The Optional Gospel?

What part of the gospel is optional? This is our mission, God’s global purpose…

This book takes you on a transforming journey in authentic discipleship. During his time as pastor of a large and wealthy congregation, David Platt began to see a discrepancy between the reality of his church and the way Jesus said his followers lived. In Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, Platt examines how American Christianity has manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences and challenges us to rediscover the path.

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The Best-Laid Plans

“The best-laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry”

Perhaps you’ve heard this phrase. It speaks of how (as human beings) we make our well-intended plans, utilizing the best of our knowledge and ability, but then things don’t always turn out as we had hoped. The phrase was made most famous by John Steinbeck in his 1937 novel “Of Mice and Men,” which came from a line within the Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1785, called, “To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough.” According to legend, Burns wrote the poem after finding a nest full of mice, in his field, during the winter. ”

On a personal note, as a parent, how many times have you inadvertently made a promise to your children, and then when plans changed, you were accused of being a liar, or that you don’t keep your word?

“Let’s try to get to the beach this weekend… “ They’re all excited about going and then something comes up, like an illness, a storm, or even a death in the family, and you simply cannot go… “Daddy said we were going to the beach but he lied.”

I eventually had to qualify all of my plans with a statement like, “I’m making no promises,” or I just don’t let them know the plans at all so it can’t be used against me, or I just tell them “NO we are not even going to talk about it” and if we’re able to go, it will just be a happy surprise.

This past week in our reading the One-Year Bible, we finished 1 Corinthians and began reading 2 Corinthians. In the Bible passage I’m using today, we’re going to take a look at the best-laid plans of the apostle Paul and how the Corinthian church reacted to his change of plans.

In 1 Corinthians 16:5-9 he discusses his travel plans. You probably heard that passage read this morning and thought to yourself, “What in the world is he going to talk about, and what will be inspirational out of THAT passage?”

Well, this is a passage that brings to light the COMMITMENT that Paul had to his Lord, his friends and his ministry.

I. Paul promised to visit Corinth in the future (1 Corinthians 16:5-7)

The first thing I want to see is that Paul promises to visit the city of Corinth in the future. You see that right up front in 1 Corinthians 16:5, “I will come to you after I go through Macedonia…”

Here is a little of the back story… Paul had likely announced his plans to visit and stay for a while, in the lost letter that he sent to the Corinthians before THIS letter. Let’s try to piece this together.

1 Corinthians 5:9 mentions such a previous letter, where he says, “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral people.” We can only imagine what this church was doing or what activity was going on there, for Paul to write such a letter. He must have been addressing some gross public sin. It must have been pretty scandalous and juicy based on what Paul addresses in chapter 5 and 6!

But the point is, there is a letter to the Corinthians that comes before 1 Corinthians. The Holy Spirit did not preserve that letter for us nor did he consider it necessary that we have it included as Holy Scripture.

So, you may be asking yourself an important question, “Are we missing something in the Bible?” Let me assure you, not a chance. While it might be interesting to know what Paul wrote to them, Peter tells us that God has “granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness,” which includes our completed Bible (2 Peter 1:3).

Alright, let’s get back to our passage for today. So Paul made a promise to visit the Corinthians and his plans obviously changed (I’ll show in a few moments, some passages that indicate his plan B and C). When Paul’s plans changed, the church thought the WORST, they thought Paul was being deceptive, or he was punishing them for the sinful activity in their midst, or he was outright lying to them. So, he addresses his change of plans in THIS letter.

Since we know Paul pretty well, he certainly wanted to make the most of the time God had given him, and make the most of every opportunity, so in this situation, there was no exception. In Ephesians 5:15-16, Paul writes, “Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Paul had to change his plans because God was doing something great where he was, and he didn’t want to leave, perhaps quenching the work of the Holy Spirit.

In this letter Paul informed the Corinthians of his revised plans but notice how tentative his plans were.

  • PERHAPS I shall stay with you or EVEN spend the winter with you. 1 Corinthians 16:6
  • I HOPE to remain with you for some time, IF the Lord permits. (1 Corinthians 16:7)

He certainly understood the message of James 4:13-15, where it tells us about the providential nature of God, “13 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year…” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”

So, what has happened here so far? Paul mentions his future plans to visit Corinth, but his plans changed. BUT, I submit to you that there were very good reasons why he could not keep his initial commitment. Let’s take a look at 1 Corinthians 16:8-9.

