by Pastor Afolabi Oladele
I rarely go out to buy gifts, but at short notice I was to attend the birthday party of a friend of mine, and a dear brother. So I went out of my way for the first time to look for something. I had a friend who went with me and all I had in mind was to get a pair of shoes for him, because being a preacher, Ephesians 5:16 came to my head and I said “What more can a man of God need other than for his feet be shod with the gospel of good tidings.” But as I went towards the stall, something began to knob in my spirit, “why don’t you go to a bookshop instead?” So I went to a bookstore not knowing that God had a message there for me. It was right there that I received the inspiration for this message which is meant for the church in Nigeria. As I looked around the store, I saw the carving of a lighthouse, and something struck me about it. As I beheld the lighthouse and the scripture that was written on it, I felt God’s presence overflow me and I knew God had a word that needed to be said.
I got to understand exactly what God was speaking about when He said in Matthew 5:13-14: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”
I believe that those who invented the lighthouse must have taken inspiration from this scripture because the dynamics, the construction and the purpose of a lighthouse is revealed in this word. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid—and if you look at the picture of a lighthouse, its major identity is its height, which makes it to be seen across miles. Wherever you are, you can behold it but the lighthouse has its own purpose.
The scripture continues in Matthew 5:15 “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” This speaks of a combination of two things—a figure that is significant enough, placed at a vantage point that people will see but it also has to be associated with its light and the light has a purpose in itself. A man does not light a candle and put it under a bushel. In other words, don’t cover the light up but put it on a candlestick so it can give light to those that are in the house. The metaphor that Jesus puts in this scripture speaks not only concerning a light on a hill which is something that is particular that you find everywhere but also a light in the house. So you should understand that even within the house, whether it’s in your families or wherever it is, there is something of significance that God reveals as to what the life and the characteristics that a lighthouse must show.
What is a Lighthouse? Wikipedia gives us a definition that a lighthouse is a tower, a building or any other type of structure that is designed (1) To emit light from a system of lamps and lenses (2) To be an aid to navigation.
Lighthouses serve three definitive purposes.
1. They mark out dangerous coarse lines
2. Hazardous rocks, reefs and things that can make you to crash and
3. It also shows you a safe entry without crashing.
If our ministrations to you or any other so-called ministration do not answer to these issues, they are fake, false and counterfeit. Three cases that a lighthouse is intended to deal with are to show you the dangerous course lines to avoid, to get to a place of safety. If there is no lighthouse then there will be trouble, as we see in Acts 27:40-41.
Paul and his team were going ashore but there was no lighthouse there to give them direction. They got stuck in a place where two seas met, a place that was subjected to greater danger. If there was a physical lighthouse present, they would have been warned from going through that way but there wasn’t a lighthouse. They got stuck and ran aground and the part of the ship that was stuck in the ground was safe because it was anchored on something but the portion that was not anchored was hit by the storm and was destroyed.
I am trying to let you understand that in this journey of faith and in these last days we are in, you need a true and a spiritual lighthouse, both as a church and as an individual. Are you a lighthouse in the way the word of God speaks about? If ever there was a need in our times for a spiritual lighthouse in the church and in the land, this is such a time because the church and the nation are in the fog of spiritual darkness and confusion as to which part to follow. Many are standing in amazement, wondering what next is going to happen. We are like in the days of Elijah when he stood before the people and said “Today, choose whom you are going to serve; if God is God indeed and you want to serve him or if it is Baal you want to serve.” Such is the confusion that you find around. Different kinds of strange doctrines permeating the church and people are wondering what is next and for this course we declare to make a number of things very plain to you concerning the church in Nigeria. Hear the word of the Lord today so that you will know where you stand and where you want to go.
A lighthouse must fulfill the reason of its existence. First, it must be seen for it to be of any use. If the lighthouse is not seen like the example we saw, ships would run aground. If it was there and people didn’t notice it, it’s of no use. You Christian Brother or sister, who have heard the word of God over the years, what impact has your life been as a lighthouse wherever you are? How have you been a marker to the people around you so that they do not make shipwreck of their faith? What is the testimony of the light of Christ which you have emitted in showing people the truth? Do you even know the truth yourself?
Not only must a lighthouse be seen, it must be recognized for what it is when it is seen because if it is seen and it is not known, then a lighthouse is still of no use. Today, this nation is filled with so many strange lighthouses. In this nation, you will find churches in every corner and street especially in this Lagos city. On the radio, there are so many radio preachers of the so-called gospel; so many television preachers all proclaiming the message that speaks to self fulfillment according to the standard of worldly measures. But is that what God has called us to?
