Reading: Psalm 119:1-11
Reading: 1 Tim. 6:1-5 from 'The Message' Paraphrase
Whoever is a slave must make the best of it, giving respect to his master so that outsiders don't blame God and our teaching for his behaviour.  Slaves with Christian masters all the more so—their masters are really their beloved brothers!
These are the things I want you to teach and preach.  If you have leaders there who teach otherwise, who refuse the solid words of our Master Jesus and this godly instruction,  tag them for what they are: ignorant windbags who infect the air with germs of envy, controversy, bad-mouthing, suspicious rumours.  Eventually there's an epidemic of backstabbing, and truth is but a distant memory. They think religion is a way to make a fast buck.
[*] You may remember some years ago, the series of films made about the little Volkswagen Beetle, Herbie, otherwise known as 'The Love Bug'.
[a] The world was thrown into chaos a short time ago. It affected hundreds of thousands of businesses, the American Pentagon, and even the British government!
[b] Millions of individuals panicked - WHY?
BECAUSE THEY GOT A LITTLE MESSAGE ON THEIR COMPUTER'S E-MAIL THAT WAS ENTITLED SIMPLY, 'I LOVE YOU'. A VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF 'LOVE BUG'.
[c] It was realised that this simple message contained a computer virus, that has been termed 'The killer from Manila', and was spreading throughout the world faster then the black death.
[d] It comes to your computer looking like an innocent letter. But as soon as you try to open it and read it, starts a rogue programme, that it secretly contains, takes over your computer, destroys a lot data in your computer, and automatically sends itself to everyone on your computer address book, to do the same to theirs!
One member of the British Parliament said that he looked at his e-mails, and found dozens and dozens of them, all saying 'I love you', many coming from opposition members - so he knew something strange was afoot!
[e] One of the newspapers took up the theme in their cartoon, showing Frank Dobson, the unsuccessful candidate for London Mayor, sitting at his computer. On the screen was an e-mail message that said, "We don't love you", and signed, "The electorate." Frank is shown, saying "It must be a computer virus."
[f] I've just got rid of a virus on my own computer, called the KAK worm virus. It came to me the same way, as the 'love' virus has been spreading, attached to an e-mail. As soon as you read your letter, unknown to you, it infected your system, writing programs all over your computer, and automatically running itself, every time you turned your computer on.
It also attached itself secretly, to every e-mail that you sent, in order to spread itself. One of the worrying aspects was that every time I would turn on my computer, it would try and phone through to the Internet! You see some of the viruses will search your computer for passwords, and credit or debit card details, or Bank account details and automatically send them to a secret location, obviously to be used criminally later on!
[*] When Jesus walked the earth, He used those things around Him for parables to teach spiritual truth.
Had He been walking the earth in the flesh today, I'm sure He would have used modern technology, to teach spiritual truth.
[a] As I thought about it, it struck me, how the destructive 'love' virus, is so like another virus, bent on destroying mankind - the virus of SIN!
[b] The devil is the writer of the program, and it is something that so often comes in innocent looking disguise.
How often we can be taken in by something that just seems 'a bit of fun' or 'something everybody's doing'.
It just doesn't seem like anything that could one day take over our lives, and destroy us eternally.
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the ends thereof, are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12)
'The Message' paraphrase puts it very forcibly!
There's a way of life that looks harmless enough;
look again—it leads straight to hell.
 Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.
[c] It can come apparently authorised by someone we trust.
The virus appears to be sent from someone we know and have confidence in.
I'm reminded of the story of the drunkard, going off to the pub on a night when the snow was deep. He noticed that his little boy was jumping in the snow and following him. "What are you doing" he asked.
"I'm just following in your footsteps" said the little boy! He trusted his father, and where he was leading! How many have been led into sin and destruction, by following the lead or influence of someone they trusted. We must not look to others for our example! The bible speaks about "Looking unto Jesus."
[d] A computer virus is made for purposes of destruction!
Make no mistake about it; irrespective of how it may be dressed up, and the tinsel that surrounds it, sin is there to destroy your soul. That's why the devil invented it!
Like the worm virus, I had on my computer, it will 'worm' it's way into every part of your life.
This is why our doctrine states that mankind is 'totally depraved'. As I've said before, it doesn't mean that we are totally bad, but that to a greater or lesser degree, sin has 'wormed' it's way into every part of our lives.
"Sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:15)
[e] If we give it house-room, it will use our lives to infect others!
Sin will become such a 'natural' part of us, that we will not be aware, that our influence, our conversation, our attitude, our interests, our lack of interest in the things of God, prayer, Bible Study, Fellowship, will adversely affect those around us, who take their example from us!
How often have I heard it said, "Well ***** doesn't seem to see any harm in it!" Or, "Well, they don't go, why should I?"
[f] If a virus infects our computer, we need expert help in removing it! Only then will our system be 'clean'! I had to get a special program written by Microsoft, and get details of how to cleanse my system, from McAfees, who make one of the most popular antivirus programs.
If your soul is to be cleansed from sin, you will need expert help! You can't do it yourself!
In Jeremiah 2:22, God gives His opinion of a 'do-it-yourself salvation. He says, "Even if you washed with the strongest soap, I would still see the stain of your guilt."
"Scrub away at your soul" He is saying, "it won't do any good!"
THE ALTERNATIVE - "If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
[g] Jesus is the sin-bearer on Calvary's cross, He has the only antivirus that actually works - his own precious blood, that was shed for us each one.
"The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)
[a] All of mankind have been infected by the sin virus.
"There is not a just man upon the earth that doeth good and sinneth not." (Eccles 7:20)
"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
[b] They all continue to infect one another.
[c] It causes many lives to crash, and lose vital elements of their system, just like a computer - but still their eyes are blinded to the truth, and the terrible destruction that sin is wrecking in their lives.
[d] Perhaps in this meeting, you are aware that God the Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart, and showing you that you have the critical infection of sin rampant in your life.
[e] It's time now to let God deal with it, cleanse and even re-program you.
He can put right all the damage that sin has wrought in your life, if you will let Him.
Prayer chorus no 72