Summary: Restoring Spiritual Passion is an important matter This sermon isolates a number of steps the believer can take to effect restoration
Marriage is an interesting matter.
Not all marriages last.
I found some cynical observations on marriage sent to me on the internet the other day.
Here’s an example:-
Men who have pierced ears are better prepared for marriage. They’ve experienced pain and bought jewelery.
Such views of marriage funny though they are are somewhat cynical
Husbands and wives become disillusioned, because they are either focusing on the wrong things, they had the wrong expectations of what their spouse should’ve been, or they just don’t understand how marriage is supposed to work, and so they become apathetic in their marriage, and they loose the passion that they once had.
Today I want to suggest the same problem can operate in your relationship with God if you let it.
The problem when something goes wrong with your relationship with God is – unlike marriage – you realise that the other part of the relationship is perfect. If God is perfect where, then, does the fault lie??
What a lot of people do is they round on either the World they live in – the people they live with or the Christians they worship with.
None of these, however are the critical issue when it comes to our relationship with God!
And so today I want to talk about how to keep your love for God alive, and how to keep the passion in your relationship with Him.
I want to look at three images of Spiritual passion:-
MT 3:1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
"A voice of one calling in the desert,
`Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ "
MT 3:4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
MT 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
John had passion
But he knew how to rest before God.
He came out of the desert not down town!
Gordon MacDonald gives this illustration:-
On our first visit to Africa, my wife and I visited a tiny, up country village in the Ivory Coast, called Sepikaha where we met Chloe, a blind evangelist. That day the man had walked several dozen miles from his own village to get to Sepikaha where he preached reguarly to a small group of Christians. We watched him in action, breathless with admiration for his courage to preach in a town where the religion of islam was militantly practiced.
A few months after we had met Chloe, he was attacked and severely beaten by those who resented his presence in Sepikaha. His blindness gave him no opportunity for defense. Yer when he had recovered from his wounds, he went back.
I have often pondered over the extent of the spiritual passion which repeatedly drove that man to walk those miles to villages like Sepikaha, preach to people he could not see, and keep doing it after he came within an inch of losing his life. The beating had not destroyed his passion..
Paul knew those sorts of moments only too well. And there are indications that his own passion may have been threatened at one time or another.
A weariness is expressed in his words to the Corinthians,
2CO 1:8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.