What Would Jesus Say To…
February 03, 2013
She’s one of today’s most popular television personalities. She’s known for her humor, her wit and her charm. For a living, she interviews the most famous people in the world, and has fun doing it.
In this message, Ed Young looks at what would happen in a one-on-one conversation between Ellen DeGeneres and the ultimate guest, Jesus Christ. And as we peek into this interview, we discover some things that are really meant for our lives.
I’d like to welcome all of you to our services, especially those in different locations. How are you guys doing? Pretty well?
You know, certain people are so iconic, so popular, if you just say one name you know who you’re talking about. You know, like Cher, Madonna, Oprah, Rhianna, Brittany, Angelina, and today, Ellen.
As you know we’ve been in a series called “What Would Jesus Say.” What would Jesus say to Ellen? And here is what’s been the A-ha! about this series. As you get into it, as I’ve gotten into it, I think some people thought oh, you’re gonna slam celebrities. You’re gonna talk about what celebrities do wrong. Well, we’ve been saying around here that celebrities are simply a reflection of you and me. In other words, we like to look at them and go, oh yeah. I would never spend my money that way. I would never do that. I would never hook up with this person. I would not treat my spouse that way. That’s what a lot of us say.
But what’s happened is we realize that they’re simply a reflection of your life and mine. So as we’ve looked at these celebrities and as we’ve seen what Jesus has said to them we’ve been like, wow! That speaks to me! Haven’t you been that way? I have. Wow! That’s up in my grill! Wow! That is very, very convicting. We’re talking about what would Jesus say to these celebrities.
T.S. Well, today I wanted to flip the script. I want to do something totally different in this series. What if (just use your imagination for a second), what if Ellen had Jesus to come on her show? What if Ellen sat down on the couch, what if Ellen interviewed our Lord? What would she say?
I think one of the things she would say is she would probably go, “Well, Jesus, you know, you’re a serious person. I mean the images I have of you are very stoic, pale, frail, just speaking truth and no real humor, no real comedy. I mean, Jesus, as you know I’m a comic. I make people laugh for a living. I’ve made squillions of dollars doing so. What do you think about that, Jesus?”
And I think to her shock and awe Jesus would say, “Ellen! I invented comedy! I made it up! I thought it up!” And a lot of us don’t realize the humor of Jesus. In fact, Elton Trueblood back in the day wrote a book about the laughter and the joy and the humor of Jesus.
I will just give you one example, this is Hebrew humor. Hebrew humor back in the day was exaggeration. Jesus said, “Man, don’t point out a speck in someone else’s contact lens when you’ve got a Sequoia tree in your eye!”
Exaggeration. That’s Hebrew humor. The camel going through the eye of a needle, Hebrew humor. Jesus was full and is full of joy and laughter. The Bible says the fruit of the spirit is joy. Outrageous, contagious joy. That should be the hallmark of who I am and who you are. I think it would probably shock Ellen to hear that. Just think about it. God could have made the prevailing attitude that of being boring. Somber. Predictable. He didn’t, though! He made it one of outrageous, contagious joy! When you laugh and when I laugh we release more T-cells, more endorphins, our entire muscular system just chills.
The Bible says Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” You know people who have that crushed spirit? Those people that just don’t have that outrageous, contagious joy?
I think Jesus would look into Ellen’s blue eyes and say, “Ellen, I love your laughter! I love the way you make people laugh! I’ve gifted you that way. Go for it! That’s an awesome thing!”
Ecclesiastes 3:4, “There’s a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
Isn’t it true that most of us take ourselves too seriously and we don’t take God seriously enough? Have you ever hung out with someone, they take themselves too seriously? That guy, that girl, I mean they just take everything personally! It’s like you can’t say anything. You can’t joke with them… “Oh, did I hurt your feelings? I didn’t mean that, man! Please! No, no, no… don’t take that. I was just making you laugh. I was joking!”
