John Bradshaw - The Coronavirus Conspirator
I'm glad you've joined me. We are about to open the Bible together. We'll be blessed because it's God's Word, and we're always blessed in God's Word, and because we'll pray and ask God to specially bless us with His Holy Spirit. Let me begin first by saying this: I hope you're okay. I hope you're encouraged. I hope you have no reason to fear. I hope that whatever your circumstances are, your trust in God is strong. We're kind of in uncharted waters, aren't we? This is a strange new world in which we find ourselves, but God is still God. I've said to people, I think I've posted online: If it seems like you're in stormy seas right now, and the wind is blowing, and the rain is, is pelting down, and the boat is filling with water, look behind you.
Remember to look behind you. Who's there with you in the boat? Jesus is with you, and it's His boat. He's gonna get both you and me through. We're gonna be okay. We're going to hang on tight, and today, we'll find courage in God's Word, and we'll go... behind the scenes, see a little bit of what's taking place. Come on, let's pray together and expect God's blessing. Our Father in heaven, we're grateful we can come to You today in the name of Jesus. As we open the pages of Your sacred Word, speak and be heard, we pray. Bless us for Your honor and glory, for our edification, encouragement, and spiritual growth. We ask and we thank You in Jesus' name, and we said it together: Amen. Many discoveries are made by people standing on the shoulders of those who went before them. It seems that the gaining of knowledge is a progressive thing.
In science, in medicine, that is definitely the case. Let's go back. It was the 1860s, and a Frenchman named Louis Pasteur was working. He did so much in developing the science of vaccination. He was the one who popularized, you might say invented, pasteurization. In the 1860s, he was conducting a series of experiments on the relationship between germs and disease. As a microbiologist, he believed that many diseases were spread by tiny organisms invisible to the naked eye. He disproved the theory of spontaneous generation. You're glad you live today and not then. Spontaneous generation was the idea that little creatures such as fleas or maggots just simply came into existence out of dust or out of dead flesh, just like that.
Now, it's no surprise people used to believe things like that. As unlikely as today they sound, without microscopes, who could know otherwise? And if you're not looking for something, you're not going to find it. But Louis Pasteur looked, and he found, and he's recognized today as one of the fathers of germ theory. Now, he was not the first to propose the idea, far from it, but he developed the idea, really brought it into the public eye and brought it into general acceptance. Germ theory. Pasteur was convinced that there were little things present that we couldn't see. That we couldn't see them didn't mean they weren't there. That's how pasteurization came to be. He believed that microorganisms caused things such as milk and wine and beer to spoil. Microorganisms did that, he believed. And he believed that microorganisms cause people to spoil. Pasteur believed, and proved, that something you cannot see could do great damage.
I'm gonna say that again. Pasteur the scientist believed and proved that something you cannot see could do great damage. Something you could not see could spread disease. Now, we don't believe that now, do we? We believe in germs. Oh, yes, we do! We believe in viruses. Oh, yes, we do! That's why we wash our hands. How long? Tell me how long is the recom...? Yeah, 20 seconds. We know that now. That's why we don't appreciate people... coughing or sneezing in our space. That's why we are grossed out, that's why we're shocked, even, by those videos that show how far droplets spread. You've seen those videos. If you haven't, you need to. We've come to believe that our health is affected by things that we cannot see.
Now, let's switch gears. Let's think of our spiritual health. Could it be that our spiritual health is affected by things that we cannot see? Could it be that there are things that we cannot see, forces that we do not readily witness, things taking place behind the scenes that affect us spiritually, manifestly, in a direct way? Oh, we believe that to be true, and we're gonna see it from the Bible in a well-known parable. Please turn with me in your Bible to Matthew chapter 13. Matthew chapter 13, and the Bible says this, and we're starting, I need to be able to tell you exactly what verse, in verse 24. It says in Matthew 13, verse 24: "Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.'"
I'm gonna read through this parable, and then I'll go back, and we'll, we'll, we'll, we'll amble slowly through it. "But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared...tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, 'Sir, [did you not] sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares?' He said [to] them, 'An enemy [has] done this.' The servants said unto him, 'Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?' But he said, 'Nay,'" no, "'lest while [you] gather up the tares, [you] root up also the wheat with them.'" And then verse 30, Jesus relaying the parable, says these words: "'Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn".'"
Let's go back now. I told you I would. Another parable He spoke to them. He had spoken to them... what about? About the parable of the seed. Some sowed by the wayside, some sprang up but "had no depth of earth," some sprang up, but then it was choked by what Jesus explained was the cares of this life. And then the good seed that sprang up, and it was fruitful and brought forth, much with it. That was the, the, the previous parable here. But now Jesus speaks again; again it's about seed. So first, the seed was sown, and the seed responded differently to certain conditions. Now the seed is sown, and somebody comes and messes with, meddles with the seed. I'm backing up to verse 24: "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man who sowed good seed in his field". God has sown good seed. Good seed. The Word of God. God has sown that seed, and it grows up, but while people were sleeping, notice that: while people slept.
