Summary: Christianity is on the rise in many countries of central and South America, Africa, and Asia, but in America it's on the decline. Why is that? It's not the lack of organization, programs, money, personnel - it's the lack of passion!
HEARTS ON FIRE
A. HUMOR: THE RIGHT PASSWORD
1. "I’m getting worried about my memory," 75 year old Renee said to her best friend Judith. "Really? Why is that?" asked Judith.
2. "Because every time I go online, banking," replied Renee, "I just can’t remember my bank's password. I have to try many times before I enter the right code. Do you have any suggestions?"
3. "Yes!" replied Judith. "I thought of something and no longer have that problem." "So what do you do?" asks Renee.
4. "I changed my password to 'INCORRECT'," said Judith. "Then, if I enter a wrong code, my computer tells me, "Your password is incorrect."
B. TEXT: Rom. 12:11
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor."
1. William Booth once had an audience with King Edward VII of England. His Majesty highly commended the salvationist for his unflagging zeal and wonderful work among the poor.
2. How revealing was Booth's reply to the King's glowing words! He said, "Your Majesty, some men's passion is for art. Some men's passion is for fame. My passion is for souls." [Aubrey Vaughan] What is your passion?
3. Count Nikolaus Zinzendorf said, “I have but one passion; it is He, He only.”
4. POEM – Francis Xavier, 1506-1552
My God, I love Thee; not because I hope in heaven to be,
Nor yet cause those who love Thee not are lost eternally.
Thou, O my Jesus, Thou didst me upon the cross embrace;
For me didst bear the nails, and spear, and manifold disgrace,
And griefs and torments numberless, and sweat of agony;
Yea, death itself; and all for me Who was thine enemy.
Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ, should I not love Thee well?
Not for the sake of winning heaven, nor of escaping hell;
Not from the hope of gaining aught, not seeking a reward;
But as Thyself hast loved me, O ever-loving Lord.
So would I love Thee, dearest Lord, & in Thy praise will sing;
Solely because Thou art my God, and my most loving King.”
5. What are you passionate about? Does anything stir your soul? Should we not be fired with love for God?
6. The title of our message this morning is “Hearts On Fire.” We’re talking about the most important aspect of our spiritual lives – God’s place in our hearts.
I. NEED OF THE AMERICAN CHURCH
A. WHY IS AMERICA STILL UNCONVERTED?
1. There’s a reason why Christianity in America is not growing but, in fact, it’s shrinking. The fault lies with the Christians. We’re guilty of a lack of passion for Jesus.
2. We’re passionate about getting material possessions – houses, cars, phones, ATVs, boats, etc.
We’re passionate about our kids/ grandkids;
We’re passionate about getting our retirement;
We’re passionate about our hobbies;
We’re passionate about our entertainments.
And the world is passionate about all those too. That’s why we don’t look much different.
3. The Church of Jesus, however, should be more passionate about Jesus than anything else! We should be so passionate about Jesus that we end-up talking about Him even if we don’t mean to. Don’t you just love it when people start talking about Jesus?
4. Case Keenum of the Minnesota Vikings clinched a chance at the divisional title a week ago with a 61-yard touchdown pass against New Orleans with two seconds to go. He’s a strong Christian with Fellowship of Christian Athletes! See this video: http://thebiglead.com/2018/01/14/stefon-diggs-touchdown-vikings-video/
5. When the reporters interviewed him after the game, his first words were, “This is the 3rd best thing to ever happen to me! The 1st was accepting Christ as my Savior, 2nd was marrying my wife, and the 3rd would be that pass we just scored on!" That’s the kind of passion America needs!
B. FIRE REQUIRES MORE WOOD TO KEEP BURNING
1. Everything in life conspires to keep you from being passionate. When you first become a believer and you discover God’s love for you – you’re so excited about it. Your sins are forgiven! You feel the peace of God. God’s blessing is on you! You’re going to heaven!
2. But as time goes by you begin to lose your steam, life becomes normalized.
3. When I was converted at 20 years of age, I fell in love with the Lord Jesus. I began to devour His Word….talked to Him constantly….witnessed….was so overzealous that I ran off all of my former friends.
4. This loss didn't affect me that much because I was so in love with Jesus that nothing else really mattered to me. But the newness can fade over time. We can’t COAST on the Christian journey, because it’s a “WALK.”
C. MANY BIBLE PEOPLE WERE PASSIONATE ABOUT GOD
1. David was “a man after God’s own heart,” passionate about God. That very trait endeared David to God. God encourages us to think that way.