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5-3-23 -8 Keys To A Lasting Ministry

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist
The Truth Network Radio
May 12, 2023 11:51 am

5-3-23 -8 Keys To A Lasting Ministry

Lighting Your Way / Lighthouse Baptist

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May 12, 2023 11:51 am

May 3, 2023 – Message from Pastor Josh Bevan

            Main Scripture Passage:  2 Corinthians 4:1-18

            Topic: Ministry


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If you have your Bibles, you know what book we're turning to? Yeah, 2nd Corinthians, 2nd Corinthians chapter number four flying through this study. So 2nd Corinthians chapter four, when you find your place, you can open the Word of God as we stand. The whole chapter four is going to turn into one sermon, which we won't get through tonight. We'll get through half of it, Lord willing, tonight. Thank you for that encouragement, Ben.

He's my weather man. 2nd Corinthians four, we're going to read one down to verse number 10 tonight. It says, Therefore, seeing we have this ministry, he's talking about the New Testament gospel ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not.

We don't lose heart, we don't quit. But I have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling or adulterating the Word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. If you read verse three with me, but if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. He goes on to say, In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine into them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus, the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake, for God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We have this treasure in earth and vessel that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed. We are perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, cast down but not destroyed, always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. If you'd actually jump down to verse 16, he said, For which cause we faint not, and he continues that reality. Father, we just praise you today.

What a joy it is. No matter what our day has faced, no matter what has gone on, we know Christ. We not only know you, but the greater joys that you know us and you keep us and you hold us and we rejoice in your mercy that has brought salvation. May the good work that you began in our salvation be fulfilled in our sanctification. May you conform us to the beautiful, glorious, majestic image of Christ. May your word be magnified in our hearts. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear. May we love your word tonight. May we adore Christ for what we are worshiping. We are being molded into and may you be what we worship only and always. We ask it in Christ's name.

And God's people said, Man, you may be seated tonight. Just a rabbit trail as I start. I don't know if that's a good place to start or not. I want to share a little poem that Amy Carmichael wrote that has always been a blessing to me. My daughters, I've been giving some different assignments.

The ones who I feel have time more all time on their plates. And so there's a book written by Warren Wiersby, 50 Christians. Every Christian should know its title, something like that. And Wiersby always produces good material. And he and in that, I asked my daughters read, read a biography and write a one page synopsis on that person. So during our peer journals each week, we sit down and they'll go over those. And it's just been so helpful to them and for us.

So that's maybe something you could think about as your teens go into the summer if they have some time on their hands. But Amy Carmichael is one such lady that Wiersby writes about. And back in 1920, she rescued hundreds of orphan children, especially little girls that would have been dedicated to Hindu gods for use in sexual temple rituals. But God's wonderful grace had allowed her to bring many of those girls out of that pagan slavery where they came to know the Lord. She suffered much in her efforts to serve the Lord.

And this is a poem that she wrote. She says, Hast thou no scar, no hidden scar on foot or side or hand? I hear the sung is mighty in the land.

I hear them hail thy bright ascended star. Hast thou no scar? Hast thou no wound? Yet I was wounded by the archer spent leaned me against a tree to die and rent by ravening beasts that can pass to me. I swooned, but hast thou no wound? No wound, no scar yet as the master shall the servant be and pierced are the feet that follow me.

But thine are whole. Can he have followed far who has no wound or scar? And I think that's such a convicting poem and because it's written by someone who understood what suffering was like. As we come to second Corinthians four, we find the Apostle Paul being no stranger to suffering. He endured incredible pain, suffering, hardships, trials.

He had people who hated him so much so they wanted to kill him. One time at Jerusalem, there were 40 men who said they will eat nothing until they had killed the Apostle Paul. They made a covenant with God. In writing of his physical trials, he writes in second Corinthians 11 24.

He said of the Jews five times received I 40 stripes saved one. They went thrice was I beaten with rods. Once was I stoned thrice. I suffered a shipwreck. A night and a day have I been in the deep and journeying often in perils of water, perils of robbers and perils by my own countrymen and perils by the heathen and perils and the city and perils in the wilderness and perils in the sea and perils among false brethren and weariness and painfulness and watchings often and hunger and thirst and fastings often and cold and nakedness. I mean, he just he faced it back in chapter one of second Corinthians. He said he was he talks about being pressed, quote, We were pressed out of measure above strength in so much we despaired even of life. He doesn't go into the details of what he went through, but he and his comrades were in such a strait that they thought they were going to die.

They thought there was no way out. And why did Paul face all of that? Was it some sin in his life? Was it some that he get? Did he go away from God and backslide away from the things of the word of God?

It wasn't any of that. It was from following the Lord. Out of all the trials, Paul face of physical beatings, imprisonments, loneliness, being cold, hungry, tired.

