The Covid 19 Christian.
This type of Christian follows Covid 19 protocol.
They wear a mask.
They practice social distancing.
They are always washing their hands.
They prefer to stay at home.
They have been vaccinated.
What does it mean to be sold out for God .
This phrase is used very loosely in many religious circles.
To a Muslim, it means you are willing to die for Allah.
To a Catholic, it could mean giving up your rights to marry.
So what does it mean to the true Christian?
Are there any lines that must be drawn to be totally sold out for God?
Has there ever been anyone that has ever really accomplished this?
Many times we say things are not totally true.
To a retailer, being sold out of a product means you have nothing left to offer.
Your shelves have been emptied. Could this be what we are referring to by saying we are sold out to Christ? We have nothing left to offer, and our spiritual shelves have been emptied. I hear this said so often by preachers, “I am sold out to God!” with the emphasis on the “I” instead of God.
Are we really sold out to God?
Am I willing to die for Christ?
Have my shelves been totally cleaned out for Him?
Let us understand this is not a one time decision, but something that must be done daily in the life of the Christian.
Becoming totally devoted to Christ. Bill Hybels
Recently a man commented on the “tough topics” I'd taught on over the years, hell, money, sex, relational confrontation, self-discipline.
He asked, “Of all the topics you've preached on, which has been the hardest to get across?” I didn't even have to think about it. “Becoming totally devoted to Christ.” My greatest teaching challenge is to convey what Paul was driving at in:
I no longer count my life as dear unto myself; I have abandoned my personal aspirations and ambitions; I have offered myself as a living sacrifice to Christ.
Becoming totally devoted to Christ.
When I teach that to secularly minded people, they think I'm from Mars.
The thought of living according to someone else's agenda is ludicrous.
To many people, living for Christ is a kind of fanaticism the world could do without.
Who, they wonder, would be foolish enough voluntarily to suffer loss, refrain from pleasure, or impinge on the comfort level of his life?
They think total devotion to Christ means squandering the only life they have.
A man from my church provides a perfect example.
His biggest problem, as I perceive it, is his successful company.
Clients whose business he's not even seeking are lining up for his services.
Just responding to them is tyrannizing his life.
Several months ago I asked him why his heart didn't seem to be as warm toward things of God as it had been.
"Business has been dominating my life," he admitted, but added in defence, "but I'm not seeking it. I'm just trying to handle what's coming in.
I mean, what do you expect me to do?"
I suggested he could say, "Enough is enough." He looked at me as if I were insane.
What businessman in his right mind would say no to a client whose order would produce a bigger profit?
You don't do that in this world.
More is always better; it's the American way.
The desire for more had a greater pull on this man than his desire to follow Christ, use his spiritual gifts, serve his wife, or be father to his kids.
If it's so hard to persuade people to commit themselves unreservedly to Christ, why bother?
Why not settle for church attendance, or membership, or at least periodic service?
As ministers, we all have to come to terms with the quality of fruit we're producing.
We have to decide what level of commitment we expect from the people we're leading.
Church history has taught us that a leader can do more through a handful of totally devoted believers than through a church full of half-hearted ones.
So we're left with a dilemma:
How can we teach in such a way that we produce fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, when we know that most people don't want to hear about radical discipleship?
1. This type of Christian wears a mask.
The word hypocrite is rooted in the Greek word hypokrites, which means “stage actor, pretender, dissembler.” So think of a hypocrite as a person who pretends to be a certain way, but really acts and believes the total opposite. Hypocrites usually talk a big talk but fail to follow their own rules
The Covid 19 type of Christian knows how to behave in Christian company.
Christians in this category have often been brought up in a Christian family where they attended Church regularly and consequently they know all the Christian dialogue and phrases.
No one really knows this type of Christian very well as there is a lot of pretence and role playing.
The following types of “Christian” would fall into this category.
Matthew 7: 21-23.
Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!
2. This type of Christian practices social distancing.
Covid 19 type Christians don’t allow others to get to close to them.
When you encounter a Christian like this, often you will find that there is a wall that has been put up and you can only get so close to them and no closer.
Perhaps they have been hurt or offended in the past and they distance themselves from others to protect themselves from been hurt again.
Jesus however was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief because he loved, and when you love and make yourself vulnerable, you will be hurt and disappointed and at times feel abandoned and betrayed.
Jesus experienced been forsaken betrayed and deserted and yet he did not distance himself from those around him but lay down his life and his reputation and even when we hurt and betray him, he is willing to forgive and allow us to draw close to him again.
On the cross he cried out for forgiveness for those who had crucified him.
3. These Christians always wash their hands.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
The Covid 19 type of Christian is focussed on the outward.
For this category of Christian, traditions are more important than God’s commands, they are more concerned about their reputation than their character. What their fellow man thinks of them is more important than what God knows about them.
Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table.
But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.
Then the Lord said to him, Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?
But now as for what is inside you, be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
Matthew 15: 1-11.
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!
Jesus replied, And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, Honor your father and mother and Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.
But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is devoted to God, they are not to honor their father or mother with it
Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.
Jesus called the crowd to him and said, Listen and understand.
What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.
4. These Christians prefer to stay at home.
Covid 19 type Christians don’t think that Church is a necessary part of Christianity.
The importance of fellowship has been emphasized in Scripture, but it is ignored or explained away, and they will tell you that they watch Christian television and get the spiritual food they need from that.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
5. These Christians have been vaccinated.
A vaccination using the cowpox virus became the primary defense against smallpox, and was practiced and developed by a physician and scientist Jenner.
Jenner noticed that milkmaids generally didn’t develop smallpox, a disfiguring and sometimes deadly disease. He guessed it was because they sometimes caught cowpox, a related disease that only caused mild illness in people. Subsequent research proved this to be correct.
So milder but similar symptoms are experienced, but unlike small pox, the cow pox virus was not deadly, and it made you immune to small pox. The Covid 19 Christian has been given immunity from getting truly converted.
This category of Christian has had a small dose of Christianity that has been mistaken as the real thing, some symptoms of real Christianity have been present, but it has not been the real life changing encounter and consequently this Scripture is not a reality in their lives.
2 Corinthians 5:17.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation
has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Luke warm Christianity. https:// truthfullymichelle.com
#1 LUKEWARM CHRISTIANS GO WHERE THE CURRENT GOES
In the face of conflict, lukewarm Christians will often pick what is popular over what is actually right.
They have this deep desire to look ‘good’ in the eyes of the church, but also in the eyes of the world.
They care a lot about how other people see them and less about what God thinks of their hearts and their lives.
Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man………
Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
#2 LUKEWARM CHRISTIANS ARE EASILY INSPIRED BY STORIES OF RADICAL CHRISTIANS
lukewarm Christians often love hearing stories about other Christians who did all these radical things for Jesus Christ, yet they do not act. They are easily inspired and will give praise to their friends who may be doing radical things with a “I think that is so awesome!” or “I wish I was more like you”, but they do nothing about it.
They assume that such boldness and radicalness is for the “super intense” or “extreme” Christians and not just the typical, “everyday” Christians.
Lukewarm Christians call “radical” what Jesus expected from every single one of His followers.
James 4:17. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
#3 LUKEWARM CHRISTIANS ARE AFRAID OF SPEAKING TRUTH
In a group setting where others in the group do not necessarily share their faith or beliefs, lukewarm Christians will not want to speak up about their faith. One of the classic signs of the lukewarm Christian is that they will be afraid of being rejected by the world and feel uncomfortable with the idea of bringing any disharmony to a group setting by choosing to talk about a truth of God that does not fit with the ideals of the world.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
#4 LUKEWARM CHRISTIANS PICK AND CHOOSE THEIR BELIEFS
Lukewarm people like to bring their own meanings into the Bible.
They forget that the Bible already has a preset meaning and intention behind every word and every piece of text.
