If the name Ric Flair doesn’t spell passion, I don’t know what does?
[I have had the priveledge of preaching at my church, Crestwood Baptist Church, every Wednesday night, for about ten months now. We have been without a youth pastor and senior pastor for this lenght of time. Because of these vacancies my responsibilities at the church have greatly increased. Please pray for our church. The following is a message I preached to the youth last Wednesday. I hope it is an encouragment to you.]
This video was my introduction. Enjoy 🙂
People are passionate about the strangest things, aren’t they? This guy was obviously into fireworks. Some people are passionate about professional wrestling. Do we have any fans here tonight? Awhile ago, someone sent me a link for a video on you tube. I promise you I do more than watch videos on you tube. But the video was taken in a high school gym and there were these wrestlers there, talking about wrestling and stuff, and they were passing a microphone for people to ask questions. Then this one guy grabbed the microphone and began to tear up, so I knew this was going to be good. And all of sudden, he got upset and said, “I still believe it’s real,” following this outburst, showing his gratefulness, he said, “I just want to thank you all for what you do to your bodies.” Still don’t get that one. I just think he was a little star struck. [Here’s the video]
Now, we might laugh at what other people are passionate about, but we got some pretty crazy things we like too. I like to kill poor helpless woodland creatures. I’m also passionate about my new pancreas (I have diabetes and just got set up with the insulin pump and showed it to my kids and someone asked me if it was a pacemaker, what?). No, it’s not a pacemaker. What are you all passionate about? Tonight, I want to share with you all about being passionate for the Lord.
What a want to challenge you guys with is to be passionate about the Lord, because it glorifies Him. This is so crucial to the Christian life. I want to explain why. Last week we talked a little about dating and relationships. Well, someday believe it or not, you guys are hopefully going to be married. Ladies, I want you to imagine that on your first wedding anniversary your husband comes in the house and has a dozen roses and hands them to you and if you like roses, you’re so thankful that he did that for you. But then he responds, “Well, I’m just doing my duty, I mean it is our first anniversary.” Now, how do you think you would feel? What should have been his response to you? (Totally high-jacked from John Piper)
The same thing is true of our relationship with Jesus Christ. If we merely serve him out of duty, we dishonor him. What honors the Lord is if we are truly passionate about him. Remember the quote from a couple weeks ago “You can’t commend what you don’t cherish.” So, if we don’t love God, delight in God, and are passionate about God, then he it will be difficult for other who don’t know him to want what we have. But on the other hand if we do, then God looks really good in our lives.
Let’s look at Psalm 63. Now, if we’re going to understand what’s going on here, we need to get a little background information. Look at the Title of this Psalm, “A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.” So, the title, which is actually in the Hebrew Bible by the way, tells us that this is a song and that David, the king of Israel sang this when he was in the wilderness of Judah. The title places this song in a specific time and location. There were several occasions in the David’s life when he was forced out of the Jerusalem to live in the wilderness. [I showed these these pictures of the Judean wilderness to take them thier mentally] Look at 2 Samuel 17:27-29, “When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds and sheep and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat, for they said, “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.” So, this is helpful in understand this psalm, knowing that David was away from the house of the Lord, in the middle of nowhere, weary, hungry and thirsty.
Now, let’s check out Psalm 63:1, “God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” The first thing I want you all to see here is that we should be passionate about the Lord. Look at what he says here, “earnestly I seek you.” I would imagine that while seeking water or shelter, David was thinking this is only a small picture of what my life is really all about, seeking the Lord. You know this is a passionate statement. You know how I know that? Well, I looked up this Hebrew word here, for “seek diligently or earnestly” and found that it is also used in Proverbs 7:15, speaking of a sexually immoral woman, coming to find a foolish young man to sleep with. It says, “so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.” David is in the wilderness stripped off all the comforts of life and is passionately seeking the Lord.
Second, look at what he says, “my soul thirsts for you.” Here he was in a desolate place with very watering holes and is caused to think about a greater thirst, the thirst in his soul for God. It that an interesting way to speak about being passionate for God. It is a thirsting of our souls for God.
Yesterday, I went and played some ball at Seneca Park. You know it never fails that I will be called some white NBA ball players name. I’ve been them all throughout the years. Yesterday, someone called me Manu Ginobli. At least if you’re being called one of these you know you’re doing something good. But I was rolling at about three games, but once that fourth game came around I was dead tired. I’m a little out of shape. It was hot and I was thirsty. I needed to just take a break and get a drink.
Someone who is passionate about God has a thirsting in their soul to be with him and to know him. This is what consumes David in the wilderness. Away from the people of God and the house of God, this is his longing.
