Covid 19, The Faith Response
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Date: 12 March, 2020
Title: Covid 19 and Me
Covid 19 - the coranavirus that began in Wuhan China. It is an event that will no doubt be in the history book of 2020. I know I've never seen any health concern like this in my lifetime.
- Israel - 14 day quarantine for all arrivals
- US - Travel ban on China, Europe
- Markets tumbling
- People are stockpiling goods and retailers shelves are being emptied.
- WHO (World Health Organization) declared this a pandemic.
ill. The government's response is outlined in 4 points which are similar to most nations.
- Containment - finding infected people and isolating them.
- Delay - social distancing measures put into place.
- Mitigation - providing the best care possible - delaying non urgent cases
- Research - seeking to find a cure and best care response to the virus
Britain and the world have a planned response to this pandemic.
BUT - I wondered as I read these things, when was the last time a world leader responded with faith?
The faith response: In the UK the faith response was last used in WW2 during Dunkirk.
ill. 1940 National Day of Prayer during Dunkirk
10 May 1940 - Hitler's military onslought on France and Belgium
ill. Canon J. John website - "Prime Minister Winston Churchill found himself preparing to announce to the public an unprecedented military catastrophe involving the capture or death of a third of a million soldiers. But it didn’t happen. On 23rd May, King George VI requested that the following Sunday should be observed as a National Day of Prayer. Late on the Saturday evening the military decision was taken to evacuate as many as possible of the Allied forces. On the Sunday, the nation devoted itself to prayer in an unprecedented way. Eyewitnesses and photographs confirm overflowing congregations in places of worship across the land. Long queues formed outside cathedrals. The same day an urgent request went out for boats of all sizes and shapes to cross the English Channel to rescue the besieged army, a call ultimately answered by around 800 vessels.
In a decision that infuriated his generals and still baffles historians, Hitler ordered his army to halt. Had they continued to fight, the destruction of the Allied forces would have been inevitable and the war would have taken a different, darker and more terrible path. Yet for three days the German tanks and soldiers stood idle while the evacuation unfolded. Not only so, bad weather on the Tuesday grounded the Luftwaffe, allowing Allied soldiers to march unhindered to the beaches. In contrast, on Wednesday the sea was extraordinarily calm, making the perilous evacuation less hazardous. By the time the German Army was finally ordered to renew its attack, over 338,000 troops had been snatched from the beaches, including 140,000 French, Belgian, Dutch and Polish soldiers. Many of them were to return four years later to liberate Europe."
exp. Britain used the faith response in 1940 and God mirculously delivered. Wouldn't God be pleased to do the same today if only a nation and people would call upon Him?
The message this morning is topical. We are going to look at Covid 19 and the Faith Response.
Our world may not do this - But as believers -
We need to face this pandemic with the faith response! Are you trusting God and ready to trust God with however God uses this virus?
I. The faith response is - Faith that fears God
- Many in our world fear the virus, but how many of them fear God?
- How many have wondered if God is angry?
Psa 36:1 The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.
Psa 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Psa 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
question: Would God use a virus as judgment?
ill. Exodus 5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.
2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.
3 And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.
question: Has God any reason to be angry at our world?
Violating God's law on murder.
26 May 2018 - Celebration in Dublin as abortion law is overturned.
800-900 babies each month are now being killed in Ireland.
23 January - Celebration in NYC as Abortion Rights bill signed into law.
Babies can now be killed at any time if a woman's health is endangered. The previous law only permitted abortions after 24 weeks if the woman's life was at risk.
"According to the New York State Department of Health, 285,127 induced abortions occurred in the state between 2012 and 2014. The average number of live births for the same three years was 237,499. Nationwide, the vast majority of abortions take place in the first trimester."
exp. That was how this state slaughtered babies in the womb BEFORE this bill was passed into law.
OVER HALF THEIR BABIES WERE KILLED!
Violating God's law on marriage
"Same-sex marriage is legally performed and recognized (nationwide or in some jurisdictions) in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico,[a] the Netherlands,[b] New Zealand,[c] Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom,[d] the United States,[e] and Uruguay."
Violating God's glory:
Evolution: Internationally, evolution is taught in science courses with limited controversy, with the exception of a few areas of the United States and several Islamic fundamentalist countries.
note: This list doesn't begin to deal with THE FORNICATION, PORNOGRAPHY, ADULTERY, DRUNKENESS, CURSING, BLASPHEMING, ABUSE OF GOD'S NAME....
app. A faith response understands that a pandemic MUST BE A TESTIMONY TO THE REALITY OF AN ANGRY GOD. A faith response fears God!
Psa 76:7 Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?
Psa 76:11 Vow, and pay unto the LORD your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared.
1Ch 16:25 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.
II. The faith response is - Faith that is focused on God.
Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:
Psa 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
question: Upon whom are we focusing?
ill. Peter walked on the water until he looked at the waves.
Matthew 14:28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
exp. We could look at the news coverage which feeds on man's fears. But, that is like Peter seeing the waves and being afraid. If we respond by faith - WE INSTEAD FOCUS ON GOD.
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.
2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:
3 Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:
4 Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:
5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
6 Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.
ill. There are seashells and fossils on Mt. Everest. Why - because it was covered with water when God judged the world.
7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.
8 They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.
9 Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.
ill. Seeing rainbows on the day of prayer - the world is consumed with the fear of a flood (rising seas) which God has promised to never send again.
note: God waters the livestock.
10 He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.
11 They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.
12 By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.
13 He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.
note: God blesses crops.
14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;
15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.
16 The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;
note: God provides houses for man and beast.
17 Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.
18 The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.
19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.
20 Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth.
21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.
22 The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.
23 Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.
note: God gives all natural resources.
24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.
26 There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.
27 These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.
28 That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.
note: God is the giver and taker of life.
29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.
30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.
31 The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.
32 He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.
note: The faith response is FOCUSED ON GOD.
33 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.
note: There is a future day coming when we will worship Him in a perfect environment.
35 Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD.
app. If you want to cultivate the faith response - take some time to meditate upon WHO GOD IS. transition - Focus on God! Fear God.
III. The faith response is - Faith that is fearless in God.
exp. In Scotland - we have had very little to fear. No national disasters. Most people are wealthy. We've got access to good healthcare - no wars - now suddenly there is something looming on the horizon. (Are we going to face it in faith without fear?)
ill. Family devotions this week - singing Ron Hamilton's - "When shadows fall and the night covers all, there are things that my eyes can not see. I can depend on the strength of my friend, He walks along with me. I'll never fear, Jesus in near, he ever watches over me, worries all cease, He gives me peace, I'll never fear with Jesus.
Isa 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
note: Think what other men have endured FEARLESSLY IN FAITH.
ill. Daniel went into a Den of lions in faith NOT FEAR.
Daniel 6:16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.
17 And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.
18 Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.
20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.
22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
23 Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.
ill. Paul faced natural disaster in faith not fear.
Acts 27:21 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship.
23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
26 Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.
exp. Paul could have been in terror as he went through the storm. But, Paul prayed and God helped Paul to go through it without fear - FEAR NOT PAUL.
app. Are you going to respond by faith?
transition - Faith that is fearless in God, Focused on God, Fearing God?
IV. The faith response is - Faith that is fixed upon God.
Psa 112:7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.
def. Fixed - fastened - built upon.
exp. This person is not anxious about the future - because his faith is built on Jehovah.
quote: President Roosevelt - inaugural address "Nothing to fear but fear itself."
4 March, 1933 - 3 years after the stock market crash - unemployment was at 25 percent.
So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
exp. God would not have us fear "he shall not be afraid of evil tidings." He would have our heart fixed upon HIM and advancing for Him. "His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord."
ill. King David - fixed his heart upon God in faith. Psa 57:7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
question: When David rejoiced that his faith was fastened and built upon God - WAS HE IN A KING'S PALACE WITH A GREAT ARMY? no, He is having to avoid capture by King Saul and is living in a cave in the wilderness.
ill. Corrie Ten Boom - youtube video of her testifying that God's grace is sufficient even when imprisoned for helping the Jews, seeing her sister die because of their confinement, etc. HER FAITH WAS FIXED.
App. How is your faith response this morning? Is your faith fixed on Jehovah and NOT AFRAID OF EVIL TIDINGS?
transition - Faith that is fixed on God, fearless in God, focused on God, fearing God?
V. The faith response is - Faith that is founded upon God.
ill. Moses -
Exo 33:13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.
16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.
17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.
18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
exp. God revealed His presence to Moses and Moses saw God's glory - but what I want to focus on is in v.21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
question: Are you standing by the Lord this morning? If so, you are standing upon a rock.
1Co 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
note: Faith in Christ is rock solid. Is your life rock solid?
ill. The wise man and the foolish man. Matthew 7:
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
ill. Touring Tantallon - last week - climbing up to the heights of a ruin - but not afraid it's going to fall because it is solid rock. (It has weathered storm after storm from the North Sea.)
app. How is your faith response this morning? A believer is founded on the rock!
transition - Faith that is founded on God, that is fixed on God, fearless in God, focused on God, fearing God?
VI. The faith response is - Faith that is forsaking sin for God.
Psa 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
exp. The expectation of someone who is right with God is that God is going to meet their needs and take care of them. BUT IT IS ALWAYS GOOD FOR MAN TO LET JUDGMENT CAUSE THEM TO REFLECT ON THEIR LIFE AND MAKE SURE IT IS RIGHT WITH GOD.
ill. Missionary Tom Johnson - in Sri Lanka after the tsunami - surrounded by a mob of angry muslims - in a car that is being assaulted - thinking of the verse....
Psa 34:7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
note: His thought - "Do I really fear God?"
exp. God miracualously delivered them. Angels in SWAT team uniforms broke through.
app. A faith response prudently examines one's life to make sure that they are right with God.
A. Forsaking sin for God with Scrutiny.
Isa 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
exp. When we considered fearing God - we dealt with the sin of our nations. But, what about our sin?
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
1Pe 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
ill. Our study of James - breaking God's law in 1 point - guilty of all. (God is not pleased with partial obedience.)
app. We rightly view the pandemic as God's judgment on the world. But, we are wrong to assume that God's people do not need to scrutinize their lives.
B. Forsaking sin for God with Sincerity.
Joel 2:13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
exp. God doesn't desire an outword sign of repentance with no inward reality.
ill. Israel - stayed at Yad Hoshmena - Biblical Gardens - wine press, olive press, tombs, synagogue, statue of man rending his coat and this verse inscribed on it.
exp. The Jews were good at showing outward emotion in repentance by an outward rending. But, God would have them rend their heart.
app. A faith response to covid 19 by our world, would be men sincerely seeking God with all their heart. 1Sa 12:24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.
Jer 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
C. Forsaking sin for God with Surrender.
exp. It is not wrong to get serious with God, when facing serious trouble.
ill. Some people who want to turn to God in time of trouble feel like a hypocrite for turning to God then but not before. The thing is - God often uses trouble to bring us to Himself.
ill. Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
ill. Thief on the cross - dying.
Luk 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
ill. Philippian Jailer - about to commit suicide.
Act 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Jude verses 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
app. If our response to this virus is a faith response, we will rightly forsake sin with scrutiny, sincerity and surrender.
The world is responding to the virus.
80 years ago they resonded to great danger with a faith response as King George VI called for a day of prayer.
I know of no government at this point which has called for a faith response or even suggested prayer.
We need to face this pandemic with the faith response!
Are you going to respond by faith?
1. Faith that fears God. (God is revealing His anger at a wicked world.)
2. Faith that is focused on God. (God is in control.)
3. Faith that is fearless in God. (We ought not fear the virus.)
4. Faith that is fixed on God. (Not afraid of evil tidings but fixed on God.)
5. Faith that is founded upon God. (We need to put our foundation on the Rock.)
6. Faith that is forsaking sin for God. (Surely it is a time to make sure that we are right with God.)