David Jeremiah - Authentic Christian Ministry
Just a few hours south of Sydney, Australia, there once stood a lighthouse along the cliffs of Cape George. Constructed in 1860, the lighthouse was supposed to safely guide ships home as they arrived from the Tasman Sea. The problem was, nobody wanted to believe the truth. A proposal for the lighthouse was accepted in 1856, but construction began without the permission of the main controlling board of the day. And soon, the Pilots' Board started to receive numerous complaints that the proposed location and the actual building were 5 miles apart.
The Pilots' Board made an investigation and what they found was shocking. The map that was used to select the site had been drawn incorrectly. And despite the controversy, the lighthouse was finished on October 1, 1860. When the light was installed, it was not able to be seen from the ships that were approaching the harbor from the north and those who were coming from the south couldn't see it either. Upon inspection, it was discovered that the contractor built the lighthouse 2 1/2 miles north of where the lighthouse was supposed to have been, a location that was closer to a valuable stone quarry.
Astonishingly, the lighthouse remained there, and from 1864 to 1893, it was responsible for 23 shipwrecks. Finally in 1899, the lighthouse was torn down and replaced by one located in the right place. For nearly 40 years, the lighthouse along the cliffs of Cape George misled captain after captain and caused shipwreck after shipwreck. That's what happens when we believe something that isn't true. As the apostle Paul is moving about Rome, I like to imagine what it was like for him. Just think what it would have been like. Paul wasn't in a prison cell. He was chained to a Roman soldier, and every four hours, they changed the soldier.
Now, let me just pause for a moment and ask you if you are an unbelieving pagan Roman soldier, didn't want to know anything about Jesus Christ, the absolute worst thing that could ever happen to you would be to be chained to the apostle Paul. So the question is, who was the prisoner in all of this? Do you know that Paul led so many of those soldiers to Christ that when he closed his letter to the Philippians, he said this, "And all the saints of Caesar's household speak to you and bring greetings". All those people who had been saved out of Caesar's, how did they get saved? They got chained to Paul. It was a spiritual chain reaction. I know that's not good, but I'll leave it there.
And here he is now, he's in Rome and he's moving around the city. Epaphras, his friend from Colossae, is going along with him and, little by little, giving him more details of what's going on in the church back home. His thoughts are focused on some way to help this little city of Colossae and their church. Remember, these false teachers had infiltrated the city, and they had one advantage over Paul. They were in Colossae. And Paul was in Rome in jail. They could command the Colossian believer's attention. They could persuade them with their polished speeches and their promises of giving them a higher level of spiritual knowledge. They were the woke religionists of their day. They could sow seeds of doubt and confusion without being challenged by anybody because Paul wasn't there.
So it was time for Paul to get personal and he knew that in order to keep the Colossians from falling prey to the false teaching that surrounded them, he would have to become very vulnerable himself. He needed to persuade them that he was who he was. He needed to persuade them that he wasn't just responding uncompassionately to the warning that Ephesus had brought him. So he sets out to show the Colossians why he is an authentic minister of the gospel. He's literally going to give his own pedigree. He's gonna talk about himself, which he never does. He starts this discussion in verse 24 where he turns from his writing about the Colossians and begins to talk about himself. And in the next 13 verses, he will use the personal pronoun "I" eight times.
Why is Paul doing this? Why is he talking about himself? He has to credential himself in order for the Colossian believers to grab hold of the truth he's going to share it with them. He wants them to know he's not just some impassioned teacher like the ones who are infiltrating their church. He is a minister of the gospel. He is an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. I can report to you what he said, that's one way of teaching this, or I can apply what he said to you and to me. One outline's called an informational outline. This is what happened. The other outline is called an applicational outline, this is what happened and this is what it means to you.
So I'm gonna give you the imperatives that are a part of this discussion, and we'll apply them to our own hearts as they seem necessary. First of all, Paul tells us we need to get ready to suffer. Not a good place to start. I wish I could choose a different place, but this is the way it is. Paul says in verse 24 of Colossians 1, "I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church". Paul begins his letter to the Colossians by telling them that he was suffering.
Even as he wrote this letter, he was chained to a jailer. He was living with the fact that he had been falsely accused of all kinds of assorted charges, some of them lethal. He could no longer travel. He could no longer preach. He could no longer evangelize great cities. He could no longer plant great churches. His body was a mosaic of whip marks, printed on his flesh by many Hebrew lashings and Roman skirtings. And he was chronically ill on top of it all. He was in need of the constant care of a physician. Paul says, "I rejoice in my sufferings". That's kind of masochistic. That's kind of sick, really, when you think about it. Who rejoices in their sufferings? But read the whole lesson. He said, "I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ".
