Summary: This is a stewardship sermon that goes to the heart of giving which is whether a person is an admirer or follower of Jesus Christ.

Admirer Or Follower

10-19-2008 Malachi 1:6-14 Matthew 19:16-30

Have you ever had someone say to you, “you know I really admire you” or have you ever told someone, “I sure do admire you.” How many of you remember one of the personal challenges that went on in the Olympics this past summer, that may have caused you to watch them more than you might otherwise have done.

My wife and I sometimes stayed up late watching the Olympics in order to see if Michael Phelps was going to win all of those 8 gold medals. We were cheering him and his teammates along from one medal to another. When he or his relay team won, somehow a piece of us won. He made us feel good inside. How many of you were talking about Michael Phelps during the Olympics. We admired Michael Phelps for his accomplishments.

Now the amazing thing is that a number of young people who were watching Micahel Phelps around the world, were thinking I want to be like Michael Phelps. I want to win eight gold medals in the Olympics one day. I am going to do whatever it takes to train and discipline my body to become a great swimmer. Oh to be like Michael Phelps is my dream. Now those person are already diving, swimming, learning new strokes, and spending hour after hour in the pool.

Those people have gone beyond admiration of Michael Phelps and has become a follower of his. They are reading what Michael did, studying Micheal’s technique, and applying what they are learning to their bodies and daily routines. They are followers of Michael Phelps. One of them is one day going to match or break Michael’s record.

As much as I admire what Michael did, I have not been moved to dive into a single swimming pool. I have not read a thing about him since the Olympics, and if he came into the church this morning, I’m not even sure I would still recognize his face. But I still admire him for his accomplishments. I still feel good inside when I think of what he did for our Olympic team. But I’m not going to change my lifestyle for him. I am just an admirer, not a follower.

John Ortberg said the difference between an admirer and a follower is this “An admirer is impressed. A follower is devoted. An admirer applauds. A follower surrenders his life. A lot of people admired Martin Luther King. Some marched with him. Not many went to jail with him. Not many got their houses bombed like he did. A lot of people admired Mother Theresa. Not many people followed her to live among the destitute and dying.”

You know we admire Jesus with the songs we sing. “Lord, I’ll never forget what you’ve done for me.” “Jesus on the main line, tell him what you want.” The Lord is blessing me right now.” “You are my strength when I am week you are the treasure that I seek. “You are a Mighty God.”

Jesus has never had a shortage of admirers in this world. People inside and outside the church admire Jesus. But you know something, you can read every verse in the bible, and you will not come across a single verse in which Jesus comes even close to saying,” Come admire me”, or “unless you admire me, you cannot be my disciple.” Nobody ever impressed Jesus because of their admiration for Him.

One of the complaints that the youth will lodge against adults is that adults disrespect them. Because the adults disrespected them, they feel they have a right to show disrespect in return. Is their anybody here who loves to feel disrespected? You wake up in the morning saying, “wow I sure hope somebody disrespects me today.” No, do you know why?

Because you have been created in the image of God, and God has ordained that his image be respected. Parents and adults, that’s why we should not humiliate and disrespect our children in front of others. Youth that’s why we should not disrespect each other or our parents and other adults. There is something inherently wrong, when we leave others with the feeling of having been disrespected. God’s image is always worthy of respect. How much more is God worthy of respect.

There were a group of people who were religious and strong admirers of God. They would bring offerings to God on a very regular basis. The only thing was, they really thought God could be deceived. Everyone knew what it was they were supposed to give. They wanted to get credit without paying the price. I know you will find this hard to believe, but there once were people who wanted all the benefits that came with being a member, who did not want to pay their fare share in the offering.

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