THF SUNDAY SERVICE
8th of May, 2022
Mothering Week (Day 2)
SERMON TITLE: The Woman of Godly Influence
SERMON TEXT: 2 Kings 11:1 – 3
PREACHER: Rev. Ebenezer Olawuyi
I want to congratulate all the women, you are looking beautiful today. In the name of Jesus, you will continue to be relevant. Happy Mother’s Day, again. God bless you! I will be speaking on “The Woman of Godly Influence”.
Firstly, what is influence? Influence is to have effect, to cause effect on a person or a thing, behaviour, character, development, opinion or action. There is something that happens that brings this change, either in the way the person reasons, acts, behaves or even the development and character of the person, that is when we say there is an influence – a compelling force that causes that remarkable change. Sometimes, influence may be achieved unconsciously, but the fact is that everybody is influential, whether the sales boy who is trying to convince his prospective clients, a man who is trying to win the heart of a lady or children trying to get the heart of their parents, that’s all influences.
So, everybody in one way or the other influences, but it will not be proper to just leave it as “The Woman of Influence,” I would rather put it as “The Woman of Godly Influence” because there are different types of influence: there is the Godly and there is the ungodly. This Scripture I just shared is about the two of them, the godly and the ungodly influence.
There was a terrible king in Israel called Ahab, he was very terrible, but he was influenced by his wife called Jezebel – that was an influence. Ahab probably wouldn’t have done all the evil he did, but he had a terrible wife behind him. Jezebel influenced him to the extent that ata stage when he wanted the vineyard of Naboth, Naboth said, “How can I give him my father’s inheritance?” and by the time he got back home, you know the story, Jezebel said “Forget about that, we are going to get it.” Naboth was killed, stoned to death because of the influence of a wife – ungodly influence.
Now, the Bible says, Jezebel had a daughter who took after her, called Athaliah. There was a King in Judah called Jehoshaphat, he was a great king, who had a son called Jehoram who became king after him. Jehoram went to Israel and married Athaliah. Athaliah’s brought the influence from her mother, Jezebel to the son of a great king, Jehoshaphat. Jehoram had two wives; through Athaliah, Jehoram had a son called Ahaziah, who became king later, but Jehoram also had another child, a girl now, called Jehosheba. So, there were two siblings, one from Athaliah, the girl’s mother was not mentioned.
The Bible says also that God raised up a man to bring judgment to the house of Ahab, he was called Jehu. Ahab had a son called Joram, Joram became the King after Ahab died; Jezebel was still alive even though Ahab had now died. Judgment over the house of Ahab was to be executed by Jehu. Now, Joram the son of Ahab was the King and Ahaziah, the son of Jehoshaphat who married Athaliah, because he married from Ahab’s family, went to Joram because he had been sick to the point of death. He left Judah for Israel to visit the King, Joram, the son of Ahab, but remember God had raised up a man called Jehu to bring judgment upon the house of Ahab. To cut the story short, Ahaziah and Joram were killed by Jehu.
Coming back again to Judah, when Athaliah, the wife of Jehoram, the mother of Ahaziah, the King of Judah, heard that her son had been killed… what a wicked woman, because she didn’t want any other person to become king, she wanted to be in charge, she then decided to kill all the sons and grandsons. In the process, many of the sons were killed, but this half-sister called Jehosheba, with courage and vision, knowing that killing all the sons of Ahaziah will mean erasing completely the lineage of David, took the little boy called Joash, who was about a year old and because Jehosheba was married to a godly man and a high priest, called Jehoiada (you can see positive influence), she took Joash and fled. She hid the boy in the house of the Lord for six years. She was not afraid of her life and what will happen when Athaliah hears?
How she kept this boy for six years that Athaliah did not know – of course, Athaliah will not come to the house of the Lord, what will she go there to do? She was such a wicked woman that you will not find her there. She hid him for six years and on the seventh year, he was brought out to become King and when Athaliah heard about it, he called treason and Jehoiada the husband of Jehosheba, out of zeal for the Lord, ordered that she should be killed. She was killed and the trumpet was blown, Joash became the king of Judah. Why have I gone into the story? There are godly influence and there are ungodly influence. A woman can influence her husband, children and even the society in an ungodly way. Yet, a woman can influence in a godly way also.
