I want to admit that recently, I have been frustrated with many “Christians” over their cowardice. This isn’t a confession of sin, because one: I don’t think it is good to confess sins online on a Facebook post, and two: I am convinced that all Christians ought to be frustrated, if not righteously angry, at the lack of boldness in our fellow brethren. Let me explain.
If you know where and how I grew up (which I am assuming most of you reading this do), you will probably be able to imagine the bravery I witnessed in the giants of the faith that I grew up around (who you probably won’t know unless you lived there too, because they didn’t seek fame or fortune, just the cause of Christ). In places where owning a Bible brings death, and preaching Christ crucified brings persecution of the highest order, I witnessed faithful brothers and sisters sacrifice everything, including their lives, for the sake of Christ. Every day they picked up their cross and were willing to risk persecution, imprisonment, torture, and death to carry out the great commission.
This isn’t to say these missionaries didn’t take precautions, because of course they did. If one wanted to have their ministry end the day it started, they neglected such considerations. However, they recognized that if they were to try to protect their ability to minister in the future (ie their lives, or their visas, or any number of other necessary requirements to bring the gospel to other countries) at the cost of that ministry, then it was meaningless. How ridiculous would it be to not fulfill the duties Christ has given us as believers so that we could protect our ability to fulfill those duties? Friends, do you not recognize that having a platform for ministry means nothing if you don’t follow through with that ministry? No life, building, or visa will ever be secure enough that fulfilling the law of Christ does not risk it.
Again, I don’t want to say that those considerations are not important, but examine the early Church. The government did not allow them to gather or to evangelize. If anyone in power found out, they could have been shut down, imprisoned, or even killed.
So what is the point I’m getting at with this recounting, you may ask? The point is this. Even in the “free” countries, where religion is lawfully protected, the world hates everything we stand for. Perhaps not explicitly, but it hates Jesus and scorns his gift of eternal life. It hates righteousness, and our desire to be set apart from the world. And ultimately, it hates those of us who are born again and are willing to sacrifice everything (including our lives) for the sake of Christ.
What is the outcome of this hatred? We can see it in the places that are not “free.” You can’t gather as believers in corporate worship; you can’t own the Holy Bible; you can’t evangelize; you can’t praise the name of Jesus Christ without risking your life. Consider then those cowardly “Christians” that reside in free countries. They gather in corporate worship; they own the Bible; they might evangelize in some form or fashion; they outwardly praise the name of Jesus. And there is where the crux of my frustration lies. They only do so because they have the earthly ‘right’ to do so. They only praise the name of Jesus because they don’t fear imprisonment or martyrdom.
News flash Christians: those rights will not exist forever! The world hates that we enjoy such privileges, and one day, it will take them away from us. What hope do they have for boldness to follow Christ when their life is on the line, when in the past year, they have shown that they aren’t willing to do so when their life isn’t on the line?
I’m going to stop being vague now. I am specifically referring to Coronavirus and COVID-regulations. Considering just the virus and not the political side of things: Friend, have you holed up in your house too afraid of getting sick that you don’t gather in corporate worship, you don’t fellowship with the body of Christ, you don’t disciple others and get discipled yourself, you don’t evangelize to the lost and broken around you, you don’t give to the poor and needy and protect the orphans and widows, and ultimately you don’t follow any of the commands that God has given concerning you as a believer? I’m sorry brother or sister, but those are ordinances given by God for you to follow. Yes, you may be at risk for coronavirus.
This post is not some claim that it is a hoax or that it isn’t dangerous. It is for some of you. In fact, if you are in the right age group or you have some preconditions, you may very well be risking your life.
But you must anyway. Luke 17:33 “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” How can you claim a belief in Christ when you are not willing to risk it all for Him? The early church did. 11 out of 12 apostles were brutally martyred for the sake of Christ. They understood that Jesus died to save them from eternal damnation ,enduring the very wrath of God, so that they could live, and the least they could do for Him is to sacrifice everything for the sake of His Name. Gathering in person in corporate worship is not a recommendation. It is your duty. Jesus said that “if you love Me, you will keep my commandments.” If your Church is too cowardly to open its doors, leave it for another, or form a house Church with the faithful members who understand the importance of meeting with the brethren. You cannot continue in this apostasy of seclusion and continue to claim a faith in Christ.
Do you not trust that God protects his flock? That is not a guarantee that you won’t suffer Covid and potential death while gathering together; you might, but do you not trust that your faithfulness will be rewarded eternally? Sure, if you ACTUALLY have coronavirus, it is acceptable for that short period of time to protect others and not meet in person, but you can’t not attend to the body in FEAR of getting coronavirus.
“Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with your whole heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”1 Samuel 12:23
Why protect your life so you have the ability to follow Christ later, when you aren’t following Christ now? It doesn’t make sense.
Again, I want to make clear that I am not saying take no precautions. As long as you don’t neglect the duties necessitated of you as a Christian, take whatever precautions necessary. Wear a mask if you must (although I don’t like them. A post for another day), or sit in the front row (since it’s usually empty) if you think that is wise, but don’t neglect the Church.
Where I grew up, our church often received very credible threats where the likelihood of our entire church getting killed were greater than the likelihood of 1 out of a 300 person church dying from Covid, and we acted accordingly. Often we would meet in smaller house churches instead of our normal large gathering. In fact, that probably saved dozens of lives because that larger church was attacked, and we had wisely chosen to meet in house churches that day. We took necessary precautions, but as you can see, we didn’t neglect the Church. We still met even when lives were on the line, just as the early Church did, because that’s what Christians must do. Our ministry is meaningless if we are not willing to accomplish it because we want to save our own lives.
Now, concerning Covid regulations. Perhaps you are not fellowshipping with the body, but it isn’t because you are scared of Coronavirus. Perhaps you are living in a state, or even another country, where “Covid regulations” are stricter and you aren’t allowed to meet. This is for you. You must meet anyway. You must evangelize anyway. You must disciple and be discipled anyway. You must minister to the poor, and to the orphans and widows anyway. What are you risking? Your church or ministry building getting forcibly shut down? Meet in the parking lot. Get shut down there too? Meet in a park. Get shut down there? Split into house churches and meet in homes. Resist those evil attempts to stamp out the Biblical fellowship of corporate worship. Perhaps you’re not merely facing being shut down or a fine for meeting as a body. Perhaps it is a risk of jail time. Meet anyway. Evangelize anyway. Follow Christ anyway. The apostles were warned that they would be persecuted and imprisoned if they continued preaching the gospel, and they did anyway. They were imprisoned. Peter, John, Silas, and many others. Consider Paul too. He was imprisoned multiple times, and was ultimately told (by a prophet) that he was going to be imprisoned if he went to Jerusalem, but he knew it was his duty to go. He had too. It wasn’t a risk if he went, it was a reality. He still went.
I have heard many times from these cowardly Christians I am referring to that we are supposed to subject ourselves to the authority of the government. And we are, but only when that authority does not conflict with God’s authority which is much greater. Perhaps you’re thinking, well that is all good for some people, but I risk death if I meet with the body of Christ. You must do it anyway (see the above paragraph for why risking death is necessary to follow the will of Christ). In America, the rights and privileges that we have long taken for granted are being stripped from us, slowly but surely, and Coronavirus has been a catalyst. Now, that isn’t to say all of those rights will be taken away this year or something. I’m not trying to be an alarmist (although it could be a possibility). But what I am trying to say is that we won’t have those rights forever. Maybe those rights will exist long after I’m dead, but the Bible promises that everything will get worse. A time will come sooner or later where no Christian can escape the persecution. No one will be able to follow Christ without risking life, liberty, and earthly happiness.
Are you ready brother? Are you ready sister? If you can’t stand up to the beginning cries of persecution here in America, will you be able to stand up to the troubles to come? If you bow down now while only the bare minimum of liberties are being stripped from you, how will you resist bowing down when the government decides you’re not allowed to meet in church or have worship night at all, not because of Covid, but just because they don’t want you too? You won’t have any practice doing so. In that day it will be for you as if you were taken captive in Babylon. You will have slowly resigned to give over everything to the King. Every time you will say, “look, at least he is still letting me pray in my own home. Look, at least he is still letting me pretend as if I am one of God’s children.” Yet, when the order comes to bow down and worship his statue, who will stand against it? Not you, you will be too scared. Only those who have practiced resisting such persecution (secretly if absolutely necessary) will be strong enough to resist such blatant blasphemy and idolatry and risk being thrown into the fire. And those faithful will be few. In the time of the Jewish exile in Babylon, there were only 4.
Let me illustrate this with some real examples. There is a specific ministry that I am aware of that I believe is ineffective as it exists presently. It is not evil, or heretical, or a bad thing at all. Its intent is good, and if it was effective in bringing about its intent, thenI would think it a great thing. Recently however, one of the gatherings of this specific ministry was canceled because the powers at be said it couldn’t meet. So, in order to preserve the right to meet, they didn’t meet. This makes no sense, and is wrong. In fact, even though I don’t particularly think this ministry is effective, I was so enraged and saddened by the decision to not gather that I was brought to tears multiple times (ask some of those close to me to verify that this is true) for the injustice of sacrificing a ministry meant for God (however ineffective it may be) on the platter of public acceptance.
Although I don’t want to name anything in this post (as that is not the purpose), I condemn such actions, and I would condemn any other ministry or organization that does the same without providing viable alternatives (such as house churches were this ministry a church). Perhaps this ministry would get shut down, or maybe fined, or imprisoned (unlikely in this situation), but such risks are necessary when advancing the cause of Christ. Another example is that a couple of months ago, I saw someone on Facebook (who I previously respected greatly) say that they would not go out (including going back to church) until Dr. Fauci said it was ok. This is so despicable to me that I almost wrote a similar post then in anger, but I decided the time was not right.
The Bible commands we meet in corporate worship, and no authority from man can supersede it. Dr. Fauci is not God, and such a statement puts him as authority over God. That is blasphemy of the highest degree. God is faithful to us, and it is now when we must show courage and be faithful to Him. If you aren’t willing to risk everything, and I mean everything, for the cause of Christ, then you are salt that has lost its saltiness, or the seed that has grown up and then been strangled by the thorns. I am willing to risk everything for the cause of Christ. There are times I will fold to persecution; I’m not perfect, just as you’re not, but I won’t try to justify those mistakes. I will hold myself accountable and be distressed in my heart when I realize what I’ve done in denying Christ, just as Peter did. But I want to be a faithful tool to be used by Christ, ready to sacrifice myself for the Gospel if necessary.
It makes me mad when so many faithful brothers and sisters (some as close as brothers to me) have sacrificed their lives to advance the Gospel, and yet there are some of you reading this right now who won’t go to Church until the government, or your university, or Dr. Fauci tells you that you can. The Bible tells us that God is the Lord our God and we shall have no other gods before Him.
Dr. Fauci is not God, President Biden is not God, LSU is not God, the King of Thailand is not God. Be faithful to God, not these things of the earth. My family has risked death many times over for the cause of Christ, and I will gladly give my life for Christ if called to, “for to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Will you do the same?