II. Paul planned to stay in Ephesus in the present (1 Corinthians 16:8-9)

According to this section, it is obvious that Paul was in Ephesus when he wrote this letter of First Corinthians. Let’s take a look at WHEN he will leave Ephesus…

1. When Paul will leave Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:8)

Paul informs them that he will leave Ephesus at Pentecost (1 Corinthians 16:8) which was the celebration some 50 days after the Passover (or for us, 50 days after Easter). Then He will travel by way of Macedonia (1 Corinthians 16:5). This was an obvious deviation from his original plans.

Notice the phrase “passing through” or “going through” Macedonia. This phrase indicates a planned, or systematic, or intentional time set aside for his ministry. There were people to see and souls to be won.

History tells us that winter was NOT the time to travel by ship in this area, so staying in Corinth would certainly be more convenient for Paul.

Regarding Paul’s plans, it is interesting to know that Paul was forced to revise his plans twice.

(1) Plan B was to visit Corinth and then travel to Macedonia, then back to Corinth on his way to Judea.

You might well be asking yourself, “Scott, where in the world do you get that information?” Take a look at 2 Corinthians 1:15-16, where Paul writes, “15 Since I was so sure of your understanding and trust, I wanted to give you a double blessing by visiting you twice— 16 first on my way to Macedonia and again when I returned from Macedonia. Then you could send me on my way to Judea.”

Instead of one long visit, he would make two shorter visits.

(2) Plan C turned out to be a quick and painful visit to Corinth before traveling to Ephesus.

Apparently the issues that he addresses in this letter of 1 Corinthians were not resolved, so Paul wrote a stern letter or sorrowful letter to the church (one that comes between First and Second Corinthians).

Titus delivered that stern letter and while Paul was in Troas, had no rest in his spirit wondering how they had received the letter and how they received Titus.

Let’s read 2 Corinthians 2:12-13, Now then I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for me in the Lord. I had no rest in my spirit not finding Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went on to Macedonia. So, Paul went on to Troas to wait for Titus, and then he went on to visit Macedonia and eventually moved on to Judea.

Before we leave these verses, “Why did Paul go to Troas?” He went there because of the gospel of Christ, because God opened a door of opportunity for service and evangelism.

So, what are the lessons we can get from all of this?

How about this when we are discerning direction in our lives?

When was the last time that you sensed God’s direction so strongly that you changed your plans? You have this agenda, only so much time in a day, you’re a busy person, you have your schedule all planned out, you have your major all selected, your course charted, your business is already established… then you encounter the living God in such dramatic fashion that your plans change. You retire early to make plans for the mission field, or you change your major to something that has a greater impact on the kingdom of God, or you rearrange your crazy schedule to intentionally spend more time with lost people rather than just showing up at church every time the doors are open.

In decision-making or making our plans, what can we do?

Let’s use common sense, prayer, evaluation of the situation, and proper guidance when making our plans for the future. Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don’t lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.”

God gave us a mind to think, but don’t depend solely on your own reasoning. As we seek God’s direction, we must pray, study Scripture, and consult with believing friends; and then step out in faith.

It may come as a shock, but not ALL of the decisions we make are in the will of God. Sometimes we make promises that we simply cannot keep.

Does this mean that we become liars when we cannot fulfill our intended plans? The Corinthians thought Paul was not trustworthy, or was deceptive since he was not able to fulfill his promise about coming to visit them. (read 2 Corinthians 1:12-2:13 for his whole explanation).

The bottom line: If an apostle like Paul had to change his plans, it is guaranteed that our plans may often change as well.

Here are two extremes to avoid in seeking God’s Will:

  1. One is to be so afraid of making a mistake that we make no decisions at all. This is an indecisive person, we all know someone like this.
  2. The other extreme is to be so impulsive and just rush on ahead without taking the time to consult the Lord at all. We all know people like this as well.

How about if we do this: After we have done all that we can in seeking the Lord’s leadership, let’s make the decision, and then act upon that decision. Leave the rest up to God.