So instead, they pick and choose scripture that fits into their pre-existing ideals and world views.
Or they pick and choose their beliefs based on their comforts.
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
#5 LUKEWARM CHRISTIANS OFTEN FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES
The more you become passionate about picking up your cross and following Jesus, the truth is, you will most likely end up feeling worse about yourself. This is just because the more and more time you spend with perfection, the more and more you realize just how far from the mark you really are. BUT through the love and grace of God, you take comfort in His promises and you have the peace of God running through you which heals you.
However, lukewarm Christians often consider themselves to be “good” by comparing themselves to the secular world. They look down their noses at those around them who aren’t believers and feel satisfied that they had made a little bit more effort than so-and-so in being a ‘good’ person
#6 LUKEWARM CHRISTIANS LOVE OTHERS WHO LOVE THEM BACK
One of the other signs of a lukewarm Christian is that they have a limited capacity for love. Their love for others is usually focused on those who will love them in return.
They might be able to love others who don’t love them back, a little. But they definitely do not have any room in their hearts to love those who have intentionally hurt them. Lukewarm Christians love others conditionally and are highly selective about whom they share their love with.
Matthew 5:43-47. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
#7 LUKEWARM CHRISTIANS FEEL SAFE AND SECURE IN THEIR SALVATION DOING THE BARE MINIMUM
They believe that because they go to church every Sunday, sing worship, go to youth group or small group, got baptized, grew up in a Christian family etc. that they are secure in their salvation.
One of the saddest signs of a lukewarm Christian is that they believe that doing the bare minimum of what is required of them to be considered a ‘good’ person in the eyes of the world is enough for God.
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
#8 LUKEWARM CHRISTIANS LOVE GOD, BUT THERE ARE CONDITIONS
Lukewarm Christians will be quick to say that they love God fully and completely, with their whole heart, mind, soul and strength. They know all the right things to say to make it look to those around them, that they are strong in their faith, but their devotion to God isn’t unconditional.
They profess that they love God, but oftentimes, when they are called to do something for the Lord, they will have a condition set in place.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters
#9 LUKEWARM CHRISTIANS LOVE TO PLAY IT SAFE
It is natural to desire comfort. But another one of the signs of a lukewarm Christian is that they value their security and safety above all else.
They are slaves to their fear and will not be engaged with taking the risks that God has called them to take.
This is because the fear that grips their heart is real and they don’t want to take that leap of faith to go into the unknown.
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
#10 LUKEWARM CHRISTIANS FEAR THE PUNISHMENT OF GOD MORE THAN SIN ITSELF
The last of the classic signs of a lukewarm Christian? Lukewarm Christians aren’t truly afraid of their sin. Instead, they are afraid of the consequences of their sins.
They are afraid of the punishment that they will receive more than the fact that they genuinely hate sin and truly want to lead a life without any sin.
They don’t truly believe that the life that Jesus will offer them is better than the one that they are living in right now.
If you live a radical life as a Christian, you are called a fanatic, but how does God want us to live, is He happy with a half-hearted commitment, the left-overs of our time and resources, a lukewarm lip service that does not require 100% commitment.
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
Abraham left everything to follow God and finally he was prepared to offer his only son in obedience to God.
Many missionaries, great men and woman of God have been prepared to lay everything on the alter for God, either by choosing to live a celibate life or to send their children to schools in places like the UK and themselves going to India or China. Those who went with children, often lost more than half of them to sickness or disease.
I am not trying to force celibacy on anyone and neither was Paul, but if it suited God’s plan better, then there were those who paid the price.
One such person was Francis Ashbury.
Asbury Francis (1745-1816)
Asbury was born into a working-class family in England. Though he learned to read the Bible by age 7, he had to drop out of formal education at the age of 12.
While he was not as well educated as many of his peers in the early Methodist movement, he nonetheless valued education highly and founded several schools in North America.
Asbury was also a pioneer in the Sunday school movement that sought to provide education to children who would not have access to it otherwise.
