Passion, what is passion? Well when
the Biblical writer's speak of passion they typically speak of
passion from a sexual point of view, meaning lust or sex
drive. When Christians speak of passion it often times is in
reference to the suffering and death Jesus experienced on the
But today, when I speak of passion, I
speak of passion as it relates to our excitement, that fire in
our belly, that strong desire to make the saving grace of
Jesus Christ known to others. So the question I pose today is,
are we passion-driven disciples?
In our reading from Titus this
morning, a book of the Bible seldom referred to, we hear of a
people who were once foolish, disobedient, deceiving, enslaved
by all sorts of sin. But once they came to know Christ and
became passionate about following the teachings of Jesus, they
changed and became free from the pressures of this world,
preferring instead to live the good life in peaceful obedience
to God's word.
Also, in our reading from Titus, Paul
in a couple of verses summarizes very well what Christ does
for us when he saves us. We move from a life full of sin, to
one where God's Holy Spirit leads us. All our sins, not just
some, but all of our sins are washed away. When we acknowledge
Christ as Lord and recognize Christ's saving work, we gain
eternal life with all its rewards. And throughout our life we
are continually renewed by the Holy Spirit, which is a gift
from God to us, not earned, but freely given to us from God.
Isn't this truth enough to get you
passionate about following Christ, what more do we need?
Now in our reading from Acts were told
of Apollo's who went to Ephesus to preach the word. He was a
bold preacher, one of influence and respect. He was passionate
about his beliefs, but yet he still had much to learn about
Christ. So Priscilla and Aquila invited Apollo's to their home
to offer to teach him so he may gain a deeper understanding of
And, oh by the way, Priscilla and
Aquila are women. Two women of God educated Apollo's so that
he might be a more effective witness. This is a big deal given
the patriarchal society of that time, a point we often time
This story is also a story of what
happens today when folks become so convicted by the word of
God that they want to go and tell others. Yet even though they
may be influential and wonderful presenters of the Gospel,
they still need a deeper and more full understanding of Jesus
Christ, or they will cease to grow and eventually their fire
for Christ will eventually become just a simmering ember. This
is where Sunday School and Bible Study plays an important role
in developing passion-driven disciples. Passion-driven
disciples are those who yearn to learn more about God.
Let me ask you, are we a passionate
church or are we a lukewarm church? The following is a list of
hymns you might find in a lukewarm church. These hymn titles
come courtesy of Faith Baptist's church newsletter. See if you
recognize any. " Here They Are Lord " Sit Up, Sit Up for Jesus
" Take My Life and Let Me Be " Where He Leads Me I will
Consider Following " Oh, How I Like Jesus " Pillow of Ages,
Fluffed For Me " Blest Be the Tie That Doesn't Cramp My Style
" I Surrender Some
The Bethany Missionary Baptist Church
in Dallas was taken to court by one of the church's deacons.
This man had a herniated disc and blamed the church for his
problem. You see he claimed his back injury occurred when he
was assisting a fellow church member who became "overly
excited during the sermon." I think many churches would
welcome a lawsuit like that. Nothing like passion to get
people excited and enthusiastic about being in the presence of
But the sad truth is many churches are
lukewarm, they're not on fire for Christ, and therefore are
not passionate about being disciples of Jesus. The ultimate
goal of our congregation ought to be to make a positive
difference for Jesus sake in the community to which God has
placed us, but in order to make this goal a reality we have to
be passionate about what we believe and why we believe it.
So why passion, where does passion fit
in to the overall scheme of things. Several weeks ago I spoke
about Call and vision. Call means to follow God wherever he
leads us, and vision is where we are going, based on God's
revelation to us.
Well the drive and energy to respond
to God's call and to seek the vision God has laid on our
hearts is called passion. Passion is the life force that says,
"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead." Passion is the fuel
that keeps the fire burning, even when it seems cold and dark.
Passion is the Holy Spirit working in our lives, compelling us
to remain faithful to God's word.
So what creates passion, this energy
or life force? Passion is created by a strong desire to share
the good news with others and to share in the pain and
suffering of others, to the point of becoming moved to action,
and stirred by love to the very core of our being. Passion is
also created by the desire to introduce others to the love and
care we share with one another in this congregation. It's not
something that can be explained, rather it's something to
experience, to be a part of.
A church rich with passion-driven
disciples will change the world, and bring joy into the life
of each individual who encounters such a place.
As passion-driven disciples, as a
passion-driven church, we ought to have an open mind when it
comes to listening and learning about what God is trying to
teach us through others, just as Apollo's was open to the
teaching and wisdom of Pricilla and Aquila.
We ought to have open hearts as we
reach out to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the
homeless, and care for the basic needs of people around the
And we ought to have an open door to
this church, where everyone is welcome to enter and experience
the unconditional love of God through Jesus Christ. In other
words passion-driven disciples and a passion-driven church
have open minds, open hearts, and open doors. So how do people
find their passion, how do we find our passion? Well the
question we need to ask ourselves is, what excites us? When
folks look deep within themselves they will usually find
something that excites them about life, or something they find
great joy in doing. And when you find it you've found your
I'm convinced that whatever your
passion is, God placed it in your heart. So if our passion is
of God, the issue becomes how can our passion be used in
ministry. Some of you have a passion for fishing or hunting,
so using this passion as an example, how can fishing and
hunting be used in ministry?
Kent Millard tells a story about a man
who had a passion for fishing and wanted to somehow marry his
passion with ministry. Well at this man's church there's a
group for single mothers, so he got this idea that perhaps he
could teach the children of these mothers how to fish. So the
man created a ministry that he quickly became passionate
about, teaching kids how to fish. He took something he was
passionate about and figured out how he could use his gift in
ministry to others.
If you have a passion for something
and your not sure how it fits into ministry, please come see
me, and together we will determine the ministry that you in
turn can become passionate about. John Wesley in his
commentary on our scripture reading from Acts says, "Every
talent may be of use in the kingdom of God, if joined with
knowledge of the scriptures and fervor of spirit."
Once again I believe God has placed a
passion for ministry in the heart and soul of every person,
and that includes each and every one of us here today. And one
role of the church is to help people discover that passion,
encourage it, and fan it into a blazing fire.
But one caution, in our enthusiasm
know that passion-driven disciples don't simply invite people
to church, they invite people to the presence of God, and a
relationship with Jesus Christ. And in our passion for Christ
we must remember that we are to bring people to Jesus, not
stand in Jesus' place.
I believe, with all my being, that God
will use our passion to not only bring fulfillment to our
lives, but also to transform the community and the world.
What's your passion?
Read other messages by Pastor Wade