March 27, 2020 – Friday
Matthew 10:26-31 NIV
26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.
27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.
28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.
30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
I know I am backing up in scripture here, but I wish to share some of what I taught on last Sunday where the first 23 verses of Matthew 10 were reviewed and then verses 24-42 were covered. You can listen to the whole message in full here. However, today I want to write about the verses above as they are particularly applicable to the fear we have of the China virus going around us and the world.
One thing for sure in Jesus’ words is that even while being persecuted, we are to be bold in proclaiming our faith and the good news of Jesus. I even put up a slide quoting David Guzik where he wrote If persecution or the threat of persecution makes us draw back from speaking and preaching God’s word, then in some measure Satan has won a victory. His threat of persecution may not have succeeded in harming us, but in holding back the work of the Word of God.
How many are holding back from speaking and preaching God’s word today in the face of the China virus? Many are fearful of gathering together because of guidelines put out by the CDC. Common sense tells us we should protect our seniors (of which I am one) especially if they have any underlying health problems and the primary way we do that is to not expose them to us if we or our children have a cold, a sinus infection, or anything similar. Beyond this common sense approach we should be able to gather without being fearful. Even implementing these common sense rules for gathering to protect each other and our seniors, some are still going to get sick. Some may even get the China virus or “just the flu.” Know this, even if it is “just the flu” it is something a person can die from and between 15,000 to 40,000 do so every year. This year looks like over 20,000 will die from “just the flu.”
In Acts 5 the apostles are brought before the Sanhedrin for disobeying orders not to teach in Jesus name (v28). But Peter and the other apostles replied We must obey God rather than human beings (v29). The Sanhedrin wanted them put to death, but were persuaded by Gamaliel, a Pharisee, to spare them so instead they were flogged. After being flogged the apostles rejoiced because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name of Jesus.
Every day, as Christians we get up and put on an invisible cloak, the cloak of Christ, that identifies us as Christians. With that cloak on many look upon us with amusement, some with hate, real hate, while others wonder about the peace we have in our lives and are open to hearing about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We don’t have to be afraid of those who hate us, because we know God loves us so much He even numbers the hairs on our head – even as they dwindle in number on some of our heads like mine.
Bottom line: We should live a life of common sense knowing we could die on any given day that the Lord chooses to bring any of us home, but we should not live a life of fear for He has saved us already from an eternity of hell. He did that with the grace or unmerited favor by the sacrifice of His Son on a cross making full and complete payment for our sins.
The first one to be put to death for being a Christian was Stephen. He was not an apostle, but a deacon in the early church of Jerusalem and he was stoned to death after telling the Sanhedrin how they betrayed and murdered Jesus even though they had received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it (Acts 7:53). As he died from the stoning he prayed Lord, do not hold this sin against them (v60) for as he had been forgiven he sought forgiveness for those who sinned against him. Let us learn to do the same.
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton