During this time, we should all repent, "that times of refreshing might come in." As Joel reminded us last night, The first of Martin Luther's 95 theses stated that the whole Christian life is a life of repentance. This is what we need now.

Here are some of the things we discussed in this webinar:

1. Is live streaming a church service helpful or harmful?

2. What about visiting the sick? Should we?

3. Is it a sin for someone to go to work while sick?

4. What does the Bible say about quarantine?

5. Is this the judgment of God?

6. What about taking the Lord's Supper in the homes?

7. The matter of repentance, especially in times of plague. (I'm not sure this is an actual plague, time will tell. What is clear to me is that the panic is a devastating plaguing pandemic.)

Well, welcome. Welcome to this broadcast from the National Center for Family Integrated Churches, which is dedicated to proclaim the sufficiency of scripture for church and family. Like our life, our prayers, our work, our labors are all for the objective of biblically ordered churches and families in the world and I'm so grateful to be able to proclaim here uh to myself and all of us the lord reigns that we have a god who is sufficient his grace is sufficient for all of our trials. Uh his salvation is so sweet and has been so beautifully and kindly offered to us. Eternal salvation in a world that's passing away, but our souls aren't and we know that God will sustain us through everything.

And so what a blessing it is to serve him in times like this. This webinar, we hope is an opportunity to bring some preparedness, some encouragement, some perspective on all these matters that are ahead of us. I read this morning, there are 3 billion people who are in some form of quarantine out of 7.8 billion people in the world. I was talking to someone just on the way to this webinar telling me that he had just read that there are three million who have filed for unemployment just in the last few days the highest of any time in history. Well I'm excited I'm expected to see what God will do.

Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He's the ruler of the kings of the earth. And they're making decisions that most of us probably really don't understand. And I'm so thankful to understand that God is the one who causes calamity. That's what the prophet Habakkuk said and I believe it.

You know, is the government overreacting? We know for sure people are frightened. People are, If the government's overreacting, I think it's very clear that often we find that we are overreacting as well to all these things, which will at one point pass. So we have lots to talk about. And first of all, let me just introduce to you Scott Anial.

Hi, Scott, welcome. Good to be here. Good, Scott has a marvelous website called religious affections. You need to go there. It's a treasure trove of information about God and the worship of God.

He's a pastor at Christ the King Church in Fort Worth Texas and I always love it when you come and preach at our conferences Scott it's been a joy I look forward to more years doing that. So thanks for joining us. Yeah, thank you. And Joel, Joel Beakey, hello. Hello.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I know all of us have been immersed in all these things, but Joel is the president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids and is a pastor at the Reformed congregation there in Grand Rapids And it's really a joy to have you with us too, Joel. Thank you. And we have also, we have Pouyan Mirshahi. Hello.

Joining us from London. Well, not really London, Sheltonham. And he's a pastor of Providence Baptist Church there, a congregation that some of our people have visited. I know Scott you've been there and what a joy it is to fellowship with your people. And Puyon also has quite an active ministry with Iranians all over the world.

And so We come from different places, different states, different countries here. And I'd like first of all just to kind of do a roundhouse and talk about what's happening in our regions. Pouyaan, since you're the farthest away from us, Why don't you start? What's going on in the UK? Well, just starting from the most recent events, since Thursday we have something similar to a martial law in United Kingdom.

So, since yesterday, all church services are now banned and any gatherings such as meetings outside of what they call essential services. They are banned in UK. Even on the streets, only two people can meet with one another, and so any larger than two people could be arrested by the police. The law was passed yesterday. So, it is, and already people have been arrested, I hear in the news.

And so, we had our last service in our church on the last Lord's Day. But we have had quite a number of our folk who have had to, what they call, say, self-isolate because of illnesses. And Yes, things have been changing by day. Everyone is waiting for the announcements by the Prime Minister and the new rulings. And it has been very volatile.

The emotions have been very high, both within the church and outside. And so that has been our situation. We have sought to do what we can as pastors, as elders, to care for the flock. But it is a time that, well, for me as a young pastor, I have not experienced. And all of our people, except those who went through the war, we have some older saints who are in their 90s who remember things of past.

And so they are the ones actually are the ones who do not have fear it seems. And they just smile at me and say, well, we experienced far worse than these things in the war. And so it has been a wonderful opportunity I have seen. I have seen the best amongst our people. I have experienced some things I have not experienced in the last 12 years that I have been the pastor of this congregation.

