A Christian Response to Pandemics | Matthew 8:23-27

A Christian Response to Pandemics | Matthew 8:23-27

Introduction

Please Stand for the Reading of God’s Word

Matthew 8:23-27 ESV  And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him.  (24)  And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.  (25)  And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.”  (26)  And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  (27)  And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

You May be Seated

  • “And behold there was a great storm on the sea”.
    • The word in Greek here for storm is “Seismos” it means a terrible tempest, a sudden and deadly storm… it is also the word used for earthquakes… to give you a scale of the suddenness and terror this storm was causing, it was to them as bad as an earthquake.
      • That’s why they used the word Seismos… they could have used a different word. They could have used the word “Vrochi” which means rain storm.
      • They could have used the word “Anemos” which means wind storm.
    • But they used the word Seismos, a great and extreme and horrible and loud, life threatening tempest.
  • It came out of nowhere and is destroying everything, much like an earthquake.
  • So the disciples are on a boat with Jesus, they have left everything to follow Him, and now they are convinced they are going to die.
    • So they go and find Jesus, He is sleeping, so they wake Him… and what does He do? He rebukes them with this question followed by a just judgment.

Matthew 8:26a ESV  And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”…

  • There is the question: What are you afraid of?
    • And then there is the just judgment “You have little faith”.
      • It seems harsh, but it’s not.
      • In fact it is incredibly logical, it makes perfect sense.
      • It’s not harsh… extreme, sure, but we shouldn’t be surprised that a life of following the creator of the universe is a life of extremes.
  • Now, we know that there is a Seismos happening in the world right now, there is widespread global panic over Covid-19, the Coranavirus.
    • And because of that I am taking a break from Luke and the prodigal son this morning to talk about Christianity and Pandemics.
    • I feel that in this time of crises and panic that it is important that you have a calm, collected, and biblical understanding of what’s going on, and I feel that I would be doing the church a disservice to ignore this issue from the pulpit.

Show Title Slide – 1 Leave up until title slide 2

  • I want to give the church a Christian Response to Pandemics.
    • I want to give everyone watching a simple 2 step process to handle any national or global crises from a Godly worldview.
    • If you want to know how you should respond as a Christian to the Coronavirus then this message is for you.
    • Now I have a second Title Slide, one that I didn’t want to put on Facebook because I was afraid it would make people mad… like pretty much everything else on Facebook. But this is the honest Title of todays message.

Show Title Slide 2

  • A Christian Response to Pandemics. Why are You Afraid?
    • Why are you afraid? Have you ever asked yourself that?
    • If you are afraid of the Coronavirus or anything else the first question you need to ask yourself is “Why am I afraid?”
  • Now in today’s message I won’t be reading any statistics.
    • I won’t be comparing the coronavirus to the flu, or to measles, or sars or anything else.
    • I won’t be talking about survival rates, who is at risk and who isn’t, and I certainly won’t be giving you travel advise.
    • I will not be trying to make this virus seem worse than it is.
    • And I will not be trying to make lite of this virus.
  • The truth is I don’t know who to believe.
    • Some say this is going to devastate the world. Maybe it will.
    • Others say it will blow over in a month. Maybe so.
    • Some say it is a hoax, a conspiracy, a population control tactic.
    • Others say it is nothing more than a common pneumonia or stand of the flu.
  • The truth is, guys, I’m not a doctor. I am not in the know. I haven’t seen the reports first hand, I don’t know anyone who has been affected by this virus… so really I only know what is being told to me by politicians, the news, and social media… and all three of these sources are notoriously untrustworthy when it comes to these kinds of things.
  • Here is what I do know.
    • The king is on the throne, and He is not going anywhere!
    • If this virus devastates the world… God still reigns.
    • If this virus blows over in a month… Jesus is still Lord.
    • If this turns out to be a chemical weapon used for population control… Jesus still loves me.
    • If it is a big hoax… God is still Just.
    • If it’s nothing more than a flu… the Holy Spirit still is working.
    • If I catch it and die… I still get to be with God FOREVER
    • If I never catch it and live for 100 more years… I still get to be with God FOREVER.
    • If something in between happens… I still get to be with God FOREVER.
  • Let me paraphrase Psalm 2 for you… it says this: WHY DO THE NATIONS RAGE AND THE KINGS PLOT IN VAIN? HE WHO SITS IN HEAVEN LAUGHS AT THEM!
  • Y’ALL! GOD’S GOT THIS!!!!!

PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY

Step One – Don’t Panic, Don’t Worry

Philippians 4:6a ESV  do not be anxious about anything…

  • Can I tell you a secret?!
    • ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX NEWS, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Facebook, and Twitter…
    • What do they all have in common?
    • They are all for profit companies that make millions of dollars by selling advertisement slots.
      • The more people who watch their channel, the more the advertisers pay them.
      • These companies don’t care about what is really news, they care about what you want to watch.
      • So they report on scandals, they sell gossip, hatred, and division.
        • These companies are not bringers of joy, they are bringers of terror, and we can’t get enough of it.
        • If they can make us ANGRY, we watch and they win.
        • If they can make us HATE others, we watch and they win.
        • If they can make us SCARED, we watch and they win.
      • You see if we were happy, and at peace, and content… we wouldn’t feel the need to turn the news on every day, at every moment.
      • You know there used to be a thing called the EVENING NEWS, you used to have to wait to get news for the day.
      • But then 24 hour news stations came out and they had to find stories to make you want to watch all day every day. So what do they do? They sell sin.
      • Car chases, bank robberies, mass murderers, political scandals, war… and the big one… PANDEMICS.
  • These companies want you to watch them, and if they can get you scared and anxious they know you will watch them.
  • BUT PHILIPPIANS 4:6 says that worry is a sin, that anxiety is a sin.
    • We didn’t even know it, but the media has been selling us sin through all this pandemic… they want us to sin, they want us to be anxious… because something about it feels good… it feels right… and then we want more, and more… we need to feed that anxiety with more and more bad reports.
  • Worry is a sin. Period. It doesn’t matter how bad things get, if you are worried, you are in sin.
    • Why? Because to be worried is to not trust Jesus.

Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV  Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Isaiah 41:10 ESV  fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalms 34:19 ESV  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.

Psalms 46:1 ESV  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalms 138:7 ESV  Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.

Psalms 23:1-6 ESV  A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  (2)  He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.  (3)  He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  (4)  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  (5)  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  (6)  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

  • To be worried is to suggest that God is not in control
    • To be anxious is to say that these scriptures are not true
    • (not talking about medical anxiety)
      • Worry, in and of itself is a lack of faith in God.
      • We should not worry… we shouldn’t worry about today, or tomorrow.
      • We shouldn’t care what wars are happening where, Jesus said that would happen.
      • We shouldn’t be afraid of persecution… we are pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned.
      • And we shouldn’t worry about diseases and pandemics… Jesus controls even the germs, bacteria’s, and the viruses! THEY ALL OBEY HIM!
  • But pastor, are you saying that Christians can’t die?!
    • No, not at all. I am saying Christians already died… we did that part already.
    • We don’t die again, we just change addresses… from earth to heaven.
    • That’s the worse this virus can do to you… it can send you to heaven… and if you are afraid of that then I question your salvation… at the very least I question your maturity in Christ.
      • I CANT WAIT TO GO TO HEAVEN. Whether it be from Covid-19, or Nuclear War, or old age, or God willing the Rapture… you won’t find me complaining. You will find me worshiping God on the streets of Gold.
  • At the end of the day, either God is in control, and has you in His hand, or He isn’t. And if you are worried then you are saying “I am not sure God is in control, I am not sure He can protect me, I am not sure He knows best… What if…”
    • What if God is not in control? Then I don’t want to serve Him. I don’t want to serve some other God, I want to serve the God of Scripture… and the God of Scripture is in control of even every single hair on my head… by number!
  • So I am not going to dishonor Him by getting worried.
    • You know if people had REAL fear, not just hype, over this virus… Churches would be having all night prayer vigils. They wouldn’t be closed, they would be packed. Ask Pastor Moses about Ebola, the streets were empty, but the church was full.
    • If people were REALLY afraid, then it would be bibles that are sold out, not toilet paper.
    • Listen if you were REALLY afraid you would spend more time crying out to the God who is in control then you do posting pictures of Walmart’s empty shelfs on Facebook.
  • God is in Control, and to think otherwise is sin.
  • Go back to the disciples in the boat. THEY WERE CONVINCED THEY WERE GOING TO DIE.
    • Jesus was napping.
  • They should have seen their savor napping, and knowing that He is God, they should have said “He knows something we don’t. let’s nap next to Him”.
  • That brings me to step two… once you get your panic and anxiety under control, do this… ask where is Jesus in All of This.

