Summary: Three concerns I have in the wake of the coronavirus plague

“Coronavirus Concerns”

March 29, 2020

Psalm 91:1-7

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.”

I decided to go with the same Scripture I used last week. It is a wonderful promise of God to His people. It is to a people who have made God their refuge; their fortress; the One in who they trust. I will talk more about this later.

Right now I want to express some concerns that have come up since we have experience this pandemic or plague of the Coronavirus. I’m sure people have hundreds of them but I want to mention three that really concern me. The first is the self-isolation. People call it self-quarantine. One called for a national lock-down. I understand the concerns behind it and why our government and medical leaders are calling for it. Spiritually speaking, I see the danger behind it. The Bible says,

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.” John 10:11-12

Do you see the principle here? The Good Shepherd protects the sheep. He lays His life down for the sheep. A good shepherd herds the sheep and leads them. The enemy scatters the sheep. He isolates them. Why? They are more vulnerable. They are easy prey when alone. The Bible says,

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body” Romans 12:4-5

“there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:25-26

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13

Do you understand that God is striving to take selfish, lone wolf, isolationist people and make them one; a body; a team; a unit? What this pandemic is doing is isolating us and preventing us from benefiting from one another using the gifts He has given us. I know that churches all over the nation are using skype and facetime all kinds of media to try to stay connected – but can they really? I don’t think so. It is not the same.

Not only is this isolation from others preventing us to be the Church God wants us to be but we are making ourselves vulnerable. I am concerned for the young Christians that need that daily nurturing. I am concerned for those going through personal spiritual trials. We are to encourage and comfort one another and I’m afraid online, email and Facebook just are not enough. We need to look one another in the eyes and feel each other’s touch and share our needs and blessings with one another. I know that God can use this; God can use all things for good. He is just that great – but I do not thing this wide spread quarantine is His will. He smacks of fear and rather than love and courage.

I remember hearing of missionaries, against all odds, going to diseased grottos and barrios and swampy jungles, in faith – willing to sacrifice their lives in service to others. I don’t see any of that today. I see a self-preservation mentality of the world and the church following the wisdom of the world instead of claiming the promises of God.

That brings me to the second concern I want to share with you. You that know me know that I am a lover of Westerns; I have a love for American History and in particular the early American history of the west. You have probably seen some of the old classics where the cowboys round up wild horses or even cattle for that matter. How do they do it? They separate and isolate and cut that animal from the herd. It is then vulnerable and can be easily herded or roped to be branded or driven to where the cowboy desires. Maybe to slaughter or to the corral – wherever he wants. The animal loses his freedom when he is isolated.

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Steve Gage

commented on Mar 29, 2020

Your giving bad advise ("concerns") to your people....of course we are not to fear, that is from the devil. God gives us a brain and we have intelligent CDC and infectious disease professionals instructing us so we don't spread Covid-19 and people die. Use what God gave you bro and be a Shepherd! Find ways to connect and communicate with your flock during this time.

Robert Gray

commented on Apr 14, 2020

I do have a little different take on part of your sermon. I believe when the Lord says to walk circumspectly, that means to walk wisely right here in the world where we daily live. If the only way we can be the church, have influence and share our faith is to sit within the four walls of the church building then I think something has to change. The Bible says when The laws of man do not contradict the laws of God to obey the authorities that are over us. We are even commanded to pray for them. Some people have used the temporary quarantine orders to keep the coronavirus from spreading as a badge of faith if you disobey the order and come to the building where the body of Christ comes to worship, commonly known as the church. The building is really the house that the church meets in and the church is the body of believers. Isaiah 43:19 says “see I am doing a new thing now it springs up, do you not receive it? ...” I believe it is in second Chronicles 15:5-6 where the Bible talks about there being no peace, people had many conflicts nation was crushed by nation and city by city and God troubled them with every possible distress. I believe that God has hit the reset button, especially for us Christians. God can shake things up to the point where we have to look at ourselves, see if we are who we think we are and decide to do some things in a different way to align ourselves with where God wants to take us and his church, The people, the body of Christ. It’s nice to have beautiful buildings to worship within But if some people cannot worship without stain glass and the conventional church housesitting, that is a problem. We need to learn how to worship him with one another in unconventional ways if we have to, especially if it’s a temporary fix to try to stop the flow of a pandemic which is killing our people, both Christians and non-Christians alike. What a great time it is to mentor and walk with new and young Christians through this valley of the shadow of death and come out the other side with them so they can see God work in the mindset of a storm. Rev. R. Gray

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