What Would Jesus Say To…
January 6, 2013
He’s one of the most iconic personalities in the sports world. He’s known for his larger-than-life personality, recognized immediately on-camera, and is unquestionably a business genius. He is also worth $2.7 billion.
In this message, though, Ed Young takes a look at one aspect of Jerry Jones life of which we can all relate. And as we discover a few things Jesus would say to the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, we learn that he may be saying the very same things to us.
What would Jesus say to Jerry Jones, the owner and the general manager of America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys. Good question. Over the next several weeks we’re going to be talking about some cultural icons. What would Jesus say to Kim Kardashian? What would he say to LeBron James? What would he say to Lance Armstrong? What would he say to Jay-Z, to Bill Maher? Great questions. Now some might be going, “Ed, that’s awful presumptuous of you to think that you know what Jesus would say to these personalities.” I understand your line of thinking but in reality I know pretty much down to the letter what Jesus would say, because he talked so often to people like these individuals throughout the Bible.
Back in the day there was a celebrity culture. Maybe not to the level that we have it in 2013 but there was definitely celebrity culture. Jesus said some things, some direct things, to people like we’re gonna talk about.
We love celebrities. We are celebrity-sick in our world. We like to see these people, and I’ve often wondered why I like to watch celebrities or read about celebrities. Have you ever thought about that? I think on one level when we see them, the way they act, the way they spend, the way they travel, what they say, do, I think in a way we say to ourselves, “I would never, ever act like she does. I would never spend my money like him. I would never do that. Or have that tryst. Or betray someone like that.” In a weird way it makes us feel better about ourselves. Yeah, I would not act the way they do. I’m better. It makes me feel that way. But as I search my soul and as I search my heart, and in this series as you prayerfully search your soul and your heart, I think we’ll see a lot of ourselves in these people. In LeBron James? Yeah. Lance Armstrong? Yeah. Kim Kardashian? Yeah. Jerry Jones?! Yes!
They act and behave and dance on a world stage. We don’t. Everything they do is exaggerated. Our stuff, our dealings aren’t. I would argue that they are a reflection of you and me. So this series is really a high-conviction-driven series. Yeah, we’ll learn about celebrities, that’s cool. We will see what Jesus would say to them. But also we’re gonna say what Jesus is gonna say to you and to me.
Let’s talk about Jerry Jones. What would Jesus say to Jerry Jones. Jerry was born in Los Angeles, California. Jerry grew up in Arkansas. He was co-captain of 1964 National Championship Arkansas Razorback football team. From there he started his own company. He got into, as we say around here, the ‘oil binness.’ Made a fortune. In 1989 he was worth $150 million. That’s no chump change. He leveraged it all for, I mean a deal that is (looking back) ridiculous! He bought America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys, for $150 million.
A lot of people were up in arms after this deal. The way he handled Tom Landry. The way a lot of people said he behaved. The Herschel Walker trade. Bringing in Jimmy Johnson. Making deals for the triplets, Troy, Michael, and Emmet. Always making deals. Now the Cowboys have turned into a $1.6-1.7 billion team. Not a bad investment. $150 million now, $1.6-1.7 billion! Jerry Jones, who was once worth $150 million is now worth $2.7 billion. Whoa!
Then he orchestrated another deal as he built this beautiful, as Jerry calls it, “Stadgium.” Have you been to the stadgium? I have, a couple of times. I’ve never seen anything like it! Relatives visit. “Take us by the stadgium!” and we do. Whoa! Oooh! Ahhh! It’s crazy.
Here’s some church trivia, Fellowship trivia. Jerry Jones attended Fellowship Church a year after he bought the Cowboys. He walked onstage and I interviewed him for an entire message, how about that? He was gracious, nice, gave some really good insight about his life. Some of his kids have attended off and on at Fellowship. Do I know Jerry Jones? Am I close to him? Do we hang out? No. Met him several times, sat down and talked with him on the stage, that’s it.
I’m not here to slam celebrities during this series. I’m not gonna do that. God is the judge. I don’t know if Jerry is a Christ-follower or not. I pray so. I don’t know if many of you here are a Christ-follower or not. But back to Jerry.
If I could sum up Jerry’s life in one word it would be the word ‘deal.’ He is a deal maker, isn’t he? Some are saying, “Oh, Jerry Jones. Owner and general manager. He needs to fire himself!” I don’t know if he needs to fire himself. He can do what he wants to do. He owns the team. We can say that all day and all night. He’s obviously super-talented, articulate. He’s a leader of leaders. So whether you agree with what he does or not that’s your deal and that’s my deal. Jesus would say, I think, when he would talk to Jerry Jones about the deal. Jesus is about the deal! God is about the deal.
