Celebrity Church Culture - What Would Jesus Think?

Season #1

Hey this is Misty Phillip. You are listening to the Spark Influence podcast. We are winding down 2022, and I’m flying solo today.

Typically this podcast is a conversation between my husband Peter and I about cultivating what matters in life when we follow the Lord, and live our life with intention in our marriage, with our family and in business and leadership. It is our heart that through these podcast messages we record for you that you will find a glimmer of hope in our stories, find a unique perspective. We want you to know there is freedom in living a counter cultural lifestyle that honors Christ permeates everything you do.

We are not experts or gurus, although my husband is quite brilliant. We are just like you we are flawed, and in need of grace and mercy we fail and mess up, and need to seek repentance and forgiveness. We are fellow sojourners doing our best each day to shine the light of Christ in a broken world.

We’ve been busy the past few weeks, preparing our home for the coming Christmas season as I’m sure many of you have been doing the same. Peter has been really busy with work so I’ve tried to pull back from some of my duties and responsibilities so that I can be more present as a wife and mom. I also wanted to take time to slow down, quiet myself, and focus on the true meaning of the season of Christmas and to prepare my heart for the return of Jesus Christ, my king. He is coming soon, and we need to be ready.

Isaiah 53

Our Pastor recently taught from Isaiah 53 in this old, testament chapter, we clearly see the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I want to read Isaiah 53:1-3 ESV to you. Then we’ll look at what the Matthew Henry commentary says in response to these verses, and then I’ll share some thoughts with you.

"Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not." - Isaiah 53:1-3 ESV

Matthew Henry Commentary

In response to these verses, Matthew Henry shares this. “No where in all the Old Testament is it so plainly and fully prophesied, that Christ ought to suffer, and then to enter into his glory, as in this chapter. But to this day few discern, or will acknowledge, that Divine power which goes with the word. The authentic and most important report of salvation for sinners, through the Son of God, is disregarded. The low condition he submitted to, and his appearance in the world, were not agreeable to the ideas the Jews had formed of the Messiah. It was expected that he should come in pomp; instead of that, he grew up as a plant, silently, and insensibly. He had nothing of the glory which one might have thought to meet with him. His whole life was not only humble as to outward condition, but also sorrowful. Being made sin for us, he underwent the sentence sin had exposed us to. Carnal hearts see nothing in the Lord Jesus to desire an interest in him. Alas! by how many is he still despised in his people, and rejected as to his doctrine and authority!”

Divine Power in the Word

There is divine power in the word of God and through the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but so many people are missing it.

My Response

As I read through Isaiah 53 my first response was one of sadness and bewilderment that the Jewish Pharisees that would no doubt have this chapter memorized yet they completely missed the Messiah.

But more than that this description struck a cord within me that I’ve had a hard time shaking. Verse 2, days “there is no beauty that we should desire him.” Verse 3, “He is despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” As I read this passage, a question welled up in my spirit in regards to the American church. I quietly prayed.

Lord, how do I reconcile the depiction of you in Isaiah 53, and the celebrity culture in our world and in our church?

You were crushed for us, so why would we be lifted up for your name’s sake?

Celebrity Church Culture- What would Jesus think?

In our celebrity-obsessed, American idol culture, worship and adoration is often directed toward influential or popular people. As leaders, and as people of influence we must guard ourselves against celebrity culture. We can’t put any pastor, teacher, singer or celebrity on a pedestal. We need to guard our own hearts against pride and from becoming puffed up. We are all human beings living in a fallen world and we all face similar temptations. This is why scripture tells us to guard our hearts.

Proverbs 4:23 ESV states, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Pedestals and Platforms

Putting people on pedestals is a problem of misplaced worship and one of posture and position. Who and what are we truly worshipping? Jesus is the only one who deserves our praise and adoration. He alone is worthy of worship. Nothing and no one can take his place. As I pondered all of this, I had another prayer in the form of a question.

Lord, what do you think of the American church?

We gather and we sing with the lights dimmed low, with smoke machines, and laser lighting and all the production of our worship. Does it please you, Lord? I wonder if we are missing the mark?

Lord teach us your ways.

In Psalms 19:14 ESV it says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

Lord, this is our prayer. That the things we say and do in our homes, at work and in our churches would be pleasing to you. Convict us of our sins, guide us and leads us so that our thoughts, words, and actions would honor you.

As we decorate and celebrate this Christmas season, we are humbled by your love for us. That you would take on our sin and shame that we could be redeemed and restored. We humble ourselves before you Lord, because you alone are worthy to be praised. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear. Help us to share the gospel message with unbelievers, and to fill our hearts with peace, love, joy, kindness, and all the other fruits of the spirit.

Revelation 5:9-14 ESV

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready?