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Give Unto Caesar: Fear, Respect, and Love in the Age of Covid

Ron Kelly
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Ron Kelly

Senior Pastor, Village SDA Church, Berrien Springs, Michigan



  • August 8, 2020
    11:30 AM
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Lord for we're in your house we've come to worship you I pray May we do it in a way that pleases you and respects all men and women bless us now as we go into the word please come into our hearts show us what you want to show us if you challenge us may we let you challenge us if you change us may we rejoice in your changing if you comfort may we take comfort in it but whatever you want to do today I pray please do it and bless us as we reflect on some exceptionally important themes that are the intersection of common society and prophetic movement in Jesus' name amen this morning I am here before you afternoon now looks like I'm here before you presenting a message I did not want to present the Smorgon I wanted the ability to push it off I tried laid this message on my mind and yesterday I tried to deviate from his direction but I'm compelled this morning to talk to you about the hinge point of the great controversy what belongs to God what belongs to government it is this intersection that must be defined and understood in our own hearts I've been titled My message given to Caesar fear respect and love and the age of covert 19 now I'm going to tell you what the reasons I'm preaching us to because my job my calling is to keep things going and you know how hard it is a keep something good going think about marriage. Those of you that are in a married situation you know if your marriage has any measure of vitality how much work it has taken to keep that relationship by life raising kids it's so difficult today to train up a child in the way he should go because the whole world is trying to get access to their mind to point them to the way they shouldn't go when it comes to our institutions our churches and our schools I've said through the years Nothing is harder than keeping a church school going it takes all kinds of faith and dialogue and encouragement and financing an extra work and this morning I want to assure you that our churches and our schools along with the institution of the home is not a commodity of convenience it takes a lot of work to make these things work and when we don't recognize that and when we don't protect those institutions we can find ourselves inadvertently sliding into a pit from which it won't be quite so easy to climb out so with that backdrop this morning let's take a moment and think about who we are as a people and what it takes to go forward to the kingdom when Jesus was a young boy 12 years of age becoming a man he made a journey to Jerusalem but his parents left Jerusalem without him not a good move mom and dad somehow they assumed that he'd be in the caravan but they get a day away and he's not there when they come back to Jerusalem they go into the temple precinct and there's all kinds of people gathered around Jesus listening to him talk. And when the crowd is gone and mom's actually able to say why did you treat me like this Jesus asked her a question and he says Didn't you know that I needed to be about my father's What business now I want to ask you how important is the business of the gospel and how important is the mandate of this church and this school and is it perhaps worthy of stressing a few relationships for the growth of all and eventual comfort of all that we resolve again that we must be about our father's business now as I was praying in the back hallway before I came out here I felt the distinct understanding of something very new and it came to me in every church I have received there has always been a very risk a verse posture to doing anything where we can connect all the dots and the 1st thing people will say when you get into an experience you know I was trained in the soul when a suit which I very much appreciate and Russell Berle taught us you know that 1st sermon I've talked to you about this before the I Have a Dream sermon and you know my dream was you know would have enough people in and out of the parking lots of those little churches to where they would be full of weeds and that we'd actually have a vibrant church but I can't digress but I would say this in the beginning of my tenure as a pastor the very 1st question and sitting on some of the boards is how are we going to pay for it how are we going to pay for it and the not so subtle message was is it the money wasn't on the books and it wasn't a priority how dare you suggest it. Take a risk step out beyond sight into the arena of faith why that would be what friends some of you say faith some of you say presumption why some of you have every penny of your paycheck delegated and slotted before it's ever in your hands and after it is in your hands there's never a deviation and so for those that live and move according to that mentality yes it might look a bit presumptuous to plan to do something you don't have money for now I'm going to connect a few ducts when you belong to a congregation or you're leading a home and you never are moved by the Spirit of God to do something where you can't see the end from the beginning you never do that you're going to find yourself in a position just like this whole country finds itself in where we have grown to be so risk a verse that the slightest little risk appears to be presumption if you can see the end from the beginning who do you think you are to suggest that we ought to do different than the well traveled pass pass of the masses or what's convenient I'm here to challenge you today God's Church has sat on its laurels in too many ways and I'm not here to rebuke this village church this village church has in so many ways embrace things where they couldn't see the end from the beginning and it's part of the reason that today with properly social distance pews we have a number of people that are here to worship but the fact of the matter is we have lived always been able to completely and solely provide for ourselves and in so many religious places not take any risks so that when we come up to a place where there's a risk Well we're not going to take it we trained ourselves now that's a sad and sobering fact but it's a fact and it's not a fact everywhere and by God's grace it's not a fact for many here. But this is how we got to where we are to where we have a whole nation that is being fearmonger into the path of least resistance without any risk taking and what's on the line is not only religious liberty but at some sense you could say even a measure of civic liberty is on the line most of you have not looked at a constitution or a Bill of Rights in a long time you don't know what it says and you don't understand the price paid to keep it in place I've got a copy of the Bill of Rights here with me this morning I asked the 1st service to raise their hands I'm not going to do that in this service how many of you even know what the 1st is what your 1st right according to this seminal document from the origins of our civic bean I'm going to read it to you and it would be good for all of you get a copy of the Constitution there are places that prove prepare pocket copies of the Constitution and carry one with you and get it out and read it and think about what it cost to have it and the lives and the blood that was shed to enshrine it and make it law Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof that's the 1st part of the 1st Amendment in other words when this country came into being it designated that Caesar had Parag it adds in some places and no Parag lives in some others this morning I want to assure you that the great controversy hinges on an understanding of where Caesar has prerogative and where Caesar does not and I'm not here to do it in a flippant rebellious way I'm here to do it outside the context of political Mandarin to the viewpoint of left and right. In other words there's got to be a place where they're still honest speech that is respect for iron sharpens iron and we're able to have dialogues that actually go down to the issues and we're all honest enough in heart and soul and mind to say well maybe I need to think about that different maybe I need to change there are some listening to me here today for whom I fear the spirit of revaluing is as it were running around your feet and it's not so much an intelligent principled understanding of what the Scriptures say about where those lines are drawn it might be tainted with the miasma of nobody's going to tell me what to do that spirit doesn't belong in a heart in a home in a church in a society which is flat out rebellion but I am here to tell you today that if you wander through life on the Good Ship Lollipop and you never stop to think about where the lines of governmental infusion into your live privately are civically or drawn you're not ready for what's coming because in the very end I want to assure you whether it's through economic collapse or environmental collapse or whatever it might be everybody's going to need to get in line for the good of the common good and if you don't it won't be that some rogue element of political power is running around the world it will be that humanity scared enough and destabilized enough will resist and resent and hate you to where you either pay the price of poverty prison or death or all of them at some level combined. This is where the element of prophetic understanding is going so what it means is that we cannot live risque versus lives we must live intelligent spirit filled faith guided respectful journeys with each other because no one person's got a monopoly on the Holy Spirit but where we find ourselves today is to where having a dialogue about some things are shut down rapidly and easily because we have the moralizers and the virtue signallers to tell somebody who disagrees that they're either ignorant or unfit to be engaged in civic debate and the Know Nothings need to shut up and listen to the know something it just so happens that whether you've sat through a formal education or not if you've been home on the journey of life you've been educated in and customary law and common law have found themselves developing out of common sense which is the collective wisdom of the mass of humanity subcultures is cetera no you should be no law respecting an establishment of religion or preventing the free exercise thereof or moving on abridging the freedom of speech or the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances get yourself acquainted with it I'm proud to say that the 4th graders in my wife's class by confirmation of one of the judges in our local courthouse said that these 4th graders knew more about civic law and the Constitution then many high schoolers that come to our local courthouse for field trips we might need to know a little more ourselves this morning I'm suggesting that we should now I want to go on a journey in the Word of God Once you take your Bibles and open the book of Matthew chapter 20 to give to Caesar and how does the rest go people. Let's do it one more time given to the Caesar the things that are Caesar's and all right I think we ought to find out what it is that God wants and I think we ought to find out what it is the Scriptures defer to the rulers of this age Matthew chapter $22.00 verse 15 it says Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap him in what he said So what's the setting it's an absolute calculated attempt to embarrass discredit and eventually destroy Jesus it's a plot and they think they played it well and indeed for man's wisdom they probably have they sent their disciples to him along with the Herodian saying Teacher We know that you are truthful and teach the way of God and truth and defer to no one for you are not partial to any you know the beautiful thing is is that whether John the Baptist called out Herod or whether Jesus called out Herod whether the measure was left or right Christ was always true to truth there still exists the possibility for God's people to have dialogues independent of political bias God's people are self aware of bias and they are in communion with each other which is a measure of accountability and that allows them still to do what Jesus did is maintain the respect of those around them though this is flattery it is still truth another word Jesus we know you're going to a game and hit the bull's eye every time now it's a set up they don't think you can weasel out of this one tell us then what do you think is it lawful to give a poll tax to Caesar or not but Jesus and out with the Heavenly Wisdom proceed their malice and he said why are you testing me you what hypocrites. Now if there is one thing that our modern society has yet to get a lesson or 2 on it is how to be principled in the dynamics of love and the practice of law not just in precept but in principle and it appears in our society that certain things are Ok and need not have the wrath of society come down on them and certain things are not I'm not going to go into the details there you don't have to think about all of that but Jesus recognizes their hypocrisy so I want to call out a bit of hypocrisy this morning myself if in the course of events you subscribe to a certain way of living and when people around you do it or people around you like you don't require them to do it but when people come around that you don't like or when people aren't around and you don't care you might be walking the road of hypocrisy if you're going to follow a principle out to its end follow it in private follow it in public don't be afraid to defend it don't be afraid to amend it be a person of truth and you don't have to be offended Jesus recognizes that they're acting hypocritically you hypocrites Now the other question I want to ask you is this Did Jesus really need to add you hypocrites answers yes and I'm going to show he does it more than once you hypocrites show me the coin that used for the poll tax and they brought him a denarius and he said to them whose likeness an inscription is on this and they said Caesar's and then he said to them render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are gone and here in this they want to way is a maze and they left him alone backfired. Now there's something about walking in truth in humility that doesn't backfire but I want to go one more place turn back to Matthew 15 another moment of hypocrisy tradition in the Commandments they want to know why Jesus is not washing his hands before he eats bread Well I'm going to tell you why Jesus wasn't washing his hands before you a bread it wasn't because Joseph Lister or Louis passed or was in his 4th on it wasn't because anybody understood biology and very a lot more ology they were washing their hands because Jesus understood bigotry and prejudice and the washing of the hands was to get the Gentile off and Jesus wasn't having any of it so they want to know why he's not keeping their laws and in effect I think you could say is that he's not afraid of showing the right way he will respect all men including those that are considered outcast and offs gallery and he will love those that are seeking the pre crucifixion mentalities and actions the scribes and Pharisees anough to confront them the answer verse 3 and said to them Matthew 15 Why do you yourselves transgress the command of God for the sake of your tradition for God set on your father and your mother and he speaks evil of father and mother is to be put to death but you say whoever says to his father mother whatever I would have done to help you has been given to God he's not honor his father or mother and by this you invalidated the Word of God for the sake of your tradition here we go verse 7 you what hypocrites. Riley did Isaiah probably have you this people honors me with their lips but their heart is far from me in vain do they worship me teaching his doctrines the precepts of men and after Jesus called the crowd to him he said to them you hear and understand it's not what enters a mouth that defiles a man but what proceeds out of the now that defiles the man and as soon as the crowds are gone away the disciples said Jesus we need to up your e.q. just a little bit here they came to him and they said Do you know the fairest seas were offended when they heard this statement now this is what happens in a society that abandons truth everything's about feelings and if you hurt my feelings then you hurt me it doesn't matter whether or not the trajectory you're on the road you're on the path you're walking is going to lead to destruction and destroy every other functional relationship you have because it's all a barrel of falsehoods but as soon as feelings are tantamount and Paramount everything that's waiting to go on is all about offense and there's only one cure and the cure is to do justly love mercy walk humbly to bring justice and mercy truth and kindness together but you cannot deviate from that which sets you free you shall know the truth and the truth cell set you free the Saul destroyed sin selfish sin of taking all of your tradition all of your wealth it's going to come to you and herons and say Dad Mom I'm done with you I'm going to give it all to the church get off my back leave me alone Jesus said I'm sorry there's no get out of responsibility free card but in the midst of it all I want you to understand that he did not take a punch with this with is human nature which was not sinful human nature in the sense of wanting to hurt anybody. He doesn't take a punch and say and by the way you hypocrites everything Jesus did had a purpose everything Jesus did was love and in that moment part of what Jesus was having to do was peel back the evil that was hidden behind the facade of religiosity and he calls them hypocrites more than once in the scriptures because that's what they were and their soul destroying form of religion was ruining the witness of God. What is your commitment to the truth can the truth challenge you can the truth change you can the truth shake you up can the truth wrestle with you I'm here to tell you this morning in a dialogue about what is and what isn't Caesar's fear respect and love are very important it's absolutely important that there is a element of mutual respect and there is not the know bettors and the know nothing. And there's not the wise ones in the food this one's I'm not saying none of those categories have any validity in describing an individual but when it comes to a discussion of ideas especially controverted ideas as soon as we moralize an issue it's no longer up for discussion what do you mean pastor Well last night I went downstairs into my files and I started looking for some things and if you've heard me talk about this before no apologies I knew in one of those files I have a little house. And stacked in the back corner of my basement are all these crates with hanging file folders in them documentation matters to me and I'm glad I'm holding it in my hands the day this paper says investigative unit remediating mold in Minnesota public schools there's a story behind it I've got some anonymous letters in here my wife told me I should throw them away and most of them I did I didn't realize I'd come across 2 of them as I went through my file on the Cicero churchgoer from 2011 to 2012 and by the way if you ever get tempted to send an anonymous letter recognize your You're engaging in one of the greatest acts of cowardice and save yourself the eventual embarrassment of being found out on the other side of eternity and maybe before and when you know it though this person is so deceived that they'll end the letter having said all kinds of things I cannot talk with them about with their deepest love in Christ yes I appreciate the laughter I have more than one in here like this this one single spaced the whole thing it's far enough away from me now I don't need to throw it away but you know this kind of cowardice is not countenanced in the Word of God Jesus was a man with a face that could be lovingly put into the wind and the opportunity was was that somebody might hear true so what's the issue Well the issue was that we had a church school I'm going to say about a 5 room church school ended up having 5 teachers at it God built it up over the years got down to 2 God build it up to 5 nice and Roma sweet experience wonderful Christian education but it had a problem and the problem was it had a flat roof now flat roofs are fine for a while but I don't think I know a flat roof that doesn't leak eventually and you may have peaked roof that leak eventuality Yeah they do but not like flat roofs I've got a lot of experience. And you know there was one spot that was particularly difficult to get to stop leaking and unfortunately it was right in the hallway right by the entrance of the school and too often you'd see a garbage can collecting the water is it dripped down through the problems not only that it leaked but it was a low spot in the rough and there actually a little pond up there so it didn't just leak when it was raining it leaks for a long time which made it hard to fix it now along the way there were a few members that got in their mind mainly one that we should do what you did what you do well some years ago the tradesmen of this school and this congregation put a nice peaked roof on that church going I want to give you a big thumbs up I won't have anything like this in my folder Thanks to all your tradesmen I'm very grateful that peaked roof on our village church school might be worth a $1000000.00 to your pastor but I want to tell you we went through a lot of journeys administration on what to do now I'll tell you how it would have been fixed real easy somebody get into their wallet get out a blank check and write 140 comma 000 and it could all be fixed and maybe there's some of you came here prepared for terror today to do something like that I doubt it and when it came to management there was a subcommittee created of which voted anonymously 15 to 4 that that was not the role and the route for the church to go now 15 to 4 might be one of the poorest votes that has ever happened in a committee that I've been with because most of the things we do in this church and most of the things we did for 20 years and that church were almost totally together 100 percent unanimous almost all the time Praise the Lord but this person was not content with this vote and so one night under the cover of darkness someone shared their key. With someone who didn't even come to church but whose names were on the books and they slipped into that church school and they were going for the lever that could change the argument and send it the other way if they could find some mole in there and they could show up at the county health department they could get the county health department to shut our school down now I hate to tell you friends if you read through all my documentation here you're going to find out that probably is not too many buildings in America where you're not going to find some old maybe even your house and I want to tell you there are things so hard to do that when you get to this level of deviation and devious nuss. You're badly not against flesh and blood but you're battling against spiritual principles and powers from dark places it got so bad that even a few of my friends started doubting my credibility and I have taken everything on everybody's word I want to tell you how it ended up it got so dicey that the contractor who was giving us advice told one thing to one group of people and one thing to another thank you no thank you which made my job very difficult because the initial movement of the church with the school was to try to make it work a little longer because we didn't have 140002 give for that project and even if we had it to give we believed in the broader scope of management that that one thing isn't the only thing that makes this church work and there were other things to do so we were going to try to fix it I want to tell you how it came down to the wire especially for you pastors that are listening to me. On the very day of the last vote on this item the original contractor who had been told one thing and that contractor when I'm told somebody else he cornered that contractor and got him to put in writing what he had told him from the very beginning and it was handed out at the last meeting and it came in on the very last day praise the Lord and I want to tell you they fix that rubber roof spent very little money and up until a year ago or so the patch was still working which meant that $130.00 some $1000.00 was available for other things including maybe even the scholarship to send kids to that school now why am I bringing this up one more we had potlucks down at that church school the problem was one day a week for 2 hours the parking lot wasn't big enough so was a 400 some odd member church the parking lot had probably 2530 spots and. On Sabbath afternoon when we went down to the church school the people spilled into the ball field and parked along the road and one of these very same people that a prick your ears up when you see everything negative or you see everything through the eye glasses of I don't like this person I don't like that you can't get along you might have a problem and this very same person spoke up and said we need a new parking lot well for about the same amount of money we could get a new parking lot the only problem was most of us thought spending that much money on a parking lot that was used 2 hours a week wasn't a good use of the money then the person speaks up and says well if we're having potluck one day and somebody gets run down on the road because they park along this country road it's going to be your fault on. Now you tell me where you take a conversation that's been more lies like that and how do you get to any semblance of appropriate civil understanding when you have more allies the argument now if you cannot make the connection between what's going on today in society right here in Michigan or Indiana or anywhere else then you have missed a pretty simple move because even as you drove some of you teachers and pastors up to campus obl for our ministry tree you could see that along the road there were big billboards and the billboards talked about respect and if you're going to pay respect to somebody you needed to wear this now I want to tell you I wear these when I went into Apple Valley the other day. I put it on I was going to Hartings the other day and I didn't have one so I looked around and found a piece of cloth and held it over my face the whole time I was in there but when I come to this church. Since this church has voted in due process how to approach this pandemic and since this place is not under the direction of Caesar since we have taken a posture that we will social distance shutdown the water fountains dismissed from the back since we have determined a variety of ways to tense up outside for our Sabbath schools this morning since we have voted a whole variety of other ways and because the science is out on how effective this is we decided to set the threshold of how we approach public worship on the choice of the individual. Which means when we reopened this church up which was not at the state's permission we reopened it up with a letter that explained that we were recommending but not requiring this. Now this is a different mask how many of you recognize its difference I want to say thank you to Jonathan Min's mother one of our system pastors for sending me this this. Is much less pleasant mask the wear it's an n $95.00. It's the 1st mask that was given me the good news is is that if you still wanted to come to this church knowing that some feel conscientious about not being compelled to wear a mask you could still come and worship with this on and be safe according to your understanding of safety. Thus we have protected. Everyone's right and if you still don't feel comfortable we are broadcasting this so that anybody including one of the $10000.00 plus people that subscribe and follow our channels can still go now at the heart of religious liberty is the freedom to choose when Adam and Eve were in the garden there was provision for Lucifer to intersect their lives take your Bibles and turn to Genesis Chapter 3 Genesis Chapter 3 if you ever wondered why God did this why did God give access to man and woman just chapter 3 verse one religious liberty is an inconvenient and risky commodity verse one of chapter 3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God May and he said to the woman indeed has God said You shall not eat from any tree of the garden why why does Lucifer get to be on this perfect earth. Why couldn't God say I've got this special little planet over here you take your minions and do whatever you want to do and throughout the season the sages will watch your experiment gone wrong create all the misery it can create for you and a 3rd of the angels why does God take the risk because at the heart of every meaningful encounter and the true definition of love and justice is the prerogative of every individual which this country has and shined in law and many other countries have not to make certain decisions for oneself in your whole and through your voluntary participation in a place of worship and the truth of the matter is Lucifer himself appears to have a measure of religious liberty as well in other words he can still talk to the sons and daughters of God and if we were to go to Job Chapter one we would see that God actually allows Lucifer into the Congress of heaven and in the Congress of heaven he's able to represent this little planet for which God is said Oh not so quick Lucifer they're not all your servants and your slaves if they want to follow me they still have choice that's what was preserved in the garden Now let's add to that what the desire of ages says and that is that the evil angels and Lucifer himself could sit at the entrance to heaven and he could talk with and accost all of the angels coming and going on God's ear and another measure of religious liberty why is there not the potential that somebody else could say he's maybe got something going on there. What I want you to understand is that the hinge of human freedom swings the door of liberty for a man and if the lines are not rightly drawn man's liberty woman's liberty children's liberty is what hangs in the balance it is absolutely imperative that we recognize that the moralizing of a discussion with the no something's in the know nothings is an absolute nonstarter for how to have a discussion about where Caesar's rights and Parag are to start and end the 2 churches in California you know there are 50 some counties in California that can't go to church you may not be aware of this I mean I'm not making this up I don't have to look hard to find these things I mean I got tweets or text or whatever months ago well month ago 1st it was you can't sing at church I was busy with some of my associates this week in and one of them said when I explain that some churches are wearing mask and humming he said that is now directly impacting worship what does the 1st angel say fear God and give glory to Him for the hour his judgment is come and what we're seeing now is that simply singular worship in your home or is there a measure of corporate worship that brings strength and spiritual focus and vitality to a group of people is there not a call to praise which is an act of worship like prayer is there not the divine right made in the image of God to under one's own volition gather to express their adoration and worship to the one who waded into this sin infested disease infested world and bought their and freedom from death so that they might not fear death anymore. God is calling us to a respectful dialogue that not only will preserve our religious liberty but perhaps some greater measure of civic liberty as we watch states of emergency push on and on and on now I want to ask you when it comes to management 10 years ago in the Cicero church we were in a position nor did we decide a priority to say we're going to spend a 140000 on that river going to spend a 140000 on that parking lot we had some other priorities in other words management encompasses a lot of things I was driving into this church yesterday listening to the radio and by the way National Public Radio so anybody wants to know a kind of radio I'm listening to and they're talking about the escalation of child abuse elder abuse domestic abuse I'll add to that Desa despair food insecurity diminished educational returns on various methodology and one more thing that I don't think anybody is really giving proper civil discourse did you know that when the Fed and the Treasury get together they can do something magical they don't hit a button but together the Fed and the Treasury the Fed giving permission Federal Reserve and the Treasury doing the printing we can make money as Americans now tell you how I make my money I come into this church every day and I deal with people and problems I'm on the phone I'm on the computer I'm planning I don't have the ability my mother would always use to say money doesn't grow on. Last I checked it still doesn't but as long as there's still the full faith and confidence in the American government we can print our own money to the tune of some say closing the Washington Post up to 6 trillion dollars which by the way you need to understand that 5 times more money that's been infused into the economy than during the 2008 financial crash which takes our percent of g.d.p. gross domestic product the percent of debt to the percent of what we actually produce and brings it to his highest spot in American history equal to the World War 2 era now I talk to employers who can't get their employees to come back to work why because they're making more money receiving a door from the government than they did working for somebody who actually had to do something for their money the last I checked the Bible direct personal responsibility for income it's a little bit rough but Paulo say if you don't work you don't eat now we believe in humanity and compassion so that's not a carte blanche application to everything but if you knew that your employer was going to go insolvent that means bankrupt would you consider going into work if you understood that that paycheck couldn't be forever promised by the good faith and credibility of the United States government in other words you can only borrow for yourself so long into the future before at some point time give it some kind of crisis I don't know what it is you might not have the good faith and confidence of the United States government and printing money would be an option some of us grew up more poor than others. I don't want to say I grew up abject poor I didn't but I did grow up on the bottom into the middle class bottom and after I've told you stories about my grandma coming over from the Dorcas Society for those of you that remember when Dorcas was bringing those big plastic bags of clothes she had culled out of the Dorcas Society that would be Grandma working over here at neighbor to neighbor and realizing it's Ok for her to take this step and go see of little Her oldest grandson Ronny needs anything I despised it but if you grow up poor you get an education the most expensive kind because you realize what grinding poverty does if you've grown up where every need has always been met and you've never had food insecurity or paycheck insecurity I've told you before I knew the name of my parents' mortgage holders how many 14 year olds know who all their parents mortgage I knew because the letters would come in the mail about repossessing our home I remember as a boy taking 25 gallon buckets and a little buck saw and walking down to the woods 2 or 3 blocks away and picking up as many dead branches I can and cutting them and putting them in so that we could go back home even though it was an old not very airtight Ben Franklin cast iron stove create a little bit of financial margin it probably did next to nothing. I've driven junky cars most of my young adult life they're not too fancy now because I decided back then that some things mattered more but I figured out how hard it was to make things go and how much pain and value there is an opportunity and the truth of the Natter is everybody listening to me here today is to be a contributor not just a consumer if I told you that major corporations big corporations were teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. How many how many Well how many months can the big airliners sit parked up front to tail with a fraction of them flying and you actually think all those millions and millions and billions of dollars spent at Boeing and Airbus that somebody is going to want to be paid they've told those companies you can't lay anybody off until October of 1 I think it is in other words we're going to keep a facade of normal a-C. until we get here I had one person who has millions of miles on one of the major airlines say to me I want to use a month because I think they might go bankrupt is anybody in America thinking about this is there more to manage then just Corona and is all of this science double blind proven study or is most of it anecdotal and isn't up for discussion and do local localities have the right to decide how they're going to do things do you check the corona dashboard and bear in county I do I take pictures of it regularly and saving on my computer the public welfare of this body of believers matters much to me and all of its leaders but not so much that I would leverage fear to take away your choices what does fear look like it looks like Peter I call it a trifecta dishonesty fear and arrogance all working together where do we see it in the Bible on the Jesus I won't deny you I know me I'm not motivated by fear Jesus tells him all you're all going to run away I bet they all shook their head said no more We've been together too long. Jesus says yes you're going to deny me and Peter says you don't know what you're talking about and Jesus says I do and by the time the rooster crows 2 times in the morning you will have acted like you never knew me and what was true about this was it Jesus in his graciousness didn't tell him he was going to cuss is way out of the situation but I want to tell you when push came to shove that elemental dynamic of self-preservation kicked in and he stared into the eyes of those servant girls and that last servant and he said Ok you haven't got it before I'm going to get it across this time and it went blankety blank blank blank from there and they finally left him alone we're in a situation like we're in right now in this country because the church is enjoyed a role as a consumer that has not taken the risk over truth justice and mercy were in this role right now because we have played away the opportunities to grow in faith and everything makes us afraid and while fear is a normal human emotion and sometimes a protector against gross evil it is also waiting to be manipulated by Satan to destroy our pro fast love for Jesus and that's what Jesus said to Peter these things have turned out to be what many will call a. A statement about your political perspective just for the record I didn't vote in the last election and I don't want this to be construed in any which way I'm not a political activist but I am an American and I do believe at some level at least when I go in my own home and I walk in my own church if the people that are wanting to come to church here know what's happening some will sell more I respect you if you do some 30 should but don't disrespect me don't let your fears attempt to control someone else. Do not virtue signal that you're a better person because you would never do that to somebody else maybe fear is a worst human disease than the corona virus and maybe it has eternal ramifications but when you walk in another store or put it on now I know some of you are not inclined that way but I do believe that Caesar has something to say about public commerce and I don't need to be making a statement that I'm a lot to myself because I'm not love I met with somebody in this church during the coronavirus which means in the last 4 months middle aged man heartbreaking relational problems we know together back there I listened we pray he didn't come in with a mask I wasn't wearing one I think it was important actually that I wasn't when we got up to leave we walked out the same hallway most of your walk out and he turned to me and he created a new level of social violation he went like this what's that me I want to hug you do I not love my wife You bet I do am I the master of my own mortality Wow in some general ways maybe but ultimately for surely not would you like to pit my love for my wife against my love for this church member is there not an ultimate high calling this says constant vigilance and self-preservation is not the call of the Christian. But that God says attend to my work and I will attend to your care he's a shield to those who walk up rightly. And I'm not going to give him a fraction of a 2nd looking like this while I look around like Can you wash your hands in the last 20 minutes. And so we stood right out there in the hallway and this 56 year old man and privates 45 year old man gave each other a brace and it wasn't just like a quick one he there was a god job to architect that encounter was it my job to respond in God's place to bring some measure greater than words. Now I'm not suggesting everybody walk out here and start shaking hands and hugging and kissing on each other Ok you'll be dismissed from the back please go outside breathe all the fresh air you can and social distance unless you've already got a little immunological social bubble live in it and enjoy it but I do know this I was called to love that man with some physical touch those that have been raised in the environment of theory and data are going to need to take a lesson in humility from those who have had to solve real problems in life go out and start a tractor in a blizzard in subzero weather go out and change the tire go out and water the dog give away your last $20.00 to somebody who's been worse off than you take that box of food to somebody and it may mean you'll have oatmeal a few more meals suffer through privation and hardship and get lives needle calibrated right so everything doesn't make you afraid and self interest is not the guiding principle when Christ came down to Calvary there was a 100 percent likelihood of mortality he was infected with our diseases not because he did anything to deserve them but because he volitionally allowed his life to be injected and what he offered Lucifer in the garden which was a chance to talk to his new creation Adam and Eve Lucifer would have loved to rob Jesus from. But Jesus walked all the way to Calvary until he couldn't carry the cross somebody else had to carry it and when they laid him down and drove nails through his hands he was not breathing out divine directives of revenge and epitaphs of evil he was calling now in a midst of suffering which some of us are going to have to do if we fulfill our role in this pandemic Father forgive them for they don't know what they're doing indeed friends the garden and the cross are 2 very different moments and if we can not keep the respect of the public while we respectfully respect their fears without letting their fears control us and we've lost the game put your mask on it Apple Valley Put your mask on it's Raiders when you come here it's up to you we're social distance some days we have the windows open I don't know how long we'll have to go before any anecdotal evidence is attached to our meeting together but we're getting close up to about 20 times because we had 8 nights of Kant meeting here but if there's one thing you cannot do is you cannot have fear which was the 1st elemental emotion under the plague of sin direct your life show respect know where the lines are drawn and then by God's grace given the only thing he really wants. He's going to burn this world up so I don't suspect any of the material treasures worth anything but he does want your praise and he does want you worship you needing it honors him one last story I've told it before some of it will grow some of the out he was an outcast among the outcasts it was opportunity camp. I'm back in the day when I was a camp counselor that met all the inner city kids from somewhere got bused 6 hours down to southern Illinois to little grassy lake and it was always a roller coaster ride for the counselors because man these kids had no Christianity some of them no real good upbringing and it didn't take long for the pecking order to get all figured out and he was that outcast of the outcast and it made me sad sometimes it irritated me I still remember the day I was sitting at the cavity area of table with my hay stack just ready to eat. And his head rares back and he sneezes all over my food for a brief 2nd everything inside of me that was revolted his d.n.a. slathered across my meal. Tempted me to pick it up and walk away and throw it in the trash. But inside of me I knew of one more moment for the hen pecked kid to get a few more packs and I picked up my fork and I started eating I know for some of you German foams that's the end of the world you never know I'm I got some good d.n.a. from him you never know his immunity might be mine today. You have to get over yourself Jesus has got you cared for you're going to make it as long as he says you should make it you're going to breathe as well as he says breathe your heart's going to beat as long as he says be in the meantime quit worrying about yourself too much be thoughtful or respectful to the people around you sometimes their fears might dictate you put this thing on but this morning at this church the reason we're not wearing them is because we've set the threshold of personal choice and announced it so everybody who came here today had a chance of knowing what it was going to be and they came into their own volition which is a form of liberty given to Caesar what is Caesar's. If you don't do that you're not going to have the ability to lead anybody to the ultimate authority who someday will come back to take us home I haven't said anything as I close you need to know something the mark of the beast is a mark of fear you'll be poor or you'll be outcast you'll wonder where your next meal is coming from except by God's grace you'll know that he feeds the birds and he hasn't forgotten about you as we studied in the very 1st sermon I preached called confidence in crisis 4 months ago if there is one man that represents our m. times it's Elijah and there was nobody for whom food miracles happen more than for Elijah. Our bread and water has been promised us in the meantime let us not fail to participate respectfully in honest respectful dialogues let us not fail to respect in the proper time and place the concerns of other people but in our own home in here since we've made provision for all people to participate somehow some way let's bring in event to the condescending dialogue The suggest that somehow where less faithful to our current community and citizenry because not everybody here is wearing a blue piece of paper may God help us all to be many woman of kindness and courage and know that our days were written in a book before any one of them came to be one more thing Jesus is always true and when you sing the last verse of the song we're about to sing I want you to catch the very last part of the very last stanza about no fear. We gotta make this thing work the American economy doesn't work on wishes and borrowed money. The educational system doesn't work on on the very best digital technology it works with the Kurds a kindness in the Commons come on up singers it works on the very best of relationship building specially our faith provisions. Years ago in Indiana I was talking with somebody this week his father was the education superintend they had 367 they have a schools today there's probably 12 maybe. I'm telling you it's hard to keep something going you can't keep it going and act afraid. You've got to figure out what God wants pick up the fork take a bite. May God help us all. To trust and obey. Or are this media was brought to you by audio person 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 if you would like to listen to more sermon leave w.w.w. audio verse or.


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