Reflection #14 – “The Gospel can’t be Quarantined”

During our COVID-19 shutdown, Pastor Zekveld plans to provide a personal reflection each weekday.

“The Gospel can’t be Quarantined”

People can be quarantined, but the Gospel can’t. It seems like the whole world is housebound right now, but the Gospel can’t be tied down to our homes. The Word of God is living, powerful and always free.

The apostle Paul was thrown into prison in Rome for his faith. Because he was preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he was chained to a wall and guarded by soldiers. He was definitely tied down!

As much as he hated the chains that bound him, he was not discouraged. Paul knew that God’s message of Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead for sinners was not tied down with him. Amazingly, God was using his chains to advance the Gospel!

The whole imperial guard got to hear the Gospel from him! He was given special opportunity to testify before kings and governors and preach Christ to them.  And, what’s more, other Christians were encouraged by Paul’s boldness as a prisoner and it motivated them to spread the word of God.

Paul wrote:

“Even though I am being chained like a criminal, God’s Word is not chained.”

2 Timothy 2:9

This is a good reminder for all of us during this ‘house arrest’ of so many people around the world. I don’t mean to suggest we’re being persecuted like Paul or unfairly treated in any way. We accept these public emergency measures sadly, yet gladly, in order to protect our neighbour from illness and prevent the spread of the epidemic.

But our being home-bound doesn’t mean God’s Word is homebound. And shutting church buildings doesn’t mean Christ is shut down.

  • Consider how the Lord’s word continues to go out via livestreamed services all over the world.
  • Consider how organizations like Ligonier Ministries have opened up their treasures of biblical and theological studies to the public for free.
  • Consider how households have more time to spend around the family table to open up the Word of God together.
  • Consider how people are using social media to study the Bible, talk and pray together for mutual encouragement and for evangelism in ways we did not consider 1 month ago.
  • Consider how many new opportunities for personal Christian witness God has opened up as a result of COVID-19.
  • And who knows how many hopeless people around the world are using their free time to tap into the Christian message on the world wide web in search of hope.

Christians may be quarantined, but the Gospel is not.  If you are reading this and are without God and without hope, I urge you to hear Christ calling you to come to Him for eternal peace and safety. He promises you that if you entrust your needy life to Him in faith, He will love you and take excellent care of you. He will forgive all your sins and give you eternal life. You will never perish.

So how can we use our current ‘house arrest’ to advance the Word of God in our lives and neighborhoods? Consider the following possibilities:

This can be a time for a richer devotional life and ministry to our families. There’s more time to read the Bible, talk about it, pray, and even do special studies together without having to rush off to a meeting or game. What a rich gift to have the Gospel unleashed in our own homes!

What about finding a powerful, self-abasing, God-glorifying testimony of Christian faith, or preparing your own, or finding a simple message of Christian hope and sharing that testimony or message on your Facebook page in the prayer that God will use it to reach many who need hope today.

If you live in a town or city, have you noticed how many people are out for walks in this beautiful Spring weather? Though people keep their distance on the sidewalk, they seem more ready to talk. Who knows what kind of conversation a simple “Hello” could lead to?  And you may get to know some neighbours you’ve never seen before.

Or we could simply contact a friend or acquaintance, a neighbour who doesn’t know the Lord, and ask them if they would like us to pray for them, and how.

“Bloom where you’re quarantined,” someone wrote. (Clarissa Moll, Christianity Today, April 1, 2020)

“The Gospel can’t be quarantined,” wrote Paul Worcester. (“10 Simple Ways to Evangelize During a Pandemic,” The Gospel Coalition, April 6, 2020)  

How true! Are you making use of every opportunity?

God’s Word which created the world cannot be shut down by an epidemic. It cannot be shut up in prison or locked down in chains or tied down to the housebound. It is the word of life, the seed of the kingdom, the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes!