Jesus tells the disciples the same thing when he calls them the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13. He is telling them that they are the agent that is keeping the world from decaying as fast as it would were they not there. In fact, the whole point of losing your saltiness is that Christians begin thinking and acting like the world, therefore losing their power to preserve and to influence. The influencers become the influenced and therefore are casted aside by God himself.
The world hates the church. If it could have its way the church wouldn’t exist.
I don’t think this should be a controversial statement. History proves it and most importantly the Bible proves it.
The world hates the truth. It suppresses it because it wants to sin freely (Rom. 1:18). The church when it is being faithful is fighting against the course of this world. Therefore, the world wants the church to stay quiet. If it could the world would close every church, burn every pulpit and destroy every Bible.
Little do they know that God’s wrath is upon them (Rom. 1:18) and without the church they would be already consumed.
As we see the world react to this Covid situation, we are starting to see the hate for the church come out.
If a ruler knew his Bible, he would quickly realize that it is in his city’s best interest not only to deem the gathering to be essential, but to be begging Christians to meet together, evangelize and pray for their communities.
As I was reading Romans 9 the other day, I was reminded about what Paul wrote in Romans 9:32 where it says,
“If the Lord of armies had not left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, and would have been like Gomorrah.”
This is of course a loaded verse and one could preach several sermons on the truth found therein. But I would like to emphasize one simple truth this verse contains.
Paul says that a country with enough believers keeps God’s wrath longer at bay.
Or the opposite, that a city without enough Christians obeying the Lord will decay much faster than a city with Christians.
In other words, there better be churches meeting in your city or it will end up being like Sodom and Gomorrah.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is renown. They are no longer around today because of their rampant wickedness. But it is a conversation between Abraham and God just preceding the destruction of those cities that teaches us an important lesson regarding the importance of having enough “righteous people” in a particular city.
We find Abraham bartering with God.
The Bible records the conversation in Genesis 16:23-32,
“Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous people within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” So, the Lord said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the entire place on their account.” And Abraham replied, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am only dust and ashes. Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, will You destroy the entire city because of five?” And He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose forty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it on account of the forty.” Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” And he said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the twenty.” Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once: suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.” Genesis 16:23-32
This is one of the most fascinating accounts in all of Scripture.
Here we find Abraham negotiating with God to help spare Sodom and Gomorrah. And we see God acquiescing to Abraham’s demand. If there had been ten righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah, the cities would still be around today. But the fact of the matter is that they did not have that many righteous people and so, they did not survive God’s wrath.