Now, Paul didn't rejoice in suffering for suffering's sake. He rejoiced because he was suffering for the sake of the church. All of the trouble he experienced in his ministry was worth it because the church was growing in Colossae and around the world. When Paul says he is filling up the afflictions that are lacking of Christ, he is absolutely not suggesting that there was anything missing in the suffering and death of Christ. I mean, that couldn't be true. That would invalidate what Jesus himself said when his suffering on the cross was done. He said, John 19:30, "It is finished". Nothing more to be done, nothing left undone, nothing lacking to be filled up, added later. Jesus paid it all. It is finished. The sacrifice for us by Christ on the cross was absolutely all that had ever needed to be and could be.
So Paul's not saying, "My suffering is in addition to the suffering of Jesus". Believe it or not, there are some parts of the church that teach that and actually turn it into some sort of ceremony. After acknowledging that this verse does not mean that Paul was making up anything lacking in the suffering of Christ on the cross, it is important to know what he did mean. What he meant was, he was suffering himself, even as Christ had suffered on the cross. Paul did not help with the atonement. That was Christ's solo work. But one thing that the phrase does teach for sure, and everybody who writes about it says the same thing, is that a close identification develops between Christ and his church through suffering.
Have you ever read any of the underground church stories? Have you ever read any of what goes on in China, for instance, when believers meet quietly, secretly, under the threat of death if they get caught? Have you ever read the story of the joy they have in their fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ? Paul had been making Christ suffer in the people he had been persecuting. In fact, do you remember the first words Jesus gave concerning that when he met Paul after Paul came to Christ on the Damascus Road? Here's what he said to him. He said, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me"?
Paul isn't persecuting Jesus physically, 'cause Jesus wasn't there. Jesus has gone back to heaven. Paul was persecuting Jesus as he persecuted the bodies of Jesus's followers. But as soon as Paul was converted, Jesus said to Paul, "I will show you how many things you must suffer for my name's sake". And now Paul would suffer and Christ would suffer in him, an incredible truth. Paul's sufferings fill up Christ's afflictions by extending them to the people that they were meant for in the first place. It's an interesting thing. It isn't negative. It is just the truth. God really means for the body of Christ, the church, to experience some of the suffering he experienced so that when we proclaim the cross as the way to life, people will see the marks of the cross in us and feel the love of the cross from us. Talk to anybody who knows it.
Most of the people that get saved without somebody coming and making a special presentation to them get saved by watching how God's people suffer and noticing that there's a quality in that that they can't understand. So they come and ask a question like, "Why are you the way that you are? How could anybody go through what you go through and rejoice"? As Paul said we can do in the suffering that extends the ministry of Christ. That's what Paul was trying to communicate to the believers in Colossae. He was suffering, and some of it was for them. Some of what he was going through was because of his love for them and his desire to communicate to them and help them through this difficult time. The apostle Peter actually put suffering and rejoicing together.
1 Peter 4:13 we read, "Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's suffering, that when His glory is revealed, you may be glad with exceeding joy". John Newton, the author of "Amazing Grace," said, "God appoints his ministers to be solely exercised both from without and within, that they may sympathize with their flock". Years ago when I first got started in the ministry, somebody gave me a statement that I've recently traced back to a man named Alan Redpath. And here's what the statement says, "Before God can greatly use a man, he has to crush him". I thought, "Man, I'd like to be used by God, but the crushing part of it, you can have that. I don't need that".
But, you know, I've been watching that now for a few years, and just about everybody I know that God uses has been through some stuff. I could go through the list that I have of what they've experienced. But God trusts them with something that crushes them. And Paul said, "I want you to know if you're gonna be a minister like I'm a minister, I want you to know what my life is like. It's suffering, I suffer". And then the next thing he says in verses 25 through 27 is, "Get ready to serve". If you want to make a difference for God as a pastor or a minister or in your own lay ministry, get ready to suffer. Get ready to serve. Chapter 1, verse 25 through 27, he says, "Of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the Word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints".
