By Michael Hernandez
NEWBURY PARK–Calvary Chapel Godspeak Pastor Rob McCoy feted Temple Ner Simcha Rabbi Michael Barclay during introductory remarks at a Pentecost Sunday service; decried rioting, looting and violence spreading across the nation; and challenged the church to arise during a sermon taken from Acts 4:32-5:11.
“What we see across the nation is the disappearance of moral law,” said Pastor McCoy. “Yet, when we go back to the Exodus, we see that three to five million Jesus were able to live without a police force because they had been given the law—the Ten Commandments” (the first five are about our relationship to Father God; the next five commandments are about our relationship with each other).
“On Thursday night, we observed the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai,” said Rabbi Barclay. “Thank you for being here. With the riots and the virus you have made a significant difference.”
Pastor McCoy told the gathered congregants, “Our hearts are heavy with these riots. Our law enforcement needs your prayers. What happened to George Floyd was terrible and awful. It was a crime. It was vile. But to exploit it, to divide us, to turn us against each other, to riot, to burn buildings? What is the answer? What is the narrative? What is true? Who is right? Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Lies instill fear and fear instills panic.
“Abraham believed in God before the law. But then God gave the law so we can live together. Where is the church? Our cities are on fire. Where are our priorities? Some 70 percent of the world believes that the church is non-essential.
“Jesus says, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ (John 14:6). When God speaks, He speaks truth. Don’t you think it’s time for the church to proclaim what is true? The church thrives under persecution. The more it engages in the community, the more it becomes inoculated. “The church has never suffered from outside persecution, but has often lost its effectiveness because of inside impurity. Church history will confirm that the church thrives in persecution.”
“The only way to destroy this body is to put cancer on the inside—to implant a lie in a body that operates under truth. God is dealing with His bride—the church. He loves His bride. We are fearful of a virus that has a 99 percent survival rate for those who contact it. Why are we so paralyzed? People are on lockdown and our cities are burning. Yet, God came to give us life and life more abundantly.
Let’s go back to the early days of Christianity when “one-third of the population of Rome were slaves. Rome had their knee on the neck of their citizens. They were brutal. But the early Christians were prayerful, generous and they loved their enemies. People were baffled by them.
“The church is the last hope for the lost. How much do we miss church once we can’t go? How much do we miss community when we see our communities burning? How much do we appreciate law enforcement once they have left the (police) precinct?
“America makes up five percent of the world populations but we have the greatest accomplishments, the greatest wealth. We have freedom to pursue excellence, to have a moral law; at least we use to. Anarchy states what is yours is now mine.
“Government is getting draconian. The church is told to close. Government does not want to deal with larger churches. Our President says we can open. Our Governor says we can open. God says we can open.
“The unity of the early church was not conformity. They recognized God’s ownership of everything. They knew it all belonged to God and not The State because God had touched their lives so deeply, they found it easy to share all things in common (Acts 4:32-36). It was pure “commonism not Communism–which takes what you have with a gun. It was not socialism which is a violation of two commandments (stealing and coveting).”
Pastor Rob in explaining (Acts 5:1-11) the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, his wife, said their sin was in lying to God. Why do people lie? To exercise power over others by controlling the information; to protect oneself from the threat of physical harm; and to win the admiration of others. These disciples feared to possess earthy things: Most Christians of the present day fear to lose them.
“How valuable is the truth? Our founders in the last words of the Declaration of Independence mutually pledged their ‘Lives, Fortunes, and Sacred Honor.’
“What is worth living for? What is worth dying for? Do you put God first, people second, and material things a distant third? We need to remember our first love. We need to come back to that place. The church needs to be honest—to take an inventory and go back to its first love—to renew a relationship with God.”
Editor’s note: Mr. Hernandez, the author of this article, viewed this service via livestream.
Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].