Rom 12:11. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.Sermon Summary
As we start a new year together there are a variety of emotions and thoughts running around inside of us– different moods that kind of ebb and flow like the tide. Emotions are important indicators of what’s happening inside of us. We need to give attention to them like meters or indicators on the dashboard of our car. They’re telling us what is happening beneath the surface of our heart. However, we are not to be ruled by them. Often in life we have to rise above our feelings and choose to do what needs to be done.
The Apostle Paul understood the challenges of different emotions and moods. His life was not always easy, yet he learned to rise above whatever trials and storms were coming his way and carry out his God’s given purpose with passion.
God’s mission for our church is that we be fervent followers of Jesus Christ who are reaching out and impacting communities, cities and nations for the kingdom of God. It’s a HUGE mission and it will take the fire of the Holy Spirit burning inside of our hearts for it to become a reality.Fervency Fighters
Fervency is not something that is static or that stays the same. A fire either spreads or burns out. The tendency of fire, if left by itself, is to go out. Fervency works the same way. We need to work it, stoke it and build it.
There are many fervency fighters. A few common ones include complacency, difficult circumstances, an unbalanced lifestyle and familiarity. The result is ‘apathy’. Apathy isn't a state of mind; it's a state of heart.
God knows the moment we loose our passion or zeal, we loose vision and perspective. Satan knows this too, and there is nothing he likes better than an apathetic Christian. One definition of lukewarmness is “serving God in such a way as to not offend the devil.”
Guard the flame within you. This zeal of God is a consuming fire within you, you need to guard it ferociously, realising it is the enemy's target. Protect your fervency.Fire Lighters
How do you ignite your fervency or keep it burning? We can pray for fervency and ask God to put his fire within us again. Jesus desires to baptise us with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matt.3:11-12. Luke 3:16. Acts 2:3-4). We can do things that help us return to our ‘first love’ (Rev.2:4-5), including dealing positively with negative emotions that have settled into our spirit. We can activate our spiritual gifts (1 Tim.4:14-16) and serve wholeheartedly (Col.3:23). Sometimes we have to stir up this flame of passion within us (2 Tim.1:6-7). We can also associate with people of passion – people who encourage and inspire us (Heb.10:24-25).Conclusion
Understand your purpose and then ask God to fill you with fervency to pursue it. Focus your fervency on fulfilling your purpose. Fervently love God, love people, change and grow, serve and reach out. We are to be a fervent people like our God. God desires passionate believers. God’s mission for CityLife Church is for us to be a group of “fervent” followers of Jesus Christ.
Fervent Christianity is about living with a sense of urgency and passion. It’s living with a vision and a dream to give our lives to; a kingdom to spend our life on; the God of heaven and earth to pursue and know intimately. God works through fervent people!Sample Discussion Questions
- Share how you are feeling about the New Year. This is a time for people to share some of their thoughts and feelings (positive or negative) about their life as another year gets under way.
- Describe a time when your spiritual fervency was high. What were the circumstances that caused this and what was the result? This is an important time of sharing and getting to know one another. It will also reveal some of the factors concerning fervency.
- Describe a time when your spiritual fervency diminished or died. What were the circumstances that caused this and what was the result? This time of sharing and getting to know one another will reveal some of the factors as to why fervency diminishes and the results.
- On a scale of 1-10, 1 being cold, 5 being lukewarm and 10 being hot, where would you place your sense of spiritual fervency right now? Is it growing, diminishing or about the same as it has been for a while? This is not a ‘performance grading’ but an honest evaluation of where each person is. Unless we define ‘reality’ we can’t move forward. God loves an honest heart.
- Discuss some ‘fervency fighters you have experienced? How can we be on guard against these kids of things? Gain wisdom from life’s experiences.
- What are some specific practical things we can do to increase our spiritual fervency? Come up with some practical steps to ignite or increase personal spiritual fervency.
Finish a time of prayer focused around the discussion that has emerged. Here a few things to pray for.
- For Clarity of Purpose. Pray for people to hear God’s call afresh to their lives. Ask that He would renew their sense of purpose and mission. Pray that they might really know that they are ‘saved’ and ‘called’ with a holy calling. It’s time to dream again and get some vision clarity.
- For Fresh Fervency. Pray that the Spirit of God would ignite each person with fresh fervency for fulfilling their purpose. Ask to be filled again with the Holy Spirit.