Paul is telling the believers in Colossae who are Gentiles that God has given to Paul himself. He's given to him a stewardship to reach them, and the mystery he's talking about is not a whodunit mystery. It's not a mystery like we think of mysteries. A mystery in the New Testament is something that is known in the past, but has not yet been revealed in the present, something that's not in the Scripture but is a direct revelation from God to his special servants. What was the mystery said Paul said he was responsible for in connection with the Colossians? Here it is, the mystery was that God was gonna bring all the Christians from Judaism and all the Gentile Christians, and he wasn't gonna have a Judaistic Christian church and a Gentile church, but he was gonna bring all these Christians together and put them in one church, that all Christian Gentiles, all Christian Jews, would be in one church, the Body of Christ. That's the mystery.
Now, that sounds like not all that big of a deal unless you know what was going on between the Jews and the Gentiles and the hatred they had for each other. I mean, it's historic. It's unbelievable. Read the historians of that time, and you'll discover they had no time for each other. They had disdain for each other. And here comes Paul saying, "God has told me that my role for you is that you're going to come together with all the Christians out of Judaism, and we're gonna be one in Christ". And you can hear them saying, "You gotta be kidding me". Or some of them might have said, "That's never gonna happen". The mystery that Paul is talking about here in the first chapter of Colossians is the mystery that Gentile believers are joined with Jews in one spiritual body. From both the Jewish and Gentile perspective, this seemed impossible.
Bishop John Green of Sydney, Australia, tells about working with a group of boys, some of Aboriginal blood and some of English descent, and how the racial tensions were such that they would not sit peaceably with each other on the bus. One day, when things were out of hand, he stopped the bus, ordered all of the boys out, and told them they were no longer Black and White, but that they were all green. He lined them up in alternate order and made each one say, "I'm green," and put them back on the bus. They drove along quietly integrated until he heard a voice from the back of the bus say, "Okay, light green on one side, dark green on the other".
The ancient Jews and Gentiles were like that, without any humor. They hated each other. And then Paul says the key to this is in Christ, the hope of glory. The DNA of those who become Christians, the DNA of all of us is the same. There isn't a Black way to get saved and a White way to get saved. There isn't a Hispanic way to get saved and an English way to get saved. There's only one salvation, and what is that salvation? It's Christ in you, the hope of glory, amen. And so when you become a Christian, when you become a Christian, your ethnic background, the color of your skin, whatever, it's incidental. What's really important is that you have Jesus, and Jesus brings us together in one body. If we would just preach that and understand that, we could solve a lot of problems we got today, even in the church. We are not individually unique before God. We're all part of the body of Christ in the sense of the church.
And the reason that is true is because we all have the same DNA. My DNA, your DNA, it's not different. Why am I a Christian? Christ is in me, the hope of glory. Why are you a Christian? Christ is in you, the hope of glory. What else matters? That's the question. So Paul is going to serve his people. He wants everybody to know that his job is to suffer and to serve and to bring this mystery to reality. Then he says, "Get ready to suffer. Get ready to serve". Now get ready to speak. Verse 28, "Him we preach," said Paul, "warning every man, teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus".
How many of you know that Christianity is not a theory, not an institution? It's not a book. It's not a set of rules. It's not a code of morals, not a system of philosophy. It's not even a statement of truth or principle. Christianity is a person. Christianity is a living person with whom all of these things are connected. This is because in Christianity, you cannot take the message without taking the messenger. Jesus Christ proclaims the kingdom. Guess what. He's the King. Jesus Christ presents the truth. Guess what. He's the way, the truth, and the life. Whatever he proclaims, it's who he is because Christianity is not a program. Christianity is a person. Christianity is Jesus Christ. When we become Christians, we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. Paul says, "Him we preach". Make sure we stay on the message. Make sure we understand that who we preach is what we are and what we believe. He says, "Him we preach," and then he gives us some descriptions of how we preach. He says, "Sometimes we warn".
How many of you know warnings are necessary? And then he says we preach also by teaching. You know, it's a wonderful thing to be called a preacher but my estimation, it's even a better thing to be called a teacher. Preaching stirs people up for the moment. Teaching puts meat on their bones, gives them strength for the long haul. When you're called to do what I do, you have to be both, both and a teacher, preacher. That's sometimes what we're called. Paul said, "We preach Christ. We don't preach a doctrine. We preach a person. And we do it by warning people". He's warning the Colossians right now in this passage. Don't get caught up in this false doctrine because it will lead you away from Christ. And him we preach by teaching, taking the Word of God and opening it up and telling people, "This is what it says, this is what it means. This is what it means to you".