Everybody influences directly or indirectly and your influence can grow. Influence also has different levels. A person’s influence can only be for her family, while somebody who is a news editor and who many people read her article, somehow could have influenced many people who follow her ideas and principles, yet someone could be having influence just in the corner of their house. I am going to give you a contemporary example.
A man decided to carry out a research of something that happened in 17th century in York, United States. There were two families, one was called Jonathan Edwards and the other was called Jukes Marks, Jonathan Edward and his wife were godly family, his wife was Sarah Edwards. Because these two families lived in New York in the same period, they looked at their generation and researching into 5 generations before, they came out with this result. In Edwards family, they had one US Vice President, 13 Vice Chancellors, three Senators, three Majors, three Governors, 30Judges, 60 Doctors, 65 University Professors, 75 military officers, 80 senior public officers and not only that, they had over 285 graduates, 100 lawyers and 100 clergymen and they discovered when they were investigating that much of the capacity, talent, intensity and character observed in these descendants were traced to the wife, Sarah Edwards and her influence over the children, the grandchildren that continued over generations. Remember what Paul said to Timothy in the book of 2 Tim. 1:5, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded now lives in you also.”
The opposite of Jonathan Edwards was Jukes Marks. This man,with his wife were reckless and had no good influence over their family. Like I told you yesterday, the father can give instructions, but the mother is the grassroot, they say, hear the instructions of your father, but don’t forsake the teachings of your mother. That is, the mother is the one establishing at the grassroot level. The family of Jukes Marks had seven murderers, 60 thieves, 180 prostitutes, out of these 180, 50 of them had done harlotry for 15 years, they had 144 people who were convicts, 280 people who were poor – terribly poor, indigent; 444 people who had damaged themselves physicallyas a result of addiction to alcohol. They discovered when they investigated 1400 of those descendants, 300 of them died prematurely. They found out what could have been the cause, comparing these families and that bring us to the generational rule: The life that you live, the values that you teach, the environment that you provide and the education that you give to your children will not only influence your children but four generations after. It’s been established. That’s why God even says, “I will visit the iniquities and also show mercies to the third and fourth generation.” So, your influence as a mother will not only stop in your children, it will go on to the fourth generation.
I am sure you have heard the story of John and Charles Wesley. John was the father of the Methodist Church and Charles was a great hymn writer. The story was given about this family which had ten children but there was a mother called Sussanah Wesley. The story says concerning that woman that everyday, for at least 2 hours, she observed devotion to the Lord and praying to the Lord, seeking God’s face on how to lead the children. She said, even when she doesn’t have the time, she will cover herself with a veil in the middle of the children and would be praying, no wonder the influence.
The influence of a woman goes beyond her generation. Women have potentials to influence a nation, their communities and not only their families. You would remember another man called George Washington, one of the greatest President America ever had. George Washington was known for his integrity, sincerity, persistence, humility. He was a military leader and a revolutionary leader, in fact, the character and the achievements of that man are till today, almost second to none. That man said concerning the impact of his mother’s prayer and commitment in his life. He said, “I remember many times when I was in the revolutionary war, fighting the revolutionary battle. Many times, bullets came, passed through my coat and the bullet will not touch me. Many times, I was riding on horse and the bullet killed the horse under me but never touched me.” He said he won’t ever forget that whatever he becomes today, he owes it to his mother, Mary Washington. Through her prayers, she birthed a great leader for America – a leader that America will never forget, what a woman that influenced her generation.
What about the woman called Esther in the Bible? Esther became the Queen of the Persian King, Ahasuerus, also called Xerxes, she became a Queen under an extraordinary circumstance, but this woman influenced not only the Jews in her family, but the Jewish generation to the extent that they were preserved and even given the opportunity to protect themselves in the land. Thank God for that woman who took the call, look at what life would have been for the Jews. What about a woman called Joechebed, the mother of Moses, who hid Moses for three months, not being afraid under such a cruel government. She hid her baby, because the Bible say, she saw that the boy has a great future. What a courageous woman!
How to be a Woman of Influence
- You must be a Woman of Purpose:You must know the reason God created you. Why are you in that family? Why are you married to that man? Why are you not born in Washington? Why are you where you are? Once the purpose of a thing is not known, there certainly will be abuse. You must know why God created you and why He placed you where you are. Esther 4:13 – 14, “…Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Who knows why God has allowed you to marry the man you have married? Who knows the reason you are in that family, neighborhood, your workplace? You must know why you are here; have a purpose for life. Women who don’t have purpose for life just walk around unfulfilled. You must discover a purpose!
There was a woman called Mother Theresa. She was born in Macedonia and from her early age, she received a call to serve the Lord fully. At age 18, she became a nun and had to travel with some sisters to India and there where she was, her vision and purpose of life was established further when she saw the poor Indians in Kalkuta. She was moved and discovered that that was the reason she was created. She established a charity organization that became international and touched the lives of many Indians. She inspired a lot of people yet she chose not live a high life, she identified herself with the people and stayed in the vow she has made to live a low life, touching the poorest of the poor of the people of India. She said, if you cannot feed 100 people, at least you can feed 1 person. Till today, we read about that woman, why? Because she discovered the purpose for her life. You must discover why God has created you. If you don’t know your purpose, you will just be following the crowd. Why am I black and not white? Tall and not short? Ask God why.
- You must be Passionate about your Life’s Purpose: Listen, whenever a man discovers purpose, the next thing is that passion will catch up with you. Passion is a driving force that makes you go ahead, in spite of the odds. Mordecai helped Esther to discover her purpose and once Esther discovered her purpose, she was caught up with passion and said, “Pray with me, I go to meet the King…”you can’t go to the King except you are invited, “…declare three days of fast, if I perish, I perish”. That was passion – something you are ready to die for, what you are ready to give other things for. You will count it as an obligation, a deep conviction in you, a resolution – “This is what I must do, nothing can stop me or discourage me.” Your purpose will ignite in you a passion for life, anything you do without passion, you can’t make it in life. Everything must be with passion.
- You must Develop a Vision for Life: The Bible says in Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;….” You must have a clear definition, a clear map of where you are going. “Lord, I want to raise up godly children. I want my husband to know you. We want our family to be a godly family, a reference point”. You must develop a vision: what you see regularly, when you are working and no matter what comes to you, you only see that. A common saying says that many people have eyes but it is not everyone who sees. A woman with vision sees what others don’t see. You must develop a vision for life. If you don’t have vision, you will throw away control or restraint.
- You must Connect with Love: Connect with people with love. You know the story of Dorcas, what a woman! She touched the lives of many with love. People don’t follow people who don’t have purpose for life. Nobody wants to follow someone who is not passionate. If you are selling sachet water and are not passionate, nobody will follow you. If you do things in a wishy-washy way, you won’t be followed. People who have passion, people run after them. The King made up his mind to answer the request of Esther because he saw the courage and the passion. He was moved and made up his mind to preserve the people. If you want to make impact in life, you must connect with people through love. Teach mothers to love their husband (Titus 2:3 – 4). Stop complaining, complaining will not win him. Win him with love. Try love. If you want to influence your generation, you must be seen as a person of love. People who made impact, made impact through love. Look at Sarah; look at the mother of Billy Graham also, it was the love that she exhibited that brought her family to the Lord. You don’t tell me how much you love me until you show me how much you care for me. When you love somebody, you care for him or her. When people show genuine love in you, they naturally want to follow you, rather than the person who is always seeing wrongs in them.
- Uphold Character: Character is your stamp. It is what describes you. Nobody wants to follow a man without character. People trust you because they know you are dependable. Reputation is what people think about you, character is who you really are. There are four levels of influence: Modelling – first impression, this is why a lot of people follow celebrities even though they don’t know them, but after first impression, there is Motivation. Motivation is the point where people really see who you are different from the internet one. If you want to influence people, you must be a woman of character. Beauty is deceitful, charm is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised. Build your character, be known as a woman of integrity. Somebody who steals one million naira or you who keep N200 out of the N5,000 your husband gives you to buy things for the house, it is still the same thing. Integrity talks about a person who maintains values and principles at all times,, meaning that it is not only somebody who stole 1 million naira that is a thief. Your husband thinks you have spent the whole N5,000 – that’s the impression he has of you, but N200 is still remaining in your pocket, that’s lack of integrity. It is a different matter if he tells you to keep the change, know that the impression he has on you matters. White lie, red lie, whether you lie to kill somebody or you lie about your location, you are still a liar. Integrity is maintaining your values and principles at all times, people must know who you are. Proverbs 31:10 – 11, “A woman of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value,” that’s integrity. People don’t have trust in someone without integrity. Integrity will cause people to follow you.
