Dear Cobham Park Church Family,
The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is in the headlines now, but I hope it will be yesterday’s news by the time you read this. Even the thought of a contagious virus makes people nervous. Other disasters can be easier to deal with. We can track approaching hurricanes with sophisticated equipment. Destructive fires can be seen, felt, heard, or smelled. Viral infections, however, can spread invisibly with no warning from our senses. A victim’s first symptoms may appear after he or she has already unwittingly infected others. Yes, this is unnerving stuff. May we respond to such dangers with wise faith rather than anxious worry.
Spiritual infections are even more insidious and dangerous. They often go unnoticed and untreated, and they are completely beyond the reach of medical science. Much more than physical health is at stake here; the church’s power and purpose are on the line. I’ll call one such infection “Dirty Cup Virus.” This spiritual contagion is epidemic in God’s people; every church I’ve ever attended (even Cobham Park) has been touched by it in some way. The Dirty Cup Virus describes our human tendency to concentrate on outward appearances more than vital inner realities. This is as absurd as washing the outside of a dirty dinner glass while leaving the inside untouched. Such a cup may seem good at first glance, but it’s actually unusable—stained and stinking within. Jesus spoke of this spiritual disease with disgust:
…Hypocrite! You clean the outside of the cup and plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean (Matthew 23:25-26; ESV).
So what are some symptoms of the Dirty Cup Virus? I’ve included a church self-test below. Carefully read through these signs of outward and inward health. If a church—or Christian—values the outside more than the inside, infection may be present. To avoid spiritual sickness or death, go to the Great Physician immediately!
Outside of the Cup Inside of the Cup
Bringing people in People bringing the good news out
Loved and supported by many Loving and helping many
Money talks. How much does it cost? Faithful to Christ–no matter the cost
Building beautiful facilities Building beautiful character
Busy calendars and full pews Busy prayer-life and lives full of praise
Giving great entertainment Giving genuine worship
People-pleasing and looking good Pleasing to God and pure in heart
Comfortable, happy, and respected sharing the suffering and joy of Jesus
Impressive and well-liked ministers Every member a minister
In Christ’s Love (and currently undergoing treatment),