Levi Lusko - Instantly Hot
I'm going to preach a message to you this week called "Instantly Hot," instantly hot. If you have a Bible, Romans Chapter 12 is where we're going to be. And again, the title of the message is "Instantly Hot". That would be as opposed to eventually hot, sort of hot, hot if you feel like it, or not so hot at all, instantly hot. Come on say it with me, instantly hot. And we're going to spend our time focused just on one tiny little phrase, just three words, that appear twice in the Bible. Once is in Acts 18.
If you want to read that on your own time, Acts 18, an amazing story where we see someone who's instantly hot and just the power that God works through that. But the phrase that we're going to study also shows up in Romans Chapter 12. And that phrase is the phrase, fervent in spirit. And I feel like God would have us to spend some time kind of piggybacking on the thought from last week where we were talking about fanning the flame. And we're going to talk about being fervent in spirit. And this comes to us again in Romans Chapter 12 where in verse 11, Paul says, "not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer". Fervent in spirit.
Now, in my Bible, there are headings. And this is at the beginning of a new paragraph or at the beginning of a new section or the beginning of a new thought. There are little things just to kind of give you the cheat on what's to come. Now these are not inspired. These were not in the original. They're just added later for clarity and for help. And in my Bible, the thought that we're in above it is this heading. I love it. Behave like a Christian. Don't you love just the directness of that? Like dang it. Behave like a Christian. And I actually think that's a helpful designator, just to clarify what we're going to be talking about here. Because when it says behave like a Christian, that would be as distinct from how to become a Christian.
And if you're here with us, invited by a friend, or maybe you Googled church in my area and stumbled upon this gathering, or you drove by one of our billboards off the freeway or heard a radio advertisement. Or maybe a few weeks back, you were clicking on your television channels, and on Sunday you came across Fresh Life, and you were watching like, this is interesting. This is strange. And then you realize that this is in your city, and so now you're here, just kind of checking it out. And you're not a Jesus follower right now. First of all, thanks for coming. We love, love, love so much that you would come hang out with us. And maybe you're agnostic. You don't really know what you believe. You're not quite sure. Maybe you'd even open to say I'm an atheist. I don't believe in God. We're so glad you've come.
We always have strived for this to be a church where you don't have to believe in order to belong. This is a safe place for you to explore the teachings of scripture and who Jesus is. And so we just we welcome you here in our home. But this section is behave like a Christian, not how to become a Christian. And so what we're doing is we're studying a passage of scripture that goes out to people who have already made that decision to bring their lives under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. And I think it's helpful for us to really look into this. And if you are here, and you're not a Jesus follower, you should know you're kind of eavesdropping here on a family talk that we're having that is not us trying to tell you how to become a believer, but it's you understanding how seriously we take this and how much we care about you, that we would fight for our souls to be in such a condition, so that we could be open to God using us to reach more people like you.
So that's what you're hearing, and I always like to clarify that and just make sure we understand what we're talking about here. So he says here, behaving like a Christian, and in that, if you look at verse 11 one more time, he says, don't lag in diligence. Don't lag in diligence, and diligence can be translated as zeal. Some translations list it that way. So it's a negative admonition. Don't lag in diligence. Don't be lacking when it comes to zeal. Don't be lacking when it comes to being zealous or being diligent. But instead, be fervent in spirit. Now, that's a positive admonition that says the exact same thing he just said. You know God is like your mom. If he repeats himself, it's because it's important. Essentially, he's saying here is don't lack in zeal, but be zealous. Don't lack in zeal, but be fervent as you serve the Lord. Both of those things are telling us how we should be living this life serving Jesus. If we've brought our lives under the Lordship of Jesus, and we're his followers, here's how to do it. Do it in a way that doesn't lack zeal, but abounds in zeal. God, listen to me, wants you to be fervent in spirit. OK, got it.