I can only thank God for the marks of grace that I've seen amongst our people so I I have much to be thankful for these trying times that the Lord has sent I would not have seen some of the things that I have seen in the past few days if it wasn't for the coronavirus. So I don't want to be unkind towards those who have suffered and we have had people in our congregation who have been suffering much. They have been very ill. But again, even amongst them, I have seen a man who has attended our meetings, has heard the gospel many, many times. And he has been bound up in home with severe illness this week.

And he wrote to me and he said, Pastor, I know that I am lost. And I know that even through this, I know that I must be saved. So, for me, I think, well, if the coronavirus has brought this man to his knees, I thank the Lord for it and I praise him. Praise the Lord. Oh my, what a wonderful thing.

I'll go next and then Scott will go to you. In North Carolina, we have gone from relative freedom to no beatings over 100, then last week no beatings over 50, and then just today we've entered into a lockdown situation staying in homes, stay in home, stay at home ordinance, which is more restrictive than the stay in place ordinance. Apparently the stay in place ordinance is shorter term and for disasters like a tornado or hurricane that will will pass through quickly And our governors are telling us that the stay-at-home ordinance is something that's put in place to last, and I'll quote the ordinance, for months. I don't know what that means. They didn't put anything in terms of a deadline, but it's staggering.

So we're we're really reeling here. Of course, nothing like this has happened here and then I'm and I know that's true everywhere else, but the prospect of an ordinance that forces people to interact six feet or more away from one another, to stay in homes to not be able to really to do much else other than go to the doctor or go to buy food. It's just the most remarkable moment in my life. So our congregation is doing well. No one is sick in our congregation right now.

I'm really grateful for that. So that may not continue, but it's the case now. So at the moment, we're feeling a little bit like the children of Israel and Goshen who are being protected from the plagues. So we realize that God may not do that, and we rejoice in his providence. Scott, how about you?

What's happening in Texas? Yeah, it sounds like things here are very much parallel to North Carolina. They started a little slower than I think a lot of states, sort of gradual restrictions. Our church met for the last time two weeks ago. We were unable to meet this week because the number had gotten small enough.

I think it was down to 10, the limit. To my knowledge, I don't think the governor has put a statewide lockdown yet, but just Tuesday night, our county did. So the county in which we are now has a stay in place, I think, guidelines until at least April 3, they're saying, and then I guess they'll assess whether or not to make it longer or not. But then I'm also on faculty at Southwestern Seminary, and so we're navigating that, and we've gone all online for the rest of the semester and had to cancel commencement and conferences and all those sorts of things. So that's created a lot of additional challenges for us.

But I think people are in good spirits. I think folks in our congregation thus far haven't seemed to be too afraid for themselves or their health. I think the newest thing, like you mentioned a few moments ago, Scott, with the jobless claims and people starting to find out the economic repercussions of some of this, I think that's starting to weigh heavily on some people and wondering if they'll be able to provide for their family and that sort of thing. So I think that opens up some pastoral responsibilities there as well. But We're continuing to try to wrestle through it and stuck in our homes and enjoying our families for now and see what the Lord does.

Wow, I mean, amen. You know, you reminded me of something. In North Carolina, the whole state is not under a stay at home ordinance, but rather many counties. I believe the greater population of counties is under this condition. So it has not been statewide yet.

So, okay, So Joel, you told me earlier that you've been spending about two thirds of your time in the last two weeks dealing with this kind of thing. Could you just tell us some of the particular things that you think might be helpful for the listener, things that you're encountering and how you're counseling people or processing it. Right, well, two thirds of my time has been involved with meetings and trying to decide what to do with all the decisions in the seminary and in the church. And it's been going well, I think, it's just feels very odd to have the seminary almost entirely empty but I think the main thing I always pastored quite a bit by phone because of the largeness of our church and the fact that I'm not a full-time minister. But I think now I'm doing it all the more.

So just calling people, calling seniors I think is a tremendous thing to do for a pastor. Just calling seniors out of the blue for no reason. Ask them how they're doing because seniors, I think, really function in relationship to family a lot and now they can't see their families, nobody can visit them, they tend to be very lonely, a bit fearful. But overall, I must say, we've had one person die in our county. I think 10 or 12 maybe have been designated with coronavirus.

But Michiganders are pretty calm, They're just obeying the governor. We went into full lockdown on Monday. I like to think of it this way. This is just an incredible opportunity for God to work, for us to work as pastors. A lot of good can come out of this.

My wife was just telling me today, she heard a story of a physician in Italy. And he said, all my life, I've just ever since I came out of graduate school, I've just been an atheist. He says all physicians in Italy are atheists, but he said I now know that there's a living God because we're just helpless in front of this onslaught. So God can do a lot of good through all this. I think another thing as a pastor is what I'm experiencing is that people are all across the board in terms of fear.

