Social Distancing, Physical Distancing, and the Church

As much of the world now goes into lockdown meaning that voluntary social distancing becomes social distancing through government order, I wanted us to pause our study through Job and consider the difference between social distancing and physical distancing.

Rather than term what we are all doing social distancing,

would it not be better to refer to this as physical distancing?

Social distancing means that we are isolated socially, not in touch with anybody, alone, feeling abandoned, and definitely not part of a loving and living body of people (1 Corinthians 12.12).

Physical distancing is simply just that; you don’t get too close to people.

Small difference in choice of words, HUGE difference in understanding, acceptance, and practice.

For the sake of others, let us practice willingly and obediently physical distancing. The church is still the church despite physical distance. Jesus said that on the bedrock truth that He is the Son of God, that He is Divine, that He is the Messiah, that He is Almighty God,

I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.

Matthew 16.18b

During times of adversity and tribulation and trial, we will see if the church is really the church.

We will see if this body of people is self-supporting, self-sustaining, and self-supplicating (James 5.16).

We will see if this body of people is Kingdom focused, or kingdom focused (Matthew 6.24).

We will see if the church is filling its God-given mandate to make disciples (Matthew 28.19-20).

We will see if there is fruit and a root (James 2.14-26).

We will see if this called-out-of-the-world group of people really are fully regenerate born again believers part of the living body of Christ, or just a group of consumers who turn up to watch a religious TEDTalk once a week.

This is going sting for some, turn some away (John 6.60), but for those truly in the body this is going to be a defining period of time, a call to action, a call to take up arms, a call to show that yes, we are the church, we aren’t going anywhere, we are here for each other and for the world. 

Brother, sisters, let us practice physical distancing but not social distancing, and let us show the world that we are the church today, tomorrow, and every day.

What Do Words Do?

In between Job’s last question and this one, Bildad interjects and says, basically, that Job ought to listen to the rebuke of his friends. Job then replies and says,

How long will you torment me
and break me in pieces with words?

Job 19.2

Words are so powerful, aren’t they. Here we see Job’s friends using harsh and hard words towards him. Remember that old saying that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me‘? It’s not true, is it. Hard words hurt. Harsh words hurt. Even more so when tensions are high and emotions are frayed. Job is enduring the worst of all earthly circumstances and his friends have not chosen their words wisely, it seems. 

We read in Proverbs that 

Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

16.24

Words have the power to cut people down, but they also have the power to build people up. We read in the book of James that it is so important that we choose our words wisely (3.1-12). Words are so powerful, aren’t they.

Try as we might, we will never make the right choice with our words 100% of the time. But, there was One who did. Peter described this One as having words of eternal life (John 6.68-69). 

There is only one place to go for words that always heal, always encourage, always edify, always build up.

There is only one place to go for words that are always sweet to the soul and are always healthy to the body.

There is only one place to go for words of eternal life.

In this time of global uncertainty, I would encourage you to make the same decision Peter does here,

…Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

John 6.67-69

Faith – Hebrews 11.1

Yesterday at Saar Fellowship we had an all-age family service talking about faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, 

the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11.1

We talked about what faith is not, and then said that faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing.

Everyone put trust into action when they sat on the chairs provided; their physical senses told them that the chair was worth trusting, and our faith is what allows us to trust things of a Spiritual nature.

So far in Hebrews then, we have been encouraged to put our faith into the Word of God, and the work that Jesus did and does for us.

As Hebrews 11 progresses, we will see a great list of people who put their faith into action. The point for the Hebrews, and for us, is that because these regular people were able to put their faith into action, so can you.

Faith is so important, without it we cannot ever please God (11.6), and it is so important that everything rests on it.

Dr. John Lennox said this,

Faith is not a leap into the dark, but a step into the light.

Where do we step then, by faith?

Into the light, into the light of the world.

Where do we put our faith, our hope, our trust?

In God and in His Word, which all points to One person…

We have faith in the faithfulness of Jesus.

We have faith in how good Jesus is.

We have faith in how much faith Jesus has, how faithful He is, how full of faith He is, don’t we?