Now, what does fervent mean? Just one question. What does that mean exactly? I'm glad you asked. I looked it up myself. Fervent means intensely passionate. Hot or glowing. Someone say hot or glowing. When something glows, it's really hot. So God chose a word that's not just a little bit passionate, but it's intensely passionate. It's not just a little bit hot. It's hot to the point of glowing. And then I love the clarifier, oh you're getting a Latin lesson. Did you know it was coming? Fervens is a Latin word that actually means boiling. So when he says be fervent in spirit, the Bible is saying, if you're a Jesus follower, you should be boiling inside your spirit. And the implicit idea is an active, energized, fired up, enthusiasm, a vigor, a passion, an excitement. I'm not dull. I'm not mildly into this. I'm not going through the motions of this. I'm not like bleh. I'm not like meh. I'm like, yes. I'm like yay. Woo. Praise hands emoji. That's what's going on. We're talking about boiling.
Now, when it comes to boiling, you have options. If you want to get something hot to the point of boiling, you can resort to one of these, if you have a month. Because all you have to do... how long have these been around right? To use a kettle, it's like I almost feel like I'm using caveman technology here. You pour water into a kettle, and then you place it on your range, on your stove top. And then you get your mug out, and you get your bag of tea out. This is mint. Yes, this is mint. And then all you do is you just wait for the rest of your life. Because getting hot with these, I have found is a very rare event. You'll know when it's ready though, because you will hear a sound similar to the shrieking of a soul leaving a body. And that means it's time for a relaxing cup of tea. And I have so many times in my life forgotten that I even wanted tea and just gone my way. And come back, the tea kettle's empty. All of the steam is gone. I'm just a fire hazard.
Anybody with me? Have you ever done that? A few times in my life. But then there's another option. And if you want to get something boiling, there's this option. I found out about these when I was studying abroad. I took one semester of college in England. And these things are amazing. I found out about these electric kettles, and they do this job just slightly faster. So same gig. You get the water inside the kettle, and I like this one because it's cordless. So the base is plugged in, but the actual device is not. So when you're ready for your tea, you just can make it mobile, which is cool. And so same thing. You turn on, and bing and it's set to go to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which is boiling in Fahrenheit. I'm not quite sure about the centigrade thing. I didn't live in England that long. But basically, it's ready now. You get to have your cup of tea, just slightly quicker than you would with the tea kettle. It's interesting.
When Paul tells us here to be fervent in spirit, or to be white hot or boiling on the inside of our soul in a good way, in a positive way that can create help and health for others, I don't think this is what he wants. And I don't think this is what he wants for us. This to me, kind of reminds me of the person who maybe got really fired up like a time. A time. The day of their salvation, maybe. Man, I remember when I gave my life to Christ. I was on fire for the Lord. And then or maybe like one or two times. This is the person who's always talking about the Promise Keepers' rally they went to like in 1997. And there was just unbelievable. The spirit really fell that day. Or the teen who went to the choir, the fire event, or the girl who was at the Joyce Meyer thing, or that Beth Moore study one time you went to. The Lord was just right there. He was right there, and I was here. And he was there. And man, I was on fire then. This is the summer camp experience. This is the conference encounter, the mountaintop high, where it's like I'm going to change the world for Jesus. I'm going to be on fire for God, and you got home. And it lasted three days. That's the tea kettle. Oh look who's joined the party.
So this would be another option now here. This is the electric kettle. Where it's like you push the button. It's going to be faster than that. It's not like three times in your life, but it takes a while. Takes a while. You need to get hot, so then you take the thing, and then eventually, this the person who, third song in, they're OK, now I'm starting to feel it. This is if the certain guest speaker shows up, I really like that. This is if the topic that I appreciate is being discussed, then I'm flowing with it. Pastor's talking about money, hey, I'm checked out. This is not my word. But if he's talking about this, then I can get with it. This is the attendance that swells at this time of year and doesn't swell at this time of year. I get hot, but it's just got to be on my terms. I get hot for God, but just... well, yes, thanks for being here. Thanks for announcing yourself. Oh you're here now. Well done.
So this is I can get hot, but I have to choose to. And it's not going to happen automatically. It gets hot on my terms. I don't think that God wants us to be like the primitive kettle or even the electric kettle. I think what God instead wants for all of us is to come to a place where we can be instantly, wait for it, wait for it, wait for it, ruining my sermon illustration. All the other time's it's worked so well. Oh it's water. I don't know if you can see that, but there's 205 degree water coming out of this faucet, here on this counter, filling my tea bag, making me a delightful cup of tea. Let's pretend that other thing didn't happen. I am instantly... oh well look at that. Hot water coming out. And I thought you were going to clap, because that was water just on-demand. Look at that. That's going to need to steep for a little bit. We'll just let that sit there.