And so I think what we need to do is we need to recognize that and give them space. Some are quite afraid. I'd say most of my people are quite calm, bowing under the providence of God. And then you'll get a few that think, well, this is all way overblown. There's not much going on.

And So you've got to give people some space. You got to give them guidance. And so far in preaching, I preached once on John 14, one through three, about letting out your heart be troubled, believe you believe in God, believe also in me. And then last week I preached a sermon called moving from the COVID-19 to considering Christ from Hebrews 12. I just looked at seven ways to consider Christ in relationship to this disease and how Christ is superior to it all.

And I find people are really listening well through the live streaming of course. We get a couple dozen people that we allow in our church and they sit very far apart from each other, mainly just the consistory, the session. And then, you know, there's maybe 700 people coming in on live streaming. So our services are going on, it's just very different preaching to very few people. But I think pastors have just a tremendous opportunity right now.

Amen. Yeah, I'm having to learn new things, study things that I never thought I would be studying. You know, things are happening to us that we've just never experienced before. You know, you mentioned live streaming. It was just shocking to think that we would all be live stream or so many people would be live stream, not all of us, that we would be live streaming our services and that we would be encouraged to tell people no hugging, no shaking hands, Just those things were just shocking.

Those things are kind of old hat now. And, you know, we're trying to figure out how to implement all this technology. And there's of course, a rush all over the world for technology to get online. And so and there are different approaches. I know, we did live, we have live streamed our services.

Of course, we believe it's a tremendous downgrade from the experience that God has designed and you know some I think most churches are live streaming. Some are not out of principle. I heard Mark Dever talk about this the other day. He's not live streaming. At least this was a week ago or so because of the sacredness of the design of God in worship, in corporate worship.

So I really respect that. I know, Scott, you hold that position too. I think, and just before you start here, because I'd like you to talk about this, we all hold to the regular principle of worship. We all believe that the worship of God is the central meeting in all of our lives, every week long. We think that the best place you can be is among the people of God on the Lord's day.

We don't want people to compromise on it. We have a confessional understanding of that. Not exactly, but I think we have a very high view of the Lord's day. And so, just for you who are listening, you're talking to guys who find it extremely disturbing not to be looking into the eyes of our people and having them relate to one another together as a gathered people. God has always gathered his people together.

So we have a conviction of the importance of that. So, but I believe, Pouyan, you've been live streaming, we've been live streaming our services at Hope Baptist Church, and Joel, you've been live streaming. I'm really glad, Scott, you're on the line because I'd like you to just talk about your view. Try, you know, Pull us over the line. Tell us why we should stop live streaming or you might not do that.

No, I don't think it's wrong or terrible. We wrestle through it as elders in our church And we're using video conferencing software for some things like Bible studies and prayer meetings, where there's more interaction necessary and that kind of thing. But we just decided with the corporate worship service, I can see something like preaching works well with live streaming, but the other sort of embodied practices of corporate worship Are just so minimized in that sort of setting. So what we just decided to do instead Was to provide for the families in our church an order of worship hymns to sing scripture readings so that our entire congregation is doing the same thing and then our teaching elder pre-recorded his pre recording his sermon and we're making that available. So we're all doing the same thing, but we're doing it in our homes together rather than trying to do it in a live stream sort of format.

Just because, I don't know, it seems to me that in some cases we're trying to reproduce the gathered church, which we just can't do technologically. And I know that that's what you said that a moment ago. So we just decided to try to provide other resources to help the congregation. And then with things like Bible studies and prayer meetings, we're certainly making use of the conferencing kinds of technology, because that's suited to that very well. And can you give us kind of your theological working through that issue?

Yeah, I think it sounds similar to what you mentioned with Mark Devere a moment ago. I think there's a sacredness to the gathered church. There's something communicated in the idea of the body gathering together and and these embodied practices that we're doing together singing reading the scriptures praying the table and then certainly the the preaching of God's Word and And and so to be separate there's a loss there that we can't reproduce through technology. So in a sense, we've decided, well, let's not even try to replicate that and long for the day when we'll be together again. Because the natural response is, well, we're not going to be able to do this, you know, let's try, but I think, you know, I feel like, well, that's actually a longing that is a good, it's a good desire.

We want to be together as a body again. We want to be gathered around the table again as Christ's body. And so there's in a sense kind of a by the waters of Babylon there we hung up our liars and wept longing for the day when we will be back together as the body of Christ. And I think that's a good thing. It's a good longing to grow in our hearts while we're apart.

