COVID-19 is impacting the entire world, changing life globally, locally, and personally. How should we as Kingdom people respond to this pandemic?
In this sermon, Greg oﬀers a conversation for the podrishioners, as the church is not gathering for worship due to the impact of COVID-19. We are living in a weird, even scary time, one that is changing the shape of history. This is impacting how we live in almost every facet, and for some it is something from which they will never recover. Therefore, it is crucial that we address what a Kingdom response to this situation might look like. Greg oﬀers three such responses.
First of all, from a Kingdom perspective, this should not be that surprising. Many may be saying that God is in control of all things and that God has planned every detail of how this virus will impact individuals. Logically, this would mean that God is causing this pandemic. However, God is not micro-controlling what does and does not happen as a result of COVID-19. In fact, Jesus came rebuking such things as this virus and healing people who were inflicted. COVID-19 does not come from God, but from the enemy.
In Matthew 13, Jesus told a parable about the weeds being sown in the midst of good crop. The weeds come from the “enemy,” yet at the same time, they exist in the midst of God’s glory. We’re living a world that is full of both God’s goodness and Satan’s evil. It is just the reality of things. And as such, it is a war zone.
For the most part, those of us who live in the West don’t often directly feel the impact of this war. The New Testament tells us that Satan is the God of this world (1 John 5:19). There is a corrupting aspect of nature that impacts life in ways that we don’t fully understand. We must be wise about what does come from God and what does not. If we are not, then we end up blaming God for things that are actually the doing of Satan. God is always on the side of blessing, not of disease.
The second Kingdom response is to be the Church. Our call is to be the church in the midst of the war zone, no matter the circumstances. We are to imitate God, to live in love as Christ loved us. Christ demonstrated what God looks like and therefore what love looks like, and we are to follow in that path. This is counter-cultural, as the call is to resist the natural inclination to protect ourselves and make sure we do whatever it takes to make sure “me and mine” are safe.
The call to love is the call to keep others in mind. This means that we should look for opportunities to shine, to put on display the glory of the Kingdom in practical ways. Most of the time, our love will come in the form of (a million) little things, not grand actions.
The third Kingdom response is to be encouraged. Jesus said in John 16 that in this world we will have trials, but not to let our hearts be troubled because Jesus has overcome the world. This statement came about three hours before Jesus was arrested. It did not look like Jesus had overcome anything; in fact, just the opposite was the case. However, Good Friday did not have the last word. The resurrection demonstrated that the cross was the means by which God has overcome all that stands against God.
This is based in the principle of the already not/yet reality of the world. God has already won the war, in principle, through the cross. He has already overcome the world, even though it is not yet fully manifested. In the midst of the challenges we face due to the impact of this virus, we can trust that Jesus has already overcome it. The victory is won. And when we keep this truth in mind, we can be encouraged.
This is not wishful thinking; it is a reality that gives us the ability to have peace that passes understanding. It does not fully make logical sense when we look at our circumstances, but it is a peace that is rooted in the deep reality of God’s victory on the cross.
All of this points to a final word, one found in the last section of Romans 8. There we read that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. This is the good news! We will face a lot of nasty stuﬀ in this world, yet nothing can stop the love of God that is extended to us.
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