Nothing caused him more pain, he says. Then and you see it all through his writings here in second Corinthians, especially then the ministering to the churches who were struggling with sin. Second Corinthians 11 20 80 said, Beside those things that are without that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches who is weak and I am not weak who was offended and I burn not. In fact, as we studied back in chapter two, Paul had gotten so discouraged by the church at Corinth. It looked as though Paul was going to throw in the towel.

It looked like he was going to quit. They had attacked him personally. They talked about his physical appearance as being weak.

They said his speech was contemptible. His ministry was not effective. They were mixing legalistic teachings with the New Testament gospel. There was false apostles claiming to be true apostles at the church at Corinth.

They assaulted Paul in dozens of different ways. Paul had written two inspired letters to the Corinthians as we've preached about and talked about in two that were not inspired that we don't have anymore. But he had written a previous letter from we have first and second Corinthians. But there was a first letter.

We don't have a second Corinthians. Second letter is what's known as first Corinthians, a third letter we don't have, which was referred which is like referred to as the severe letter. And the fourth letter he wrote is what we have here.

Second Corinthians, the second Corinthians to four. He says, For out of much affliction and anguish of heart, I wrote unto you with many tears. I mean, this was this was very grievous for Paul. This previous letter he's referring to that he wrote to them. They caused him so much pain that in second Corinthians two he's he's at Ephesus. He had written a very severe letter that caused him great sorrow and brokenness to write it, but he had to deal with these sins going on in the church, people attacking him, the church being led astray by these false apostles, and he has to deal with it. And so he writes this letter to them, but he wants to know so bad how they've received it.

But I mean, you're talking sometimes months without correspondence because you have to travel by sea and land and it's difficult and there's no texting. You know, rotary phone would have been nice. Some of the young folks are like, What's that? Always remember when I do one of those and you mess up, you're like, I got to start over again. Ha.

People don't understand how quick it is now. It's like, just call Candace, you know, call my sweetheart, you know. Thank you, Ben. What's interesting, Paul is waiting. He sends Titus, his son in the faith, one of his sons in the faith, to he can't stand it any longer. He's at Ephesus. He's like, You need to go.

I need you to go find out how they're doing. Bring me word again. He's waiting. He's waiting. Titus should have returned. He's not returned yet.

There are a few hundred miles away from Corinth. He says, A great door was open to me in Troas. And in second Corinthians two twelve, he says, Furthermore, when it came to stress to preach the Christ gospel door was open to me of the Lord. I mean, and when you read through the letters of Paul, he he prayed often pray that a door would be open.

Pray that God would open a door unto us, right? But look what he says in verse thirteen. He said, I had no rest in my spirit because I found not Titus my brother, but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. He was so pressed out of measure to know how the church had received his letter. He could not even evangelize anymore there. His burden for the church at Corinth was greater than his burden for the lost soul.

Troas. He he was at the breaking point. This is the great apostle Paul. He was so discouraged. Later, he finds Titus gets a relatively good report from the church and to strengthen. But you need to see that even the greatest ministers, no matter where you are in life, if Paul could be discouraged, any of us could be discouraged, couldn't they? So tonight there will be times you will be discouraged in serving in ministry. You need to know that. I sat down with a young man today who feels called to pastor and uh, it was another student at Cedarville, great young man and uh, been with us now for a couple of years and, and I said, what are some things you could tell me as a young man getting married and a couple of weeks, uh, said, how you feel about getting married? He said, I'm scared to death. I said, yeah, it's a great thing.

And um, I said, just know this. There's nothing greater in your life you'll do than the ministry and there is nothing even touches how hard ministry is. Nothing in my life. Nothing has been more rewarding and nothing has been more challenging. I've worked a lot of different jobs.

I've worked 70, 80 hour weeks at different places. Nothing touches it. The joy of it, the trials of it, the ups of it, the downs of it because it's, it's people's lives you're dealing with. It's, it's marriages, it's families, it's, it's, you know, today I had the joy of of a man getting on his knees in my office, calling out to Christ, repenting and confessing Jesus is Lord.

I, I see his significant other who's recommitting her life fully to Lord Jesus Christ. What joy. I mean, it doesn't get better than that, does it?

I mean, it's just like, this is just fantastic. And then, and then you'll have other situations that just break your heart and then you carry that stuff at times. You, you just need to understand that, that when you serve in the ministry, no matter where that is, teaching, preaching, greeting, helping in a class, working in a Juana's, working with the teens, helping in nursery, helping on the bus ministry, on a cleaning team and a men and women's ministry and a D group and a life group and some construction work on a grounds crew and a senior's ministry, DBS music, tech team, et cetera, et cetera. You work in some area, you're going to get hurt by someone.

There'll be a friendly fire that comes along. There'll be somebody that you feel has been unkind to you and you just need to understand that's just that I find it to be rare here, but, but that's part of ministering with other people that are just fellow sinner saved by grace. And let me say this, sometimes God wants you to go through that not to test them, but to test you. Do you, do you, do you get upset and just throw in a towel and quit and God says, well, I guess I can't do greater things that I wanted to do with them because I wanted to see how they could take the heat.