My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

We love a hymn at Saar Fellowship, and we love a contemporary rendition. Hymns are (usually) so rich and full of strong, robust theology, and more often than not sing worship to God rather than sing about ourselves. Today, My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less.

Originally written by Edward Mote in 1834, it has been covered by a few people, maybe most well known of which are Hillsong Worship and the Norton Hall Band. 

The main chorus, or refrain, was (so I read) written to convey the truth of 1 Corinthians 10.4,

For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

Scripture abounds when talking about Christ as our rock, the Cornerstone on which we stand, 1 Peter 2.4-6, Psalm 118.21-23, Isaiah 28.16, Matthew 21.41-43, Matthew 7.24-27 to name but a few.

Our world is always changing, our individual worlds are always changing, but in Christ we have a solid, sure, steadfast Cornerstone on which to stand, on which to build, and on which to lean. Our hope for the future is truly built on nothing else than the shed blood of Jesus for us, and we dare not stand, build, or lean on anything else.

Today, no matter what is going on, let us keep this front and centre in our minds,

On Christ the solid rock I stand,

all other ground is sinking sand.

Jude 1.17-19 – Expect This

Building from his description of the ungodly in (vv.14-16), today Jude encourages the faithful.

17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.

So rather than focusing on self and displaying the character of those in vv.14-16 Jude is encouraging his readers, and us, to remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. The men who fellowshipped and followed our Lord Jesus Christ were taught by our Lord Jesus Christ, which means that we take theirs words seriously. The predictions are very similar to what we read in  2 Timothy 4.3-4,

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

Jude goes on to say that these people cause divisions, that they are worldly, and that they are devoid of the Spirit.

Now we are contending for the faith, fighting for what we love, wrestling for what we deem important, Jude wants us to know that this kind of stuff is coming. He wants you to know that there will be people in your life that laugh at the teachings of and about Jesus and who just want to live their own life in their own way. Jude wants you to know that this is coming so that you can be better prepared when it does. His warning fits so well with the encouragement of 1 Peter 3.15, wherein we are told to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us.

So, people will coming into your life that don’t believe what you believe about Jesus, they may laugh, they may ask questions, they may step away from you and think you’re crazy, it’s all ok. Jude tells us that this is coming, and as Peter wrote, we should be ready with an answer when it does.


Point to ponder – Am I ready?


Prayer – Father, we thank you again for your Word to us. We thank you that it prepares us for every situation we can possibly imagine, and that it guides us on how to act in them too. Help us to be firm in our faith, and ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us, to your glory. Amen.

Obadiah 15-18 – Hope for the future

For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.

As you have done, it shall be done to you;

    your deeds shall return on your own head.

For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,

    so all the nations shall drink continually;

they shall drink and swallow,

    and shall be as though they had never been.

But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,

    and it shall be holy,

and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.

The house of Jacob shall be a fire,

    and the house of Joseph a flame,

    and the house of Esau stubble;

they shall burn them and consume them,

    and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,

for the Lord has spoken.

So things are looking bad, God’s people have been robbed, chased out of town, hunted down, handed over to their enemies, some even killed. Generally, throughout history, God’s people have suffered. Here in Obadiah, God has pronounced judgement on those who have done wrong, as only the Holy, pure, just, judge can do (Revelation 16.5-7).

But, judgement is not the end…there is always hope for the future. Look at verses 17 and 18 here;

But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,

    and it shall be holy,

and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.

The house of Jacob shall be a fire,

    and the house of Joseph a flame,

    and the house of Esau stubble;

they shall burn them and consume them,

    and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,

for the Lord has spoken.

There will be deliverance for God’s people. 

We know so because the Word of God says so.

It also says 

…the house of Esau stubble;

they shall burn them and consume them,

    and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,

for the Lord has spoken.

and, to the best of my reading around, Edom fought with Israel against Rome between 66-70A.D., were crushed, and were wiped out as a people…the Word of God never fails to come true.

So, yes, there will be deliverance for God’s people, and it came through His Son, the exact imprint of His nature walking in a human body, Jesus Christ. For us as New Convenant believers, living now, to receive this deliverance from slavery to sin, from bondage to fleshly lusts, we need only call on His name to be saved. The Bible says this, a fitting Scripture for us to think on today;

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

Romans 10.5-13