Jentezen Franklin - The High Cost Of Low Enthusiasm
Luke 19:37. "Then, as He now was drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice". Verse 39. "And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, 'Teacher, rebuke your disciples.' But He answered, and He said to them", notice this, "'If these keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.'" Verse 41 now, "When He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it. He said, 'If you had known, even especially in your day, the things that I wanted to do for you to make peace. But now it's hidden from your eyes. For the days will come when enemies will trod you down, and surround you. Enclose you on every side. Level you, your children within you, to the ground. They will not leave you one stone upon another because you did not know the time of your visitation.'"
Not every moment is an equal opportunity moment. That verse: "You did not know the time of your visitation", has stood out in my mind for many, many years. It is a real wake-up call for us to understand that you don't decide the time of breakthroughs and miracles. You don't decide when you're going to just do God's will. But we can miss our time of visitation. And I, today, want to talk to you about recognizing those moments, and I want to talk to you about the high cost of low enthusiasm. The high cost of low excitement. Now see, that don't do much for you yet, but I want to show you in scripture that you can miss your moment when you don't respond to God when He speaks to you. And everything can change from rejoicing to weeping.
The high cost of low enthusiasm for God. I want to begin with the story in 2 Kings 13 of the old prophet Elisha. He was dying, and laying in his bed. On his death bed. And the Bible said that Joash the king came running in, and he said the enemy is coming. What do I do? And the old prophet got out of the bed and did a strange thing. He grabbed a bow and arrow, and he put his hands around the young preacher, or the young king, Josiah. And he said, shoot these arrows. But before you shoot them, take these arrows and beat them on the ground.
The Bible said that that king took those arrows, and he hit three times, and he stopped. And the prophet really got angry. It says those words. He was angry. Went back to bed, pulled his covers up, and said, what a foolish person you are. When God gives you a direction, when God speaks to you, when God gives you a word, you don't take it and just tap the ground three times unenthusiastically, as though some human being just spoke to you. But you are to react with great enthusiasm. And he says, as a matter of fact, what you don't understand is, those arrows were the arrows of the Lord's deliverance, and you will smite the Syrians three times because you hit the ground three times.
But if you would have hit it with great enthusiasm and excitement, you would have completely and utterly destroyed all of your enemies. But you missed it, and you're going to pay a high cost for low enthusiasm. You didn't get excited. God would have given you victory, but you didn't take it serious. And you thought it was just another moment, and another service, and another time, and you could react any way that you wanted to. Elisha tells him, you should have been enthusiastic. He did not get excited. He just went through the motions. And sometimes that's how we do in praise. We just go through the motions. We just hear a message, and it's just another Sunday. But he said, these arrows, you should have come alive with them. You should have gone crazy over what you were getting because I was speaking to you about your life. And you took it routinely, and you went through the motions. You will leave with very little, when you could have left with a lot. There was no passion. There was no excitement.
You were not gripped by what you've heard. You didn't tremble at my word. You didn't have zeal. It did not inspire you. It did not interest you when I gave you God's word for your life. I'm telling you, there's a high price for not getting excited about serving Jesus. We have opportunities that come our way, and we all respond differently. There's got to be an excited response inside of us, or we miss unbelievable opportunities. Not all moments are created even. There are intersections in life that come, and if you respond properly, God says I'm going to do exceedingly, abundantly above all they can ask or think. If you don't respond correctly, that's why we ought to live at high alert. That's why we ought to be passionate, and we don't ever give up, and we don't ever quit, and we don't ever get weary. If we do, we encourage ourself in the Lord because our response matters.
There's another story in the Bible. The story of Esau and Jacob. Esau was a hunter, and Jacob was a cook. And you know the story. The old dad would tell them that somebody is going to get the inheritance. Somebody is going to get the birthright blessing. And Esau was firstborn. Therefore, he had right to it. But Esau was not interested in those spiritual things. Around the campfire at night, the old man would start talking to them about their grandpa, Abraham, and how that he made a covenant with God, and split animals, and the fire of God went down the middle of those animals. And he would hear those stories. And little Jacob would be sitting there, saying tell me more, tell me more. This is my heritage. This is my spiritual family heritage.
You mean God has a plan for us? God has His hand on us? God is going to do great things in our family? And then he had a brother across the campfire who was sitting over there, and he could care less. He was yawning and looking at his watch; if he had one. He was trying to put new bows on his bow and arrow and sharpening his arrows. If you talked about hunting, he perked up. If you talked about the new little Canaanite girl that just moved to town, he perked up. But he didn't care anything about that inheritance stuff. That God stuff. That covenant stuff. I don't care about that. I'm not excited about that. I'm excited about other things.