The point is, we must sincerely WANT to do the Lord’s will, to be an example of Jesus Christ, to allow Jesus to live through us, and not just follow or obey God grudgingly or justify doing our OWN will.

Wow, that was all about WHEN he would leave Ephesus. Let’s now take a look at…

2. Why Paul will stay in Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:9) Paul intended to take advantage of opportunities to preach the gospel.

Just as we saw in Troas, Paul had an open door of opportunity for ministry in Ephesus, and THAT was most important to him. He wanted to win lost people to Jesus, more than pamper or spoil the saved people in Corinth.

Paul saw both the opportunities and the obstacles. So, God opened a wide door in Ephesus and Paul wanted to seize the day, and win people to Christ.

It is in today’s Scripture passage that we see the motivation in Paul’s actions.

So, consider your own situation… Would you ever consider changing your established and well-thought out plans because God was leading to toward an open door of opportunity to do something for God or for someone else?

  • What if God called you to go on a mission trip?
  • To lead a Sunday School class?
  • To change your major to something that would better impact the kingdom?
  • To change your vocation, even if later in life?
  • To witness to a neighbor?
  • To do something kind for a co-worker, hoping to seize the opening for one day putting in a good word for Jesus?

Rather than complain about the obstacles in your life, look for the God-given opportunities for making a difference in someone’s life.

So, what is your take away for this morning? Look at your outline…

  1. How can you make better, more godly, decisions?
  2. In what ways are you connected to other believers?
  3. If Paul were writing a letter to our church, what would he affirm and what would he challenge?
  4. In what area of ministry is your passion, where is your heart?
  5. How can you help grow the ministry at King’s Grant Baptist Church?
  6. We all make plans, have influence over people, and hope to be prosperous or successful in life; how has this passage challenged your motivation for servanthood, and being on mission with God, on being an influence for the kingdom?
  7. Will you download the Bible App Initiative questions for this week and chew on this chapter a bit more during this next week?

My challenge is that we discover our spiritual passion. If you don’t have that, or have no clue what I’m talking about, or have no idea how to share your faith with someone else… I would welcome the opportunity help you become a disciple that makes a difference in the world around you.

If you are ready to join this church, what are you waiting for? Every team has its roster, every company has its payroll, and every school has students enrolled… it’s time to officially join the family.

For all of us: let’s discover how to make godly decisions, be open to following through on those commitments, and make a few commitments that will impact eternity.

And for heaven’s sake, if God should open a door of opportunity to do something totally outrageous, something that would use you to impact the kingdom, are you willing to follow Christ in the midst of uncertainty or ambiguity?

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Radical Commitment

Do me a favor. Take out your copy of God’s Word, and hold it in your hand. If you’ve done what I just asked, you are now holding in your hands something extraordinary. You are holding a book that’s more than 3000 years old.

You are holding a book that is illegal in several countries of the world. Just to possess this book can land you in jail in some parts of the world. It was not too long ago, the government of Malaysia confiscated 10,000 Bibles that were on their way into the country.

Possessing a copy of this book just a few centuries ago in Europe could have gotten you killed. Even today, you could be subject to arrest and beatings, at the very least, in some parts of the world. This book is feared in many places. Yet people still take risks in order to have a copy or to even read it.

It is by far the best-selling book worldwide. In all its versions it is estimated between 2.5 and 6 billion copies have been sold. At least parts of this book are available in 2,400 languages.

You are also holding a miracle. Perhaps the second most extraordinary miracle since creation, second only to the incarnation of God’s Son. You are holding words from the Creator of the Universe. You can open it anytime, anywhere, and hear God’s voice.

You are holding something extraordinary.

Why the Bible is special and unique:
Have you ever thought about WHY the Bible is unique? The Bible is actually sixty-six different books. They include books of law, history, poetry, prophecy, biographies and epistles (formal letters) written to churches and people.

The Authors: About 40 different human authors contributed to the Bible, which was written over a period of about 1500 years. The authors were kings, fishermen, priests, government officials, farmers, shepherds, and a doctor. From all this diversity comes an incredible unity, with common themes that are woven throughout the Bible.

