"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Thursday, August 21, 2014

3 P's of Passion

As a preacher, I’ve always been intrigued and inspired by a statement about Jesus’ effectiveness in teaching. Mark tells us, “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as teachers of the law.” (Mark 1:22, NIV) The first part of that beautiful sentiment isn’t too surprising—of course they would be amazed—they were looking at the Son of God face to face, even though few realized it at the time. It’s the second part that has long challenged my mind and critiqued my communication—“he taught them as one who had authority, not as teachers of the law.” What exactly defined Jesus’ “authority”?

Jesus was obviously the voice of authority, a direct mouthpiece of God in the flesh. To borrow the presidential term, this authorized Him to “carry the big stick”; but, it wasn’t just His Messiah-ship that made Him stand head and shoulders above the rest—it was the way He presented the material. The teachers of the law had been delivering similar messages for years, minus their own traditions and interpretations that didn’t fit into God’s puzzle of holiness. But Jesus on the other hand—Jesus had a way of presenting the material in a way that shined light on heavenly authority. What ingredient  was missing from the man-made (tasteless) recipe of his contemporaries?

If I were to guess one thing, it would be passion.

When He talked, people listened. His message was built on an old purpose that produced new products. It was a message that was seen not only on His face but from His heart. It was a message that changed people forever.

How can we be more passionate about telling the Jesus story? This isn’t just an article for preachers—this in article for all servants of God called to make the gospel  known. How do we, as disciples of the Christ, deepen our passion to promote God’s purpose?

Consider these 3 P’s:

1)      Remember how powerful the message is

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2nd Corinthians 5:2, NIV). Righteousness (Jesus) was sacrificed for unrighteousness (us), that the unrighteous might become righteous? When was the last time you thought about the power of that transaction? It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t balance on the check ledger. But it happened. Go ahead—try to top it with another story. It’s not possible.

2)      Remember how powerless you are.

Jesus said that apart from Him we can do nothing. As “sin” which has become “righteousness”, we can’t forget where we stand on the spiritual scale in our own shoes. If 10 is “excellent” and 1 is “terrible”, we don’t graze zero,even if we stand on one foot and lean to the left. But with God’s grace and Jesus’ blood, ten is not only possible but probable.

3)      Remember the privilege of sharing it.  

In that same chapter of 2nd Corinthians 5, Paul says that God includes us in this wonderful ministry of reconciliation. Even though we were the “sin” that was made “righteous”, God empowers us in His eternal goal of bringing people back to Him. When we deserve death, God wants us to point people back to life. Why do we have such right? We don’t, but praise God that He doesn’t give us what we deserve, but what He desires. We are Christ’s ambassadors.

Passion isn’t always defined by loud preachers or challenging teachers. Passion is often found in a mindful memory which tells THE saving story. As a powerless creature, it’s your privilege to present this powerful message.

At the very least, do better than the teachers of the law.