A Biblical Response to the Coronavirus (SARS COVID-2; COVID-19)


The first reports of this new strain of Coronavirus were made in December 2019, and emerged in China, specifically in Wuhan province. The virus has been referred to as SARS Covid-2, and the disease as COVID-19. The observed symptoms are fever, cough, muscle aches, headache, vomiting, and diarrhoea. These symptoms are similar to those of a flu, particularly similar to influenza.[1]

The rate of transmission and the lack of a medically endorsed vaccine has been the cause of widespread panic. Many people are hiding in their homes and basements, having amassed great amounts of food, toilet paper, and other groceries in the fear of an apocalypse. Doomsday media outlets are not helping bring sanity and hope but instead are promoting panic and alarm. Travel bans, global financial crises, and country quarantines are all adding fuel to the fear-filled fire.

How should the Christian respond to all of this?


While we remain on alert against viruses and disease, worrying won’t change our circumstances or lower our chance of infection. It won’t help us fight off illness or move us to action. Worrying about COVID-19 (or anything else) will only increase trouble. Rather than worrying and being anxious, Jesus calls us to respond with prayer and faith in him (Matthew 6:33–34; Philippians 4:6). We need not worry ultimately because we know the One who has defeated sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:55–57).

Remind yourself continually: it takes the same amount of energy to worry as to pray. One leads to peace, the other to panic. [2]

Remember the Truth About God

  1. God is still on the throne (sovereignty): Job 42:2; Isaiah 46:9-10. R.C. Sproul used to say, “there cannot be a single maverick molecule anywhere in the universe that is outside of God’s sovereignty.”
  2. God saved us from fear and anxiety: 2 Timothy 1:7; John 14:27
  3. God promises peace: Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:6-7
  4. God numbered our days long before COVID-19 was on the scene: Psalm 139:16
  5. God is the Great Healer: Psalm 103:3 (this is descriptive, not prescriptive).
  6. God has a plan for His children: Romans 8:28


In times of crisis, the world needs help and hope. We can provide both. As Christians, we are to reach out to people in need and help them in both practical and spiritual ways. Hebrews 13:16 says, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” We must not be so concerned for our own welfare that we will not minister to others (Philippians 2:3). Hiding in basements, stockpiling food and supplies, and distancing ourselves from others is not how believers should behave.

It is at times like these that our light shines brightest because it stands in stark contrast with wide-eyed fear, darkness, anxiety, and death. The world should see in us divine strength (Ephesians 6:10), a hope that comes from above (1 Peter 3:15), and a willingness to serve others even in the face of danger (Acts 15:26).

This is a good time for Christians to demonstrate sanity, peace, and hope, recognizing that our lives do not depend on the entry of a micro-organism into our bodies. Instead, it depends on the God who determines the beginning and the end of our history on earth.[3]

As you look for opportunities to minister to the sick or fearful, speak about the greater global epidemic – sin. Let the COVID-19 situation be a catalyst to speak about spiritual matters. The greatest need any individual has is not a cure for the Coronavirus, but salvation from their sin through Jesus Christ.

May God grant us the boldness and opportunities to move beyond merely ministering to physical maladies, but to also address the far weightier spiritual and eternal realities.

Ideas for Practical Outreach

  • Talk openly with people about their fears and anxieties. Offer to pray for them (right there on the spot)
  • Be generous and meet the needs of others e.g. a roll of toilet paper, a little hand sanitiser, paper towel, etc.
  • Write cards to people who you know are experiencing fear and remind them that you are available to listen to their concerns.
  • Write a note to the medical practitioners, paramedics, and nurses in your area expressing thanks to them for their efforts on the front line of this epidemic. Perhaps you could commend them for their years of study, service, and willingness to put themselves in danger for the wellbeing of their community.
  • If you are actively involved in a church, encourage people to bring to the church building items that promote hygiene which can then be dispensed to members of the community as the need arises.


