I’M A BIG HYPOCRITE
By Ed Young
April 13, 2014
“If I ever went to church, the roof would cave in!” It’s a thought many people have. It’s one that reveals a lot about what we think of ourselves and of our relationship with God. But what we often miss is how great that event could actually be in the life of so many people.
In this message, Pastor Ed Young takes a look at a biblical account of a roof actually caving in. And as we learn how four men did everything they could to get their friend to Jesus, we discover the challenge and potential we all have to get those we know through the roof.
Welcome to Fellowship Church. You know, Fellowship Church is a church that has a lot of seats. Have you ever thought about that before? We have a lot of seats. We began Fellowship over two decades ago and when we had our little church in a little office complex that we were renting we had one service. We ran out of seats. In fact, most of our services back in the first six months were so crowded we had to tap the regular attenders, the members, on the shoulders and ask them to go sit out in the hall or stand around the edge while visitors and guests would have a better seat. Well, now we have this 10-facility location. We have 10 different sites, and the reason we have these multi-site locations is simply to provide seats for people. Not only are we a church now in this area, we’re also a church in Miami, Florida. We have several campuses there. We have campuses all over Dallas/Fort Worth. We have campuses across the pond in London, England. We do it because we want to provide seats for people. You know, I’ve never seen an empty seat come to a personal relationship in Jesus Christ. But, I have seen someone sitting in a seat come into a personal relationship with Christ.
We have some funny stories about people who have occupied these seats over the years. We’ve had celebrities in seats. We’ve had people who are fresh out of prison in these seats. We’ve had political figures in these seats. We’ve had Academy Award-winning actors and actresses over the years to cycle through Fellowship. We’ve had teachers in these seats. We’ve had preachers in these seats. We’ve had all sorts of people occupy seats. And there’s something about a seat. In fact, our seat is made for a seat. We like to have a seat. We want to have good seats. And a lot of people are focused on front-row seats or maybe box seats or I had to sit in the nosebleed section. Or maybe, just maybe you have reserve seats. And we like to sit usually in certain places. Having spoken a lot, especially at this location, I can look around and see many familiar faces because you’re sitting in the same places. And that’s sort of natural. There’s something about a seat.
Jesus, the Bible says in Mark chapter 2, went back to a place called Capernaum. Now some scholars say that Jesus was speaking in his house. Others feel like it could have been Simon Peter’s house. We don’t know, but the gospel of Mark chapter 2 says it was rumored, people heard, we would say social media was blowing up, Jesus was in the house. And because Jesus was so popular during this time, he was like at the apex of his public ministry. People swarmed to where they even thought he was.
What if I told you next weekend, what if I said LeBron James will be in the house? Whoa. You would tell your friends, you would tell your coworkers, you would tell your family members. You would have them here, no doubt about it, at Fellowship Church. What if I said that Katy Perry was gonna be at one location, maybe Justin Bieber at another location, maybe Beyonce at another location, maybe Jay-Z at another location, maybe Donald Trump at another location. What if I just started naming all of these major celebrities, all of these people, all of these A-listers, these cultural elites, what if I said they were gonna be at all our locations. I’m telling you right now it would be an easy invite, wouldn’t it? No problem! Our house would be full! It would be standing room only.
One of the funniest things that ever happened in the history of Fellowship Church was back in the days when the Cowboys were just getting really popular in the 1990’s. Our church was small. We had one service, several hundred people showing up, and I was walking across the parking lot to speak at our only service. So I’m 28 years old, just cruising across the parking lot. I see some of our parkers. And back in the day we had to get anybody to be a parker. Most of them were like chain smokers <inhaling and puffing sounds>. You could identify the parkers by the puffs of smoke. Where’s that parker? Oh, there he is. I see he’s on his fourth cigarette. Well normally the parkers were just smoking, and I’m not lying here. In fact, some trivia, Dr. Phil was on our parking crew back in the day, Phil McGraw. That’s a whole ‘nother story.