The Bible’s unity is due to the fact that, ultimately, it has one Author—God Himself. The Bible is “God-breathed” (according to 2 Timothy 3:16). The human authors wrote what God wanted them to write, and the result was this book we call the Word of God (Psalm 12:6; 2 Peter 1:21).

The Divisions: The Bible is divided into two main parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. In short, the Old Testament is the story of a Nation, and the New Testament is the story of a Man. The Nation was God’s way of bringing the Man—Jesus Christ—into the world.

The Old Testament describes the founding and preserving of the nation of Israel. God promised to use Israel to bless the whole world (Genesis 12:2-3), and once Israel was established as a nation, God raised up a family within that nation through whom that blessing would come: it was the family of David (Psalm 89:3-4). From the line of David was promised the one Man who would bring the promised blessing (Isaiah 11:1-10) and salvation to the world.

The New Testament tells us the coming of that promised Man, Jesus the Messiah, and He fulfilled all the prophecies of the Old Testament as He lived a perfect life, he died to be the perfect sacrifice for sin, and rose from the dead to set us free.

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The Central Character: Obviously, Jesus is the central character in the Bible—the whole book is really about Him. The Old Testament predicts His coming and sets the stage for His entrance into the world. The New Testament describes His coming and His work to bring salvation to our sinful world.

Jesus is more than a historical figure; in fact, He is more than a man. He is God in the flesh, and His coming was the most important event in the history of the world. God Himself became a man in order to give us a clear, understandable picture of who God is.

As Baptists, it may be good to understand what we believe about the Bible. According to the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message:

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of Gods revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. It reveals the principles by which God judges us; and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.

Baptists are “people of the Book.” The Bible is our only source for faith and practice. It is a remarkable book that gives us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and will stand forever (1 Peter 1:24).

The Bible Rediscovered:
Perhaps you have heard about the massive religious reformation that t took place across Europe in the 16th century. Perhaps you’ve heard names of Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, John Calvin, John Knox, Ulrich Zwingli, William Tyndale and John Wycliffe. The key great driving force behind the reformation can be seen as the rediscovery of the Bible:

  1. The translation of the Bible into everyday language: no longer would people gather at church with no clue as to what was being read from the book, they could have it in their own language.
  2. The wider availability of the Bible due to the newly invented printing press.
  3. A commitment to expository preaching, (explaining what the text means); and
  4. The taking of the Bible out of the hands of a corrupt ecclesiastical elite and putting it into the hands of ordinary people.

This huge upheaval fundamentally changed the social, political, religious, intellectual, and even scientific landscape of Europe, and profoundly influenced the development of America. Rediscovering the Bible literally changed the world.

For the text of this message, I actually want to go back much further, to a much earlier rediscovery of the Bible and a time of reformation. I want to have a look at the passage that was read earlier, from 2 Kings 23:1-3.

These events took place during the reign of King Josiah in Jerusalem in 622 BC. He was 26 years old and had been king since he was eight. Now, Josiah was one of the most godly kings Israel ever had because, He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. (2 Chronicles 34:2)

Josiah’s Background:
Unfortunately, Josiah’s reign followed close behind that of his grandfather Manasseh who was the most evil king that Judah ever had. Manasseh ruled for 55 years, and under him the whole nation turned away from God. He defiled the temple in Jerusalem, and built shrines and altars to idols all over the place. Somewhere during his reign, the Book of the Law, which was the extent of the Bible at that time, was lost. Toward the end of Manasseh’s life, he repented and humbled himself before the Lord (2 Chronicles 33:13, 23).

Josiah’s father, Amon, was also an evil king. I suppose that a lifetime of rebellion against God gets passed down from father to son. Amon was so bad that he lasted as king for only two years, and his own officials assassinated him (2 Chronicles 33:24). The Bible is clear that as bad as Manasseh was, Amon sinned even more (2 Chronicles 33:23).

So, on this Father’s Day, and since no father is perfect, perhaps you are here in spite of the poor legacy that your father passed on to you. Maybe you had a lousy father, maybe he was abusive, or never instilled any spiritual direction in your life. How in the world did Josiah become the godliest king ever in Judah, with a father and grandfather that he had? I believe the answer lies in the fact that when he was 16, during the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David (2 Chronicles 34:3). His heart was tender toward God and knew that he had a much longer heritage than his immediate family. He was determined to end the cycle of dysfunction in his family’s life.

By age 20 Josiah is cleansing Judah and Jerusalem of all the pagan influences in the land (2 Chronicles 34:3-7). Then at age 26, he decides to restore the temple, and in the course of this renovation project, the Book of the Law is rediscovered.

Then in 2 Kings 22:10-11 we read, Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king. When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair.

Cut to the heart by what he hears, Josiah decides he must rededicate himself and the people to God. And that’s what happens in 2 Kings 23:1-3.

Take a look at these verses. One thing you can see is that the word “all” occurs a few times.

All the people:
First, a radical commitment to the Bible involves all the people.

In 2 Kings 23:1-2, Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the temple of the Lord with the men of Judah, the people of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets — all the people from the least to the greatest.

All the elders and all the people. The writer wants to make sure we know that all the people, from the least to the greatest were present at the reading of the Book.

This has always been a foundational Baptist teaching: the Bible is for all people. Biblical understanding and interpretation is never limited to an elite or privileged class of Christian. Every single believer has both the privilege and the responsibility of seeking out God’s Word for him or herself.

Of course, some are better equipped than others to do this. Some are theologically trained; some are gifted and called to be teachers. But no one has a monopoly on Bible truth and interpretation, and every single believer has access to the truth for themselves, from the least to the greatest.

A half-hearted commitment to the Bible hands over all the work of Bible study and explanation to others; a radical commitment to the Bible recognizes that every one of us has a stake in understanding the Bible, and hearing God through it.

And people have died to make this possible again for us. Perhaps you know the story of William Tyndale. He was burned at the stake in 1536, although they did him the kindness of strangling him first.

Tyndale’s life’s work was to translate the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek into common English that everyone could understand. He had a passion for placing the Word of God into the hands of ordinary people so that, ‘The Church could no longer effectively dictate its interpretation.’

This was a real issue at the time. Soon after Tyndale’s death, Henry the Eighth restricted, by law, Bible reading to only men and women of noble birth. He complained to Parliament that “the Word of God, is disputed, rhymed, sung and jangled in every ale-house and tavern.” Well, I say, wouldn’t it be wonderful if this were true today!

In the end, Tyndale’s work was not in vain, because his translation makes up about 80% of the 1611 King James Version, published more than 70 years after his death, and which became widely distributed. His vision was fulfilled.

A radical commitment to the Bible involves all the people.

There are many Christian believers around the world today who have very limited or no access to the Bible at all — up to 50 million in China alone. If we are radically committed to the Bible this should bother us.

Perhaps you support the Bible Society or Gideons, both charities who work to get God’s Word into the hands of people worldwide. But I wonder: is it sometimes easier to support getting the word to people “out there” than it is to be completely committed to the Bible “back here?”

A radical commitment to the Bible involves all the people. That means you, doesn’t it?

Over the centuries, God led dozens of his greatest saints through terrible persecution and agonizing deaths so that you and I might have the privilege of hearing and understanding His voice. How dare we neglect his word!

What are you doing to get more of God’s Word into your life and out to the world?

All the words:
Second, a radical commitment to the Bible is to all its words.

Look halfway through 2 Kings 23:2, He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord.

The Bible that Josiah had found was quite a bit shorter than the Bibles we have today. It may have been the first five books of the Old Testament, or it may have been only the book of Deuteronomy. But the writer is intentional for us to know that Josiah read to the people all the words in it.

Now, not only is the book of Deuteronomy a bit heavy going at times, but there’s also a whole bunch of curses and other unpleasant verses in there. Frankly, wouldn’t it have been better for Josiah just to give them some edited highlights, a quick executive summary, or some bullet points on a PowerPoint slide?

But Josiah knows that a radical commitment to the Bible is a commitment to all its words, because they are all God’s words. Our Bible reading is deficient if we are content with memorizing a few well-known Bible verses and stories and never strive to explore the whole book.

A radical commitment to the Bible is to all its words.

