Dear Brothers and Sisters,
When this Covid-19 was first mentioned I like many others believed it was just another flu virus such as avian flu and the other ones we have seen come out of China, but I have sought the Lord God with all my heart and I believe the Lord God Almighty has allowed this devastating disease to grow and flourish as a warning to the people of this earth. I remind you if you have not read it for a long time to take a look at this scripture:
Psalm 2 King James Version
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
7 I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
So, my brothers and sisters and fellow ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I believe this is the time when many of us will be able to reflect. I hope it is a time when many will spend time in prayer and study of the holy scriptures as it is not a time to be busy, it is a time to be still. On this day, 19 March 2020, all the churches across the land are closed. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Mr Welby, and the Catholic Cardinals have closed down all their buildings. I believe the Baptists, the Methodists, the Assemblies of God and the Elim Pentecostal and the independent pentecostal churches will all follow suit. I believe this is also a judgment on the body of Christ as it is time to put away our banjos, our clever music, our programmes and seek God as we have never done before. We still have the access to the Internet. Many of us can contact each other through Duo, WhatsApp, Skype. We can also pick up our telephones and do something we have not done for a long time: talk to each other.
As for the prosperity gospel, this cannot function in this environment. I am not saying this is how things will end up, but I believe the Lord God Almighty is showing us what would happen if something worse came down the line. This is not a time to see how much money you have in the bank or how much you gain through ill-gotten gains. If you are mega-rich, it is time to sow. Remember the parable that Jesus spoke about of the man who built bigger barns and the Lord God Almighty said, “Thou fool, this night your soul will be required of you.” What will your money do if, God forbid, the Lord calls you tonight? What good would it have been? I am talking as a man who once had money who now has nothing but in my spirit I am very rich as I have learned what the apostle Paul learned, to be content in all situations, whether I have plenty or whether I have nothing at all. Jesus also said, “What would it profit a man if he gained the whole world yet lose his soul?”
My brothers and sisters, fellow ministers, we are going to experience for the next few months times that we never experienced. I believe this is the greatest opportunity that the Lord God has given us to reach the lost and the lonely. If you are able-bodied this is your opportunity to help those less fortunate than yourself. If you are rich, it is an opportunity to help the poor, as in the next three months the body of Christ is going to need each other more than we ever have in all the days of my life.
So I hope this message challenges you to not sit on your bottom but to see there are those in your community that you can give practical help to. Ask the Holy Spirit, “What should I do?” Even if it just means picking up a telephone or knocking on the door to help someone. I do believe that the blood of Jesus Christ is more powerful than Covid-19 and this could be a time when the church of Jesus Christ can really shine. We have sung it enough – Shine Jesus Shine – and Jesus can only shine through those He loves. I suggest you spend time and look at John 15 and make sure you are connected to the real vine and not just a sub-branch. As God is the gardener, he will cut off every branch that is not bearing fruit.
God bless you and keep you all and your families safe.
Rev Ross Rennie