So I’m walking and I see the parkers, they have like crocodile grins. And I’m thinking to myself, man, I’ve never seen the parkers (at the time – now our parkers are awesome), I’ve never seen them this excited. And one blurts out, “Pastor, Troy Aikman’s here! Troy Aikman! The quarterback for the Cowboys! Troy Aikman! I just saw him!”
I said, “Man, that’s great. Troy’s here, that’s good. Troy’s here.” I walk in. The greeters:
“Oh, Troy Aikman’s here! I just saw Troy Aikman! Troy! Ed, Troy Aikman! Troy Aikman!”
Now, let me pause for a second. Owen Goff, for 24 years, has been by my side, my wingman, for all these years. And he heard this. Different people coming up to me, assaulting me, telling me that Troy Aikman was at church. So it happened several times. I walk in the lobby, several other people… “Troy just walked up the steps! Troy Aikman got some coffee right here. Troy Aikman’s here. Wanted you to know.”
“Thanks, appreciate it.” So I walk in, I sit down, getting ready to preach. Owen has heard all of this. And right before I stand behind the pulpit and speak Owen leans over and goes,
“Pastor, Troy Aikman is here today.” I said,
“Owen, I’ve only heard that about a squillion times already.” And it was interesting because it was the first time a celebrity had ever gone to our church. And people were like turning and looking around. And it was embarrassing! After Troy left the service we had ushers, I mean they looked like Jack Ruby when they went after Lee Harvey Oswald. “Troy! Troy! Troy!” And I’m saying to myself, he’ll never come back. We acted like a bunch of idiots. Sure enough he did come back and he went to our church for a long, long time.
People, though, came to our church because Troy Aikman came to our church. I’m serious! It was written up in all these magazines and all of these different little TMZs, “Troy Aikman goes to church. Fellowship Church.” It helped our growth. And I think a lot of people came to church just to see Troy. They weren’t thinking about Jesus but they wanted to see Troy.
We have an opportunity, don’t we, to invite people to church, to bring people to sit by us in these seats. LeBron, easy invite. Donald Trump, no problem. Katy Perry? Oh yeah. Lady Gaga, oh yeah. I wouldn’t mind seeing her! Yet Jesus is in the house every weekend! Yet we sometimes stumble and fumble and stutter when we have the opportunity to bring someone to sit in one of these seats here or in one of our many different campuses because we don’t want to scare anybody. We don’t want to turn anybody off. We don’t want to freak anybody out. But, if we had a celebrity here like we do now and then, they still show up. And if I told you who was out there, who was at this campus or that campus, no problem! Oh, Bono goes to the Downtown Dallas campus. <whoomp!> Jesus was in the house in Capernaum! It was SRO – Standing room only!
And the Bible says (I won’t read it for you, you can read it) that he was preaching the word. But again I gotta tell you it was jammed. Every seat was taken. You couldn’t even get near the place. In fact, you couldn’t even get near the door.
So there was a situation which had to be faced. Once again, why do we do what we do at Fellowship? Why do we do what we do at Fellowship? Why do we have 10 locations, all of these seats, seats upon seats upon seats. Why do we do so many different services? Because I like speaking that much? No! Because we like producing stuff that much? No! Because we like writing curriculum at… No! We do it because of Jesus. That’s why we do what we do! And if you’re here today and you’re maybe new to this thing, you might be sort of a pre-Christian, that’s cool. Keep occupying that seat and I believe if you keep occupying that seat you’ll get rescued one day.
