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It’s time to stop being afraid. Actually, no. It’s time to stop being afraid of a virus. Or even of economic collapse. Or of losing a business. Or a loved one dying. But there is One that we should fear. These are trying times, and I want to tell you, God is greater and stronger and over ALL of it. He is sovereign. And we ought to fear Him.
He planned this virus, He sent this virus, and He ultimately is responsible for the economic collapse, and if you have lost your job, He can be considered responsible for that too. God did it. Your grandmother dying? God did it. Church’s not meeting? God’s sovereignty. The governor’s choices? Yeah, God ordained those too.
I understand that fear is powerful and gripping, and it has come over all of us at different times. Oh, I have been afraid many times. My heart has beat incredibly fast in adrenaline and fear. I have been anxious, and doubtful. We struggle with fear a lot, don’t we?
But as Christians, we cannot let fear dominate us. We cannot let it drive us. Except fear of the Lord.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.Proverbs 9:10
You know what Jesus said? Nice, kind, always-loving Jesus who wouldn’t hurt a fly? No, what the real Jesus said. Do we know what the real Jesus said?
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.Matthew 10:28
Fear God. We need to do away with the garbage that teaches us that fear of the Lord is simply “reverence” or great awe, respect, of God. We should have reverence and great awe of God, but do you know what fear means when we’re told we’re supposed to fear? Well, I’m pretty sure it means fear. We’re supposed to fear. So let’s not read into the text and create some false God, some idol to worship that is really not God. Let us not set up a “god” in our minds that we like.
Jesus says fear the one who can throw you into Hell. That’s not Satan. That’s God Almighty, the God of Angel Armies. There can come great comfort with knowing the different names of God, how He is God Almighty and the God of Angel Armies. But, oh, may we fear Him in holy fear. May we tremble. It is not without reason we are warned in the Scriptures to examine our faith. It is not without reason Jesus says to fear the One who can destroy your whole soul in Hell. Fear God!
Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents,nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.1 Corinthians 10:7-10
Look at the sober warnings of Scripture. Remember that God is always the same (Hebrews 13:8). He is the same in the Old Testament as He is in the New. Many of us may get that in our heads, but it doesn’t really get fleshed out. That reality often doesn’t really affect the rest of our thinking it seems. We think He’s unchanging, yet quickly we’ll say God would not slaughter thousands, He would not destroy a nation, wouldn’t send COVID-19 even. Let me give you a brief fact: God judges and destroys nations at His will. Just ‘cause we have the New Covenant does not mean God brings no wrath. Look at Revelation.
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.Revelation 19:11-16
Is this the Jesus most churches in the West preach today? Is it? May we fall on our knees and our faces in repentance. I saw a plan on the YouVersion Bible app, and it was disgusting. It appeared that the whole thing was asking whether the coronavirus is a judgment of God or to bring people to repentance. And how did the Bible plan answer that? It said no to both. It said God’s kindness leads to repentance, and we’re now under the New Covenant. God does not send judgments like that. He doesn’t want to scare people to Him. Oh yeah? Have you read the Bible?
It’s kind of frustrating how much trash is on the YouVersion Bible app. How much blasphemy, how many false teachers, how much teaching of false teachers. God sent the coronavirus! God very well may be beginning to destroy our nation. We have been given over to our sin and debauchery, celebrating the LGBTQ community, putting women in power, living in sexual sin, turning to the government for salvation, trying to turn God’s original design on its head, and lovingly embracing sin. And yet we can say God would not judge us?
I think we are fools if we’re to say God would not judge us. We slaughter babies by the millions in this country. We murder children in the name of freedom and healthcare. What a disgusting, abhorrent nation we are!
How can so many of us say we love America? We love the United States? The United States is so, so, so incredibly evil and wrought with sin. God’s judgment and wrath does appear to be coming upon it. A few great sermons I listened to talked about this judgment of God upon our nation. One talked about the book of Joel.
‘Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?Joel 2:12-14
Look at how it says the Lord might turn and relent, and do what? Leave behind a blessing. And what is that blessing? A grain offering and a drink offering for God it says. Look at our nation right now– the people of God are not meeting together like normal. The worship of God is halted as a community largely. Is this not the judgment of God? The streets are much more empty, and people do not hear the Gospel preached on the streets so much. Is this not, perhaps, judgment from the LORD Almighty? Joel shows us how the blessing God may leave behind at our repentance is not physical healing, relief, etc. At least not right in these verses. What it says the blessing is is something that is for the worship of God. Is it not a blessing to be able to worship God?
