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The Painful Side of Social-Distancing and its Remedy

Christian Martin
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Christian Martin

Lead Pastor of the Living Hope SDA Church in Haymarket, Virginia.

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  • May 9, 2020
    11:45 AM
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Father in heaven bird we are so thing full even beyond words that we can express in human language for your an ending love for your amazing grace and today Lord we open our hearts to receive all of that all that you have in store for us today and just now Lord as we open the living Word of God we pray that it would speak gently yet powerfully to our hearts today as we seek to hear your voice and receive a message from you for us today and we thank you in Jesus' name amen. A generation defining moment that is what experts are now calling coded 19 this worldwide pandemic has cost a public health crisis a global economic upheaval and of wide spread uncertainty if only the coronavirus could be as easily contained as are other viruses in a game board called pandemic but it's not best because Kobe had 19 is not a game it's very spreadable many studies have shown that people can be contagious 48 to 72 hours before starting to experience any kind of symptoms in other words that is to say that they can be contagious before they even know that they have been affected it spreads easily. And quickly the 1st known case in the United States of America was confirmed January 21 and now less than 5 months later more than 1300000 are infected and more than 75000 have died on you as soil it spreads quickly and for this reason certain measures have been taken to stop or slow down the virus or the spread of this highly contagious disease as all of you know one of those measures is called social distancing Although the term was only introduced in the 21st century social distancing measures back to at least the 5th century b.c. in fact did you know that the Bible contains one of the earliest known references to the practice of social distancing in the book of Leviticus That's right Leviticus Chapter 13 1st 46 actually mentions the practice of social distancing it reads and the leper in whom the plague is he sold well all alone outside the camp shall be his habit a sin and so the practice of self or social distancing although it may be helpful in preventing the spread of disease. Today I've come to the conclusion that social distancing goes contrary to the semen to the human psyche. After all Genesis chapter 2 verse 18 records that our Creator Himself. Made the declaration it is not good for man to be alone this is from the Creator Himself we were created to do well to loan the Apostle Paul experienced social distancing was on the island of Patmos and he longed for the day when as recorded in Revelation chapter 21 verse one there shall be no more see that is to say no more separation no more distancing no more isolation Paul long for the day that he would no longer have to be distanced from his friends from his relatives from those closest to him Ellen she white prolific inspired Christian author in the mid 1900 made this statement man was not made to dwell in solitude he was to be a social being Joshua Morgan Stein he's a disaster mental health expert he concluded that for some people and I quote lack of social could neck did miss feels as an packed full as not eating you know regardless of once temperament I have come to believe that in every heart and every human heart there is a healthy yearning to know and to be known by someone else there is a yearning in the heart for intimacy there is a year long in the heart to connect to to be united together with there's a longing in the heart to love freely and to be loved in return simply put. We love to connect We love to stay connected this is the human experience that's why this social distancing is is just not feel right it feels out of place. And because that's the longing of the human heart we have different things that bring people together one of those is was something that's well quite popular It's called Facebook are you familiar with Facebook chances are that you definitely are in fact their mission and clued in a quote to bring the world close together to bring the world close together faceplant it was created in 2004 is in a Harvard dorm room for a class project is name was Mark Zuckerberg and he turned his source all networking website into a global phenomenon in just 5 short years that's because he tapped into the human spirit to friend someone to update your status or write on your wall has become a lingo for more than 2450000000 Facebook users today this includes people in every continent including and article there is someone there with a Facebook account effaced bookwork country it would be the most populated in the world with nearly a 1000000000 more users than the population of China 1730000000 people on average log on to Facebook daily and are considered daily active users. This reveals something about the human spirit the reality is that we are driven by and innate desire to belong to connect to identify with to have a shared experience that's the longing of the heart no wonder in the last few weeks and couple