As Christians, we must not be reckless, but we also must not be paralysed by fear. It is essential we take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and our families, but not to the disregard of others.

In Matthew 10:16, Jesus sent out His disciples into a volatile Roman world where they would be as “sheep in the midst of wolves”. He commanded them to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” These unusual similes contained two important truths which are applicable to the COVID-19 situation today: (1) be wise, shrewd, and cunning (positively) as you interact with society and particularly in times of persecution and affliction; (2) be harmless, innocent, and gentle as you relate to people.

In other words, exercise wisdom and gentleness as is befitting the child of God.


As this epidemic continues, be socially sensitive. It may not be the best idea to “greet one another with a holy kiss” (2 Corinthians 13:12). Sensitivity, empathy, and understanding are all character qualities of the Christian and must be extended in all we do.

In this regard, we must be careful not to judge others. Through fear, many may feel the need to wear masks, avoid shaking hands, and even act uncharitably. In grace, we must demonstrate the love of Christ to them, even if they are fellow-Christians who are weaker in their faith (Romans 14:1-11).

For church goers, if you are sick or are showing any type of flu-like symptoms, in the interest of public safety, hygiene, and perceptions, and because we love one another, please stay home.


MCCBC leadership is monitoring the COVID-19 situation in our state and when or if the Government Health Authorities mandate a limit on public gatherings, we intend to comply.

At this time, there is no indication that we will need to cancel any church events. However, as COVID-19 is a new virus and there is no approved vaccine as yet, we are actively taking reasonable precautions as it spreads.

While we do not want to be alarmists, we do want to be proactive and prepared where we can be. If you are sick or are showing any type of flu-like symptoms, please stay home.

We hope to be able to livestream our services so that those who are unwell can still be part of the worship from their homes. We encourage you to follow the health practices listed by the Health Authorities to keep everyone safe.

Specific Practicalities

  1. Hand sanitiser stations throughout the building.
  2. Air purifiers on order (Country Tech).
  3. Cleaning of air conditioner filters.
  4. Antibacterial wipes/sprays for surfaces.
  5. Limiting physical contact at individual’s discretion.


In Luke 21:10-11 and Matthew 24:8, we are reminded that world-wide pestilence and disease epidemics point to the return of Christ. Of course, we do not know the day or hour (Matthew 24:36), but as these events become more extreme and in closer succession, we are reminded that they are the “beginning of the birth pains.”

The imminent return of Christ should bring great joy and excitement to the heart of the believer, even in the midst of global panic. May the extreme nature of the COVID-19 cause our minds and eyes to look heaven-ward, from where we “await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20).










[1] Taken from https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-we-know-coronavirus/

[2] Taken from https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/christians-anxious-coronavirus/

[3] https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-we-know-coronavirus/


What To Do When Anxiety Attacks

Philippians 4:5b-7


In preparation for this message, I read a number of interesting illustrations on the subject of worry and anxiety. Some are humorous and others are downright convicting. Let me share a few before we launch into the text.

Illustration #1: (Author Unknown)

“For several years a woman had been having trouble getting to sleep at night because she feared burglars. One night her husband heard a noise in the house, so he went downstairs to investigate. When he got there, he did find a burglar. “Good evening,” said the man of the house. “I am pleased to see you. Come upstairs and meet my wife. She has been waiting 10 years to meet you.” 

Illustration #2: (John Newton)

“I compare the troubles which we have to undergo in the course of the year to a great bundle of sticks, far too large for us to lift. But God does not require us to carry the whole at once. He mercifully unties the bundle, and gives us first one stick, which we are to carry today,and then another, which we are to carry tomorrow, and so on. This we might easily manage, if we would only take the burden appointed for us each day; but we choose to increase our troubles by carrying yesterday’s stick over again today, and adding tomorrow’s burden to our load, before we are required to bear it.”

Illustration #3: (Vance Havner)

Thank God, some dear old things do not change. We make mountains out of our molehill concerns and think wisdom will die with us. It is refreshing to remember that, long after our stormy issues have been forgotten, plain things like Spring and mocking-birds will endure. Why so hot, little man? You are dizzy from modernity’s merry-go-round. Your storming and shouting will bring you only high blood pressure. Calm yourself: “the woods are green and the mocking-bird is sing” back home! Let me relax, throw open the windows of my stuffy little soul and let the cooling breezes of a better world sweep through! What will all my petty worries amount 50 years from now? I will rejoice in the old simplicities which no man can takeaway – like spring and green woods and mockingbirds. And, better still, I’ll rest my soul in the goodness of God and his amazing grace that saves a poor sinner like me.

Illustration #4: (King’s Business)

A couple started off to ride to a friend. The morning was pleasant, and they enjoyed themselves until they happened to remember a certain bridge which was very old and probably unsafe. “I shall never dare to go over that bridge”, exclaimed the wife, “and we can’t get across the river any other way!” “Oh”, said the man, “I forgot about that bridge. It is a bad place suppose it should break through and we should fall into the water and be drowned”. “Or”, said the woman, adding to his complaint, “suppose you should step on a rotten plank and break your leg what would become of me and the baby?” “I don’t know”, responded the husband, “what would become of any of us, for I couldn’t work, and we should all starve to death!” So this talk ran on until they reached the spot where the old bridge had stood – and lo, they discovered that since they had been there it been replaced with a new one! All their anxiety had been worse than useless.

Quotation #1: (Mary Crowley)

“Every evening I turn worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway.”

Quotation #2: (Hudson Taylor)

Hudson Taylor, missionary to China and founder of what is today known as the Overseas Missionary Fellowship, gave this excellent advice: “Let us give up our work, our plans, ourselves, our lives, our loved ones, our influence, our all, right into [God’s] hand; and then, when we have given all over to Him, there will be nothing left for us to be troubled about.”

As a preacher, one of the “problems” with expository preaching through a book is that you cannot simply skip over portions of Scripture that are personally uncomfortable. The faithful pastor must preach line upon line, verse upon verse. Everything in me wanted to select a different passage for our service today, but God would not be resisted. His Word was HEAVY upon me, and I need you to know that this subject is perhaps at the core of my struggles in my journey of faith at this time.

By God’s grace I will preach these truths, but please know, I have not arrived, nor do I feel “qualified” in myself to dispense these truths.

Join me as I preach a message entitled: What to do when Anxiety Attacks.

The Objective Reality

“The Lord is at hand…” Philippians 4:5b

The first thing we must remember is that the chapter and verse markers are not inspired by the Holy Spirit but are provided only as an aid in locating potions of the Scripture.

It is my contention that the words “The Lord is at hand” (v.5) should be connected with those of verse 6. In other words, the text should be read: “The Lord is at hand. Do not be anxious about anything…”

When read in this manner, we are confronted with a very important fact which precedes the command to not be anxious.

The phrase, “The Lord is at hand” has led to two schools of thought amongst Bible students.

The Greek adverb, “at hand” can be used in relation to space or time.

1. Of Space – nearness, presence, available to help, in close proximity.

In this case it would refer to the Lord’s presence as promised in Matthew 28:20 “And behold, I am with you always, to   the end of the age.”

2. Of Time – the time is near, the day is at hand, imminent return.

In this case it would refer to the Lord’s impending return. The early disciples were known for using the term “Maranatha” (1 Cor 16:22) or “Our Lord Come” as a short challenge to one another. 

So which of these interpretations/possibilities are correct?

I am suggesting that they are BOTH essential truths to understand if we are going to obey the command of verse 6 to not be anxious about anything.

The fact that God is near in both space and time gives every believer the motivation to overcome the sin of worry and anxiety.

The Sin of Anxiety

“Do not be anxious about anything…” Philippians 4:6

Sometimes we downplay the fact that anxiety, worry, and fear are varying forms of sin.

This easily-besetting sin is probably more dangerous than most.

