ML-3 - Relighting Our Passion for Jesus
Please feel free to download audio and video for personal listening or teaching. Please do not alter any content. All material is copyrighted and intended to be used in its entirety and is free for distribution under these terms. To save, simply click the button and the download will begin.
In Revelation 2:4 Jesus said to the church in Ephesus, “Nevertheless
I have this against you, because you've left your first love.”
Welcome to our study of relighting our passion for Jesus. Friend is
your passion for Christ what it once was? Do you have that zeal and desire
that you really want to have? If not, stay tuned as we look at God's plan for
relighting our passion for Christ.
In Philippians 3:12-14 Paul gives us a beautiful pattern for relighting
and keeping that fire for Christ aflame. Notice the words of Philippians 3:12
the apostle Paul said, “Not that I've already attained or am already
perfected, but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus
has also laid hold of me. Brethren I do not count myself to have
apprehended, but one thing I do forgetting those things which are behind
and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the
goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Maybe at times in our life we find ourselves in a rut or maybe
spiritually speaking our lives are really not as passionate and as on fire for
the Lord as they ought to be. Friend, the Lord did find this problem in one of
the seven churches in Asia Minor. In Revelation 2:4 Jesus again said, I've
got a problem with you, got a problem with the congregation in Ephesus.
Here it is: you've left your first love. Now Ephesus was a congregation that
had to give up a lot. You read Acts 19, they burned their magic books; they
left their affinity and their familiarity with the Temple Diana and the goddess
Diana; and they turned away from all of that and for a good while the word
of God was growing and multiplying in that city. But somewhere along the
way, they got a little stagnant somewhere along the way they got in a rut.
They were maybe just going through the motions and so Jesus says,
‘You've left your first love.’ Whatever that was, love for evangelism, love for
worshiping God, fervor, and daily living for Christ , whatever it may have
been, they let that love wane.
If we're not careful, Christians today can also have that same
problem. I want you to think about when you first obeyed the gospel, when
you first became a Christian, when you really made that initial commitment
to Christ. Now think about where you are today. Are you as on fire and as
passionate and as energetic for the Lord as you once were? If not, it may
very well be the case that we need to re-light our passion for serving Jesus.
How do we do that? Paul gives us a fourfold pattern in this text for
keeping that fire for Christ aflame like it ought to.
What's the first point? We must, if we're going to serve God and have
that true passion, have a holy dissatisfaction with self and where we are.
Now let me explain that. Paul said in Philippians 3:12, “Not that I've already
attained or am already perfected.” I want you to stop right here and think
about that for just a moment. Here's the apostle Paul, and if Paul could say
‘I haven't attained yet; I'm not perfected; I'm not year there yet.’ If one of the
greatest servants of God said, ‘I'm not where I want to be yet,’ we ought to
have that same attitude of never reaching the point where we can say,
‘yeah this is where I need to be as a Christian.’ No, Paul didn't say that,
and Paul had seen a lot more than I had. He was taken up into the third
heaven, seen that vision by God. The same apostle Paul, who later in his
life said, “I've fought the good fight. I've finished the race. I've kept the faith.
In the future there's laid up for me a crown of righteousness.” If Paul could
say, ‘I haven't attained, I'm not there yet,’ then friend I need to have a holy
dissatisfaction with self.
We're not saying that we can't have a good self-esteem, not saying
that we can't be happy with the progress we've made, but what we're
saying is let's not get satisfied. Let's not get apathetic. Let's not sit down on
our laurels and say, ‘This is where we need to be as a Christian. I'm at the
point I've always wanted to be. I can stop right here and really be happy
with where I'm at now.’
Christianity is a forward progress in growth at all stages. You see, the
status quo in Christianity just won't work. I can never reach a point in my
Christian walk where I can say, ‘I've arrived, this is where I need to be; I'm
it as a Christian now.’ No, that's not the idea. 2 Peter 3:18 says, “But grow
in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” That
word grow is in a derivative or continual sense in the New Testament; it is a
forward progress looking word meaning that as I grow, I continue to grow. I
never stop growing until I breathe my last, that's the idea. You see, 1 Peter
2:2 says, “But as newborn babes desire the pure milk of the word that we
may grow thereby.” We want to continue to have that idea of growing and
never being happy with where we are always.
You know it's kind of like when you're working out, or maybe
someone is trying to lose some weight, or maybe somebody's trying to
build muscle. What if you say, ‘you know I think this is where I need to be
today.’ You got a goal, but you say, ‘I think I'll stop right here today.’ How're
you going to do with building muscle or losing weight or maybe getting in
shape? If you ever stop down and think stop and sit down and think you're
really where you need to be, you just kind of watch yourself go backwards.