I am so grateful for the privilege God has given to me to be a teacher, and it's my joy to come here every week, put in my time during the week and come here to teach the Word of God because what I know is when you are nourished up in the pure Word of God, it strengthens you for the battle. It helps you meet the challenges of the day. You are today, as a Christian, in your strength quotient, the reality of the Word of God that you have absorbed into your life and that you have learned how to use. The greatest privilege anyone can have is to be a teacher of the Word of God. Paul has one more thing he says we need to get ready for, get ready to suffer, get ready to serve, get ready to speak, getting ready to struggle. "To this end I also labor," he says, "striving according to His working which works in me".
Paul's language in this verse is brutally compelling. The Greek word translated "labor" was used for work which made someone so weary, it would be like being beaten up by others. He denotes labor to exhaustion, labor that is overwhelming. Have you ever been dead tired? Have you ever done something that just took everything out of you? That's what Paul's talking about. And then he adds another word to it. Not only does he labor, but he also strives and the word "striving" is the word for struggling. It's the word from which we get our word "agony". Paul said, "I am working myself and I am working so hard that it's agony". You know, he uses some of the same words when he was talking to Timothy. In 1 Timothy 4:10 he said, "For this end we both labor and suffer reproach". And then in the book of Thessalonians he says, "We were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. Remember, brethren, our labor and toil, for laboring night and day".
Paul is talking here about the fact that while he's doing the ministry, while he's doing the apostolic thing, while he's writing epistles, while he's in prison writing letters to the Colossians, while he's doing all of this, whenever he's out of jail, he's working at a secular job making tents to support himself. There's nobody giving him a salary every month. He doesn't get a check in the mail. Paul has no way of sustaining his ministry if he doesn't have some sort of ancillary work. So he's the illustration of the first bi-vocational pastor. He's working so that he can serve the Lord Jesus Christ. And he says, "My life is agonizing. It's full of hard work. It's labor". Martin Luther used to work so hard that many days, according to his biographers, he fell into bed at night. D. L. Moody's prayer one night was, "Lord, I'm tired, amen".
John Wesley rode 60 to 70 miles, many days of his life, and preached an average of three sermons a day, whether he was riding or not. Alexander Maclaren would get to his office when the workmen went to work so that he could hear their boots outside. And he would put on his workman boots to remind him of why he was in that office so he could put in a day's work along with the brethren outside. Among the ranks of Christians, there are workers and there are shirkers. It's not hard to figure out which one of those Paul was. He was a worker.
You say, "Pastor Jeremiah, why is that important"? Well, it's important because the reputation of the ministry is you guys have it easy. You only have to work one day a week. You ever heard that? I've heard it lots. "Oh, yeah. You got it easy, Jeremiah. You just have to work one day a week". Are you kidding me? Let me tell you something, my friend Dr. Hendricks and others along with him used to say, "Let me tell you what the ministry is like. The ministry is like dipping out of the ocean with a teaspoon. You dip and dip and dip, and you look up and it's all still there". I understand that. The ministry is something you feel like you no matter how hard you work, it's never done. There's always something else. There's always somebody else. There's always some other problem. There's always some other need. The ministry is a place where you can just burn yourself out.
I know some people that have done that. But it's also a place where you can lazily loaf your way through life, and I know some people like that. The ministry's an easy place to just dog it. Nobody's standing over you saying, "What are you doing"? Used to be you had to at least come up with a sermon, but now you can just go to the internet and dial one down from somewhere else, and you get up and preach it on Sunday. If you don't have a work ethic in the ministry, you will be a disaster. Paul said, "I want you to know something, I work and I labor and I struggle". I want to give you a little paradigm that I discovered this week. I really didn't discover it. I think I've known it, but I never saw it so clearly presented.
In 1 Corinthians 15:10 this is what Paul writes, "I labored more abundantly than they all". That means I worked harder than everybody. "Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me". This is the dynamic in the ministry that is often lost. We work and Christ works. In almost all of these passages, that is the secret. If we do not work but just wait for Christ to work, nothing gets done. If we work but do not wait for Christ to work, what gets done may not be what should be done and often it will be something that will burn you out because you shouldn't be doing it. The Living Bible translates this verse like this, "This is my work, and I can do it only because Christ's mighty energy is at work within me". There's an old statement that I heard way long years ago. It goes like this, "Attempt to great things for God, expect great things from God".