You know something, in Matthew chapter 24, Jesus says, watch and "be ready". Watch and pray. Jesus does not want us sleeping. In Matthew chapter 25, the parable of the 10 virgins, you will notice that all 10 of them slept. All 10. Five were wise, five were foolish, but all slept. We want to be awake. I'm gonna tell you this again and again before we're done during this time. What we are seeing going on in the world around us is an opportunity given to us to wake up. You know what a wakeup call is like, right? You don't always like 'em, but you're sleeping blissfully, you know that you have to get up early, and you called the front desk, and you said, "Can you give me a wakeup call? Would you do that, please"? And even though it was earlier than you would like, maybe much earlier than you would like, the phone rang, those phones ring loud. Pshew! you're awake!
It's like an alarm clock, of course. The alarm clock that rings, you know, the best idea, of course, is to go to bed on time and wake up when your body tells you to wake up, and you'll be okay like that, but sometimes we need the alarm clock. And the alarm clock is set, and if you got a good one, it doesn't sound good, and it squawks, and you wake up! You'll want to be awake. It's not always fun to be awake. It's comfortable to be asleep. You are warm when you're asleep. You are cozy when you are asleep. Generally, there is nothing plaguing you or bothering you when you are asleep, at least not that you are aware. It is while people sleep that the enemy does his work. My brother, my sister, if ever there was a time that we needed to be awake, that time is now! Awake! We cannot be sleepwalking our way through life, spiritual zombies, spiritually dead, but we give some evidence that we are alive. It's time to be awake, and it's a privilege to be awake as well.
"While [people] slept, [the] enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and [he] went his way". He got out of town. "When the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also". Now, the servants noticed this. We've got a problem here. That good crop that we grew, there is something nefarious growing up in the midst. We need to take action here. They told the householder, "[Didn't you] sow good seed in [your] field? From whence then hath it tares"? If you sowed good seed, if you used the good stuff, why in the world is there a, uh, a weed of some kind growing up in the very midst of this? This is gonna make harvest difficult. Let's go get it out of there. Where'd it come from? You sowed good seed. Where'd it come from? "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth".
It was a good world. Where'd the sin come from? Where'd the tares come from? Where did death come from? Where did viruses come from? Where did fear come from? God said, "It is good. It is good. It is good. It is good. It is good". God said, "It is very good". He created a beautiful world. What in the world? We look around today and there is death and destruction and terrorism and tyranny. Didn't You sow good seed, God? What in the world? Where have these weeds come from? God answers the question. He says in verse 28, he said to them, "An enemy has done this". An enemy has done this! Ladies and gentlemen, be it known unto thee, we are living in a, in a, in an unprecedented time. What's going on?
Now, I may get myself in trouble with one or two people by saying this, but I've never let that stop me before, and I'm not gonna let it stop me now. An enemy has done this! Who's responsible for the coronavirus? "China"! No, no, no. "Some government". "The American government". "Well, you know that in Germany, the government passed a law..". and this and that and the other. My friend, let me speak to you just about as plainly as I can. If that's the stuff you are hearing, block your ears. If that's what your friends are telling you, find new friends; delete the emails. Now, I'm not supposing that it didn't originate in China. That's what we think, but that's not the point. I want to tell you where it really came from. Before I do, I'm just gonna say this: Conspiracy theories are not the gospel. You might find them interesting, but they're not the gospel. You'll find our mandate as a people in Revelation chapter 14: It's the everlasting gospel, the three angels' messages.
And, by the way, somebody with a great amount of wisdom once said that the message of the third angel is the message of justification by faith, "in verity". The message of the third angel: "If any man worship the beast..". and does not worship the beast, ah, man, you, you've, you've heard, you've read that! You know what it says. First angel: "Fear God, ...give glory to Him; ...the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him [who] made heaven, and earth, ...the sea, and the fountains of water". Second angel: "Babylon is fallen, is fallen". Third angel: "If any man worship the beast... and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink [also] of the wine of the wrath of God". Right. But what is it really when you boil it down? It's justification by faith.
You read those three angels' messages, and you say, "I need Jesus. The only way outta here is through Christ". Yes, it has to do with worship. Yes, it has to do with the beast power. Yes, it has to do with coming out of Babylon. But you wrap it up or you boil it down, and the message that God is endeavoring to get through my thick skull and through your, hopefully, thinner skull is: We need Christ. The last thing we need is another Pharisee in town. We need more of Jesus and His righteousness. I wanna tell you something. If you're talking about the coronavirus, and your focus is on what some shadow group did, what some, mysterious organization did, if your focus is on what some government apparently did, according to someone, because you and I don't know anyway, then I'm telling you your focus is in the wrong place.
And if you are hearing people who are preaching to you, the conspiracies and behind-the-scenes stuff, and something that might have happened, but we have no idea as to whether it really did or not, if we are trying to read minds and hearts and interpret things that we've not been given light for, you're listening to the wrong voices. The voice we ought to be listening to today is the voice of Christ, who is saying, "Look in my direction". Jesus, who is saying, Look, I've engraved you "on the palms of my hands". Jesus, who says, "I can forgive you, cleanse you, take away your guilt, 'give you a hope and a future.'" I'm being blunt today. This is a time for the church to shine! You know, when I was, I was contacted today, I could read you the text message, and my friend, uh, a worker in the church, he said, "John, this could be the church's finest moment, finest hour. This could be the church's finest hour".
And I had to get back to him and say, "Amen! Yes, it could! It could be the church's finest hour". This is a time to experience righteousness by faith and to share with others the hope that we have in Jesus, a soon-coming Jesus, a crucified Jesus. You know, they laid Him in a grave; grave could not hold Him. He came out of the grave and ascended to His Father, came back, went up, where He intercedes for us at God's right hand. This could be our finest hour. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe in one great big conspiracy theory, and the devil is the great conspirator. "An enemy has done this". The devil is the coronavirus conspirator. Sin exists because of him. Illness exists because of him. Death exists because of him. Anger and racism and hate and frustration are all in this world because Satan long ago said, "I want to rip out of God's hands that which is precious to Him. He created man in the image of God, and I will deface the image of God from man. He will be mine, and I will rule, and I will receive worship in this world, and not Jesus Christ".
There's a great conspiracy going on behind the scenes. There's something happening. We are seeing countries in lockdown. We are seeing the sorts of things that, in living memory, we have never seen before. What's going on? I'm telling ya what's going on. I'll tell ya two things. The devil is working, and he's working overtime. He is behind every case of sickness. He is behind every full hospital bed; he is behind every busy doctor, loading her or him down with, with work, because the devil is the architect of sin and suffering. Point number one: The devil is behind all of this. It demonstrates to us that the battle is real. We have no time to waste. We have no time to play church. The battle is real. And second: God is taking occasion to allow this thing to happen to get our attention. I'm gonna fatten out these two points. One: We are caught in a great controversy.
And so, there was Job, living a happy life. He had all of his children and, and one wife, and all of his possessions, animals and lands, and so forth. And life was going swimmingly for Job, and the devil said, "You know what, if You let me at him, this brother will turn his back on You". Job suffered! Chapter after chapter after chapter after chapter in the book of Job, Job suffered, unaware that behind the scenes, he was the victim in the devil's deadly game of sin and sickness and devilment. He could not realize that he was a pawn being moved around the board by a devil determined to cause somebody to yield their faith in God. Germ theory. We can't see what's going on behind the veil, any more than people back there before Pasteur could see germs in a petri dish. We can't see it, but it's been revealed to us through the Bible, in the Word of God, revealed to us in the Bible.
There is a great controversy raging. Don't for a moment think that you are immune in this great controversy. Devil has your number. No time, I think, in earth's future, have we ever had a clearer look at the great controversy taking place than we have had now. There is a battle raging. You and I, without the aid of a microscope or some such thing, cannot see germs covering a, a wound, let's say, or germs in a dish. But when we look...deeper, we say, "Look at that! Microorganisms"! We don't get to see behind this veil, but if we could, we would see angels, fallen angels; demons. Thank God, good angels, as somebody said, holding back the winds of strife. Friend, this thing is real. Which indicates that God is real, and the cross is real, and Jesus is real, and salvation is real. And damnation is real, and the devil is real, and sin is real.
Come on now, where are ya standing today? Let this great controversy be a real thing in your mind. And today is the opportunity that both you and I have to choose as to where we are going to stand. Where are we going to stand in this great controversy? It is real! You knew that before today. I'm reminding you of that today. I want you to keep that in the front of your mind, not way back there in the back. It's real. When temptation knocks at your door, that's the devil saying, "If you just give me a toehold, before long I have a foothold, and it won't be long and it'll be a stronghold". When you, when somebody is, is, is enticing you into sin, you know what the Proverbs say? "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not". That's an opportunity for us to say, "Hold on a minute here. This isn't just a, a risqué joke my colleague is telling me; this is the great controversy; devil want to make a sinner out of me".