John Piper once said. “If all you want is a pile of leaves, then you just need to scrape the surface. But if you want to find gold, you need to dig down deep.”

We don’t skip parts of the Bible because they seem dull, or difficult, or irrelevant to our lives today, or they teach doctrines that we don’t like. We need to wrestle with all the words to hear what God has to say to us.

It’s all God’s word to us: not just John 3:16, Romans 8:28 and Psalm 23. He has so much more to say to us! Let’s be more radical in our Bible reading. If it doesn’t make sense, why not get into a small group to discuss the meaning of the Bible, and help you grow in your faith?

All the heart and all the soul:
Third, a radical commitment to the Bible is with all the heart and all the soul.

Look at 2 Kings 23:3, The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord — to follow the Lord and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul.

This is about application; it’s about how far we let God’s Word into our lives. A radical commitment to the Bible means that we seek ways to apply what it says in all our lives. Not just letting God’s living Word into our head, but into all our heart and all our soul. A radical commitment to the Bible is life-changing.

Perhaps Josiah only had the book of Deuteronomy, which is widely regarded, along with Leviticus, as being one of the least exciting parts of the Bible. Yet as he read it, it caused him to tear his clothes and weep in anguish. It turned his life upside down.

How much more should the complete Bible that we have today speaks to our hearts and souls? We have in our hands the whole story of God’s plan to save us: not just a glimpse, but the whole thing, culminating in Jesus, his own son who died for us.

If our Bible reading is not causing us to weep and rejoice, to break out in gratitude and anguish, in joy and sorrow, then, frankly, we’re not doing it right. If our Bible reading is not life-changing, then we’re not doing it right. We’re not engaging our hearts and souls.

A radical commitment to the Bible engages all our heart, all our soul. No part of our life is out of scope for God’s word.

The same goes for our life together as a church. The Bible informs and guides every aspect of our lives together. Therefore, if we are radically committed to the Bible as a church, those who are connected here should be people who commit themselves to hearing, understanding and obeying the Bible with all their hearts and all their souls.

This should be one of the key factors that guide us in ministry and relationships: is this person someone who paddles in the shallow end of God’s word, or someone who has jumped into the deep end? Has this person been gripped by God’s Word?

A radical commitment to the Bible is with all our heart and all our soul.

Conclusion:
On this Father’s Day, has this message penetrated your soul? Are we attempting to raise the next generation with a strong foundation; a foundation that is built upon the Word of God? Are we attempting to make a difference in the world, and in particular, in our families? How can we do anything without a radical commitment to the Word of God?

Do we want to be a church that truly hears God’s words and does his work in this world — a radical church — then let’s be like Josiah and like the reformers.

  1. Let’s commit ourselves, every one of us, to hearing God’s word: all of the people.
  2. Let’s commit ourselves to exploring the whole of what he has to say to us: all of the words.
  3. And let’s commit ourselves to applying and obeying what he tells us in our lives: all our heart and all our soul.

This is a radical commitment to the Bible.

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Expressing Passionate Faith

Passion is generally defined as intense emotion; and when we have passion for God, we live differently than simply living a casual existence, just simply getting by. We develop purpose and meaning and direction. We are then motivated to serve because it is the right thing to do, not out of guilt or for any rewards or recognition that might come. Imagine pursuing God with the same passion we had for our wives, before we got married.

Quotes:

I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain. — C. S. Lewis

There is no emptiness of soul ever for those whose life is devoted to God. — William Lawson

Few delights can equal the mere presence of One whom we fully trust. — George McDonald

Top 10 Expressions of a Passionate Faith:

  1. Worship freely: let your body mirror your soul.
  2. Pray continually: speak with feeling and intensity.
  3. Share openly: Do not filter your spirituality around unbelievers.
  4. Live intentionally: fill every day with Kingdom content.
  5. Serve radically: lead your family into spiritual connection.
  6. Love deeply: love for and respond to people’s urgent needs.
  7. Listen carefully: take time to hear people’s true hearts.
  8. Protect vigilantly: know the enemy’s schemes and cut him off.
  9. Speak honestly: Don’t mask your soul in religious veneer.
  10. Rest thankfully: invest wisely in Sabbath renewal.

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