Step Two – Ask, Where is Jesus in All of This

Matthew 8:24 ESV  And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.

  • Jesus was sleeping! This tells me two things, one, Jesus approves of naps, and 2, Jesus wasn’t concerned about the storm.
  • CAN I TELL YOU A SECRET? Jesus isn’t afraid of the Coronavirus.
    • He is not in heaven ringing his hands worried about what to do.
    • God the Father didn’t go down to the heavenly Wal-Mart and buy all the toilet paper and cleaning wipes.
    • The Holy Spirit is not glued to Fox News waiting for Hannity to tell Him what to do.
  • God is in heaven… and what is He doing?
    • Helping people make disciples.
    • Protecting His persecuted.
    • Loving people and working for the good of His people.
  • The world is losing it’s mind, ought us Christians look different?
  • The world only cares about themselves… making it through this mess… ought we Christians look different.

James 1:27 ESV Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

  • I don’t know if this virus is going to blow over or kill us all…
    • But either way, what if the Christians weren’t the ones hiding in the bomb shelters…
      • If I am going to die from a pandemic, let me die helping people, and loving people.
  • Now we know that this virus is particularly devastating for the elderly, and James 1:27 says that pure and undefiled religion is to take care of the elderly!
    • WHAT A GREAT OPERTUNITY FOR US TO BE CHRISTIANS!
    • Everyone of us here has elderly neighbors, have you reached out to them in the love of Christ?
    • Have you offered to help them? Have you offered to pray with them?
  • Listen, one day the world is going to end… BUT IM NOT!
    • ONE DAY THE WORLD IS GOING TO END! BUT I AM NOT! And I know that… therefore let me do what Jesus want’s me to be doing.
    • If I see Jesus napping… then let me pull up a bed next to him.
    • If I see Jesus preparing for the second coming, then let me do the same and do all I can to bring people to Him.
    • If I see Jesus loving others, then let me love others.
    • And if I see Jesus worried… well I guess then I can get worried… but we know that will never happen.
  • Again, ask “Where is Jesus in all of this”.
    • Jesus what do you want me to do, how do you want me to serve you in this time… how can I use this pandemic for your glory, for your love, for you Kingdom.
  • On January 23rd, 1943 a ship called the SS Dorchester left for Greenland with approximately 900 people on board.
    • A few days latter the Ship found it’s own Seismos… In the form of a torpedo shot by a German Submarine, U-Boat 223.
    • There was four Chaplains on board… 4 Christian pastors.
    • And as the ship was sinking, and death was approaching… they did not panic.
    • They did not worry.
    • They stayed calm and ask Jesus what to do.
    • They realized God was still on the throne… and that some on the ship may not know him.
    • Not wanting any to die without Jesus they began helping others to life boats.
    • When the life vest supply ran out they gave up their own to save four more lives.
    • As the boat sank and the life boats left that they could have boarded instead of other people of lower rank… the chaplains joined arms and sang worship as they went down with the ship.
      • In all of this, they did not sin. They were victorious.
  • If this ship with America is going down, then let’s go down singing worship and helping others.
  • And if it turns out that it was all a big joke and it blows over soon, great, we spent time worshiping and helping others…
  • Either way, God wins.
  • Either way, God is on the throne.
  • When I get to heaven I won’t care how many rolls of TP I have… but I may care about wasted opportunities to love others and share the love of Christ…. I hope to enter heaven with no regrets… and that means I need to love always and fear never.

Conclusion

Gospel Call

Wolf Man Story
Steph H Story

Prayer Against Fear

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