Summary: Understanding the basic disciplines that were practiced by the FIRST CHURCH and leading God’s people to recapture that foundation.
2002: The Paradigm of Spiritual Passion ¡V Part Two
¡§Our Window of Opportunity¡¨
„¦Larry L. Thompson (1-27-2002)
This great country that we love has been given what I believe is one more chance, one more window of opportunity, to return to our spiritual heritage and reclaim this land for the glory of the Lord. However, the window of opportunity is closing quickly and if there is to be a change it must come from the Christians of this land. Therein lays our problem. We have created a culture of Christians who are program driven but not driven by spiritual passion. Thus, since the tragic act of terrorism of September 11, 2001 the change is there for the taking and yet the church remains status quo, business as usual.
„X We rejoice that our nation has a strong military but we live with a foundation of weak morality!
„X We take pride in the practice of our religion but there is no evidence of passion or maturity in our relationship with Christ!
„X We are apathetic to the fact that there is no distinguishable difference between the believers and the non-believers!
„X We pride ourselves that we can produce a pageant that is viewed worldwide but we can¡¦t find a place in our schedule to ask the people next door to join us for worship!
„X We can talk of building better buildings but we have yet to consistently build and mature the Christian to grow into a biblical believer that impacts this culture!
„X We spend years and millions of dollars to design programs that will stimulate the growth of the church instead of intentionally developing and equipping disciples with a spiritual passion to do use their gifts and talents.
„X We desire that the world respect us as a church instead of seeking the respect of Christ by building radical relationships with Him and with one another.
Yes, we have a window of opportunity but we must act now. We must make a conscious shift from the program driven paradigm to the passion driven paradigm in which we study the Biblical process by which we use our spiritual passion to grow in Christ and become mature disciples of the Messiah. Only through spiritual growth in maturing the disciple will the spiritual passion be evident and measurable. Only when the passion is evident will the church, which made a commitment to the spiritual development of the believer, begin to see that spiritual passion touch every aspect of our society.
Last week we had near unanimous consensus that spiritual passion is a biblical principle. What we need today is to begin to understand how to allow the Spirit of God to provide the spiritual conviction through the study of His word that this is the course of action that we must take. There is a difference between consensus and conviction.
Only when the believers in the Body are convicted that we must participate in a biblical process that will result in spiritual maturity will the church be the church that we have read about in Acts 2:42-47!
¡§They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,  praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.¡¨
Can we make that paradigm shift from program to passion, from consensus to conviction? Can the evangelical church in America once again impact and influence our culture? The answer is YES, we can make the shift but the window of opportunity is closing the work ahead will take nothing short of radical commitment to change direction and fulfill the Godly expectations that we read from His Word.
In today¡¦s message I will look at two areas related to this, ¡§Window of Opportunity¡¨ that is before us:
I. OUR REASONS FOR COURAGE [ACTS 2:42-47]
a. THE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: IT¡¦S HAPPENED ONCE, IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN.
Acts 2:42 ¡§They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.¡¨
The word ¡§devoted¡¨ is the Greek word, ¡§Proskartereo¡¨, pros-car-ter-eh’-o; Originates from two Greek words (pros) and (kartereo); ¡§To be earnest towards, to persevere, be constantly diligent, or (in a place) to attend assiduously all the exercises, or (to a person) to adhere closely to (as one who serves), to attend (give self) continually, to wait on (continually).¡¨