We don’t make deals with God. Let me say that again. We don’t make deals with God. I say that against a backdrop of what Jerry Jones just said. “I made a deal with the Big Guy Upstairs.” We don’t make deals with God; God makes deals with us. We, though don’t make deals with God. It’s very important that you understand that. It’s very logical. You’re like, OK, I can understand that. Then quickly we jump to Jerry Jones and go, “The audacity of Jerry Jones saying he is gonna make a deal. He’s made a deal with the Man Upstairs, the Big Guy Upstairs. I think that is horrible!”
Be careful. Aaaah! I want to say that. Ed, be careful! We’ve all made deals with God. Look to your right, look to your left, look up here. You’re looking at people who have made deals with God. I’d bet you some money one of the first prayers you ever prayed was a deal-making prayer.
You’re in the third grade, it’s test time. You don’t know up from down. You’re like, “Lord, just give me a glimpse of Laura Patton’s paper! She’s right in front of me. She makes straight As and Lord, if you give me that glimpse I won’t cuss for like two months!”
You’re in high school. “Lord, just give me 10 minutes with this girl because I can ask her out. And if she says yes, God, I’m not gonna argue with my sisters for this whole year. Please, God!”
Then we get older, “Lord, when the management team emerges from the board room I pray they offer me this job. And I pray the compensation is massive and the perks are unbelievable and that office, that corner office, Lord, you know I want it. And God, if you give this to me I’ll tithe to Fellowship Church.”
All those sound familiar, don’t they? What are we doing? We’re making deals with God! “God, I know what’s best for me. I tell you what, you’re in my pocket and I’ll take you out of my pocket when I need you and you perform. All right! I got the job! I talked to the girl. All right! I saw Laura Patton’s paper. Thank you, God. Good boy!” Put him away.
“God, I’m gonna write my will for my life. I know what’s best. I mean, seriously. I know what’s best. You’re the detached deity, you’re the Man Upstairs, and I’m gonna cut a deal with you. I know what’s best so I’m gonna write out my plans and I will tell you what, God. I’m gonna need you so just initial this page right here, yeah. OK, that’s right. OK, thank you. I’ll need ya in a little while.” We make deals, don’t we? With God. We all make deals with God. Negotiating.
Jesus would say, “Jerry!” He would say, “Ed, Lisa!” “Susan!” “Laura, you can’t make deals with me.”
The Bible, interestingly enough, is about a partnership. The first book, the book of Genesis. God established an incredible business opportunity with man. He created man in his image, he said basically, here are my terms. And God spells his terms out in these deals, these covenants throughout Scriptures. Everyone knows what God is gonna do. He does what he says and he says what he does. And then he says, “OK, here’s your part. I’ve initiated the deal. Here’s my part. I’m God and here is your part.”
We know what our part is. Man chose to rebel against God. We messed up the deal, we screwed it up and at this point God could have said, “Too bad. I mean you guys totally messed it up. You guys totally are in the deep weeds. Too bad for you.” He didn’t. God could have said, “You know, because you sinned you have to pay on your sin debt.” See we have a debt. A debt. I have a debt, you have a debt, that we can’t pay off through good works. We can’t. The Bible says this.
Now we can either try to pay on the debt and when we get to the end of our lives God will say, “You know you tried to pay on your debt in your life and now you’ll try to pay your debt in eternity.” And that, quite frankly, is what Hell is. People say,
“How can a good God hurl someone to Hell?” God doesn’t slam dunk anybody to Hell. We make that choice. If we distance ourselves and say, “God, you know what? I’m gonna pay on my sin debt.” God will say, “OK, go for it.” But we’re in a tough situation. We’re in a life or death situation because again in eternity we will be paying on our debt.
God, though, did something. He initiated the ultimate deal. He sent Jesus to live righteously, to die sacrificially, and to rise bodily, thereby giving us the sweetest deal in the universe. God gave us his best, paid for by the blood of Jesus. He has given us a free will. He never overrides, never overrides our free will. Isn’t that great? He could but he doesn’t. He bought us back. He did the work. Christ said on the cross as he paid for your sins and for mine, he said, “The deal is done. It is finished.” So we have a choice to make. We either arrange and receive what Christ has done for us on the cross, his payment for our sin debt, or we pay on the debt. So we either have the sin debt paid for (it’s been paid for), we either receive that or not. That is the deal. That’s the dealio, as people used to say back in the day.
T.S. You know, you can’t become a Christian without understanding some financial terms. We talk about making a deal, check this out real quick.
Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood.”
Ephesians 1:13-14, “The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, is a deposit (you know what that means in the original language? Ernest money. I’m telling you God’s deal is the ideal.) , guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession to the praise of his glory.”