Now, you're like wait, 212 is boiling. Why would you want 205? Oh you didn't know? 205 is how you make your coffee. 212 is boiling and that will burn your coffee. You should back it off. 200 to 205 is the ideal coffee brewing temperature. If you do use either of these devices, you should let it sit on the counter for about 17 seconds to cool down to 205, so you won't scald the bean. I'm telling you there is something God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit packed into that coffee bean. And you don't want to scald it. You just want to release it. And you should never use Folgers. And so 205 is what this is set to, and every time I need it, I get 205 degree water, oh there it is again, coming out. Ready. It's hot water on demand, and this is what we're after. God wants us to be instantly hot. Not hot every blue moon, and not hot if we feel like it and the condition's right. But the moment it's needed for there to be that vigorousness to our spirit. Hot on-demand, fervent in spirit, boiling, glowing, intensely, passionate, on fire for God. That's our desire.
There's a man named Gerhard Kittel, and you remember it, because this is kettle. His name's Kittel and it rhymes with Skittle. And he wrote this really well-respected dictionary called the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. And he said on his definition of the word fervent, he said what this word implies, is that it is every Christian's duty to develop their energy so that they would stay boiling up, welling up, and springing up. I must say that again. It is every Christian's duty to develop their energy so that they are boiling up, so that they are welling up on the inside. What that means then, is that being fired up is not a type of personality, it's a type of obedience. Jot that down. Being fired up then, it's your duty. It's every Christian's duty to develop their energy so that they are fired up, boiling up, welling up on the inside. Because I know the push backs some of you would give. I see what you're saying. We should all be fired up, yea, yea, yea. And I get that. I sit next to some of them, and it's annoying. All their hands in the air, and all of the excitement.
And you know, and I'm just not that way. You would say, that's just not me. There are Pooh Bears and there are Tiggers. And I'm just not a Tigger. God bless the Tiggers. It takes me three cups of coffee to even open my eyes all the way. You would say, I'm just not that person. To which I would say to you, well we're talking about here is not a sort of disposition, but it's rather a decision. It's not a disposition. It's a decision that you make to obey in being fervent in your spirit. Why? Because zeal matters. Passion is important and intentional. I'm going to say it like I wrote it down. Intentional intensity is imperative. Intentional intensity is imperative. We are seeking to obey Jesus and create a culture where there is a contagious excitement and enthusiasm, a passion that would cause people to kind of want to come because of the glow, because of the excitement that is there, that is genuine, that is fostered intentionally. Zeal matters. Passion is important.
Let me give you a few references just to build you up in this way. I could point you all over the place, but I'm going to point you to Jeremiah 29:13 which says, you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with some of your heart. With a little bit of your heart. With an eighth of your heart? With all your heart. Doesn't the Bible say over and over again, love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind. You want to see what this looks like? Go to a Keith Urban concert. People aren't half heartedly there. Why? Because number one, they're financially invested in it. And number two, they care about what's happening. They like these songs. They like that guy. My mom's a freak about Keith Urban. It disturbs me a lot. She travels over to see his concert. She is so fanatic about it. I was in Australia. I texted her, I'm preaching in Sydney. Sent her a picture of the Opera House. She said to me, honest to God, she wrote back, have you seen Keith Urban? I said no, I haven't. I'll look for him, though. Because obviously, I'm not bitter about it. I'm just saying. If you're into Taylor Swift, if you're into the Masters, I guarantee you've been glued to your TV this week.
You know all about it. You know their scores. You know their swing. You know this stuff. What we care about, we spend money on, and we think about. And we're not afraid to throw our arms up in the air when our team throws a piece of pigskin over two pieces of metal. But then we come into church, and we give God not even a golf clap, because we would actually clap harder at golf. Ouch. We care about hunting. We care about sports. I'm just saying we should care about what matters eternally. We should care with a passionate, hot, glowing intensity. An intense, fervent outpouring of passion, because this matters. Because it's true. I'm not talking about hype. I'm talking about hope. I'm talking about continuing steadfastly in prayer. I'm talking about God who saved us. God who shed his blood on the cross for us and us responding to that by giving him our adoration, by giving him our worship. Because he's worthy, and because he loves us. And because something happens inside of us when we respond with that kind of energy.