Somebody rubs your fur the wrong way, and your temperature starts rising. Wait a minute! You're not gonna set that person, set that person straight. This is the great controversy. Now you have the opportunity to choose: Where am I going to stand in this thing? Where am I going to stand? God is giving us the opportunity to see this thing play out in real time. There is a great controversy raging. How are you responding to this thing? There is a conspirator. He's the coronavirus conspirator. He is the great conspirator: the devil himself, the enemy of souls, behind every temptation and every sin. What are we gonna do? The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18 and verse 10, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous [runs] into it, and is safe". "The name of the Lord is a strong tower". I'm repeating this for you. "The righteous [run] into it, and is safe".
I want to share something with you. In this great controversy, this great conspiracy that's raging, God wants you and me both to search our hearts. Do you know something? I would like to suggest to you how, that our thinking has been dramatically affected, hugely affected. Now, listen to this, and I hope I am not misunderstood or misinterpreted here, but I'll say what I have to say. We are worried sick, some of us, about a germ, about a virus. Now, that's not inappropriate, and no need to be worried sick. Let your faith and your trust be in the Lord. But I'm gonna tell ya, if you were in the epicenter right now, if you're living in New York City, you're not sure whether to look this way or that, because it's a real hotspot. There are other places that are hotspots, and...I think the fact is, if the virus was able to spread in Washington State or in New York City, it's able to spread wherever you are.
So we're concerned, and that's appropriate. We're concerned out of respect for ourselves. We are concerned out of respect for others. I was walking...yesterday, walking in a park, saw my neighbor. We reached out to each other like this... We're concerned. And I want to respect him. I'm fine. I have no symptoms. I'm not positive, neither is he, but we're respecting each other now. You know how that goes. Respecting each other. But I wonder if you can see in this great controversy, in this grand conspiracy how the coronavirus conspirator has blinded our eyes and affected our thinking. Cities have shut down. Borders have closed. Nations are under lockdown because of a virus, because of a virus that has killed 25,000 people globally. Unfortunately, that number is very soon going to be out of date. Somebody's going to say, "Man, if only, if only it was like when Bradshaw preached that sermon". Twenty-five thousand people globally. How many people in the world? Coming up to 8 billion, 25,000 being killed by this. Of course, that's terrible.
Now people are outraged, outraged, outraged by people who don't practice social distancing. I heard yesterday, a gentleman, who was a teacher, was in a supermarket, and a lady started yelling at him. What in the world? "You are not six feet away from me"! Well, he didn't realize, and he kinda felt like he was six feet away from her, but she was very concerned and, let him know. Why? Because we want to be safe. Why? Because we don't want to see any more people die. I don't want to die. I don't want to get sick. I don't want my neighbor to die. I don't want my elderly friends to die. We don't want our grandparents to die, An abundance of caution. That's right. That's right. Don't mishear me. This is right. I'm okay with that. I read where some folks let their child play on a closed playground, and some other folks came along, incensed at what was taking place, and they had a fistfight, the adults did.
Now, I would have thought if you were planning on practicing social distancing, you wouldn't go sticking your fist in somebody's mouth, but evidently, they felt like that was okay. And so you get my point, right? This thing is so serious. We're doing everything we can to stop it. You can't travel here; you can't go there. You can't come out of your house in some places. You've gotta isolate. I'm not saying this is inappropriate. We are outraged by the disease, and we're doing everything we can to stop the virus from spreading. Do you realize how inconsistent we are as human beings? Do you realize? Oh, there's a virus spreading. There's an even worse virus, and that's sin, because sin causes death to everyone. It was a virus, a deadly taint that caused the death of Jesus the Son of God, the Son of God.
So around the world, 25,000 people have been killed by the coronavirus, and we're distressed by that. Don't you hear me even, don't even intimate that I'm, talking that down; I'm not. The number's gonna rise, and even if it was one, that's a tragedy, especially for the family of the one. But did you know...that an estimated 88,000 people die in this country every year, that's 1,600-plus a week; do the math: more than 200 a day, from alcohol-related causes. Alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Where's the outrage? Eighty-eight thousand people die a year. You know what we oughta do? Shut the liquor stores. Turn the supermarkets back in time, and say, "You never used to sell alcohol here; don't sell it now".
I understand the history of Prohibition. I know that that didn't work out too well. But as a society, listen, devil has got us so blinded that we will scream at somebody in a supermarket who gets close, and think nothing of it. When somebody comes out of a liquor store pushing a shopping cart full of death, full of domestic violence, that shopping cart isn't full of alcohol. It's full of black eyes, broken bones, car accidents, traumatized children, and wives with broken bones. We're okay with that. Can you explain how? I can. The devil has done his job. We are great moralists now, but we are selective moralists. You see how we're acting about the coronavirus? And we gotta do what we gotta do. I have friends and family members who are very vulnerable. I don't want them to get this thing. Some of them would die. Right. Let's do what we should do. Eighty-eight thousand deaths in the United States from alcohol.