Romans 6:23 basically says the compensation for our conduct is condemnation. “The wages of sin is death.” Eternal separation from God. A forever place that we try to pay on our sin debt but obviously we have a debt that we cannot pay. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God (no strings attached, no wheeling and dealing), the gift of God, the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
What do we do? “OK, God, I’m gonna write out what I wanna do for my life. I’m gonna write out, God, what I want for Fellowship Church. I’m gonna write out what I want for my marriage. I’m gonna write out, God, for my four kids, for my future, and God, just initial it right here.” That’s what we do.
Proverbs 3:5-6, these two verses would be the life verses of our family, and it goes back for generations. I would encourage everybody to have a life verse. If you’re single or if you’re a family.
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and He (God) will direct your path.”
That is a highly caffeinated verse! The shortest path from point A to point B is a straight path. So my deal is I trust, I don’t lean on my own understanding in any realm of life, so I give the totality of who I am to the Lord, and what happens? He makes my paths straight. Man that’s sweet!
Illus: Picture for a second a giant wall. I mean, a massive wall. You got it in your mind? OK, on one side of the wall you’ve got part of Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him.” That’s on one side of the wall. Now on the other side of the wall is, “… and He will direct your path.” God, the God of the universe, will direct your path. On one side of the wall, trust. On the other side of the wall, God is gonna direct our path.
Question: Where do we spend the majority of our lives? Where do we spend the lion’s share of our lives? On the trust side or on the God side telling God, negotiating with God, what we want him to do for us? Hmmm. Yeah. God, I know what’s best for me. I really do. Let me wheel and deal with you. I’m a deal maker. I’m a negotiator, yeah! I can…
“Trust, Ed, trust with all of your heart. Don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge me and I am gonna direct your path.” Is that how you’re living life? Or are you trying to wheel and deal with God?
Someone told me this about God’s plan for our lives. Here’s the deal. Do you realize if God revealed to you his plan for your life right now, it’s so off the chain that we would blow a fuse? That’s how amazing it is. Yet, I think (in my humanity) and so do you that I know better than God. Now, God when I’m in a tough situation, all right. Perform!” I do what I want to do… “Need ya, Lord!”
Here’s what someone told me about God’s will, check it out. God’s will is what you would want for your life…if you had enough sense to want it. Think about that.
But see, we don’t have enough sense. How can you say that? Yeah, I can understand we’re intelligent, we’re made in the image of God. We don’t have enough sense until we have enough sense to trust. Then we see this off-the-chain, next-level life that God has in store for us. The Scriptures don’t say, though, that we’re without pain. Jesus said, “It rains on the just and the unjust.”
We’re gonna have problems. We’re gonna suffer in this life. God disciplines those he loves. He doesn’t cause every bad thing to happen to you and me, but we live in places that are fallen and fallible. Yet, we try to negotiate with God. So, God is the one who initiates the deal.
Another thing I want you to understand about this deal is we have nothing to offer. I will say it again. Jerry Jones, even though he’s worth $2.7 billion, he has nothing to offer God. LeBron James? Nothing. The Kardashians? Nothing. Nothing! Nothing. I have nothing, you have nothing. Billy Graham has nothing. Back in the day when Mother Theresa was alive, she had nothing. The Apostle Paul had nothing. St. Peter had nothing. NOTHING!
Isaiah 64:6, “All of us have become like one who is unclean and all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags.”
can do righteous stuff and it’s good to live a righteous life. When we receive Christ into our lives, when God looks at us he does not see sin, he sees the righteousness of Jesus that has been imputed into our lives after we sign on the dotted line and that cosmic transaction takes place, the forgiveness and the grace of God is transferred into our account, and then our junk and funk and sin is transferred over to him. OK, that’s very, very important. We do good stuff but at the end of the day we fall short. Only God has made up the difference through Christ. And that’s the deal that he offers.
So if we’re trying to get into Heaven by the performance plan—I’ll pray harder, I’ll give more, I’ll be a good guy, I won’t cuss that much or I’ll do blah-blah-blah—it’s not gonna get us where we want to go. It’s a relationship and it’s a situation where we receive what’s been done for us. So we bring zero to the table. So for someone like Jerry Jones, for someone like you, for someone like me, that’s a hard concept! Surely I bring something! I mean, you mean nothing? The Bible says nothing.
Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me.” It’s from the inside, out. The life I now live is in the body. I live by (here’s the currency) faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Here’s something else I want you to notice about the deal, about God’s deal. God is the Man Upstairs. As Jerry said, he is the Guy Upstairs. He’s also, though, the Guy Downstairs and at every level of life. God is in the locker room, he’s in the board room, he’s in the bedroom, he’s everywhere. There is nowhere where God is not. So to say “The Man Upstairs,” he’s some detached deity. No, no, no, no, no. God is, as theologians call him, omnipresent. He’s everywhere. And he wants every part of your life and of my life.