He started the first Sunday school in North America in Hanover County, Virginia. Jeremy Steele
According to John Wigger, author of “American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists”, Asbury was a terrible preacher.
This is particularly interesting as Asbury lived in a time when Methodist pastors were judged primarily on their ability to speak in public.
Rather than being eloquent, his sermons were disjointed and almost impossible to follow. This lack of ability and comfort with public speaking extended to the annual conference gatherings. Addressing a room full of preachers intimidated him. He shied away from the spotlight in those settings. Jeremy Steele
Asbury rarely owned much more than he could carry on horseback and fought to keep the wages for the Methodist ministers low. His own salary never rose above 80$ a year.
He believed that voluntary poverty kept him honest and practiced consistency. He took this to the extreme, often setting off on a journey without enough money to complete it trusting that God would supply what he needed.
He once set out on a trip from New York to Boston refusing to take more than three dollars with him. This voluntary poverty shielded him against criticism especially during his later years when Methodist ministers began to be more affluent. Jeremy Steele
Francis Asbury was the most recognisable person in the USA in the 18th and 19th Century, more recognisable than President George Washington.
He spent years in North America working under John Wesley in the UK in the Methodist church that had sprung to life under John Wesley’s ministry.
When Francis came to America, the Methodist membership was a mere 600, when he died it was 212000.
Every minister earned the same amount which was a paltry amount, no matter the size of his congregation, and Francis was eventually sending half of his income home to the UK to his dad who was unable to continue working as a gardener, and when his dad died he continued sending half to his mom.
He rode the circuit of churches for many years on horse back, doing 4000 miles a year and staying in log cabins and tents and even under trees.
When he was older and weaker and still going round to the churches, he sometimes fell out of the saddle and would get them to tie him into the saddle. He was very pleased when he heard from one of the minister’s under his charge, that a man had said something that had caught on IE: It is such a terrible night that the only things out were Methodist ministers.
History of Missiology.
During his 45 years of ministry in North America, and despite poor health, Francis traveled over 130000 miles on horse back and crossed the Allegheny mountains some 60 times. At the height of his career, Francis Asbury was so famous that one could write “Bishop Francis Asbury United States of America” and the letter would reach him.
After his death, his body was reburied in Baltimore by order of the 1816 General Conference.
Historian John Wigger writes that on May 10 of that year, 20,000 to 30,000 people followed the coffin to the new grave site.
If Christians can serve the Lord faithfully, fellowshipping, teaching the Word of God and sharing their faith with others under dire circumstances, with the threat of prison or even death, why does a virus cripple the Church in the West and make us weak and ineffective?
At our 2nd year graduation ceremony in Alberton last year, the guest speaker said that after a recent survey, it was stated that after Covid 19, 38% of Christians would not return to Church.
Has our response to the Covid 19 outbreak indicated that we value fellowship as much as the persecuted Church?
Breaking of Bread (Communion) is no longer a priority.
Prayer has never been at the top of the list of priorities.
The monthly giving (Tithes and offerings) has declined EG: At Free Chapel, Des says that giving has dropped by 70%.
How can we support missions and look after the needy if we can’t even pay our bills.
With this in mind, I want to make some suggestions.
Start or join a fellowship-group even if it is on zoom.
Get involved in other small groups: Ladies meeting, intercession.
We have a Bible College, avail yourself of the opportunity to get to know God’s Word.
There is ministry on the website that you can download including the Bible College lectures and Gavin has involved more people in the presenting of lectures this year.
At 7.30am on a Sunday morning, we have a time of prayer. (The Church is closed from 7.30am to 8am)
We can incorporate prayer into the smaller groups.
Get a prayer partner.
Breaking of bread (Communion)
We now have communion once a month and the emblems are set out on the table at the back so that as you enter it can be collected and taken to your seat.
Tithes and offerings.
Get the banking details of the Church and make your giving to the work of the Lord a priority, we need to adjust to the times. The box is also at the door if you don’t have the online option.
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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:
New American Standard Bible®,
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Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV:
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.