I have been thinking about “apostolic passion.” I know- weird of me…right? Passion and apostolic-you wed these two ideas together and you really have something earth shattering and earth changing.
What is Apostolic Passion? I see it clearly illustrated in Paul’s words to the Roman church, recorded in Romans 15:15-21.
The word “apostolic” = one sent forth with a message. Much like a king sending a courier with his royal decree. The courier has two distinct characteristics:
1. Authority (because he is on the King’s business. He speaks the King’s words in behalf of the King.)
2. Priority (because the King sent him, it is priority business. He must go and he must deliver the message.)
The word “passion”= pathos. He delivers the message with urgency, feeling, and heart felt desire. In the New Testament, the word passion can mean:
1. To suffer with: Acts 1:3 says Christ was alive after His passion (suffering)
2. It can describe your strong emotions (Acts 14 :15 “…men of like passions”)
3. Can mean strong affections (Col 3:5…immorality, passions, evil desires.)
So, from God’s perspective, your passion is what you are willing to suffer & sacrifice for. I see apostolic passion springing forth from the heart of Christ. I cannot get it, until I get Him! What was on His heart that He was willing to suffer for? Read the book and see that Jesus had the world, including all the nations on his heart.
Matthew 24:14 – gospel preached to all the nations
Matthew 28:19 – to all the nations
Acts 1:8 – uttermost parts of the Earth
God wants His Son worshiped in every nation tongue and tribe. See Revelation 4:4 as the four living creatures & 24 elders worship the Lamb!
Some questions need to be asked:
Is apostolic passion for the nations limited only to the Apostles? No, it is not. Throughout the church’s history men and women have been captured by the passion to tell the nations that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself”
How can you know when you have lost this apostolic passion?
It is evidenced when my quiet time dreams and prayers do not focus on the Jesus name being worshiped in every nation, tongue and tribe. Far to often our spiritual time with God is telling him what you need and want, not listening to God’s heart for the nations. It is evidenced when I can sing about heaven but live as if earth was my home. I am earth bound when I am “stuff’ possessed.
Apostolic passion is dead in my heart when I aspire and strive for sports, toys, places to go, and people to see, and not striving for the nations to know God’s Son.I know too I have lost it when I make decisions based on the dangers or cost involved and not if Christ will be glorified in it.
How can you know if you- like Paul- are striving for the nations to hear of Jesus?
1. When you are planning to go, but willing to stay.
2. When you are deeply disappointed that God has not called you to leave your home and go out to the nations.
3. If you are not willing to suffer and sacrifice for something-you are not passionate about it.
How can I deepen my passion for the lost and the nations?
First of all–you cannot order it like a pizza or by calling an 800 #. Caring about what God cares about will need some time and work from both you and God’s Spirit working in you. Secondly, You must know Him, living so close to Him you can hear his voice and are willing to obey what you hear. After Paul’s Damascus road experience, he gave himself to knowing Christ. He desired more and more revelation of Christ and his purpose in the earth. Thirdly, you must chose it–That’s what Paul did. In Romans 15:20 he says, “ I am earnestly striving.”
Paul’s life long ambition was to tell the gentile world of Christ’s love. He chose to see that nations worship and gather around the lamb. In Romans 15:16 he sees the gentile nations as his love offering his offering to Christ.
Finally, you must strive for it, seek it passionately, making apostolic passion your ambition.
Decide now…. I am going to care about what God cares about! I am giving Him my life!Who are the most dangerous people on earth- men and women of apostolic passion.