Amen. I wrote an article a few days ago called inoculate yourself against this, or vaccinate or something like that. But I was just encouraging people not to think that this is even close. This is such a poor representation and a real downgrade. Let's get back together.

Our church hasn't met together as a church since March 14th. It was actually at a wedding, it was at my daughter's wedding and our people are really missing it. They want to be together. You know, we eat together every Sunday. We eat 52 meals together every year on the Lord's Day, and our people love to be together to sing and do all the things that the church does.

So I think we want, Well, here's what we don't want. We don't want to create a culture where that's just fine with everybody to experience the worship of god in a in a through technology. Uh any other thoughts about that, man? Yes, I'll I'll jump in there. I think everything Scott said is our people would feel the same way, only they would, I would have a mess on my hands if we didn't live stream.

I can't tell you how many responses I've had, letters and so on. Oh, thank the Lord. At least we have some semblance of worship, even though it's not like when you all come together. And so people have been really appreciating the sermons. My colleague Also, we've been addressing current issues about this together, of course, based on biblical texts.

And people treasure it at the same time they miss and long, they do hang their harps on willows as well. But it's interesting that 30, 40 people that we do have there have been singing really well. And the only complaint I've had the whole time is that people think there's a whole lot more people in church than there really are, because they hear the singing. And they sing along in their homes. And they have our Psalter book in their homes.

So, but it's not new for us in terms of individuals because all our services are live streamed. And so it's a huge help for people in nursing homes or people that are sick at home or a mom who has got to stay home with some sick kids, just even in normal times, and they say, well, I just thank the Lord for live streaming. I don't know of one person in our whole congregation that abuses live streaming. And I really don't believe when we can worship regularly again, that there's gonna be one person staying home for non-essential reasons. But for essential reasons, it's just a gift to help the church.

That's the way I view it. Amen. You know, Joe, our church is doing it sounds like the same thing. Uh same songs. Um everybody's on the same page and it's got like like what you're doing as well.

We had a prayer meeting last night. We had multiple locations and we were all working off the same page and it's a downgrade but it's an upgrade from nothing. That's my view. I just don't want our people to get used to it and think that it's normal. When I was in the army, I had to miss church for several months.

It was excruciating. And when I walked into the sanctuary for the first time after several months, I just wept. It was so good to be in the house of God. And I think that's gonna happen in all of our churches whether we live stream or whether we don't. I think when we can finally get back in I think people are gonna just weep and appreciate it all the more.

Mm-hmm. I think I heard Donald Trump say the other day that he wanted churches on Easter Sunday to be packed out. I hope that happens. Very optimistic. I don't think it will.

Yeah, that's probably right. Pouya, any thoughts about this matter of live streaming? Well, I think from my own point of view, our church has been live streaming now for over a year, mainly to help those who are caring for their loved ones at home and those who are sick, but none of them have abused it. They have always said that they long to be amongst God's people. Some have become immobile, and so that is the only thing they get as close as Public gathering for worship and so they see it as as part of their feeding of their soul However personally I have been doing teaching and preaching online amongst the persecuted Iranians throughout the world.

Tomorrow morning, in a few hours time, I will be preaching to Iranian groups both in Iran and in Armenia, who are gathering together, and that is the only opportunity they have close enough to coming together to hear God's word, to pray, to read the scriptures. However, I agree with everything that has been said and I fully hold to what the brethren have said. And I believe with all my heart that genuine biblical preaching is when a man filled by the Spirit of God is amongst living men and preaching to them with the power of the Holy Ghost. But with what has happened, we are not trying to accomplish what can't be done. We are not trying to replicate by electronic ways and virtual, to have a virtual church.

That is impossible to do that. But seeking to do not what we want to do, but what we can do to help our congregations and feed their soul and encourage them. That's all I see. It is not a virtual church, but it is already, we have had people who have said to me, young men who have said that they cannot wait till we can gather together again. And they don't want to listen to anyone else.

They don't want to listen to other broadcasts that may be more sophisticated than the way we do it, but they want to hear their own paths they preach to them. And that's a wonderful thing for me to hear from some of the young men and women in our congregation. So, I think it was John Knox's motto, we must do what we can, not what we want. Amen. I'd like to bring up the subject of visiting the sick.

Our government is telling us to stay away from sick people. There's the idea of quarantining healthy people and you know my understanding of what the Bible says about this is first of all pastors are required to visit the sick, lay hands on the sick, James 5, with the burden of activity on the sick person calling the elders of the church and all part of pastoral care and secondly God expects his blood-bought saints to visit the sake Jesus said I was sick and you visited me and he was speaking of all true Christians who have compassion on the sick. I'd like to get your thoughts about some of the nuances. Some of the cautions, some of the things that are in your minds regarding visiting the sick. Well, I can say that in Grand Rapids all the hospitals are completely shut down.

