When we look at Genesis 1 & 2 we see God creating man in his image. What does this mean and how does this affect manhood? Check out the video.
In Deuteronomy 30 we get a glimpse not just for Israel entering into the promise land but a foreshadow of what Christ has done for us. The Word that became flesh, dwelt among us so that sinners could be saved!
This is something that every person faces. Given today and the uncertainty of this invisible enemy called COVID-19 or Coronavirus. Going through pandemics is nothing new for the Church though it may be something new that we are all facing now. One of the deadliest pandemics that took place was the Black Death or The Great Bubonic Plague that infiltrated Europe between 1347-1351. More than 30-60% of the population died from this catastrophic pandemic. For example, in England alone, the population of almost four million dropped down to two million. The Church survived through this plague and continued on through other wars, famines, and pestilences throughout history.
The answer to not have fear, worry, or anxiety is the same today as it was in the fourteenth century. We can reflect back on the fact that not only God is sovereign over all but we are directed to the true peace that we can have with God. The Apostle Paul wrote these words, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). The believer who has peace with God can have the peace of God as one endures the trials and tribulations of this world.
Lessons from the Past:
B.B. Warfield wrote these words in his book, The Power of God unto Salvation in 1903. Let these words which were beneficial for Warfield’s generation be encouraging to you:
And having once entered into our peace, let us turn and look with new eyes upon this life which we are living in the flesh. These difficulties, these dangers, these trials, these sufferings, how hard they have been to bear! We have deserved no better, but—nay, therefore—how hard they have been to bear! But we have been justified by faith—actually and truly justified by faith—and now we have peace with God. What a new aspect is taken by the trials and sufferings of life! They are no longer our fate, hard and grinding; they are no longer our punishment, better than which is not to be expected—forever. They come from the hand of a reconciled God, from the hand of our Father. What one of them has not its meaning, its purpose, its freightage of mercy and of good? Shall we not follow the apostle here, and, as we find that peace with God has stolen into our hearts and that we are exulting in the hope of future glory, let that glory gild also our present pathway? Shall we not turn with new courage, nay, even with joy, to the sufferings of this present life, crying with him: “And not only so, but we also rejoice in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience triedness, and triedness hope, and hope putteth not to shame, because the love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us!
We have peace with God and we then now look onwards towards eternity not with dread but sing with the Apostle, “to live is Christ and to die is gain” and “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it, we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Phil 1:21, 3:20-21). The trials are just momentary afflictions but cannot compare to the glories that await us (2 Cor. 4:17). Because of Christ, we not are only saved by his grace but also will be sustained by his grace.
So how does one not have fear, worry, or anxiety? The answer is to run to the Lord who is sovereign over all!
With not being able to meet in person, we had an opportunity with our small group to sing to the Lord together and share a little from Matthew 21:1-11.
The ever-changing and improving technology is nothing new to the church. Martin Luther and his 95 theses caught the fire of communication in Europe because of technology. Between 1517 and 1520, his writings sold over 300,000 copies which were something new for differing religious mindsets. Wycliff who was on the cusp of this new technology was unable to use it the same way. (Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, Kindle Ed., location 7511). Luther was born at the right time as technology advanced. On one hand, this was thrust upon him as others took his writing to be printed and on the other, he saw how it was advantageous of getting the truth out.
Here we are five centuries later and we see how technology has advanced. We have digital books, not just the printed book! We are now able to communicate with more people faster than ever. Many churches use technology to communicate but COVID-19 has forced the church to communicate in these different ways more than ever.
Some churches have wrestled more with this over their convictions of streaming their service compromises on what it means to be the church and some churches already stream their services online. I understand both sides and am thankful for both views. A church that is strong in its convictions and one that utilizes the tools on hand. A couple of thoughts regarding this:
Costi W. Hinn responded to the recent debate of church’s moving to do church “online” on Instagram and said, “Friends, let us spend time this week whether traditionalists think of our online efforts and spend more time proclaiming truth through whatever medium we can: Pound the airwaves, Post to IGTV, go ‘Live’, Light up phone lines, and fill up mailboxes. Unleash the hope in Christ.”
Costi showed the bigger picture. We have an opportunity to get the gospel out so as a church let’s do just that. If we write a letter (old school way with a pen, paper, and a stamp) you are using a form of technology. If you call someone you are using technology. When you use a microphone to make it so people can hear you at church is a form of technology. Using a camera and the internet to share God’s Word with your church is a form of technology. So, let us use the current tool of technology to share the gospel message.