We haven't talked about our friends north of the border, our friends south of the border. We haven't talked about Europe, where they are expert drinkers. We haven't talked about Asia and the South Pacific and Africa. We haven't talked about that. Start doing a global tally; your head will spin. But evidently that's okay. I have not been able to work that out. One hundred and two people a day die on American roads, 40,000 people a year, in motor vehicle accidents. What have we done? Have we got the cars off the road? Have we said, "No, we have to figure this out so that people can get from here to there safely"? Have we done that? No. We're just gonna keep right on. No, I'm not advocating that we should get cars off the road. I don't mean that, although I tell you what would be a good idea is if you had to re-sit your driver's license every so often. You got it when you were 18 years of age, and now you're 50, and you've had 32 years of bad habits building up. Go take another test. But that's just me. That's just me.
And so we're outraged about one pandemic, but there's a pandemic of carnage on the road. No, we're not bothered by that, much. More than 480,000 people die of, I'm about to rattle off a statistic. You're just gonna hear it and shrug. So, let me slow down. More than 480,000 people, half a million people, die every year in these United States from tobacco-related causes. Can you imagine the grief involved with all that death? Can you imagine the cost involved with all that death? And what did we do about it? Well, we sued the tobacco companies, and they went right on. Tobacco is still cheap; at least it is in the United States. Half a million. You see how, you see how selective we are with our morality? You see how selective we are? Do you have any idea how much money is lost due to gambling? How many homes are ruined, how many spouses have their lives upended, how many children have their future stolen? We don't seem to care. No one seems to care.
When somebody lost everything he had gambling and jumped off a bridge and killed himself, did they say, "Let's shut the casinos"? You know the answer to that question. Do you know what I read? I, I didn't even read the story; the headline was enough. The government has asked that all nonessential abortions not be carried out because of the threat of the coronavirus. Ladies and gentleman, nonessential abortions? Well, that would be 99.9-something-or-other percent of them. We understand that sometimes in cases of life and death, abortion is absolutely essential; we understand that. But we also know, come on, be as honest as I want to be, that abortion is routinely used as a form of contraception. That's all. Contraception after the fact. Where's the outrage? I know, I know. You got folks and their placards. I understand that. We've seen them. But they are routinely mocked. Routinely mocked. And certainly, there are some anti-abortion protesters who carry it too far, no need to do that.
I would encourage you to pray to end abortion. And pray that God directs people's steps so that this thing might not be necessary. And do what you can that's legal, and, and so on. This is the holocaust of, of modern days. What have we done? Have we shut all the abortion clinics? Have we mandated contraception for everybody? What have we done? Almost nothing. Coronavirus, "Lock down that city"! In some places, "Do not leave your home"! I'm not saying that's wrong. I'm saying there's a conspirator behind the scenes who has got ours, our thinking twisted, very twisted. Prostitution. It's not a victimless crime. We, we laugh about it, make jokes about it, turn a blind eye, say, "Oh, that's boys being boys, and, very clearly, girls being girls".
Harvey Weinstein got away with what he was prosecuted for for years, and people knew what he was doing, and we used to joke about the Hollywood casting couch. Evidently that's not fashionable anymore. But for as long as we can remember, it was just something that was a little amusing and titillating. Not a thought given to the victims of those terrible actions that had taken place. Eighty thousand people a year die from diabetes, 1,600 a week. No one's freakin' out about that. Have you stopped to think of the damage done by pornography? Ruins homes, ruins minds, ruins lives, takes people to some desperate places. Some of them will end up in prison for the rest of their lives. You see how, you see how smart the conspirator is? You see, God comes to us and convicts us of sin. All sin. He doesn't say, This one's bad, but those other ones are okay. He doesn't say, This one is bad, but that one is socially acceptable.
We are living in an age, man, where morality is relative. My morality goes here, or your morality goes there. Or you would do things that... Listen, where's the standard? I'm gonna tell you where it is. It's here in the Word of God. Let's get to the Word of God. Open it up. Read it. Absorb it. Chew on it. Uh, who wrote it, was it in the book of Jeremiah? "Thy words were found, and I did eat them". Let's chew on the Word of God. "It is written", I like verses that start like that, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" Look at the reaction to the coronavirus. I am not suggesting it is wrong. Later on, when it's all gone, we can do a postmortem, and we might say, "Oh, that was a bit extreme. We undercooked it a bit there; maybe we went too far there and not far enough there".