months no longer the headlines have recently read that in some states Lourdes crowds have headed to the beaches despite the state wide stay at home orders why is this happening why is there an open disregard for social distancing rules I'll tell you why because human beings can't help but to want to congregate together with other human beings is the way we were wired is the way we were created it why because God created us that way God wired us that way God designed us to long for companionship to long for community to long for connection for togetherness for sweet fellowship to desire all these things as a result of sharing common attitudes and interest in goals God created us this way but there's also an enemy. And then it's me who has his own demonic interests he has his own wicked plans and goals this enemy known to is known as the devil and Satan and he carbs for a single purpose and that is to separate to isolate and to distance the heart of the fathers from their children he wants to distance the Hard's of the children from their fathers. He who wants to distance the hearts of spouses from each other to distance the hearts of disciples from their fellow disciples in the body of Christ so today we're going to take a close look at the painful side of social distancing Jesus himself expose on the enemy's acting it's when he said that the thief only comes to steal and to kill and to destroy he come to steal our joy he comes to kill our love and he comes to destroy us. That by Hawking us with his lies with his lies if there was one reality something that we are all ought to be aware of that exposes the enemy's tactics it's this that the only power that the father of lies can exercise in our lives is the power of the lie nothing. His bewitching influence brings us under his suit way and how does he hopped us again with his lies with his lies the Bible the Bible calls it strong whole meaning a fortress or strong defends the term stronghold appears about 50 times in the Bible a stronghold in the mind is a spiritual fortress made of wrong thoughts It's a fortified dwelling place where demonic forces can hide and operate and power against us is giving ground to the enemy it's giving the enemy a base of operation by which he can continue to create havoc in our lives and hold us under his sway it's Has of Satan took one weakness one bad habit or one negative attribute in fenced it all in inside our hearts and then we build walls around it walls that create Yes a social but also an emotional and even spiritual distance between spouses between friends between us and those around us between members in the same church in the body of Christ and ultimately distance between us and God is the painful side of social distancing strongholds and life that become barriers or walls putting distance between us now allowing us to care for each other's hearts. As Jesus experienced splay and himself in Matthew Chapter 3013 1st 28 and in me has done this and in me has done this Satan loves to impose social distance between the hearts of men and women specially in the body of Christ the church why because he hates the church and why does he hate the Church so much because he knows that it's the only place on planet earth where fellowship community connection relationships point any of fellowship can happen as it is in heaven and how does it bring distance between us with lies about ourselves lies about others lies about God you're hopeless and alone you are not good enough no one could care less about you you are unwanted God is unforgiving uncaring doesn't want to have much time with you you don't belong to us or with us law is lives lies that cut out the heart lies that lead to negative critical and harmful thinking with the intention to damage to us with the intention to distance us from meaningful relationships and you've heard how the flow of thoughts become what become words it's only a matter of time when thoughts are expressed audibly with words and then words become actions. And accidents become happen it's and habits become your character and long before the enemy is exposed long before we come to our senses long before our eyes are open our negativity our bitterness our fear our pride our selfishness our and we are anger our sinful virus becomes contagious under the influence our will be in place that we have with others becomes contagious before we even know that there is a stronghold in our lives as were enslaved to the enemy's purposes and are alive to steal kill and destroy before we even recognize what is happening in our lives there is something happening within us and that virus becomes contagious with those around us as it was for one 3rd of the angels of heaven who removed from heaven distance from the social company of heavenly beings they were removed they were cast out of have been the painful side of social distancing Sen makes to strangers with each other and foreigners with God And today as we contemplate to this crucial subject we're going to identify 3 of the most prevail in strongholds that keep people from building caring relationships of sweet fellowship with one another we're going to take a look at 33 strongholds that are the most common in the hearts of men and women today that keep us from closeness from connection with intimacy with others. And we're going to take a few We're going to do so by taking a look by examining the life of a Bible character something I greatly value and appreciate about the Word of God is that the characters in the Bible We're not men and women like Superman or Wonderwoman with with these super natural characters or these abilities that are beyond human No not at all the Bible contains stories of men and women who are human just like you and I that human nature's just like ours just like ours that's why we can go to the Word of God and find there the Good the Bad and The Ugly and be able to identify with them as we examine their lives and discover the God who cares the God who loves we're going to do so today by looking at one of my favorite Bible characters His name was Moses Moses and as we take a look at his personal life we may discover that he was in many ways just like us come with me to the back of the desert in the wilderness of Sinai as we go to the Old Testament to the Book of Exodus Exodus Chapter 4 Exodus Chapter 4 is what is where we'll begin how do you know I have been there we've been to the Sinai Peninsula it was very hot and dry I remember noticing that there was not a cloud in sight as the blazing sun displays in the sky and here in this very place God manifest himself to Moses in the appearing of a burning bush but that's not all he also exposed deep rooted strongholds. In Moses life in Exodus Chapter 4 we find a series of responses given by Moses to God's calling in his life I notice that I did necessarily say excuses for if I were to merely call them excuses that would be describing the fruit excuses are fruit of a deeper issue we're going to expose roots roots that go deep into the heart of Moses deep into his heart today as we examine Moses and take a close look at this encounter that he had with God We're going to notice 3 strongholds that become very evident 1st there is fear. Second there is negative thoughts 3rd there is hidden pride. These are strongholds that the place to stay in the speech we know hearts and they prevent community and fellow sip from happening the painful side of social distancing but praise be to God that with every unresolved root system he has an answer with every expose stronghold there is a God who clears there is a law of God who loves There is a God who gives us hope so 1st we begin with fear there is fear as we come to Exodus Chapter 4 notice with me verse one then Moses answered and said But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice suppose they say the Lord has not appeared to you let's pass their. Did you notice with the underlining messages behind the words of Moses what do we find there we find a fear there who would kind of fear we find fear of rejection. In the book when people are big and God is small. Well says and I quote closely related to the fear that people will expose is perhaps the most common reason we are controlled by other people they can retract ridicule despise us they don't invite us to the party they ignore us they don't like us they aren't pleased with us they withhold the acceptance love or significance that we want from them and as a result we feel worthless they're standing in the radiance of the burning bush completely visible before his eyes they're listening to a voice call that calling him by the name of Moses supposed fear overshadowed the sheer presence of God and best with fear Douglas It puts a social emotional and spiritual distance between us and God between us and others the painful side of social distance Dr Neil Anderson a Christian counsellor writes in his book steps to freedom in Christ he writes fear we can service Casitas to be self centered and clouds or mind so that all we can think about is the thing that frightens us. The painful side of social distancing and nowadays more contagious is contagious the virus itself is this fear there is fear of the virus there's fear of losing our jobs there is fear of being alone there's fear of that. Fear and fear grips our hearts and will do we realize that is that really fear within our hearts that causes us to disconnect and keep a distance with others it is very interesting to note that events and Moses life as recorded in the Bible actually reveal that he experienced rejection throughout his earthly life. Setting light on this very moment where we find Moses expressing a fear of rejection if you go to go back to X.'s Chapter 2 just a few. Chapters earlier there in verses $1.00 to $3.00 we find a baby Moses Moses was a 3 month old child and infant but what do we find is this infant child enjoying the outdoors in the beauty of the home are is the family openly. Carrying their infant child in public are they are they playing with the child in holding him in their arms openly without fear no they're not he is in hiding constantly Heidi left alone in period so isolation so that he could not be found. They were watching their backs keeping their eyes open keeping their ears open lest the soldiers would come their way and take their child away. A message of rejection for an infant later in verse 10 and we can estimate at the age of 2 or 3 now he's a toddler in it most is that unaids when he needs his father and mother more than ever before is that this toddler age when a child is learning to develop a