This is a sermon that my Dad preached at the church he pastored, First Assembly of God, Dumas Texas on October 3rd, 2004. It is also going to be the second sermon that I preach in my sermon series at the church I pastor. The title of that series is, “Discouragement, Excitement, and Love.” I will post both here so anyone viewing the blog and see the differences and similarities in the sermons.
Luke 19:1-6 NLT – Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” 6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.
INTRO: For a few moments this morning, I want to preach to you from the subject of “Excitement.” Let me ask you, “Do you have the excitement in the things of the Lord that you used to possess?” And if not then I want to ask another question, “Why do you not have the excitement in the things of the Lord that you one time had?” Let me ask you a third question, “Whose fault is it that you have lost the excitement out of your relationship with the Lord?” These are questions that I believe deserve an answer.
Now as to the question, “whether or not you have the excitement in the things of the Lord that you used to have”, only you can answer that. It is my prayer that the things of God are just as exciting to you as they were in the beginning of your experience. But if they are not, then I want to deal with the second question that I asked.
1. Why do you not have the excitement in the things of the Lord that you one time had?
If the things of the Lord are no longer exciting to you, then you must be honest with yourself as to why they are not. For I find that when people loss the excitement of the Lord out of their lives, they often want to put the blame of it on someone, or something else other than themselves. Very often people will come to church, and they will take this attitude of, “Pastor, here I am, now you bless me, you give me something that will excite me and lift me up.” But do you realize that exciting you is not the Pastor’s responsibility. God has not called me to excite you; He has called me to preach the Word.
2 Timothy 4:2 NLT – Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
What Paul told Timothy is the responsibility of every Pastor. God hasn’t called me to excite you; He has called me to preach the Word to you. And part of the Word that I’m to preach is to correct, rebuke, and encourage.
God has given the following ministries to the church: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers and to these He has give the “responsibility to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the Church, the body of Christ, so that it can come to unity in faith and knowledge of God’s Son that it will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.” He has not given these ministries to excite, but to equip.
It is also not the responsibility of the worship leader to excite you either. The worship leader, through the choruses and hymns that he may lead, does so for the sole purpose of directing our worship through the avenue of singing to the Lord.
You see church, if we who minister from this platform come for the purpose of exciting you then we fail in the purpose for why God has placed us here. If we only come to excite you, that is nothing more than hype, and hype will only lasts about as long as you are in the church building, but when you leave the excitement of what was built up through hype it will soon vanish away, because its not based upon anything solid. It’s only built upon the shifting sands of stirred up emotions. And what we have must be built upon something more solid than emotion.
2. This brings me to the 3rd question I asked at the beginning of this message, “Who is responsible for the loss of spiritual excitement?”
Is it the fault of the Pastor, or Worship Leader? No, as we have already seen, God has not called us to excite you.
Then where does the fault lie? I believe the fault lies within each individual who has lost the excitement of their experience. Excitement comes as a result of a living, fresh relationship with Christ Jesus. And in order to have that kind of relationship one must be renewed in the Lord daily as we pray, study, and seek Him.
Do you remember how it was when you first got saved? Do you remember how thrilled and how excited you were then?
Zacchaeus in my text received what you received when you came to know the Lord. Notice what my text said, Jesus had come to Jericho where Zacchaeus lived, and great numbers of people followed and surrounded Jesus.
Verses 3-6 NLT – 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” 6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.
Why do you suppose that Zacchaeus was so excited and joyful? The answer is obvious, but Jesus not only came into his house, but He came into his heart as well. If you will read the rest of the story it’s obvious that Zaccaeus got saved. And that salvation was the source of his excitement and great joy.
It is the same thing that you experienced when you came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Unfortunately when a person fails to continue to build upon that experience of salvation they lose the excitement and joy of that experience. To keep joy and excitement in ones experience one has to continue to grow, going to deeper depths and greater heights in the Lord. We cannot become stagnant in our experience in the Lord, and expect to have the same excitement and joy that we had when we first got saved. When we cease going to higher heights and deeper depths in the Lord we will soon lose the joy and excitement of our experiences in the Lord. And often times when this happens we begin blaming others for its failure instead and putting the blame squarely where it belongs – ourselves.
Remember, you cannot remain at the same spiritual plane all the time and expect to keep the excitement and joy of the Lord in your life. You must advance, you must go forward, you must build on your experience and relationship with God.
But if we have lost the excitement and joy of our experience, how can we recapture it? Simply by renewing yourself in the Lord, and by beginning to build upon that relationship. You keep excitement in the Lord when you not only just hear the gospel, but when you live the gospel.
And a good place to start in rebuilding that relationship is by repenting over your failure.
Acts 3:19-20 NLT – 19 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. 20 Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.
It is in renewing and refreshing, and daily living the gospel of Jesus Christ as you hide His Word in your heart and live it that you will be filled with the Lord’s excitement and joy.
CONCL: So again, in closing I ask the question, “Have you lost the excitement and joy of the Lord out of your life?” If you have, will you not do something about it this morning? Start on the road to recapturing it, by coming this morning and laying bare your heart and soul before Him. It is you who holds the key to possessing His joy and excitement. Won’t you do something about it this morning.