All of us viewed the seemingly endless coverage of the pop star Michael Jackson’s death. Numerous memorial services were held in his memory all over the globe. Why? From the time he was 8 years old and debut on national television, Michael Jackson sang his way into the record books. He also became a very wealthy man, only to die deeply in debt.
Americans love celebrities. In fact we worship celebrities. We have The American Idol television program, which is one of the most popular features on the airways. When an icon dies or he or she has difficulty, it is big news. Just ask Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
In 1977, when Elvis Presley died at age 42, there was an outpouring of sorrow and an intense coverage by television news networks. Of course, this was years before the Internet, Facebook and Twitter. Yet for days and even weeks, Elvis was in the news on a non-stop basis. His funeral was second only to John F. Kennedy, in terms of news coverage.
When Princess Diana died tragically in a car accident in 1998, the world took notice. There was sense in which the world stood still as people lamented the passing of the popular princess. Even the royal family was taken aback by the attention which her death received. The Queen was compelled to speak to the public in an unprecedented way, in an effort to pacify the people of Britain.
Yes, we love and we worship celebrities. They are our heroes and we want to know all about them, in life and death. We seem to like The National Inquirer’s motto, “inquiring minds want to know”. Sometimes writers resort to fabricating information in order to feed this appetite for more and more knowledge about the rich and famous.
Back to my tweet, “2day, we have the opportunity to worship THE SAVIOR, not a celebrity”. If we believe that to be true, then why do worship the Savior? What is it about Jesus that compels us to worship Him as Lord and Savior?
In the text, well known to Christians, called The Great Commission we discover something about Jesus often overlooked. In verse seventeen, the disciples are described as “seeing Jesus and worshiping” Him. A reexamination of The Great Commission is very much needed. As we do so, we notice the multiple use of the little word, “all”.
I. We worship Jesus because He claims “all authority”
Jesus died on the cross but He rose from the dead. He proved for all time that He and He alone had all authority in heaven and earth. Let there be no question about the matter, we worship the One is THE SAVIOR, not just a celebrity.
II. We worship Jesus because He called us to share the gospel with “all people”.
North America could be viewed as our Samaria. The US and Canada have approximately 335 million people living in the two countries. More than 300 million live in the US and the 33-35 million others reside in Canada. North America is a mission field which is ready for sowing, reaping and harvesting. As many as 235 million people in these two countries o not profess to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That is a staggering number to consider.
“The ends of the earth” of course represent the entire world of 6.7 billion people. In this huge population, there are people numbering in the billions, who do not know Christ. Acts1:8is the strategy to reach them. It means we do all this simultaneously, not sequentially. While we seek to reach our Jerusalem, our Judea, our Samaria, we are also endeavoring to reach the world with the gospel. This is why we worship THE SAVIOR, not a celebrity. The Savior seeks to save lives, not sell CDs.
III. We worship Jesus because He commands us to teach “all things” we have learned.
IV. We worship Jesus because He is continually with us “always”.
During our trip to the United Kingdom, we stopped at the childhood home of John Wesley. The home is now a museum, where you can get some sense of what life was in his time. Near the home is a church which bears his name, The Wesley Memorial Chapel. A banner across the balcony of the church has the reported last words of John Wesley. As he lay dying, he said, “Best of all, God is with us”.
The current pastor met us at the church and gave something of a picture of how the church is doing. David Leese(?) Made a statement, I will never forget. He said something like this, “this church is not a museum, it is a church on mission”. That pastor sums it all up for us. We are to be people on mission with the Great Commission! We worship THE SAVIOR, not a celebrity.
- Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel - May 6, 2016
- Preaching: The Art of Narrative Exposition - February 17, 2014
- Preaching to a Postmodern World - February 17, 2014