I think it’s important for us to just laugh at ourselves. Think about God’s sense of humor. He made you and he made me. Look around the church, look around at all of our campuses. You wanna laugh, just do a little panoramic view! Look at us! Have you ever thought about how funky a lot of the animals look, too? An anteater? An elephant… an ant? Strange creatures. How about a hammerhead shark? Weird stuff, funny stuff, humorous stuff. And I don’t think we sometimes think about these things when we think about God. So I think Ellen would just go, “Hey. Comedy? I do comedy! Aren’t you gonna kinda talk against it Jesus?”
And Jesus would say, “No, no, no! I think it’s glorious.”
In People Magazine here’s what Ellen said. She said, “I was helping (talking about humor) my mother cope with a broken heart and it brought us closer together and made me realize the power of humor.”
The power of humor. As I read about Ellen’s life you read about her parents splitting up. You read about her mom having a broken heart, suffering with cancer. Then you see her just busting out all of this funny stuff to help her mom.
Illus: Sometimes when our leadership team here has an opportunity to talk to other leaders or when people come to observe one of our staff meetings, like a couple of leaders did a few days ago, one of the first things they tell me is this. They go, “I can’t believe you guys laugh so much!”
And at first, when I first started hearing that I was like… man, that’s … maybe it’s not that great. But the more I’ve studied Scripture and the more I’ve seen how creativity and truth and ideas emerge from laughter now I’m like, it’s a good thing that we laugh so much. We laugh a lot. Make sure you laugh.
Sometimes you’ve gotta force yourself to laugh. And people have some funny laughs. A friend of mine, as I’ve told you before, laughs like this: “Ahe-uh-he-uh-he-uh-he-uh-he-uh!” And when something is borderline funny he gives it one. “Ahe-uh.” I have another friends that laughs, “Huh-huh-huh-huh-huh-ohgosh-uh!”
Every time he does that. And my uncle, who recently went to be with the Lord, he had a great laugh, “Huuuuuuuuu <wheezing sound>!”
“Ahe-uh-he-uh. Ohgosh. Huuuuuuuuuu!” Laugh! It’s good for you! I think Jesus would say that.
And I think in this conversation Jesus would also say to Ellen, “Ellen, you know, since you asked me this question about humor, which I think is Godly. In fact, I made it up, it’s good. Also, Ellen, I love your heart.”
I believe Jesus would say that. You’ve gotta love the heart of Ellen. Immensely talented, personal, engaging. The New York Times did an interview about her humor and her heart. She said, “I try to keep every single thing positive. It’s so expected now that every joke has to be mean-spirited. Everything has to be against somebody. I don’t think it’s healthy.”
I love that! And there’s no doubt Jesus would applaud that! He would applaud that! And I’m sure, again, Ellen would go, “Whoa! You mean you’re not a cosmic killjoy? You mean you’re not here to rain on my parade?”
Jesus would say, “No! I love your heart!” I don’t know about you but I like to go where I’m celebrated, not tolerated. Are you ever with people sometimes and it’s like, man, they’re just kinda, just tolerating me. You kinda feel this weird vibe like <whirring sound effect>. And then other times you go into other circles and it’s like, oh they love me!
“Ed, gimme some love! I love you, man!” and certain people just encourage us and build us up. Life is too short to be around haters. <sipping noises> sipping that Haterade.
Illus: As I’ve told you, one of the biggest mistakes of my life, and I learned this as a kid, but I gotta tell you again. As a kid I remember going out to recess. And most people liked me, they did. I mean, “Hey, Ed. How you doing?” but there was always one or two, you know? You know what I’m talking about. You could tell they just didn’t like you. And I remember even as a kid going, “I’m gonna get those people to like me. I will play kickball and basketball…” whatever it was… football. But at the end of the school year they still didn’t like me.
So I learned a lesson and I thought about that a lot. A few people just don’t like you. That’s all right! They just tolerate you, they tolerate me. That’s OK! Love them, but go with the people who celebrate you. Go with the people who build you up. Go with the people who encourage you. The Bible commands us to encourage one another, and the church should be a place where we encourage people! So slap your neighbor and say, “Somebody encourage one another!” No, don’t slap ‘em but you know, just kinda tap them. No law suits here.
I love 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you’re doing.”
Ephesians 4:29 highlights it again, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but only what’s helpful for building others up (I love that!) according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.”
