THE DANGEROUS VIRUS
FOR BELIEVERS IN OUR DAYS
By Rev. Adauto Rezende
Without attending an assembly, Christians are vulnerable to get another type of virus.
March the 08th was the last Sunday that I preached in 2020. A pastor from Toronto invited me to speak and to share some of the testimonies of my last missionary trip to Pakistan. During the following week, we attended a church nearby with two fellows and the pastor’s family. Since, then, like everybody else we have been home waiting to the end of this pandemic. Meanwhile, with advanced technology, we are receiving a countless number of all kinds of information through the Internet. Some of it is true and some false.
It seems that 80% of it is about the Coronavirus and the other 20% is on politics. Our Christian fellowship is, of course, through the phone or social media, and again the major topic among us is concerned with this unexpected lockdown. As Believers, we must know that God is in control. He is allowing things to move according to his plans: “: “There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel—that will stand.” “For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,” 1 Therefore, we should wait to see what the Lord is going to do in the days to come.
Right now we have easy access to all sorts of theological beliefs, gospel songs, true and questionable testimonies and a huge entertainment industry, channelled into our phones and computers.
Confined in their homes and being forbidden to gather to worship in temples, Christians are turning to whatever they think is best to see or hear. Their spiritual leaders are trying in any way they can to assist their congregants through social media, preaching and teaching over the Internet. However, a large number of pastors do not have the necessary knowledge to use the Web and minister to their congregation. In this case, their phones have been the way to pray and encourage their members. In such unexpected times, that we are facing; I would ask a question: what are the threats to Christians in this pandemic crisis? You may tell me that it is the risk of getting the coronavirus. Yes, the danger of this epidemic is undeniable. However, there is another invisible virus that attacks the soul of believers.
The first major problem for the Christian community is to be vulnerable to this vast and complex connected universal network known as the Internet. And the second problem is that they can become easy targets for wolves, as their pastors are unable to watch the flock and expose these false teachers; in this case hundreds of false theologians in search of their victims.
The Scriptures tell us about Micah from the tribe of Ephraim. This man was one of many thousands in Israel who became so deceived by a spiritual pandemic. He supposedly knew the Law of Moses and was also a member of God’s covenant people; yet, he had made an idol and placed it in a shrine in his home to worship it. Later, he hired a Levite to be the priest of his self-made religion, thus beginning the religious hoax. Both were contaminated by the violent and dreadful virus. The evil plague had removed their sights. They became unable to see the size of the iniquity they had committed against the Lord, in an open act of rebellion against the Word of God, which strongly condemns idolatry. This episode is reported in the book of judges.2
This pagan form of worship became a routine in Israel and deeply rooted in the hearts of its people and the priesthood. In such spiritual delusion, the nation had gone far away from the truth, falling into the error that Joshua, had prophesied centuries before, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”3
Unfortunately, Mica and others like him believed they were worshiping the Lord. It is not without reason that the Scriptures identify the devil as the father of lies. He convinced Eve to believe his lies, led Israel to believe that they could serve Baal and the Lord, and continues to spread the same virus: persuading God's people to make their own gods. The Book of Judges repeatedly reports the main reason that led Micah and Israel to fall into Satan's trap and to become infected by this demonic iniquity. Check out the following verses4:
“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
“In those days there was no king in Israel, and the tribe of the Danites was looking for territory to occupy ..."
“In those days, when there was no king in Israel, a Levite who lived in the remote hill country of Ephraim took for himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah.”
“ In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes."
We can learn important lessons from this incident in Israel’s history, so we would not fall in the same deception as they did.
1. Remember we have a King
It is important to know that In Mica's days, Israel had no king; however, we do have a king, Jesus Christ. He is the head of His church. No matter how bad the situation may go, he gave us a promise, “Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” He will never leave us or forsake us.”5
2. Jesus had appointed leaders to take care of his flock
Although, in the face of this crisis, your pastor has not been able to fulfill his pastoral duty as before; he is still your leader. He still prays for you, and for sure, eager to return to his tasks and to fulfil the ministry, as an anointed man of God.
“And it was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for works of ministry, to build up the body of Christ .”
“Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”
“But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 6
3. Obey your leaders:
If you are a member of a Bible-believing church, be faithful to the leader that God has appointed for you and your congregation.
Many believers are at risk of falling into Micah's deception. They are slowly building altars in their hearts. Without realizing it, they are infected by the Internet with viruses of false doctrines and, at the same time, they are in danger of falling into the clutches of some apostate Levite on "YouTube", who will eventually become the personal priest in their homes. Unless there is a stop, they will end up like Mica, creating a false religion and worshiping a god they created. Worst of all is to think that they are doing the right thing in their own eyes, as the Israelites thought.
“Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” 7
4. Watch against the devil’s schemes
Don't do what you think is right in your eyes. Call your pastor and share your doubts, concerns and fears. Avoid gossiping by running away from gossipers; be kind and sincere to your leader, much more now, in the face of this spiritual battle that we face.
Do not make decisions on your own without sharing them with your pastor, or letting yourself be led by strange doctrines or leaders, even though they seem like a "blessing" in the eyes of others. It is important for you to know, that such "leaders" have no spiritual authority over your life. The devil is a rebellious being and loves to infect the Christian with this accursed virus. Disinfect your soul with the Word of God. Cast this demon out of your ways.
“Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. “ 8
5. Pray for your pastor and for your congregation:
Paul always requested prayer for him and other leaders:
“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,”
“You pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
“Brethren, pray for us.” 9
James told Christians to confess their sins and to pray for one another
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” 10
To God be the Glory!
1. Proverbs 19: 21/ Isaiah 46: 9-10
2. judge 17:7-13
3. Joshua 24: 15
4. Judges 17:6, 18:1,19:1, 21:24
5. Matthew 28: 20/ Hebrews 13: 5
6. Ephesians 4: 11-12/I Peter 5: 2/ II Timothy 4: 5
7. Hebrews 13: 17
8. I Peter 5: 8-9
9. Ephesians 6: 19/1 Thessalonians 5:25/Colossians 4:3
10. James 5: 16