world view it's doing this point in a child's life where it needs the loving comforting arms of a mother and needs the strongest surance of a father but what happens in the life of Moses Instead he is taken away to a foreign household and he becomes the son of a total stranger where's mommy worst Poppy a child doesn't understand what's going on another message of rejection and years later now when Moses is 40 approximately 40 years old he feels and pressed to visit his own people he begins to understand his his heritage his lineage and where he came from and and he longs he feels impressed to go down and visit the Hebrews and one day as he's walking in their territory he witnesses and the dips and p.d. one of the Hebrews and so what does he do he takes matters into his own hands and he kills the of chips and the very next day he goes back to his own people and as he goes back he notices about there's 2 Hebrews argue with one another and he seeks to resolve the problem between the 2 Hebrews. But the one doing wrong says in verse 14 in there in chapter 2 of Exodus who made you a prince and a judge over us do you intend to kill me as he killed the Egyptian What do we notice here. He is rejected by his own brother and yet another message of rejection by verse 15 Moses who was killed in the dips and has killed in the sin and now his own Egyptian family seeks to kill him what is this a message of rejection for a man who is now all alone rejected by is own people rejected by his adoptive family at a very young age receiving the message tell he's been rejected by his very own family and now he runs he runs he runs away. Which leads us to access chapter 4 once again in verse one most this response is not just from a vacuum his response is my heart that's a locked up with fear with fear of rejection tracing back to its infancy a lot of heart always has roots that go back to the pain experienced early in life. And what is God's response. 1st of all we can know off the bat that it is God who cares why because he took the initiative to meet with mosts if he didn't care at all he would not have peered to Moses to begin with but fear is God who in me initiates an encounter with this man named Moses a man with a lot of heart God is there and God responds with yet another question and you will notice is pattern in God's responses every time every time God asks a question let's make one thing perfectly clear and that is it's not because God doesn't. Know God knows all things and when we ask a question it's not for his sake it's not for his need no he asked a question because he wants us to examine our hearts and to know ourselves God is searching our hearts and He wants us to look to our hearts and to know ourselves and and what does God say there in verse 2 so the Lord said to him What is that in your hand and he said a rod and he said cast it to the ground and so he cast it on the ground and it became a serpent and Moses fled from it he picked through that here's Moses who's a mountain man he has fixed skin but he knows me and if he fled I'll tell you why he fled he fled because he knew that this was a very deadly poisonous snake he also knows that you never grab a snake by its tail. But God continued verse 4 then the Lord said to Moses reach out your hand and take it by by the way private Hill and he reached out his hand and caught it and it became a rod in his hand 1st 5 God continues that you may believe that the Lord God of your father their father is the God of Abraham got advice at the God of Jacob has appeared to you as fear for as fearful as it may be as fear for as it was to be face to face with a deadly serpent as fearful as it was even dear to grab it by its still most of this Moses did so why because it was an obedience to God's command as fearful as it was in obedience to God's command Moses faces his fear most is faces here and God says Moses he would you have you had now it's no longer serpent Moses it's no longer serpent it's now arrived safely in the palm of your hands Moses Moses Trust me you can trust me just give me your fear Moses I can heal your hard Jesus invites us to remain out on our fears. And so rigid surrender it to him trust in the Lord will remove the consequences of fear if we lose sight of the one who is in control 2 in this global pandemic if we lose sight of the one who still sits on his throne if we lose sight of the one who cares who loves We will find ourselves running away from every supposed danger and we will be distancing ourselves from God from the God who cares instead of trusting in the unlimited one who is able there is a remedy for the pain that comes with fear there is a remedy found in the Word of God and I want to take you to a verse that's one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible and Isaiah Chapter 41 Isaiah Chapter 41 verse 10. Isaiah Chapter 41 1st there is a remedy for the pain that comes with fear God says fear not for I am with you be not dismayed for I am your God how I will strengthen you yes I will help you ah I will upholds you with my rights is right handed we can choose to live by faith in the God who has promised to protect us and meet all our needs as we walk by faith in Him We can choose to live by faith we can say though the wounds encloses encloses around me I know that there's