Prophetically, this hour was spoken about as the perilous times of the last days, so let me show you from the word of God why there are so many strange lighthouses in our nation that come under the name Christian. There has been so much corruption brought into the Body of Christ by these strange lighthouse preachers. But I have come to tell them that this is the time to stop and let it be heard in the four corners of this nation, “As the Lord lives, judgment will surely comes upon the church in our country and except the nation and the churches themselves repent, God himself will visit the entire assemblies across the length and breadth of this nation with horrors that they never imagine.”
2 Chronicles 18:1 tells the story of two kings united by history but they were differentiated by practice of religion. “Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab”. Jehoshaphat was one king that feared God but it got to a point after God had blessed him, he did not know exactly where he ought to be and he joined affinity with Ahab, who was an evil king, who joined Israel unto the religion of Zidon. Both Ahab and Jehoshaphat got to riches in different ways. Jehoshaphat got to riches by honouring God, while Ahab got rich by evil means. But Jehoshaphat was blinded and except that God had mercy upon him, he would have ended up dying a death that didn’t belong to him. All these because he listened to false prophets (2 Chronicles 18:1-5).
Take note of something from this scripture: the preponderance of false prophets, (Prophet-Liars as Pastor Dele would call them), four hundred men! I am saying this because I want to awaken you to the fact that there are multitudes of those who are parading and masquerading themselves as pastors, bishops and men of God, but they are evil people who have forsaken the word of God and perpetuate lies.
2 Chronicles 18:6-7 “But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.”
Child of God, take note: you will be hated and be slapped for speaking God’s truth, just as Micaiah was.
2 Chronicles 18: 8- 10“And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in their robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made him horns of iron, and said, Thus saith the LORD, With these thou shalt push Syria until they be consumed”. . . .
I need to bring you to a clear understanding to what has been going on in Christendom in Nigeria. Ahab’s plan was to go to Ramothgilead, and the prophecy of four hundred men was in alignment with what was in Ahab’s heart. Nobody sought the will of God and that is what you see all around us today. Those so-called men of God, they know you want a child, so they tell you, “God will give you a child!” They know you are broke and so they preach abundance of money to you. But who is seeking the will of God? All the messages they preach, place more emphasis on answering to people’s need than on finding out the will of God concerning a person. They want to box God into a corner and appeal to the minds of people as if God is duty-bound to give what they are asking for.
I have come with the word of God for you to deliver yourself. God is instructing you to come out of such churches, under whatever guise they are. Get out of them because they will lead you to hell! They preach and play upon what is in your heart as if God must fulfill them. God is not a yes-yes God; He is God indeed who rules over the affairs of men, who does everything according to His good pleasure. We are to give Him pleasure; He is not to give us pleasure. Let’s speak to ourselves and amend our ways.
Four hundred false prophets continued to speak the same thing. The characteristics of these prophet liars or praise singers for whom prophecy was to manipulate God, professional prophets they are, who merely repeat people’s desires in an attempt to ensure God granting them. But I ask you, whose desires should come first, God’s or man’s? God’s will is that we should prosper, but the prosperity of our souls comes first. Is that not what the scriptures say in Matthew 6:33? Or is the prosperity of the soul in riding private jets when souls are perishing in different places? An axe is set against the roots of these wicked men, liars that manipulate people under the name of pastor or whatever they call themselves. The truth needs to be said. Should not the will of God come first? Jehoshaphat understood the difference but Jehoshaphat also failed. If you were Jehoshaphat, when you heard the truth from Micaiah, shouldn’t you have just packed yourself out of that place? But emotion covered his mind, and in wanting to be associated with the rich and popular, he was led into something that almost cost him his life. That is why I say to you reading this word, as the Lord gives you understanding, come out of such congregations. If you stay there continuously, as they sought to shoot Jehoshaphat but for God’s mercy, so will you go down when these men of wickedness are pulled down!
Am I saying this because I have attained unto perfection? No! But I press on because I know the truth of Him who called me, not to meddle with the lies of men that have changed the truth of God into lasciviousness. Look at their numbers and see the parallels, these false prophets, just like Zedekiah son of Kinanah prophesied for gain, they seek self-advantage, as you read him say to Micaiah, “Where did the spirit of God go from me to you?”, as if the spirit of God is his exclusive prerogative. And that is what you find in churches today, everyone trying to outdo the other, every man trying to have advantage by boasting with their large congregation size, or competing in building mega-churches, thereby multiplying lies, not knowing they are building structures they call churches where you find crooks and all kinds of evil men and they call them congregations? Be careful! You may not like this but the truth must be said!