Now's not the time to be pointing fingers of blame at politicians who are trying to do their best and civic leaders who have the weight of a, of a city or a jurisdiction on their shoulders. Now is the time to look at this thing and say it's representative of the great controversy. Now, in my life, maybe I don't like...anger, but perhaps I'm okay with lust. Maybe, in my life, I don't like lying, but maybe I'm okay with Sabbath-breaking. The idea is this: When Jesus comes into your heart and the Word of God takes place within you, God's standard of righteousness becomes our standard of right, and we don't pick and choose anymore. And, no, you're not gonna, you're not gonna put that on me. I'm not saying we are going to obey our way to heaven; I'm not saying that at all. I'm gonna say we will draw the line where God draws the line, and we will let God's will be done. And if God says to you, Go ahead in that sin, then that's between you and God, but He won't. And God will lead you "in paths of righteousness". Why? We want to be filled with the presence of Christ and reflect to the world the character of God. That's what we want. We want to reflect to the world the character of God.
I just recently read the life story of C.D. Brooks. Tremendous preacher, might have even mentioned that last week. A very well-dressed man came to him one day and said, "What do I do about my alcohol? I have some fine, expensive alcohol. What do I do"? And Elder Brooks said, "Here's what I suggest you do. I suggest you take that, bottle by bottle, into your bathroom and kneel down before your toilet, make an altar of it, and pour it out as an offering to God". He knew he might have been offending that man's sensibilities. And he told that man, "You take every last bottle and pour it down the drain". And the man said, "If you had told me anything less than that, I would have walked away and had nothing more to do with this or this church". Let's draw the line where God draws the line. Allow Him to raise you up. What happens is, is Jesus gets in your life, and He lifts you up, and then you will place a ceiling there and say, "I don't want to go past this". Then God says, "Give me a little more of your heart," and you raise up a little higher, and then you say, "I don't want to go any further".
Jesus prayed to His Father and He said, "Nevertheless not my will, but [Your will], be done". And that's what we want done: the will of God. And so the coronavirus tells us, reveals to us, that there is a great conspirator behind the scenes. We are locked in a battle that has been termed as "the great controversy". We're in it up to here. And there's only one safe place in this, and that's to stand where Jesus stands. That's to let Jesus have your heart. This is no time for crazy theories. This is a time for the Word of God, the Holy Word of God. And I would like you to see a second point that God does not want you to miss in the coronavirus crisis, and that is this. In fact, I want you to go with me in your Bible to Revelation chapter 13. We looked in Matthew 13; now let's go to Revelation chapter 13. Because in the parable of the wheat and the tares, the landowner, the man who sowed the seed in the field, said to his servants, "Let both grow together until the harvest".
You see, there's going to be a harvest. In the, "in the time of harvest, I will say to the reapers, 'Gather...together first the tares, ...bind them in bundles," and burn 'em. Burn 'em. "Burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn". That's Matthew 13:30. You see, what God is telling us is there will be a time when the saved will be saved, and the lost will be lost, and there will be a harvest. And in earth's last days, it's going to come to a head over an issue. As an evangelist, I've been asked more times than I can count. My friend and colleague here at It Is Written, Pastor Eric Flickinger, another evangelist, he's held dozens of evangelistic series. Same. We've talked about this. People will say to ya, or to me, "When you look in Revelation chapter 13 at a global crisis, how can any of this actually come to pass"? "How would it be possible," people say, "to know who has received the mark of the beast and who has not"? And they say, "Given this prophetic scenario, will it really happen"?
Okay, we're going to read now Revelation chapter 13, starting in verse 1: "I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea". What's the beast? A global power. This is a global power. It's the same power as was the medieval church in medieval times. It had "seven heads and ten horns, ...upon his horns ten crowns, ...upon his heads the name of blasphemy", a blaspheming power. "The beast... I saw... was like... a leopard, ...feet were as the feet of a bear, ...mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority". So an entity, a global power, given authority and power by Satan himself. Again, we're talking about the medieval church rebooted in earth's last days. "I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death", 1798, "and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast".
We are not there yet. But we're getting very, very, very, very close. You've seen the rise in power, prominence, and prestige of this thing, and certainly it is of great, great influence in the world today. We're getting close to the time when all the world will wonder after the beast. Verse 4: "And they worshipped the dragon [who] gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, 'Who is like unto the beast? [And] who is able to make war with him?'" Again, we're talking about a global event, a global, I don't want to call it a happening, a global thing, to coin a phrase. The focus of the entire world will be drawn to this one particular circumstance. First coronavirus death was January the 11th of this year, if I'm not mistaken. And in that time, the focus of the whole world has been drawn to this one issue.
And ladies and gentlemen, if I might, it's an issue of people getting sick and dying. It's not about someone, it's, it's not tyranny. It's, it's a, it's an illness. In a certain sense, you might call it...less serious than some illnesses, unless, of course, you're vulnerable, in which it's, it's just terrible. And frankly, we'd be able to treat many, many, many more people if health systems weren't being overwhelmed. You see, so the numbers, death, the, the mortality rate would be even lower if only we hadn't been caught by surprise, unprepared, not enough tests; we don't know of a cure; there aren't enough ventilators, hospitals being overwhelmed. The attention of the globe is being focused on this one issue. The Bible says the attention of the globe will be focused on an issue in earth's last days. And so I'm going to jump to verse 7: "It was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them".
Again, I would ask you, please, that you don't misread what I'm saying. Right now, governments have been saying, you will do this, and you will do that, and you won't do that, and you won't do that. Right? You may go there; you cannot go there. You may go to that business; you cannot go to that business. You may open your place of business; you may not. I certainly do not want you to think I am suggesting that that is inappropriate. What I'm suggesting is that what we are seeing now is gonna be ramped up, amplified. Revelation chapter 13 is today on steroids. Uh, today is just a figure, just a shadow of what we're going to see, but it is a figure and it is a shadow telling us that the scenario in Revelation chapter 13 is real. Real. Can happen. We believed that before, but now we really believe it. We really believe it.
"It was given unto him to make war with the saints," I read, "and...overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations". Global power. Here, persecution. Today, no, that's not persecution. But imagine wholesale power becoming corrupt. That becomes persecution. "All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world". An act of worship will be enforced. Some will not want to go along with that, of course. Revelation 13:15, "And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed". Let me ask you this. The way you've seen some people act, the way how in some parts of the world now there are police on the streets ready to pick up, arrest, move along someone who, their crime has been to come outside, to walk through town.
In Revelation chapter 13, we see a time of absolute global crisis. It has been suggested this will be a time of enormous upheaval around the world where absolutely nobody is safe. Today, I consider myself safe. You know why? 'Cause I wash my hands. I practice social distancing. My immune system is strong. I don't want to get this thing. I haven't got it. If I do, my concern will be that I don't pass it on to somebody else. I'll come through. The young and the strong can assume, fairly safely, I'm not talking about recklessness now, but if you're young and strong, you can assume, fairly safely, that you'll be okay. It's an assumption, but it's a fair assumption. In this last days, we're gonna have in this last day we're talking about, we will have a crisis where nobody is safe. And so if nobody is safe, can you imagine extreme measures being taken? Oh, yes, extreme measures will be taken. "He [causes] all, both small and great," verse 16, "rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name".
My point, and I hope I've made it very clear; I will make it again, is this: What we're seeing today helps us to understand that what the Bible says is coming, is coming. Is coming. And you know, today, you know what people are saying? They're saying, "Man, I can't afford to lose my job because I've got no money in the bank". I'm not finding fault with you. Wouldn't it be good in a time of crisis if you had money in the bank? For some of us, the reason we don't have money in the bank is because we saw a car we couldn't afford, but we bought it anyway. We wanted a vacation that we couldn't afford, but we bought it anyway. We saw somebody with a wristwatch that, that, that measured your steps and measures your heart rate and tells you how many calories you're burning, and you didn't need it, but you thought, I can't afford it, but my friend has got one, and it sure is cool. I'll get it.
Now, if you had that $1,200 now, and if you had driven an inexpensive car, I'm not talking about if you've got money to afford it. God bless you if you've been blessed financially, but for many of us, we gotta learn to live within our means. Time of crisis coming, the Bible says, "time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation". You know, it'd be wise to take your health seriously. What we're learning now is that people, and I'm not finding fault, but there are some people who are vulnerable, and some of that's because of their own doing, for some people. Wouldn't it be good if you could go back and, and, and have a do-over and say, "You know what, I'm less vulnerable because I'm well". It has been suggested that the last place you want to be in the time of trouble is living in the inner city, and I've heard that people from the inner city have been fleeing, trying to get to wilderness places.
I heard about an island in Great Britain where everybody seemed to have the same idea. It was remote and abandoned... well, not abandoned, it was remote and ignored, neglec, I don't know. You decide what the word is. And suddenly people are showing up and saying, "Wow, there's a lot of people here". They all had the same idea. I'm not finding fault, but I'm suggesting if we're serious about standing in earth's last days, wouldn't it be a good idea...if we weren't stuck in the city, flat busted broke, in bad health? Again, ladies and gentlemen, I'm not saying if you've got a condition you can't do anything about, I'm not talking about that. I'm not finding fault with somebody who's just in a tough financial situation as you had some bad luck.
But wouldn't it be good to be able to grow food so that you said, "Man, my garden is going to feed our family". No, you can't do that if you're on the 14th floor of an apartment building. Maybe you can pray and say, "Lord, I see now that this, this last day thing is real, and it's truly going to happen". Maybe you can see that. Maybe you can say, friend, maybe you can say, "It's time. Now that I've seen how this can play out, I believe in His mercy". God is giving us a dry run. A dry run. And let me say this. I'm going to go back to the statement made by my friend, the text message I got: "This is a time for the church to shine. This could be the church's finest hour". Couldn't it be? Isn't it time right now that we give people an opportunity to see what Christianity is? To exude hope, to encourage the person living over your back fence: "It's going to be okay. There's a better day coming".