So I have an opportunity as a follower of Christ, so do you, every time I see someone to build them up.
And I gotta ask you something. Are you in the construction business or the destruction business? I mean, are you like that ginormous crane <booopffff!> ripping people apart, tearing them apart, giving that look, you know? Or are you going, “Wow, man, you are the man, you’re the woman!”
I don’t mean phony praise. I don’t mean fake stuff. Sometimes people are just like too much. Come on, man. It’s not that. You know what I’m saying to you. Ya gotta keep it real, but we can find positive and encouraging things to say to one another. To our kids, to our spouse, encouraging things.
<child crying in the audience> Like that child has a great voice. See? That’s a great cry! AAA-aaah! That’s goodness! Great voice! You have a future at Fellowship Church! I’ve always had a loud voice my whole life and everybody pretty much on the stage, all the people who help us here, have loud voices, loud, loud voices.
So I think Jesus would have an incredible conversation with Ellen. She would definitely talk to him about her whole situation with humor. I think that would shock her that Jesus is all about excitement, creativity, innovation. I think Jesus would applaud no doubt her comedy. He would applaud her life being an encourager, keeping it on the up and up, you know. Constructing others.
But you know what, let’s just again keep it real. The elephant in the room. The elephant in the room. When Jesus and Ellen are having this conversation it’s the gay issue. It is. I think Ellen would ask Jesus, “Jesus, I’m gay. What do you have to say about it? I mean, I’ve heard what people say that you say about it.”
And I’m sure she would go, “and I don’t believe what people say about me or what people post or what they blog about, or what the media says. Jesus what do you say? I mean, you’re the Son of God. What do you say about my gay lifestyle?”
I think Jesus would say, first of all, “Ellen, I applaud your honesty. I applaud your honesty.”
As her life unfolded… Ellen was 13 years old, her mother, fresh off of a divorce, struggling with cancer, she began to use humor and comedy to help heal her mom. From there her mom remarried and then something tragic happened in Ellen’s life. She was molested by her step-father. She didn’t say a word about it until after she had graduated from high school. Then she came clean and told her mom. And soon thereafter, as her career soared, she had a gay relationship with a poet, and tragically this lady was killed in an accident. Then we know the rest of the story from Johnny Carson.
You know, Johnny, when a comedian would do a great job he would invite them over to sit on his couch. And if you got a chance to sit on Johnny’s couch that was like, wow, whole ‘notha level, ya know? So here’s this girl. She busts out this encouraging, hilarious comedy and Johnny brings her over and she sits on Johnny’s couch. And from there her career blew up and of course you have the Ellen Show. A recent Harris poll said that Ellen is America’s favorite TV personality, Emmy-award-winning, People’s Choice Awards, just they’re coming left and right.
Jesus would say, “Ellen, I’m glad you’re honest. I’m glad, I’m glad that you have told the truth about your life.”
In Time Magazine she did an interview about coming out of the closet. “I didn’t choose to be anything other than a comedian. I just happened to be gay. And I don’t feel like keeping it a secret so I announced it. It turned into this whole big political thing.” Wow. Boldness.
Matthew 10:17, “Do not give false testimony.”
Ephesians 4:15, “Speaking the truth in love we will in all things grow up into Him who is the head, that is Christ.”
What would Jesus say, though, to Ellen? What would the Son of God, our Lord, say to her? Obviously he would applaud her honesty, then he would say, “Ellen, I want to be totally transparent and honest with you. You’ve been honest with me, honest with squillions of people who love you. I’ve got to be honest with you. Homosexuality is not God’s best for your life.”
I believe Jesus would say, “Ellen, I love you where you are, but I love you too much to allow you to remain the same.” I think also Jesus might point to a number of “Christians” who have been very hateful and very mean-spirited toward the gay community. I believe he would do that. And I believe he would say, “Ellen, some of these extreme folks have been wrong. But the bottom line is, Ellen, homosexuality is not my ideal.”
It’s all about a world view, isn’t it? Those of us who are followers of Christ, once we become followers of Christ, and he would say, “Ellen, I know you have a world view. Everybody has different world views. Some world views are based on feelings, others are based on academia, others are based on experiences and others are based on science or whatever. Everybody has a world view. Everybody has a view, kind of some lenses, that we see the world through.
Illus: I have a lot of different sunglasses and I love polarized sunglasses. I run in certain types of glasses usually and I do outdoor activities in certain types of glasses. And I’m really big on taking care of my glasses and picking the right lenses for what I’m going to do that day. If it’s cloudy I go with more of a kind of yellow-amber lens. If it’s dark, you know what I’m saying to ya.
Everybody has a unique world view. And those of us who are followers of Christ, we’ve gotta say OK, my world view starts with God. God is sovereign, I’m not. God is God, I’m not.
And I believe Jesus would say, “Ellen, you’ve gotta come to that point. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m having this conversation with you.” So we either align with God’s principles and precepts or we malign God’s principles and precepts. It might be OK, we might feel it for a while, but after a while it’s not gonna get us where we wanna go. So first of all, first of all, God is sovereign. God is sovereign. Jesus is Lord. He’s Lord of all. That’s the first aspect of this world view. Jesus runs the show.
In John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made its dwelling among us. We’ve seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father full of grace and truth.”
Grace and Truth. We wanna talk about grace, grace, grace, grace, grace, grace, yeah! And Christ is all about grace, there’s no doubt about it. Compassion. No question. But also he’s about truth.
He’s also about speaking the truth, telling the truth, building bridges (that’s grace) and drawing lines in the sand (that’s truth). Jesus loves you and me so much he’s gonna tell us. And he tells us time and time again the truth.
So, Ellen, here is the truth. The truth, the truth, the truth. Jesus is Lord. He’s Lord of all. That is where a world view starts. If you want to have great alignment in your life then it starts with me.
And so often those of us who are Christ-followers either fall in one of two camps. We’re either with the grace – just the compassion and compassion and grace and compassion and more compassion and grace and grace and grace and grace! OK, that’s cool.
But also, too, we have to understand the truth, because there’s no conversion without conviction. We’ve gotta speak the truth but we speak the truth in love. So I know a lot of people who are in this kind of mean-spirited, <growling/snarling> Truth! Aaaahh! – Like that. And that’s not the deal, nor is it like <singing, whoop-ti-doo-doo!> All right! Oh yeah! It’s not that. You know we straddle, right, the two. We bring them together and that comes through Jesus. Saying, “Jesus, you’re Lord and I’m not. You’re God and I’m not.”
The second part of a world view, because everybody has one, and what’s yours based on? “Well, I feel it. I’ve experienced this and that’s just kinda what I’m gonna do. I have a little bit of God, little bit of truth, a lot of grace. That’s just me, ya know? And I heard this professor say in one of my classes that blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.”
Well, the sovereignty of God and also the Scriptures of God, they’re two handles when we think about a Christian world view. We believe the Bible, the B-I-B-L-E, that’s the word for me. We believe it is the Word of God, the inerrant Word of God. We’re under the authority of the Word of God. Jesus is Lord and we’re under the authority of the Bible.
Now some say Jesus never really talked about the gay lifestyle. And I’m sure Ellen, who has read on this, she would probably go,
“Well, did you ever even talk about the gay lifestyle? Or God’s ideal concerning relationships?” Well, Jesus did. He’d probably say,
“Gospel of Mark, Ellen, chapter 10, verses 6-8. Mark 10:6-8, ‘But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh, so they are no longer two but one.’”
God created erotic love for the covenant of marriage. (Buy my book, The Sexperiment…. Just came out in paperback.) And the great thing about buying the book is everything goes to Fellowship Church so you’re helping the church and helping people understand what sex is all about so… quick commercial.
But sex primarily is for pleasure within the covenant of marriage. Pleasure! God invented pleasure. Wow! Secondarily, for procreation.
Then on top of that Jesus would probably point to many, many Scripture verses and go, “Just think about the church. It has to do with my relationship. You know the bride and the bridegroom, that whole connectivity.”
