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The Lighthouse



"The Lighthouse"

By Pastor Bill Monroe
Florence Baptist Temple, Florence, SC

Text:  Isaiah 9:2 "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."

Introduction:  On the outer banks of North Carolina lie the most dangerous stretch of ocean in North Carolina.  Over the past 400 years, over 300 ships have been lost in this area which is called, "The Graveyard of the Atlantic".  The problem is a 14 mile stretch of sandbar, that is constantly shifting, called "Diamond Shoals".

Recognizing the great need in this area, the government constructed a lighthouse on Cape Hatteras in 1870.

Note:  By Day the navigators could tell where they were on the coast by the unique painting & design of the lighthouse and by night, they could tell which lighthouse it was by the frequency of the flash.

I.  The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

    A.  Massive Structure - Largest Lighthouse in the United States

            1.  208 feet tall with 48" thick walls.  1.25 million bricks were used in it's
                    construction and there are 248 cast iron steps to the light.
            2.  Many will recognize the familiar Black and White Candy Stripe design.

    B.  The Purpose:  To project light to save lives and property

            1. Apply:  What A Symbol!

                    a.  World is a Dark and Dangerous place
                    b.  Purpose of a church is to project the light!
                    c.  BBFI

            2.  Concern that we are forgetting our purpose

                    a. Purpose - NOT primarily social

Illustration:  Our purpose is not saving the homeless, starving, 3rd world, dysfunctional, abused, lesbian whale.

                    b.  Purpose - NOT fellowship, praise and worship, family ministry.

            3.  Jesus Left No Question

                    a.  The Soul is more important than Body and Eternity than Time
                    b.  Who is Better off?  Lazarus, a poor man in Heaven or the Rich man in Hell?
                    c.  Matthew 16:26  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world,
                        and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

    C.  Apply:  Send the Light!  Rescue the Perishing!!

            1.  Never be satisfied!  Expect More!  Pray for More!  PLOW!
            2.  Throw the Net!  Catch every Kind!  Throw None Back!

II.  The Light

    A.  The Skillful use of prisms made it possible to focus the
            mirror and intensify & project the light

            1.  Originally whale oil fueled the all night flame - 46 gallons a night.  Later on Oil Vapor.
            2.  Electricity came and a number of 1,000 watt bulb with 800,000 candlepower was the light

                a.  This light was visible for over 20 miles
                b.  The light flashed at Cape Hatteras ever 7.5 seconds.

    B.  Apply:  Jesus is the Light of the World

        1.  The Gospel is called "the light",  2 Corinthians 4:4 "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 unto them."
        2.  John the Baptist - Sent to bear witness of the Light -- JESUS

III.  The Lighthouse Keeper

    A.  Mission:  At any cost, Keep the Light Burning!

            1.  His duty was to Clean, Maintain, and Repair the Light
            2.  His responsibility if the flame burnt low, lenses got dirty or the wick needed trimming.

    B.  The first keeper:  Adam Gaskins - $333 per year & home

            1.  Worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The lighthouse burned for
                    129 years which is 47,000 nights.
            2.  Keepers were first called "The Keeper of the Flame"!

    C.  Apply:  We are the "Keepers of the Flame!"

            1.  Darker the night - the greater the need
            2.  Better to light One Candle than to Curse the Darkness

IV.  The Moving of the Lighthouse

    A.  Originally, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was 1500 ft from
            the shore.  Erosion had brought the water within 150 ft.

            1.  They decided to move it 2900 feet Southwest and 1600 feet inland.
            2.  Last year 1999, it was in all the papers.  They moved the
                 lighthouse.  The International Chimney corporation of Booklyn, New
                 York did the moving and they have a saying, "If you can build
                  it, we can move it, IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH MONEY."  The U.S.
                 government spent 12.5 million.  They jacked it up and built railroad
                 tracks to the new location.  People from miles around came around
                 and camped out to watch them move the lighthouse.  At 2-3 feet a
                 day, they all got bored and went home.  Why?  Cause you couldn't
                 really tell it was moving at all.

    B.  When they moved it - 3 Things happened.

            1.  They changed it's purpose

                    a.  Now it is a Park and a Museum

                        1)  People go to admire it, enjoy it and learn - But
                                NO ONE IS SAVED.
                        2)  Apply:  Churches ... Life Saving Stations can become Museums

                    b.  Apply:  David Mobere - "Socialized Cycle of Church Growth"
                        Churches start with a sincere desire to save sinners (or to that affect)
                        but as they become more established they forget the original purpose.

Illustration:  Up and down the coastlines of the east coast are Yacht Clubs in each city.  They started out as Rescue stations.  Through the years they found out it was more fun to socialize than to rescue.  They forgot their purpose.

            2.  It no longer provides Guidance

                    a.  Lighthouse Don't Move ....
                    b.  Apply:  Churches

            3.  The original problem still exists

                    a.  Diamond Shoals is still a 14 mile shifting sandbar off the coast
                    b.  It is still called the "Graveyard of the Atlantic."

NOTE:  Reminds me of a dangerous world that is constantly changing.

    C.  Apply:  Independent Baptists/BBF

            1.  It's O.K. to innovate and modernize
            2.  But Our purpose must not change

                    a.  Build a Great Church!
                    b.  Stay True to Certain Principles

                          1)  Evangelism
                          2)  Baptist Doctrine
                          3)  Missions
                          4)  Building People
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