How come you're so confident? "Well, my hope is in Jesus. My hope isn't in me. My hope is in the Word". I'm reading in Daniel 12, "a time of trouble [coming], such as never was". Revelation 13: Folks cannot buy and sell. People being put to death. Oh man! I don't want that! But it's gonna happen in the name of the Lord, and God is looking for a people who are so sold-out to Jesus they understand that in this great controversy, they've taken their stand with Jesus, on His side. They've said, "Lord, not my will, Your will be done". They're outraged, not only by a virus, but by all sin! We want to have a no-tolerance policy for sin in our lives, and when we fail, we'll go back to Jesus, and we'll say, "[Lord], be merciful to me a sinner"! When we stumble and fall, we'll say, "Jesus, lift me up"!
When we sink into the water, we cry out like Peter did, "Lord, save me"! And He reaches out His hand and picks us up! And He restores us and remakes us. Peter: "I don't know Him. I don't know Him". You sound like one of His followers. "No, sir, don't know Him". In fact, let me prove how much I don't know Him by cursing and swearing and denying God. Peter went away, and he wept, and he must have wondered if Jesus would ever want to have anything to do with him again. "Peter, do you love me"? Oh, come on, Lord. "Do you love me"? Oh, Lord! "Do you love me, Peter"? "You know I love You". "Peter, feed my sheep. Feed my sheep". You fail; Jesus, He will love ya. He still loves ya! Will He have you back? He wasn't the one who kicked you out. You were the one who fled.
Just come on, fleeing back like the prodigal son. When you stumbled and fell, Jesus didn't wash His hands of you. That was you washing your hands of Him. Come on now, get your head back in the game. Oh, this is the church's finest hour, because we have a Savior whose name is Jesus. There's something going on behind the scenes. Pasteur talked about this germ theory. Germs, you can't see 'em, but they're there. Behind the veil, you can't see them, but the angels are there. Behind the veil, you can't see them, but the demons are there. The angels are with you. God is with you. Spirit of God is with you.
Friend, where are you going to be? Are you going to make your stand, stand for Jesus? Are you waking up to spiritual realities now? Oh, friend, if, if, if I knew how to choose the right words, I'd choose 'em. If I knew how to express this thing with the right pathos, I'd do it, but all I've got is all I've got. And I'm praying that the Holy Spirit is speaking to you and saying, young man, madam, "You haven't been taking this seriously, and I want you to take it seriously, 'cause I want you to be saved, and I want you to be safe, and I want to keep you; I want to do that. And I want you to use you; I want, rather, to use you. I want to fill you up so that you shine, so that somebody sees Jesus in you. I want to do that in you". You're saying, "Me"? God says, "I can do it in you".
Just a couple of weeks ago at the Glendale, sorry, in Glendale, California, at the Forest Lawn Cemetery... security was out. They were going around doing their rounds at 5 a.m. They passed a big beautiful statue; it's a replica of the "David". You've seen the "David", 17 feet tall. Maybe you've been there. The original is in Florence, Italy. I said to myself, "Who wants to look at a 17-foot-tall statue of a naked man"? I said, "I'll get in there, see it, move on, look at something else. Who wants to see that"? I got in there, and I said, "Wow". Gazed upon that statue, beautifully carved by Michelangelo. It's something! Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California... the "David" was not standing. It was on the ground, in pieces. It had been made of the same quality, same grade as the original. It was a masterpiece, and now it was a masterpiece that had been shattered.
Why in the world would a statue... you're thinking some hooligans got in there, vandals pushed it over, oh, no, that's not what happened. You know, what happened was this: That because of the way the thing has been created, because of the pressure on the, on the skinny little, well, the relatively thin legs, microfractures appeared in those legs. What's a microfracture? That's a fracture that you can't see, but it's there anyway. Like germs, you can't see 'em, but they're there.
Like the great controversy... you can't see it playing out; at least, you can't see behind the veil; but there are things taking place back there that you might not be able to see. Fractures, microfractures, they developed. Down it went. Come on, friend, you and me both, we're riddled with microfractures, but there's Somebody who can make us whole. We're, we're terminal, but there is Someone who can make us live. We're endangered species, but there's Someone who can save us. We are...we're positive for the virus of sin, but there's Someone who can save us. Who is it? That's Jesus. Come on, is He saving you? Will He save you? Pray with me. We're gonna pray. Do you want that salvation? I know you do. We're praying:
Our Father, save us. We're riddled with microfractures, covered in germs. We are broken, battered, bruised, incomplete. Save us. Your strength is made perfect in weakness. We know You love us, so keep us and save us, please, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.