Church Is Essential
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Intro: On March 23rd, the Governor of the state of Maryland publicly declared churches and places of worship “non-essential.” That was 7 weeks ago. We have waited for apology, but I don’t think it will ever happen. As the state slowly opens back up, you can go to the tennis courts, but you still cannot go to church. You can go to the golf course, but you cannot go to church. You can take your child to a public playground, but you cannot take them to church. You can go fishing, and boating, and hiking, and bike riding, but you still cannot take them to church.
You can take your daughter to an abortion clinic, but you cannot take her to church.
You can take your son to the liquor store, but you cannot take him to church.
You can take your wife to the marijuana dispensary, but you cannot take her to church.
See – all of those activities are “essential”, but the church is non-essential.
ESSENTIAL: absolutely necessary; indispensable
I have spent the last three weeks doing everything within my power to get our churches classified as essential.
On April 18th, I wrote a letter to the Governor demanding that our churches be classified as essential and that we be re-opened immediately.
I organized a group of local pastors and elected officials to come and sign that letter.
In that letter was a list of proposed protocols to maintain social distancing and sanitization.
Multiple times, I have participated in Zoom calls with Christian attorneys and scores of pastors.
I have worked behind the scenes to build a coalition of pastors in this state to move toward re-opening our churches.
On Wednesday, April 29th I received a phone call from the Governor’s office asking me to participate in a Workgroup compiled of select Faith Leaders in Maryland. I agreed to do so.
On Friday, May 1, I participated in a conference call with 40 faith leaders and state officials.
During that phone call, I personally addressed the Lieutenant Governor and stressed in no uncertain terms that the classification of churches be changed to essential immediately, and that we needed to make reopening our churches an immediate priority. I was assured by Mr. Rutherford that he would do his best.
On Monday, May 4th, we had our first workgroup. Again, I stressed the importance of churches being changed from non-essential to essential. I told the group again that it was an insult to God and to every church-goer in this state. Several others on the call chimed in and agreed. To my dismay, it wasn’t a big issue with most of the “faith-leaders”. Some even cautioned against re-opening too soon.
On Tuesday, May 5th, I received an email of the recommendations to the Governor. I was thrilled to see that my recommendation for changing the church’s status to “essential” was included.
On Wednesday, May 6th, we had another Workgroup conference call. This call was to address “Phase 2” of the re-opening. I listened in shock as faith leaders across this state made proposals that were both completely unreasonable and extremely limiting in scope. I objected so some of them but was greatly outnumbered.
On Thursday evening, May 7th, I received the email of all the recommendations to the Governor that had been discussed. I was unprepared for the invasion of our rights and the audacity of the proposals.
On Friday morning, I printed them out and read them carefully – highlighting a few points and made some notes.
On the final phone call on Friday, I voiced my concerns and resigned from the Workgroup. I also told them I did not want my name or the name of my church attached to this list of proposals as they were both unreasonable and “without question – unconstitutional.”
I stayed on the call for another 15 minutes or so to see if my comments had any positive effect, and when it seemed they didn’t, I hung up.
I then proceeded to write a letter of resignation in which I detailed just a few of my objections.
READ LETTER OF RESIGNATION TO THE CHURCH
The proposals were to be submitted to the Governor yesterday, so we will see what he does with them.
I want to declare this morning – without apology, without hesitation and with as much conviction as I possibly can – THE CHURCH IS ESSENTIAL!
I. Because of Our Founder – Jesus said, “I will build my church…”
The church was founded by none other than the only begotten Son of God.
To say the church is non-essential is to say that Jesus Christ is non-essential.
To say the church is non-essential is to say that the life’s work of Jesus Christ was non-essential.
To say the church – the church that Jesus bled and died for – purchased with his own blood – is non-essential is to say the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is non-essential.
The Savior we follow was slain before the worlds were spoken into existence.
II. Because of Our Faith
The faith; the gospel; the plan of salvation we adhere to is most definitely ESSENTIAL!
The faith – the message – the belief system of the New Testament Church is necessary for salvation.
The faith we follow is the ONLY faith that will get a person to Heaven.
- 7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
- 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
- 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
- 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
- John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
To say the church is non-essential is to say our message; our gospel; our faith is non-essential.
- 2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
III. Because of Our Focus
The daily focus of the church is to see the world saved.
To call the church non-essential is to call the mission of the church non-essential.
The church of the living God was left here to propagate the Gospel.
The church was commanded to look for every unsaved person in the world, and win them to Christ.
The number one reason Jesus came was “to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Who else is going to build up God’s people if the church doesn’t?
Lord knows we aren’t going to find any encouragement, any edification outside of the church!
ILLUSTRATION: Franklin Graham’s non-profit group “The Samaritan’s Purse” was asked to come up to New York to help with the treatment of Covid cases. Then they got harassed and vilified for their position on traditional marriage.
Who is going to teach our children the fear of the Lord if the church doesn’t do it?
- 1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
I’m tired of hearing these elected officials brag about the smartest people they have around them.
These scientists and doctors that are pushing this COVID-19 propaganda:
- This is the same crowd that believes in global warming.
- This is the same group of geniuses that believe in evolution.
- This is the same brainiacs that don’t believe an unborn baby is a life.
- This is the same bunch of experts that believe there are 57 genders.
…and they wonder why we don’t believe them when it comes to viruses, and tracing, and vaccines??
If we wait for that crowd to educate our children, we will be in a mess!
The church must hold the line and demanding that we have the right and the obligation to teach our kids!
IV. Because of Our Future
The world today has classified the church of the living God as “non-essential.”
What they don’t know is that long after this world is gone, the church will live on.
As Sammy Allen says, “The church is going out of here like Superman, and coming back like the Lone Ranger!”
Long after the rest of the world and its “essential” business are gone, the church will still be going strong!
I John 2
- 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
- 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
- 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
II Peter 3
- 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
- 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
- 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
- 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
- 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
- 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
- Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
It will be the church of the living God that will rule and reign with Christ for a 1,000 years.
Don’t tell me the church is NON-ESSENTIAL!!