CAN YOU IMAGINE?
Can you imagine a list of sins
you don’t even want to be in the same building
wherein they occur???
What sins, to you are so horrible that you would not want to be in the same building with them, and certainly would not want them occurring in your church building?
Most would not want some coming to worship service who were stoned drunk. Most would not want serial killers in their home. The sins we would list as being so horrible, the church folks would be shocked if they saw adultery, homosexual sex, drunkenness, murder, grand theft occurring openly at the services. If you walked into your Sunday School class area and found many there sinning those sins, you would be shocked, holler for help, call a special business meeting and make changes to make sure those sins never again occurred in your church building.
Yet... can you imagine something worse?
God gave a list of the most horrible sins, as He sees them.
Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV)
These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him:
A proud look,
a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations,
feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies,
and he that soweth discord among brethren.
I dare to claim that most, if not all of those sins are in your church building every week. Our list differs from God’s. He sees these as horrible, for these are sinned by ones who should know better. These sins are overlooked, condoned, given pretty names, and often never repented.
Our list of horrible sins are most often sinned by those not converted to the faith. They are committed by people who have rejected Jesus, and are thereby blind to spiritual things.
Yet, God’s list sounds like a list of sins that you can find every week in most every church vestibule.
The ‘proud look’ can be seen in the smug face as one struts down the church aisle in their newly purchased garment. They look wonderful, and their proud look betrays the number one sin on God’s list.
The ‘lying tongue’ is heard as one explains why they missed last Sunday. They say they were not feeling well enough, but in actuality they felt good enough to mow their lawn, and go out to a fancy restaurant to eat.
The ‘hands that shed innocent blood’ are those who are unrepentant of abortion. The only ‘innocent’ blood is that of newborns. All the rest of us have had sin, so are not ‘innocent’, but are hopefully ‘forgiven. Abortion can be repented of, forgiven. Yet, there are some who have had abortions, and have not repented, and if they get pregnant again, will have another one. This sin is found in many churches.
"A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations’ is found in the group in the corner devising a plan to force the pastor to resign. Their cause may be instigated by his current sermons on ‘sins of the tongue’, which makes them uncomfortable. They devise a plan to suggest the pastor has stolen from the offering plate, and hope he will be so embarrassed to be classed as a common crook, he will resign.
The ‘feet that be swift in running to mischief’ are those in the vestibule that are in a hurry to get out of the church parking lot, for the are hurrying to the store to get some alcoholic beverages for their super bowl party later today.
A false witness that speaketh lies is heard sharing with all who will listen, some gossip they heard about one of the board members. It may not be true, the time it would take to verify its truth is hard to spare. Yet, it is time we remove lies from our tongue.
The one that soweth discord among brethren will be seen sharing some coffee with one who will listen, for they claim proof that ‘brother so and so’ or ‘sister know it all, really has a ‘religious spirit’ and needs to be rebuked at the next business meeting of the church.
These sins happen in that way, or similar ways, every Sunday in some churches. It is time we stand up against evil in the church. It is time we look at which sins are atop God’s list. We need to stand up against sins that truly bother God.
They are not hard to find, for they are within the church walls. Since the church has had such a confusing, contradictory, and startling reputation - the reactions to it vary greatly. Some will occasionally attend, but often will consider alternatives to be better places to go on Sunday than the church. Many will use church as a quiet place to go and relax on Sundays. Others use church attendance as a place to go in order to feel better. Some have used church as a place to achieve better social position. A few will attend church during hard times, as a crutch is used in times of ailment.
Many congregations are places of meaningless noise, and not a "House of Prayer." The noise itself is not bad, but noise alone is not enough. Mary (sister of Lazarus and Martha) chose the "better" part and sat at Jesus' feet. She came to Jesus to sit in His presence, learn, and worship. Others are like Martha, and come only to serve. In our day, we find many who only come and go through the motions.
It might surprise many to know that the devil still attends worship services. In fact, he attends some in heaven itself.
"Now there came a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them."
We don't know which day it was, perhaps a Sabbath, or perhaps this type of service occurs daily in heaven. The term, "sons of God" occurs five times in the Old Testament. It always refers to the angels of heaven. These angels gathered to worship God at His throne. The evil one, the devil, entered amidst the righteous angels. If the devil can enter this worship service, certainly he and his demonic henchmen are possible in our worship services on earth. Even at the last supper, Judas was there whom Satan had entered. We are presumptuous to assume that the devil and the devilish do not care to attend our worship services. Their attendance records are probably often better than the saints' attendance records.
Mere assembling is of no value. We do not get "points" for our attendance. We are not going to get to heaven for proper church membership and attendance. The devil attends church, and he will not be accepted into heaven. He came to criticize, to condemn, to complain, and to find fault. The devil came wicked, behaved wickedly, and left more wicked than he came. Many people in congregations of today do the same. It was amidst a holy congregation, and before the Holy God, that the devil lied about Job. It was there that he plotted the persecution of Job.
The best of congregations are not free of evil ones. At the last supper, the disciples asked Jesus, "Is it I?" (John 13:21-27). We too must search our hearts as we attend worship services. We must be careful we do not assume that our attendance assures our spirituality.
All about us in most churches are the sins that no one wants to call a ‘sin’. We excuse them, condone them, give explanation for them, and then depart till the next service where those sins continue to doom souls.
CAN YOU IMAGINE God’s surprise at our list?
The list that most Christians will give to describe as the most abominable, are far different from God’s own list.