Summary: Preachers need to return to fasting, prayer and keeping their offices as a place of study. The children of God need to walk into church expecting to hear a message that is birthed from the Word of God while praying for illumination from the Holy Spirit.
Turn Your Bibles to Mark 8:34
Title: Passionate Christianity
Theme: Unashamedly Living for Christ
Introduction: There is a tale of the great English actor Macready. Macready was once asked by a preacher; “What is the difference between the two of them.” The actor appeared before crowds night after night proclaiming fiction and people listened with delight. The preacher spoke of the essential and of the unchanged truths of God yet, most people listened with no passion upon their hearts.
Macready’s answer was. “I present fiction as though it was true you present truth as though it were fiction.”
That, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ is the answer to what needs to be seen in the Body of Christ. Preachers need to return to fasting, prayer and keeping their offices as a place of study. The children of God need to walk into church expecting to hear a message that is birthed from the Word of God while praying for illumination from the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ view on passionate Christianity is clearly spelled out in the gospel of Mark.
Listen as I read Mark 8:34-38, “Then He called the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.’" Pray!!!
Proposition: I would propose to you that Jesus Christ desires for His disciples to live unashamedly for Him.
Interrogative Sentence: How can a Christian life express the same compassion that Jesus has for the Body of Christ?
Transitional Sentence: In order to live passionately for Christ, Christians must grasp the truth of Jesus’ message. It begins with understanding that what Jesus taught then is still for all who are within earshot of this message today.
A very key issue in expressing a passionate life for Christ is to live unashamedly as His disciple. Jesus said, "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
Jesus knew how the separate the men from the boys. The crowds had been following Him because of the miracles. There would be those in the crowd, just like in church circles today, people who like religion, who love the works of God manifested in some way, but are unwilling to pay the cost of true discipleship. (The Bible Exposition Commentary) Discipleship is a daily discipline and true Christianity is a life that walks under the guidance of the Holy Spirit of Christ throughout the day.
Passionate Christian living is saying no to ourselves, not just simply to pleasure or possessions, but saying no to self-will. Christians know that this is not a negative, such as denying oneself something, but, rather it is a positive action. It is saying yes to the Lordship of Christ.
The heart of Christ’s teaching is found in the word “deny,” (aparneomai) meaning to disown, disregard, forsake, renounce or reject. Its practical application is to subdue the flesh and bring it under submission to a higher authority. The Greek word for “deny” means that the person enters a new state or condition. (Corinthians 5:17) The apostle Paul wrote: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24)
Passionate Christian living enables the child of God to reject self-interest and self-fulfillment and diligently seek out how to fulfill the will of God in his life by becoming a disciple of Christ. The closest contemporary word to “disciple” is probably “apprentice.” A disciple is more than a student who learns lessons by means of lectures and books. He is one who learns by living and working with his teacher in daily hands-on experiences.
Jesus sets the style of true Christianity by the way of taking up one’s own cross daily and He commands Christians to live as He did. Passionate Christianity trusts God in every situation of life.
The heart factor to passionate living for the Lord is found in many places in the Word of God. One great instance is found in Daniel Chapter 1. Verse 8 tells us this about a man who grasped his purpose for living, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” (Daniel 1:8)