In the closing message of last week’s Southern Baptist Pastors Conference, International Mission Board President David Platt brought a word of encouragement to attendees facing attacks on the church from all sides in culture or challenges in family, marriage or life. From the June 16, 2015, Baptist Press report:

Speaking from Revelation 1, Platt said, "John gives us what is quite possibly the most majestic portrait of Jesus ever penned on paper. It's as if the Holy Spirit was saying to a struggling church in the first century, 'Look to Christ! Just look to Christ!' So on this night, at the close of this pastors' conference before this convention begins, I'm assuming that some—maybe many—of the pastors and wives in this room are discouraged or disheartened, struggling in some way in your life or in your family or in your church, and I'm convinced the Holy Spirit is saying to us all across this room: 'Look to Christ! Just look—look to Christ!'"

Pastors and the churches are a family of brothers and sisters at "one big family reunion…with all that family reunions entail," Platt said. This family, he said, is also an army engaged in a costly battle to share the gospel of Christ. The more aggressively Christians take the gospel into other cultures, the more forcefully the adversary will stand his ground, Platt said, because going to the unreached means going to people who are unreached for a reason: They're hard to reach. They're difficult to reach. They're dangerous to reach.

The Revelation 1 passage also gives a detailed account of who Christ is, Platt noted. He asked participants to turn their attention and affection to 16 characteristics of Jesus Christ: Jesus is a man. He is God. He is the fulfillment of prophecy (Dan. 7; 10). He is the final High Priest. He is infinitely old. He is infinitely wise. He has knowledge of all things. He is holy above all things. His voice resounds with authority. His face radiates with light. He had the first word in creation. He will have the last word in creation. He was dead…for a time. He is alive for all time. Death is controlled by Him, and no one—or nothing—compares to Him.

"As long as this Christ is in the middle of His people, then nothing, no matter how fierce, can or ever will destroy them," Platt said. "Nothing. Indestructible. Hear this word, struggling pastor. Hear this word, hurting pastor's wife. Hear this word, discouraged/disheartened/doubting brother or sister for whom faith is hard to find some days. Hear this word, church in the midst of a hostile culture. Hear this word, church on mission to foreign cultures: Jesus is present among us! Jesus! See Him!…This indescribable Christ is in our midst right now!…Jesus is not distant from us. Jesus is not just over us. He is here with us!"

Jesus possesses and protects His people, Platt said, noting, "No matter how great the struggle or how glaring the weakness, no matter how rough the road or how profound the pain, no matter how serious the threat or steep the trial, no matter what this world and all the spiritual forces of evil in it throw at you, know this: Jesus Christ on high has got your back." Such truth calls Christians to fall down before Jesus in worship and to rise up as witnesses. The best news, Platt said, comes 21 chapters later in Revelation 22:4—that one day, Jesus' followers will see His face, and one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Read a full report on conference speakers.)

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