So you can't even get in the front door, even a pastor can't get in. I was there when They were shutting one hospital and I was actually inside the building and they made the decision to shut down. They weren't going to let me go see someone who was dying. One of my members was dying. I actually buried her at the funeral on Monday.

I just said, this woman is dying. The relatives called me to come. I won't take long. Can you just give me 15 minutes with her? And they hesitated.

They consulted for about 10, 15 minutes. And then they let me do it. And so I just obeyed that. And I just stayed 15 minutes and poured out my heart in prayer. But right now, we can't reach the people but by phone.

And so this is a very, very unusual time. You feel the pain on both sides, But you just use the phone. And actually, what I do now is I call them all the more because trying to make up for the lack of being able to see them personally. As far as visiting them at home right now, when they're still at home and ill, I personally, I have no worries about myself or fears, but I go by their conscience. And if they say, I don't shake their hands like I normally do, I don't sit by them and put my hand on that old lady's hand, I tell them I'm going to stay six feet away, I'm not going to shake her, I'm so sorry.

But if they want me to come over, I'm there no problem, but if they say you know what pastor I just I want to be safe. I'd rather have you call. I don't put any pressure either way I just I want to do what you want me to do And leave it up to them Amen Anybody else kuyan? What are your thoughts about that? It is exactly the same with me here, and my practice here is I leave it to people's consciences, but I would be there straight away.

If they want me to be there, I would go and be cautious, take precautions. I don't want to make them more ill, and I don't want to pass anything from them to others, but I believe we should do what we can in the situation, but again, we are restricted. I cannot visit those in nursing homes that we used to. We have been banned from doing that. But I'm making phone calls all the time right now.

My voice is going, and I'm having problems with my voice because I'm talking with so many people over the phone. But it's been a wonderful opportunity to speak to people and to pray over the phone with people. That is something I have had to get used to. I don't normally, I have not prayed regularly with people over the phone. I have done it when I'm there face to face with them.

And so I've had to get used to that. It's a new experience for me. Scott, what about you? What are your thoughts on visiting? Yeah, I agree with all of that.

This situation is a bit different and unusual just because of the incubation period of the disease. So the issue is not us being afraid of being infected by someone who asks to come. The question is what if we have the disease, don't know it, and we're going to perpetuate the spreading of that. So I think that's a little additional concern. But again, I agree with the brothers here and leave it to the conscience of the people.

And if they want a visit, you visit them and and try to minister to them. Yeah. Amen. Here's a question from uh somebody on the line. Would we say that a brother is in sin if he's not feeling well but continues to go to work.

What are your thoughts about that? Well I would say that if he has symptoms that reflect the coronavirus that you as a pastor you should instruct him not to go. And that we have a responsibility to love our neighbors ourselves. I've been told if it's just a few sniffles and there's no sore throat and there's no breathing problem and there's no fever, none of those things, I mean that might be different. And then I would leave it up to his conscience.

But we do need to remember realistically as well that about 20 times as many people have died in these very weeks when we're going through this from the winter flu from another virus than have died from the coronavirus. We don't want to minimize the coronavirus. It's got a lot of potential to spread rapidly. But all of life involves taking some risks at times. And we can't protect ourselves from everything.

But the chances that, humanly speaking, that I get struck by a car and get killed on the way over to visiting a parishioner may be greater than if I keep my distance away from the parishioner and neither of us have anything at this point. So sometimes I'm afraid some of our people get carried away with their fear about this. We have one person that's died so far in Kent County, there may be more coming, but there's been dozens that have died in the same period over the flu virus. So We've got to be realistic here, use caution but not panic. Preeyad, what do you say about that?

I agree with everything that Joel has said and I think that as long as there are no symptoms, I would encourage people to go to their place of work, if at all possible. The government here has limited the work of people outside of their home. And so, they are saying that it is only critical work must be engaged outside of homes. So, many places are shut and they have actually ordered the shutting of certain businesses. So, some people cannot go to their place of work anyhow.

But, yeah, it all depends. It all depends on what illness it is. If it is someone who has merely cold symptoms, I have no issues of encouraging them and say, well, it is. But at the same time, I have tried to leave it to people's consciousness. It is something that we cannot enter into knowing exactly how a person feels and For us to become a local doctor for them I think it there is danger for us to enter into that we have to leave the matter as well with their conscience before God.

