Radio, TV and now the internet, are tools we are able to use for God’s glory and, for the service of God’s people. Nevertheless, let me make this point very clear, especially in light of the Coronavirus crisis, the Online Church was never, is not and will never be the way church is called to function. There is a tendency to believe that the Online Church is the Church of the future; it adds a degree of sophistication to it… well is simply not.
Acts 2:42 gives us the modus operandi of the church, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (NASB) There is no exception! The Word Continually is the Greek Word proskarteréō, meaning, “to endure. To tarry, remain somewhere (Mark 3:9); to continue steadfastly with someone (Acts 8:13); to cleave faithfully to someone (Acts 10:7); referring to those who continually insist on something or stay close to someone (Acts 2:46; Rom. 13:6); used metaphorically of steadfastness and faithfulness in the outgoings of the Christian life, especially in prayer.”
It gets my attention that at the beginning of this definition we see the word “Endure” (To bear, to tolerate, to suffer, etc.) We are not enduring hanging out with folks we love, the enduring and the suffering is clearly referred to the price we will pay for continuing our devotion to meeting together, to study God’s Word, to fellowship, in one place together, to eat together and to pray together. These activities are at the center of our Christian Faith.
For years we have had pastors doing church online, rescuing those that have been hurt by the church in general, asking for tithes and offerings. This is an issue one of my first pastors, José Bosque addressed many years ago at The Father’s House International. Now you see folks too comfortable with this online church stuff. You don’t have to be a doctor in theology to know that in the last days we will suffer a great deal of persecution; as a matter fact the Bible speaks about a Great Persecution; greater than anything we have ever seen in the history of the Church. In Matthew 24:15-22 Jesus tells us,
“Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),16 then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17 Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house.18 Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 22 Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. (NASB)
I hear many Christians these days quoting the Apostle Paul and our mandate to obey the law. This is Biblical according to Romans 13; nevertheless, we must remember that there is a place where the law of man and the law of God will be antagonistic to each other and us, as believers are called to obey God above men.
In Acts 5:17-28 we see that they put Peter and the apostles in prison for preaching the gospel. At night an angel appeared to them, helped them escape and gave them specific instructions to preach the gospel again, as soon as they got out of prison. They were arrested again and in Acts 5:27-28 we see the following dialogue, “When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” (NASB)
Maybe, at this time, is not the intention of the federal or local government to come against the church. Perhaps folks are sincerely afraid; but please!!!! don’t be naïve in believing that Satan, who is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), do not want to shut down the church. Satan is a deceiver; he actually will be convincing folks that we are a bunch of crazy, uncaring, barbarian folks who must be jailed or even killed for the good of society. Folks justify evil to a point where they don’t see it as evil anymore. Even Hitler was convinced that he was doing something great for his own country. Again, beloved, don’t be naïve; we have an enemy… not a friend, but an enemy who wants to steal everything from us and who wants to destroy our lives and ultimately kill us (John 10:10).
In Christianity Today Jen Thorn gives us 9 Ways Satan Seeks your Destruction Every Day,
- He plants doubts and lies (Gen. 3)
- He fights against your faith (Eph 6:12)
- He will tempt you with sexual immorality (1 Cor. 7:5)
- He will try to cause disunity amongst Christians (Mt 13:38-39; 2 Cor 11:13-15).
- He will slander you before God (Rev 12:10)
- He will try to take you down through pride (1 Pet 5:6-8)
- He will persecute you for your faith (Rev 2:10)
- He will try to cripple your faith through fear (2 Cor 4:8-9)
- He will try to sidetrack you with worldly things. (1John 2:15-16)
Man and Woman of God is ok to be suspect of EVERYTHING SECULAR because we know, ultimately, who is behind it all. As we continue to pray for our government and spiritual leaders, I encourage you to study God’s Word like never before, keep your guard up and don’t get too comfortable with the online way of doing church… it is not of God!
 Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).