Summary: God desires more than Sunday worship -- He wants our worship to be an every day experience.
I am constantly amazed at all the fuss made over those whose faces fill the screen on Inside Edition, Nightline, 60 Minutes, 20/20, and the evening news. The lists of names are endless, the crimes committed are incomprehensible, and the impact on the lives of the victims are far reaching. Whether it be Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gasey, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, Sharon Smith, or Timothy McViegh -- time and time again we hear reports of the hideous crimes committed by our fellow human beings and we are shocked that rational, modern-day men and women could exhibit such animalistic behavior. There is a phenomenon that takes place every time one of these horrific crimes is committed. The crime is detailed with a thoroughness that we really do not need to hear about, but nonetheless, each minute part of the crime is chronicled for the consumers to feast upon. After the crime is detailed the scene shifts to family and friends who knew the offender. Most of the time the friends and family express their disbelief that their loved one could behave in such a way. When we hear the testimonies of the people who knew the villain best, we are stunned that someone could pull-off such a hoax, such a scam, such a thorough program of misinformation.
The veil of deceit is heavy in our nation today, not just on the television screen and in the penitentiaries, but on each and every street, in every hall, house, city, school, and sanctuary in America. The veil of deceit that I am talking about begins in every human heart and invades every corner of society in our nation.
I am amazed at the stories of crime which are told day-in and day-out by our media, not because of the crime, I am convinced of the utter depravity of the human heart, but because of our response. We watch the stories like piranhas waiting for their next meal, then tell all of our friends that we don't understand how someone could live such diametrically opposed lives -- lives of respectability around one crowd and a life of crime around others. I am amazed at all of this talk because the same fragmentation of the human heart that we see reported on the screen is the same fragmentation which each and every one of us live with every day of our lives.
The jury may still be out in the courts of the sociologists and criminologist of our society as to why these insidious events take place on a daily basis, but the jury has reached a verdict in the Heavens concerning the human heart -- The human heart is evil beyond comprehension. I know that verdict may catch many of us off guard. It just sounds too harsh. How could it be? It might do us some good to stop and think for a moment.
We need not think of such poster boys of crime as Tim McVeigh or Dylan Klebold, we need look no further than those who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ. On any given Sunday morning, "Joe and Jane Christian" hear the alarm go off to wake them up so they can get themselves and the children ready for Sunday school. Instead of bounding out of bed, they hit the snooze bar, they hit the snooze bar, they hit the snooze bar...and before you know it Sunday school is half over and they decide they will just go to church. They slowly roll out of bed, eat breakfast, get dressed, and pile into the car. When they arrive at the house of worship, they take a bulletin, and a seat. They sing the songs of faith proclaiming the glories of God, the blessings of salvation, and the new life in Christ. They bow their heads and pray along with the pastor. They open their Bible, which hasn't been opened since last Sunday, and follow along with the sermon. They stand to their feet and sing the invitation hymn, and could possibly even muster an "Amen" if some person accepts Christ at the end of the service. When the final prayer is uttered they leave glad they came to church.
You say, "Well what's wrong with that picture?" Nothing, other than the fact that the family didn't make it with their children to Sunday morning Bible study. They came to worship and listened attentively, sang the songs of faith with proper pitch and clarity, and prayed with a fervent determination. All well and good. The problem arises when they leave the sanctuary and go back into their everyday life. When Joe and Jane Christian leave the house of the Lord, supposedly transformed by God's love, mercy, and grace, they leave behind everything they've learned from God's Word as well. They leave the same narrow, petty, prejudiced, hate-filled, unforgiving, and selfish person that they were before they arrived. The fragmentation is evident to all of those who know them best. Their wife, husband, children, and business associates look at them like they are aliens if they ever talk to them about the Lord because their lives show so little evidence of having ever been in His presence of the Savior.