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Sharing the Gospel at a Time of Social Distancing

 

These are extraordinary times of challenge for us as a church family. But they are also extraordinary times of opportunity. Amid the uncertainty of the world around us, there is a real searching for answers. As a church, we must prayerfully use this opportunity to reach out to those around us with the saving news of Jesus Christ.

 

Christianity Explored Resources

Our friends at Christianity Explored Ministries have made an online version of Christianity Explored available to us. This was created in partnership with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and online coaches are available to take your friends through the course.

Alternatively, you and your guests can sign up for Christianity Explored on BibleMesh for free. This is entirely digital and will give you access to the course films and questions.

 

Helpful Videos to Share With Friends

There are lots of short video testimonies and answers to tough questions on the christianityexplored.org website. Below are some videos that might be particularly helpful at this time:

 

Read Through John’s Gospel

Another way you can share the “good news” with friends and family during this time of lockdown is by reading ‘John Chapter One’ with them. It's a booklet in three episodes which acts as a great introduction and contains helpful notes throughout. By reading it together, you can help answer any questions they may have and explain how it fits with the overall Bible story.

You could read this through with a friend over video call by sharing your screen or over the phone. Chapter Two and beyond are available to download for free from our friends at The Word One to One.

[Jesus] then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.

Mark 8:31

Bible Thought: Going Back to Basics

Before the social distancing policies came into place last week, I was trying to finish my morning Bible reading on the Tube. Sadly in this secular society, contrary to the call of Jesus in Mark 8:38 to not be “ashamed of me or my words”, I always feel a little embarrassed to get the Bible out and be reading it in public. Well, not yesterday, not in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak. The new confidence I felt was pretty overwhelming. In fact, I do wonder if on the spot I could have offered to pray for all the elderly relatives of the passengers on the Tube and I think they would have agreed. And one or two, I’d imagine, would have dropped with me to their knees.

How this pandemic has taken us back to basics! There are so many ways of interpreting what’s going on but surely one is that our idols have been taken from us, so that we have to focus on our souls. So many good things that had become God things have been removed: the Six Nations rugby and the Premiership, meeting in cafes and restaurants for meals, the health and the gyms that we take for granted, economic prosperity.

All these gifts: sport, health, prosperity, family have been treated as givens. Well, no longer. And our prayer is that like the Prodigal Son in the midst of a famine our friends, loved ones, colleagues and relations will “come to their senses” (Luke 15:17), and will say to themselves, “How could I have been so blind and ungrateful?”

But here is the issue, and it brings us to that all-important verse, Mark 8:31. In the midst of this crisis we have to keep praying that we and others will keep making the move from seeing ourselves as victims to realising that we are primarily rebels. That is why Jesus had to come and die, because we have constantly treated his gifts as givens. So he says to his disciples, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law and that he must be killed.” The word ‘must’ literally means ‘it is necessary that’, so Jesus knows that it is ‘necessary’ that he goes to the Cross. He must die to bring rebels back into relationship with the God they have unrelentingly defied.

Jesus says either you will have to pay the penalty for sin, or I will. Sin always entails a penalty, guilt can’t be dealt with unless someone pays, so the only way for God to pardon us and not judge us, is to go to the Cross and absorb our sin into himself. The question is will we come to our senses and allow this pandemic to reveal our idolatry to us?

Rico Tice
Senior Minister (Evangelism)