Texas pastor Ed Young is taking a look at some of America's biggest celebrities for his latest sermon series, and on Sunday he looked at what Jesus would say to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
"Jerry Jones attended Fellowship Church a year after he bought the Cowboys [in 1989]. He walked on stage, and I interviewed him for an entire message," Young, pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, told the congregation on Sunday.
"He was gracious… nice... gave some really good insights about his life. Some of his kids have attended off and on," said Young of Jones, who bought the NFL's Dallas Cowboys team for $150 million at the time.
Today, Jones' team is worth about $1.7 billion, and Jones, who was born in Los Angeles, Calif., and grew up in Arkansas, is worth $2.7 billion, said Young, who leads a church with over 20,000 members and is well-known for his colorful and creative sermon series that are broadcast around the world.
As he told The Christian Post before he started the new five-part series that began Jan. 5, Young said on Sunday, "I'm not here to slam celebrities... God is the judge. I don't know if Jerry is a Christ's follower or not... I don't know if many of you are Christ's followers or not."
Young added that if he could sum up Jerry's life in one word, it would be the word "deal." "He is a deal maker, isn't it? ...He's super talented, articulate, a leader of leaders."
So if Jesus talks to him, he would talk to him about a deal, Young said. "Jesus is about the deal. God is about the deal. We don't make deals with God... I say that against the backdrop of what Jerry Jones just said, 'I made a deal with the big guy upstairs.' ...God makes deals with us."
We often try to make deals with God as we ask Him for something and promise to do something for Him in return. That's like telling God, "I know what's best for my life," and that He's a little God in the pocket, whom we can take out when needed and He will perform, the Texas pastor said. We think He is a "detached deity, the man upstairs."
Young went on to say that the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament tells us that God made humans and made a deal with them, but we rebelled and messed up totally. God could have said, it's too bad, humans have messed up and now they will have to pay for it with their death. It's a debt we can't pay off with good works, he said. But God 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."
However, God has given us a free will, which He never overwrites, Young added. When Jesus said on the cross, "It is finished," He meant the deal has been done, he said. So we have a choice to make. We either receive what Christ has done on the cross or we pay on the debt. "You can receive that or not. That's the deal."
The pastor quoted Ephesian 1:7, "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." He also read Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Another aspect of the deal is, Young added, that we have nothing to offer. Jerry Jones – though he has millions of dollars – has nothing to offer to God, he said. Even Billy Graham has nothing, Mother Teresa had nothing, Apostle Paul had nothing, and St. Paul had nothing, he said, quoting Isaiah 64:6, "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away."
You can't be a good guy, donate more money or pray harder or do anything else to earn the salvation, he underlined.
There's one more thing about the deal, Young said. "God is the man upstairs, as Jerry Jones said, though He is also the guy downstairs, and at every level of life." He is not a detached deity.
We have to fit into God's deal, and not try to make Him fit into ours, the pastor stressed. He said he was once told, "God's will is what you want for your life if you had enough sense to want it."
Young asked the audience to do three things in light of what he shared in his Sunday's message.
One, he said, "stop your dealing with God." Trust God, and receive His deal with His terms and conditions. Two, accept God's deal as the ideal deal by faith, and acknowledge that we are bringing nothing to the table but we accept it.
Third, Young said, as Jesus would say to Jerry: "Jerry, fire yourself." Fire yourself not from the general manager of the team, but from thinking that you manage your life. "Jerry, when you give up control, that's when you gain control."
"When we do God's deal, we win the 'Super Bowl' every single time," concluded Young.