a God I hope old people with this right is right and there is a God who is close to me and it's a lesson that Moses learned and we can learn as well not only was fear a stronghold in most is life and not only was it a fear that God Himself allowed Moses to face to face straight on and to deliver him from there was also the stronghold of negative thoughts knows me x. is chapter 4 and verse 10 the most is said to the Lord Oh my lord I am not eloquent neither before him is since he has spoken to your servant but I am a slow of speech and slow of tongue is negative thoughts I mean adequate I have nothing to offer high toned measure up they'd be all better off without me again Dr Nuland or sin writes. The same but steps to freedom in Christ these negative thoughts may be a negative response to who we are all or they may be the result of the pain of rejection felt from others or from God You see negative thoughts often surface from a lack of true identity in Christ on who are we fixing our thoughts I. Have a new key tames version in and if you notice there in verse verse 14 what are the 1st 2 words that most assess after saying or my lord or my lord in verse 13 rather in verse 130 my lord where the most those those 2 let's see exits have to form or stand sorry verse 10 is go to 1st and one of the 2 1st the 1st 2 words that most assess after saying oh my lord do you notice he says I am. I wonder the quickly for good God's name did he quickly forget the words of God and that says chapter 3 verse 14 when God said to Moses I am who I am and there is a world of difference between Lord case I am it and capital letters I am Moses had chosen to fix his thoughts on lowercase I am in mainly himself rather than on the I Am Who I Am and so after expressing his thoughts what is God's response you're right it's another question verse 11 but God said put most s.s. says said to God who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring back should bring the tone of initial out of Egypt and he said I will certainly be with you. And this will be a sign to you that I have sent you when you have bribed the people I did each abuse I'll serve the God on this mountain the God of Heaven was telling Moses Moses I am with you always mosts do not be afraid Moses I will give you the ability to fulfill my calling in your life Exodus Chapter 4 Exodus Chapter 4 as we go to verse 11 verses 11 and 12 in response to Moses words there in verse 10 and the Lord said to Moses who has made man's mouth or who makes the mute the deaf to sing or the blind have not I the Lord now Therefore go and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you saw say Moses I will give you the ability. My friends when you say I am not God says I am when your heart says I am not worthy to be your child God's heart desire for us to recognize that you are oppressors child of God when your heart says I'm damaged goods God's heart still Zire for you is to recognize that you are created in His image when your heart says that so scary I don't know how God's heart desire is for you to experience his really creative power God speaks truth to our hearts and there is a remedy for the pain that comes with negative thoughts that remedy is found in Isaiah Chapter $26.00 and by to come back with me twice a Isaiah Chapter $26.00 verse 3 for remedy that comes from the pain that we often have that comes along with negative thoughts and Isaiah Chapter $26.00 1st 3. Bible says you will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trust in you Moses' needed to know that in his ability God is a bow and he learned to keep his mind on him and it's a lesson that Moses learned and we can learn as well as to keep our minds stayed on him and in the midst of circumstances that bombard us with negativity in the midst of of a of a world that's stimulated by media and we constantly hear negativity on the news negativity on the radio there's a God who tells us set her mind on things above not on things below keep your mind stayed on me and I will give you peace not only is her fear that God wants to heal us from not only a certain negative thought that God wants to remove and replace with thoughts of peace there's also hidden pride that we discover in the life of Moses Exodus Chapter 4 this return to x. is chapter 4 and notice with me verse 13 right away is God a Shirts most is that I will be with your mouth that I will teach you what to say notice would murder most of us in verse 130 my lord but please stand by the hand of whoever else you may and in other words I'm not good enough. I'm no good you have someone else could do better than I send someone else God send someone else. John regear who is a pastor and Christian counsellor writes in his book typical concepts in counseling these words hidden pride is a focus on one's inner pain and feelings of rejection that develop into self pity resulting in and an inability to see anything except one's own needs and feelings people who have hidden pride devote their attention to their own pain and cannot respond or reach out to others and what is God's response to Moses there in verse 14 that says is not air in the Levite your brother I know that he can speak well and look he is also coming out to me to you when he sees you he will be glad in his heart 1st 15 now use all speak