An Appeal

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. -- John 13:35

Jesus said the premier indicator people were His genuine disciples was love; a bond of mutual affection and respect that unified them as a distinct community. Since that’s a distinguishing mark of Jesus’ followers, we can expect the adversary to oppose it. It seems of late he’s pulled out all the stops in dividing the Body of Christ. The Covid-19 plague has been the lever he’s used to sow discord.

Right now across our Country, thousands of churches are grappling with what to do. The choices boil down to either complying with government lock-down orders or not. Those who stand on compliance due so because of their conviction Romans 13’s call to submit to governing authorities is the principle to follow. Those who call for a return to regular services see what they are doing less as non-compliance to the civil government as compliance to the higher authority of God, as Peter informed the Jewish High Court in Acts 5, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

Here’s the thing; even those who call for compliance to government lock-down orders based on Romans 13, understand that compliance isn’t a blanket command. They acknowledge there comes a time when obeying God means disobeying man. THEY JUST DRAW THE LINE in a different place than those calling for non-compliance with the State in regard to when and how the church meets.

It’s that difference, on where to draw the line, that’s resulted in Satan’s opportunity to slip in and work division.

Different churches have different needs. Some congregations are older, others younger. Some facilities allow for larger meetings while others do not. So pastors and leaders decide what’s best for their flock and plan accordingly. Each pastor and church ought to be able to decide for itself what course to take without others sniping at them because they chose differently. Church members ought to do the same. The church that opens ought not be regarded as reckless or cavalier by those who don’t open. The church that decides to stay with online services ought not be regarded by those that open as fearful. Paul says it well in Romans 14:4; “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

The enemy would love nothing more than to use what is already a difficult and stressful time and turn it into a coup de grace by setting us at odds with one another.

I appeal to my brothers and sisters in Christ, and especially to church leaders, get God’s direction for your flock and do it. Then respect that what He’s calling you to do my not be what He’s calling others to. You want them to honor and respect your ability to hear and follow God. Do so for them.

We must not allow the enemy to divide us at this crucial time.
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