Summary: Sermon explains that the Good News does not belong to a preacher, a church, or a denomination--it is the gospel of Jesus. Unity and humility are encouraged.
WHO’S GOSPEL IS IT?
Have you have heard of T. D. Jakes? Charles Stanley? Rod Parsley? Creflo Dollar? Billy Graham? Kenneth Copeland? Kenneth Haggin? Cho Yonggi? Which one do you like best and why? We can be attracted to certain amongst this list based upon our personalities, our church backgrounds, our ethnic heritage, or any other of a multitude of factors. Did you go to church when you were young? What was your pastor’s name? Chances are, it will be harder for you to remember the name of the pastor of the church you grew up in than to know these guys on TV, whom you have never met. Did you know there are about 27 different Baptist denominations and groups? There are also Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Episcopalians? Are these groups good or bad? Most of them, for the most part, are good. We may have doctrinal or cultural reasons for gravitating towards certain groups over others, but most would agree that these groups are fulfilling the Great Commission in ways God has given them. Some people say they are just Christians. Some churches are nondenominational. Others are independent. Still others are interdenominational. What is best? So many groupings within the family of God! There is even one group that says that there should only be one Christian church in any town. So, what did they do? They created a new denomination that stresses “the local church.” What are we to make of these factions–most of which offer very reasonable justifications for their unique missions within God’s kingdom?
It is idolatry to place human loyalty before loyalty to Jesus. How do we do this? When we look to the preacher instead of to the one about whom he preaches we betray Jesus. It is wrong to idolize the preacher. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul highlights several factions that did more to hurt than to further the spread of the gospel. Some said, “We follow Paul.” These were the intellectuals–the upper-class Christians. Paul was a boring, long-winded preacher. Recall the story in Acts of the time when he preached so long that a boy sitting on a window ledge nodded off, and then fell to his death. Paul went to him and prayed–raising him from the dead. Then, he continued his preaching! This apostle was well-educated and probably had refined manners. Another group said, “We follow Apollos.” These were the “amen” Christians. Acts 18:24-25 (quickview)  tells us that he was both educated and passionate. Still another group proclaimed, “We follow Cephas (Peter).” These were the traditionalists. Peter was one of the original disciples, and one of Jesus’ three chosen leaders. He was also a well-trained Jew. The old-timers and the conservative personalities appreciated his stable testimony. Finally, there was the group that made the boldest claim of all–those who said, “We follow Jesus.” These were the know-it-alls. They claimed to have the true teachings and practices of Jesus, and did not hesitate to attack those who disagreed. Note that they were the enemies of Paul, and of Jesus. Did Paul ever criticize these preachers? NO, HE WAS ANGRY WITH THOSE WHO USED THEIR NAMES TO CREATE FACTIONS.