It is God who is their judge and especially as we have to keep our distance with them, we don't know what is going on in their own life personally. And I think it would be then unwise for us to enter too much into these things. We need to give people space. Amen. Scott?

Yeah, I agree with all of that. As with so many things, there's a balance, right? Some people may be buying into some of the hype and too concerned and too hyper about it. On the other hand, there might be some people who are very flippant about the disease, and in that case, not being loving to their neighbors and not being concerned about passing the disease potentially to the elderly or others. I think we've got to find that middle road and trust the Lord and feed our families and at the same time be concerned for the well-being of other people as well.

Yeah, thank you. There are questions that are being put up on the matter of quarantining and I've been reading the quarantine passages in the Old Testament both on hygiene and also you know the matter of quarantine and you know Leviticus 13 through 15 is a critical place to go. And I believe that the quarantine laws really are applications of Leviticus 1918, love your neighbor as yourself. And in fact, the shorter catechism question 69 addresses this. And So we need to think biblically about quarantining.

I think there are two particular principles that emerge from those texts. And the most basic principle is that when you have symptoms, you quarantine yourself, That you express love to others by quarantine. Now the priests might you know bring you into quarantine. They're actually obligated to to examine you so they're going to get close to you while you're quarantined but the Bible seems to present a scenario not where the healthy people quarantine themselves But when the sick people quarantine themselves, and I realize there are probably unusual situations, extremely dangerous situations, people who are very vulnerable, where there is latitude to deal with that. You might even deal with matters of conscience where people are very fearful.

And I think we should have patience with those people and kind of walk with them through it with compassion. But our government right now is asking for the quarantining of healthy people. And II don't believe we should defy the order that we're all quarantining ourselves. But I think we should just recognize that first of all, this is a short term situation and secondly, that we have an obligation to honor the king. If we were required to quarantine ourselves for a very long period of time, then we might have something to say about it and we might defy that but I think you know we'd have to really examine those situations.

But interestingly you know the the Jews during the bubonic plague quarantined themselves They followed the biblical hygiene laws of washing and things like that. And you know, you have, you know, all kinds of scenarios that are presented in the case law there in Leviticus 13 through 15. You know, the washing and bathing or cutting hair all kinds of cleansing mechanisms that are recommended and of course I think those are representative of the kinds of things that we might experience but I don't want us to create a culture where healthy people are quarantining themselves long term. I don't want people to be so paranoid that if they have the slightest sniffle that they're going to stay away from church. But if they are sick, they shouldn't come to church and infect everybody, right?

We probably had experiences with people who come to church and they are really sick and they should be home. And we'd rather them stay home. But there they are and, you know, sometimes they say don't shake my hand and sometimes they don't but Scott I'll give you I'll give you I'll give you a thought that see I know you like burnings in the soul and I'll tell You what's happened to me about a week ago? Someone sent me this note and it read this, if Planned Parenthood would be forced to shut down in this quarantine period for just two weeks due to COVID-19, the virus will have saved more lives than it has taken all around the world. Just the Planned Parenthood in America.

I was thinking I did some study on it, we have killed 62 million babies since 1973. We can't complain that God sends His judgment. This is also judgement upon us. 62 million babies. That's 10 more million and we will have killed twice the population Just imagine that.

And then in the world, there are 45 million babies killed every year. And I did the math on that. That's nine per minute. Every six to seven seconds, this world is killing a baby. And so my question is this, why are we surprised when our holy judge shows us the hand of judgment through a worldwide virus?

We just need to cry out, oh Lord, if thou shouldst mark in Nicoles, who shall stand? But then the amazing thing is the answer. There is an answer. But there is forgiveness with thee that thou mayest be feared. It's amazing that God still has forgiveness available in this world, which is We're just hell-worthy when we destroyed 62 million image bearers and Every year the whole world is killing 45 million It reminds me of the words of Amos where it says that the lion has roared, who will not fear, the Lord has spoken.

Through this God is speaking, Shall a trumpet be blown in the city and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in the city and the Lord has not done it? It's God roaring and shaking the nations and we must humble ourselves in dust and ashes and repent of ourselves and of our nations too. Absolutely. Yes, this is a form of judgment.

It is a passing judgment. It is a judgment that can be dealt with through repentance and there may be a vaccine found. It is not that eternal judgment that there is no escape from it. And I should thank God for that. This is just the shaking of the nations.

And through repentance, and if the nations humble themselves, the Lord will show compassion. Isn't it remarkable that all the nations of the world are doing this that I don't ever recall anything like that happening in my lifetime where all the nations rise up and do the same thing in their nations. You know, it's it's astounding to me Who knows what the Lord is doing with that? Yeah, Wall Street Journal had an article yesterday just detailing how this is coming in like a flood now in Africa. They're behind us.

They don't have as much international travel, but they're very ill-equipped and it could take millions and millions of lives in Africa. But yeah, you're right. It's a universal thing, and that's just awesome. Scott, do you have any thoughts about what we were talking about? Well, it struck me too.

We're talking about the message that this can communicate to the world, but I think for we, the people of God and the church too, there are some wonderful lessons that we can step back and learn from this. It struck me as I've watched some of the discussions and debates online and things about whether we should live stream or not in the Lord's Supper and this and that, one thing that struck me is that this is actually a gift from the Lord. It's causing churches to have to step back, consider our ecclesiology, consider our theology of worship, make sure we're rooted in Scripture, perhaps for many churches, simplify, get rid of all the trappings and all of the performance and just get back to the clear instructions of the word of the Lord. So I think that this is a this is a refining time for the church in rethinking who we are and what we are supposed to be as the body of Christ. Amen.

And you bring up a question that's being brought up in this thread here in the chat. What are your thoughts about people live streaming services, taking the Lord's Supper with their families in their homes? Well, I'll just say it's an easy one for me since we're not live streaming at all. I mean, to me, it's the same thing only even a step further. The table communicates the communion of the body of Christ because of the shed blood and broken body of Christ.

And so to attempt to gather around a table virtually to me doesn't compute. And again, it's that thing where I can't wait for the first time that we're together around the table again. The last time we met two weeks ago, we celebrated the table. We actually, as elders, wrestled through it just a bit because it was just after some of the announcements of some of the concerns. And so we had a conversation, okay, do we need to be concerned about spreading germs at the table and things like that?

And we decided no, this may be the last time we get to be around the table together as a congregation for a while. And so we took precautions. We typically have one loaf and we all take bread off of it. And we pre-broke the bread ahead of time and I wore gloves while I did it. And we took some extra precautions, but we really wanted to gather as a church around that table one last time.

And then we look forward again to that time when we'll get to do it when we're together, hopefully soon, Lord willing. Amen. I'll add to our conviction is that the Lord's Supper is an ordinance of the church, the gathered church, not the family. So we have asked our people to prohibit that in their homes. Yes, and it is administered by ordained elders.

That is my conviction, that it should be not for simply anyone to administer it and it ought to be cared for and guarded the table must be guarded by those who have been ordained to administer both the preach the Word of God, administer the baptism and the Lord's Supper. That is my conviction and I think what Scott said about it helps us to sort out our ecclesiology. And I think this is a good time for that. Somebody made a comment that on this discussion we were having about the global nature of this, that you have global movements where you have seemingly everyone in the world, all the nations of the world have embraced the gay agenda. They have embraced the abolition of children through abortion.

They have embraced feminism and the promotion of women in things that really don't fit the biblical patterns when it comes to family life and now you have this matter of this global pandemic. It's just very interesting that this person made this connection with there are several of these things that are raging in the world and the nations of the world are speaking with one voice on these matters. It's a very interesting interesting moment. Well I I would like to have us wind up here with speaking about the matter of repentance and I'd like to introduce the subject and let you guys talk about this but as I've read reread the accounts of plagues in the Bible. They are always judgments for reasonable sins of God's people and God is the one who initiates the plague and God, not man, is the one who ends the plague.

Plagues don't end by the force of man. They end by the move of God. And So I want us to talk about plagues. Now, they also seem to end with repentance. So I think most of us view that this plague that is upon us, if it is indeed a plague, has been brought upon us to drive us to repentance.

Let's talk about that. Do you embrace that idea? Any further thoughts about it? What kinds of things do you think God is trying to say to us as a church? You know, Joel quoted from Psalm 130 a few moments ago, and I've been driven back to that Psalm recently as well.

The people in our world are in depths of woe, are feeling sort of the weight and the quicksand of fear and yet that whole Psalm is a psalm of great repentance and coming back to confessing our sins, acknowledging that if the Lord marks our iniquities we would not be able to stand, but with him there is mercy, there is forgiveness, and he will redeem us from all our iniquities. So I think that's exactly right. Regardless of the challenges or pestilence or persecution or plagues that we face, it's always intended by God to self-evaluate where have we sinned against him, where do we need to repent, and I think that's always going to be the right response of God's people for sure. Luther put down as number one on his 95 theses that God would have his people live repentance lifelong. The world looks at repentance as something that's burdensome, something that's really heavy and awful.

