Summary: This is the 3rd of 8 "Health Signs" of a Growing church, "Passionate Spirituality." Our Pursuit of him makes all other pursuits pale in comparison. This series adapts the theology and theory of the work "Natural Church Development" by Christian Schwarz,
Does He Fuel Your Fire?
Healthy Condition #3: Passionate Spirituality
(Had this listed on a power point)
If you’ve been calling yourself a Christian, you should stop.
If you have ever encouraged someone to become a Christian, you should never do that again.
"85% of the people in the United States call themselves Christians . . . 247 million people. . ."
And yet, there is little difference--if any--between a self-proclaimed "Christian" and a "non-Christian" in
• giving assistance to a homeless person
• correcting a mistake when a cashier gives too much change
• divorce at the same rate or just as likely to have an elective abortion
50% of Christians churches didn’t help one single person find salvation
(p. 15ff, Big Idea, Dave Ferguson, a fellow student while I attended Christian College)
Something appears missing.
FOUND IN HIM
If you could, where would you choose to be “lost for a day”?
• A jazz lover might select New Orleans,
• Cecil might select Augusta, Ga
• Christopher and Chuck might get lost at an Asphalting Convention
• a baseball fan Cooperstown, New York. After the “lost” day, you’d be found full of your experiences, even more drawn to music, pursuit of a little white ball, or sports trivia than before. (adapted from Life Application Commentary: Philippians)
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Being found in Jesus Christ is, paradoxically, like being lost in him. Being “lost” in that relationship is to be happily abandoned with Christ, whose attraction works like a magnet. Time flies, love grows, your fascination with Jesus grows stronger than ever. Incorporate your life into Jesus Christ. To be found in him, you must live for him now. (adapted from Life Application Commentary: Philippians)
We are going to refer to this being “Found” in Jesus as “Spiritual Passion.” Totally engulfed and consumed by him.
If you remember, we have been studying what makes a healthy Church.
• We Work on the Quality
• God Provides the Growth!
This is “Natural Church Development”
Out of the 8 Healthy Signs of a Growing Church (refer to Candace’s board) we will look at our 3rd Sign (no particular order):
Health Sign #3:
Passionate Spirituality for us is being found in Christ, considering all other pursuits and identities a loss, just as Paul did. Keeping a well known metaphor for passion lit, we are going to be challenged today to consider that:
Big Idea: Jesus Lights in Us A Fire that Burns Like No Other
When he lights His Fire in us, there won’t be much confusing those on fire with those “out in the cold”
Transition: For a fire to blaze, someone has to first:
1. Ignite (it): (in Paul’s Perspective, Jesus)He Outshines all other attempts to find Fire/Life/Meaning/Value
No Comparison: He Outshines Me!
v. 9 . . . not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
Earlier in Philippians, Paul had gone over all the reasons he used to have confidence in himself: No Jew could boast a greater heritage or adherence to the Ten Commandments than he. In fact, he probably wasn’t referring to just the 10 Commandments, but all the 613 laws that were written by Moses, to be followed by the observant Jew.
Now the law wasn’t bad: it was given by God to show his people how to live. The problem is that the law can’t save you. It can only condemn you. From the perspective that NO ONE on their own, can keep “the Law” at all times. Anybody who does is just fooling themselves, like former Mayor Dinkins of NYC who said:
“Great” Thinker Quotes:
"I haven’t committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law."
-- David Dinkins, New York City Mayor,
answering accusations that he failed to pay his taxes.
If you break just one law, one time, you have broken all of it. You are not holy like God, and can NOT have hope of life with him. Any one who tries to justify their living by pointing out their goodness—and ignoring God, is about as convoluted as when former U.S. Vice-President Dan Quayle asserted: