Garland Of Grace – 03.01.12

Lessons From the Historical Fire at a Historical Building

Last week we saw one of the most historical buildings in Jackson go up in flames.  It was a very sad event for many members of the First Baptist Church of Jackson. To begin with, our hearts and prayers go out to those impacted by this unexpected turn of events. Even though the church had relocated to its current facility back in 1980, there was something very special about this historic place of worship. After reading the church website and Pastor Justin’s blog, it is evident that the healing process has already begun. But whether it has been fires or tornadoes, it seems as if downtown Jackson has received a beating in recent years, giving the downtown community a new landscape of sorts. I wanted to share five truths with you this morning about the Christian life in light this recent fire.

1. Though the fire took everyone by surprise, it did not take God by surprise.  As the building was constructed in the early 1900’s, God in His sovereignty knew how long this man made structure would last, and the day it would come down. Nothing throws God a curve ball. He does not have to tune in to the news to know what is going on; for He is the author of all news.

2.  The fire reminds us that the church is not a building, but rather the believing congregation.  What a glorious truth to know that the church is not constructed with bricks and mortar, but with the people of God. We are the hands and feet of Jesus in service to Him.  We are His bride; He is the Bridegroom.  And whether our meeting place is destroyed by wind, fire, or anything else, nothing can sever our eternally secure relationship with our Bridegroom Jesus.

3. The fire foreshadows the ultimate truth that everything on this earth will eventually burn up.  Nothing is eternal on this planet except our souls.  God has created us as eternal beings, and we will either spend eternity in heaven or hell.  But none of the earthly structures and possessions of this temporal home will last.  They are scheduled to go up in flames by the sovereign hand of our good God.

4. There is a value lesson here as well.  What is really important…what really matters is the fact that no one lost their life.  We might lose earthly things like a building and the contents within, but what is most valuable is man; the crowning glory of the creation of God.  We are the only aspect of creation made in the image of God, and this makes us uniquely special.  Yet even if someone had lost their life, we should submit to the Lordship of Christ, and trust Him in His eternal wisdom.

5.  An event like this helps us move forward in life.  Not that we relish and enjoy such a horrific event; to the contrary…but it does help us see eternal matters from a more panoramic perspective, and know that we cannot serve the Lord effectively if we hold on to the past. Tough events such as these nudge our hearts to stay on the present track in service to our Lord. We are called to learn from the past, not live in the past.

Take time out today and ponder these truths. Continue to pray for our sister church, First Baptist Church Jackson.

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