All of us who have been rescued, someone brought us to Jesus. Someone brought us to the house. This situation was freaky. And the reason I call it a situation is because if you’ll keep reading, a group of men, some people think it was four but it was more than four. A group of men, they were passionate about the house. In fact, the psalmist says that we should be passionate, we should have a passion for the house. And these guys obviously had a passion for the house. Who knows? I mean, I don’t know who they were. We can guess, we can speculate, maybe Jesus had changed their lives, maybe they had been healed, maybe they had been power-washed. We don’t know. These guys, though, were dedicated. They saw this obstacle, they saw this situation, and they faced it. They were like, you know what? It looks difficult but we are gonna bring our friend to the house. And that’s what they did.
So again, the gospel of Mark, chapter 2. Let me skip down to verses 2 and then I will go to 3 and 5. “Immediately many gathered (verse 2) so there was no room to receive them, not even near the door. He preached the word to them.” And anybody just wanna know, I don’t give you public opinion, I don’t give you self-help stuff, I don’t give you psychological mumbo-jumbo, I don’t give you the power of positive thinking or winking. No, no, no, no. I’m preaching and teaching the Word. Fellowship Church is a church based on the Word! We’re under the authority of the Word. We believe the Word, we even believe the maps.
Verse 3, “Then they came to him bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men.” It was more than four, but these guys, these cats were determined. Here was a paralytic, someone on a mat. And let me stop here for a second. We’re gonna see here that his condition was caused by sin. Obviously all sickness is not caused by sin. In this context the paralytic’s condition was caused by rebellion before God. So they were determined, they knew this guy. I would think their lives have been changed by Jesus so they were determined and dedicated to go after him so they came to him bringing a paralytic, who was carried by four men.
Again, just for a second let’s pause, those of us who are believers, just pause for 5 seconds. Who brought you to Jesus? Who? Who? Now let’s just silently thank God for that person. It could have been a parent, it could have been a teacher, it could have been a coach, it could have been a friend. I don’t know who. Who brought you to Jesus?
Now if you’re not a follower of Christ, if you’re occupying this seat, who invited you to Fellowship? About 95% of everyone here receives an invitation by a human being to show up in the house. So the Bible says when they could not come near him (again, obstacles – obstacles) because of the crowd they uncovered the roof where he was. I love that! You talk about raising the roof. These guys, I love this, they were 3D: dedicated, determined, and discerning.
They were dedicated. They knew this guy didn’t know Jesus and they thought that Jesus could change his life. Also, they were determined. They were like, come Hell or high water we’re bringing our boy to Jesus. Even though we can’t get a seat, we’re doing it. And they were discerning. If you know anything about architecture back in the day the roofs were flat. They were made with tile, simply clay tile. So these cats, with the paralyzed dude on the mat, they climb up on top of the roof. The place is jammed, and they remove the tiles, just enough room to lower this man on the mat to have courtside seats, to have front-row seats in front of the Savior. Is that cool? They looked and saw the crowd. They were like, there is no way.
And the crowd, this is interesting, they didn’t really care about this guy, obviously. They were like, they were self-centered. These other guys were soul-centered. They were like, I’ve had my life changed and Jesus I’ve heard you can change, so we’re gonna take our boy, our paralyzed boy, who has been down on the mat to Jesus.
Who do you know who’s on the mat? Who do you know who has almost been counted out by a marriage or two, by methamphetamine, by alcohol, by pornography, by being ripped off in a business deal. Who do you know who is lying on the mat? Who do you know who is being counted out right now? Who do you know who is paralyzed? Who do you know on the mat? Bring him to Jesus. Have determination. Have discernment. Be determined.
But these people broke through the roof, lowered the man down right there in front of Jesus. And Jesus saw, I love this – keep reading, their faith. He saw their faith. Again, I ask you who are you regularly bringing to Jesus? I’m talking to believers now. Who are you bringing to Jesus? Who are you bringing to occupy these seats?
