Summary: Our passion for Christ toggles from hot to cold all too frequently. How can we love the Lord more passionately and consistently?
Relighting the Fire
Purpose: To challenge believers to pursue a passionate walk with Christ.
Aim: I want the listener to take the necessary steps to get closer to Christ.
INTRODUCTION: When Paul met Jesus on the Damascus road his whole life was forever changed. Jesus set him on fire and Pau, as far as we know, never lost that passion to glorify Christ. We, on the other hand, generally swing from hot to cold in our pursuit of Christ. What makes the difference?
More than anything else, ✔ we need a deep passionate hunger for Christ so that we will give up everything just so we can experience a brief glimpse of Him.
How can we experience that?
Vs.7-8 I. Put Out Worldly Fires “all things to be loss”
The truth is, we all have strong desires. Even a shy person will brighten up and get talkative when you start talking about a subject they are really interested in.
You can tell a lot about a person by what he is passionate about.
The flesh is a built-in law of failure, making it impossible for the natural man to please or serve God. It is a compulsive inner force inherited from man’s fall, which expresses itself in general and specific rebellion against God and His righteousness. The flesh can never be reformed or improved. The only hope for escape from the law of the flesh is its total execution and replacement by a new life in the Lord Jesus Christ. [Mark Bubeck, The Adversary, Moody Press, p. 28.]
This is why Paul says that we, “worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3 NAU).
Paul learned that there wasn’t anything good outside of Christ. Romans 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. (NAU)
Paul has just finished listing (Vs.3-6) all the things that the world may consider important, and yet he learned that they were worthless.
Solomon learned this lesson the hard way. He started out loving God, but then fame and money and lust distracted him. In the end he learned that all of those things were empty and worthless. ✔ When you stand at the bedside of a dying loved one, what is important then?
Solomon said it this way, Ecclesiastes 3:14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. (NAU)
Chuck Swindoll told about the time he got up very early one morning to travel to preach. He was standing in front of his closet trying to decide what suit to wear. Then he felt the tremor of an earth quake and suddenly his priorities changed. He grabbed the closest pair of pants and ran outside to safety.
When see what really matters, worthless things will lose their appeal. We must put out the fires of worldliness in our lives if we want to experience a closer walk with Christ.
Vs.9 II. Scorn Your Own Goodness “not having a righteousness of my own”
✔ Paul learned that ALL of his attempts to be good ended in failure.
Romans 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. (NAU) We will never love the righteousness of Christ until we see that we can only sin apart from Christ.
I am amazed at how easily my heart becomes selfish. Even when I am doing good things my heart is always looking for ways to make me look good to others, who may be watching.
As long as we are trying to salvage our pride by comparing how good we are to others we will never see the awesome glory of being wrapped in Christ’s perfect righteousness.
Vs.10a III. Long to Know Christ Personally “that I may know Him”
Notice how the NIV translates this phrase: “I want to know Christ.” Paul is not talking about knowing about Christ, which is necessary before we can give ourselves to Him, Paul is talking about experiencing Christ.
✔ Once you come to know Christ then you will want to know Him better.
Psalm 73:25-26 25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (NAU)
Psalm 63:1-3 1 O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. 3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. (NAU)