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Maintaining Enthusiasm

Message by Dr. Rick Mandl at Eagle Rock Baptist Church, September 13, 2020
Recorded in Los Angeles, CA.

Sermon Notes

Sermon Manuscript: Stay Positive Message 5- Be Enthusiastic
Sermon preached by Dr. Rick Mandl, Eagle Rock Baptist Church, September 12 & 13, 2020
Recorded in Los Angeles, CA.

 

Hey church family great to welcome you today. We’re wrapping up our Stay Positive teaching series with the idea of Being Enthusiastic. And when it comes to Enthusiasm, there are two types of people. Those who let CIRCUMSTANCES influence their enthusiasm and their passion for things. And then the other type of person is the one who... Those who use their ENTHUSIASM to influence their circumstances. So which one are you?

 

Are you the one who lets the things going on around you determine where your passion flows. Or are you the kind of person who says “No, nothing will derail my enthusiasm.” Think of the difference this way... You are either a THERMOMETER or a THERMOSTAT. A thermometer, as you know, takes its cues from the outside world. Bring it into a room and it will let the room determine what the temperature will be. A thermostat, on the other hand, does the opposite. It sets the mood for the room. You either SET THE TEMPERATURE or you READ THE TEMPERATURE. There are those who let what’s going on around them dictate the mood and spirit of their lives, and there are those who let the enthusiasm and mood and spirit of their lives influence the mood of those around them.

 

I want for a moment to look at the “root” of this word “Enthusiasm.” Our word “Enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word En Theos. It’s actually a compound of two words... En Is Greek for “In.” And “Theos” is the Greek word for “God.” En Theos means “in God.” Or “Filled with God.” It is the passion that you have that is borne out of a connection with God.

 

I love how the Apostle Paul says this to the church in Corinth. He says, “But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). To which all of us want to say AMEN. And he goes on and says, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable." What Paul is saying there is – don’t let the circumstances around you affect you – be immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord.

 

Why? Here’s why... "for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Paul is reminding us that “we work for the Lord.” And that when we work for the Lord, that transforms something mundane into something meaningful. He said it this way in his letter to the Colossians... He said, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…” (Colossians 3:23). What Paul is saying here is it’s not WHAT you do that makes it meaningful it’s WHO you do it for. That’s what makes the difference. The fact is, you can have passions for any variety of things. You can have passions for sports and hobbies. For your job or any number of other things. You can have passion. You can also lose it. And when that happens, how do you get it back?

 

We’re going to see that as we look at the life of King David. What I want to do is I want to look at what I'm calling the “en theous” of David. From the example of David, we’ll see that you can have spiritual enthusiasm and you can lose it. I want to look at the spiritual enthusiasm of a little shepherd boy who grew up to be king. I want to show you when he had spiritual enthusiasm and when he lost it, because maybe some of you have had it, and you've lost it, and just like David, you can get it back again. I want to start with the very well-known story about David and a giant named Goliath. When we read this I want you to read it through the lens of spiritual enthusiasm.

 

If you know the story of David & Goliath then you know that the Philistine army was at war with the Children of Israel and what they would sometimes do was to pick a representative from each side to engage in a fight. And based on who won that fight they would declare which army had won the battle. So David goes into battle. Fighting on behalf of the Philistines was this massive giant named Goliath. Fighting on behalf of Israel was a little shepherd boy named David. “David said to the Philistine, (Goliath) ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin.'" In other words, you come against me with all your stuff. All your state-of-the-art weapons of warfare. And truth be told you’ve got some pretty impressive stuff. And I’ve got no doubt that you know how to use it. “… but I (David) come against you (Goliath) in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied’” (1 Samuel 17:45). “This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and..."

 

Pause there for a moment. You know we tell these Bible stories to our kids. And we absolutely should tell these Bible stories to our kids. But when we do, we kind of sanitize them. We make sure they’re rated “G” for general audiences. And that’s okay. We need to communicate Bible truths in an age-appropriate way. But we need to make sure that as adults we do know for ourselves, the rest of the story. David didn’t just predict that he would be victorious in this battle. What he specifically said to Goliath was... I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army... Not just yours, but your entire army... to the birds and the wild animals, and those birds and those animals will chow down on those bodies. They are going to pig out! Well, David might not have said “Pig out” because he was Jewish. What he did say was... and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.” 

