Summary: Religion promises life and then it sickens! It steals hope, joy and eventually life! Are you contaminated with an RTD? The cure is
It was the morning of December 7th, 1941. There were 353 Japanese airplanes diving and strafing the American battleships and military sites in Pearl Harbor. The results of the "surprise" attack were devastating. 8 battleships sunk. 6 major airfields destroyed. And the worst of it was 2,400 men killed by this attack at 7:50 in the morning. However, the truth is it wasn't a surprise. At 7am that morning the warplanes were 137 miles away. Two US soldiers watched dots appear on radar at a small station in the Pacific. Their screen slowly became full of these dots. These soldiers followed protocol and notified their supervisor, a youth lieutenant who was the only officer on duty because it was a Sunday. This lieutenant thought the planes must be planes from California, and without another thought, said "don't worry about it." At the most important moment of his career and possibly in life this lieutenant failed to be aware and take action and the lost lives were a direct result of his "don't worry about it" mentality.
Our world convinces us that we have achieved real life when we are carefree. "Don't worry be happy" and "Don't you worry about a thing" are pushed across the airwaves and into our spirit and the result is that find ourselves afflicted with a disease. One of the symptoms of this disease, and certainly a fatal one, is being caught off guard, like the lieutenant, and we fall to the attacks of our enemy. However, there is another result or trait of this disease that I want to draw our attention to today because it is the one that Jesus spots in the life of the religious folks of His day!
When he finished that talk, a Pharisee asked him to dinner. He entered his house and sat right down at the table. The Pharisee was shocked and somewhat offended when he saw that Jesus didn’t wash up before the meal. But the Master said to him, “I know you Pharisees burnish the surface of your cups and plates so they sparkle in the sun, but I also know your insides are maggoty with greed and secret evil. Stupid Pharisees! Didn’t the One who made the outside also make the inside? Turn both your pockets and your hearts inside out and give generously to the poor; then your lives will be clean, not just your dishes and your hands. “I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but manage to find loopholes for getting around basic matters of justice and God’s love. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. “You’re hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You love sitting at the head table at church dinners, love preening yourselves in the radiance of public flattery. Frauds! You’re just like unmarked graves: People walk over that nice, grassy surface, never suspecting the rot and corruption that is six feet under.”
One of the religion scholars spoke up: “Teacher, do you realize that in saying these things you’re insulting us?”
He said, “Yes, and I can be even more explicit. You’re hopeless, you religion scholars! You load people down with rules and regulations, nearly breaking their backs, but never lift even a finger to help.
Jesus looks at the Pharisees and in the verse 46 He says, "You load people down with rules and regulations, nearly breaking their backs, but you never lift even a finger to help."
Jesus identifies a sickness. Part of the process of becoming whole is that you need someone to diagnosis or point out an issue to bring it to our attention so we can address it and deal with it. I asked our pastoral staff to examine our body and they pinpointed the same disease Jesus recognized in the Pharisees. I am calling it Apathy Angina.
Angina is a heart condition and is a type of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. In other words, the heart isn't working correctly. The heart isn't doing its job correctly.
Jesus points out that one of the indications of this disease is that we see people loaded down and in need and do nothing to help! Our hearts aren't moved. Our hearts aren't broken. People going under and because we are going over we ignore their plight. The eyes see but the heart doesn’t operate correctly. What should move us doesn’t.
How ironic is it that when asked what RTD our body suffers from that the staff of Passion Church identifies apathy as one? Antithesis of our name! I want to remind you that our name is more than just our name it is our mandate. It means we should be the first to respond. The first on the scene. The most moved.