And sometimes even some Christians tend to look at it a bit that way. But the reformers and the Puritans and the biblical writers saw repentance as a sweet thing. Because you just become before God what you are, and he becomes what he is in you when you repent. So repentance is very close, I think, to wholehearted submission, to afflictions. You repent and you bow.

And I believe the Bible teaches us four steps to submission, which we need to take when we really repent before God. The first is to say it is the Lord, so you acknowledge the Lord. The second to say it is right, it is just, I don't deserve anything better. In fact, God's always treating me better than I'm treating him. In the worst times he's treating me better than I treat him in my best times.

And then thirdly, approving the Lord is a deeper step of submission, where you don't only say it is right, but it is well. And you bow under his judgments and embrace the pain. And then fourthly, the deepest step of repentance is clinging to the Lord in true submission, where you say, well, Joel, though he slay me, yet will I trust him. You cling to him as your greatest friend when he seems to come out against you as your greatest enemy. And if God can move his people, first of all, through some of these steps of repentance through this worldwide virus, the church will revive.

And revival begins always with the people of God, and then it will spread out to others as well. So that's that's got to be our hope and our prayer that we will hear the voice of God, repent in dust and ashes, and believe in Christ alone so that faith and repentance, which are two sides of one coin, will become our genuine experience again, And then we will be brought back from all our miserable worldliness and our miserable backsliding ways. And we'll seek the face of God again. And the Earth will be greatly blessed. Amen.

What about you, Pouyaan? Well, I think through this worldwide pandemic, it has shown me at least, and I believe it is showing others, of the state of our own hearts, which needs to be repented of, of not being able to have the right answers at the time when we are facing so many changes all at once, not being ready for things. It has caused me to look and see the state of the church, its worship, the judgment must begin at the house of God, Peter says, and if this causes people to look at how have we treated our God who has been so gracious towards us and cause us to have a spiritual test and see how much we have failed this test towards a God who has shed his son's blood for us. I think it will do us much good. I think I am very hopeful.

I believe as I deal with people who are suffering greatly under persecution, and I see instead of them diminishing, they are growing and I think this will do us much good. I read in James Smith's Daily Remembrance where he said, the tried Christian is likely to be a stable Christian. And I believe that through this, if the repentance is an act of God in the heart, It is God who brings us to such convictions that we repent. It is not something that we can stir up within ourselves. And if God was pleased to open our eyes to our own sinfulness and wretchedness and the way we have treated the Lord, then I think the church will become revived, Christians will be more stable, and so we would be more watchful over ourselves.

Already the very fact that I have seen amongst our own people, greater level of care that I have not seen before, that in itself shows me how this has brought good. And I'm sure people, I have done it, that I've had to repent of my own sin of lack of care when I've seen greater love amongst our people it has made me realize my lack of love and I've had to repent of that when I've seen compassion, empathy, watchfulness that the people are watchful over each other, in a way they've never been before in the same degree, I think well we need to repent of our past sins of carelessness over each other, unity, the fact that we are united, people who might have in the past because of maybe their disposition or characteristic might have rubbed each other in the wrong way now, they seem to be so united, longing to want to be together. The practical support, people you would have not thought that they would actually offer practical help for each other. I think these things, if the Lord open our eyes to see that we must repent of our past sins, and these are wonderful fruits that are coming.

I trust this is what God is doing already in people's hearts, showing them their need. I trust that he's causing us to be repenting already and that's why the fruits are showing and so there is I believe better days yet ahead of us Scott any all final thoughts you know I I think this is we talked about the lessons for the world and lessons for the church. And one thing that I think that I know is a burden and a focus of each one of our ministries and that I've been sort of trying to encourage families in is that here is an opportunity where you're stuck in the home with your family and you can deal with the issues that are there you can encourage one another you can grow in your love for one another If you haven't established habits of worship together as a family Well now is a wonderful time to do so and so this this really can be a wonderful blessing for for our world for the church for our families, if we see it as that, if we see this as a message from the Lord, as a gift from the Lord, we can take that from Him.

Amen, amen. Well these are, what a rich time, thank you brothers so much. If you're able to go out to the supermarkets, people are wide open to talk. They want to talk like never before. So if you're able to do that, it would be really wonderful and remember, you know, why is God doing this?

He's doing it so that times of refreshing would come in. I pray that's what God gives us as a result of this. So thank you, brothers. It's a blessing. I'm so grateful for the work that you're doing in your communities and really all over the world, all of you.

And I pray that God really prospers your work and that His church emerges from this stronger, larger, more holy, and more refreshed. Amen. We'll see you. Thanks for coming. Bye.

Thank you.