While we are being encouraged to practice social distancing, the Orangeburg church of Christ will not be meeting at our building until at least April 5. During that time, we will be producing audio and video lessons on Sunday and Wednesday. Tonight, we considered some things that we can keep in mind during these days apart.
I know that by now, many people are probably getting a little weary of hearing about COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus. It’s basically all anyone can talk about, and it’s affected all of us in one way or another. Some of us are just missing out on common leisure activities (such as sports being cancelled) but many people are being kept from working, and others are actually being infected, and some have died from this outbreak.
Of course, all of us have differing opinions about the matter, and many of us have reacted in different ways to everything that is happening around us. In light of all of this, I’d like to offer a few things that those of us who wear the name of Christ should keep in mind.
Be Reasonable. God created us with the ability to reason for ourselves, and He expects us to use that reason (Isaiah 1:18). When Jesus told his disciples to “be wise as serpents (Matt. 10:16),” surely part of that includes using our own, God-given, good sense as we are dealing with people and situations that arise. Reasonable people will not be whipped up into hysterics by the things that are going on, but neither will reasonable people just discount everything that is happening as “propaganda.” God gave you the ability to think and reason for yourself. Use it!
Be Respectful. If I’m being perfectly honest, I am becoming increasingly aggravated with some of my brethren on social media who are not shining the light of Jesus into the world with the way they are reacting to these recent events. We are all entitled to our opinions, and even the right to express those opinions. But nowhere are we given the right to be rude and/or condescending toward other people in the expressing of those opinions. Love is still kind and is not rude (1 Corinthians 13:4-5) The words of Colossians 4:6 still apply in the 21st century, even when we’re typing of clicking a “share” button. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Col 4:6 ESV)
Be Compassionate. Even as busy as the life of Jesus was, he always took time for compassion. (see Mark 5:25-34). A lot of people are suffering in one way or another right now. Are we prepared to help those who may be put out of work, or who may need food or other supplies that they can’t find in the store right now? I know we can’t help everyone, but let’s have an open heart to help meet a need when we are able, to do good to all men, and especially those who are of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10)
Trust in God. Above all, trust in God. That doesn’t mean we should be reckless and not take necessary precautions to protect ourselves, thus putting God to the test (see Matthew 4:6-7). But don’t forget that He is out refuge and our fortress (Psalm 46). Don’t forget that God will not forsake his people (Heb. 13:5). Make sure that whatever happens, you are covered by the blood of Christ, and prepared for that heavenly home.
By the way, all of these things will still be true a month or two from now when COVID-19 is all but forgotten by most people. These things don’t apply to just one place or time, but are necessary for Christians to remember at all times, so that we may shine the light of the Son into this world.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Mat 5:16 ESV)
Paul wrote to the Galatians “Through love, serve one another.” This morning we consider the action of service, and the attitude of service as we conclude the month of January and our look at a number of priorities in the life of a Christian.
As he deals with the subject of spiritual gifts in the church, Paul takes a moment in the middle of his discussion to describe “a more excellent way.” He shows how gifts will pass away and how love will endure long after those gifts have gone.
As we conclude our Thanksgiving series, we take some time to consider an idea that appears in every verse of Psalm 136. God’s love, which is extended to all and expressed in Christ, endures forever.
Botham Jean was shot and killed in his apartment in September of 2018. In October of 2019, his killer, Amber Guyger, was convicted of murder and sentenced to serve 10 years in prison. At the end of the trial, Jean’s younger brother spoke to Guyger, fogiving her and expressing multiple times that he loved her, despite what had happened. He concluding by asking the judge if he could give Guyger a hug, which he was permitted to do. The two embraced for a long time as her sobs were heard throughout the courtroom. This young man’s Christ-like example is one that all Christians need to take notice of as we seek to have the mind of Christ in ourselves.
As the nation once again is in the wake of more tragic violence, it’s important to take a moment and consider how we as Christians should respond to that violence. When we think about what Jesus taught concerning violence, it is clear that we should respond with love and prayer.
What a blessing for God’s people to know that He cares for us. Jesus assures us of God’s care in the Sermon on the Mount, and throughout Scripture there are multiple examples of God looking after his people.
We talk a lot about church attendance. We ought to know how important it is for Christians to gather together for worship. But it’s so much more than putting bodies in the seats. It is important that we understand that God has given us good reasons for wanting to come and worship Him. It’s all based in what He has done for us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The entertainment industry thrives on love, but to the Christian it is so much more than what the rest of the world sees. Love is a choice, a choice to put others above oneself. Love is the reason that God gave us His Son, and he also demands love of us. Jesus said that the two great commandments in the Law are to love God and to love one’s neighbor.