Revelation 1:12, 13, 16, 20
By: Bruce Wesley, Pastor, Clear Creek Community Church Co-Founder & President of the Board, HCPN
June 9, 2019
Revelation 1:12, 13, 16, 20 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man... In his right hand he held seven stars... As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Whom did God use to usher in spiritual awakenings in the past? What made them usable?
Josiah was 26 years old when he began work on the temple, found the book of the law, and took action against the apostate worship of Judah.
Jonathan Edwards was 25 years old when he began to pastor. By age 31, God brought a flood of conversions in the church, 300 in 6 months.
George Whitefield was 26 when he traveled to North America to preach a series of revivals that fueled the Great Awakening.
God used Charles Finney in his 30’s to inspire a second great awakening.
D. L. Moody was 23 when his children’s Bible Study became so well-known that president Lincoln visited. A third awakening followed.
These people were young, brash, and unconventional. But one more quality shaped the other qualities I’ve mentioned. I see it subtly displayed in today’s passage.
In John’s spiritual vision in The Revelation, he sees the glorified Christ (verses 12-16), with seven stars in his right hand. He is walking among seven golden lampstands. What’s that about?
Jesus explained the lampstands are the seven churches, and the stars are the messengers of the churches. Is Jesus saying the pastors, or messengers, are the stars? Does that interpretation make you a little uncomfortable? Yeah, me too. But that seems to be what he’s saying. Let’s be clear. No one, including Jesus, was referring to pastors as “stars” in the way we talk about movie stars or rock stars or even “Christian famous” pastors.
The most significant thing is not that pastors are stars, but that we are in the right hand of the resurrected, glorified Christ as he walks among his churches. We are his. We are held by him. We’re close. We’re available. We are in his right hand. The strong, working hand. We’re ready to be used as luminaries hurled into darkness, shining forth Jesus’ message in word and deed. This image should not make us proud. It should humble us, but maybe not in the way we usually think of humility.
Often, we think humility is simply not thinking too highly of ourselves. We humble ourselves when we don’t make ourselves the star of the show or when we don’t have some inflated view of our abilities. But that’s not the only way pride works.
Pride can also make us overly focused on ourselves. When it does, we choose the safe, conventional path. We color between the lines. We limit our aspirations. After all, who am I to think that God would use me in such a big way? That sounds humble. It’s not. It’s the pride of seeing the world only in light of yourself.
But God wants us to see our world from the humble perspective that acknowledges the power of the one who holds us in his right hand. That’s the kind of humility seen in people of great vision, bold conviction, and radical obedience. It’s the kind of humility seen in those who led awakenings in the past. Which leaves me asking myself, “Do I not pray bigger prayers or attempt greater things for God because I’m too proud? Am I overly aware of my limitations and not aware enough of the greatness of God or the significance of my identity as a shining star in Jesus’ right hand as he walks among the churches?”
If God used Whitefield, Finney and the others because they were the kind of humble men who were not afraid to live as stars in Jesus’ right hand, we need the same kind of humility today. What would that look like for you? Will you believe it? Will you start living like it’s true right now, no matter what people might say? Our city needs us to shine!
Lord, forgive us for the prideful ways of being safe and timid. Grant us a kind of humility that makes us willing, courageous, and available to be used by you to bring an awakening in greater Houston in our lifetime.