PASSION: John Served with Gusto!
“And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” Luke 1:41
The best single word to describe John the Baptizer might be the word “passion.” John’s passion began even before he was born. He leaped in his mother’s womb when Mary spoke of her pregnancy. His passion for God grew so great that before he began his public ministry, he lived alone in the desert, wearing camel’s hair and a leather belt and eating locusts and wild honey (Matt. 3:4). He was a radical and unafraid to let anyone know it.
John needed passion to fulfill his God-given calling (Luke 3:2-22). Every pioneer needs passion. Pioneers cannot be satisfied with mere maintenance, for they have nothing yet to maintain. They create from nothing. The common folk often view them as eccentric – but their passion attracts other pioneers.
What gave John his passion?
1. He spent time in solitude.
2. He felt consumed with his mission.
3. He possessed a magnetic temperament and wiring.
4. He possessed a strong sense of justice.
5. He saw things as black and white.
6. He felt dissatisfied with anything but action.
Passion makes for an effective ministry!
So how can you increase your passion?
1. Take your temperature.
2. Return to your first love.
3. Associate with people of passion.
“21” Crucial Qualities of Christians: #12 - Passion
I. The Quality Defined
a. Phil. 3:8
II. John the Baptist’s Fire Is Evident to All
a. Luke 3:1-20
III. Whatever You Do…
a. Col. 3:1-17, 23-24
IV. The Cloud of Witnesses
a. Heb. 11:1-34
b. Heb. 12:1-3
a. Phil. 3:8
How Did Jesus Regard the Scriptures?
I. Jesus Regarded the Scriptures As A Historically Accurate Account
a. Matt. 10:3-5
b. Matt. 23:35
c. Matt. 24:37-39
d. Luke 17:32
e. John 5:47; 7:19
f. John 6:32
g. 2 Kings 5
h. Luke 4:24-27
II. Jesus Respected The Verbal Inspiration & Accuracy of the Scriptures
a. Matt. 5:18
b. John 10:35; Matt. 16:19
c. Matt. 19:3-5; 2 Tim. 3:16-17
III. Jesus Used The “proof-Text” Approach To Religious Questions
a. Luke 10:25-28
b. Mark 16:16; Gal. 5:4; Eph. 4:4; James 2:24; Matt. 19:9
c. Matt. 5:1-9
IV. Jesus Believed That The Scriptures Contain An Absolute Standard of Morality
a. Matt. 5:28, 32; Matt. 15:19
b. 1 Cor. 6:9-10
V. How Do you Regard The Scriptures?
a. James 4:17; 2 John 9
b. Psalm 19:7-11
c. John 12:48; Jude 3
d. Matt. 7:21; James 1:21-25
e. Matt. 24:15; 2 John 1:7
f. 2 Thess. 1:7-9; 2 Tim. 15; 3:16-17
g. Heb. 1:1-2
Passion: Absalom Ruins His Own Cause
2 Samuel 13:22-18:9
After David sinned with Bathsheba, the prophet Nathan warned the king that the sword would never depart from his house (2 Sam. 12:10). True to the prediction, David endured domestic problems from that day on – deception, adultery, incest, even murder. David never figured out how to deal with the rebellion effectively; it was as though his anointing and authority had left him.
No one saw this more clearly than his son, Absalom. When Amnon raped his sister Tamar and David did nothing about it, Absalom became irate (13:22). His fury grew the longer the king delayed justice. Further, Absalom tried and failed to get an audience with his father. It was as though David had abandoned his role as spiritual leader over his family.
Finally, Absalom could take it no longer. He got everyone’s attention by committing two crimes. First, he avenged his sister Tamar by murdering Amnon; for this crime his father David banished him (13:37, 38). After he was permitted to return, Absalom got angry with general Joab and set his field on fire (14:30).
Despite his actions, Absalom couldn’t get the fatherly attention he wanted so desperately. Past the boiling point, he used his passion to sabotage his father’s leadership. He played politics and convinced the people to bring their lawsuits to him. He lobbied for support of his leadership. Finally, he raised an army to rebel against the king.
In the end, Absalom died as a maverick leader whose passion went awry.
2 Sam. 13-18 has lessons about passion gone bad:
1. Passion without perspective brings death (13:22-29).
2. Passion will find expression, in either healthy or unhealthy ways (14:28-30).
3. People follow passion over orthodoxy, even when it’s unwise (15:1-12).
4. Leaders who follow passion defeat leaders who follow protocol (15:13, 14).
5. Self-centered passion always skews the judgment of a leader (16:22).