These false prophets seeking self advantage, they become deceived by their own vain thinking. Micaiah, the son of Imla, spoke for God and he was physically abused. We expect physical abuse at some stage. Consider also, Jeremiah and Hananiah in Jeremiah 28? He was slapped, kicked and put in a dungeon but he was right at the end of the day when the word of God was fulfilled. If you go with the song: “Me, I no go suffer…” you will end up in hell! We must understand that this is part of our calling, and those who would live a righteous life as Peter said, must suffer persecution. You need to understand one thing—don’t fall prey to your blind lust for worldly acclaim, however well justified those lying spirits blind you to the warnings of the Lord. Beware of the overwhelming presence of evil personified by worldly abundance. This was what deceived Jehoshaphat, he compared riches and moved his throne from where God asked him to the land of wickedness. Dear child of God, what are you doing in that vain assembly? Look for a true BIBLE PRACTICING CHURCH!
In the midst of all these kinds of lighthouses unleashed upon the people, both true and false, what then are the primary and most important distinctive features of quality and authenticity of a true lighthouse? This is the crux of the matter. There are two things; one is the penetrative power of the light. How many of you have watched the movie of Charles Dickens book ‘Great Expectations’? In it, the ship that crashed from which the prisoners escaped was in a deep fog which covered the entire place so that the men driving the ship ran into something and that was where two prisoners escaped according that story. One became the benefactor of Pip and the other was his enemy, but that is not our story.
I am trying to bring to your attention the thick fog that is covering our entire nation, resulting in confusion in the political realm and confusion also in the church where people have abandoned the basics of the word of God. I want to talk about that power of the penetrative light that allows the light to be seen in the thick weather even at a great distance. That penetrative power of that light is something that we need to strive to attain to.
The light has two things; there is a character of the light itself and there is a sustaining power, that is, how long can it endure? And the light that I want to deal with, which is most important to me, are the things that form the heart of what God committed to us. I want to show you that every living church must stand on two legs, for that is where stability comes from.
Matthew 28:19-20 NLT “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age”
Number 1: Make disciples of all the nations. How do you make disciples? By preaching the basic gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and whosoever shall believe on the name of the Lord shall be saved, that’s what Romans 10 tells us.
Number 2: Teach them to obey the Lord’s commands. A church that is not witnessing, an assembly that is not out there making disciples and bringing them home is not a living church; it will collapse at one point. Because to disciple is really to shape someone into the image of Christ – make one behave like Jesus (I John 4:17b). We love to teach because it puts us inside the four walls of a church. Nobody wants to go out and make disciples; they love to have you inside the church so they can collect your money.
Those are the two legs that Jesus gave even at the time of His physical life. I also want to show you from the things that God delivered into the hands of Paul because God has repeated them to me in recent times, as though saying to me, “Don’t leave the track, this is what I told you to do.”
1. Be a minister and a witness, of what He says to you and of the things which He will reveal to you. Acts 26:16 “But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee”. Now, some are constantly looking for new truths. Yes, revelation is progressive, but what God was going to reveal to Paul will never contradict what Paul already knew. New truth does not destroy the foundation. So whatever your prophets tell you by way of revelation, must never contradict the foundation that Jesus gave us.
2. Acts 26:17 “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee” 2.The word ‘Deliver” suggests saving from danger. If they were not going to face risks and trouble with the people, why would He use the word “deliver thee?” God warned Paul right from the onset, that he would have trouble from the people he was to minister to. In other words, God was saying, wherever you take this word, wherever you are going to be a witness of the things that I will show you, you are going to have trouble. Then where did the gospel of “Me I no go suffer” come from?
3. Acts 26:18 “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”
You who listens to the word of God, if what you are been told in your assemblies don’t line up with this word of God, and you are going deeper into sin every day, then you are a candidate of hell and those who are preaching to you are also servants of hell! The functions of the lighthouse churches is to open people’s eyes, turn them from darkness to light, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith in Christ, not in money as if money is the solution to everything in this world. That is total nonsense! Everything that we stand for is founded upon the faith that we have in Christ. Wherever Jesus spoke concerning a lighthouse, you will find Him speaking again and saying: “Be careful how you hear.” (Mark 4: 21-23).
If you look at that same verse in the New Living Translation it says, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand” (NLT) Mark 4:23.
In the Message Bible, it is written as “Are you listening to this? Really listening? Mark 4:23 (MSG)”. Really listening means understanding what it is been said. In other words, the lighthouse, the true spiritual lighthouse, has a message that needs to be understood clearly and it takes grace and that grace is been released in this word for you to hear it and understand it well so that you don’t fall prey. If the things that you are been told, that you are been taught do not line up with the revelation and the purpose that God defines as declared by Paul, be careful, get out of the place and mark us by same standard, not only as we preach but also as we live. All of you members of churches must evaluate your leaders on this same element; and all of you who minister to others must constantly evaluate what you preach for conformity to the character of what was delivered to us by Christ. We go to illustrate that it goes beyond just declarations, but the proof is in the manner of the way we live.
