God hates your worship. He doesn’t want it.
Yes, and let me double-down on that. God Almighty absolutely detests, loathes, and abhors your voice. He would rather you remain mute than sing to him. He would rather you shut your mouth than open it in praise. The companionship of dogs and pigs and are more honorable to him than your own. And should you step into church when the panic is over, you will only sully it with your presence.
Here is what you have done; by your boycott of worship during times of hardship you have proven that he is not your God. You are a fair-weather friend, a summer soldier and sunshine a patriot. You worship the gods of this age, you pay tithes of fear to wooden deities, and you haven’t the faith of even a mustard seed without which it is not possible to please God.
Oh, yes. I realize that you have excuses. And yes, I realize that your Lord and Master – Caesar Augustus, whose name and face is upon your denarius coins – has ordered you not to worship. And in obeying that god of government, you prove to be a convert to the Synagogue of the State. If truth be told, God has already handed you over to the devil and placed you in the choir of a hundred million voices of your fellow pagans and godless heathen who worship the devil and his earthly generals masquerading as public servants.
God is in the business of rejecting worship. The first offering ever historically recorded was rejected by Him (Genesis 4:4,5). He consumed Nadab and Abihu for giving him worship not worthy of Him (Number 3:2-3). And in Amos 5:21-23 God clarifies most specifically that he rejects the corporate worship of ingrates and disobedient idolaters.
I hate your festivals; I despise them.
I’m not pleased with your religious assemblies.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I won’t accept them.
I won’t even look at the fellowship offerings of your choicest animals.
23 Spare me the sound of your songs.
I won’t listen to the music of your harps.
The Almighty God of all creation does not pine for your praise. He does not hunger for your adulations. He does not thirst for your compliments. He is not desirous of whatever vapid, insincere, empty religious words that you can employ toward him.
There are, of course, providential hindrances that may be legitimate reasons to stay home as the elect gather. These include those who are actually sick and contagious. These include those who must by necessity and mercy work among those who are particularly vulnerable to disease (for example, nursing home care providers). Although legitimate reasons for providential hindrance exist in this paper plague, they are few.
But let us be honest; that is not the reason so many are skipping church in the name of virus mitigation. And for those who forsake the public gathering of sacred assemblies, they often make the habit of being present at a dozen different, completely unnecessary public places throughout the week. It seems that worship – which ought to be a priority for believers – is the last and often only obligation you forsake.
We see you at Wal-Mart, buying widgets and doohickies and non-essential goods. We see you at the gas station buying your gut-expanding snacks. We see you at restaurants, sitting down to break bread in a crowded space with strangers. We see you at the salon and manicurist, gussying up your personal appearance and at the make-up counter purchasing the products of your personal vanity.
And yet, in your ungrateful and entitled churlishness, you mindlessly presume that your attendance at church will somehow be especially deadly in some greater way than your attendance at the shopping mall or any of the other dozen non-essential places you visit on a weekly basis.
Or do you? Are you so imbecilic as to think hymns spread disease faster than the fast food drive-thrus you frequent? It’s doubtful. Rather, it is far more likely that you are not imbecilic, but petulant. You are not witless, but rebellious. It’s not that you genuinely believe that the Lord’s Supper spreads germs worse than Starbucks; it’s that you care more about receiving your daily Venti peppermint mocha than your weekly blood of Christ passed out in the Communion cup.
You are not a cautious Christian. You are a cowardly one. And God has the harshest words about cowards. In Revelation 21:8, the Scripture says that cowards will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The Bible lumps you in with murderers, homosexuals, and fornicators. And God most certainly does not receive the worship of the wicked.
My advice to you is simple; if you are a healthy human being who has been forsaking the worship assembly because of a mild respiratory virus (while yet taking part in commerce the other six days of the week) you should repent in sackcloth and ashes.
And should you go back to church when this manufactured crisis is over, your elders should forbid you the Lord’s Table lest you drink damnation upon yourself until at such time you come before the congregation and repent for being an insufferable and worthless, faithless, and disloyal traitor to Christ.
It is not possible to take the Lord’s Supper worthily of the body (1 Corinthians 11:27) when you have excommunicated yourself by acts of cowardice and faithlessness. And should you receive it, it will prove more deadly to you than COVID-19 ever could be.
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord…That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.