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Watch 2022 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - Straight Talk About Your Faith - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - Straight Talk About Your Faith - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - Straight Talk About Your Faith - Part 2
Robert Jeffress - Straight Talk About Your Faith - Part 2
TOPICS: 18 Minutes with Jesus, Faith

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. One of the most common questions that people ask me is also one of my favorite questions to answer, should Christians get involved in politics? Well, you likely know that my answer is yes, but perhaps you don't know my reasons why. As you're about to see, Jesus not only encourages us to influence this world for the gospel, he commands it. My message is titled "Straight Talk About Your Faith," on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

At the rapture of the church, when all Christians indwelt by the Holy Spirit will be removed, and the earth will see what it's like to have no godly influence, save those 144.000 witnesses, but the church will be gone, and it will take only seven years for the world to completely unravel. So what is restraining evil right now? It is the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians. We can't prevent the destruction of the world ultimately, but we can delay it, we can push back against it. Imagine a giant dam that is over a small village. And that dam is holding back massive, millions of gallons of water, but leaks starts springing up in that dam. It starts springing leaks everywhere, the bricks are beginning to crumble, and 100 of the men of the town go up to that dam, and they push back against it. They know that eventually the dam is going to crumble, their efforts will be futile, but all they're trying to do is buy a little more time, so that the people in the village below have time to flee for safety.

That's the picture of what we are doing right now. We are the ones, the restrainers of evil, pushing up against that flood of iniquity that is about to descend upon our country, and upon our world. That is our job, as salt, to push back against evil. Now, I know some of you're thinking, "Now, wait a minute. How does that fit with the truth of God's sovereignty? Pastor, don't you believe in the sovereignty of God? Don't you believe the day of the world's destruction is written an indelible ink on God's calendar, and there's not one thing you can do to change it? Don't you believe that"? Yes, I believe it, until I read my Bible.

Now, let me be clear, I do believe in the sovereignty of God. It's a mystery what we can't, that we just can't comprehend. But that doesn't negate the individual responsibility that we have. We can delay God's judgment. You know how I know that? By reading the story of Jonah. God said, "I'm going to destroy the wicked city of Nineveh," the capital of Assyria. But God sent that reluctant prophet, Jonah, who preached to the Ninevites many were converted. And notice the result, Jonah 3:10 says, "When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which he declared that he would bring upon them, and he did not do it".

God relented, God repented, God changed his mind. How is it that an omniscient, omnipotent, immutable, unchangeable God changes his mind about anything? I don't have a clue. I don't have a clue, and neither do you. We can't explain it. The Bible is explaining, in human terms, what we can't really understand, in divine terms. But the practical outworking of it is God relented of his decision. Now, here's what's interesting, when you look at secular history, God eventually did destroy Nineveh in 612 BC. Nineveh was destroyed, but God delayed the destruction of Nineveh, because of one man's action. The takeaway for me is we can push back against evil. We can delay God's judgment on our nation, and our world. But the only reason we do that is so that we have opportunity, a little more longer to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Have you ever wondered why God allows people, like Vladimir Putin, and Adolf Hitler, and others to wreak havoc on the world, and continue in their evil ways? Why doesn't God put an end to it? The Bible's very clear, in 2 Peter 3:9-10 Peter says, "For the Lord is not slow about his promise, as some count slowness, but he is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come repentance". The only reason God has not drawn the curtain on human history, and sent Christ back, is to give people longer to share the gospel. If we're fulfilling our Christ-given purpose to be salt, it means we are being a preservative. We are pushing back against evil, not to save America. There is no command in America for us to save America. That's not the command of scripture. We have been called to save Americans from the coming judgment of God, by introducing them to faith in Jesus Christ.

That's why we push up against evil. And you know, there are a lot of Christians today who have come up with all kind of excuses of why they shouldn't get involved in pushing back against evil. They talk about their own piety, "Well, I'm just too holy, and I can't get involved in the worldly things. I just can't do that at all, I might taint my holiness". Some use theology as an excuse, "Well, we can't change the sovereign plan of God. God is going to do whatever he is going to do". Some even use of false patriotism, of saying, "Well, this is America, and I shouldn't impose my Christian views on a free country".

Let me remind you something, every country is built on somebody's values. Every nation is built on some value system. For the first 160 years of this nation, we were built on the values found in God's word. Now we are following the values of atheism, Marxism, humanism, but every nation is going to be built on some set of values. Should we get involved in pushing back against evil? Or should we just stay in our holy huddle, and talk to one another?

Erwin Lutzer, my good friend, recounts what happens when Christians are indifferent about what is happening in their nation, and in their world. If you want to know the end result of Christian passivity, just remember what happened 83 years ago when Adolf Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, and then he started his March across the world. The fact is the reason he was allowed to do what he did was the indifference of the German people, mainly German Christians.

There were a few outliers, like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but the majority of German Christians remained silent under this ungodly dictator. And they used all the excuses, piety, and their theology, and their false sense of patriotism, to remain silent. Dr. Lutzer recounts the testimony of a Christian living in Germany, about the end result of indifference:

I lived in Germany during the Nazi holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. We heard stories of what was happening to the Jews, but we tried to distance ourselves from it, because what could anyone do to stop it? A railroad track ran behind our small church, and each Sunday morning, we could hear the whistle in the distance, and then the wheels coming over the tracks. We became disturbed when we heard the cries coming from the train as it passed by. We realized it was carrying Jews, like cattle in the cars. Week after week, the whistle would blow. We dreaded to hear the sound of those wheels, because we knew we would hear the cries of the Jews, en route to a death camp. Their screams tormented us. We knew the time the train was coming, and when we heard the whistle blow, we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church, we were singing at the top of our lungs. We heard the screams, we sang more loudly, and we soon heard them no more. Years have passed, and nobody talks about it anymore, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. God forgive me, forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians, yet did nothing to intervene.

There are churches across this country, that are singing at the top of their lungs to try to drown out the evil that is pervading our country right now. We dare not do that. We must speak out and push back against evil, and we're going to continue to do it. You know, when it comes to our role in the culture, and pushing back against evil, Christians go to one of two extremes. You know, there are some Christians who want to isolate themselves. They're salt, but they're going to stay in that shaker, and they come up with all kind of reasons. They isolate themselves from the culture. There are other Christians who go to the opposite extreme. They identify with the culture. They become more like the culture, rather than the culture becoming like the church. They adopt their values system, they become just like them. Jesus talked about them in verse 13.

In Jesus' day, you couldn't buy pure salt, it was too expensive. You'd buy a mixture of salt and sand. And eventually the sand would break down the effectiveness of the salt. And that's why Jesus said, "If the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out, and trampled underfoot by men". Once the salt lost its sting, its tastiness, its preserving influence, it was thrown away. That's happening to Christians who become more like the world than they should. No, Jesus said, "Don't isolate yourself". Don't identify with the culture. Instead, influence the culture, permeate the culture. Get out of the shaker, get involved in the world of business and politics and entertainment. God needs his people in those arenas to be that preserving influence that God has called us to be.

But notice Jesus gives another image that describes our purpose, and that is light. He talks about the necessity of light, "You are the light of the world". You know, it's interesting in John 9:5, another one of those "I ams" that we heard about this morning, one of those I ams was, "I am the light of the world". But here, Jesus says, "You are the light of the world". Jesus is the light who generates light. He's like the sun, but you and I don't generate light, we're like the moon, we reflect the light of the sun. And our job here is not just to push back against evil, but it's also to share the light, the only light of the world, Jesus Christ. I mean, quite frankly, what use is it to create spiritual thirst in people, if you never show them how to satisfy that thirst, through the living Word of God, Jesus Christ, the water of life? What use is it to delay God's judgment on the world, if you don't tell people how to escape God's judgment in their life, by trusting in Christ as Savior? And that's why Jesus says we must be the light of the world.

You know, I am reminded of the story of the Christian who worked alongside a non-Christian for 20 years. And when he first discovered this man was not a Christian, he said to my himself, "You know what? I'm going to be a silent witness for Christ". Have you ever heard that term, "A silent witness"? It's an oxymoron, but people think, "I won't share my faith, I'll just try to live out my faith, and maybe this person will magically come to faith in Christ". So for 20 years, this man never mentioned he was a Christian, just tried to witness to him through his attitude, and the way he treated him. After 20 years, that non-Christian came into work one morning, and said to the Christian, "The most marvelous thing has happened to me. Last night, I trusted in Christ to be my Savior". And the Christian said, "That is wonderful, what led you to do that"?

