The sins of this nation loomed large in our telephone lockdown service today, Pentecost 2020, and several speakers ticked those sins off, one by one – abortion, homosexuality, same sex marriage, pornography, on and on - and stated that this is our last chance to repent* and turn to God, accepting Jesus Christ as our Saviour.
The great significance of today, Pentecost 2020, was not lost on the leader of our service (Tongham Christian Fellowship in England). Chris Stanbury, a retired lawyer, referred to Leviticus 23, the great chapter of the Bible setting out the seven feasts of Israel which God told Moses to give to Israel.
The first three are the Passover feasts spanning Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. The third of these is the harvest festival of First Fruits, when the high priest would wave a sheaf of barley towards the Mount of Olives. This was a prophetic feast celebrated for hundreds of years and it was being celebrated , with the sheaf being waved, on the very day that the Lord Jesus was rising from the dead, the firstborn from the dead!
Pentecost (Shavuot in Hebrew) is the fourth feast, also called the Feast of Weeks because it is seven weeks plus one day – 50 days -after First Fruits. And as Jews from all over the known world were gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate it, the Holy Spirit came upon the believers in the upper room, and the church was born.
And 2,000 years later, as we remembered that day, we could not be together in any room, as we were in pandemic lockdown.
Chris prayed: ‘Heavenly Father, we thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit’ and he said that the Holy Spirit guides us in giving discernment and wisdom, in knowledge about creation, and about how we should behave. He said previous speakers Kevin and Alan had warned of hard times ahead (Alan warned of war), and our prayers should reflect this.
Several people thanked the Lord for the beautiful weather, the sunniest since 1929 when records began to be kept.
There were prayers for the sick (not from the virus) in our fellowship for a healing touch from the Lord, and for people who were still working, and for understanding in the government of how to get us back on our feet as a nation.
Kevin Bradley, a godly man of prayer, said: ‘We know the end is coming; we can see the writing on the wall; this (virus) is our final warning.’
He said God was holding back now, giving us one last chance (to accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour). Thousands of people were now listening to preachers on the internet, he said, and prayed that God would bless their teaching.
Graham Walker, one of the fellowship’s three elders, prayed for godly wisdom for Boris Johnson and the government, and asked for God’s will to be done as regards the Abortion Bill.
Kevin prayed: ‘Give us all repentant hearts to repent for the sins of the nations, all the evil of our society. We are proud, arrogant, immoral, debased. We bring the sins of the nation before You – abortion, homosexuality – they are countless.
‘The house of God preaches a false gospel of love and no judgement; we’ve allowed this to happen, and we repent before You.’
We also prayed for Israel and peace in Jerusalem and that the country would be able to recover.
Then Graham Walker gave the message. ‘We’re all fed up with the virus,’ he said. ‘Is it a judgement, a warning, or God’s mercy as some say? Tony Pearce (the great and humble man of God who leads Bridge Lane Chapel in London) thinks that we are at the beginning of the “ beginning of sorrows” (the period before the Great Tribulation which Jesus told us of in Matthew chapter 24).
He said there was some good in what is happening, as now people had time to consider the things of God with fewer demands on our time. He was studying the minor prophets in the Old Testament, and they were all warning of judgement for the sins of their nation for turning away from the one true God.
‘Are we any better? I don’t think so,’ he said. ‘Look at our world – drug addiction is rife; pornography; homosexuality, the LGB agenda promoted as normal, abortion used as birth control.
‘Most people think it doesn’t matter what they do, that they won’t be held responsible, but the Bible makes it clear that we will be held accountable for our actions.’
He said the church should be correcting society, but there was no voice of correction heard. Amos (one of the minor prophets) said there would be a famine of the Word of God. ‘Has that time arrived?’ Graham asked.
‘We have the scriptures, but human nature has always been in rebellion against God, even to the point of not recognizing that there is a God!
‘Men who masquerade as church leaders discredit the scriptures!’
He said in the Old Testament God sent pestilence and plagues as a judgement. In 2 Samuel 24:15 some 70,000 men died of plague. ‘God did it then. He may have done it this year to the world.’
This was our final opportunity and we had to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.
‘If we as His family repent, He may yet stem this tide of virus.’
He thanked the Lord for His Word, the Bible, in which we are given all we need for life and godliness, and through which we know the future. He prayed that we would be better witnesses for the Lord and that the Lord would lift the pandemic from us and keep Christians free of the virus.
*To repent means to acknowledge your sins, turn away from them, and ask God's forgiveness and cleansing. Jesus died for sinners and His blood cleanes us from all sin (1 John 1:7). You can do that right this minute!