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Because we lived along the East Coast for so many years, we've had the opportunity to see many of America's old lighthouses. I love them. But not long ago we came up over the top of a hill on an interstate and I saw what I certainly never expected to see hundreds of miles from an ocean. It was a lighthouse with a bright, functioning light on top. Obviously, it wasn't there to point any ships in the right direction. Actually, it was part of a church that stands right near the highway. See, this lighthouse is for people!
We know that Jesus said that those who belong to Him are "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:16). And Matthew 4:16, our word for today from the Word of God, tells us which direction our light should be pointing. Jesus says, "The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned." See, it's the people in spiritual darkness, that people who are spiritually dying who should be the focus of all this light God has given us.
The problem is that often we're content to have all the lights inside the church, shining on those who are already headed for heaven. Meanwhile, we let countless lost people just get another day closer to hell. We do what's easy. We just work with the sheep who are already in, when Jesus said He would leave ninety-nine of those just to go out and find one lost one. But notice, you have to go out to find them. You can't just stay in the Christian cocoon waiting for someone to stick their head in the door and say, "Excuse me, but is there any light in here?" The lighthouse needs to be out where they are!
We can go to all our Christian meetings, fellowship with all our Christian friends, enjoy all our Christian books and programs, and we feel like we must be winning. Not when two-thirds of Americans can't tell you half of the Ten Commandments or who did the Sermon on the Mount! Not when the number of people who say they believe in nothing has doubled in the last ten years, and the number of those who are self-declared witches has grown over 1,500% in a decade. Even in one Bible Belt state, the statistics just came in: two-thirds of the people even there are essentially un-churched! You have working near you, living near you, going to school with you people who have no idea that what Jesus did on the cross was for them and that He's their only hope! If our Christian subculture makes us feel like we're winning, that is the illusion of winning.
How can we be content to spend all our time with the already rescued when we are living surrounded by a sea of dying people? How can we say that we're following the One who came, as He said, to "seek and save what was lost" and not be doing that with all our heart? If you're following Jesus, I'll tell you where He's going. He's always headed for a sea of lost people. That should be where we end up, too. Oh, it's bright inside the lighthouse, but it's very dark outside the walls.
So many headed for eternal destruction! They desperately need a lighthouse that is out where they are, pointing them to life in Jesus Christ. Be their lighthouse!
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