Now obvious, I mean Captain Obvious, we’ve got Easter coming up, all these services. And we have all these services all the time anyway. But I mean what an easy invite. And you’re gonna tell God, “Well, I don’t wanna scare him. I don’t want to freak him out. I’m not sure. If LeBron or Troy or Lady Gaga or Bono or Katy Perry, if they were gonna be there I know you’d invite them. There’s no doubt. Bill Gates? Aw, man. You would just get in people’s grill and invite them. I’m not saying we should be mean or ugly, I’m not saying we should be condescending, nothing like that. We should have passion like these guys had. We should have purpose like these guys had. And we should see the situation from Christ’s eyes. But I’m asking you, who are you regularly inviting/bringing to Jesus?
I’m beginning a series next weekend called The Art of Easter. I’m gonna do some painting. We’re painting a portrait, well really with chalk. I think it’s the largest chalk drawing in the history, right out there in our parking lot. Did you know that? You know it now. Largest picture of Jesus I believe ever. Why are we doing that? Because it’s about Jesus. And I’m talking about Jesus and I’m gonna paint for the next several weeks. You’ll notice in all of the lobbies in all of our campuses we have colors, and these colors we want you to paint. You don’t have to be an artist. We have colors and these colors represent your friends, your neighbors, your family, your whoever. And as you paint on the walls of our lobby hopefully you will paint and breathe a prayer for them that God will bring up, I know he will if you pray it, a situation and a conversation, which will lead one day, I believe, to their life transformation.
Well this cat, the guy was paralyzed. No one would give up their seat. He’s lowered down in front of Jesus and you know what Jesus does? This is unique. He says,
“Your sins are forgiven.” Wait a minute, Jesus. The guy can’t even walk and you’re talking about sin? Your sins are forgiven. That’s what Jesus said. So, these guys faced a serious situation. But notice this transformation. So when they had broken through the roof and they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying, when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic,
“Son, your sins are forgiven.” Here’s the Tweet of the day. The lost are worth the cost. The lost are worth the cost. There was a financial cost back in the day. Scaling, walking on the roof, ripping the roof up, lowering the guy down. We roll the dice financially at Fellowship Church. We don’t play it safe, we don’t have some trust or some hidden cash somewhere. I’m telling you what we receive, we spend. It’s that simple. So there is a financial risk. And when you are a soul-centered church you will roll the dice financially. It costs something. Jesus said, “Go into all the world.” Going to all the world costs a lot of cash money and I want to thank you here and at all of our campuses for understanding that.
But notice also, too, there is an emotional cost. You want to grow deep? You want to really grow deep? You begin to pray, you begin to share, you begin to bring people, men and women on the mat to church, it’ll change your life.
There’s a relational cost as well. These guys, I mean they cashed in their relational chips bringing this guy to Jesus. Now while this was happening, you know you’re gonna have some hypocrites there. They’re everywhere. And back in the day, I want you to mark in your Bibles, Mark chapter 2, this is the first time the haters begin to really get organized against Jesus. Because this led to his arrest, death, burial (Clyde Warren Park this Friday. I’ll see you there at 7:00). It led to his death and also obviously his resurrection, which Good Friday is where we’re going to take communion together as a community, as a city, and then also it comes to the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, at all of our different locations we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
So these hypocrites were thinking all this trash and Jesus was just tracing their conversation. He was reading their e-mail. He had hacked into their hearts. He’s like, “I know what you guys are thinking! You’re thinking I can’t forgive sins. You’re thinking, like, blasphemy. I know what you’re thinking!” And bow-wow-wow, it messed these cats up! They were like, “He knows what I’m thinking!” And here’s what’s so whack about these hypocrites. They are looking at the Messiah, they’re looking at God, someone they were waiting for yet they couldn’t even see it. Their eyes saw him but their heart is clueless. I’m the only Jesus, you’re the only Jesus many people will ever see, yet they don’t realize when they’re talking to you and me, they’re talking to the answer inside of our lives that can change their lives. I pray not only that people can see us but their hearts will be open so they will occupy a seat! Because if you’re not inviting people regularly to the house you’re a hypocrite! If I’m not regularly inviting people to the house I’m a hypocrite! And it’s so difficult for me because I’m a marked man, I’m a pastor. This is my “binness” as we say in Texas. Other places, business. I’m surrounded so much by believers I have to really work to rub shoulders with people who are on the mat, who are paralyzed. So Jesus forgives this guy’s sin. Then the Pharisees, the religious leaders again, guys they had every right to look at Jesus, to check him out. They were the spiritual accountability heads of the whole nation and all that. However, they didn’t get it. They didn’t get it. They were too busy examining their navels, looking at Jesus and intellectualizing the thing that they missed the magic.