Anybody can typically take it from the outside, but can you take it from the inside? That's when it gets tough. That's, that's when the difficulties come. Isn't that true with marriage? I mean, I mean it's not the neighbor that that's upset with you that really can bother you. It's when your wife and your children and there's dissension in the home, isn't it?

I mean, you can really get through the external stuff as long as you know, man, you and your wife are one flesh and your children are loving you and I'm obedient and all that stuff. I don't know what my wife has done to my girls, but every day, man, it seems I come down and those girls have cleaned that kitchen immaculate and I'm just like, just, you've done a great job. I don't know what you've done.

You've threatened their lives or what? I mean, it's been like months now. I'm like every morning I'm like, wow, shiny down here. It's nice. I'm like, they're going to ask me for something. I don't know. Can I have, you know, you know your kids do that, don't you? They'll do some real, you know, hey dad, how are you doing?

They come in and start asking me all these questions and then I'm like, I'm about to get asked for something. Yeah. So, so if you've ever been wrongly accused, criticized, spoken bad about, just know that those things happened to Paul, right? That Paul went through that twice in chapter four at the beginning and in Paul says, uh, not to lose heart. He says that in verse one, he says, therefore seeing we have this ministry as we've received mercy, we faint not. He says it in verse 16 for which cause we faint not, but though our outward man perish yet our inward man is renewed day by day. He was constantly encouraging believers it in the churches not to faint or to lose heart.

In Galatians six, nine he says, and let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap if we faint not like keep going because all of us know what it's like to get to the point where it's like, you know what? I've just had about enough of this, haven't we? I mean, you, you know, people you're trying to supposed to be, they were supposed to be here 15 minutes ago, 30 minutes. They were supposed to help out with this. Only two people, 14 people signed up, three came, you know, say you're on a cleaning team.

There's all eight of them were supposed to be there. Two showed up. You had to do double time and then they don't even say, Oh, I'm sorry. They text you later.

You're like, come on now. You get things that just really like, man, and, and don't be weary in well doing. Ephesians three 13 says, wherefore I desire that you faint not at my tribulation. Second Thessalonians three 13, but ye brethren be not weary in well doing. Let me ask you, have you grown weary in well doing?

Have you grown weary in well doing? Jesus even gave a parable about this in Luke 18 verse one. He spake a parable unto them to this end that men are always to pray and not to faint.

The word faint there is the idea of losing heart. And Paul is such a great example because he, he faced this stuff, didn't he? And he didn't quit. He gets to the end of his life in second Timothy four verse six. He says, I'm now ready to be offered in the time in my departures at hand.

I have fought a good fight. I have these words finished my course. Isn't that what you want? I mean, that's what we want.

We want to get to the end of her life. Say, you know what? I did what God created me to do. I finished the race, but you know what he says? I have fought a good fight.

There, there is, there is battle involved in that. And he says, and I've kept the faith henceforth. There's laid for me a crown of righteousness. He goes on to talk about in verse 10, how demons had forsaken him. Having loved this president, what he talks about in verse 16 and 17, how he said, everyone forsook me and I'm all alone. He said, but I'm not alone because Jesus stood with me and strengthened me.

So how can you finish your course and not give up, not get discouraged and quit in ministry? You know, the second Corinthians is, um, is, was one of the least read books by Christians because they, they struggled to somewhat understand it. It's the most personal intimate book that Paul ever wrote. I mean, he is just laying open his heart.

He gets real authentic, sometimes sarcastic. Uh, sometimes he's reflecting on some of the pain that he went through. It's, it's a reason we love the Psalms. When you're discouraged, where do you turn in the Bible Psalms or the book of Job, right? Like I'm having a bad day. Let me read about Job and I'll feel a little better, you know, but isn't it nice to read about other people who stayed faithful when they went through trials?

It's, it's helpful. And so we get, we get to see, we get to see people who like Paul have gone through some, I mean, he just went through some fire from a church that all he did was pour into them. And um, and he gives us here in, in, in chapter four, at least eight keys to a lasting ministry. Like how did you get to the end and finish the race?

How did you, how did you end? Well, what got you there in the first key here is by recognizing ministry is a gift of mercy. The word faint nod is ekkakeo and it speaks of one who gives into fear, who loses courage. They even become cowardly. It would be kind of the idea. It'd be like if you were running a race and you came up to a huge hill with Braden teach, you know, and Braden's just running like a deer up the hill. You're like, yeah, I don't really want to run up that. It's a little intimidating for me. And like you kind of get fearful of going through that so you back away. Um, some obstacle you just feel like, yeah, that's just a little too difficult, little too challenging.

Alex Alexander Barnes writes that ekkakeo means properly to turn out a coward, to lose one's courage, then to be faint hearted, to faint, to despond in view of trials or difficulties. Paul here is saying, we do not do that. We don't lose heart, become discouraged by the tax, uh, the, the difficulty, the hardships, the challenges. We just don't quit. Churchill must have said that.

Must have read that in a, don't quit, don't quit. Paul launches this section on keys to a lasting ministry by highlighting the first key, which is remember that the ministry that we serve in is not something that we deserve. Rather, it is a gift of God's mercy. So he says in verse one, therefore seeing we have this ministry as we have received mercy, you could say it this way. We have been given this ministry by the mercy of God. Therefore we are not going to lose heart. This ministry has been given to us only by the mercy of God.

And because of that, we won't quit. You know, people who quit in ministry by getting what they call burned out often do so because they have wrong expectations. Uh, they have wrong expectation for ministry. Burn, burnout is a result of having wrong expectation. And the reason people feel burned out of things is, is they, um, they believe they deserve something better often.

I don't, I deserve better than this. They get burned out of a job. They get burned out of a ministry. They get burned out of a marriage.

I'm, I'm not, I'm not going to put up with this. I deserve better than this. If you get a right expectation, you won't get burned out of anything. I mean, you just go to a third world country and you learn what contentment is and you come back and you say, praise God for what I have. That's why Charles Spurgeon said, contentment is not getting what you want. It's wanting what you have. That's why the people who leave the stuff they have to go get what they think they want. Proverbs writes about that, right?

That doesn't satisfy. First Timothy one verse 12. Paul writes about the mercy of God. He said, I think Christ Jesus, our Lord who hath enabled me for he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry who was before a blasphemer and a persecutor and injurious. Look what he says, but I obtained mercy and because I did it ignorantly and unbelief and the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundantly with faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus. This is faithful saying worthy of all the acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. He said, of whom I am chief. As long as he saw himself the chief of sinners, he was, he was so blown away that God was using him in ministry. He would never get tired of the ministry.

How could you get burned out when you're overwhelmed with the gift? It's the greatest thing he could do. You know, when, when is pastor Josh plan to retire when I die? You know, what's misery in my mind is, is not serving the Lord in this capacity, going golfing every day and, and, and not being able to serve the Lord in this capacity. Like I, I would, I would enjoy maybe having some other things to do, maybe a week here or there, like a vacation time, but, um, to sit and watch TV or to the news. I mean, what else are you going to do? Like if I had $50 million, I would do what I'm doing now. I would keep doing this.

I would buy you guys some stuff. But if you're able to serve God in ministry as a pastor, teacher, helper, greeter, preparing meals, nursery, singing, tech, recognize whatever you do in the church, that's a gift to you. If you serve in the nursery, that's a merciful gift that God lets you serve there. If you work on the greeting team, what a mercy God gave to you. If you're the only one to show up to clean, you get to clean the house of God for the glory of God, and he will honor your life for that.

No matter what it is, if you're the only one that you, Hey, we're going to pick up cigarette. We're going to have some day, you know, some menial tasks. It's like, you know, it's not real glorifying. Hey, that is glory to God.

As much as you've done it to the least of these, he said, you've done it to me. Small things matter to the Lord, don't they show me a person that gets discouraged in their ministry. I'll show you a person who forgot it was a gift of mercy.

You're there only by mercy. Paul taught in Romans 12 one and two that are faithfully certain as a living sacrifice is motivated on the grounds of understanding the mercy of God, isn't it? That's why he says in Romans 12 one and two, I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God.

That's that's the launch. If you know anything about Romans, you know Romans one through 11. It's all doctrine, isn't it? It's all doctrine, doctrine, laying down the great truths of salvation by grace through faith. And then you, it takes 11 chapters of truth to be laid as bedrock for him to get into application in chapter 12 application starts in chapter 12 and the first thing he builds his application on is the mercy of God. It's the motivation.

It's what it was. It's what drives everything else. If, if, if you're going to apply all these doctrinal truths, you have to know that you only receive it by mercy. Not only are you saved by mercy, but you are given ministries by mercy. And so that's the first thing.

That's the first thing. So he says, therefore, seeing we have this ministry as we receive mercy or in other words because we have received this ministry as a gift of God's mercy, therefore we don't faint. The idea. Secondly, a second truth comes in verse number two is have integrity, have integrity. Um, and it means other souls that you talk about this.

Sometimes he, he works with some business leaders around the country and coaching. Um, but integrity is one of the biggest things, isn't it? I mean, if, if, if you work for somebody who doesn't have integrity, boy, it's not good.

It's not good. So integrity is a big deal and it starts with personal integrity. He says in verse two, but he says, but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully. So the first thing is that personal integrity says we've, we've renounced the hidden things of dishonesty. The word dishonesty there is, is, is a word that they describe something disgraceful, dishonorable, uh, something that would be embarrassing or humiliating.

