Faith in an Epidemic

(audio sermon by Gary Sampson)
Faith may not keep you from crisis, but it will keep you through crisis. And that’s a whole lot more important!

Speakers notes follow –

Faith in an Epidemic

Job 2. 1-13

How believers to think in global epidemic?

– say ‘God protecting – won’t come here’ – say ‘Gonna die’ – unhealthy extremes

Believers in hit countries ‘won’t come here’ – Iran guilty – refused self-quarantine ‘people come here for healing’

Nurse ‘are you ready’ – ‘we don’t talk about that here’ – as if talking brings it – want medics to not talk? – help nation? – speech opening door is religious nonsense – dangerous

But spreading fear bad too – act irrationally – beating up innocent people on street that look Chinese

So how a person of faith to act?

First ‘what is faith?’

– Our context ‘Trust in God of Bible’ – our lives in his hands

Does this mean never get sick? – No, Job – Faith – very sick – Paul thorn in flesh ‘grace sufficient‘

Were they trusting God – yes even more so when sick – ‘Though he slays me, yet will I trust in him’ (Job 13.15) – Shadrack ‘God is able to save us – but even if he doesn’t’ (Dan 3.18)

How trust God even if he kills you – you believe he knows best – has good reason – use for good

Job wife ‘Curse God and die’ – someone who lost faith due to circumstance – I know many (do empathize) – Job refused to stop trusting – Paul decided to trust through the difficulty

Trusting God is not about trusting him to make life comfortable – if faith based on him keeping us free of Covid 19, and we get it – will kill our faith

Doesn’t mean don’t pray – should ask – ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t receive’ – but God decides – we can’t control that

Shouldn’t we pray in faith – you can – if you know what he’s doing – Job didn’t know till later – hearing – can only walk on what he had said – ‘man shall not live by bread alone, but every word that comes (precedes continually) from the mouth of God‘ (Mt 4.4)

Same trusting God for church numbers – I’ve said 300 in 5 yrs – some said have more faith – its not about faith – can only have faith for a number if God promised it – I have not heard – 300 just a number we can realistically achieve – its not for us to set goals that God must achieve

We can pray in hope ‘if its your will’ – biblical – being honest about what God has + hasn’t said

Lets talk Wisdom

Proverbs – Listen to your fathers words, they will save you, The wise take advise, Learn from – the ant, stores up in summer – about doing now what will benefit you later – being prepared

Foolish to be unprepared for deadly virus taking world by storm – governments, communities, individuals be prepared – means reading good sources – teaching others – discussing plan of action – means have to talk

Shoprite – Sanitizer at the door – wash on entry

Assuming: Africans are more immune, virus can’t survive in African heat, God won’t allow it here – does not help – it cripples (Africans caught it in China) – need to be wiseoriginal Korean unwise – refused to go to doctor

Lets talk fear

Only way to be unfearful of deadly virus – not worry if you die – no one wants to die – but in face of death believers have significant advantage – believe another life – better – death is graduation – unbelievers assume only his life – if convinced – truly – we keep our heads – even be a comfort to others

Committing our situation into God’s hands – we have peace beyond understanding – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4.6-7)

Student Attack in Nairobi – uncanny peace

Martyrs unusual peace in death – doesn’t promise no problems – but he’s with us in them

Paul spoke this in persecution times – good eg. Stephen seeing Jesus as stoned – Jesus strengthened by angels

Again+again – Hail storm in SA – peace – outside immigration

This peace better to have than good circumstances

Psalm 91 has context

My mum still confesses it – as promise from God – but if they get sick – what we say: not enough trust – sin opened door??

Job is about this – friends said he opened door by sin – Job said no – lets see how it ended

Job 42. 7-11 After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, He said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and your two friends. For you have not spoken about Me accurately, as My servant Job has. So now, take seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. Then My servant Job will pray for you, for I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken accurately about Me, as My servant Job has.”

So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the LORD had told them; and the LORD accepted Job’s request.

The LORD Blesses Job

After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his prosperity and doubled his former possessions. All his brothers and sisters and prior acquaintances came and dined with him in his house. They consoled him and comforted him over all the adversity that the LORD had brought upon him. And each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.