In these uncertain times when we are facing a world-wide pandemic and the potential for a world-wide depression, I felt an urge from the Holy Spirit to address several relevant questions through a blog series.
These are difficult questions, and you may be surprised how the Bible answers them. Let’s explore the truth together.
This blog addresses the fourth question. Check here for answers to the other questions.
Scripture is taken from the King James Version.
4. I can’t go to church. What should I do?
Yesterday, my husband and I woke up, but we had no church to attend. Like most pastors across America, our minister temporarily closed our doors. So, how did we still honor and worship God on Sunday?
To give you some background, my husband is a preacher. He also shares the Gospel through song with a local group. I am the Sunday school teacher for the pre-teen class, and I also play the piano for the congregation. So, we take church seriously. However, I was not convicted about staying home yesterday. Here’s why.
In Ecclesiastes 3:1-9, Solomon makes the point that different times call for different actions. He states there is a time to be born, a time to die, a time to cry, a time to kill, a time to heal, and so forth. The point is that God has appointed different seasons in our lives, and we have an appropriate response for each season. Within the passage is the statement, “a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” Although Paul commands us to not forsake “the assembling of ourselves together,” there is a time to forsake (Hebrews 10:25).
To make this point clear, let’s look at an interesting command Jesus gave his disciples. In Matthew 10:23, right after he instructs them to go into the nearby towns to preach his coming, he tells them, “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another.” The Almighty Jesus asked his disciples to run away? Yes!
We must be careful to realize God does not always move the way we anticipate. Just because he can miraculously stop everyone in your congregation from getting the virus does not mean he will. We must recognize the signs of our time and exercise our common sense alongside our faith to do our part in keeping our community safe.
Does the Bible support social distancing?
My husband pointed out to me that quarantine and social distancing are Biblical concepts. Leviticus chapters 13 and 14 detail the physical response to leprosy, and it’s extreme. Because they did not have the means to sanitize germs like we do today, the people with the plague were to go outside the community so no one else was infected (quarantine), and all the belongings of the person were to be purified or burned if they could not be purified. Of course, we do not and should not follow such extreme practices today. Instead, we should follow the guidelines set forward by our government and health professionals. Therefore, the Bible supports us temporarily suspending church services for our safety.
Okay, so how can we worship from home?
First, let’s consider what constitutes worship. While he was in a city of Samaria, a woman asked Jesus where she was supposed to worship. This was his reply.
Did you catch that? The focus is not on where we worship but how we worship. You can have Sunday school right in your house. My pastor called to check on me, and we had a forty-five minute conversation about interpreting the sign of this virus. What I’m saying is that in today’s world, we are blessed with technology that permits us to worship despite being isolated. While we must refrain from fellowshipping with our congregation, we can call each other, message each other on social media, or even face time each other! Many congregations are having online services, and I think that’s fantastic. But, if you are like me, your church is too little to “go digital.”
For the sermon element of worship, my husband was interested in what John Hagee had to say about the virus. So, we tuned into his online service. Both he and his son, Matt, preached, and we were encouraged by the sermons because we felt the anointing on them.
Below, you can watch the same service. John Hagee’s message “Our Greatest Enemy” begins at 37:10, and his son, Matt Hagee’s message “To Whom It May Concern” begins at 1:05:30.
So, don’t be discouraged if you can’t go to church. God knows the season we are in. He knows that for our own safety, we must temporarily forsake the assembly. He has also provided avenues to worship through online resources.
In conclusion, here are some suggestions for you to worship at home.
If you find an awesome online resources, please share in the comments below!