OceanSide church of Christ
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Victor M. Eskew
A. In our Bible study, we will learn that love is the crowning grace (I Cor. 13:1-3). Without it, nothing else matters.
B. There is another attribute that is also of vital importance among God’s people. It is one of the key elements of a vibrant, growing congregation.
1. Some may think the key element is faith. Faith is important (Heb. 11:6), but this is not it.
2. Some may say obedience is the key element (Matt. 7:21), but that is not it.
3. Others might believe that unity is the key element (I Cor. 1:10), but this is not either.
C. What is truly needed among many congregations of the Lord’s people is “Enthusiasm.” Let’s talk about this necessary trait of God’s people.
I. THE DEFINITION OF ENTHUSIASM
A. Enthusiasm comes from the combination of two Greek words: “en” meaning “in” and “theos” meaning “God.”
B. Some of the dictionary definitions of enthusiasm.
1. Inspired of a god
2. Divinely inspired
3. Possessed by God
4. Zeal or fervor
C. Philippians 2:13
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do his good pleasure.
1. When we become Christians, Satan moves out and God moves it.
a. John 14:23
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
b. II Corinthians 6:16b
…as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
c. I John 4:16b
…and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.
2. This indwelling is not a literal indwelling. We have enthroned God upon our hearts, and we have made His will our ultimate desire and task in life.
3. God, what He has done for us, and our relationship with Him becomes “the fuel of our actions” in life. God in us is enthusiasm.
II. WHAT ENTHUSIASM IS NOT
A. Enthusiasm is not merely excitement.
1. Excitement comes from external circumstances.
2. Enthusiasm comes from God being within.
a. When a football teams scores a touchdown, the player have enthusiasm.
b. The fans, on the other hand, have excitement over the score..
B. Enthusiasm is not mere emotionalism. It is not fervor without wisdom. It is not zeal without knowledge.
1. The Jews of Paul’s day had zeal, but did not have knowledge (Rom. 10:2-3).
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
a. A zealous person without knowledge is a fanatic.
b. A zealous group of people without knowledge is a mob or a terrorist organization.
2. Enthusiasm is “the fervor of reason.”
a. We are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27).
b. We have been redeemed by the blood of Christ (I Pet. 1:18-19).
c. We are instruments in the service of God (Rom. 6:16-26).
d. We have a wonderful destiny in realms eternal (I Pet. 1:3-5).
III. WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT ENTHUSIASM
1. Jesus died on the cross to cause us to be enthusiastic (Tit. 2:14).
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
2. God exhorts us to be zealous.
a. Ecclesiastes 9:10
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…
b. Matthew 5:16
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
c. Romans 12:11
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.
d. Galatians 6:9
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
e. Colossians 3:23
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.
B. Bible examples of enthusiasm:
1. Noah engaged in enthusiastic obedience to the will of God (Gen. 6:22).
2. Abraham engaged in enthusiastic intercession for cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18:23-33).
3. The children of Israel engaged in enthusiastic giving in the collection for the tabernacle (Exo. 36:3-7).
4. David was enthusiastic in worship and rejoicing as the ark was brought into the city of Jerusalem (II Sam. 6:13-15).
5. Josiah engaged in enthusiastic restoration in Judah (II Kings 22).
6. Nehemiah and the Jews enthusiastically labored to complete the walls of the city of Jerusalem (Neh. 4:6; 6:15).
7. The Lord was enthusiastic in His rebuke as He cleansed the temple (John 2:15-17).
8. Paul engaged in enthusiastic service to the Master every day of his life (I Cor. 15:10; II Tim. 4:6-8).
IV. SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ENTHUSIASM
A. Enthusiasm cannot be created by another. Each individual must create it from within.
B. Enthusiasm is usually found in just a few people. The excitement of their enthusiasm spreads to other people.
1. Some refer to this as enthusiasm’s being contagious.
2. NOTE: The “excitement” of enthusiasm spreads to others.
a. Others labor and toil from excitement from without. They get caught up in the work and in the growth.
b. Let those with enthusiasm leave and the work will come to a standstill.
C. Enthusiasm can involve just one or it can involve several.
1. If just one has enthusiasm, it is like putting a match to a piece of paper.
2. If it involves several, it is like throwing a piece of paper into a fire.
D. Enthusiastic people are
1. Enthused about their personal faith
2. Enthused about the congregation where they attend
3. Enthused about the life, the programs, and the ministries of their home congregation
E. Some churches are like lighters and others are like forest fires.
Lighter Forest Fire
Small flame Large flame
Not very hot Extremely hot
Turns on and off when desired Cannot hardly be put out
Lights small fires that burn here and there One huge fire burning all in its path
Stays off more than on Stays on
Can run out of fuel Endless supply of fuel
F. Sometimes enthusiasm can be quickly put out.
G. Once enthusiasm has been put out, it can be difficult to rekindle.
H. CHART: With and Without Enthusiasm
With Enthusiasm Without Enthusiasm
1. Good attitude: positive, optimistic 1. Bad attitude: negative, pessimistic
2. Lots of interest 2. Complacent, forgetful
3. Passion and energy 3. Sluggish, dry, struggling
4. Excitement that it catching 4. Dull, going through the emotions
5. Gratitude 5. Grumbling and complaining
6. Joy 6. Unhappiness
7. Growth 7. Dwindling and dying
Which one of these are we?
A. Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.”
B. The commander of an army of 500 versus the commander of an army with 5000.
1. The commander of the 500 was asked to surrender and would be treated with respect and honor.
2. In response, the commander of the small army turned to one of his men, and said: “Take your dagger and stab yourself in the heart.” The soldier did as commanded. To another, he said: “Jump off the cliff into the ravine.” The soldier obeyed.
3. The commander then told the messenger to tell the commander of the large army: “I have 500 men who are willing to die, but who will not surrender, and by this time tomorrow you will walk in chains beside me like my dog.”
C. Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles: they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
D. “You cannot kindle a fire in another’s heart until one is first burning in your own.”