A few days ago I noticed a photo of a church marquee sign on Facebook that really caught my attention. It was meant as a joke but the longer I pondered the words my heart became burdened. The sign read, “Prophecy Class Cancelled Due to Unforeseen Circumstances.” We cannot afford to cancel the teaching of Biblical Prophecy under any circumstance! We must continue letting the world know that Jesus is coming!
During the last several weeks I have been teaching on the Book of Revelation. The tri-fold genre of the Book of Revelation is: a letter, prophecy, and Jewish apocalyptic literature. Chapters 6 through 19 outline a series of judgments during a future time described as the Tribulation Period. Many evangelical scholars ascribe to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory. Personally, I hold to this theory and believe that the Church will be caught up in the air to meet Jesus prior to the Tribulation Period.
With all that is happening in the world today it should open our eyes to Biblical prophesies concerning the Rapture, Tribulation Period, and the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! If there ever was a time for the local church to share the Good News it is NOW! There is no time for spiritual complacency or slumber. We must wake up and make sure our lamps are filled with oil because our Bridegroom could come at any moment (Matthew 25:1-10). That means we must continue practicing our faith without buildings.
The local church today does not look like it did just a month ago. Yesterday (March 30, 2020), the governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, followed other governors in issuing a “stay-at-home” order. That means our local church will not gather as usual for our Palm Sunday Worship Service, Holy Week activities, or our Easter Sunday Worship Service. Even the churches that were meeting in parking lots are now told that is prohibited. The local church will not gather as usual. However, we shall gather in spirit, through social media, telephone, and any other means we can. Why? Because the local church is determined to move forward and overcome any obstacle.
Is there any hope for the local church in her public gatherings? Absolutely! Remember, during Israel’s history they were held captive in Babylon but they returned to their homeland. The Temple was rebuilt, worship was restored, and the LORD received the glory!
I believe the coronavirus is a terrible global enemy that has destroyed life and continues to bring heartache to the families it attacks. I don’t believe it is something God has sent as judgment. However, I do believe He is using this as a means to deploy the local church and to turn her mission focus outward. We must reach the lost and we must encourage one another during this time in ways other than seeing each other at a worship gathering. We must be proactive and utilize this time as the local church’s greatest opportunity.
In John 2:1-10 we read about the first public miracle of Jesus. He turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It was a potential embarrassing moment as the wine was running out during the wedding feast. Jesus’ mother, Mary, told Him that the wine had ran out and He told her that it was not His time. Perhaps, this was not the time that He wanted to begin His public ministry but the circumstance and need was present. Mary told the servants to do whatever Jesus said to do. He instructed them to fill the water pots with water and then pour some out and take it to the master of the feast. When the master of the feast tasted the water that was turned into wine he was shocked. Normally, the best wine is served first and after everyone is full and don’t care, the less expensive wine brands are brought out. The master of the feast stated, “You have kept the best for the last!” God seems to do this often… saving the best for last. I believe we are on the brink of a tremendous revival that will far exceed anything we have ever experienced.
Where will this revival take place? I am not sure but it would not surprise me if we are being setup by the Holy Spirit to experience a revival in our homes! Haggai 2:9 says, “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater that the former,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the LORD of hosts.” Glory! There will be greater demonstrations of the goodness of God as people receive from Him. Throughout this world the Good News is reaching homes through social media and other platforms of ministry. It is no longer (at least for this season) just the church building where God is ministering. As ministry goes forward there will be more love expressed, peace embraced, hearts encountered, and redemption experienced.
In closing, the local church is not about buildings although we have many and they are costly. We have debt because of these buildings. I am not saying that we shouldn’t have buildings. What I am saying is the true Church is not nor has it ever been defined by buildings. The true Church is about relationships. The foundation is our saving relationship with Jesus Christ and through Him we have relationships with one another. We are the Body of Christ! We are His dwelling place! Therefore, we do not cancel the local church. On the contrary, we REACH FORWARD TOGETHER!