May 25th, 2003, Sunday Morning
Comparing who's the most influential person in the world
OPENING: Colossians 1:12-22
INTRODUCTION: Last week, in Cleveland, Ohio, home to the worst-ranked National Basketball Association (NBA)
team in the country, next year's entire season's home game tickets sold out in one day! What happened to turn
the NBA upside-down like this? A high school basketball player, LeBron James, who hasn't played a single professional
game yet, has signed a sponsorship contract with Nike for $90 MILLION because Nike believes he's the next
Michael Jordan--the most influential basketball player in the world (and who was paid $2.5 million by Nike when
he started). LeBron James may take the Cleveland team to six NBA championship wins like Michael Jordon or he
may suffer a season-long injury his first game... who knows?
So why do people go crazy over potential or great sports athletes? Wise military leaders? Amazing singers
and movie stars? ...and why NOT when the name "Jesus Christ" is spoken?
Ask yourself: what is your reaction when the name, "Jesus Christ," is spoken? Do you dismiss Him as
a fictional character in just another book? Is He just another person who has some priority in your family on
Sundays? Do you tremble in fear?
- Church isn't just about getting a lesson in spiritual morality on Sundays, it's about learning about
and celebrating Jesus Christ's accomplishments so He may be glorified and we may pass the learned information
on to this secular and heathen world
Colossians 1:15: Since the beginning of time, God has been seen by no man and his
thoughts not heard by man; but His Son, Jesus (referred to by the Bible as the Bible, wrapped in flesh, who
walked the earth), is the gateway for man to begin to comprehend both what God looks like (Genesis 1:27 and 9:6)
and what God thinks (just read the Bible)--can global sports heroes or great government leaders do this?
Colossians 1:16: General Tommy Franks, allied commander of Operation Iraqi Freedom, has
great power behind him and has directed much to change of face of Iraq by successfully removing Saddam Hussein
and his party from power. However, consider Who gave General Franks his power...
- These kinds of successful military leaders have books written and T.V. documentaries produced on
their intelligence and made role models by all those who aspire to be great military leaders; much time and
energy are spent putting panel T.V. shows together to debate this amazing person -- but how much of the same
attention does our Lord get from these same T.V. stations today? He's alive and controlling world events today
so why is He any different?
- General Franks' power is miniscule compared to the miniscule use of power by God
- General Franks had to consult with his leadership, brief the press and go here and there to get his
work done; God simply said, "Let there be light" and the sun, a star many times greater than our earth, was born,
a second later
Stop and think for a moment how God made it possible for your eyes to see, your ears to hear,
the ability to taste ... to experience life's pictures like the vastness of the Rocky Mountains, the roaring waters rushing
over Niagara Falls, to the "infinitely" tall trees of California
- Why do the oceans accept their boundaries? Why do the planets not crash into each other? Why have
asteroids not destroyed the earth as scientists keep warning? Because God controls all things in an orderly
manner, to this day
God holds all things together and doesn't allow anything to come to pass He doesn't wish
- During the Cold War, the U.S. and USSR hated each other, with a deep mistrust and nuclear weapons pointed
at each other; but no matter how close war came, even with the Cuban Missile Crisis, both countries are still alive
- India and Pakistan, both new to the nuclear scene and with religions opposite of each other, have
had nuclear missiles pointed at each other for several years now and yet both countries are still alive
- God is not only massive and strong enough to control and order the universe but gentle enough to
keep your personal life and its events from spinning out of control -- can your military, government,
or sports heroes do that?
Colossians 1:18: It's critical to note that God's Son, Jesus Christ, was the first
person ever to be raised from the dead
- Standing over the casket of a deceased loved one is one of the most difficult times in a person's
life; the person feels helpless because they have no power to bring that person back -- but Jesus can do this
Galatians 2:20: Because Jesus died for you, you may not only have eternal life after this world but, if you accept
Him (become saved) while alive now, you'll also live a successful, earthly life as Jesus literally lives within you
- When you first awake in the morning, do you first remember that Christ is within you (if you're saved)?
- When you come home alone at night, do you consider that Jesus is there with you?
- Acts 9:1-5: So with Jesus living within you, if someone attacks you for your spiritual
beliefs, they're attacking Jesus, directly. Notice in this passage of scripture that Jesus asks Saul,
a great Christian persecutor, why he's attacking Him (Jesus) and not Christians
1 John 3:1-3 and Colossians 1:27: Hope purifies your life; it's (in the Greek) the certainty of Jesus
working in your life.
- TREND: Perhaps the morals of this richly blessed country are so quickly deteriorating because
of the losing hope and confidence of this world ... which can be attributed to not knowing (believing in) Jesus
Christ being ruler of this universe
- The more loneliness and life's frustrations and "unfairness" impact one's life, hope and moral
decision-making decline to the point that the evil lusts of the heart (Jeremiah 17:9) will cause
one of those decisions to directly lead to tragedy
- It's Jesus Christ working within you Who gives you the ability and capability; this, alone, should
be your driving motivation where the only thing that can stop you, knowing this fact, is laziness
God knows some of us in life have trouble knowing how to get through life without knowing the final
outcome (like when you read the first few pages of a mystery and can't resist going straight to the end page to
find out where the author is going with the story); therefore God tells us the end of the story
- We've already won the victory of good over evil (Revelation 20:14)
- That we're judged sinless before God at Judgment Day (Colossians 1:22 and 1 John 1:7)
- And while alive, God will work all things that happen in your life, whether good or bad, to be an eventual good (Romans 8:28)
The troubles we face in life for believing and professing in Christ will add to your waiting
treasure in Heaven and will be worth it when Jesus finally comes back to get you (1 Thessolonians 4:16-18)
- Then there will be no more tears, crying or sadness
- No longer will God be invisible but for the first time in existence be visible to all of us
- But when will Jesus return for you? ANSWER: Definitely "either today or tomorrow"
Colossians 1:27: So why do you so many people today run to their favorite sports players, military leader or the great rhetoric
of government leaders instead of Jesus Christ? Because these people are not saved and thus have not been disclosed the great
accomplishments and truths about Jesus Christ
Last week in Cleveland, an unproven "savior" was declared as the next Michael Jordan and the building
that housed the team with the worst NBA record became next season's complete sell-out in one day; LeBron James might
range from either being the next Michael Jordan and take Cleveland to six NBA championships or suffer a season-long injury
his first game--who knows?
- What is known and certain is this: Jesus Christ formed the world and all activities and people in it;
their power--whether it's military leaders, government heads, presidents or basketball players--comes from God.
And more than that, Christ has done things that these people never have done and never can do--like guarantee a
successful earthly life to the end today, bring the dead back to life and sustain you with an eternal life of
comfort after this world
Movie stars, singers and sports players come and go--some displaying unprofessional attitudes
and getting into trouble with the law; what kind of role model is that?
- Jesus Christ is opposite to all these people in that He is literally love (1 John 4:8) and He is everlasting
So who's your publicly proclaimed role model?