Summary: As horrible as this pandemic it, it may well be the eye salve to allow the Church to see the path back to its real mission.
Jonah 3:1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
Listening to a sermon on Jonah this morning these thoughts came to mind.
It was great that God did not start the clock on the forty days when he called Jonah, but rather when he started preaching. Yet, in the days Jonah was on the run, in the belly of the fish and on his way to Nineveh how many people died who did not get to hear the message and have an opportunity to repent?
In this time when hundreds are dying of COVID-19 daily and perhaps millions around the world of all causes how many must die without hearing Gospel of repentance, mercy and forgiveness in Jesus Christ? Sin is a fatal disease and we have the cure that we do not take the time to offer to those in the death rattle phase.
It may well be a great thing that our churches have been closed and our routines shattered. While we have been sheltered in place and feeling imprisoned maybe we have been given a taste of what is for people still in the prison bonds of sin. Indeed, maybe we have done some soul searching and found that we have had some bonds that needed broken and mercy given because we have not been about our Father's business, but rather our own.
It has been said that Nero fiddled while Rome burned and we have allowed souls and nations to be burned while we fiddled around with our pleasures and pursuits building castles in the sand made of wood, hay, and stubble. Oh, they are pretty and some cost millions, but they are shacks compared to the temples of the Holy Spirit that would be built by God from saved sinners. Our value system is twisted.
Maybe our music is so loud that it drowns out the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit that would cause to hear a myriad of Macedonian cries to come over and help them to find Jesus or the cries from Hell for us to reach loved ones before they enter Hell.
While the Gospel is about love, grace and mercy maybe we need to bring back a little Hell and damnation preaching as well. How can you truly appreciate grace if you do not really comprehend what it has done for you? As the preacher said this morning, some you save by love and others by warning. The Law condemns and grace saves, but many will only run for grace when they realize how condemned they are without it.
May we come back to church to be the Church when this pandemic wanes. May our priorities shift. May we be less material or earthly minded. May we learn to live with less so that we can give more of our time and money to the mission God gave us rather than various lenders for that which will only burn up in the end.
Let us rise up as the people of God who are passing through this world as Ambassadors of Christ and the eternal Kingdom. Let us get out of mammon debt with man so that we can pay the debt we truly owe them which is to share what God has done to save our souls so they can have their debt to God paid by the blood of Christ!
Lord God, make it so and start with this wretched man! Maranatha!