Thinking for sure he was the catalyst for the man's conversion. And this new convert said, "You know, I worked beside you for 20 years, and I saw the great attitude you had, and the way you treated me, and I thought to myself, 'if anybody could work his way to heaven, it would be you'. I never knew you were a Christian. But last night, my next door neighbor showed me how I could come to know Christ as well". Look, living out your faith is great. We ought to be positive examples. But if that's not accompanied by an explanation, you can actually confuse people about the way to eternal life. That's why Peter said in 1 Peter 3:15, "Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence". Peter is picturing somebody who's coming to you, asking, "What is the secret of your life? Why are you so filled with hope, with all that is happening"?

Make sure you're ready to give a defense, to lead people to the truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus likens believers to, "A city set on a hill, that cannot be hidden," verse 14. In Israel, in Jesus' day, the country was dotted with small rural villages, but there was one hill, and there was one city on that hill, it was Jerusalem. And at night, when the temple lights candles were on, and the individual homes were lighted, it could be seen for miles away. What is the city set on the hill today? It's not America, it's not Israel, it's not a nation, "It is Christians," he said, "Who are showing forth the light of God's word in a dark world". He said, "Not only that, you're a lamp that cannot be hidden". In Jesus' day, for light in a house, you would take a lamp, kind of like Aladdin's lamp, and it was made out clay with a reservoir of oil in it. It would be lit, and then wouldn't be hidden under a basket, it would be put on a lampstand, so that it could shine for everyone to see. For a light to be effective, it has to be seen.

Just imagine, the middle of the night, during one of these cold Dallas nights, your electricity goes off. Your house is completely black, but you remember you have a flashlight in the drawer beside your bed, so you reach for the flashlight, and you're about to turn it on, and you have another thought and you thought, "You know what? I sure don't want to offend the darkness by showing this light. That will chase the darkness away. I don't want to offend the light". Would you do that? No. Light is meant to confront the darkness. In fact, light is of little value in the light. A flashlight makes no difference in the sunlight, it's in the darkness that it does its work. And the fact is, if a light is going to be effective, if we're going to be effective, we're effective for Christ, not when we're around other light sources, other Christians. It is when we are in the darkness. Light has to confront the darkness, and it chases the darkness away.

Perhaps you're wondering right now, "Ah, why is it God put me in this company, where there are no Christians anywhere to be found? Why did God put me in this ungodly school? Why did God put me in this neighborhood, where I'm the only believer"? You've just answered your own question. Paul said in Philippians 2:15-16, "For in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation, you are children of light, holding forth the word of life". As the old saying goes, "Instead of cursing the darkness, light a light". And we are the light of the world. What's the application for us of this message? There are two applications, one for Christians individually. Remember, he starts with you individually. You are salt. Are you looking for opportunities to create spiritual thirst with the people around you, by what you say? As far as pushing back against evil, what can you do to push back against evil?

It may be going to a school board meeting, and voting against a policy that is trying to cram ungodly thoughts into the lives of our children. It may be voting, not because a candidate is perfect and godly, but because at least they embrace godly values. There are a lot of things that you can do individually to push back. As far as being light, are you praying for non-Christians around you, praying for an opportunity to share with them the way to heaven? But there's also secondly an application for Christians collectively. We're not just individual grains of salt, or an individual flashlight, we're in a church. You know, the only thing more effective than one grain of salt, is a shaker of salt. The only thing more effective than a pen light, or a flashlight, is a floodlight.

Today, there are people who wonder, "Why do we get involved in the pro-life movement, and speaking out against abortion? That's politics". No, that is a moral, a spiritual issue. Fact is, that word politics, the latin word for it means influence, influence. When you say Christian shouldn't get involved in politics, or pastors shouldn't get involved in politics, what you're saying is Christians should not try to influence the world in which they live. Can anybody say that with a straight face? And man, Jesus said, "You are salt". You are a preservative. We need to push back against evil. I mean, think about it, why did God leave you and me on this earth? Why didn't he take us to heaven? He didn't leave us here to build a big financial portfolio of stocks and bonds and possessions. He didn't lead us here to have a successful career. He didn't even leave us here to have a happy family life. He left us here to be that salt, to be that light.
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