Enthusiasm for Things Spiritual

by Harold Hancock


Scripture: Jn 1:26 Sep 10, 2023

Christians should be enthusiastic about spiritual things like worship, evangelism, and Bible study, because enthusiasm will help us be successful Christians, encourage others, and be happy; this enthusiasm comes from loving God, Christ, the Bible, and the church, as well as having God dwell in us through righteousness; though enthusiasm alone won't save us, it will keep us diligent in growing our faith.


Thank you for being here again this evening. It's encouraging to me and I hope to you and most of all, we hope that our God is worshipped and we are edified. We thank you for your presence. If you're visiting with us, we thank you for being here. Join us online. We thank you to be, for being with us that way.

If you have your Bibles, you may open them to, again, John the first chapter, but this time we'll, uh, reference verse 36 first time, but it'll be a few minutes before we get there, and it's not really a text, it's just a reference that we'll be making.

When I was much younger, I was listening one time to a tape by Earl Nightingale. He was a prominent motivational speaker in those days. But I remember listening to one of his tapes one time, and he said, When was the last time you were so excited about something that you just had to tell somebody? Most of us probably can remember some instance in our life when we were enthused about something and wanted to tell somebody else.

Maybe it was when we were young and there was a certain toy that we were expecting for Christmas. Maybe it was when we were a little older and we began to notice their... two sexes in the human race, and we had saw someone that excited us in thinking about that, or maybe it was a little older and we were thinking about a new job, or maybe we just had an idea and we've thought about that.

As Christians, may I suggest to you that nothing should enthuse us more than spiritual things. And I want to talk with you, if I may, this, this evening about the subject. Enthusiasm for spiritual things and I'll try and be enthusiastic as we talk about this subject But what I want to do first of all is just admit that you don't find the word enthusiastic or enthusiasm in most of the translation But I think without a doubt you find the idea of enthusiasm in the scripture if you wanted some ways to define enthusiasm, there are some good things said about it.

Uh, one has suggested that enthusiasm means to be stirred or thrilled about something. So maybe something that you're excited about, you're thrilled about it, even in the scripture. Another one says that it is energy that boils over and runs down the side of the pot. You can just see things heating up as you're got the pot on the stove and it just.

Uh, continues to heat until finally it just boils over and you know that that's, that's just the result of the heat and the fervor. But the one that I really, I think, like as we talk about enthusiasm among us as Christians is the idea of faith of fire. It gives you that idea that faith is the basis of what we're talking about.

But it also shares with the idea that it's not just still faith, it's something that's active and something that's fervent. And that's what we're talking about when we talk about this enthusiasm for spiritual things. I want to suggest to you that while the word is not actually found in most translations, that there are some good examples of enthusiasm.

For instance, you can look in the book of John in the first chapter and This is the time that John the Baptist was pointing Jesus out to certain ones, and he pointed Jesus out to some of his disciples, and they wanted to follow Jesus, and did follow Jesus home that day, and spent some time with him. And one of those, of course, was Andrew, and the text tells us that Andrew ran and found Peter.

and was telling him, we've found the Christ. Now, just imagine that in your mind. Do you, do you suppose he just, next time he happened to see Peter, said, hey, we found the Christ. We've been waiting for this Messiah all this time, and hey, we bumped into him the other day. And do you think it was exciting in his voice, or excitement in his voice when he said, we have found the Christ.

I suspect there was some enthusiasm there. And that's what it should be, that he had found the Christ, and that was exciting to him. And it should be exciting to us when we think about, we have found the Christ, and we should be enthusiastic about it. A little bit further down in the book of John, in the first chapter, in verse 43, Jesus finds Philip, and tells Philip to come go with him.

And then you find Philip finding Nathaniel and telling him, We found the Christ. And again, can't you imagine the enthusiasm with Philip when he comes to Nathaniel and says, Hey, we found the Christ. Now it doesn't appear like there was that much enthusiasm with Nathaniel at first. He didn't think anything good could come out of Nazareth and, and he wasn't sure about what Philip had found.

But he was at least willing to listen. And I think as you read the text, you'd see that Nathaniel pretty quickly got enthusiastic about the idea of Christ being there and them having found the Christ. And then you could look at the book of Acts in the eighth chapter, and this is after the death of Stephen.

And it says, Therefore they were scattered, all that were scattered, they that were scattered abroad, went everywhere preaching the word. Now they'd just witnessed Stephen being slain for the faith. But that didn't prevent them from being excited about the faith. They went everywhere. They were escaping the, the, the persecution.

But when they went, they were telling people about this Christ they've heard about. And I would imagine, again, there was some incitement in their voice, Hey, we found the Christ. We've been waiting for him. And now, now we, we found him. And then there's a scripture in the Book of Acts in the 17th chapter in verse six that I like, and I think it implies some enthusiasm with the Christians.

It says, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither. This was some people and their assessment of what Christians were doing. But these Christians had made such an impact that this man described it as being, they've turned the world upside down. I like the comment the one writer made.

He said, really Christians were putting it back right, that other people had turned the world upside down. Messing it up with what all they did, and Christians were really putting it back to right. But in the views of these people, here were some people that was making a difference with the things that they were teaching and the things that they were saying.

And so they described it as, they're turning the world upside down. What kind of effect are we having in this world? Have you heard anybody describe us as those that are turning the world upside down? Let me suggest to you also that there are some passages that, uh, certainly encourage us to be zealous.

In fact, every passage that talks about us being fervent or diligent, they're encouraging us really to be enthusiastic. And remember Romans, the 12th chapter, Brother Bain talked about that quite a bit about our transformation. But one of the things he says in chapter 12 and verse 11 is, Don't be slowful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.

It seems to me like that phrase, serving, or, or fervent in spirit, would be getting very close to the idea of enthusiasm. That you've got some excitement about this faith that you have, and, and the spirit that you have in you. And that you're wanting to share that with somebody, and other people. In the book of Galatians, in the fourth chapter, in verse 18, There were some false teachers and, and apparently some people have been excited about that.

So Paul writes and says, it is good to be zealously effective. He says, though, always in a good thing. You don't need to be excited about the bad things and those false teachers that are turning you from the gospel. But he said you would always be good to be zealously effective, always in good things.

Then he says, not only when I'm present with you. So he realized maybe sometimes he would be there. And while he was there, that was, that was exciting and, and, and boosted their spirit. But he was saying, you need to be zealously effective in these things and not just while I'm there, it should continue on.

We need to be zealous and enthused when we have gospel meeting, but we need to carry that enthusiasm on beyond the gospel meeting. So that it could be said we have it then, but it continues. And then if you look at the book of Titus in the second chapter in verse 14, Paul describes Christians as a peculiar people, not meaning they're odd looking, but that they're a people of own, one's own possession or the Lord's possession.

But the second thing he says, they are zealous of good works. So it's not now just an excitement about just the fact that the Messiah has come, or, or we are with Christ. But there should be an excitement, he says, about doing good works. And we know that the reason we do good works is people can see them, and that they will give honor and glory unto Jesus Christ.

And so we ought to have that enthusiasm for good works, he says. But listen also, if you would, to the book of Revelation in the third chapter, in verse 15. And, of course, Christ is writing to the church, and he addresses them, and he says, I know thy works, and he says, thou art neither cold nor hot. I of Laodicea, of course.

And even on that occasion, he said, you're not, you're not really, completely dead, but you're not hot either, kind of lukewarm. And, and he says, I want to spew you out of my mouth. But he goes on to say in verse 19, he says, be zealous, therefore, and repent. So he wants them to be zealous. He wants them to be, have some zeal about them, some enthusiasm.

And notice he says, be that way and repent. In other words, if, if you haven't been, then turn around and become enthusiastic about. What we're talking about, about Christ and about the blessings of Christ. And maybe that's where some of us are. Maybe we don't really have a lot of enthusiasm for Christ, but maybe we need to repent so that we can have enthusiasm.

We generally, I think, recognize the need for enthusiasm in other things. Let me give you a couple of worldly quotes, or quotes from the world. Charles Schwab, the American industrialist who rose from poverty and later formed the U. S. Steel Corporation. He said, you can succeed at almost anything for which you have unlimited enthusiasm.

Probably a lot of that is if you get knocked down, you've got the enthusiasm to get up and try something else. And you just keep on working and working until finally you are a success at it. Vince Lovato used to tell his players, He said, uh, be fired up with enthusiasm for the job, or be fired with enthusiasm from the job.

You don't have much choice. You're either going to be enthusiastic, or he wasn't going to have you on his team, he was saying. We had to have some enthusiasm. And Henry, or Henry Blow, said, none are so old as those who have outlived their enthusiasm. We need to make sure that we don't do that. You know, Jesus one time was talking, I think, about riches, and he'd say, You know, the world is sometimes smarter than the children of light.

They know how to handle their riches, and we, we're not doing the right with it, he says. Well, the same thing about enthusiasm, maybe. Maybe the world, in looking at some of these quotes, they figured out how necessary enthusiasm is, and we as Christians haven't yet caught on to it.

Several things that you will see as you talk about the value of enthusiasm. First of all, it would likely make us be more successful in Christian living. A number of years ago, I think I purchased a little book called Senate Sermon. And it was just short 50 sermons that had some kind of message to give.

But one of them said, still religion is like still water, first to freeze. In other words, if you're not excited about Christianity and you're not working hard at it, you're just kind of sitting back and being lukewarm like those of the Laodiceans. He said, you're going to lose it. It's going to freeze. Not going to help you much.

Likely to compromise, or less likely to compromise, if we're enthusiastic than if we're not. And we're less likely to murmur and complain if we're enthusiastic about religion that we have. And we'd ask this question. Can you really say that you're living the Christian life if you're not enthusiastic about spiritual things?

Granted, the word enthusiasm is not there, but we've talked about, there's the word fervor, there's the word diligence, there's the word, uh, zeal, and all these things are told to us. Be diligent, be zealous, be, uh, with fervor. And so, are we really living the Christian life if we don't have these things?

And again, how long ago has it been that something about Christianity? has excited you so that you just felt the need to share that with somebody else. Whether it's a passage that you're reading and studying and, and you're just excited about that verse and you just, uh, want to go and call somebody and tell them, look what I found in this scripture.

You'll probably find that somebody else has found it, but for that moment you're excited about it. Or think about the opportunity to teach somebody and, and how that excites you and you want to tell somebody that you've got this opportunity. We're going to be more likely to be successful at being a Christian if we have zeal and fervor and so forth.

We're more likely to encourage and influence others if we have enthusiasm. Someone has said enthusiasm immediately captures the attention of another. And isn't that true? Just from observation, if you see somebody that's about sports and they're enthusiastic about it, that That you want to give a little bit of attention to, to what's going on there, as opposed to just somebody that you just happen to see and they, they have no interest, that it's just there.

And the same thing if we're Christians. If we're enthusiastic, that's going to cause somebody to look quicker than if we just are still waters again. You're not likely, someone said, to kindle a fire in the heart of another if there's not a fire burning in your own.

One of those self help books, I guess, was probably that I read one time, was talking about the story of an atheist in the church building caught on fire. And so, they'd formed a bucket brigade and they were passing buckets of water down and throwing water on it. And the minute the man looked over and he saw the town atheist was there too throwing water on it.

And he said, well, he said, I think this is the first time I've ever seen you out at the church building. His answer was, this is the first time I've ever seen the church on fire, you know, so maybe we could do more. Think about for a moment, if you would, the Book of Acts, the 16th chapter. This is the chapter and story where Lydia is there, but it also has where Paul and Silas are thrown into prison, and you remember that while they were there, they were singing.

And the jailer heard them, and other prisoners heard them. And then there's the earthquake, and you remember the man asked, What must I do to be saved? Now, my question is, suppose they'd just been over there moaning and groaning and complaining about suffering because of Christ. What would that man have thought when the earthquake came?

But because they had been showing their religion and enthused about it, he wanted to know, What must I do to be saved? And so they taught him. And he became a Christian also. And may I suggest to you, not only if we're enthusiastic, do we have a better chance of being successful, not only do we become more likely to encourage people, but I'll tell you, we'll probably be more happy also.

If you go back to the book of John in the 13th chapter, you may remember this is when Jesus, uh, John's record of him meeting with Him at the Last Supper, and there's a number of things that goes on. Sunday. Uh, Jesus washes their feet, and they partake of the supper, but this is also, uh, where Jesus washes the feet, and he tells them, if you do the, if you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Now think about it. He's washed their feet, and has encouraged them to do likewise, not particularly the specific act of washing the feet, but serving others is what he's getting at. And he says, if you can realize this, and you can be about this business of serving others. He said, blessed are you. And that word, blessed, there is kind of like, you'll be happy.

You'll feel rewarded because you have been doing something in servicing others, is the idea. And so, enthusiasm is going to help us. It's going to help us to be happier, is one thing. You just stop and think about it. Who are the ones that look and appear to be the most happy when you see them? Are those that are just not very active and not doing anything?

Or those that seem busy? And so I want to last, or, or mention to you some areas in which we need to be enthusiastic. And first of all, I'd say we need to be enthusiastic in our worship. If you have your Bibles, turn back over to The Old Testament book of Malachi. And you'll remember that Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament.

But, more than that, that it's a conversation between God and, and the people. And if you look at verse 13 of, of chapter 1, God tells him, he says, You also say, Oh, what a weariness. And you sneer at it, says the Lord of hosts. And you bring the stolen and the lame and the sick.

So here he is saying, you count the services of God as weariness, and it shows up in the, in the sacrifices and so forth that you make. Contrast that, if you would, to Psalms 122, when the psalmist said, I was glad when they said let us go unto the house of the Lord. Which one matches our attitude the best?

Do we? Do we think? I get to go worship God, and I'm glad about that. Or do we tend to think, what a weariness that I have to get ready and go again and worship God and spend another hour at that place. God was displeased with those people in Malachi because of their, uh, weariness in worshiping Him. Why is it that some forsake the assembly?

Well, it's because they're not excited about it. Why are they constantly tardy? Why do they, uh, pay little attention when they're in there? It's because that doesn't mean that much to 'em. They're not enthused about worship. Just think for a moment, what kind of impression do we make when we're sing it? We sing to the word, to the word.

We just drag it out and, and it doesn't really mean anything to us. How is that going to affect us and how is that going to affect others? Or if we sing an invitation song where the Lord's inviting us to come? But we're not enthusiastic about it. We've already figured out nobody's going to invite, come anyway.

And so, why even sing it? Instead of being enthusiastic about it. I was in the audience one time when they were singing a song, Seeking the Lost. And the song leader just stopped and said, I'm not sure we're going to ever reach them the way we're going. He said, let's show some zeal in our song, singing. And so, what do we say when we worship with our attitude?

But secondly, we need enthusiasm in our evangelism and in our teaching others.

I mentioned the idea of faith of fire. And I think some of the examples we looked at were pictures of faith of fire. But these were people that were ready to go and teach others. And wanted others to hear about Christ. They had some enthusiasm about them.

Why is it that we get so hard pressed for teachers sometimes? Why are the people dragging late again? Why are they ill prepared? It comes because of a lack of enthusiasm. This is not considered as important to us as it should be. If we had evangelism or, or evangelicals had one third, if we evangelicals had one third, the enthusiasm of some of the cults, we could take the t.

A. W. Tozer said. And that's probably true. We see others that don't even have the truth, and they're out knocking on doors and teaching people. And we need that enthusiasm about the word, carrying it to others. But we really come down to this. How do we get that enthusiasm? I can tell you that one of the books I read one time, or speakers I heard one time, said, If you want to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic.

Act enthusiastic and you'll be enthusiastic. And maybe that helps a little bit. We, we at least put our mind in what I have to be doing to be enthusiastic. But I'll suggest to you more than that, that, uh, we don't want to just play act and play like we're enthusiastic. We really want to be enthusiastic.

And it seems to me that the answer to that is love, that love is what's going to make us enthusiastic about things and give us some sincere motivational skill. I think about Ezra, Ezra 7, 10. He said he prepared his heart to know the word and to do it and to teach it to others. He started out by preparing his heart to know the Word.

How do you prepare your heart to know the Word? Well, you begin to realize how valuable it is, I think. And when you realize how valuable it is, then you begin to want to gather that in and get it. And then you're ready to go teach somebody else and to do it yourself. But it starts with this attitude of, of this, I want this Word, I love this Word.

And so... We need to have a love for our Savior if we want enthusiasm. May I remind you that this is the world's only Savior? I mean, talk about being precious. You could put everybody that lives on this world and everybody that has ever lived and everybody that will ever live and however massive humanity that is, there's one.

One that can save us, and that's Jesus Christ. He came and gave his life for us. Think about what that means. And think about the fact there is none other. There is just not another savior. And so he ought to be very precious to us, and we ought to count him precious in this. Think about the Bible. This is the book of life.

