March 16, 2020 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
A. For just a little over a week now,
B. We have heard from our government leaders…
1. Leo Varadkar "We have not witnessed a pandemic of this nature in living memory and this is uncharted territory for us."
2. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the coronavirus "is the worst public health crisis for a generation" and that it could "cause severe disruption for many months".
3. President Donald Trump has declared a state of national emergency, and shut down all travel between the US and Europe, and China
C. From medical professionals… On Thursday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, with 153,000 infected so far, spread out through 125 countries, and that nearly 6,000 are dead worldwide from this one virus.
D. From Conspiracy Theorists…
1. That the coronavirus is an engineered virus, designed to cripple the world and kill off most of the older population
2. And there are those that believe it doesn’t exist at all, but is choreographed like a great movie stage to make the world BELIEVE there is a killer virus, so that everyone just blindly turns over their rights to the government
E. We have heard all sorts of scared individuals panicking and saying all kind of extreme things
F. I cannot make sense of it all, and I don’t think anyone else can either.
G. So, this morning, we need to hear from God
1. He is NOT on a special website
2. Or broadcasting through some cosmic vibration
3. But He has been speaking loud and clear in a Book called the word of God, Bible. THANK GOD
2Ch 7:13,14 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
A. Listen to what GOD takes credit for
1. Shutting off the rain – drought, famine
2. Sending locusts to devour crops
3. And sending pestilence/plague/diseases
B. There is a reason for God doing all of that
1. This is probably not the end of the world – soon, but not yet
a) The world has been in this situation before…
b) At least 60 million people died in World War II just 80 years ago
c) 100 years ago the Spanish Flu infected 500 million people world wide and 50 million died
d) 300,000 people died world-wide by the swine flu just 10 years ago in 2009
e) That is just within the past 100 years!
f) Before that, there was the Black Death in Europe, constant cholera outbreaks
g) Tuberculosis infections
2. This is big
3. There is a REASON for the troubles that our world faces regularly
4. Deny it all you want
5. But it is because of an old fashioned idea called SIN (going against God). Isa 59:12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee [GOD], and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them
a) Our sins, both individually and nationally come back to haunt us regularly
b) Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
1) When you and I plant and sow our rebellion against God, and pile up our secret sins…
2) When more and more of the world decide they can live any way they want
3) When SIN is the normal way of life for most people
4) Then we will reap such a disastrous harvest of consequences
5) And, Sometimes in a big way
6. This pestilence is God’s wake up call, on a world wide scale
7. It is nothing less
8. Why? Because EVERY generation needs to be humbled / overwhelmed by something they cannot control or even prepare for
a) Sometimes it is a war
b) Sometimes it is an economic depression
c) Sometimes it is a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake or a pandemic
9. No matter what disaster we are facing, it is God putting us on notice that what we have sown, we will reap
a) You plant some small amounts of rice, you get a lot of rice back
b) You plant corn, and you get bushels of corn back four months later
c) You Destroy the concept of marriage and instead start honouring abominable lifestyles – pushing every kind of filthy lifestyle on CHILDREN 5 and 6 years old – then you will reap the judgment of God
d) What do you expect to happen when this nation, and so many others have Voted FOR the right to murder children in the womb? Some nations have been carrying out this modern “right” for 50 years now!
e) What do you expect to happen when most people Honour movie stars, sports stars, music stars above Jesus?
f) When people are constantly Laughing at and enjoying wicked movies and entertainments that blaspheme everything good and clean and pure
g) Ignoring God’s Laws, and neglecting to learn and live by God’s word the Bible
h) Criticizing God and trashing the name of the Lord Jesus
i) And the list goes on and on and on
j) What did you expect?
C. What right does God have to bring judgment on this world?
1. Because He is God – that is both comforting and terrifying
a) Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God…
b) “I Am God”
c) Stop, know that He is God
d) Psa 100:3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
e) That means He is in charge - totally
2. Because He is right to do it
a) This is HIS world by the world
b) That life you are living belongs to HIM
c) You trash my house, wreck my car, attack my children and you will have me to deal with
d) Same with how we live in God’s world
3. Because He is Judge of all the earth
a) Acts 17:31 Because he [GOD] hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained [Jesus THE SON]; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him [Jesus] from the dead.
b) Romans 2: 16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ
The question is not, Does God have the right to
afflict this world like this?
But do WE have the right to ignore, mock, trash and fight against God all our lives without consequence?
D. God Has a Plan
1. This coronavirus is no accident
a) Not an evolutionary event in history
b) And not just a bad case of the Flu
2. (Mat 24:6-8) And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
a) Wars, rumours of wars
b) Nations rising against nations
d) Pestilences – plagues and diseases
f) All are just the beginning of something very big!
