Lord, we thank You for this evening. We thank You for a time to gather and be in Your Word. We thank You that being in Your Word is the same as being with You, Lord. So help us to just value and treasure our time in the Word. You would teach us.

Lord, be with those who are traveling, with those who are sick. And Lord, in all things, Your hand will be upon us for Your glory. And we pray that in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Well, good to see you. I know we’re a very, very small crowd tonight. I told Chris it’s like when all your friends get to go somewhere cool in the summer and you’re stuck at home with your mom and dad. Oh well, it happens sometimes. But no, it’s good to be with you. I want to be in… Romans chapter 12 again and look at really just one thing with you. I was going to do a couple things, but I found a lot can be said about very little in the Bible and you’ve probably found that to be true as well.

Every little word has volumes for us to learn.

So in Romans chapter 12, just picking up where I left off last week, in verse 11,

Paul says, Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. So do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. This is a letter that Adoniram Judson wrote to the father of his son, then hoped for wife, asking for her hand in marriage, his blessing. He says this, I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring to see her no more in this world, whether you can consent to her departure and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life, whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate, of Burma, to every kind of want and distress, to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. And that first of three wives did die in Burma, which is now Myanmar. And Adoniram Judson, who’s seen as kind of the father of modern missions, he served tirelessly there, spent time, spent time in jail unlawfully. He translated the whole Bible into their language, served for seven years, seven years there before he saw his first convert. He was a man given to zeal for the Lord. And even as I say that, and I think that’s encouraging, I think the thing that I don’t want to do is say, well, if you look down church history, you’d see a lot of awesome folks who’ve done a lot of awesome things for the Lord. What have you done lately? Where’s your zeal? Where’s your zeal? I think that we, we can easily do that when we like read, you know, heroes of church history. And while they’re encouraging, the thing to do is not to say, wow, they’re so awesome. I can never be like them. Because when we say these things, we’re tapping into ourselves and we’re right. We can never be like them. People who do great things for the Lord didn’t do it in their strength either. They had their zeal because it came straight from, from Jesus. So don’t look to someone and despair. Look to Jesus. Because when we look to Jesus, we find this, this next mark or this next fruit that we’ve been talking about. And it’s zeal. Zeal. Do you have genuine zeal for the Lord? And I really think this word zeal, we need to love it. We need to be reacquainted with this word as followers of Jesus. You know, last week we talked about how it’s an unfair characterization. If someone abhors evil, that, oh, well, you’re, you’re legal. You’re kind of cultish. If you start putting lines up about things that are definitely evil, things that are definitely good. The same thing happens when we talk about zealousness in the church today. Well, that person must be works based. Look, look how much they’re trying to do for the Lord. Let’s, let’s live in grace, right? I’m not going to work too hard. And we, we, we totally, uh, mangle up and mix up these words that, that have nothing to do with one another. Zeal and being works based. Zeal and being works based. Zeal and being works based. It’s two entirely different things. What you see in a works based person in a zealous person for the Lord is activity. The question is what kind of activity? And that’s the difference. Someone says, well, if you’re zealous for the Lord, brother, you need balance in your life. You need balance. That’s a, it’s a popular word today. Everybody wants to talk about life, having balance, mental health. It’s balanced. I think though, is, is Christians were only balanced when Jesus has the whole pie chart. Um, anytime that we’ve talked about a well-ordered life, a schedule that’s given to the Lord, my time budget, my energy budget. It’s not about giving Jesus 33% of the pie. It’s about how does Jesus get the whole pie? That’s when life is balanced for Christ. When it is plain that he’s Lord of everything, everything. So a Christian life out of balance happens when Jesus doesn’t get the whole thing.

And this word zealous, I think it really spits right in the face of a calm, cool, even tempered Christianity. I think the word that came to mind for me, the phrase was weekend warrior. You know, I like to call myself a, uh, someone who, who mountain bikes. The truth is I’m at best a weekend warrior. And really any good mountains around here too far away to do it on the weekends, you know, very often. But when you go on these websites, they’ve got the pro bike, you know, and it’s, you could buy a nice car for what they want for that bicycle. Um, but then they got the weekend warrior bike. Then they’ll, they’ll use that. And that means it’s a part of your life. You enjoy it, but you know, it’s a week. It’s, it’s contained. It’s contained. And I really think the apostle Paul is challenging here in intermittent, tepid, manageable, controllable Christian walk. I really think that’s what he’s, he’s speaking against in this, in this little phrase.

So this word zealous, what’s it mean? What’s it mean to be zealous? To be zealous means simply to be diligent.

It means to be diligent. It means to be eager. That’s it. As it regards your zeal for the Lord, he’s saying, don’t, don’t let your diligence fall off. Don’t allow it to fade. And he says on the opposite, don’t be slothful. Now here’s what slothful means. Not eager. Simply. It means idle and lazy, not eager, eager, idle and lazy. So it’s key here. I think we really get a biblical grasp on how much God hates laziness. And it’s not, I think even just spiritual. The Lord hates laziness, period. And if you remember, we did our study in Proverbs last year. And one of our topics was, was on, was on this. And the lazy person goes without food. The lazy person is a destroyer. The lazy person is ultimately wicked. So God honors those who work hard, who have a work ethic to take care of their responsibilities. These things honor the Lord, right? Because the Lord is Lord of all of life, not just Bible stuff, but every little part of my life. I need to honor God with that. How much more though, is it true in the spiritual affairs of life? We ought not be lazy. We ought not be lazy. When the Ecclesiastes writer says, whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. Yes, that, that is your responsibility, responsibilities at work or whatever it may be, but certainly serving the Lord, serving the Lord.

First Thessalonians chapter three.

Paul says, second Thessalonians. Now we, we command you brothers in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness, and not according accord with the tradition that you’ve received from us. Now that’s a pretty bold thing for Paul to say. And I, could you imagine going up to someone and they start talking with you? I need to stay away from you. You’re not really living up to the standards that we’ve set as church. I see you’re very lazy in what you’re doing. And it’s, it’s decided this person is an idle person as it regards to the gospel. That’s pretty, pretty radical. And again, Paul’s not doing that to be mean. He’s showing if you’re going to be a part of the Lord’s church, it’s zeal that you should have. It’s commitment to truth. It’s commitment to what’s right. So idleness, laziness, having variant views on what it looks like for you to follow Jesus apart from the church. Paul’s pushing back on that.

What’s, what’s he saying then? Next part.

He says, be fervent, insistent, be fervent in spirit. Be fervent in spirit. Serve the Lord. Now the, the fervent simply means boiling point. It means literally to be on fire. It means to be inflamed. So if you’re, if you’re going to follow the Lord, if you’re going to serve Jesus, here’s how you have to do it. You have to do it at boiling point. You have to do it in this, in your own spirit. It has to stay inflamed for the Lord. And I think when, when anybody hears that as a Christian, you’re like, yes, on fire for Jesus. Youth camp 1998. That was the slogan. I got that t-shirt and there was a bunch of awesome loud music and you know, they had fireworks and there was chili dogs after. That was a great experience. I think you and I need more than youth camp 1998 on fire for the Lord to keep us going. I need, I need this zeal to be long lasting. I need a constant source for the zeal. I need a zeal other than a periodic emotive stimulants. And I think honestly, if that’s all a Sunday morning experience is for you is your, your emotions get turned up and you, you, you have something that’s very sensory. Is that really what you need to keep the zeal for the Lord going? I think absolutely not.

We need a zeal that’s foreign. We need a zeal that’s supernatural to invade us.

How do we keep that zeal up? How do we keep it at boiling point?

How do we keep the fire alive? And let’s be honest. Can we be honest? We don’t always do that well for ourselves, do we? We don’t. So here’s what I want to do is I want to give us five ways. I think the Bible teaches us to keep our zeal and fervor for the Lord alive. And then some practical thoughts on that. So five ways, biblically speaking, to keep this zeal at boiling point. All right. The first one is really the same answer we looked at last week as it regards my love. How do I really keep my love for Jesus alive and genuine like we talked about? It’s going to the cross and it’s having a gratitude, a genuine gratitude for what Christ has done for me. So if you want a zeal that doesn’t die, never get bored with Christ crucified for your sins.

Does God in his gospel overwhelm your soul over the course of your life? That’s really the only answer. I’ll think all these other ones come out of that. Does the cross of Christ overwhelm you enough to where your life is spent for Jesus? That’s the fuel. That’s the fuel that you and I need. Nothing is going to keep you at boiling point for discipleship other than the cross. And I think the cross so often in our minds, especially if you grew up in the church, like the cross, that’s the basic stuff they teach the kids in Sunday school, the gospels, the remedial stuff. And I think we have it upside down. That’s not true at all. The gospel is the apex of God’s story. The cross is the best part of the story. It’s where we see God’s love and his power over sin and his mercy and his grace all at one time. So I go to the cross to see how though I’m one fallen in Adam, I’ve been made alive in Jesus and Satan defeated. I have to behold in the cross the love of God and that love alone gives me fuel. It keeps the fire burning. It keeps it going.

I cannot, if I really see the cross, I cannot, if I really see the cross, shrug my shoulders. At least I shouldn’t be able to just shrug my shoulders.

The Hebrew writer says,

let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, so let’s be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. And what is this worship? Is worship getting together and singing and praising? It is, but what’s Paul say worship is in the beginning of chapter 12? Our worship can also be talked about as our reasonable service. It’s being, what Paul says, as a living sacrifice. So if I see I’ve been brought into a kingdom that can’t be shaken because of Christ, my gratitude is overwhelmed. And what do I do? I live, I live as a sacrifice unto the Lord. I’m a sacrifice unto the Lord.

But it brings us to our next point. It flows right out of that. And it’s this. We can’t have zeal for Christ, without the Spirit of Christ. We can’t have zeal for Christ unless we’re living life in the Spirit of Christ. And I think there are two things from the life of Jesus that show this perfectly. Think about it when Jesus is young. I don’t exactly, you know, know how the whole interaction came, but Jesus is in the temple, right? And his parents leave and they think he’s whatever with great uncles. Whoever in the, you know, caravan going back home. And they go back and what does Jesus say? I got to be about my father’s business. Even from a young age. What’s Jesus set to do? Live for God. Serve the Father. And then when Jesus grows up and he whips all of the money changers out of the temple, it says that his disciples remembered the Old Testament where it says, zeal for your house. Will consume me. Zeal for your house will consume me. So if I want to talk about passion for the kingdom of God.

If I want to talk about passion for the kingdom of God, I have to talk about Jesus. I have to talk about that passion being internalized in me. It’s not anything that you can work up. So if you hear about how Charles Spurgeon wrote a bajillion sermons in his lifetime and a bajillion that he didn’t even preach. He wrote, so many sermons and he started 60 non-profit organizations and he wrote all these books and he built all these things. Don’t say, wow, what a man Charles Spurgeon was. Say, wow, how mightily the zeal of the Spirit worked through that man. Wow. That’s what we should say.

Practically, and this is practical,

Paul says to you and me, just do it. It’s not a Nike slogan. It’s practical in the Christian life. When he says in Galatians chapter 5, but I say, walk in the Spirit, he simply means it. He says, be who you are as a kingdom bearer. If you feel like you lack a zeal, it’s not because you’ve not burned enough incense yet, you’ve not chanted some phrase long enough yet, you’ve not rubbed the magic crystals just right. It’s just simple disobedience. Paul’s assuming, on the church in Galatia, you’ll have the Holy Spirit, so guess what you can do? You can obey the Spirit. You can live in the Spirit. You can.

That’s why Jesus can write to the churches in Revelation and say, hey, you’ve lost your first love. Hey, you’re lukewarm in what you’re doing now. You need to just repent. You need to go back. Do it. Just do what you’re called to do for the Lord. And here’s a, I think this is really an important sub point to make on this. You and I so often equal the power of the Holy Spirit in us, how weak or strong that is with our emotions. In other words, if I feel really weak or I feel really unmotivated to live for the Lord, it must be I’m really lacking in the Spirit. I don’t have what that Christian has over there. Man, it’s just not there. Now, if a marathon runner who prepared for months and months and months and months, to run this 20-something mile run, and he’s so excited when he starts, when he gets towards the end, he’s got just a couple miles left, is he saying things in his head like, I shouldn’t have signed up for this. What was I thinking? I can’t finish this. I can’t do this.

And he’s in that moment miserable. He can still finish the race and push through. Why? Why?

Because he’s simply committed to it. And that’s the beauty, I think, of this zeal we’re talking about in the Lord. It doesn’t have to do with how you feel about serving the Lord. It has to do about being committed to the Lord. And that can kind of supersede and go over top of our emotions that go up and down. You can think about it in a marriage. How often is it true in a marriage that the way we feel about our marriage changes? Quite a bit. But can’t I still keep my commitment to my wife? And be a husband, even if I’m in a season that doesn’t feel like it? Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And here’s the most powerful point of that. When he says in verse 11, Be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. That word serve is that of a bondservant or a slave. No slave ever went, I’ll do it if I feel like it, to his master. Despite how you and I feel as slaves of the Lord, Jesus, what’s a slave do? They do what they’re supposed to do. So it’s okay, free yourself from thinking, I lack motivation today, I feel down on my Christian life, that that means you can’t still follow through on your commitment to serve the Lord for that day. You are not a slave to your emotions. The best example I could give of this is the Lord Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He says out loud to the Father, Father, let this be. He does not have all the feels for Christian discipleship in that moment. But he says, hey, I’m going to do it. So your zeal is not a feeling. Your zeal is a commitment to the Lord, and it’s a capacity you have in the spirit to serve. To serve.

Here’s number three. You and I get fuel for our zeal when we constantly realize it’s a privilege to be used. It’s a privilege to be used by God, and what I do for God actually affects eternity. It’s a privilege to be used by God, and what I do for God actually affects eternity. I think one of the grossest mischaracterizations of the sovereignty of God in the salvation of sinners is someone will say, well, nothing matters. You know, someone’s saved or someone’s not saved, or God’s in control of what happens. Nothing I do counts. Nothing I do matters. And I think that’s a massive, philosophical assumption that is unbiblical. It’s entirely unbiblical. We are told in the word of God that we will each stand before the judgment seat of Christ for what we do. Paul says in Corinthians, your labor in the Lord is not in vain. We’re told in many places that we will be held responsible for what we do, and the Lord has put responsibilities into our hands. So we should be. Servants who realize we’ve been given a task and much more a privileged task to serve alongside the Lord. And God’s sovereignty shouldn’t discourage me from the work. It should encourage me in the work. If God’s so in control that that must mean whatever he calls me to do for him will turn out as it ought. And I’m actually, you know, being used for that kingdom to be built so I can serve passionately.

Here’s the fourth reason. Time is short. Time is short. All we do for the Lord, impassionately, on fire, is not a multi-century endeavor for any of us. It is not a multi-century endeavor. For a lot of people, it’s not a multi-multi-decade experience. Adam Judson died very young. Not everyone lives to 99.

Life is a quick experience for all of us. Don’t waste it serving some other master. Don’t waste it on yourself. Don’t waste it doing nothing. So if you and I would keep an eternal perspective when we feel like I’m stuck in this season and I just feel so dry and I just don’t feel like I’m making a difference or all these barriers are up around me like nothing’s good here and it’s just all bad. Don’t do that. You just had this short little window to live for the Lord and then boom, you’re gone. Don’t waste your little life. It’s so small and short. But boy does God want to use that little window to do something great if you would submit and serve with zeal.

John Piper in his book, Don’t Waste Your Life, he talks about in there remembering when he was very young and he would go around with his dad who was something like a circuit evangelist back when that was more of a thing. He’d go to churches and preach and he remembers after one of these times he preached that this older man came and sat down with him and this man, I guess convicted, just starts yelling over and over again to John Piper’s dad, I’ve wasted it. I’ve wasted it. I’ve wasted it. It’s a painful thing to get to the end of your life and realize I’ve wasted it. I didn’t spend it on the Lord.

It’s a painful reality for me personally, because Darcy’s 11 and I’m honestly struggling with that. How did you get 11? Because I can think about all the times I maybe wanted to spend more time with her or wanted to invest more time doing something meaningful and it’s like, it’s gone. It’s gone. She’s not going to be a baby, toddler, child. She’s 11. And so all of us experience that in different ways, how quick life moves. It’s so short. Don’t waste it.

Fifth reason.

Keep your zeal for the Lord because God will and God desires to reward you. God will and desires to reward you for remaining zealous and on fire.

Hebrews chapter 6, verse 10. Hebrews 6, 10. It says, For God is not, so unjust as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Through patience, inherit the promises. Jesus, at the very end of Revelation, says, Behold, I’m coming soon, bringing my recompense with me to repay each one for what he’s done. And those are a couple examples. The Bible has a lot to say about getting your reward from the Lord for what you have done in the body, whether what, good or bad.

So I think you say, wasn’t that selfish to want to serve God to get a reward? No, absolutely not. Why? Well, first of all, because the Bible tells you, you should do it. You should long for the upward prize of the call in Christ Jesus. You should long to please your Father. You should long for, you know, this little plaque. And you got this little plaque hanging on your house in heaven and it says, My Father said I did a good job. Yes! That’s something to look forward to.

To hear the well done.

Which brings us back to the cross. It’s not about us. It’s not about me and what I can do for the Lord. It’s surrendering to the Spirit so the Spirit can work through me and say, wow, look what God’s done through me. I want the reward of saying I had a life filled with, full of, used for the Lord. And that’s it. That’s it.

So just to recap those, I know there’s five things. I’m usually a two-er on a sermon, but I have five.

Zeal can stay hot when I’m grateful for the cross. I see the glory of God and the goodness and kindness and love and mercy for me to save me in Christ Jesus. Secondly, I can just walk it out because I have the Spirit. I simply have the Spirit and I can do it even when I don’t feel like doing it. I can actually obey God and serve Him when it feels like I’d rather not.

Third, it’s a privilege. It’s a privilege to affect eternity. It’s a privilege to affect eternity. And all of our choices will affect eternity in one way or the other. Fourth, time is short. Life is very short. Don’t waste it being sluggish or on other pursuits. Okay? And fifth, because you want to get a reward from the Father. So those are, I think, five solid biblical reasons to stay zealous for the Lord. So let’s answer the question in just practical application here. What’s the service? We said already, well, the service is that of a bond servant or a slave. Okay? So if I’m in the Roman Greco world and let’s say I’m born a free man, but I’m a real poor free man, I could sell myself to a rich man and have a better lifestyle now with the catch. I belong to him and I have to do whatever he says. Right? So in some sense, the servitude is whatever the Lord calls us to do. Whatever the Lord calls us to do. But here’s the thing. I think we in the church today, we float this phrase around and it’s unhelpful. People say, especially young people, I think it’s meant well like when you’re a late teenager, 20, I wonder what God’s will is for my life. What’s God’s will for my life? And if you don’t look just under the right rock, you just might miss it. What’s God’s will for my life? What’s God’s will for my life? And I think, I think God’s will for our lives, it’s firstly practical and not mystical. It’s really practical, it’s not mystical. Because you can say to anyone who’s asking that question, let me tell you the first thing in how you should be serving God is by growing in your personal holiness.

Because, here’s why, you are useless to serve God if you are not personally holy. So all of the quote-unquote doing you could do for the Lord is no doing if you’re not first being who you ought to be. And in Ephesians chapter 6 where it talks about the full armor of God, I think this is helpful to walk through and thinking about this. Because this is all about what you and I do in the Spirit, it’s what the Spirit does in me, yes, but it does not say just lay down on the bed and all this is going to happen to you. There is a sense, again, in which God expects you to take responsibility for your own spiritual health. Paul says, take up the whole armor of God.

He says, fasten on the belt of truth. Put on the breastplate of righteousness. Put on the readiness of the gospel for your feet. Take up the shield of faith. Take the helmet and the sword of the Spirit. Pray at all times. Keep alert. Make supplications. So as much as it’s true that God is the one who is activating us and empowering us for a vigorous Christian experience, it is not passive and I just wake up like I’m a marionette and it’s like, whoa, look what the Spirit’s doing to me. I’ve got all these strings attached. There is this certain capacity in the Spirit where God’s saying, no, you have faith when the enemy’s shooting darts at you. You put on your helmet when someone’s trying to tell you that, you know, all these false doctrines or things that aren’t true. You put on a breastplate of righteousness and stand in who Christ is when you’re being tempted with sin. Very much so, you need to constantly keep your spiritual health up. And again, the parallel to the physical body is so easy and helpful. If you’re 200 pounds overweight, you got no shoes on, you got no helmet, you got no belt on, what kind of servant are you going to be? How helpful are you going to be? You eat whatever you see. You don’t take care of what you put inside your body. Friends, you’re going to be in terrible shape. You’re going to be a bad servant.