If you're not going forward, you're surely not standing still; you're going in
the opposite direction ever so slowly.
So, as Christians, just as Paul was still striving to know the Lord, Paul
said in Philippians 3:10, “I want to know Him and the power of His
resurrection.” If Paul was still striving to grow closer to Christ and know
Him, how much more then for us today? This is why Paul could say, as he
thought about all the struggles and difficulties, how is it that Paul could say
“Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.”? Because Paul never
stopped growing. He never reached a point where he became satisfied with
You know when you think about having that holy dissatisfaction with
self; let's mention some areas practically where we could surely maintain
that idea. For example, we can never reach a point where we say to
ourselves, ‘You know I think I know the Bible about as well as I need to.’
That's not the idea. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by
every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” It's not by food that
we're to live spiritually; it's by the word of God.
How often you have to eat? Every day. Friend you've got to grow in
the word of God every day. 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show yourself
approved unto God.” 1 Peter 3:15, “Be ready always to give an answer.”
And so when we think about areas that we need to really have that
dissatisfaction with, a holy dissatisfaction it ought to be in the Almighty
word of God and trying to grow in it.
We should never say to ourselves, ‘You know I believe I pray enough
already.’ The Bible says, “Pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
Luke 18:1 Jesus said, “Men ought to pray always and never lose heart.”
And the psalmist said, “I cry unto you daily.” We should always to be
striving to improve our prayer life to draw near to God, as the Hebrew writer
said in Hebrews 10:24-26 and to approach the throne of God to find help in
time of need, Hebrews 4:16. We ought to never reach a point where we
can say, ‘I've done enough good and been benevolent enough in my
community.’ No, the Bible says, “Do good unto all men especially those of
the household of faith,” Galatians 6:10. The Bible says a part of our part of
true religion as to visit the widows and orphans in their affliction and to
keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Let's not grow lax. Let's not grow slack in doing good as the Scripture
so clearly teaches us.
You know as a Christian one of the areas for sure that we don't want
to have an attitude, ‘I'm where I need to be, and I've arrived at,’ is when it
comes to the work of the church. Sometimes I think if we're not caring,
especially as one grows and matures and especially is one maybe even
ages in life, I think sometimes we say to ourselves, ‘I've done enough work
in the church. It's time to let somebody else.’
Now friend don't get me wrong, I understand that age and other
physical abilities or lack thereof may not let one do as much as he might be
able to have before. But let's not reach a point where we say, ‘I think I'll
retire in the work. I've reached 60, I've reached 65, 70 I think I'll retire from
the work of the church and let some of these young people do it.’ That's not
the attitude. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Be steadfast,
immovable always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that your
labor is not in vain.”
And then another area of which we want to have a real dissatisfaction
is with spreading the gospel. I want to have a holy dissatisfaction with self
in that I can never say, ‘I've talked to enough people today, this week, or for
my life about the gospel.’ Jesus said, “Go into all the world teach the gospel
to every creature.” I've not even come close to that. Christians have a
strong desire to do that. We've need to realize there is always a dire need
to preach the gospel, to proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of
darkness into His marvelous light, ought to be our ever forward-looking
goal, 1 Peter 2:9. We ought to have the mindset of Paul in Colossians 1:28,
“Him we preach warning every man, teaching every man that we may
present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”
Now as we think about the first idea, having a holy dissatisfaction with
self, let's move the Paul's next statement. And that is, if I'm going to have
really have a true passion for serving Christ, I've got have wholehearted
devotion to the Lord. Philippians 3:13, “Brethren I do not count myself to
have apprehended,” now watch this, “but one thing I do forgetting those
things which are behind reaching for those things which are ahead.” Paul
would say, ‘I press toward the prize.’ What is it I can do to have a true
passion for serving Christ? Have a whole hearted devotion. Listen again to
Paul's words, “This one thing I do.” I think too many times we get too many
things going on at once. We get too many fingers in too many pies. We've
got all these things that are pulling at us, and we're going in so many
different directions that we really can't focus on the one thing that is
Did you ever notice that the emphasis on one in the Scripture? “The
Lord our God is one,” Deuteronomy 6:5. Jesus said to the rich young ruler
in Mark 10:21, “One thing you lack.” Luke 10:42 Jesus speaking to Martha
said, “There's one thing that is needful.” John 9:25 the blind man said, “This
one thing I know.” The psalmist in the long-ago said, “One thing I desire
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” “We're to be of one
mind,” 2 Corinthians 13:11. “We're to be of one heart and one soul,” Acts
4:32. All of those passages teach us we need to have a wholehearted
devotion, a single-minded focus to really serve the Lord.
