Can Influence Be Overcome?

(Can Influence Be Overcome?) Bible Question.

Question:

“I was married, divorced and have since become a Christian. I cannot be around my ex-husband due to the risk. However, before I was a Christian I was very mean to my ex’s sons (my stepsons). They saw me as a horrible example and even now must think that if I am a Christian, being a Christian is a bad thing. I am now so happy to be saved. But can my stepsons be reached by the gospel, or are they beyond saving because of my bad influence?”

Answer:

Jesus makes it clear that He cares about how we treat each other. . .

but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” – Matthew 18:6, 7 (New American Standard Bible)

The Lord warns us that if we lead others into sin we should be fearful. And this is even more true when those we influence toward evil are the innocent, such as children. Yes, we should always be aware of the example we set and the impact it has on others.

But, you can be forgiven for this sin, just as you can be forgiven for any other sin. When you came to Jesus in repentance and submission, ALL of your sins were washed away, including this one.For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more.” – Hebrews 8:12

As to whether your sons can be saved, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” God’s grace can reach them, but only if they hear the word and respond to it as you have done. When you became a Christian you accepted your sinfulness, turned to God and let Him wash you. If your stepsons do that, they too can be saved. You may have influenced them negatively, but they can be reached. Since you are out of touch with them, the best thing you can do is begin to pray that they will hear the word and obey the word of God.

Pray that other opportunities and people can minister to them. Perhaps, over time, God’s word will open their hearts, just as it did Lydia’s (Acts 16:14), and just as it did yours! Then, the mistakes and poor choices of your past will not only be forgotten by God, but overcome by Him as He works to save your stepsons.

Related Article on This Blog:

My Brother Won’t Forgive Me

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Does the Holy Spirit Leave the Sinner?

(Does the Holy Spirit Leave the Sinner?) Bible Question.

Question:

“I believe (from Acts 2:38 and other passages) that we receive the Holy Spirit when we are baptized. But if a Christian turns back from Christ into a sinful lifestyle, does the Holy Spirit leave him. If so, would the Spirit return, if the person repents and returns to the Lord?”

Answer:

You are correct that we receive the Holy Spirit when we are baptized into Christ:

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38 (New American Standard Bible)

The apostles said later of the life and death of Jesus which they preached,And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32). When one obeys God by being baptized, he is given the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Scripture clearly say, “. . . But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (Romans 8:9b).

What happens if a Christian turns back from Christ and into the world of sin? Let us look at another passage:

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:5 – 7

Look at that again carefully. God is light; if we continue to “walk in the Light”, we are in fellowship with God. But if we turn back and again “walk in the darkness “, we are no longer in fellowship with God.

The parallel of fellowship with God and our having the Holy Spirit is too clear to miss. While we walk in the light, the Spirit dwells in us because we are in fellowship with God. If we turn back and walk in darkness, we are no longer in fellowship with God and the Spirit no longer dwells in us.

When one is willing to return to God, he is forgiven and restored to God’s fellowship (Acts 8:22, 23; 1 John 2:1, 2; Hebrews 10:26 – 31). And thus the Holy Spirit returns to that person. If we are not in fellowship with God, the Holy Spirit does not dwell within us. If we are in fellowship with God, we have the Holy Spirit.

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The Outcasts and the Self-Righteous: A Self – Evaluation

The Outcasts and the Self-Righteous: A Self – Evaluation (Matthew 9:9 – 13; John 81 – 11) Bible Lesson. Teen Bible Lesson.

  • How does a person’s social standing, economic status, or ethical or moral behavior affect our willingness to accept them as “worthy” of being a follower of Christ?
  • What causes us to be hesitant to accept some individuals as being able to change and grow as they follow Christ?
  • Have you ever seen (or heard of) someone manipulating or twisting the rules (the law) for their own personal gain?

Jesus had a way of shocking society with those He chooses to associate with and love. He loves the even the most unlovely people. I want this lesson to challenge us to examine our own lives and discover with whom we need to share Jesus’ love. It is important that we concentrate on the way Jesus views others and attempt to follow His example in our own lives.  Jesus desires even those the world has rejected.

Matthew, the Tax Collector (Matthew 9:9 – 13)

As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.

Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (New American Standard Bible)

(See also: Mark 2:15 – 20; Luke 5:29 – 35)

The occupation of tax collector was one of the most high-paying yet detestable positions in their society. Many condemned tax collectors as thieves of their hard-earned money. They were correct. Typically, the government required a fixed amount of revenue from an assigned territory. Whatever the collector could gather above that amount (by any means necessary) was his to keep.

Furthermore, tax collectors were also considered traitors. The taxes collected would support the occupying Roman army. Jews who would take money from their brothers and give it to their captors were certainly worthy of contempt.

1. Think of a person you know that you do not believe will ever come to Jesus.

2. What actions of this person make you think this?

3. Is this person any less likely than Matthew to follow Jesus? Explain.

4. What can you do to make Jesus’ call to this person clearer?

5. In what way has your attitude toward this person been like the Pharisees’ attitude toward Matthew and his friends?

6. How can you correct such an attitude?

7. In the way you relate to “undesirable types”, are you more like Matthew (inviting them to your party), the Pharisees (looking down on them), or Jesus’ disciples (unsure what to do)? Why?

A Woman Caught In Adultery (John 8:1 – 11)

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?”

They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.

Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” (New American Standard Bible)

8. Imagine that the Pharisees brought you to Jesus after you were accused of a particular sin, just like the woman caught in adultery. What sin would you be accused of?

9. If you are able to speak to Jesus, what would you say?

10. If you feel you would be too timid or ashamed, what would Jesus say to you?

11. Name one thing you have done this past week that was wrong.

12. Did you try to justify that act with an excuse? What was it?

13. Name at least one temptation you will probably face this week.

14. Imagine someone whom you have judged harshly. Imagine that person being brought before Jesus now.

15. Now imagine that Jesus asks you how He should judge that person. What do you say to Him?

16. According to Jesus, where should you maintain your focus? How can you do so?

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