 

Where does this guy, this guy who is 17, 18, 19 years old, get this enthusiasm? How did this teenager? How did this young adult get this enthusiasm? Where Did David’s Enthusiasm Come From?

 

Three things... He trusted God daily. He walked with God daily. He worshiped with God daily. David trusted God daily, he walked with God daily, and he worshiped God daily. And the key word, just to make sure you don’t miss it is... Do you know what the key word is? If you know what it is, write it in the chat or say it out loud. The key word is DAILY.

 

How could David fight a giant? He could fight a giant because He trusted God. Because in previous days when David was taking care of the sheep and a bear would come up to attack one of the sheep, what did David do? He charged after the bear, and God gave him the strength to defeat the bear. And because David TRUSTED God the day before for that battle - - Boy vs bear - -  he could trust God today for the battle ahead of him - - Boy vs Giant. He trusted God and God had been faithful, and so he said, "God did it once. God will do it again. David figures, “I just happen to believe, based on my past experiences from the times that I’ve trusted God, that he will continue to be faithful and deliver the enemy into my hands. He TRUSTED God daily.

 

David also WALKED with God daily. Remember, David was the one who wrote the 23 Psalm. He was the one who said, “The Lord is my Shepherd...” "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He restores my soul. He leads me, he guides me, he comforts me, he protects me. He’s always with me. He guides me along the right path. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for He is right there with me, His rod and His staff protect me. He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. He anoints my head with oil." David said that as I walk with God I am convinced that mercy and goodness will follow me all the day of my life, and when my life is over... Then I know I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. David TRUSTED God daily. David WALKED with God daily.

 

And David WORSHIPED God daily. When the Ark of the Covenant, where the presence of God dwelled, came into town, scripture says, "David worshiped God and he danced with all of his might." So much so that it embarrassed his wife, like, "You are humiliating yourself," and he didn't care. David’s relationship with God was not a “click” on a computer screen once a week to watch a sermon so that he could say "Check. I did the church thing." It wasn’t even a drive across town to sit in a church service and sing some songs once a week. It was a daily abiding in the presence of God that gave him this enthusiasm.

 

Why did he have such enthusiasm? Because he TRUSTED God. He WALKED with God. He WORSHIPED God.

 

The tragedy is, this didn't last forever in David's life. He was very, very enthusiastic, spiritually charged at one point in his life, but as he grew older, evidently the spiritual fire stated to cool. Fast forward from 1 Samuel 17, which is David & Goliath to 2 Samuel 11, which is David & Bathsheba. When we reach 2 Samuel 11 David's not a kid. Life is more comfortable, and he is now the king. Verse 1 and 2 of 2 Samuel 11 tells us that, “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war..."

 

Pause there for a moment. What time is it? It’s spring-time. Who is David? David is the king. Where do kings go in the spring? They go off to war. Does David go off to war? No. David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army” (2 Samuel 11:1). David sent his army. David sent his general. But David does not go. He stays at home. And at a time when he wasn’t WHERE he was supposed to be... He climbs up on his roof and SEES something that he’s not supposed to see. A woman taking a bath on the roof of her house. And as a result he THINKS something he wasn’t supposed to think and then ultimately he DOES something that he wasn’t supposed to do – he has an affair with her.

 

I don’t want you to miss the contrast between these two periods in David’s life. As a kid with enthusiasm, David ran into the battle to serve his God. But as a king with apathy, David stayed home to serve his comfort. As a kid, with enthusiasm, he ran into the battle to serve his God. With apathy, David walked on the roof to serve his comfort.