One was giving his enthusiasm to spiritual things, and one to carnal things. One never asked about inheritance. He never asked to tell me more, tell me more. But when you brought up a hunting trip, he came alive. What I'm saying to you is the time came when Jacob would lay awake at night, tossing and turning, saying I want that blessing, I want that blessing, I want that blessing. I'm excited about it. I'm enthusiastic about it. I can't wait to get a hold of God and wrestle with God until I get that blessing that's supposed to be on my life. That favor, that anointing, that purpose, that destiny. It's already established. All I have to do is desire it. But he had another one, another boy, who was over there snoring. He had it. It was his. He had already been given it, but he wasn't excited and enthused about it.
One day, he went hunting, and he came home. And the younger brother, Jacob, was fixing a bowl of red bean soup. And Esau came home, and he was hunting, and he was hungry. And he said, give me the beans. And Jacob said give me the birthright, and I'll give you the beans. Beans for the birthright. A mountain of blessing for a bowl of beans. And the Bible said because the boy was not excited and enthusiastic about the purpose, and the plan, and the call, and the anointing, and the blessing that was on his life, he traded it for a bowl of red beans. And the blessing came on Jacob. If you're going to be in church, you better be in church. If you're going to praise the Lord, you better praise the Lord. If you're going to get up and come, you better jump in with some enthusiasm and some excitement, or you could absolutely miss God's plan for your life. If you're going to be a christian - be a christian.
When it's time to smite the ground, get out of my way. I don't want to miss the opportunity of a lifetime. Get involved in the worship because there's a very high cost for low enthusiasm and no excitement. Esau lost the blessing, and Jacob obtained it. And one paid an awful high cost for just not being enthusiastic and excited about the things of God. That's why Jesus said, if you're lukewarm, I'll spew you out of my mouth. I don't want anybody lukewarm. I'd rather you were cold or hot. But if you're just kind of here, but you're not really leaning in, and on the edge of it, wanting more of God, then I don't want you to under... I don't think you'll get anything from God.
Jacob had a lot of problems. He was a liar. He was a cheat. He was putting on goat skin when his daddy was blind and pretending he was Esau to steal the blessing. Had all kinds of issues and God said, "the boy does have a lot problems, but I tell you what, I love his desire. I love the fact that he wants something. I love the fact that he's excited and enthused and he's after it and he's grabbing for stuff and wanting stuff and trying to steal and cheat. Now I can fix the steal and cheat, but I can't deal with is some old Christian who just sits around and doesn't want anything, doesn't desire anything, doesn't dream of drawing closer and getting more of God".
Do you want anything? Do you desire anything? "One thing have I desired of the Lord, and that will I seek after..." All of Jerusalem lined the streets. The king of Israel, David, was bringing the Ark of the Covenant home that they had not seen for so long. Wherever the Ark of the Covenant was, in 2 Samuel 6, wherever that Ark of the Covenant went, there was shouting, and dancing, and rejoicing. There was victory. If they took it out on the battle field, the enemy would scatter and would be defeated because it was the presence of God under the old covenant. And wherever it went, there was victory, there was blessing, there was harvest, there was plenty, there was increase. The blessing, he was bringing it home.
And old David... I like David. Because whatever you think, I know he had a little issue with Bathsheba, and I know he had some problems in his life. But whatever you think about him, he was not unexcited and unenthused about the presence of God. So much so that when he got the God Box, the Ark of the Covenant, and hitched it up, and started bringing it back from Obed-Edom's house, the Bible said that he took six paces. One, two, three, four, five, six. Stop everything. Build an altar. Kill some animals. Offer sacrifice. And he would take off his kingly robe, and he would shout. And the Bible said, "he danced before the Lord with all of his might".
Maybe we have too much defeat in our life because we stopped praising God like we used to praise Him. And the Bible said, watch this, the high cost of low enthusiasm. Well, that's good for David. That's good for David. That's not my style. His wife looked out the window of her palace. And when she saw her husband magnifying and dancing for the Lord with all of his might, she saw him twirling, and twisting, and dancing, and shouting, and going so enthusiastically after God, excitement and praise filling the streets, she had ice water in her veins. She was the inspector general. She's checking him out, and mocking, and making fun, and getting angry at him. "David", she yells from the window, "You look like a fool. You're the king of Israel. God has raised you, and you are the king of Israel. Why are you acting like a fool"?
This is what religion says. See, the problem I have with religion is most people, the more religion they get, the dagger their praise gets. If you know Hebrew, and Greek, and theology, and you can debate, and you can give all, but I don't understand. It seems like those kinds of people are the ones who sit quiet during praise and worship. If you know so much, you ought to be praising. You know more than we do. We're just simplings. We've just been washed in the blood of Jesus, and know our name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, and been healed, been delivered, and seen God take us from the ash heap to the palace. But that's all we've got. You know Hebrew. You know Greek. You know all kinds of things. Why aren't you going crazy?
