Summary: A healthy faith community is characterized by Christ-like humility and mutual consideration.
Title: Malware in the Church
Text: Mark 10:35-45
Thesis: A healthy faith community is characterized by Christ-like humility and mutual consideration.
This week I began reading The Girl In the Spider’s Web… another Scandinavian mystery novel. It is the 4th book of the Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series. It begins with a crisis: Someone of extraordinary computer skill and devious intent had hacked the United States National Security Agency. It was a crisis of international proportions.
Malware is short for malicious software. Malware is any software used to disrupt computer operation, to gather information or gain access to private computer systems. Malware is defined by it malicious intent… it is stealthy and often designed to cause harm or extort payment. Malware is an umbrella term used to refer to a number of intrusive software including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, etc.
Ransomware is a type of malware, used by cyber blackmailers, that restricts access to a computer system that it infects in some way, and demands that the user pay a ransom to the operators of the malware to remove the restriction.
Earlier this year several law enforcement agencies in Maine were cyber attached, encrypting all their files, making them inaccessible. They were not alone… departments in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Illinois were also hacked. In all but one case the law enforcement agencies paid a ransom to get their files released or unlocked.
Any business or any person operating an online computer can fall victim to a cyber-attack so we install firewall protection and security systems and anti-virus systems to prevent malware intrusions into our computers. That’s why we are careful about opening email from individuals and sites we do not recognize in that to do so is like opening the door of your home to a kidnapper or thief.
You could say that in a similar way, we are all spiritually vulnerable to a sin virus attack in our personal lives. Viruses are infectious. Sin is infectious.
I. Sin is Infectious, Mark 10:35-40
“When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” Mark 10:37
A viral infection is any type of infection that is caused by a virus. A virus is a germ that is smaller than a bacteria. Viruses are encapsulated by a protective coating so they are more difficult to kill than bacteria. They are harder to treat because they are not susceptible to antibiotics like bacteria are because of their protective coating. However, viruses cannot grow or exist without host cells - they must be in a living organism (such as the human body) to survive. True also of sin… it thrives in a human host.
In our text today two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, both caught a sin virus. We could call it a prideful ambition virus. They were looking to the earthly reign of Christ and presuming to ask that they be given preferential status as Jesus right-hand and left hand men… being seated one on Jesus right and the other on his left. In short… James and John were working the angle of their own personal agendas.
Alan Redpath was quoted in Leadership, “The secret of every discord in Christian homes and communities and churches I that we seek our own way and our own glory.” (Leadership, Vol. 3, no. 2)
The interesting thing about sin is that it is like a virus… it is catching.
II. Infectious Sin is Contagious, Mark 10:41-44
When the other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. Mark 10:41
An article in Entrepreneur titled “How to Keep Colds and Flu Out of the Office cited statistics from the Department of Disease Control claiming flu alone costs businesses $10.4 billion in direct costs annually. 1/5th of the U.S. population will get the flu this year. 200,000 of us will be hospitalized from the flu.
Despite these statistics Americans are in no rush to get flu vaccinations. Only 37% plan to be vaccinated. All this despite 65% of employees will go to work sick on any given day. In a company as small as 25 employees, the loss of productivity due to employee sickness costs that company $33,000 a year.
They claim that open offices are akin to flying in an airplane where everyone’s germs are being circulated through the ventilation system. If you go to work sick you will infect your co-workers.
They say that when your head feels like it is about to implode, you are sweating like a melting popsicle on the 4th of July and your cough scares your children and sends the dog into hiding under the bed… it is time to call in sick.