Third, notice what else “my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” So, David sought the Lord, thirsted for the Lord, and now, his whole body faints with longing for the Lord. Can you imagine being stranded in a place like this? Imagine with if you were lost out there for a day or two in the blazing heat with nothing to drink or eat. Man, you would dying out there fainting with exhaustion, wanting just to find some water to drink. Imagine feeling that way.
Now, how you ever wanted God like that? Do you diligently seek for him? Do you thirst for him? Do you faint with longing for more of him? People, we should. I don’t say that to bring guilt in your life, because I confess that I am guilty of not being passionate about God. I’m a sinner too. But I say this, because being passionate about God is what we were created for. This is what will flood our souls with joy and satisfaction forever!
Why Should We Be Passionate?
Let’s go on to Psalm 36:2, “So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.” The second thing I want you all to notice tonight is why we should be passionate about God. But if we’re going to get this, we need to understand this geography thing here. David, the king of Israel has been driven out of the city of Jerusalem and is miles away from the tabernacle, the place where the Israelites worshiped the Lord. Now, look at what he says, “So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary.” Now, I need someone who is good at English; what tense is “I have looked”?
So, while David was out in the wilderness, he thought about his past experiences with the Lord in the sanctuary, seeing his power and glory.
Now, me and you have a little problem here; we’re not Jews and we don’t have a tabernacle where God actually dwells. You see the tabernacle was God’s chosen meeting place between heaven and earth. This was the place where he chose to meet with man. Is it still possible for us to see the power and glory of God?
The tabernacle was only temporary and was meant to point to something much greater. It was meant to point to a meeting place between God and man that would far surpass this one. Check this out in John 1:14, speaking of Jesus, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” This word here “to dwell” literally means to “to tabernacle.” So, this something greater than the tabernacle, is Jesus, the new way for all men to meet with God. It is to Jesus that we can go and look upon God, to see his power and glory.
Have you ever seen the power of Jesus before? I assure if you truly know him you have seen it. What about his power, in creating all things, John 1:3, “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Think about the power of Jesus to create this vast universe. What about his power to rule over the creation, John 6:19, “When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.” This world that is under the weight and curse of sin could not destroy Jesus, but he made it do exactly what he wanted it to do. He trampled on the water, making it his servant. What about Jesus’ power over death, John 11:41-43, “So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.”
Have you ever seen something so incredible that all you could say was something like “Oh, my goodness”? When I was in Junior College and was playing ball, there was a guy on my team from Alexandria, VA right outside of Washington, D.C. And we we’re at a tournament before the season started and this guy was on a fast break and jumped from the second block over a guy and dunked right on him. I have never seen anything like that in my life except when Vince Carter did it in the Olympics. Man, there were people going crazy in that place. The game completely stopped. There were people running around the gym and all we kept saying on the bench was “Oh, my goodness.” It was the glory of the whole thing!
Remember; Psalm 63:2, “So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.” Have you ever seen the glory of Jesus before? Well, if you’ve been saved, then you’ve seen his glory. Let me tell you that dunk and every other dunk in the history of basketball doesn’t even come remotely close to the glory of Jesus. Where can the glory of Jesus be most clearly seen? He tell us in John 17:1, praying about his quickly approaching horrific death for sinners, “When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.” If you want to see the glory of Jesus, then look at the blood stained cross. What kind of God would do such a thing for us? Who among us tonight would dare say, “I deserve for God to die, so that I might live.” What a God we serve!
So, David wandering in the desert, remembered his past experiences with God and this was the reason he was able to be passionate about God in the wilderness. We too should be able to look back and see how God has saved us and adopted us as his own children through Jesus Christ and be passionate about him. This is the only proper response to such love and grace. It certainly shouldn’t be; I’m just doing my duty. I’m supposed to do this. Listen to 1 Peter 1:8, “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”
I wonder is this anything close to your life? I have been praying for you all and seriously I have been asking God to make this a reality in your lives. But maybe what I have described isn’t anything remotely close to your life. Let me ask you would you be able to say with David “O God, you are my God.” Would you be able to say “I belong to God and he is mine.” This is what you are alive for. You exist for this reason alone. But because of our thirsting after other things, we have been alienated from God. It is as if we have been driven into a spiritual wilderness. This wilderness and separation from God eventually leads to a spiritual second death. This is a death more horrible than anything you could ever imagine. It is being consumed by the infinite holiness of God Almighty. This is why God sent Jesus into this world to rescue us from the flames of hell and bring us back to him. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Now, if you will reach out to Jesus by faith, you will be saved.