The more you know about Him, the bigger your praise ought to get. And he said to her, listen. I'm sorry that my praise... He goes in the palace, and she lets him have it. And he said, I'm sorry that I embarrassed you. I like his answer. He said but when I get back down there, you ain't seen nothing yet. You just wait until I go back down. If you're going to mess with me, I'll double up on my praise. But he has this answer. He says, I wasn't dancing for you. I wasn't even thinking about you. I know you think praise is about you, and the worship is about you, and the service is about you. But, David said, I was thinking about the one who gave me that bearskin on my barn and that lion rug in front of the fire place. And I got that Goliath big ol' egghead in my trophy case that God gave me.
That's who I was thinking about the God who took me from the sheepfold to the palace. And I was dancing for him. I never meant to do it for you. But if you think I was crazy, you wait until I get back down there. Because I'm already missing His presence. Watch the high cost of low enthusiasm. God saw her, and God cursed her for her lack of response. And from that day forward, the Bible said she could not bear children. Wow. Do you know that there are things that God will put in you and impregnate you with by the seed of His word? But you'll never bring those things to birth if you don't learn how to praise God properly. With enthusiasm. With joy. With great excitement.
It's more than noise. It's more than hiring people to make musical instruments praise God. This is something that's supposed to be a core thing in our soul in serving the Lord. We must never let it become dormant. We must never let it become lackadaisical. We must never let our praise life just be one that, yeah, I love the Lord, but whatever. We must have excitement and enthusiasm. Because there's a high cost. There's things you'll never give birth to until you learn how, in the middle of whatever you're going through, to put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. And I'm going to praise Him now until the dawn of the sunshine comes again in our life.
Somebody give Him a great praise. Hallelujah! Praise Him if you've had a hard week. Praise Him if you've had a setback. Praise Him. Get enthusiastic and say, you know what? God's still on the throne, and I will praise Him. Hallelujah! Sometimes God has to break us so that we can really praise Him. I feel victory in praise. It's the greatest lesson I've learned is praise the Lord. When I'm at the graveside, praise the Lord. When I get a bad report, praise the Lord. When I can't sleep, I'm so worried and troubled, praise the Lord. Great is thy faithfulness.
And David shouted as he brought the Ark of the Covenant back to the temple in Jerusalem. And 2.500 years later, Jesus Christ came riding on a donkey. Not with an Ark of the Covenant box. He was the covenant. And when He entered into the city, the people were shouting and rejoicing with great enthusiasm. With great excitement. With great joy. And the Pharisees, I call them critics. Every church has them. The critics said, "You need to stop that. You need to tell those people that are screaming Hosanna and waving palm branches, they're too excited. They're too enthusiastic about you. They'll come across as fanatical. Tell them to stop". And Jesus' response was a classic. "If these people don't praise me, the rocks under my feet will cry out and praise me".
Watch this now. There's a high cost to low enthusiasm, excitement, zeal, and passion for Jesus Christ. There's a high cost. Because those Pharisees and their spirit infected those people eventually, within seven days. And Jesus went from shouting in one verse to the very next verse, He's weeping over the city of Jerusalem. Because He says I'm weeping on Palm Sunday while they've been rejoicing because this city, Jerusalem, could have had peace. And the name Jerusalem means peace, and you could have been a city of peace. I saw your full potential. I saw what you were capable of doing and being. And Jesus, I wonder if He looks at our lives, and He sees our lack of excitement, and enthusiasm, and passion for serving Him and living for Him. And He weeps, and He says there could be such destiny.
There could be such purpose. There could be such use, ability, if you would give me all that you are and serve me with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. But this half-hearted stuff, wonder if it still makes Him weep? If He would look at a city and weep because He saw the potential of what they could be, and He knew they would never reach it. Wonder what He does when He looks at lives that just go through the motions of serving Jesus. I'm on a rampage. I realize that my days are numbered with my children being in my home. And my son, Drake, is sitting on this front row. And he won't hear me preach every Sunday in a few weeks. In a few months, he'll go off to school. And only what he's gotten a hold of that is real, and powerful, and mighty, and anointed will go with him.
And I feel a passion to say to a new generation, I can't be excited about Him for you. You have to get the fire, the excitement, the enthusiasm, the fire of baptism down in your soul. And I end with this. When was the last time you got excited, you got passionate, you got just totally enthusiastic about praising the Lord? When was the last time you weren't just so-so? I'm saved. I know I'm saved. That's about it. But He died for more. He wants our passion. He wants our zeal. If every time you get excited, He responds and He moves, we ought to be an enthusiastic, excited people. And there's no greater time to get excited, watch this, than right here, right now.