Latest Update on COVID-19: July 23rd
Coronavirus and Repentance: A Note on the First Few Resources Recommended this Week
We know that sickness is a part of the curse on all creation because of human sin (Genesis 3:1-19, cf. Romans 8:18-25). It is one way that our attention can be turned to the most significant problem humanity faces, the “greater sickness” as the Behold Our God podcast team has put it. The greatest problem that all mankind faces is not the coronavirus, but our sin. John Piper puts it this way in his new book (listed below): “God is giving the world in the coronavirus outbreak, as in all other calamities, a physical picture of the moral horror and spiritual ugliness of God-belittling sin.” During the Great Plague of London, William Bridge wrote the following: “But what shall we do that we may trust in the Lord in this day of the plague? First of all, you must repent of your own sins, and be sorrowful for the sins of others, and of the times wherein you live. When the plague came in David’s time, you know what David did, he repented: ‘Lord,’ says he, ‘I have done foolishly … It is I, Lord, it is I.’ So let everyone do; this God expects in the time of a plague.” I invite you to make use of the first few resources listed below in order to consider with me how we might repent individually and corporately.
This new book (and audiobook) is available to download for free. It is relatively brief, with 100 small pages. The book has two burdens, first to point us to the God who rules over this coronavirus and second, to call us to personal and corporate repentance, that is, bringing our lives into alignment with the infinite worth of Jesus Christ. Amazingly, in 14 days, Piper wrote the book and Crossway published it.
Going along with the call to repentance in Piper’s new book, the first podcast in this subseries from Behold Your God focusses on what William Bridge, a puritan, wrote during the Great Plague of London (hint: it has to do with repentance). The podcast also seeks to answer questions such as, “How does the Christian respond to widespread sickness, personal sickness? What is the significance of sin and the curse of sin in relation to this virsu? How can we benefit from believers at this time?”
Paul Tripp points out five ways that this pandemic directs our attention to the gospel. “Here are five ways I’ve been encouraged to reflect upon how this pandemic points us to the gospel.”
A helpful article from Paul Worcester on a discipline that requires some creativity from Christians at the present time.
Another article on evangelism during this pandemic, this one is from Jim Stitzinger. It includes further practical ideas including praying and giving proactively. “Who should we call to repent and believe in Christ? No doubt we can all identify at least one unsaved person whom we can engage with the gospel. The question now is, what step will we take today?”
This article’s challenge and help might be a useful means of sharing the gospel this week.
This would be an excellent sermon to read with your family. It is full of excellent biblical reflections on an epidemic. “The following sermon was delivered by Francis J. Grimke on Sunday, November 3, 1918 at the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D. C. after the outbreak of the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic.”
This book, which we have made use of in our church, included a mental experiment about a pandemic that sounds eerily close to what we’re currently experiencing. This is a valuable time to consider their conclusions and the value of a “one-another” culture in our church.
Jonathan Gilmore, the head of Acts 29 in Italy, wrote a couple of weeks ago about the state of things in Italy both in and outside of the church. This may be helpful as you seek to pray for the church in Trieste and other churches in Italy and around the world throughout this pandemic.
I highly recommend this 14-day brief podcast. What a glorious topic! “The Gentle and Lowly podcast is a 14-day audio devotional exploring the heart of Christ for sinners and sufferers. Join Dane Ortlund—author of Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers—each day for a brief Scripture reading as well as a devotional meditation on a different aspect of the heart of Christ, as he helps you discover afresh not just what Jesus has done for you but how he feels about you as his beloved.” See the new related book here.
For those interested in preaching, this will be a rich and enjoyable journal, including an article on the state of preaching in some of the largest churches in America.
Keith and Kristyn Getty have been sharing family hymn sings on Tuesdays. You can like their Facebook page to be notified when they are going to be streaming further hymn sings live. Conveniently, they provide free hymn books for each hymn sing!