Nothing To Do - Part Two
There is no need for an ambassador of Christ to go around trying to force the Gospel Message or Bible Doctrine onto other people. Trying to evangelize or to edify someone that God has not first prepared can actually prove to be counter-productive.
When your unspoken testimony is right with God, He will bring inquirers to you. You do your part by being prepared and to be willing to give answer to those who ASK (1Pet. 3: 15). It is not for Christ's ambassadors to argue, debate, pressure anyone into doing anything, only to communicate the facts.
Having been put through religious rituals does NOT make one a Christian. To be a Christian, one MUST (John 3: 5, 7) be born again. To be born again, one has an understanding of the Gospel Message, as one can not truly believe, that is put his/her full trust and confidence, in something that he/she does not understand. With this understanding, a born again believer should be able to pass on the basic Gospel Message to others. For more complicated issues, one should at least have access to a Biblically-based ministry to which he/she can refer inquirers.
Inquirers may not like the answer you have to offer, but generally do not get upset with you since it was they who brought the subject up. When you perceive that the person is not going to like your answer, you might consider preserving the opportunity by preparing them by first asking them if you can be honest with them. Diplomacy is a fundamental part of ambassadorship.
In both times of prosperity and in times of adversity, Christ's disciples are called to lead others by example.
Christians who choose not to comply with the governmental restrictions and requirements that such things as a Pandemic can bring to us, violate Romans 13: 1 and other basic principles (Matt. 7: 12/Phil. 2: 4) of discipleship.
When tempted to demonstrate God's willingness and ability to protect/preserve His humanity, our Lord set the example by pointing out that we are not to put God to the test (Luke 4: 12). The laws of nature that He authored applies to saint and sinner alike.
Christian super-spreaders (an oxymoron) may never know just how many others they infected as a result of not considering the interests of others to be more important than there own (Phil. 2: 4), and disobeying the Golden Rule (Matt. 7: 12).
Complying with persons in positions of authority, be it spiritual, governmental, marital, parental, or organizational does not come naturally (Romans 8: 7) to any one of us. Fallen Man is inherently hostile towards God and the things (e.g. authority) of God.
Paul (Romans 7: 14-24) wrote of his on-going experience, struggling with the hostile (towards God) nature within him nearly thirty years AFTER he was born again, and towards the END of his post salvation spiritual life, here on Earth.
Only when in a situation where compliance with such delegated authority would cause one to disobey God is such wilful defiance justified (Acts 5: 29). But even then, one accepts the earthly consequences of that choice as part of the cost of his/her discipleship (1Pet.2: 21).
By refusing to wear masks, socially distance, wash hands, restrict travel, we potentially place ourselves and others in harm's way. Even when we do not become infected (or infect others), our poor example encourages others to do so, some of whom will become infected and/or infect others.
Closed houses of worship (Leviticus 26) are among the things that a nation under divine discipline will experience. The ancient Jews were greatly mistaken when they assumed that they would be protected as long as God's temple stood in their midst.
When time for national discipline came, the temple was destroyed, the altar was defiled, and the people were exiled.
Worshipping God via remote means of communication has been around for decades by ministries that make use of such things as radio, television, and the Internet to establish and sustain their pulpits.
When comfortable, secure, distraction-free, buildings and other means of physically gathering together (Heb. 10: 25) are available, that's a fine assets. But the Church that God designed does not need or require such things to function, as do the alternate churches that are the products of Man-made religion and design.
The early Church gathered together in such places as private homes, market places, and in the Temple courts. When persecuted, they gathered together in many different types of secret hiding places.
The point being is that the location or type of structure was/is of no consequence regarding the quality of worship taking place.
What IS of consequence is rather or not the worship taking place is of the type that God desires (John 4: 23, 24). To the extent that we teach and/or practice the religious teachings and traditions of MEN, our worship of the Lord becomes meaningless (Matt.15: 9). Here we see the stark difference between Christian religion (an oxymoron) and Biblical Christianity, yet followers of both consider themselves Christians.
Contrary to the requirements of Old Testament Scripture that WERE in place for THAT dispensation (period of time), there are NO holy buildings, tangible altars, or sacrificing priests Biblically called for during the dispensation of the Church Age.
The Heb. 10: 25 command to gather together to worship God as He desires to be worshipped (John 4: 23) can be fulfilled "wherever" two or three gather together (Matt. 18: 20).
It is my contention that in principle, this "wherever" includes the Internet and other remote means of communication. ONE pastor plus ONE recipient equals TWO "gathered together."
At the end of the day, it's not the type of pulpit, but the fruit (saved/edified souls) it produced (Luke 6: 43-45).
During this Pandemic, the evangelistic and edifying efforts of many such ministries have not skipped a single beat. The evangelization of unbelievers and the edification of believers IS the primary work that God gave the Church that He designed to do (Matt.28: 19. 20).
God has not committed Himself to supply the same means of endurance to alternative churches or plans that He did not design.
If the things we desire to do at this time are what God had in mind, He would provide us with the means and opportunity to do so WITHOUT having us violate Scripture (Romans 13: 1/Luke 6: 31/Phil. 2: 3) to do so.
Christians are not here to do what they may want to do, but what He would have us do.
The restrictions, hardships, and losses imposed by or resulting from the Pandemic is the manifestation of national divine discipline (Leviticus 26). During periods of national divine discipline, the relatively (Romans 3: 23) innocent suffer along with the ones unquestionably responsible for inviting the divine discipline in view.
The fact that so many of us only want things to go back to the way things were before the Pandemic began is a clear indication that there are still lessons to be learned. If God was pleased with the way things were, there would have been no need for discipline. If we do not learn from history, we are destined to repeat it.
Judgment (and correction) begins with the house of God (1Pet. 4: 1:7)!
The unexpected Pandemic changed many of the daily plans that we had in mind, but changed NONE of the plans that God had/has in mind. The Pandemic did Not take God by surprise, nor was (or will it be ) a surprise to God how it will impact the individual lives of anyone on the planet.
Such things were written in God's book before the world even came into existence (Psalms 139:16).
Q. If our choices have already been written down before we were born, why does God hold us accountable?
A. What makes us accountable (Romans 14: 12) is that at the time we make the choices, we are exercising the free will that God gave us. God already knows what choices we have made, are making, and will make throughout the course of our time here on Earth.
It was by having this knowledge that enabled Him to pour out our personal sin debt on the suffering, atoning humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ nailed to the cross.
Only an omniscient God, having such knowledge, could put it all together and speak of future events with accuracy.
There are things that we have no control over, but many of the things that we do have control over contributes to how we experience our time here on Earth, and where and how we will experience eternity.
God did confer with us about when, where, or under what circumstances we were to come into this world. It is He that determines when, where, and how we will depart (Psalms 31:15).
Our biological parents may or may not have had a baby in mind when what would become our bodies were conceived. But God knew exactly what He was doing when He created our soul and placed it in the specific body of His choosing (John 3: 6). The body that He chose and all the circumstances of our birth were perfect for the plan that He had in mind.
God has a specific plan for each and every soul that He creates, no matter long (Gen. 5: 5) or how short (2Sam. 12) of an earthly experience that He assigns to each soul He creates. The length of time may or may not have anything to do with how relatively good or evil the individual had been. From God's viewpoint, the length of one's life span here on Earth was/is neither short or long, but perfect for what He had/has in mind.
Adam, whose earthly life brought sin into the world, lived 930 years. The Lord Jesus Christ, whose earthly life brought salvation to Fallen Man was here la little more than 30 years.
To a large degree, what we do with time that God assigns to us is the result of choices that we make in light of the opportunities we are given. The ones who are given more time and opportunities are all that more accountable for what they choose to do with them (Luke 12: 48).
God (Phil. 4: 19) provides each one of us all the time, but no more time, that the amount of time we need in order to do the things that He wants us to do.
Rather or not we, as individual Church Age believers, choose to learn of and execute the individual plan (1Cor. 12: 7, 11, 18) that God has in mind for us, is a choice that we make each and every day. These daily choices determines the quality of our post salvation spiritual life here on Earth, and its impact on how we will experience Heaven (1Cor. 3: 14, 15).
Each and every day, there are things to do if we are to fulfill the individual plan that God has in mind. It is the ones living outside of God's plan for them that have nothing of spiritual significance to do.
The plan that God has in mind will afford us the time and opportunity to communicate with God in prayer, to meditate on, to learn, and to apply the principles of the Word of God.
Each and every Church Age believer has been given a spiritual gift and accompanying ministry to minister to the spiritual needs of others (1Cor. 12). Each and every Church Age believer has been commissioned to participate in the spreading of the Gospel Message and the making of disciples (Matt. 28: 19, 20).
NOTHING, including a Pandemic, changes the daily plan that God has in mind for each and every one of us. God causes "all things" to work together (Romans 8: 28) in order to place or to keep those who are in His plan where He wants them to be in order to fulfill the plan that He has in mind.
The "all things" of Romans 8: 28 include what God gives and what God takes away (Job 1: 20; 2: 10).
Whatever takes place around us, wherever we are, whatever we are otherwise doing, God has things for us to do that brings glory to Him. By what God gives and takes away, we are being trained and equipped (Eph. 4: 11-13) for what lay ahead, in both Heaven and on Earth.
Most Christians frequently pray for THY will to be done (Matt. 6: 10), but what we really want is for MY will to be done!
Mountain top experiences are to be enjoyed, but most spiritual mountains are climbed in difficult circumstances.
Jesus did His greatest work with His hands and feet immobilized, while nailed to a Roman cross. Paul penned several letters that later became books of the New Testament while in a prison cell. Noah preserved humanity confined in an arc. Job glorified God after losing ten children, great wealth, good health, and high social standing.
In conclusion, those who seek first the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6: 33) will always have enough (Matt. 6: 34 ) things to do each and every of their post salvation spiritual life.
Acting in the capacity of God's ambassador is what gives meaning to each day of our post salvation spiritual life. Otherwise, life here on Earth is spiritually non-prodictive and meaningless, no matter how many other things we find to do.