Take care of your own spiritual self. It is a very plain and simple application for all of your service. And we talked about it a couple weeks ago, don’t read the Bible to read the Bible. You’re feasting on Christ so that you are holy and spiritually sharp. You are praying so that you are full of just the presence of God and you’re living mindful of God and you’re asking for the things you need and you can know you’re being supplied with that. On top of that, be a lifelong learner. And we haven’t talked about this in a long time, but it’s always worth finding some really helpful resources

that further push you to be a word prayer individual. So there’s a head spinning, spinning amount of literature in the world today. Most of it, I think, bad, right? And then there’s a head spinning amount of videos on YouTube and everybody is a talking head about everything, right? And the Ecclesiastes writer says there is no end of the writing of books. It’s a great weariness, right, to you. So finding people who are really good voices to help you think strategically through following Christ is a plus. Now, obviously, I will always throw out the Puritans and I’ll always throw out folks from that era who I think spent a lot of time thinking really hard about what it looks like to serve the Lord. But there are many. I know we’ve done book giveaways and from time to time I’ll send out articles that are useful and I’ll continue to do that. But it’s good to be sharpened by those who have thought through things really well and can be useful to you. But again, in the spirit of the Proverbs, iron sharpens iron. So it’s really good to be learning from one another. What’s the Lord teaching you lately? Let me tell you what He’s teaching me lately. So as we are together as a community, we’re even being sharpened all the more in personal holiness. So, okay, Lord, zeal for you. Where does that start? It starts with you taking care of your spiritual health. Here’s the next one. Your own home. Are you certain? Serving the Lord in your own home.

What does the Scriptures tell those who are husbands? Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church. So how do I, how do you as a man serve the Lord with zeal in my home? By leading my home. By leading my family. And I think that’s certainly the practical affairs of life. Hey, are we, are we running our home in an organized way? Are we taking care of the daily stuff? Are we keeping our finances in order? Are you as a husband helping your wife think through these things? But then, am I nurturing my wife? Is she walking with Jesus? Am I keeping my finger on her spiritual temperature? Is her devotion life, is it life-giving right now for her? Is my wife caring too much? Sometimes men and women do it, but my wife said yes one too many times. And now she’s got one too many things on her schedule and she has fallen apart and this is bad for her spiritual health. I see some of you smiling. So you know that you, you may be guilty of this. We’re all guilty of saying yes one too many times.

So I need to care for my wife spiritually and nurture her and lead her. Specifically, Paul says, husbands, don’t be harsh with your wives. So there is, I think, a very real just gentleness and care and concern for my wife’s physical, spiritual, mental well-being all the way around. Am I serving her so that she can be who God wants her to be? That’s a big responsibility for us. And then we can flip it. Wives, are you serving the Lord by submitting to his leadership? Are you working harmoniously with your husband to take care of the affairs of your life in their multifaceted ways, your responsibilities? Husbands need love and encouragement in the Lord too. Right? I’m like, guys are too tough to say that. Like, I need encouragement. I need, I need my wife to, to pick, give me a spiritual pickup and encouragement because I’d be a dead man without my wife and her Christian service to me. There have been so many times where my wife has served me by just speaking truth over me, by consoling me when I feel beat up. I feel beat up in the Christian life about one thing or the other. My wife has so many times pushed me to stay faithful. So that, that’s a privilege, a God-given privilege for you to help and love him and fulfilling his calling. And husbands, that, that’s your calling to love her. And again, that’s a complimenting thing, the way God has designed the puzzle piece of man and woman to come together in service of the Lord. And then we do get to children. We do get to children. We do get to the instruction of the Lord here.

And I think we’re kind of breaking this out in a few different ways, looking for teachable moments. And that’s a really popular catchphrase, I think, today in the church. Like, look for those teachable moments. Look for those teachable moments. But, but it is useful. So if, for example, if my children are bickering, my inclination, not that my children bicker, someone else’s children, of course. My, my, my kids never fight.