Here's what I've learned. You want to see the mighty working of God in your life? Attempt something great for him. If you want to be happy, just sailing along and kind of neutral and kind of just float into heaven, you probably don't need much of God's help. You can do that on your own. You can just kind of, if what you can do is not capable of being done by you but needs God's help, that's where you're gonna see his power. You need to get out on the edge. You need to get out and have some vision about what God wants to do. Do something that doesn't make any sense. Somebody once told me, "If it makes sense, it's probably not from God. If it looks easy, it's not from him".
When we ask God to do things for us that are beyond our comprehension to imagine, that's when God's mighty power takes over. God wants to do a God thing in our life. He doesn't want us to sit around and just do what's easy and comfortable which requires nothing of us and nothing from him. He wants us to attempt things for him that require almost like, "God, if you don't show up, I'm a dead man". Living in that way is the way I believe Paul is describing. Now, I know there's a fine line between faith and foolishness, but here's my observation. A lot more people end up on the wrong side of that than you think, and it's not on having too much faith, it's having not enough faith to trust God. I would rather fail trying to do something great than succeed at doing nothing. And I know most of you feel the same way. If you want to see the power of God in your life, trust God for something beyond your own ability and see what he does.
Well, those are the commitments of Christian ministry. You know what they are. They've been up on the screen. You've written them down. Let me finish this up with the concerns of Christian ministry. Paul was all in when it came to ministry. He was committed his suffering, serving, speaking, and struggling for Christ. Now he wants to show the concern he has for the people that he's leading. He wants to talk about what his desire is for the Colossian believers and because for them, for us as well. If Paul were here preaching today, here's what he would say. First of all, he would say, "I want you all to have a courageous heart, be courageous in your heart. For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and as for many have not yet seen my face in the flesh, That their hearts might be encouraged". Paul is saying, "I want you to know how strenuously I'm exerting myself for you".
Knowing who Paul was and at the same time knowing that he cared for them like that must have been a huge blessing to the Colossians. In modern English, we often equate the heart with emotions, but in the Bible, the heart refers to the center of personality. Encouragement in the heart is a way of saying that we're being encouraged in every aspect of who we are as a person. Paul said, "My desire for you is that you be encouraged in your heart," means means being encouraged in your whole life. That's Paul's desire. That's why he worked so hard. That's why he puts in so many hours. That's why he agonizes. That's why he struggles. That's why he suffers, so that he might communicate the Word of God in such a way that it encourages the people of God.
The second thing he wants is that they be knit together in love, being cooperative in love. Paul says, "The next thing I want you to know is how important it is for you to get along with each other". Can you imagine what it would have been like in the church of Colossae? Some people were biting, some people were not. Some people were eating up the stuff from the Gnostics, some people were not. And when they get together, they would argue about it. They lost their unity. False doctrine had destroyed their oneness. And Paul says, "My goal for you, my desire for you, my passion for you is that you begin to live like you should be living in the body of Christ". He actually uses this strong illustration. He says, "Be knit together in love". The psalmist says that cooperation among believers is a precious thing, a refreshing thing.
Let's be concerned about unity in the church. Let's be peacemakers, not troublemakers. Let's face it, we cannot unravel our lives from those other believers that are not like us. We come from different social backgrounds. We have different levels of education. Often we've been raised in different countries or cultures, but we are knit together, said Paul. A woman like Mary Magdalene is made one with Mary the mother of Jesus. A man like Simon the Zealot is made one with Matthew the publican sinner. Peter the doer is made one with John the dreamer. We share a common bond. And F. F. Bruce tells us that we cannot really know the Word of God as we should know the Word of God if there is not the cultivation of brotherly love within the Christian community. Courageous in heart, cooperative in love, confident in salvation. He says, "Attaining all the riches of full assurance".
The false teachers were claiming they had a new kind of truth. Paul says, "You will not fall for the new truth if you know the old truth. If you know the Word of God, you will not be a victim for somebody who's trying to come in and subvert you from your faith". The best thing you can do is to know what you know what you know. To be sure, God wants us to have a no-so salvation. Figuratively speaking, he doesn't want you to be a question mark all bent over in doubt with your head hung low. He wants you to be an exclamation point standing up straight with head held high, strengthened by a God-produced confidence in him. Ladies and gentlemen, you will never be taken away from the truth if you know the truth. Because the more you know the truth, the more you realize something that's not true.
