These past few months have been exhilarating and exhausting, confusing and critical, reinvigorating and refreshing, draining and desperate, and finally, it has forced innovation and creativity. This week will mark the first week Woodmont Baptist Church will have an on-campus gathering since moving online only a few weeks ago. As we move toward that gathering, I want to remind you of the faithfulness of our God from 1 Peter 1.
In 1 Peter 1:1, Peter addresses his letter to those “chosen, living as exiles dispersed abroad in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,” believers scattered or dispersed all around the known world at the time. Persecution scattered the early church, a virus has scattered the modern church. It has scattered believers from Woodmont Baptist Church to their homes in Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, St. Florian, Florence, Killen, Central, or maybe Hickory Hills, Oak Hills, Forest Hills, or maybe Sherwood, Underwood, Creekwood, or maybe Cypress Heights, Central Heights, Weeden Heights, Carver Heights, or so on and so forth. The point is, that the location of God’s people has a history of being described as “scattered”. When we gather together as a church this week, we will be a “scattered” body geographically, but Biblically, we are built upon the great Cornerstone, Jesus Christ. Whether you worship with us this week in person or at home, know that the greatest truth of the gospel is not what building you are in, but rather Who is in you.
The next truth to realize is the incredible costs that has been paid to make this a reality. 1 Peter 1a-2 says, “…chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient and to be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ.” Look at the work of the Trinity in this passage. Chosen by the foreknowledge of God, sanctified by the Spirit, and purchased and cleansed with the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The work has been done by God and is being done by God and will be done by God. I hope this helps many of you rest, and gives many of you the freedom to wait if you need to wait before joining us. As Adrian Rogers once said, “You are not a citizen of earth trying to get to Heaven, you are a citizen of Heaven sojourning on the earth.” Your pastor, your staff, your friends, you church family all miss you very much. We all (hopefully) long for a full gathering, congregational worship, and a sweet fellowship with one another, but if you need to wait, please wait. Those leading at Woodmont have tried to be virtually creative, innovative, and intentional to lead you during this time to Christ and His Word; it is our desire to continue to try and deliver the best we can in everything we do.
Finally, the end of verse 2 says, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” This has been a prayer of mine for this body of believers since this virus started. I hope that you, being sanctified by the Spirit, would experience the grace and peace of Jesus Christ in a multiplied measure. One reason I have prayed this is because you and I both need peace and grace in all of our efforts, emotions, and engagements today. My fear in this season has been not that we are being separated socially, but separated spiritually from one another because of virus viewpoints, political viewpoints, or a daily barrage of new information (both true and false) and not renewing our mind in the Word of God. Grace and peace, I pray that we would be reminded how much grace and peace has been extended to us, but also, that we should always extend it to the believers with us! May we carry forth in the law of love as described in Romans 14, that we would extend mercy to those around us, and we would reflect the goodness, faithfulness, the grace, and peace of God. I look forward to seeing you Sunday. If you stay home this week, I look forward to seeing you soon!