A guy sent me this, a friend of mine, he said, “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.” Jesus was and is an artist. The biggest fear I have is teaching you something you don’t understand. The biggest fear I deal with, anybody at Fellowship Church who is on our staff deals with is people leave confused. I know how to confuse you, and there are a lot of churches in America, all they do is confuse people! And people call them deep. They’re not deep, they’re full of intellectuals. They’re not deep, they’re muddy. I don’t wanna be like the Trinity or the Mississippi, I want to be like the Caribbean. I want to be like a swimming pool.
So now Jesus comes back and he just totally, totally puts it in their face. Here they’re barking <barking sound effects>, he says, “Which is easier (verse 9)? To say to the paralytic ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed, and walk.’ But that you may know that the Son of Man (he’s calling himself God – huge thing. Son of man, that title 80 times in the New Testament) has power on earth to forgive sins.” He said this to the paralytic.
Now I’m gonna stop for a second. These Pharisees just didn’t get it. They were hypocrites. They didn’t understand it. They didn’t want to understand it. They were seeing this and seeing Jesus say “your sins are forgiven,” only God can say that. Whoa! Hey, guys! Maybe, just maybe this is the Messiah! Huh. Right in front of their face and missed it! Again, people right in front of your face and mine, they just miss is. And that’s the free will that everybody has.
But look what happens. Here they have the big question mark, the Pharisees questioning, the scribes questioning, and Jesus is gonna change the question mark into an exclamation point! Mark 2:11-12, “I say to you (now he’s talking to our boy on the mat) take up your bed, go to your house. Immediately he arose, took up the bed and went out in the presence of them all so that they were all amazed and glorified God saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’” That’s my prayer as we face Easter. That’s my prayer every service. That’s our prayer, that people will move from a question mark to an exclamation point and go, “Wow! I’ve never seen life changed like this!”
What did Jesus do? He looked up and he saw the faith of these four cats, of these four people, lowering the paralytic down to have the best seat in the house. He looked up and then he looked down at the paralytic. He forgave him of his sins, then he healed him. Then notice Jesus looked around. He looked around at the crowd, around at the Pharisees, around at the people who were right on the verge of believing, around at the community at Capernaum. Then he looked within their hearts and within the heart of every person in the house. I think Jesus is doing the same thing right now. He’s waiting. He’s looking up waiting, waiting to see your faith and mine. He’s looking down and he will look down at the people we are bringing to him. He’s looking around at your life and mine, around at someone who is on the mat, around at someone who has been saved and rescued. And he’s looking within. Do we have that hungry heart? Are we determined? Are we dependable? Are we discerning? Do we have passion? It’s all about the seats. Who is sitting? Who is sitting in your seat and in your seat and in your seat?
I want all of us to just touch the seat in front of us for a second. Here and in Miami, London, Dallas, Park Cities, Plano, Fort Worth, Keller Southlake, everybody online. If you’re sitting I want you to touch a seat and let’s just pray a prayer right now. Just agree with me as I’m praying:
God, I pray for this seat. I pray not just for this seat but for someone’s seat to be in the seat next weekend and the next and the next. I want to be a part of this, God. Use me. I pray for people, for family, for coworkers. God I pray for the right opportunity to bring them to you. I’m ready to face the financial cost, the relational cost, the emotional cost, I’m ready.
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]