There may be some churches that are unable to stream as it is work upon pastors and staff that probably are already stretched. One must not judge them based on conviction or abilities. I think all Christians would agree that we must live with a sense of urgency (Eph. 5:15-16). I know some pastors, though are not streaming a Sunday service, are busier than ever reaching out to the congregation through texts, phone calls, and video meetings. They are doing what they can!
There should be a clarification of what is the church? Does doing church this way constitute “doing church?” No, the church is the gathering of God’s people together living within a community with each other. But, here is a time that people are more open to listening to the gospel. This is the time that this world has many questions and fears and the church can point them to the Savior, Jesus Christ who conquered sin and death. The one who made it possible for us to have peace with God so we can have the peace of God.
This is a tool to get the message out and we are longing to be able to meet in person one day again. This is a longing that is a good longing to have. This is something that should be on the heart of every believer, to gather with other believers, to give hugs, handshakes, and high fives as the local congregation assemble together. There is longing to sit next to other believers singing to God out loud through the poor pitch and deaf tone singers along with those that sing elegantly. I long for that day to come again to be able to place my hand on the shoulder of the brother in Christ as I pray for him. This is the church which is more than just listening to a sermon, it is the living out of God’s word. We have been given the gospel doctrine which lived out which makes a gospel culture.
Though we are called to keep distant from one another, we know that because of Christ we are one and united together. Though we have social distancing for protection and to help curb this invisible enemy, we look to Jesus who defeated the invisible enemy sin, death, and the devil through life sinless life, sacrificial death, and his glorious resurrection.
This is a phrase that you probably have heard by now as what the CODIV-19 is being called. This invisible enemy has derailed families, causing chaos and confusion among nations, closed governments, fear and panic in the hearts of millions. This invisible enemy is a threat to all. No one seems prone to the dangers not even the rich and powerful, world leaders, the ones who are nice
But to the Christian, this is nothing new. Yes, the CODIV-19 is something new and serious, but there is something that is way more serious than has stained mankind throughout history. This threat or invisible enemy is called sin, death, and the devil (Ephesians 6:12). The enemy sin has infected everyone. The devil robs and steals joy from everyone. This enemy has broken up families and led people down a horrible path. Sin has separated man from God which is the worst part of the problem of sin.
The psalmist writes:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings, you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday (Psalm 91:1-6).
Throughout history that has always been the danger of pestilence. A little over a hundred years ago we faced the Spanish Flu which wreaked havoc on humanity. This is something that has been a threat to humanity. But as the psalmist points out that pestilence is an enemy that stalks in darkness, the invisible enemy, we can have rest because God is our refuge and fortress. Let me encourage you that same truth, we can rest in the shadow of the Almighty, God is our refuge and fortress!
The Invisible Enemy is Defeated
This virus has impacted all of humanity, and the same is true with the invisible enemy sin, death, and the devil. The Christian is reminded that only God can deliver and save and heal the sin-sick person (Luke 5:31). That is why we look to the cross because sin is something that every single human has sinned against God. But God has provided a way through God the Son, Jesus Christ. The one who knew no sin, the only one who conquered sin and death, the only one who could satisfy the payment for our sin-Jesus Christ.
Remember that though these are interesting times, these are scary times, these are unfamiliar times but I am hopeful because the Bible says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35, 37-39). Remember not even this virus can separate the Christian from the love of God!
The future seems unknown and volatile and that can be scary but not for the Christian. The prophet Habakkuk was called by God to proclaim warnings to Jerusalem during a scary, unknown, and volatile time as well. God was warning Judah to turn from their sin of idolatry and to rest in the living God but they were not listening. So, God had Habakkuk warn them of the nation Babylon coming as a result of God’s judgment. Habakkuk was wrestling with this because they were way more wicked nation than Judah and it was going to take place in his lifetime which meant he would be suffering along with everyone in Judah. God responded to Habakkuk’s hesitations with a reminder of his sovereignty. What stands out is how Habakkuk then responds to God. He says, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places (Habakkuk 3:17—19).
He turns his worry and hesitations to worship of God. We can say, “though the toilet paper is gone and the stores are bare, though the water bottles are limited and there is no food, though we may be quarantined and all the restaurants shut down, I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
God is in charge of the smallest atom. Jesus has been given authority over everything and that even means the Coronavirus (Matt. 28:18). Let us turn our worry into worship. Let us turn our fear into faith and though our faith may be weak, it is about the object of our faith, our precious Savior Jesus Christ. He has conquered sin and death and that is far greater than the threat of any virus. He is able!