It begins in the mind -poisoning our thought-processes, spreads to the heart – disabling our spiritual reasoning, and often results in physical maladies – bringing debilitation to our health.   

Like a python, anxiety encircles us and slowly squeezes the life out of us. Like a degenerative disease, worry slowly incapacitates us, affecting the vital spiritual organs, and if it is not effectively treated, may bring a premature death.

The Bible has quite a bit to say about anxiety and worry.

Perhaps the most exhaustive treatment on this subject is given by Jesus Himself in Matthew 6:25-34 – Let’s read that now.

We need to understand exactly what is meant by anxiety (being anxious) in the biblical sense.

Defintion: The word “anxious” is merimnao which is used 19 times throughout the New Testament.

Like many Greek words, it is neutral with regards to morality. In other words, the goodness or evil associated with the term is interpreted by the context.

For example:

Philippians 2:20 “genuinely concerned for your welfare” (concerned is the same word).

However, this same word is used here in Philippians 4:6 and is clearly not speaking of the same kind of “anxiety.”

Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything”. What is THIS kind of anxiety?

First of all, the term anxiety (in the negative sense) has the following synonyms in Scripture:

Worry, trouble, heaviness, distress, cares, concerns.

Examples of worry/anxiety in the Bible:

  • Jacob is returning home after many years away. He left to escape the anger of his brother Esau, from whom Jacob stole his birthright and the blessing of their father. Esau is approaching with 400 men. Jacob is anxious (Genesis 32).
  • Hannah is distressed because she is unable to conceive children and is being taunted by Peninnah, her husbands other wife (1 Sam.1)
  • The Jewish people are afraid and anxious because a royal decree has been made to massacre them, and Esther is afraid because she is planning on risking her life on behalf of her people (Esther 4).
  • Mary and Martha have Jesus over for a meal. Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to Him. But Martha is distressed, busy, and full of care with all the work needing to be done (Luke 10:41)

One commentator said, “Anxiety is that which bring disruption to the personality and the mind.”

In the Bible, anxiety is frequently depicted as the common human reaction to stressful circumstances. 

The dictionary defines anxiety as: “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.”

Jim Berg: “Anxiety is the result of responding to the uncertainties of life with a wrong view of God.”

It is the care that will injure your soul.

The natural man is captive to anxiety, but the spiritual man has been set free from the prison of worry.

The Christian is commanded to be anxious about nothing. This is only possible BECAUSE they are a believer. If you are a Christian you must not say, “I just can’t stop worrying” because that denies what the Bible teaches.

What does sinful anxiety, fear, distress and worry look like in the life of a Christian?

  • Entertaining of Fearsome Hypotheticals: What if….. this were to happen? What if………that doesn’t happen?
  • Meditating on Uncertainties rather than the truth about God and His Word.
  • Driven and Controlled by Negative Emotions rather than that which is objective.
  • Doubt and Fear.

Important Truths to Note:

  1. Worry is not to be confused with prudence. By this I mean, it is right and good for a man to demonstrate concern for his family. It is good for a man to carefully think about how he runs his business etc.
  2. Balance is essential – under concern is sin and over-concern is sin.


To care is a virtue, but to foster cares is sin, for such anxiety is not trust in God!

The Source of Anxiety

Anxiety and worry is a subset of the broader emotion of fear.

Fear finds its root in unbelief which ultimately stems from pride.

The verse we read earlier from Matthew 6:30 is essential to this point.

“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

Jesus is in the Boat: Matthew 8:23-27

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

Peter walks on water: Matthew 14:22-33

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

John Piper says, “When anxiety strikes, this does’t mean that we are faithless. It means our faith is being attacked.”

The source of our anxiety, fear, distress, and uncertainty can always be traced back to a belief disorder. We are not trusting; we are not relying; we are not believing; we are not depending.

