Today, as my wife and I pulled away from the beautiful Georgian architecture of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, I couldn’t help but feel a strange sense of pride in our Christian body. I’m not sure if pride is the right word, but I left the campus with a glow. It is not that I feel my religion is some sort of great legacy, rather it is that we as a community of believers are living within the legacy of a certain man’s word; our God’s Word. We read the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:35 that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” We are a people who are to be living for the new heavens, which will meet the new earth in God’s glorious New Creation.
Jesus did not establish a nation, he did not establish a language group, and he did not establish a building with over-sized scissors and bright red ribbon. Our Jesus established a body for which he gave his own. From the time that his grace brought the new covenant, until the time of my writing this blogpost, our Lord has spread his own legacy; a kingdom wherein we his people all safely dwell. Hear the encouragement that our scripture gives us in Hebrews 12:26-29:
“At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.””
Southern seminary’s campus is beautiful and it has a prestigious scholarly history, but beyond pomp and frills, it is simply a facility. The power within it is what makes the difference; women and men who seek to advance the Gospel, who seek to grow the kingdom of God, occupy that place. Our church has the same prestige, each member of the body of Christ walks about in the glowing armor of God – the body of Christ. As my family and I drove away from the campus today, those buildings whether they stand or fall serve as reminder alongside two thousand years of fellow kingdom builders; we share together in the brightness of our future kingdom.
We are not here to simply build structures, but when we do the goal is for the sake of Christ. When I come back to church next week it is for the purpose of serving in that legacy of old and the legacy still to come. When we go about the simplest task we are a people living within the legacy of our Christ, wrapped in the blanket of newness as a little child entering the light of the world. Let us embrace the fact that not only are we strangers in this place but we’re strangers who change it into our own home step by step as we learn to walk in the new kingdom. We live for a kingdom that will last and so what we do in word or deed for the sake of Christ (Colossians 3:17), we have the promise of knowing that we’ll see the seed someday again as a mighty oak and thank God our Father for his sovereign hand pulling the legacy ever toward his goal.
Enjoy the legacy in which we serve. Pray in joy today that Christ is using you, along with your church family, to grow his kingdom and ask him how you might plant seeds that you will meet again as full-grown trees.
Pastor Chris Osterbrock
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