3. It is called the end of the world – it is still coming!
a) Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
b) Mat 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
c) Everything is moving in one direction – to face the judgment of God
4. It is why everyone needs to be ready for Jesus’ return (Mat 24:44) Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
5. And that my friend is far more important than having toilet paper and hand sanitizer
E. You and I Need to Worry More About GOD than the Coronavirus
1. Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
2. Don’t just give him “lip service” – don’t just pretend to know God and love God when you don’t
3. Matt 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
4. Isa 8:13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
5. Do you know why I repented of my own sinful life and called out in prayer Jesus Christ to save me? Because I feared facing God. I wanted to be forgiven and saved
6. Not saved from all the problems of life, but saved from the problems of eternity - hell
F. Did you notice what God needs from US now?
1. 2Ch 7:13,14 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2. Most of the world is not going to hear this
3. So God calls for HIS people to act now!
a) “My people” – those of us who belong to God
b) Those with GOD’S name on them - CHRIST-ians (not catholics, or Baptists)
4. God waits for us to HUMBLE ourselves – we need to do it today!
a) What does humbling look like?
b) It is when there is no more excusing our sins, and blaming no one for our wrongdoings
c) It is accepting God’s anger and wrath towards us as right
d) It is being ashamed of ourselves – we are way too much like the world instead of like Jesus
5. Pray – have a heart to heart talk with God, open and honestly
6. Seek God’s face – seek His smile, His will, His pleasure – instead of our own
7. Turn from our wicked way – repentance
a) Today is the time to Repent
1) You don’t have a tomorrow
2) There is NO ONE who does need to get right with God to some degree
b) Turn away from / Decide to never go back and do what God has shown is WRONG to do
c) Turn to Christ, and follow Him – become like Him in our actions and out heart
G. THEN, the blessed promise is made
1. That’s when God will hear our smallest request and answer it
2. And God will forgive our darkest sins
3. And will heal our land and our people from whatever is destroying it
III. My Biggest Fear
A. It is not the coronavirus, or an earthquake, or any other disaster
B. It is that this will just pass and in a few months, things will get back to normal
C. And nothing will change
1. 9/11 – was a call to repentance
2. Hurricane Katrina in America in 2005 cost €100 billion euros
3. The Christmas Tsunami in Indonesia with 300,000 swept away to their death in 2004
D. Don’t fear times like this – fear only God
1. If you are born again, saved… then
2. With God as your only concern, you will have nothing else to worry about
3. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
4. 2Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
5. Psalm 56:3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
6. Did you know that most of that Book in your hands was written during times of great hardship and troubles? Not during times of ease and pleasure and happiness – but suffering
7. And look at what God honoured through all the valleys, the battles, the heartaches – faith
8. Luke 21:25-28 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
E. Don’t let this disaster be wasted
1. Get saved today! (Isa 45:22) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
2. Put God first again – like you did when you first got saved!!!
a) Worship Him, every morning, and especially every Sunday together as Christians
b) Obey Him – not only your boss, or your wife or husband – Obey God’s instructions
c) Wait on Him – be patient (Rom 8:28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
d) God is doing something amazing in our generation – let’s see what happens
F. Use Your Time Wisely over the next few weeks
1. Don’t waste time binging on Netflix or the endless news cycle reporting on the crisis.
2. You and I have been given a great opportunity to actually rest by these unprecedented days.
3. So set aside time to read large amounts of your Bible from start to finish\
4. Make time for praying that you probably have been too busy to get do up until now
5. Give yourself to meditation on the Scriptures – memorize a chapter, or a dozen Scriptures
6. Give yourself to extra prayer for the world, for missionaries, for our nation and for your neighbours and for this church. Pray!
7. Keep Gospel tracts with you, and express HOPE to a world without an anchor
8. The Lord has given some of us a slower pace, a time of reflection, an opportunity to fill up the soul, and a chance to preach the Gospel to someone
IV. Let’s Pray for Ireland, and for every nation of the world right now!
A. God of heaven, You have been better to us than we deserve
B. Most of our lives we have known a lot of stability
C. That has all changed, all because of what Daniel prayed in Dan 9:5… We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments.
2. Committed iniquity
3. Done wicked things
5. Left the Bible – don’t even know what it says
D. We ask for your amazing grace on our families
E. We ask for mercy on those that do not know you yet
F. We beg you to humble our leaders, and cause THEM to cry out to you for help and wisdom
G. Hear our prayer from heaven, dear God
H. forgive [OUR] sin
I. And heal our land – all our lands
A. This is only a taste of things to come – we ain’t seen nothing yet!
1. Wars, rumours of wars have yet to really kick in
2. Nations rising against nations
6. All just the beginning of something very big!
B. Yet, Most will refuse to listen to God – always have – too proud – got their own religion
C. God is knocking on the door of every heart – a call to open your eyes
1. There is so much we will never control
2. So much that technology will never protect us from
3. So much of our lives are broken and in need of a Saviour
D. Don’t be a fool – don’t try and live like nothing is happening, or will happen
1. Humble yourself
2. And cry out from your heart to be saved – born again – converted
3. You have been given a great opportunity – another chance to trust Christ
4. Bow your head and ask Him to save someone like you right now
E. Christian… make sure of your faith
1. Is it for real?
2. Troubles don’t dim us – overwhelm us
3. They purify us, and fire us to shine brighter than ever