In our study of the three P’s to Christian living, purpose, passion, and persistence, this week we will look at passion. First I want to look at the definition of passion. Words sometimes lose their meaning as they travel through contemporary life. I remember when I was a younger kid than I am now I was at a ball park with a friend. My friend was making a remark about a player on the team and said the was really bad. I took it for his word but it seemed that he was really a good player. Latter I found out that in the day’s definition that bad meant good. So to be clear in our minds I looked up the definition of passion in the Farlex dictionary. Passion: A powerful emotion, such as love, joy, hatred, or anger. Ardent love; Strong sexual desire; lust. The object of such love or desire. Boundless enthusiasm: His skills as a player don’t quite match his passion for the game. An abandoned display of emotion, especially of anger. Passion: The sufferings of Jesus in the period following the Last Supper and including the Crucifixion, as related in the New Testament. Passion, then, is a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.

The greatest example of passion is the passion our Lord and Savior had for us. The source of Christ’s passion for us was His intense love for mankind. Because of His passion for us Jesus, as a man walked a narrow path in complete obedience to the Heavenly Father. Jesus as a man did something that no other man has or can do. In His effort to restore man’s fellowship with God, He who was God became the very nature of man and a servant to men in human likeness. (Philippians 2:6-7) “Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” This complete life of righteousness is the only way a pure and innocent blood sacrifice worthy of paying the penalty for our sin could have been made. (Ephesians 1:7) “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”

The purpose of the Heavenly Father’s will was the direction of Christ’s Passion. Jesus came unto the world to offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice for man’s sin. (John 12:27) “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” Jesus remained true to the plan and purpose of the will of the Father. In Mathew 4:8-9 the Devil tried to side tract Jesus by offering Him the kingdoms of the world. This may have seemed a shortcut to establishing His Kingdom but Jesus was passionate about accomplishing the Father’s will and rejected the temptation of the Devil. Without deviation and unwavering commitment Jesus crossed the finish line with a triumphant proclamation, it is finished, “Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30)

God is love and love was the origin of Christ’s passion, the purpose of God was the direction Christ’s followed, and He depended on the presence of God. Every word that Jesus spoke was command to Him by the Father. “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.” (John 12:49) Jesus lived every moment in the presence of the Father. All of His thought, word, and action were given to Him from the Father. “But so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.” (John 14:31)

Christ’s passion was energized by the power of God. In the power given Him by God the Father Jesus healed the sick, raised the lame to walk, calmed the raging sea, fed multitudes of people, and brought the dead back to life. The power given Him by God caused the guards to fall back on the night of His betrayal by Judas. “So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.” (John 18:6) Jesus had more than twelve legions of angels at His command, an excess of thirty-six thousand angels, yet because of his faith in the Father He never called upon them. “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53) Jesus was not a man fallen to circumstance but knew and stated the manner of His death and the time and place of His Father’s choosing. “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.” (Matthew 26:2) Jesus was not a victim or powerless but embraced His death for the purpose of man’s redemption and rose from the dead in all power and majesty.

Jesus Christ has provided the example of living a passionate life for Him. Through Jesus His followers experience a spiritual re-birth by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19) Through the Holy Spirit Jesus lives within us and He empowers us. “To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) Therefore, believers are fully equipped to lead a passionate life for Jesus Christ. The reason that Christians do not have a passionate life in Jesus is they fail to follow His example.

The foundation of our relationship to Jesus is Love. “We love, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) This is a high command but one we must strive to obtain. It is a complete commitment to Him, as He is totally committed to us. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, March 9, 2014

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