All right, so love God with all your heart. And we're being like Jesus when we're passionate. Did you know one of the Messianic prophecies was that Jesus would be eaten up with zeal for God's house. Look at it. It's in John's gospel. It says the disciples remembered, after the fact, that was the cleansing of the temple, that it was written, zeal or passion or fervency in spirit, for your house has eaten me up. The prophecies long before Christ came said, how are you going to know when he gets here, this Messiah? One of the things you'll know is look for a guy who's fired up. Look for a guy who's eaten up with zeal. You know John Wesley used to say that when people would ask him, how do you get the crowd to come hear you preach. He said I light myself on fire, because you can always get a crowd of people who want to watch a man burn.
And back in that day, that kind of thing went down. And so he was just talking about excitement. He was talking about believing what he preached, and that was what the prophecy was. Jesus was going to be a guy eaten up with zeal. And I think in this world, all of us are attracted to passion. Someone who cares about what they're doing and who's invested in it. Who, when they're giving their pitch, you don't want to see someone on Shark Tank be like I don't really know. It's all right. I have seen better quite honestly, you shouldn't give me a loan. No. We all resonate with passion. Give me someone who I can see that you're really fired up about this. And you're selling me on it. I think we all resonate with that. So we should realize it's not a type of personality. It's not a Meyers-Briggs thing here we're talking about. I get it. We're all different. And if you come to our crash course at Fresh Life, we'll help you figure out how God made you. But all of us can respond in obedience with an enthusiasm inside of our spirit.
All right secondly, jot this down. A fire you're ignoring will never be roaring. To get to hot, you've got to have heat. To get to heat, you've got to have fire. A fire ignored, it cannot roar. And that kind of connects us with last week, the idea of Paul to Timothy, fan the flame. It takes that work. And you know it's easy to look at this right here and go, oh this is awesome. And you might even be like whispering to your wife, we've got to get us one of those faucets. What is that? That's awesome. Well, it's not a faucet, you see. It's not the faucet. I've got to turn the wrong way. I've got to keep my water supply from kinking. It's not the faucet. The faucet's great. You've got to have the faucet, but the ability to grab this lever here and have water coming out. It's not just what's above the counter that's responsible. There's a whole lot more here down below that's doing the hard work.
And so it is inside of our soul, so it is inside of our life. It's not just the excitement that the world can see. We're talking about stuff much deeper. It's like an iceberg. The piece you see above is just a tiny piece of the puzzle here. So I'm not trying to get you to walk out of here, and be like well, I've just got to be excited. I've just got to be yea, yea, yea. I just got to be yea, I love Jesus. And as though that's a you've got to fake it, till I make it kind of a thing. But what I'm saying is you got to heat the fire inside your soul, down below, that no one can see, that's going to be responsible for these things coming out. That will manifest in how you speak, and the brightness in your eyes, and the passion that you have, and the strength that you have as you seek to serve Jesus. A fire that you're ignoring. It can never be roaring. So what is it going to take to heat the fires hot to get the water that's on demand, so that it's instantly hot. Oh my tea. My tea is probably totally steeped by now. What am I doing? I can't forget that. Oh. That's really good.
So what's it going to take? Well, jot this down. You can't get verse 11 without verse 12. I get it. Terrible math, but good theology. You can't get verse 11 without verse 12. Because what we want, the end result, to hit the button and the hot water comes out is verse 11. One more time. Not lagging in diligence, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. That's what we're after. You can't get verse 11 without verse 12. Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. This is what it's going to take. When life hurts most, is when it's the most important too. Because two out of three of these talk about adversity. Two out of three of these bring up hard seasons, and tough stuff, and a bad month at work, and hard things financially, and not going so good with your kids, and having critics who vocally oppose you, all of this stuff, rejoicing in hope. That doesn't make any sense. Because you only need hope when life hurts. But rejoicing in hope and then being patient in tribulations, being patient when things are going bad. And then what? Above all things, continuing steadfastly in prayer. Why? Because everything below the counter.
