How enthusiastic are you--no, not someone else--YOU, about the growth of the church? Enthusiasm means, “intense or eager interest; zeal; fervor.” It sometimes appears as if this is one of the greatest failings of the people of God. Too many, including preachers, have the attitude of doing as little as possible or just enough to “get by.” However, fervency and zeal are the elements of growth and warmth in any combined effort. They are especially essential in the Lord’s work. The church is to be made up of those who ought to be “zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14). Words like fervent, zeal and excited should describe our lives in the service to our Lord.
1. Fervent in Love. Peter wrote, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto the unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” (1 Pet. 1:22). “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Pet. 4:8). Fervent love “covers” the flaws and imperfections in the lives of others. Fervent love does not unmercifully expose a flaw in another. Fault finders are not fervent lovers.
Albert Barnes on this verse: “True love to another makes us kind to his imperfections, charitable toward his faults, and often blind even to the existence of faults.” Nothing can cover sins in the sense of forgiveness but compliance with God’s law, but we may cover one another’s faults by dealing with one another in such a way as to lead one to comply with God’s law.”
2. Fervent in Spirit. The apostle Paul wrote, “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” (Ron. 12:11). “Spirit” in this verse is the human spirit in each of us. We are to be deeply excited about our responsibilities. It is our duty to do what has been commanded by the Lord (Luke 17:10). The commands of the Lord are not “grievous.” (1 Jno. 5:3).
The church can and will grow in proportion to the love and spirit with which we go about fulfilling our individual duties as Christians. Thus we can ask ourselves if we are as fervent and zealous about our personal work on non-Christians as we should be. What about our fervency and zeal in visiting the sick and needy? How fervent in spirit are we in giving of our means to do the Lord’s work? How fervent and zealous is our attendance and many, many more questions. An English writer, Joseph Addison, once wrote: “There is no greater sign of a general decay of virtue in a nation, than a want of zeal in its inhabitants for the good of their country.” Modifying that statement without altering the thought: “There is no greater sign of a general decay of virtue in the church than a want of zeal in its members for the good of the church.”
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