So, yes, Jesus talked about what marriage is all about. “Marriage, Ellen, is for one man and one woman in the covenant and context of marriage.” That’s what it’s there for. In marriage you have the masculine and the feminine qualities of God merging together. So within the act of marriage, when a couple makes love, you have the bonding, the oneness.
Illus: I remember when Lisa (thank the Lord Lisa did this) explained the birds and the bees to the twins. The twins listened and they were like, OK. They kinda knew the deal. And then they said, “Well, mommy, how about those who are gay? The parts don’t fit.” That’s a fact. The parts don’t fit. So even, Ellen, if it’s your preference it’s not God’s purpose.
At Fellowship Church we love everybody. Are you kidding me? We’re all fallible. We’re all fallen. We all mess up. And as I say all the time, we don’t want to confuse acceptance with approval. We accept every single person. Everybody. I don’t care where you’re from. And Jesus accepts Ellen. But that doesn’t mean we applaud the lifestyle, the sin, in your life or in my life. It’s very, very important. So I think, I really believe Jesus would say some of these things.
So then you start talking about the subject and maybe Ellen would say, “Well, this is how God made me. I am who I am so I gotta do what I do.” I am who I am so I gotta do what I do. “I’m just following this vibe, this flow. I mean, how cruel of God (I’ve heard this said) for him to give me these desires yet say no, you can’t do that. I mean, I am what I am so I just do what I do.”
It sounds like it’s cool, like it’s correct. But if you take that and run with it, now you can get involved into some whack stuff. We’re all predisposed to behavior that doesn’t honor God. We have a genetic and sin-etic condition. I have it from my family of origin, so do you.
What if I said, “Well, Dad is just a pathological liar. I just can’t help myself. I am what I am so I do what I do. I just have this predisposition, this proclivity for this activity to just do it.” Well, I would get in serious trouble.
“Well, my mother, man, she ripped off a bunch of convenience stores. I’m just wired that way. I follow my instincts. There’s a convenience store now.”
And then some say, “What if there’s a gay gene?” As I’ve studied homosexuality and written about sexuality, if you interview people and talk to people they point to the experience in their life where someone has taken advantage of them at a very impressionable age. They talk about their family, maybe an absentee father, absentee mother, or a domineering father or domineering mother. Some, though, just point to, “I don’t know why I’m this way.”
But let’s say for example that there is a gay gene. Let’s say that. Well, does that mean, Ellen, that you gotta just go, “Wow, I can’t help myself. You know I love to play basketball but what if there was a basketball gene? I’m 6’8” tall, got a 42” vertical jump. I’m quick as a cat. I just can’t help it! I gotta play the game!” No, you don’t. I mean, that’s great. You’re 6’8” tall, 42” vertical jump but you don’t have to play the game. You choose to play the game.
So I believe at the end of the day it is a choice. Some powerful words, and I believe Jesus would bring this up.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?” And so we’re getting ready to think, oh boy! This Scripture’s gonna slam homosexuals. I know it, I know it! I know where Ed’s going! I know where he’s going! Hup! Hup! “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor (oooh!) the greedy (ouch!), nor drunkards (ooh!), nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Man, it’s quiet. We need some grace, don’t we? That was truth! Whoa!
“And that is what some of you were.” A great place to clap, right there. Think about it. In the Corinthian church that’s what they were. That’s what they were! Isn’t that great! “That’s what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
So, Jesus would say, “Ellen, homosexuality is not my best. It’s a sin, just like slander is a sin, just like premarital sex is a sin, just like lying is a sin. I mean, sin is sin.” And friends we’re saved by the grace of God. But we’ve gotta know the truth and we’ve gotta have conviction before conversion. So no matter where you are right now. Maybe it’s your time to make this decision. I’m glad when I read that I can go “were.” Because I’ve been washed, not because of what I’ve done but because of the grace of God. But first I had to hear the truth. I’ve been washed. I’ve been cleansed. I’ve been sanctified and justified and now pastor-ized.
So I don’t care what you’re involved in, where you are. Jesus wants to meet you right where you are. And he would say, “Ellen, I love you right where you are! You’re awesome! But get under my authority. Live by my word. And I’m telling you, once you live by my word, through my view, through my lenses, your life will never be the same.”
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]