 

Question. How did a man with so much enthusiasm as a kid, lose it as a king? Think about it. How did a man who had so much spiritual enthusiasm as a kid, lose it as a king? The answer is he took his eyes off his calling and he put it on his comfort. My question to you today is this... Which one best describes you? Which of those two categories best represents you? Are you filled with “En theos” – enthusiasm – filled with God? Whatever you do – it’s not meaningless – because it’s not about the WHAT – it’s about the WHO. Or do you find yourself – more spiritually comfortable? More complacent? With a calling on your life, are you charging into spiritual battles? Do you even know what those battles are? Are you gaining ground? Helping others find and follow Jesus? Or are your days mostly spent, making yourself comfortable?  Is your priority your CALLING or your COMFORT? Which one best represents YOU?

 

During COVID everyone has established new habits. All of us! What new habits have you established? Are those new habits all about yourself? Or are those new habits about you and God? Based on what I know about human nature and what I know about people... We don’t drift toward discipline...  We don’t drift toward health... We don’t drift toward good decisions... We drift toward complacency. We drift toward apathy. We drift toward self-centered attitudes. And sadly, when people are sometimes disengaged from the physical presence of worship, they may start out at church online for a little while, but then they start to drift. And bad habits set in. And the good disciplines go away and rather than being filled with the presence of God, they’re filled with fear, and doubt. And a loss of joy. And a loss of purpose. And what once was a vibrant passionate calling from God has been replaced by comfort.

 

Which best represents you? En theos... Calling? Purpose? Passion? Spiritual Enthusiasm? Or comfort….and complacency? David had that Spiritual Enthusiasm, but then he lost it. And in God’s grace, he sent a prophet named Nathan to confront David. And after the confrontation David realized how he had fallen away. And he cried out to God in the very powerful Psalm 51. And it’s there that we read these words... “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me… Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

 

Jesus said this to the church at Ephesus... He said, “Yet I hold this against you..." When Jesus tells you he has something against you, it’s time to listen up and take notice. What did he have against them? He says, “It’s this... You have forsaken the love you had at first." Another version says, ‘You’ve forsaken your first love.” In other words, you didn’t LOSE your enthusiasm, you LEFT it. You didn’t LOSE it. It’s not like it slipped down between the cushions in the couch, or you left it at TARGET. You LEFT it. You walked away. You surrendered it.

 

Some of you can relate to this. There was a time in your life when you were enthusiastic about God, and now, you're not so much anymore. It's almost like you've been comfortable with the, "Yeah, Jesus saved me, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Now, I'm going to do my life thing.” To you Jesus say, "You've forsaken the love you had." And then Jesus says, "Consider how far you have fallen!” And it might be good for some of us to do that. Consider how you drifted. Consider the intimacy you once had. Consider the power of God that was with you. Consider his presence that never left you. Consider!

 

And then Jesus says very simply, “Repent. Change direction. Change the way you think and do the things you did at first.”  Do them again. What do you do? You walked with him daily. You trusted his goodness daily. You worshiped him daily. Not out of DUTY but out of DELIGHT.

 

Like I said at the beginning... There are two types of people. There are those who let their circumstances... COVID-19, Fear, Panic, Anxiety... influence their posture, their heart, their own spiritual temperature. And there are those who let their ENTHUSIASM, borne out of a vibrant and ongoing relationship with God, influence their ENVIRONMENT. There are two types of people... Those who WALK with God and DWELL with God and TRUST God and he EMPOWERS them with SPIRITUAL ENTHUSIASM. And there are those who don’t LOSE it but they LEAVE it. Which type are you? Do you want your enthusiasm back? Then make the commitment to always work Enthusiastically For The Lord, knowing that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted.

Let’s pray.

Recorded in Los Angeles, CA.

 

 

Scripture References: 1 Corinthians 15:58, 1 Corinthians 15:57-58, Revelation 2:4-5, 2 Samuel 11:1, 1 Samuel 17:45-46

From Series: "Stay Positive"

You can discover a whole lot to smile about if you know where to look. And we can help you find it! Don’t let life get you down. Stay joyful. Stay hopeful. And Stay Positive! Cynicism and negativity may be the easy choice, but they're not the best choice. If you seek what’s good, you’ll see what's good. Let's embrace the way we're created to think and Stay Positive. This six-week series will help your attenders learn to be thankful and excited in spite of all the negativity we experience in this world. Weekly topics include optimism, gratefulness, encouragement, generosity, enthusiasm, and confidence.

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