Oh my God I'm going to preach this good. You can only get to it on your knees. So we have got to continue steadfastly in prayer. Listen to me. It's going to be the things no one sees that's responsible for what everybody will see. Just as prep work makes short work of cooking, so secret prayer leads to public power. Watch cooking shows. They have everything already pre-assembled. They're able to just grab this and stick in the oven. Why? Because enormous amounts of prep work went in. They have the whole baked thing. So they stick it in, but then they have a totally ready one pulled out. So much prep work. Why is Blue Apron so awesome? They do the prep work for us. It's Netflix for food, y'all. So I have to make this amazing meal. They send you everything already in Styrofoam. All you have to do is stick it in the oven and push play. It's the prep work.
So my question to you is, what's the prep work for your soul? You want the hotness at work. You want the hotness as a mom or a dad. I want the hotness as a husband. I want the hotness as a pastor. I want the hotness. I want to be able to get on stage and preach the word with fire. It's the secret work. It's continuing steadfastly in prayer that's going to get us there. So what does your soul look like? We will be defeated, third point, if we come in depleted. If I get on this stage depleted, I'll be defeated. You go to work, you try and show up as a mom, as a dad, as a boss, as a husband, as a wife, you're going to be defeated if you come in depleted. I don't know if you can hear this. This thing's on right now. I hear the boiler engaged. Why? Because just a bit ago, I let out probably maybe five, six cups of water. So what's this done? This has said, we have let out, it's a 2/3 gallon tank capable of producing 60 cups of near boiling water an hour. Why? Because the moment any is used, it draws more in from the supply line and starts heating it up right away.
So that if more water is needed, it's going to be ready. It doesn't wait until I push the button to start heating it. That's some of our problem. Some of us are kettles here. Oh life needs water? Oh life needs water? Oh OK. All right someone needs to know about Jesus? Oh I need to be forgiving? I need to be a good boss. Let me heat something up. No, you've got to have something in the tank, ready to go, on-demand, instantly hot. What are you doing prep work? What are you doing to get your soul ready? How are you getting ready for your job as a teacher? How are you getting ready? Man you've got to get ready. These days, before you get on an airplane, 2000 planes canceled. People in Atlanta, sleeping on mats, but you know what? If you're instantly hot, you're like, well God, I didn't know Delta was going to be paying for me to have a three day long mission trip surrounded by 6.000 people. Because when life gets crappy, we find out what's on the inside.
Look around. There's people on mats. Hey, this is crazy huh? You're going to know people. You're not like oh Delta's the worst. I can't believe it. Tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet. You're like how you doing? You have a soul. You're going live forever. What's your name? Hey, here we are. Oh really? Welcome back to the party. You're hot again? Oh that's fantastic that you finally are ready to share Jesus with somebody, because they needed Jesus 10 minutes ago. But you didn't have anything hot. Meanwhile, the insyncerator is ready to go. Go, go, go. We will be defeated if we come in depleted. William Mounce, one of my favorite Greek scholars. He had this to say. Look at this. He said, "As fire requires fuel, so grace requires a brisk and cheerful readiness, so that it may be ever fervent". You've got to work at that stuff. You've got to keep going. Then when a hard season comes, well even more. Why?
Warren Wiersbe, one of my favorite Bible commentaries ever, he wrote this Be series. Every book of the Bible, he wrote a book called The Be of that. So be daring. Be courageous. You should get yourself some of those. Any Bible study you're going to, read the Warren Wiersbe. He's a legend. He said this, when life becomes difficult, you can allow your zeal to grow cold. That's when we want to back it off. You've got to compensate when it's extra cold with extra heat. Just like you do with your car. If you don't have an indoor garage, or if you don't have a remote starter, or one of those things that plugs your engine block in, and you live in Utah or you live in North Dakota or you live in Montana or Lethbridge, Alberta at our networks site there. If you don't have that, what do you have to do in the winter? You have to give yourself an extra seven minutes to get the car hot. You go driving down the road with your car, it's not good for the car.