Do not be so surprised if things for the US just grow worse and worse as the Lord pours out wrath. Do not be surprised. We should not be so afraid of this virus and therefore bite off each other’s heads. Especially for the people of God! Bear with the weak (Romans 15:1) but stop destroying each other and attacking each other out of fear! Fear God! Fear the One who can throw you into Hell! Examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5)! May we all, including me.
I don’t mean to be mean, cruel, whatever. I wish you could hear my voice that you might not think I speak arrogantly or so wrongly in my tone. I want you to understand, I want us to understand. God cannot be mocked (Galatians 6:7). Turn in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ. Don’t fear the economic collapse, or food shortages, or losing your job, or your loved ones getting COVID-19. They are real concerns, things people kind of need to physically live. Jesus said,
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.Matthew 6:31-33
God understands that our businesses and people we love matter. We need money to provide for our families, or to buy food. These things are true. But Jesus said that the Gentiles, these non-Jews, they go after all this sort of stuff. And Jesus says they might do that, but you need to seek the kingdom of God first and His righteousness. Then what does He say? “[A]ll these things will be added to you.”
Is Jesus enough? Really? Is He enough? Enough for me? Enough for you? Is He more than enough? Or, rather, do we accept that He is enough, or more so, that He is more than enough?
Fear the LORD Almighty, don’t be so afraid you will not go and help others, or you’ll attack others for doing so. Apologia Studios brought this important point to mind, for me, largely at least: we must love all our neighbors, not just the ones that have immunity issues or that are elderly. We’re also told to love the rest of our neighbors, including those losing their businesses, their livelihoods, etc. We ought not ignore the 99% for the 1%. We ought to be concerned for them all, at least in some manner.
May we examine our ways. May we love one another. May we fear God. May we repent. May we turn and trust in Jesus Christ for our salvation. Jesus, fully God and fully man, lived a perfect life on Earth. He didn’t break God’s laws, and thus was not a criminal. We are all criminals because we break God’s laws. But God punished Jesus instead and turned His face away from Christ. Jesus died and rose again, and now we can put away our sins by His power and follow Him. We can put our trust in Christ and not in ourselves. We can ask God to save us, knowing Jesus died and rose again and no one else can save us, including ourselves, by doing whatever good things we think we can do.
Take a look at Revelation 21:8:
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.’
Do you see the first thing listed there? The cowardly. The second thing? The faithless. Cowardice and faithlessness are things we don’t often consider major sins I think. Yet look at this verse. May we truly fear God and repent if we live in cowardice and faithlessness. Examine yourself, and may I do the same. Are we cowards in this time of this pandemic, this time of economic decline and hysteria? May it not be so. May we keep the commands of God and not fear a virus that can only kill the body. May we abandon cowardice and ask God for boldness and strength.
Just yesterday I went out with some of my brothers in Christ and street preached in downtown Fort Collins. I don’t say that to brag, or to make it sound like I’m so great and fearless. That’s not it. I am weak, but Christ is strong. The point is, the Gospel and people’s eternal destiny is more important than our fear or even their physical health. They need the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They need to repent and trust in Jesus for their salvation, and not in themselves or anything or anyone else.
Some may say I’m killing people by simply going out on the streets. No. I’m telling them the only way to true life. And it’s not a vaccine or a better governmental decision. It’s Jesus Christ.
Argue with me, get angry at me, insult me, heck, you could even try to kill me. That wouldn’t change these main truths that I’ve pointed out. And these are not my words simply, but the words of God I want you to listen to. In John 15, Jesus Himself said if they hated Him, they’ll hate His disciples too.
Don’t be scared of this world. I know it can be very hard sometimes, my brothers and sisters. Know that God loves His children and WILL take care of them, even if it’s not how we might want. May we all get on our knees and repent for ourselves and our nation like Daniel (Daniel 9).
May we live in fear of God and not man or a virus or anything else like that. May we serve the Lord and continue to do His work regardless of what the world says, or even those that claim the Name of Christ. As long as we obey Him (Acts 5:29).
If you ever need anything during this time, whether it be a physical need or prayer, please feel free to let me know, so I may be able to help or at least pray.
All glory to God forever and ever, to the Holy Lord, the King of kings. And blessings to you, my brothers and sisters. Amen.
All direct verse quotations are taken from the ESV
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