In the book of Acts 8, there’s a weird story. Sometimes the Bible comes out with some weird stories. This is strange. I’ve often asked myself, why would this story be include in the Bible? It’s a story about Simon the sorcerer. Basically, here’s the Cliff Notes, the church is blowing up, it’s growing. The Samaritans were considered half-breeds, the Jews hated them.
All of a sudden the disciples go and the Samaritans are following the Lord. There’s a guy in this Samaritan town called Simon, and he’s called Simon the Sorcerer. In other words, he was into magic and performing all these slight-of-hand tricks, and he had a lot of people following him. And he loved the fact that he was the man! Simon loved him some Simon, you know? He was real prideful. “I’m the man!” Well, all of a sudden the disciples come to town and Simon’s followers are like, “Whoa! This is real power over here.” And they’re coming to know Christ, they’re getting baptized. So Simon’s like, well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!
And you gotta kinda wonder about his motives. “I want to get baptized, too!” OK, he gets baptized and Simon, it looks like a disciple, a follower. Then what’s happening in Samaria becomes so popular the big guns come in from J-Town, Jerusalem. I’m talking about John and Simon Peter. And you know, Simon Peter, type A personality. He would get up in your grill quick! Simon Peter, he’s hot, he’s cold. One minute he’s saying, “Lord I don’t believe in you!” and the next minute he’s the greatest preacher ever. That’s what happened after he met the Lord and really got his life right. He’s someone we can all identify with.
So Simon Peter comes to town and he and John begin laying hands on some of these Samaritans and these people are receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. Well, Simon’s like, “Whoa! I want some of that! I can just touch these people and they’re, boom! I like that! There’s no telling the kind of money I can make. There’s not telling the kind of popularity…” He was on the ride of pride. So he comes up to Simon Peter and he goes,
“Hey, Simon Peter, how much? I mean 5 grand? 10 grand? 20 grand? What? Come on. I mean…” And Simon Peter’s like,
“What? What??” Simon was trying to negotiate with God. He was overvaluing the resources of the world and undervaluing the gift of God. And what’s so interesting is usually the thing that we’re negotiating with God over is the thing that will take us away from where God wants us to be in our lives. Look at Simon. Why was he doing that? It’s the ride of pride.
“Oh, yeah. That’s cool. I can have a little God in my pocket. He can give me the ability to touch somebody and give them the power of Jesus. Wow I like that. And then I can become more and more popular.”
I’m not saying that we don’t present our requests to God. I’m not saying that we don’t pray. I’m not saying that we don’t say, “OK, I got a test coming up. God, clear my mind.” Or, “Lord, help me to concentrate when I throw this pitch. I want to put it in the strike zone.” That’s fine! “Lord, I want this interview. Just give me the strength. I just give it to you. I pray I get the job.” There’s nothing wrong with that. We mess up, though, when we try to negotiate with God. To use God for our deal instead of saying, “God it’s your deal. And your deal is ideal. I want to fit into your deal, you don’t fit into mine!” That’s the deal. That’s the deal.
So, three things right quick and we’ll be prepared next week for Kim Kardashian.
- Stop, in the name of Love. That’s right. Stop your dealing with God. Jerry, if you’re trying to deal with God, stop! That’s what Jesus would say. Don’t deal with me. I’ll deal with you. Hey, Ed, stop your dealing! No, stop. Just stop. Trust God. “God, I trust you. I receive your gift, on your terms, on your conditions.” That’s the first thing.
- Accept God’s deal as the ideal. By faith just say, “OK, I believe this deal is ideal and I accept it. I know I’m bringing nothing to the table and I accept that.” Many here, many at all our different environments, need to accept and receive Jesus Christ into your life. Right now you need to pray that prayer and ask him to come into your life.
- We’ve been saying it about Jerry. Fire yourself! “Hey, Jerry! Fire yourself!” Jesus would say. Not from the general manager of the Cowboys. But Jesus would look at you and me and Jerry and say, “Fire yourself. Fire yourself from thinking you own your life and that you manage your life.” You don’t. I don’t. Because the moment, the moment, the moment that happens, the moment we fire ourselves and say, “God, I want to do life your way, by your will, on your terms, on your conditions.” When we give up control, check it out! That’s when we’ll gain control. “Jerry, when you give up control, that’s when you gain control. Ed, when you give up control, that’s when you gain control.”
God’s deal is the ideal. Because when we do God’s deal we’ll win the Super Bowl every single time. Isn’t that true?
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]