for Jesus? Do you want to see more people come to Christ? Do you want to see The Church grow, and then specifically our church increase?
· If yes, then if we look at the life of Jesus, we see two basic keys to accomplishing significant ministry in the world--Jesus aimed to reach large numbers of people, and 95% of those people liked him.
· They liked him, they liked his message, they liked receiving the grace of God, and many followed him.
· The more people we know, and the more people like us, the more likely they are to be positively influenced by us whether it is in the context of our faith, our work, or other causes and other organizations besides church and work we are involved in.
· There are many right things about learning to be a likeable person. Even people who do not agree with your ideals or message might like you and support your cause!
· Mother Teresa's impact on the world at large was not only on Catholics or Christians! Why? Many people liked and respected her positive impact on the world even when they disagreed with her religious convictions that motivated her service.
· I am aiming to make this mini-series of sermons fresh, life giving, and full of very practical action steps you can take increase your likeability, and in turn your effectiveness at influencing others.

1. Openness: People feel that you are friendly and approachable.

Matthew 11:19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ' But wisdom is proved right by her actions."

· Jesus was friendly and all kinds of people felt they could connect with him. All kinds of people, especially those who needed God most were drawn to Jesus because he was friendly and approachable.
· Let’s put it in today’s terms. Who are people that need God most? Do they think you are friendly and approachable or stand-offish and closed off to them?
· How about this? Would the holier than thou crowd accuse you of being worldly hanging around with the wrong kind of people—the people who need to know God?
· Matthew said “Wisdom is proved right by her actions.” Jesus was wise because his choice to schedule his time and life toward those who needed God most yielded huge results compared to those who did not.

2. Humility: Even if you are in a position of power, you do not think you are better than anyone else and don’t demand special treatment.

Philippians 2:5-8: 5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself

· Have you ever been around people who demand special treatment and think they are better than you?
· Did this make you want to know them more and support them? Of course not.
· Jesus did not communicate a pride or arrogance in his life. The opposite of pride and arrogance is being humble. His lifestyle of not thinking he was better than others and not expecting special treatment made people feel like he was one of them. People could relate to him.
· Since even God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble, don’t be surprised if people resist pride and arrogance when they see it in our lives. If we want to influence people, humility is necessary.
· People can tell right away whether you have an open heart and spirit toward them, or whether you are judgmental and repulsed by them.
· People don’t like others who look down on them, and people do not like high maintenance types who think they are entitled to special treatment.
· The Son of Man did not come seeking to be served, but to serve. If you make people feel like you are better than them, or that you deserve special treatment, you probably do not have many friends, and you definitely are not leading people to know Christ.

3. Capability: You have specialized knowledge, expertise and the ability to take positive action.

Matthew 7:28-29 28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

· Jesus didn’t just teach theory. He was able to demonstrate what he preached. His walk and talk agreed.
· Mother Teresa was the same. She didn’t just talk about ministry to the poor, she did it. She was capable.
· She had specialized knowledge, expertise, and ability in dealing with social problems in one of the world’s largest cities. So when she talked, even heads of state listened. She had authority and people liked her.
· People like it when people are authentic and capable of doing what they ask others to do.
· In life, people are drawn to want to learn from leaders who have a specialized knowledge or expertise and people are eventually repelled by those who just talk about doing.
· When people heard the Sermon on the Mount, they heard deep wisdom and truth that rang true because Jesus was practicing what he preached—his walk and talk were the same.
· The Pharisees were hypocrites and no one was listening to them. They lost their influence around Jesus.
· It is like the health care debate right now going on in our country. How many of the politicians are willing to eat their own cooking? I always suspicious of food that the cook doesn’t eat.
· I might think the politicians are capable of putting together a good health care plan for my family if their family will have access to only the same healthcare as my family!
· If a politician is not willing to have the same healthcare they try to sell to us, then my response is, “Oh. So you either think you are better than the average person and deserve special treatment, or you are a hypocrite.”
· Since I don’t like hypocrites, I don’t support them and I don’t vote for them.
· In our lives, developing a specialized knowledge and expertise about something we are passionate about will also draw people to listen to us, and make the way for us to have a significant impact on them.
· This is really what lay leadership is about in the church. When capable people in the pews start to take their knowledge and expertise and put it into practice, and we do it with an attitude of openness to people and in humility, ministries that will grow and impact others are birthed.
· Sequentially, the way mission churches grow is we do one thing well at first—Sunday—and then we begin building on the Sunday when people with capabilities start exercising their gifts—like a prayer ministry, more teachers teaching classes on Sunday or small groups during the week, women’s ministry, men’s, campus ministry, nursing home or prison ministry, ministry to shut ins, a food pantry, ministry to addictions, ministry to marriages, and the possibilities are endless.
· I have a Catch 22. Since I work full time to finance my ability to be a church planter I am limited just like you are. My prep for Sunday teachings and music alone takes a good 10-15 hours of study, writing, and prayer each week.
· So if all of us can do just a little, I think we people will get to know about our church and like it and we can get a lot done for the Kingdom of God.


1. Today we have covered 3 out of 12 INFLUENCE STRATEGIES of Jesus.
2. One of several key reasons why Jesus was able to have such a huge impact and influence was that people liked him, and likeability paved the way for people to give him a hearing, support him, and follow him.
3. In your life, in your family, in your work, in things you are involved in, do people like you? Are they willing to listen to what you have to say? Are they willing to support you and follow you?
4. If you find people resist you, and that you repel people, today God wants to give a new way of living.

· He wants you to start living like Jesus Christ.
· You can start out on the journey to being more likable and more influential by cultivating an attitude of openness to others, humility toward others, and demonstrating your capabilities in ways that will serve others and make their lives better.
· Finally this is how our church will grow. I want us to be a church people will like to come to. Since the people are the church, people liking our church will greatly hinge on people coming here and finding authentic Christianity and authentic Christians.

Let’s pray.

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