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John MacArthur | "I Will Not Yield To The Whims Of The State"

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Published on 13 Sep 2020 / In News and Politics

John MacArthur | "I Will Not Yield To The Whims Of The State"

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Link to article: https://www.dailywire.com/news..../macarthur-we-cannot

Fear is a powerful motivation, and it has often been exploited for evil purposes. Fear of the wrong things always has catastrophic results. Jesus made that very point when He said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Our Lord was echoing the very starting point of biblical law: “You shall fear only the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 6:13).

Churches must keep the priorities in order. We cannot sacrifice robust spiritual health, the preaching of the gospel, and the gathering of the church for worship under the power of divine truth in order to guard people from something that is only slightly more threatening than the seasonal flu. We don’t “save lives” in any way that counts for eternity by putting a muzzle on our public proclamation of the Word of life.

The risk of dying from COVID-19 is quite low on the eternal scale compared to the never-ending anguish of “the wages of sin” — what Scripture refers to as “the second death” (Revelation 20:14). In other words, sin is by far the most deadly corruption that has ever infected the human race. It is a fatal defilement that threatens everyone with eternal disaster. The only cure is the gospel — the good news of Christ’s death as an atonement for sin and His resurrection from the dead. Here we have the irrevocable guarantee of God’s full forgiveness, promised to everyone who is united with Christ by faith. That is the message the church has been given to proclaim.

Could anything be more callous than to cause people to fear a virus and then shut them off from the only source where they can have that ultimate fear finally and completely removed?

We, the church, cannot relinquish our duties before God in order to appease the arbitrary, mercurial, and onerous restrictions of a governor who imposes rules on others that he does not even follow himself. Our fear of forsaking the assembly of believers greatly surpasses the fear of being infected by COVID-19 (much less the fear of whatever consequences we might face from government officials). We will put nothing in the way of those who come to church for fellowship, instruction, worship, and the sanctifying benefits of hearing God’s Word proclaimed.

No state official has legitimate authority over the church to inhibit the free exercise of our right to worship. The American Bill of Rights begins with a formal recognition of the rights of free exercise of religion and assembly. Importantly, our state and federal constitutions recognize these rights are not given by government to us, but from God Himself. Our government’s primary function is to preserve and protect our rights, and our Founders considered church to be so essential that our right to worship is protected first. This is why America is so unique and exceptional. We begin by recognizing that church is essential. No state official has any authority to invade the kingdom where Christ is head and Lord.

The church of course is in the world, but we are not of the world. We belong to a higher kingdom. Like our Lord, we love the world of sinners — and that is precisely why we are compelled to proclaim and to personify the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.

To pastors around the world, I remind you that you have not been given a pause from the divine mandate to let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16) nor to preach the Word in season and out of season (2 Tim 4:2). Let the church be the church. Let the light shine; gather your sheep; feed the flock of God; welcome the fellowship of the saints; celebrate the Lord’s supper; give your people biblical instruction — and most of all, persist in preaching the gospel.

The question of whether we should keep our churches open is without controversy. There is no other option if we are going to be faithful to our Lord. How we do that might vary based on geographical and legal circumstances, but dear pastor, it is you — not some elected or appointed civic official — who must be the one to shepherd your church under Christ’s authority as Lord. We cannot yield to Caesar that which belongs to God. May the Lord give us all wisdom, courage, and love to honor Him as so many of our spiritual ancestors have done in much harder times than these.

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Mitzi
Mitzi 6 days ago

Democrats hate Christians. They are determined to make fellowshipping with other Christians something of the past. I live in Michigan and was driving down Michigan Avenue in Dearborn last night and was shocked when I saw a topless bar (they call it a gentleman's club) opened and the parking lot was packed tight! Then I get down about another mile and there is another one! They will call good evil and evil good. Common Sense tells us that in those places, people will not wear masks and they are all touching those women, etc. But one of the very best pastors of all time is fighting the government to share the wonderful news of Jesus Christ! I don't believe God is going to tolerate very much more.

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