Paul began to say this to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:10-16. Light in its configuration has penetrative power that its reflectors carry out from wherever the light was been concentrated, and that is what you saw the likes of Titus and Timothy, in doing exactly what was committed to them, they concentrated the light further and everybody was seeing them. And that is what Paul was saying “Follow me as I follow Jesus Christ,”; “Let no man despise your youth”; “Be an example in faith, in purity and so on”. Paul could boldly speak this to Timothy because he was sure of his stand. And I say to you, if our lives differ from the fundamental that you have seen in the word of God, then we are not worth standing before you to declare the counsel of the word to you. But if we are, then concentrate those lights in your life so that you will be true reflectors that make for that strong penetrative power. Stop waiting to be called a pastor or deacon, when God has poured so much into your lives that you can go out there are declare the truth and be who God wants you to be. How long are you going to keep your light under the bushel? How long? Remember also that suffering and persecution will come, but God will help us that we do not fail. If you truly follow Jesus, then come to terms with this and be ready. All those evil perpetrators of lies that are contrary to the truth of the gospel will be exposed and countered by the word of God and the power of His Spirit.
Another characteristic of a true lighthouse is sustainability of the light. How do you sustain the power of light so that it can last as long as possible? When we talk about carriers of the flame, the real power of the carriers of the flame actually lies in sustainability. This is seen in all the people who followed David. So many of them killed more giants than David; that is the concentrated effect of the penetrative power of the light to carry the Word and reflect it. God did it then and He would do it again if there are people who understand what God is saying and are willing to let themselves to it.
Let’s come to terms on the characteristics of a spiritual lighthouse: there must be the passing of light to reflectors who not only repeat but concentrate the power of the light such that its message is unmistakable to those who are looking to them for direction. Because it’s possible for a man to see a light without seeing the body of the lighthouse and he is not sure if the light is from a lighthouse or from a sank ship. The only way he would know the light is in the character of what the light emits. Some lights are flashy, some lights are below the horizon while some are above the horizon; that’s the manner of the different gifting that the Lord has given but together the man who sees the light knows “yes, this is the original and I will follow it.”
What is our message producing? Timothy and Titus were direct examples of reflectors. What can we point to along the character of what the word reveals? Style, comportment and manner of delivery may differ but the message is consistent. The heart of the message in Acts 26 and Matthew 28, is to open the eyes of the people, with the objective to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to power of God, that they may receive an inheritance amongst those who have been sanctified by the faith that is in Jesus Christ, not the abundance of money or whatever it is.
I was flustered when I heard about a pastor whose congregation put together over four million dollars to buy him a private jet as a birthday gift and I said “Lord, where are we going to and where are we today?” Do you know that there are still places in Eastern Nigeria that they have not heard the gospel, as educated as they are over there? I know because that is my job. When Pastor Dele went to see the Kanuri people in the hard lands of Kogi state, what did you find out? They couldn’t get a pastor, of which all they needed to pay a pastor was N15, 000 a month to have him pastor the believers there. How much do you spend on your coke? And then somebody says 4.9 million dollars to buy a private jet? There are many and like that and they tell me they are believers? God have mercy! Show me the scripture that says as a pastor I must drive a four-wheel drive? It is not written in God’s word, but we have turned the things that God gives us to fulfill His purpose to ourselves so that we can be compared with the world. Those things will surely perish.
Another key characteristic of a true lighthouse is the enduring stability of where it is stayed. Acts 27:40-41 “And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore. And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.” The fore stuck fast and remained unmovable, became secured and nothing could shake it but the hinder part was broken by the violence of the wind because it was not in a place that was secured. The security, the enduring stability of where you are standing as a church is very important.
Everybody is looking for new truths; the scripture says the path of the righteous is like a shining light that shines brighter and brighter, it tells you the progressiveness of the revelation of God, yet I say, every new word that God gives can never contradict the foundation of His truth. So when they come with their new religious fad, don’t be carried away by it. And you acclaimed teachers of fresh revelation, who act as though the party just started when you came on the scene, what about those who went before you, you think you have more anointing than them? God’s word and His truth have been and will always stand sure, and that is why He cautioned us in Revelation 22:19 that “whoever adds a dot, a tittle to my word, I will add all the plagues and all the woes unto his life. Whoever takes away, I will take his part away from the book of life.” I am not the writer, God wrote it.