Hello Alabama Baptist, I’m Greg Corbin, Senior Pastor at Lakeside Baptist in Birmingham.
I’m standing here in the lobby of our church where on a normal Sunday I’m out here greeting hundreds of folks as they come in to worship. Like all of you, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that and I’ve really missed it, but now all of our churches are looking toward reopening, regathering our people, and revisioning what does our church need to look like on the other side of this and in the future, and what do we need to do, how do we need to do it? And so, those are great challenges. They can be really unsettling as we look at it, and I couldn’t help but think about another time in the life of the Lord’s churches that was a challenging time.
There was only one surviving apostle left. He was in exile on the island of Patmos, the apostle John, and the Lord gave him a vision and the word that is recorded in the book of Revelation. Now, we know that in the early chapters he speaks to seven churches in that area. We’re familiar with the church at Ephesus that had lost it’s first love. The church Laodicea who was the lukewarm church. And so, it’s great to study God’s word to these churches and to every church, but before that he had a vision of the Lord Jesus and the Lord Jesus standing among the churches.
In Revelation chapter one verse 12 John says this, he says, “I turned to see the voice that spoke to me “and I turned and I saw seven golden lampstands”, that’s the seven churches, “and in the midst of the seven lampstands “one like the Son of God “clothed with a garment down to his feet, “girded about the chest with a golden band.”
John saw the Lord Jesus standing among his churches. And then, Jesus had a specific word. If you read on down to verse 17, John said, “When I saw him I fell at his feet as dead, “but he laid his right hand on me saying this to me”, here’s Jesus’ word, he said, “‘Do not be afraid, I am the first and the last.'” In other words, I’m the beginning and the end and everything in between. I’m in control. “‘I’m he who lives, was dead, “‘and behold I’m alive forevermore.'”
And so, just as Jesus was in the midst of his churches then, he is in the midst of his churches now. Take heart, he is the first and last. He is totally in control. He is alive forevermore. And the hope of my church and the hope of your church is the Lord of the church. Take courage, take heart, and let’s serve him and do his will. Have a great day.