We Must Unite as a Body
By Dean Honeycutt
Happy New Year and God bless you. Wow, how do we wrap our minds around 2020 and what do we anticipate for 2021? Many of us have had a difficult 2020. This past year has been like a roller coaster as we have all tried to navigate the waters of COVID-19. On top of that my wife has cared tirelessly for her dad Jimmy Self. As I write this he appears to be in his final days on earth. Thank the Lord for heaven.
Many of you have been sick and God has healed you. Others have buried loved ones. We have been separated from our loved ones due to restrictions placed on us by our state governments. Surgeries have been postponed and people have suffered. Churches have shut down and many are still struggling across our nation. At times I have been very frustrated with the executive orders from our governor. I realize that he may be acting in our best interest. However, everything we have been asked to do; social distance, wear a mask, not gather, and no visits to nursing homes. All these things seem to be what we would expect to stop COVID-19 from spreading. But none of these things seem to be working.
I know hindsight is 20/20. But what difference would it had made had we allowed families and our elderly to choose for themselves to see their loved ones in our nursing homes and hospitals. We should be able to serve God and serve others in need according to the dictates of our hearts. In the story of the “Good Samaritan,” two religious leaders passed by a wounded dying man unwilling to offer help. However, the Samaritan chose to risk his life and put himself at risk to help the wounded man. If we were in the same situation and the wounded man left to die alone were not wearing a mask would we “get off our donkey” to help? The point is we should be able to choose for ourselves in the exercise of our Christian faith to visit people in nursing homes and hospitals.
I know everyone has an opinion about COVID-19 and what to do. We do not hear many people saying repent and turn to God. We do not hear our leaders calling for repentance and humility before God. Instead, they are saying “science will lead us out.” Every time God sent a plague, or disease to earth what the Bible calls a judgment from God before things got better people had to repent and turn to God. The very purpose of a judgment from God is to repent and turn to God for help. This is what 2 Chronicles 7:13–14 directs us to do. 13 “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
A pestilence is a disease, it is a virus, it is a sickness. This is the exact same thing Jesus warned us about Matthew 24:6–8 (KJV 1900) 6 “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
“The beginning of sorrows” here is the word for birth pains. These are the pains of contraction that a woman experiences before the birth of a child. So, Jesus is telling His church that we are going to experience some “birth pains” before the rapture and second coming of Christ to earth. The problem is Jesus told us the “birth pains” are coming and you can expect them, but the church was unprepared. Just put things into perspective. The most brilliant minds in the world and the most powerful governments could not stop Covid-19. Sounds like God is trying to get our attention. The “birth pains” will intensify the closer we move toward “The Great Tribulation.” “The birth pains” prepare the Church for the Second Coming of Christ. God is preparing His Church. Ephesians 5:26–27 (KJV 1900)
26” That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
So as a church, we have a lot of work cut out for us as we move forward by faith. The Birth pains will come and go; they are inevitable. How we respond to a lost and dying world during times of tribulation will make a difference. The body of Christ must come together in unity and faith to do what the church is called to do. In the words of Milton Hollifield “there will be different opinions about wearing masks and seating, but for goodness sakes do not let that stop the train.” The Gospel train needs to move forward by faith. Just like a marriage in sickness and in health, with or without COVID-19 we must move forward in faith. If you are part of the “Body of Christ” meet with your church family, encourage your pastor, and take the Gospel to the end of the world.
The early New Testament church hazarded their lives for the sake of the gospel. Would God expect anything less of us? I have had people tell me “we will see you in the spring or whenever.” I have people tell me they are afraid to come to church, but I see them in restaurants. Folks, we are the Body of Christ and the Body cannot function the way it needs to when parts are missing. God has a purpose in all things and as believers, we must come together as a body in unity. The Church is a local visible body of believers who meet to worship God and take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
Live with No Regrets
Pastor Dean Honeycutt
Pastor Dean Honeycutt shepherds Snow Hill Baptist Church in Bakersville, NC. He may be reached at 828-385-0213, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website at www.snowhillbaptist.com.
You can read more good Christian news from Dean HERE.