The Symptoms of Anxiety

I make no claims as a medical expert, but I am prepared to say that I am well-versed in the matters of the soul. As a long-term student of God’s Word, I know the power of the Scriptures and what effect it has in dividing between the soul and spirit and the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Sadly today, most Christians are running to psychology for answers pertaining to the characteristics and afflictions of their soul. This was not always the case. It used to be that the “experts” in understanding the nature and essence of man (immaterial part) were the pastors and shepherds.

Please do not think I am discounting real medical conditions. I am not. However, I am suggesting that MOST of the “presentation issues” we see today i.e. anxiety, addictions, personality disorders, etc. find their source in the soul of man and not simply chemical imbalances.

Anxiety takes many forms and affects people in different ways.

Common symptoms of stress and anxiety:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Tremors
  • Increased perspiration
  • Headaches
  • Muscle twitching
  • Thirst
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Grinding teeth
  • Visual difficulties
  • Poor concentration
  • Memory impairment
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Loss of time, place, orientation
  • Racing thoughts
  • Apprehension
  • Uncertainty
  • Agitation
  • Severe panic
  • Irritability
  • Hopelessness
  • Depression
  • Inappropriate emotional responses
  • Change in activity levels
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Erratic movements
  • Change in usual style of communication
  • Change in eating habits
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Antisocial behaviour
  • Inappropriate use of humour
  • Suspiciousness
  • Hyper-arousal
  • Substance use
  • Accident proneness
  • Nervous mannerisms (foot tapping, nail biting, hand rubbing)
  • Lack of motivation
  • Over-eating
  • Over-spending
  • Nightmares
  • Addictions
  • Eating disorders
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


The Solution for Anxiety

“…but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6

God has a very clear and simple solution to anxiety-

The way to be anxious about nothing is to be prayerful about everything.

1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

It is possible to be anxious for nothing when we have the resource of believing prayer.

There are four precious synonyms for prayer used in this verse. Each of them contains a different shade of meaning.

  • Prayer The general term which includes all kinds of worship.
  • SupplicationA specific prayer, definite act, particular need. Continuance in earnest prayer.
  • ThanksgivingGratitude as an act of worship.
  • RequestPetition, something asked for, entreaty.

The solution to anxiety in the life of a believer is faithful prayer (prayers of faith).

It is not primarily the pastor’s counsel; the psychiatrists suggestions; the prescription for medication; the holiday; the hobbies; the recreation.

God says that prayer, supplication with thanksgiving brings peace, and the guarding of the heart and mind.

God’s help is available, but He has not promised to aid except through prayer.

Short Meditation on Thanksgiving

Perhaps the most forgotten aspect of worshipful prayer is thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is simply giving glory to God in everything.

If we neglect gratitude in prayer, we operate with selfishness and pride.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”


The Substitute for Anxiety

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Instead of worry, turmoil of soul, unrest, noise and uncertainty, the prayerful Christian is supplied with all-surpassing divine peace.

The word “peace” speaks of “rest, quietness of heart and soul.” This peace is not the absence of turmoil without, but the presence of rest within.

This “peace” does not mean there will be no problems, but that there will be a quiet strength within wrought by the Spirit of God and the Prince of Peace!

Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

This “peace” is beyond all human reasoning and supersedes our logical framework. It carries us above the anxieties into a haven of rest.

It is a peace that surpasses and surprises!

It also acts as a sentry for the soul! It guards and protects the inner man. It provides relief, refreshment, revival.

By bringing our requests to God with thanksgiving, our anxiety is substituted for peace, and that peace protects our affections, passions, emotions, and decisions of the heart.

And all of this is accomplished in and through Christ Jesus.

  • The joy of verse 4 comes through Christ.
  • The moderation and reasonableness of verse 5 comes through Christ.
  • The prayer and supplication of verse 6 is made through Christ.
  • The thanksgiving of verse 6 is for Christ
  • The peace of God in verse 6 is from Christ.
  • The guarding of our hearts and minds in verse 6 is in Christ.

The way to be anxious about nothing is to be prayerful about everything!