Sunday, February 07, 2021

How to win followers and influence people.

Propers for Sexagesima

Sermon for Sexagesima

You may have noticed that the world of Social Media has brought forth a new type of person - the Influencer. These are people who gather such a following that businesses pay them to advertise their products and thus influence their followers. These are the superstars of Instagram: social media royalty. Their voices are heard across the internet.

Whose is the most influential voice you hear? What makes them influence you so?


St Paul finds himself faced with the Church at Corinth who doesn't really take him seriously. The Corinthian Influencers don't think highly of St Paul and looking down upon his teaching. They have a different message for Corinth based on their success and status and St Paul is rather low in their estimation.

The question that St Paul is asks the Corinthians is what is it about these influencers that makes what they say of better value than what he says. Is it their education? Well, Paul is well-educated. Is it their Jewish heritage? Well, St Paul's is impeccable. Is it the exciting life they lead? Well, St Paul's life has been a roller coaster since the road to Damascus. In fact, anything that makes the Corinthian Influencers worthy of their influence, St Paul has in spades. 

But it's all worthless.

St Paul says that his position as an Influencer is utterly irrelevant. The Corinthians are not listening to the right people because the people who influence them most do not preach the Cross of Christ.

The Influencers speak from their status, their learning, their heritage, their life experience. The Cross of Christ speaks of embarrassment, humiliation, pain and death. Anything that has given these Influencers is shown to be worthless when nailed to the Cross.

What St Paul glories in is the Truth and nothing less. Away with all earthly authority authority! Away with power, status, charm and good looks! Away with degrees, education and learning. It is the Cross of Christ that is to be preached of its own weight, not because someone tells you to.


Our Lord wants us to follow Him from our own choice and conviction, not because people tell us to follow Him. We weigh the words of St Paul and we find that they are supremelyvaluable based on what he says not on who he is. The Bishops of the Church have the ministry of teachers but they are duty bound to teach only the truth of the Gospel. Even if we dislike our priest or our bishop intensely, we must put that dislike aside and weigh what they say.


In recent years, we have had bishops telling us that the Resurrection is just a story. One very senior woman has recently accused St Paul of being wrong to cast out a demon. If we listen to what these people say, we can hear that they have corrupted the teaching of the Church. They have become Corinthian Influencers seeking to preach a popular, fashionable Gospel which lacks any substance. Their gospel is a gospel of earthly justice. It is not the Justice of God.


God has given us a brain to use to weigh up what we hear and see, so that we might find Him. The existence of the Church and her teaching is His gift to us for all time so that we are not blown about by the winds of doctrine puffed out by Corinthian Influencers. 


The words of St Paul point solely to the Word of God by Whom we shall be judged. Let the Word speak for Himself in His Gospel, in His Church and in your lives.

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