Be of Good Cheer. He’s Overcome the World

The history of New England, May 19, 1780, has become known for its supposed it foreshadowing of Judgment Day.

At noon the skies were turned from blue to gray, and by midafternoon they had become so black that men fell on their knees and cried out to God for mercy year they went there doom.

On that day the Connecticut House of Representatives was in session. When darkness fell by day, some began to shout and plead for mercy. Others demanded an immediate adjournment. The speaker of the house, Col. Abraham Davenport, called for silence. Then, he spoke:

“The Day of Judgment in either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish, therefore, that candles be brought.”

We’re going to take a small break from our series on the Pastor’s Responsibility and look at everything that is happening today in terms of the coronavirus.

Wrong reaction, folks.

As would be expected, there are people running around screaming that the sky is falling. These, I suspect, are people who have no hope beyond this life. All they have is wrapped up in the here and now. And if that goes, their whole existence goes. And though this is not true, their minds have been blinded to accept this as the truth.
I’ve seen online exchanges between Christians that have been disconcerting. They go something like this:

In 1854 during the Calera epidemic, brothers CH Spurgeon did not stop worship services nor cancel the Lord’s supper. But rather resting in the sovereignty of God, he began doing even more (not less) evangelizing the sick where they were, preaching the gospel and trusting God for protection.

Here were the responses:

“Amen. I think it’s terrible that churches have decided to close their services.”

“Maybe this was the intention of the one giving birth to the idea of coronavirus!!”

“Our government said no public gatherings. The church was included in that list. It was not the only group being closed. I really do hate this conspiracy theory that’s going on!”

“Hello! This virus has a peak. And if you lose two weeks of church, SO WHAT!!!! So people will contaminate other people JUST TO LOOK PIOUS!!! COMMON SENSE is the order of the day. Not to help the virus spread. If you look bad at another Christian for not going church during this period, Sorry THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU.”

“What he is saying is that God also said don’t live in fear of the unknown. If you’re a child of God there is no need to fear. Being in God’s house is the safest place to be. I guess you won’t go to the grocery store or doctor if needed. You will and you could get it just as easy there. So I say you need to worry about you and not him.”

“God gave me a brain too!”

The first thing we need to recognize about exchanges like this is that they’re not productive. All this does is cause a schism in the body of Christ when it should be drawing us together. How we handle our differences among the people of God speaks volumes to the world.

In this exchange (which I actually witnessed. All I did was cut and paste the exchange and edited for spelling. I’ve left out names and so forth to protect the guilty), there is wisdom in the middle ground here. We certainly shouldn’t be running around fearful and that is in any situation for the child of God.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

But at the same time, we need to be wise in dealing with this situation.

Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting, get understanding. (Proverbs 4:5)

If you haven’t heard it yet, let me be the first to say that this is not the end of the world. We who are the people of God know how things are going to and in the Lord Jesus Christ told us that when we see things like this that the end is not yet.

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled, for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:6-8 NKJV)

Now some translations, it omits pestilences. But I use the new King James version here because it’s relevant and it really doesn’t change what the verse is saying. That no matter what things are seen, the end is not yet. If we truly believe the word of God and trust in it with all of our heart, then we will know when the end is near and even when it is, will still be doing what we should be doing like Col. Davenport. It will not be a cause for alarm one way or the other.

My encouragement, beloved of God, is to keep this eternal reality in mind. Take solace in the eternal words of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

For all others who have no hope in Christ, it’s understandable why you would react this way. Because you have no hope, this is all there is for you. That is a pitiful state to be in. My encouragement to you is to cry out for mercy from the Lord Jesus Christ because of your sin before His holy eyes. Not just because you’re afraid to die because that’s not a true change of heart. You must realize your position before a most holy God and your offense before Him in all the sin you have committed. Turn. Repent and believe the gospel of Christ. This then would be your freedom from the fear that shakes you.

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