You know, if you study the Word of God and you live in the Word, you can see false doctrine coming a mile away. When it comes into your church, you can smell it. The main thing is to know the truth and then you'll never have to be worried about what isn't true because you'll know immediately that it's not. Be courageous in heart, be cooperative in love, be confident in salvation, and be convinced of the truth. "Now this I say," Paul writes in verse 4 of Colossians 2, "lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words". Paul does not say that the Colossians have already been deceived.
A. W. Pink said, "This letter is a vaccination against heresy, not an antibiotic for those already infected". Be courageous in heart, be cooperative in love, be confident in your salvation, be convinced of the truth, and be consistent in your faith. "For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As you have therefore received Christ Jesus in the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving".
Paul commanded to walk in him, and that's the first command in this entire letter. Walk in the faith. And he ends our lesson with four different terms drawn from four different walks of life. Each is used to illustrate the nature of spiritual progress. First of all, we're to be rooted. He says, be rooted in your faith. That's an agricultural term. The tense of the word means to be once and for all rooted in your faith. That means to know you're saved, to know that you're a Christian. And, you know, you cannot be a Christian, a real Christian, and not have some knowledge that it's true. You have doubts from once in a while. Maybe you have problems with assurance, but Christians are not tumbleweeds that are blown all over the place. They are plants that are rooted in the gospel.
And then he uses the word "built up". He says, planted, rooted, built up, that's an architectural term. It is being built up. It's the word from which we get our word "edification". He says, "Be sure you're planted, be sure you're rooted in the gospel, then make it your life's progress to keep being built up". When you become a Christian, you have a foundation, but on that foundation, you need to build your understanding of God's Word and your knowledge of who Jesus Christ is. And then he uses the word "established," and that's an educational word. Epaphras had fully taught the Colossian believers the truth of the Word, but the false teachers were undermining that doctrine. Christians who study the Word have become established in the faith. And the word "abounding" was often used by Paul. It suggests the picture of a river overflowing its banks.
This whole passage of Scripture is Paul unburdening himself, unloading himself on the Colossians. "Here's who I am, I suffer, I serve, I speak, I struggle, and here's my passion for all of you". And then all of the things we have just discussed. Paul's gonna get into some things that will be hard for them to grab ahold of, but he will have, first of all, communicated his love and passion for these people. That's really the key ingredient, isn't it? We don't come to church so we can sit there and hear the pastor ball us out. Paul said that when you preach, you have to warn. Sometimes I have to do hard things.
Ladies and gentlemen, that's my purpose. That's my goal. That's my hope. That's what I do. And I'm doing it more so now in this way. I don't know how many years we have before all that's beginning right now will take hold in this culture. If something doesn't happen, the world we look at five years from now is not gonna be anything close to the world we're experiencing. I pray to God there could be an intervention. I think it's possible, but what if it isn't true? What if we face a world that is totally against us, that sees us as people who don't have the right to exist? The way we withstand all of that is by becoming strong in our faith.
That's why I've told you get in a small group, serve somebody, whatever you do, come to church. We need to prepare ourselves to be the people of God for whatever's coming at us down the pike. And when we do that, no matter what happens, let them come. We'll stand in unity together with our hands up high. We'll praise God, and we will be what we started out to understand at the beginning of this message. We will be a lighthouse on the shore of darkness. Paul was the lighthouse to the Colossians. Thank God he didn't move his position. He stayed where he was supposed to stay. The Bible says that you and I are lights. When Jesus was on this earth, he said, "I am the light of the world".
In John 9 he said this, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world". And then he said, "You are the light of the world". What does he mean by that? We aren't the original light, we're the reflectors of the light, but we're all the light the people in the world will see. We have been called to be lighthouses in our community. And you know what? The darker it gets, the more we stick out and the greater influence we have. And I've said this to you before, but I believe it with all my heart. The light that shines the furthest has to shine the brightest at home.
If we keep our light shining brightly, if we don't let bad doctrine get into our church, if we don't get corrupted by the culture which surrounds us, if we stand strong in our faith, God will use this church as a mighty lighthouse in a dark world for many years to come. That's my prayer, and I believe it's happening now. It is my prayer that we can visualize it happening for many years to come. We are the light of the world. If we are rooted in the faith, built up in the most holy faith, if we allow the Word of God to come and take up his dwelling place in our hearts, we'll be ready for whatever comes. You don't need to worry, God is enough. The Word of God is sufficient. The truth is available to all who will seek it. And whenever error comes along, just hold up the truth.