Summary: This sermon looks at the importance of the church to meet the needs of our culture and become salt and light. We reach out by meeting needs so that we can shine the light of the gospel.

The Ministry of the Church

2 Thessalonians 2:

3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

Power given to the church

The average Christian may not realize it, but God has placed the power in the hands of the church to preserve our culture and prevent the decay of sin. God has clearly stated that even in the end times, the man of sin cannot be revealed until the church has fallen away. Darkness cannot overcome the light and sin cannot overcome godliness. Sin reigns only because the godly man has ceased to fulfill his call. Darkness is not a force that has power to cast a shadow; no, darkness is the void left behind when the light has been removed.

I often hear it said that the republicans must win this election to save the country. While I believe it is important to let our voices be heard, have we also forgotten that God raises up rulers to judge His people or bless His people? Have we forgotten the scripture that says, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength”? If your trust is in any leader, you are placing your confidence in the flesh and walking in the curse rather than the promise. Even with people in office that claim to have conservative values, the culture continues to decline and a quickening pace and the church continues to lose its influence on the culture. No political leader can save us and no political leader can destroy us. We should not fear the outcome of elections; instead we should fear God.

The heart of the king is in the hands of the Lord. Like the course of a river, God can turn it wherever He desires. The real question to ask is, “Why is the hearts of our leaders turning away from truth”? The church alone has been given the power over the culture. We have been given the Spirit of God and the power to be salt which adds flavor and is a preservative, and light which dispels darkness and reveals truth. We have the promise that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the church. However, we must understand that our efforts cannot break down the gates by our own strength. Look at Revelation 3:

7 " And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ’ These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens":

8 "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.

Only Jesus Christ can open the door and provide the opportunity to the church to preach the gospel of good news. If the door is closed, no man can open it. All the efforts, programs, ministries and the greatest leaders in the church cannot open the doors to our culture. Jesus alone has the power and He states that the faithfulness of the church determines how He will use the church. If we are faithful, have kept His word and honored His name, He has promised to open the door and no power in heaven, hell or on the earth can shut that door. We want to be faithful in our involvement in our culture, but politics and activism cannot save us or the culture.

Whatever you Ask

Asking of God is probably the most misunderstood doctrine in scripture. Let’s begin our examination of asking by first looking at one of the foundational principles of scripture. Look at Luke 9:

23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

24 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.

The word Christian simply means to be a follower of Christ. It is often misused and many who claim this title will never follow Christ. However, if we are truly a follower of Christ, this basic principle must be true – we must deny ourselves and lose our life for His sake. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Without faith, we cannot inherit salvation and we cannot obtain the promises of God. Faith requires that I make a step out of believing God before I receive from God. It takes no faith to wait for God to reveal His will to me or to provide my wants and desires prior to letting go of what I have. No, God says, if we desire to follow, we must first deny ourselves. So when it comes to asking, we must first trust God’s promises and ask – not for ourselves, but for God’s purposes. The reason that most Christians never find the will of God or ever fully mature spiritually is because we are unwilling to deny ourselves. We read about the promises, but we see the things of the world around us. Only by faith can I obey God when it cost me.

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