But I’m tempted to, to just go, hey, y’all stop that. Hey, go to your rooms. Hey, knock it off. Hey, you’re grounded. Now, sometimes a short discipline is what’s needed. But it’s better for me to sit down and say, Darcy Dawson, are y’all treating one another the way Christ would have you treat one another? Is this what, is this what it looks like to love someone who is your brother or your sister in Christ? Is this, is this what it means to be a family? So I do have to stop being, here’s the word, slothful and lazy in the teachable moments. And it’s not just that. It’s, it’s a lot of things. Sometimes Darcy and Dawson, they ask hard questions about things they see going on in the world. Things I don’t want to, like, take the time to explain or whatever. But it is very much so serving the Lord by zealously, teaching and instructing where I should. And then number two is discipline. Is discipline. Again, it’s easy to do kind of fast-paced discipline of, well, you’re, you’re to this or, or just not thinking through or being too lazy to discipline at all. And I know that, you know, that’s like a cuss word today to talk about, you know, spanking or disciplining your children. But, but, you know, spare the rod, you know, spare the rod, spoil the child. You are loving your kids well. You are serving the Lord. When you serve a spanking to your child, okay? So we’ve got to raise up a godly generation and that means on purpose, diligently, eagerly, teaching, disciplining, all of them. And then, and then third on that, I know I harp on this, but I think it’s really important. I do think it’s important to have focused study time in the Word of God. There’s different methods for that. We’re, so there’s 82 questions in Charles Spurgeon’s, uh, Catechism for Kids. We’ve been going through it for the last probably two, three years. We’re just now, um, I think we’re in like the late 70s there, 70-something. And sometimes it’s really hard and they’re not focused or sometimes the answer’s long or sometimes we’ll miss it for a few weeks. And so can my kids, if I say, answer, question 44. No, but I’m like, well, remember it was this question and remember what we said about it was this, like, oh yeah, that was good. So constantly going to what does the Word say about these things and finding yourselves in the Word, in your family, husband, wife, mom, dad, serving the Lord by serving your children. Okay? Here’s the, here’s the third one I want to tack on here and it’s not going to be a surprise. It’s not going to be a surprise. But it’s church. It’s local church life. That’s chiefly what Paul’s talking about when he says serve. It’s contextually serving the brothers. It’s contextually about serving the brothers. Okay? My church. What does my church need? Then, with a great attitude,

do it. It’s actually that simple. Where can I give of myself eagerly, diligently to, my church, family?

Perhaps it’s, it’s in a small way. Perhaps it’s, it’s in a seemingly small way, which is probably not as small as you think it is. Whether it’s service to children or setting up for things. But friends, I think there’s a certain spirit that this word zeal gives us. I want to be the person that shows up before everybody else, leaves after everyone else is gone. I see a piece of trash over across the room. I’m going to go be the person that gets it. I’m going to just be there to serve and to zealously love. I think there’s a real spirit here Paul’s giving us with this eagerness, this diligence to just love, serve, sacrifice, exist for God’s people. I think it does mean simple things like, man, you’re a casserole machine. People are sick. Things are going on. Who’s, who’s loving well? Who needs help fixing something?

Who, who, who has a rough season and they need a shoulder to cry on? Who, who needs some help? Am I zealously dumping myself out all the time so that Christ can fill me up with, with, with Him so I can serve the church zealously? Zealously.

So I lay out those three things to say, to say this, zeal for the Lord doesn’t happen alone and can’t happen on some grand big picture scale that people will write a book about you someday if I’m not being faithful in the small things first. If I’m not being faithful in the small things first. If I’m completely careless, slothful in personal holiness, completely careless and slothful with, with serving my own family, my own wife, my own children, and then I’m not and then I’m pretty careless and selfish and lazy and loving the body of Christ. I don’t think you gotta worry about going to Burma. I don’t think you gotta worry about doing the big thing.

Now, dream about the big thing. Long to do the big thing. Sell everything and go to the remote island. Be the person that, that, that shares the gospel in the hard, difficult places. Dream, really, really big about doing zealous things for the Lord that are gonna require diligence. Just don’t forsake the small things because God does big things in the small things as much as He does big things in the big things.

What needs zeal in your life? Where, where do you need some diligence? You need a little more eagerness. Where is that for you? Where is that for us? Where do you need to set your mind and set yourself irrespective of your emotions to say, you know, the Lord really deserves more. The Lord deserves more than I’m giving Him.

I don’t want to get to the end of my race. I’m sure you don’t either. I only need to have regret for having dragged my feet for so long.

I want to get to the end of life

and be able to say that that person lived for Christ crucified.

For Christ crucified. So that’s a simple but powerful encouragement for us all. Run zeal for the Lord. Finish the race as Christ finished His and it’s by His power and grace we can finish with zeal. Let’s pray.

Father, our request in prayer tonight is just that. We would have zeal. We would have eagerness. We would have diligence. We would have passion

to give our all, to give our best to You, Lord. So let us do the

contemplative work

of examining ourselves trying ourselves Lord, being open to

Lord, error seeing a need to repent

Lord, just give us clarity give us clarity in what You’re calling us to and Lord, give us all the fullness of the Spirit

Lord, to do it and Lord, that it would be for Your glory.

Amen." Let’s pray.

Preacher: Chad Cronin

Passage: Romans 12:11