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Summary: This is part Two of the series what makes a Great church

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TITLE: How To restore Your Passion

Text: rev. 2:1-8: Romans 12:11

Theme: Church, renewal,, spiritual growth

P.S. A healthy church begins with a consuming passion for God.

Introduction

In my last message, I said that the real issue of church growth is not how fast or large is the church growing, but how healthy is that body.

Rick Warren states, and I agree, that the key issue for churches in the 21st Century will be church health, not growth. Because when a congregation is healthy it will grow.

All living things grow if they’’re healthy. You don’’t have to make them grow. The same principle is true for the church. Since the church is a living organism, it’’s natural for it to grow if it’’s healthy. The church is a Body, not a business - an organism, not an organization. It’’s alive. If a church is not growing, it is dying.

If a healthy church is a growing church, than it stands to reason then a church will only be as healthy as its individual members. A church will only grow as each member is growing in his or her faith. So you and I need to ask ourselves, how healthy am I spiritually? How do I know if I am not growing in my faith?

Illustration: The pollster George Gallop did a survey of 13000 people in 130 countries. It is the only time he has taken a survey that could be considered more or less worldwide. It was a survey of people who used to go to church but no longer do. There were a number of questions in the survey. One of the questions asked, What would need to happen for you to return to church? The number one answer was “Passion in the lives of the members and leaders.” What people wanted to see was a fire. A zeal. An enthusiasm among Christians that made going to church meaningful.

A. WHAT IS PASSION: A healthy church begins with a consuming passion for God. John 2:17 says, “ Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: "Passion for God’s house burns within me”. (Jesus is speaking of passion for God and His presence in my life, not a buildingor church structure)

Do you have passion in your life? What is passion? The dictionary says that passion is, “an intense emotion., strong feeling, a great devotion and intense conviction which fuels or motivates us toward compelling action.”

If you have a passion for something, you love doing it. For example,

• ‘Our teacher is very good because he has a passion for teaching.

• Dexter is the best student in his class because he has a passion for learning.

If you want to be good at something, you have to do it with passion.

Passion is the difference between enthusiastic action and simply going through the motions. Passion is the fire in your belly that causes us to get up in the middle of the night thinking about what needs to get done the next day.

As I did a word study this week, I found that the word the Bible uses for passion is ‘Zeal.” The Greek word is zealos and means, “a fervent devotion to a cause” It is also closely related to the word translated fire, enthusiasm, jealous, earnestness.

A person who possesses zeal, has a fire in his bones that cannot be easily quenched. The following passages tell us about how zeal can be used positively and negatively in a persons life:

Romans 12:11; Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically

• Rom.10:2 I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal.

• 2Cor.7:11- Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish the wrongdoer. You showed that you have done everything you could to make things right.

• 2Cor.9:2 For I know how eager you are to help, and I have been boasting to our friends in Macedonia that you Christians in Greece were ready to send an offering a year ago. In fact, it was your enthusiasm that stirred up many of them to begin helping.

• Phil.3:6 And zealous? Yes, in fact, I harshly persecuted the church. And I obeyed the Jewish law so carefully that I was never accused of any fault.

• Col.4:13 I can assure you that he has agonized for you and also for the Christians in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

illustration: Man proposing marriage to girlfriend. What would you think would happen if the girl responded by saying non-chalantly, “Oh, thats nice, but couldn’t you get me a bigger ring?”

What is the difference in the two responses? The first response was one of acceptance with passion.

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