You know many of us may have that lack of dissatisfaction with our
self, because we have a lack of devotion to the Lord. What is our devotion
to the Lord right now? What's your devotion? What's my devotion? How
committed am I to serving God? “First seek first the kingdom of God,”
Matthew 6:33. Luke 14:33, we need to make sure that we serve God and
put His cause first.
You can't get devoted to too many things and still allow God to come
first in your life. What's the one thing I want to put before all else? “Love the
Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” This is the first
and greatest commandment, don't let it and I know it's so hard in the world
that we live today. We've got so many different things we're trying to do.
We've got technology. We've got so many media outlets. There's so much
going on in our lives, and maybe with your children that it's so easy to get
spread so thin that you meet yourself coming and going.
Friend sometimes you got to clear the plate. Sometimes you got to
really look at your priorities. You've got to re-focus on what's most
important, and we all have to do this, so that we could really have that
wholehearted devotion to serving the Lord. 1 Corinthians 7:35 says this,
“We want to serve the Lord without distraction.” Let's get those distractions
out of the way. Let's not be double-minded as James 1:8 teaches us. Let's
really do our best to serve God with a wholehearted devotion.
Now there's a third step, not only as a Christian must I have a holy
dissatisfaction with self, not only must I have a wholehearted devotion to
the Lord ,one thing I do I've got to have an upward direction in life. Notice
Philippians 3:13 again. Paul says, “Brethren I do not count myself to have
apprehended, but one thing I do forgetting those things which are ahead or
behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press
toward the prize.” Notice again Paul said, “Reaching forward to those
things which are ahead.” There's Paul's upward direction in life. What is it
that I can do that would help me to really stay focused, really have that
passion for Jesus? I've got to remember as a child of God, I have an
upward direction in my goal. You see this is what Paul would say to the
church in Colossae: You have to look up.
‘If then you were raised with Christ seek those things which are
above.’ Don't look down and get so caught up in the world. Don't look down
and get so caught up in the anxieties and the difficulties and the trials that
we often face. If you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are
above. Look up. Raise up your head and look to the joy and the hope of
heaven that all Christians have. You see that's where we're going isn't it?
Isn't our end goal and destination? Heaven. Revelation 21:4, “It's that place
where God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, no more sorrow, no
more death, no more pain, no more crying, all the former things have
passed away.” When you look up you begin to realize, I've got something I
really need to live for. I've got a goal that I need to keep working for, and I
need to do my best to stay focused on serving Jesus. Paul would say in
Romans 8:18, “I consider the sufferings of this present world are not worthy
be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
But you know in part of looking up as Paul teaches us, reaching for
those things which are ahead, you also have to let go. Listen to Philippians
3:13 again the Bible says, “Brethren I do not count myself to have
apprehended one thing, I do forgetting those things which are behind and
reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” Part of looking up
means you got to stop looking back. You've got to let go of the things that
may burden us from time to time. You know all of us like it or not, of an
accountable age, have a past in sin. “All have sin fallen short of the glory of
God,” Romans 3:23. And you know if Paul could learn to let go, I surely
can, you surely can. Paul was there at the stoning of Stephen holding their
coats in, Acts 7. He was wreaking havoc on the church in Acts 8. Acts 9
he's dragging ready to drag men and women to prison, as he confronts
Christ. Paul had done heinous things, injurious and a blasphemer against
the cause of Christ he said in 1 Timothy 1:12-14. And yet if Paul, who had
done harm to the church, harm to Christians, had imprisoned them even
could learn to let go, I've got a do the same.
You know sometimes in this life, I think people just can't learn to let
go of the past. Listen to the words of Hebrews 8:12-13. I guess as much as
any passage, this helps us to let go of the past. The Bible says God
speaking, “I'll be merciful to their sins, and their lawless deeds I'll remember
no more.” Listen carefully, if God can forget, forgive and forget if God can
forgive and God can forget, I need to forgive and I need to forget as well. I
need to put the past behind me.
And then of course, you got to lay aside. Hebrews 12:1 “Lay aside
every weight and the sin that does so easily ensnare us, and let us run with
endurance the race that is set before us.”
So far we've noticed three steps as we think about striving to really
have that passion for Jesus.