It is an embarrassment that would result from sin in your life being exposed. The role of a pastor, interestingly, in first Timothy chapter number three gives the qualifications for a pastor. There's about 16 qualifications. Some would argue maybe 17, but there's say there's 16 qualifications. 15 of them have to do with your character.

Only one of them have to do with your skill. It's not about the talent of the man, it's about the purity of the man. And the first thing it says is if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desired the good work. The bishop must then first be blameless.

It must be blameless. The husband of one wife. And I don't, I don't believe that that right there is just a rabbit trail. I don't think that means you're only married one time. That's talking about, um, a one woman man. Your, your, your, your heart is given to one woman.

It's literally could be translated a one woman man, vigilant, sober of good behavior given to hospital. The only skill that you need to have is the next one. You have to be able to teach. You have to be able to teach. You have to have this, that skill that is, that is because it's a, it's a God given gift. You, you don't do that on your own.

I mean, my brother, uh, would, would, would take an F in school instead of getting up and speaking. And now he preaches is bold and powerful. He's been preaching revivals all over the place this year. You have to be able to teach that was given to him that was given to me.

Whatever I can do to ever teach it's you. It's only to the glory of God that that gift is there. First Timothy three seven it says, moreover, he must have a good report of them which are without lest he fall into reproach and a snare of the devil. The testimony must be clean. Paul says he has renounced the hidden things of dishonesty. In other words, he's cast off anything that could be hidden in his life before he was a Pharisee and a Pharisee.

As long as they put on the show on the outside, they were corrupt on the inside there, weren't they? So they could hide a lot of sin and Paul perhaps hid, had some hidden sin in his life, but he cast that off. The word integrity is from a Latin word, integrity, which this is interesting. It means the whole of something and it speaks of the whole character of someone, not a fraction of a character. It speaks of unimpaired state of one's mind and heart of moral soundness and purity, uprightness, honesty, just as we would talk about a whole number. So we also talk about a whole person who is undivided.

A person of integrity is living right, not divided, not being a different person in different circumstances. They're the same at home as they are in public. People ask me sometimes what what's what's a key to raising your children, right?

I can tell you the greatest key is be the same at home as you are in public. You live there. You live the faith out. They will not follow a faith that they don't see.

You live it out. You want them to read their Bible with their future spouse and their friends. You better be better be talking about Jesus with them. Better not be some Sunday thing and you go home and Jesus really never gets talked about. You better have Christ in the center of life. When when Paul was saved, he put off the old man with his deceitful lust. He put on the new man.

He became a new creation in Christ Jesus. And it didn't mean that Paul was perfect. I mean, we know Romans seven, right? I mean, Paul's like the things I want to do. I don't do the things I don't want to do that.

I do. You read Romans seven, you feel a lot better about yourself. It's like it's like it's nice to know he struggles to fight. You ever think, man, I thought I'd have been a past that by now. You mean I still get frustrated with that? I still struggle with patients.

I still struggle with my words or my thoughts or my actions, attitudes. Yeah. Yeah. What a day that's going to be when you get to heaven and the battle's over, isn't it? When you get there and you're like, how's your day? And you're like, it's been perfect.

It's been perfect. If you want to persevere in ministry, you just know this. You have to be clean.

We were going around Sunday night, had some pastors in a room with with Braden before the ordination service. I said, is there some I just want to give a chance for some of you men to to share what what's what's some things, minister advice you could give to Braden? And they were sharing some great insights and one of the guys said, you know, he said, one of the things I would share with you is you have to be clean. Just be clean.

Be pure, be a man of integrity. You know, time and truth hold hand, right? That's why guys that are not faithful to the Lord often they move around a lot.

You ever notice that? Where did so and so go? Well, where did you know? Where did that pastor end up?

There's always something. I mean, I know because I'm in like I've known of guys in the state of Ohio that should never be in the pulpit because of something they did that was very bad with a woman in a church who just leaves their church and then they go down to find a church down in Florida and then they're pastoring there now. You just got to kind of run away, right? And that kind of thing happens. But when you're somewhere for a long dozens of years, people know you. Then if somebody makes an accusation, you're like, I've known him for like 15 years. I've known that pastor for 20 years. It's just like that.

That's just who they are. Time and truth hold hands in your life. Listen, have integrity because if you're, if you have hidden sin in your life, it will come out.

It will come out. All teachers at Corinth accused Paul of having secret sins. They were saying that Paul had hidden motives and none of that was true. They were accusing him of what they were guilty of and that can happen, can't it?

Somebody accuses you and you're like, their hands are bloody. Not only integrity personally, but have integrity in your motives. He says the phrase here, we renounce the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness. The word craftiness there. Penorgia is the Greek word, but it speaks of trickery. One who is deceitful, who would do anything to accomplish their task.

This is an ultimate pragmatist. Michael Todd of our day transformation church. So Oklahoma, if you don't know what I'm talking about, probably better off. Is any raise your hand if you're familiar with what went on in Tulsa, Oklahoma over Easter.

Okay. Don't look it up while you're in church because you probably have to go to the altar, but there is a guy down there. He has a big church. He's bringing in a secular group dancing with clothing that is so wicked. So I could say it is crucifying a woman on a cross and just doing all these things. I can't even repeat from the pulpit even close. It's just as, and he said, I wanted to do whatever we could as close to, as close to sinning as we could, but without like, so that we could reach the culture.

You know, we want to reach the lost. Oh, oh, you know, that's, you know, when you go to the parable of the soils, which is Matthew 13, we'll be teaching there in six years. So I may be able to talk about it now, but you know, the problem was never with the seed, was it? It was always with the soil. So what, you know, if the story was rewritten today by the pragmatists, they would say, you know, there's not four different soils, there's four different seats. You know, and one man, his method was this and another man's method was this and other men's method was this and all of them would be based upon the success would be based upon how well the crowds responded. Never been a problem with the seed.

It's always with the soil. I like what one man said. He said the false apostles were in effect first century marketing experts. They viewed the gospel as a product in themselves as salesman. Part of selling the product being the gospel was veiling its truth and sprucing it up by adding some mystery and magic, which was in their day like a big deal.

By tweaking the message, repackaging it so it could be more popular, trendy, they hope to better appeal to first century consumers. The problem was Paul wouldn't bend to that. He just, he said, we preach Christ crucified to the Jews a stumbling block to the Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are being saved, it is the power of God and the salvation.

We cannot adulterate that. When he came to Corinth, he said, I, I came to you not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring the testimony of God for I determined to know nothing among you say, Jesus Christ and him crucified in Romans one 16. He said, I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God and the salvation. You need to understand if you're going to lead someone to Christ, you bring them the clarity of the gospel and it's offensive. You will offend them. I mean, that's literally the point.

They might get upset if I start sharing that, you know, the things that are involved in her sin. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. If somebody's involved in sin, they should not feel good after the sermon.

I mean, they, they should leave being like, I feel like I'm out of line with God. Yeah. Yeah. Better to know that now.

Right? Better to know that you're not in line with God now so that you can get those things right. Charles Spurgeon addressed this age old tendency of preachers to change the word of the clear gospel message to make it more seeker friendly. He says, certain divines or certain preachers tell us that they must adapt truth to the advance of the age, which means that they must murder it and fling it dead body to the dogs, which simply means that a popular lie shall take the place of an offensive truth.

Wow. Well, he didn't beat around the bush. Swindoll says, like supermarket cereal, when Christianity is bright and brightly packaged and sugar coated and enticing, Lee offers free prizes on the inside.

We fail to see the fine print on the side of the box and so we never know about all the empty calories we've eaten or realize how malnourished we've become. You know, there's Christian sitting in some churches that are starving to death and they don't even understand fully what they're missing, but they know they're missing something and some of you are here because of that. Covid praise God, shut down some churches and other churches were opened up. You know, we don't need a whole lot of more churches. In some sense in America, there's churches everywhere. We just need more better churches and know this. It's not Satan that closes the doors to the church.

You read Revelation. It's God that closes the church doors. So when churches closed down, just know the Lord's the one who did that. If Lighthouse ever closes, it's the Lord who did that. Satan, the gates of hell don't prevail against his church. We're not afraid of government. You know, we're seeing things being on legislation right now in Canada as well as in like Ireland, some places where if you misgender someone that's a crime.

That's coming to America. I've had several of you who've come to me and said, Pastor, what do I do? You know, we have this situation at work and you go through the details and I say, well, the Bible says thou shall not lie, right? So you don't want to be offensive to people. You don't want to intentionally offend people, but you are. I will not call a man a woman. I will not. I will not call a he is she.

It's just not true. And then it would be like me saying identify as a 50 year old black black girl. There's I'm more identified as a black or an Asian or there's probably a small percent could be in my bloodline that has that right. It would be it would be more logical scientifically to identify as a different ethnicity. It's only one race. There's only one human race.

There's not any other race. They try to break us and categorize us. It's a big lie. It's a big scheme to cause division. Just know that.

Just know this. The people who talk about race the most don't want unity. They want division. Their paycheck depends on it. That's their job. They stir it up. It just drives me insane.

I could rabbit trail this thing forever. It drives me insane. They use the people they say they are defending and they're using them for their own benefit. They don't care about the person. That's the truth. Speak the truth in love, but but don't don't just know that's coming. You have to have integrity, though you have to. So so if you want to last in ministry, have integrity to person, have integrity in ministry, but also have integrity with the word, he says in verse two, nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth, committing ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. You know, the greatest possession we have in the world is the word of God. Job 23 says, Neither have I gone back from the commandments of the of his lips. I have esteemed his word, the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. False teachers are those who don't last in ministry because they end up handling the word of God deceitfully.

Don't don't you see that if you if you if you know anything about following pastors around the country online, you find the false ones just keep falling. The word handling the word of God is a handling is d o l o do low. It's used only here in the New Testament speaks of using the word of God as a snare trap or fish hook.

You use it to deceive people. It could also be translated as adulterating the word of God. It's twisting the word of God.

The synonym of this is found in second Corinthians 2 17, which it says we are not among we are not as many which corrupt the word of God. They peddle it. They sell the word of God another word to draw you in for their own benefit. I mean, this is this is guys like Benny Hinn who go and they preach and they stay in luxury places that cost $100,000 a night at times.

And when when he was interviewed by a newscaster who said, Why are you staying in these palace hotels of $100,000 a night? He says, The Lord told me not to answer you. You are a huckster. You are con man. It's what you are, right?

Is that true? I was the guy who grew up believing in the Benny hands like is a young that's what we grew up crazy stuff. So Paul concludes in verse two by saying we don't do that. We have integrity as a person. We handle the word of God. Truthfully, we're not trying to deceive people. We're not using it to snare people and and to use the word of God in some insincere way for our own benefit. That's not what we're doing. He says, but by manifestation of the truth, committing ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God, you know what that's talking about?

When he preaches clearly and declares truthfully the word of God, people's conscience can see that that's true. It's it's you ever heard somebody you're like, man, just something felt off. Like it just didn't feel right. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

You may never know what all went on back there, but yeah, like something's off. That's he said. He said men's conscience. I preach it and teach it in such a way. He says it's not deceitfully and it manifests truth to their conscience that they see that it's not deceitful. So you will last in ministry. If you recognize ministry as a gift, you have integrity. Be a whole person who preaches the whole truth. And then thirdly, and this will be the last point we'll touch on tonight, is remember that the gospel is the only hope for the lost.

If you, if you, if you're going to last, you have to understand we carry the only remedy this world can find salvation in. He says, if our gospel be hidden, verse three, it's hit to them that are lost. To modify the gospel, to water it down, to use it in some corrupt way is blinding the world. If if I were to give you a pen and a piece of paper tonight, friend, and I said, write down what the gospel is, could you do that? Could you write down what the gospel is?

Is there a bigger question than that? What is the gospel? Well, there's no clearer passage in the Bible than first Corinthians 15 is there? And it tells us very clearly what the gospel is. He said, I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received, how that Christ, what's the gospel? He died for our sins according to scripture, that he was buried and he rose again the third day according to scriptures, sat down with a man today. I said, do you believe Jesus died on the cross for your sins? Yes.

Do you believe he was buried and that he came back to life three days later? Yes. You believe that? Yeah. Am I not supposed to?

No, you are. Oh yeah, I do. Oh, he's asking like, you sure you believe that he came back to life to like, yeah. Yeah. I could.

Me too. Right. So, so the gospel is the truth of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Now, how is the gospel received?

Like how do you receive it? And as I told him, as I'll tell you is there's, salvation is not just simply intellectual. That's easy believe ism. Oh, I agree with that.

Yes, I'll pray that. I'll say that I agree with that information. It's not, it's, you're, you're, you're a person is made up of emotions, intellect and the will. That's, that's, that's what makes up what's known as personage. Salvation is not about, you ever had somebody say, you know, I just, I never got emotional when I got saved. Oh, the Bible doesn't say that whoever shall cry and weep to the Lord shall be saved, does it? So it's not emotion.

It can affect your emotions, but doesn't have to. Um, it's not just intellect. You can have all the information. You can agree with the information. Oh, I believe all that stuff. But the Bible says that it's, it's, it's, it's an issue of the will. That's what lordship is.

That's, that's saying it's not external and it's not just information to me. Uh, Jesus be the Lord of my life. That is death to self life to Christ surrendered him doesn't mean perfectionism. It's not that you're going to live perfectly, but it means you are surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you don't believe that, then you believe you can get saved without surrendering your life to Jesus. Then you believe you can, you can be a pedophile and agree with the information, but never repent and be saved. That's what some easy believe ism would teach because I've backed people into the corner with that and they have no way out and they're like, well, they should change after they get saved too. But there's no surrendering of that.

Like that's a sick gospel. You are. You are false. Jesus said, except you repent, you'll perish. We're repentance is internal change. It's not external.

Yeah. And when you change on the inside, where else do you change? Example, I'm going to go to the store and get milk, sweetheart.

If I don't go to the store and get milk, she would conclude, you must have changed your, is it, isn't it one of those dothangs? I can't even understand it. I don't, I don't mean to be belittling. It's just so simple and clear to be saved.

It's not, you just agree with it. It means that you surrender to Jesus as Lord. He said, if you love father, mother, sister, brother, anyone more than me, you're not worthy of me. He that continues in my word, then you're my disciples.

Indeed he that sayeth that I know him and doesn't keep his commandments as a liar and doesn't obey the truth. They went out from us because they were not of us. If they were of us, they no doubt would have continued with us, but they went out that it might mean may manifest.