That this is the book that can instruct us on how to be saved, and how to live, and how to be right in God's sight. And that it can tell us everything we need to know, as he talks about that the scriptures, uh, furnish us completely with everything we need to be perfect. And so we need that and, and that's makes that so precious and we ought to be enthusiastic in our studies about it.

It shouldn't just be something that lays there and, and when we get ready to go to church services, we, we grab it up and, and we're going to spend a little bit of time letting the preacher or teacher tell us something about it. Half heartedly listen to him. It's something that we ought to have and count precious and love it.

And then we'd be enthusiastic about coming and listening and learning. And you'd, you'd find some of that time that I mentioned a moment ago where you're studying and you find some truth and you realize, Hey, I have found something I didn't know before. Who can I tell this to and share it with? And you share it with somebody and, and then you come to find out they knew it already.

But you didn't know it, and you were excited about it, on that occasion.

We ought to realize that the church is precious. That it's blood bond. That the church is made up of the same. These are the people we're going to be in heaven with if we get there. And that should be something, and realize that's God's family. And we count it precious, and it should move us to work and do things.

We should even count the days precious, knowing that they're a gift from God. But a second thing, besides love, enthusiasm comes from God being in us. I told you that the word enthusiasm is not really found that many times. It's at all in the scriptures. You might find somebody translate them. But the odd thing is that the word enthusiasm comes from the word in and Theo, or what is God.

It's. God in us that supposedly is the basis of this idea of enthusiasm. And when we are partakers of His nature, when we are walking in the light, walking in love and righteousness, then God dwells in us. And that ought to give us that enthusiasm, God in us. And remember what Paul said when he wrote to the Ephesians, Don't quench the spirit.

That spirit that's in us, that gets there by our living the Word, and listening to the Word, and putting the Word in our heart. He says, don't quench that. That's where our enthusiasm is going to come. And then, let me suggest to you, that we get that enthusiasm by exercising ourself in godliness. 1 Peter, or 1 Timothy 4 and verse 7, Paul talks about that we need to exercise ourself unto godliness.

You just get better at the things that you practice. And we'll get better at Christianity as we strive to practice it more. And we'll get better at enthusiasm if we try and practice enthusiasm and make sure that we, we're excited about the things that are spiritual and share our excitement with other people.

You know,

the enthusiasm alone will not make you successful.

And enthusiasm alone Will not save us. In fact, you may remember that in the book of Romans in the 10th chapter that Paul was writing about the Jews and he says, I bear them record that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. He says they had some enthusiasm, but they didn't have the truth.

So it's gonna take more than just a matter of enthusiasm. For us to be safe, we're gonna have to know the truth and we're gonna have to obey the truth. And even when we. We hear the truth, and we're excited about it, and we accept it, and we're baptized in the Lord Jesus Christ. That's not the end of it.

And I remind you of 2 Peter 1, when he says in verse 5, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and knowledge temperance, and temperance patience, and patience godness, and godness brotherly kindness, and brotherly kindness love. But he starts out by saying give diligence to add to your life these things.

I, I have preached in times past. A couple of times in places and sermons I've preached was things you can say. You don't know, but what's the most important

thing to say?

Give diligence to add to your faith virtue, the virtue of knowledge, knowledge, temperance, temperance, patience, things, you have an entrance. abundant in...

fall away, not that you can't fall away, but your mindset is giving diligence to added faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance... that's the attitude that keeps us from falling away, that's the attitude that won't


it. You know, you're probably somewhere in those...

Either you're not yet a Christian. The most important thing you could hear was Jesus. You probably know that. And what now you need to do is

confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. Do what he said to do. Be careful.

And then the next thing you

do is to ask who

we can get excited about. Those two truths.

You're here this evening and you've not yet obeyed the gospel. Enthusiastically come and pronounce Jesus to be Lord and Christ and be buried with him in baptism. So you could share the great... Hope of heaven with us, with me. And if you're already a Christian, if you're not already doing it and don't feel certain about your salvation because uh, maybe you've not just really given yourself over to the Lord, then why not make that commitment?

And start now given diligence to add to your faith and virtue of knowledge, temperance, and be enthusiastic. About doing so you're subject to the invitation. We can assist you in vice to come as together. We stand