to him and put the words in his mouth and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and and I will teach you what you sell do so he sell be your spokesperson to the people and he himself so b.s. a mouth for you and use on beat him as God and you sell take this ride in your hand with which you sold to the science God told Moses Moses I will be with you Moses I will be with you I will have a solution to your life Moses there is a remedy for the pain that comes with pride there is a remedy come with me to James Chapter 4 James Chapter 4. As Moses came to recognize that there's a God in heaven who places so much value in him that there's always a response there's also there's always a solution there's also always a remedy and in James chatted for verse 10 we find these words humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up Bless not overlook verse 8 draw near to God and He will draw near to hew you see Jesus draws nearer to us he gives us an example of to you military when he humbled himself and came to this world and he died the death of a criminal so we could have eternal life what is God solution to the pride problem the answer is self sacrifice being swilling to be set aside for the better of others oh my friends was it God's plan. Was it God's plan who was it God who planted fear in your heart No An enemy has done this was it God who planted negative thoughts in your hearts no an enemy has done this is a God who cultivated pride in your heart to know an enemy has done this what God wants to do is heal your heart and I must take issue words of Jesus Himself in Matthew Chapter 15 Let's turn to Matthew 15 verse 13 for you to discover the words of Jesus Himself words spoken to me and to you today Jesus said every plant which my Heavenly Father has not planted will be up rooted ceases promises to up root these things in our lives that God himself did not plant there they come to us because the world that we live in because because there is a God who cares he gives this promise you know social distancing in the context of preventing the spread of covert 19 is one thing but social distancing that we sold from on resolved pain in our hearts is another and God is here to heal God is here he hears he Why must we lead Jesus heal us from the pain of social emotional and spiritual distancing costs by the strongholds in our hearts I'll tell you why because we need one another we need a place where we can come to be healed to be restored to be we knew and that place is the church. The church is not primarily a building with 4 walls and a door or no the church is more than that the church is a relationship that we share the church is a love that unites us the church is us and you belong in. Our final Scripture text as we bring these meditations to an end is found in chapter 2 you come with me for to our final passage in the faeces Chapter 2 verses $19.00 to $22.00 Notice how the Apostle Paul brings it all together he writes now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners and I my dad being socially and emotionally and spiritually distanced but fellow citizens with the Saints and members of the household of God having been built on the foundation the apostles and prophets Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone and whom the whole building being fitted together not being socially emotionally and spiritually distance grows until holy temple in the Lord and whom you also are being built together together for a dwelling place of God in the spirit we can read to ois that though sin has made a strangers with each other and foreigners with God Christ has come to respond to your sweet fellowship he has come to heal our hearts and he has come to bring us together as one and this is made possible by the Blood of Jesus this is made possible by the blood of the Lamb by our heads with me Father in heaven oh lord. If there was ever a time that we needed to have that sweet assurance that your ever present it is now and I'll thankful we are that you are God who brings so much love and healing into our lives that walls begin to break down and hearts are healed and we're able to face reality with the sense of freedom and a sense of joy that you alone can bring into the heart I think you so much for that in the midst of this pandemic your very near to our hearts I pray God that you would hold us in your arms and in the household of faith as fellow believers brothers and sisters in Christ that you would be the guy who continues to work in us and bring this closer and get closer together is one that the world may see that we are indeed your disciples because we have love for one another that there is a closeness a togetherness a community a sweet fella setup that brings us together and reflects to the world around us the character of a God who is love the character of a God who cares in the story of a God who is returning. So that there will be no more distance no more separation no more isolation and gather a stew gather in terms self to spend eternity together for ever with our Lord and Savior Oh Lord Jesus made their day come very soon and until then keep us faithful keep us close to you in Jesus' name. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit w w w audio verse or.

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