They were not all of us. It's, it's, it's not obedience that saves. It's salvation that produces that it's leafs on the tree.

The leaf doesn't produce life. It reveals life, right? So, so it says if we hide our gospel, it is hit to them that are lost and who the God of this world, Jesus calls Satan, the prince of this world who blinds the minds of them which believe not.

The Bible is clear. Before we were saved, we were all under blindness. Ephesians five eight says, for ye were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

First Peter two nine. God called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, and the reason we're in the dark is sin produces darkness in our hearts. Men love darkness rather than light, right? Satan produces darkness in our life and rejection from God. Romans one 21 and 22 says when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imagination and their foolish heart was darkened.

Self deception. Darkness is a divine judgment. When Jesus went to the cross, what happened to everything in the middle of the day at night?

From noon to three and went pitch black. Judgment is found in darkness. The Bible tells us the unbelievers will be cast into outer darkness and what's the only remedy for the darkness is the light. First John one five says this in the message that we have and heard of him and declared to you that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. What did, what did Paul see when Jesus came to him? He said it got real dark. Is that what he said? No, he said it got brighter than the brightness of the sun.

Lost my eyesight. John eight 12 then spake Jesus again into them saying, I am the light of the world. He that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 12 46 I am coming light in the world and the remedy is bringing the light. You know the Bible talks about when John the Baptist came, he came to give light. When God commissioned Paul to preach in acts 26 18 he says, what did you cause them to do through preaching to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God that they may receive forgiveness of sins. Opening their eyes. When somebody gets saved, you're opening their eyes. Had a man told me today, I've heard your preaching. I just don't fully understand it for some reason.

Like I hear the information. I just can't grasp it like, like, and I said, you know why? Cause first Corinthians two, right? It's Corinthians two verse 14 says the natural man doesn't discern the things of the spirit.

They're foolishness to him. The spirit of God's the one who turns the light on for you. It's like reading in the dark. If you're lost, it is a supernatural event where he awakens your eyes and you're like, I get it.

I get it. That's it. And so Jesus, you know what Jesus said at the end of his life in should say in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew five 14 he told the disciples, he said, you're the light of the world. What are we called? Lighthouse Baptist church because we're to be a lighthouse. And uh, you know, one thing that's important about light, you really want to make sure you put it in a good place. You don't put a candle in the corner, you put it in the middle of the room.

And Matthew five 15 he says, neither do men light a candle, put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick that he giveth light to a whole house. You know, we came to Xenia, we, we looked at seven different locations. God shut the door to everyone except this 14 acre corner. Do you know of a better spot if you could have rewound yourself 20 years ago and said, where'd be a good place to start a church in Xenia?

Yeah, he, he just right there. I remember six months before we came here and me and my brother grabbed hands outside here. Really the only time I ever driven through Xenia looking for a building and only place we got out and prayed and it was just a tree farm out there at this time.

I mean, trees out, boy scouts were selling trees out front. This place was shut down and we said, God, may you take this place and we prayed that God would allow it to be a lighthouse for the gospel. We've seen thousands of people come to know Christ through the grace of God, that gift of mercy. And he tells us in Matthew five 16 let's, let's maybe close out with that verse.

He says, let, let's all read that together. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father, which is in heaven. So if you want to, if you want to end well, like if you don't want to just begin ministry and serve and begin to be used by God, but you want to get to your end of your life, say I fought a good fight.

I finished the course. I've kept the faith. Remember that ministry is a gift of mercy. We don't have to go to church. We get to go to church. We don't have to agree.

We get to agree. We don't have to work on a cleaning team. We get to work.

We don't have to work in nursery. We get to work in there. We don't have to do this or that. We get to do that.

Everything is we get to. This is a great honor and privilege. Secondly, have integrity. Be a person of integrity. Be clean. And then thirdly, realize the gospel we preach is the only hope for this lost world. We can't quit.

We're going to look at five more things. Lord willing next time. Okay, let's all stay in this evening. Maybe tonight you just need to come and take a moment in prayer.

We invite you. You can do that at the altar or at your seat if you need to make a spiritual decision. Maybe tonight you need to commit your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. Maybe you need to make a spiritual decision of surrendering to the Lord.

Some thing in your life. We invite you to make that decision tonight. Father, we thank you for your word tonight. What a joy. We thank you for the struggles that Paul went through. I know they weren't easy. Lord, it gives us such strength to read about his perseverance. Thank you for women like Amy Carmichael. Thank you for those dear souls in India, those little children who got saved from her faithfulness.

God, I pray that you would bless tonight. Help us to be those who are faithful when discouragement and inevitably those trials come. Lord, let us not allow small things to keep us from serving you. How on earth can we ever get burned out of serving when we have been given such mercy? Let us set our expectations right. Love you, be balanced, but serve with joy. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-12 12:12:34 / 2023-05-12 12:34:28 / 22

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