We’ve got to say to ourselves, ‘I have not reached a point; I have not
reach where I need to be; I've got a holy dissatisfaction with self.’ We've got
have that that single-minded focus. We’ve got to have that upward direction
And then fourthly, you've got to have an inward determination to
never take your eyes off the goal. Notice Philippians 3:14 Paul said, “I
press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ
Jesus.” You've got to have something to be determined about; you've got to
have that that inward determination. “I press” and the word press in the
Greek language is a very unique word. It's a word that means to struggle.
It's a word that means to do great physical battle. It's a word that describes
being pushed to your limits and going beyond that almost.
An example might be a runner who's running a marathon and that
runner maybe is running a very long marathon, and about halfway through
the marathon he thinks he's about spent, he's done about all he can; he's
run about as far as he can run his legs, his muscle, his lungs are hurting
like he can't begin to imagine. And the thought crosses his mind, ‘don't
think I can go any further.’ But then, he sees up in the distance that goal.
And he says to himself, ‘I'm going to keep running until I hit the dirt; I'm
going to keep running until I hit the ground. I'm going to push myself.’ And
he catches that second wind. He keeps fighting, that's the idea. I press. I
fight. I exert myself toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
in Christ Jesus.
Friend what can I do to really have that passion or re-light that
passion for serving Jesus? You have to determine not to let anything get in
the way of you serving God. I'll assure you there are things that will try to
get in the way, some of those may even be good things, nothing wrong with
recreation having fun, but don't let that consume you. Don't let that be your
goal in life. Family is a blessing that God has given to each and every one
of us, but don't let family get in the way of you serving God and having that
in word determination to put Christ first. All of us have been blessed with
ways and means of providing for our families. We all have jobs if we that
we can go to and work and we're thankful for those. And you know the job
consumes so much time in our life, don't let that be what life is all about for
you. Really have that inward determination, no matter what I'm going to put
Christ first. I'm going to do my best to reach that goal of going to heaven.
To the church in Ephesus, who did have that problem with losing their first
love, Jesus said this in remedying part of the plan and fixing part of the plan
Jesus said, “Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life.”
You have to look forward to that crown that reward, that that crowning
moment where we can hear the wonderful words of Jesus: “Enter into the
joys of your Lord.”
We're looking forward to a promise. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a
place for you and if I go to prepare a place for you I will come again and
receive you to myself that where I am there you may be also.”
Let's think about our own individual lives. I want you to think about
where you are right now as a Christian. I want you to think about and ask
yourself, am I really happy with my dedication with my commitment? Is my
passion for God and for holy things? What it ought to be? Am I really
bubbling over with zeal and enthusiasm to serve Christ to be a Christian?
And if you're not, it may very well be the case that we need to
re-examine ourselves. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says this, “Test yourself to see if
you're in the faith.” Examine yourself. Let let's take up a long hard look at
our own life. Let's look at where we really are in our true commitment to the
Lord right now. Do we really want to be where we are now? Have we got
stagnant? Do we need to pick ourselves up and shake off the dust and
maybe move forward a little in where we are as a Christian?
Or maybe you've never become a child of God. Friend our hope and
prayer today is that if you're not a Christian, you'll see the passion for
serving God that Christians have. That that people, who appreciate what
God is done for them, can have and that you'll want to be a child of God
The greatest question in the world was asked in Acts 16:30-31. The
Philippian jailer when he had to take a quick and deep look at what was
important in life walked away asking this question: “Sirs what must I do to
And friend we kindly ask you today, have you let God and the Bible
answer that question? Are you a child of God? The Bible says in Acts 18:8,
“Many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptized.”
Have you heard the message of hope in Christ, John 8:24? Do you
really believe with all your heart that Jesus is the son of God, Romans
10:10 and Romans 10:17? Upon that belief, would you make a commitment
to turn from sin and turn to God, Luke 13:3? And would you do what they
did on the day of Pentecost?
Peter said, “Repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins.”
If you've never obeyed the gospel, we urge you to become a
If as a Christian your passion for the Lord is not what it ought to be,
let's each make a desire to relight our passion for serving Christ.
Study Questions for: “Motivational Lesson 3”
1. In Revelation 2:4, what did Jesus tell the church in Ephesus they had
2. According to Philippians 3:12-14, what does Paul press on towards?
3. In Philippians 3:12, did Paul view himself as perfect or having all
4. What should we grow in according to 2 Peter 3:18?
5. What should we always be ready to do according to 1 Peter 3:15?
6. What does 2 Timothy 2:15 tell us to do to show ourselves approved unto
7. How should we pray according to 1 Thessalonians 5:17?
8. According to Luke 18:1, what does Jesus tell us not to lose?
9. What does 1 Corinthians 15:58 tell us to do and know that it is not in
10. According to 1 Corinthians7:35, we should serve the without what?