We do not do ministry in a vacuum.
St. Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church:
“For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:9).
A great and effective door is opened to RTS today. We have eight campuses, 2,700 students, broadcasts, preaching, books, and Gospel influence going forth from our original campus of Jackson, Mississippi to impact centers in Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington DC, Memphis, Houston, RTS Virtual as well as ministries in Indonesia and Brazil. We have church study centers emerging in cities around the nation and a Virtual campus that aims to partner with like minded believers in the Global Cities of the earth to train pastors and church planters to advance the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We literally have more invitations, more Macedonian calls to minister than we can take on at once. These are not evidences of our work but God’s power and God’s plan to send us to prayer for His workers for His harvest.
Yet there are many adversaries. The devil, the flesh and the world conspire to stop our witness and our work for Jesus Christ. We are not unaware of the conspirators’ devices, but we are fixed on the Savior’s power. For some who curse Christ today will preach Him tomorrow. Some nations who oppose Him today will know the outpouring of His Spirit in revival tomorrow. Thus, we walk through the open doors of ministry. There is not a vacuum. There is opposition. But the Kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdom of our God and His Christ. And we will trust in the One who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, and the hope of our ministry. He will be victorious and adversaries will either bow to Him in repentance and faith or be lost.
And so we welcome you, or welcome you back, to RTS. There is an open door for you: to study, to pray, to witness, and to grow deeper in the Lord in order to share Him with the world. This is an open door for you. And there are many adversaries that will seek to stop your forward movement in faith: fear, finances, frailty of spirit, falling from the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life, spiritual pride, unhealthy patterns of life, neglect of family, and perhaps even exhaustion. Yet greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world. My prayer for you and all of our campuses and all of our students is that you will walk through this open door called study and preparation at RTS in order for you to walk through the open doors of ministry that await you.
There has never been a greater opportunity for Gospel witness. And there has never been as many adversaries that conspire to stop that witness. But remember: some of you cursed Christ yesterday and now you are preparing to preach Him tomorrow. This is the ruling Gospel motif: the very things which seek to stop the advance of the Gospel, through prayer and the sovereign work of a loving God, become the things that advance the Kingdom and the things that will carry you forward.
The Lord of the Open Door who saved you, who called you, who raised up this seminary to prepare you, is the Lord who turns adversaries, like Paul, into preachers, and a Roman cross into the very thing that that is our hope.
Welcome to this open door and may every adversary be removed, overcome in Christ, or transformed into that which propels you to that lost soul, that dark nation, that broken heart, that longs to hear what you will study.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.