Character talks about everything… the fruit of the spirit, e.g. humility. You must be a humble woman. Submissiveness! There are authoritarians and there are authoritative women, they are different things. You can’t influence your husband by raising your shoulders, you can only influence him by humbling yourself. People may follow you because they think that you can deprive them of their food, so they play along with you, not that you won them. This is why the Bible says, “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands.” One of the ways to influence a man is humbleness, humble yourself. Don’t behave like that wife of David, Micah. Calm down.
- Be a Woman of Courage: Jehosheba, in the story we just read, was a woman of courage. There are some times you need to stand for what is right. People follow courageous people not timid people. You remember the story of a woman called Deborah, who told Barak that “If you don’t go, I will go, but remember, you won’t receive the praise.” What a woman of courage!
- You must Pursue Excellence: You must be diligent. You must aim high. Don’t do things in a wishy-washy way. Proverbs 31:10 downwards tells us so much. Don’t do things shabbily. Anything you put your hands on, please do it excellently. Aim high! That doesn’t mean you have to be a professor before you influence. The fact is that there are times in which your education will give you more opportunities. There are times in which your capacity in life, maybe finance will give you more opportunity, but that is not to say that people with little education can’t make good influence. Influence really is not about charisma, education, etc. but they can add to it. Remember a man called Paul, he was able to influence so many because of his exposure in life. Not necessarily education alone, even in business, aim at being the best. Don’t stay at the average level. Don’t accept a life of mediocrity. Behave like the eagles, until you are satisfied, don’t stop. If you want to dress, dress well. Anything you want to do, check yourself. Live a life of excellence. Whatever work is committed to you, do it excellently. People follow those who are excellent, live a life of excellence, aim at being the best in anything you do. If you want to cook for your husband, cook excellently!
- Serve God and Humanity: If you want to make impact, serve God. Look at the life of Priscilla and Aquila. Serve Humanity, touch people’s lives. Look at a the woman called Anna, who waited for the birth of the Messiah.
- Seek Comprehensive Purity: Live a life of Purity. Live a life of Holiness. Friends, Godliness Pays. Pursue Holiness. Friends, mothers, choose to live a life of righteousness, you will influence lives and God will work through you. Without Him, you can do nothing. He is the vine and you are the branches. He who abides in Him touches more life. When His life is in you, you will be a life-giver. You will lighten the candles of others around. God can’t use the life of a dirty and unholy woman.
- Be a Prayerful Woman: On your knees, you can influence the lives of generations. People talk too much because they talk less with God. If you talk more with God, you will not beg men. Spend more time in prayer if you want to be a woman of influence. See the lives of Susan Wesley, Mary Washington, Sarah Edward Jonathan, Anna in the Bible – the widow who spent her life in the temple, praying, Eunice, Lois, Hannah who birthed Samuel through prayer. Be a prayerful person if you want to influence your generation.
God has called us to a life of influence. You have natural abilities to influence, but the first catastrophe we had in the Scripture was from a woman, Eve who influenced her husband negatively. God is looking to use you, but first you must be connected to the source. He is the One that will work in you. He will impart your life with characters that will draw men to you: humility, passion, purpose, discipline, genuine love and they will want to follow you, that comes because you are connected to the source. Allow Jesus into your life and you will see what He can do. Your generation is waiting for you, they will not be disappointed.
Ask the Lord to make you a woman or a man of influence. Ask Him to help you discover the purpose of why you are where you are. Ask Him to fill you with passion, touch your character and take out things that draw people away from you.
You want to be connected to the source – Jesus, so that you will be able to bring forth fruits. You want to be born again – that’s the beginning of being a person of influence. Say this after me: “Lord Jesus, I believe that I am a sinner and that you sent your son, Jesus Christ to die for my sins. I believe He died and resurrected on the third day, please forgive me, wash me clean with your blood and accept me into your fold.”