So you do what I do. You send your kids out to start the car. What? What? That's not good parenting. Listen, I joke. I joke. I send my wife. No, I'm really kidding. I'm kidding. I'm kidding. But the point is, I know that I have to budget that extra time into my rhythms for the morning. Why? Because it's extra cold, so I've got to have extra heat. When you're feeling unloved, when you're feeling unappreciated, when you're feeling not valued, when life gets difficult, you've got to compensate with extra heat. You can't give the same heat you give in good seasons. You've got to give even more heat going into a time of difficulty. You can't back down. You've got to double down. We've got to have even more heat. And leaders, you all are leaders OK. When I first wrote this talk, it was for a Fresh Life staff meeting, but I preach to us leaders as well, in every regard. Leaders must lead.
Romans chapter 12 says, as you lead, lead with zeal. Meaning leaders do not accommodate or accept atmospheres they walk into environments they walk into, cultures they walk into, they regulate them. Do not be a thermostat. This first year experience kind of flat. This attendance isn't that great. No. No. Regulate. Regulate. Regulate. Be the thermostat, not the thermometer. Don't just give the read out. This is not good. Instead, change it. Bring something that will change the atmosphere. Bring something that will change the environment. Sing louder, give more passion. We've got to be ready. Next point. Don't ask God to put in what you're willing to leave out. There's some tension here, and the tension is between being filled with the spirit, which scripture talks about, and being fervent in spirit, which we're discovering is our job. Because we learned the word means, this is our duty to develop our own energy.
So you're like, well, what about God's part, because we're supposed to pray to ask God to fill us with his spirit. But you're teaching us, in this sermon, we need to almost be fervent in our own spirit. Which is true, fervent in spirit or fill the spirit. Yes, both. And please, this week as homework, read Acts 18 to find a man who had both and how powerful it was. His name was a Apollos. He was fervent in his own spirit and used powerfully by God. And he didn't even know there was a Holy Spirit. And then once he was filled with the spirit, he was nigh unstoppable. Why? Because he had both. And sometimes we have this luck going, like God mentality. We prayed, well God heat me up. Oh God, you didn't come through like you did at the thing I was at that I got excited about. And so here I am, I'll just wait for you. So we don't wait for God. We ask for him to fill us. We get on our knees. We do all that hard work. But then we go believing we have that power, and he's going to bless a moving vessel. He's going to bless a body that's already in motion.
We need to be ready at all times, Peter said. Ready at all times to answer for the hope that lies within us. I like how Eugene Peterson translated that in 2 Peter 3:15. 3, He said, "Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention in adoration before Christ, your master. Be ready" Everyone say ready. "to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are and always with the utmost courtesy". I think that's the most powerful thing that we could end with. Be ready through thick, and be ready through thin to give an answer to anyone who, notice, asks. Meaning, if you're living like you're supposed to be, aren't having to shove Jesus down people's throats. You're rather, doing such a great job in your business, you're doing such a phenomenal job crafting cabinets, repairing cars, selling boats, whatever it is you do, inventing, and leading, and driving, and flying, everything you do, you're doing it with such a passion that people are lining up to be like could you consult me? Could you tell me? What is the deal with you?
Tell me. You wouldn't like it. You wouldn't want to know. No, please tell me. It's spiritual. I don't want to be... No, please tell me. All right, fine. I'll tell you. It's about the hope that's in me. This is what drives me. It's Jesus. I've given my heart to Christ. I live under his Lordship. I'm passionate about him. Be ready with any time, thick and thin to be at attention before Christ, the master, to anyone who asks about the hope that lies within you. And do so with the utmost courtesy. I love everything about that. So that we're ready when the moment comes, knowing when the time it is to speak.
So that when the demand's there, were not having to fumble with this, or get this out. We're just ready, because we got something already hot. We spent time praying for that opportunity that morning. We've been praying for that person to ask that question for six weeks. We've been caring about that person for so long. We've been ready to go should the moment strike. Or to put it in the words of the Hulk from the Avengers, who in Captain America said, isn't it time to get angry, Hulk? Isn't it time to get angry, Hulk? He smiled, and he said that's my secret captain. I am always angry. Punches the alien right in the face. Come on. 10 points. Always hot. He was always angry. I think God wants us to be always hot. Always ready. Always passionate. Always fired up. Always ready to point people to the hope that's found in Jesus, in his name we pray. Amen.