John Wesley Condensed Sermons: The Scripture Way of Salvation
Updated: Apr 28
This sermon from John Wesley deals with salvation by faith and gives special attention to the full scope of the word "salvation." In John Wesley's theology, salvation refers to more than simply justification by faith. Salvation includes holiness by definition as a restoration of the Imago Dei of holiness in man.
These detailed John Wesley sermon outlines are condensations of the material into approximately 2-3 pages.
Click here to read Sermon 43 - The Scripture Way of Salvation in full.
Read on for the detailed outline:
John Wesley - Sermon 43 - The Scripture Way of Salvation
"Ye are saved through faith." -- Ephesians 2:8
The goal is, in one word, salvation; the means to attain it, faith. These two little words, faith and salvation, include the substance of all the Bible, the marrow, as it were, of the whole Scripture. We should take all possible care to avoid all mistake concerning them, and to form a true and accurate judgement concerning both the one and the other.
Let us examine 3 questions:
I. What is Salvation
1. Not “the going to heaven, eternal happiness.”
A. "Ye are saved." It is not something at a distance: it is a present thing; a blessing which, through the free mercy of God, ye are now in possession of.
B. [can] be extended to the entire work of God, from the first dawning of grace in the soul, till it is consummated in glory.
C. it can include all that is wrought in the soul by "preventing grace"; --all the drawings of the Father; the desires after God, which, if we yield to them, increase more and more;
2. The two general parts of salvation, justification and sanctification.
A. Justification is another word for pardon. It is the forgiveness of all our sins; and acceptance with God.
a. The price … is the blood and righteousness of Christ;
b. The immediate effects …are, the peace of God and a "rejoicing in hope of the glory of God"
B. Sanctification begins, the actual change.
a. But in initial sanctification “sin was only suspended, not destroyed.” Temptations return…
b. the gradual work of sanctification takes place. We are enabled "by the Spirit" to "mortify the deeds of the body," of our evil nature;
c. It is thus that we wait for entire sanctification; for a full salvation from all our sins, --
d. This is also termed “perfection” But what is perfection? It means perfect love -- love excluding sin.
II. But what is faith through which we are saved?
1. Faith generally is “an evidence, a divine evidence and conviction of things not seen; not visible, not perceivable either by sight, or by any other of the external senses.”
2. Faith specifically is a divine evidence and conviction that Christ loved me, and gave Himself for me.
III. How are we justified by faith?
1. Faith is the condition, and the only condition, of justification.
a. It is the condition: none is justified but he that believes: without faith no man is justified.
b. it is the only condition: this alone is sufficient for justification.
c. In other words: no man is justified till he believes; every man when he believes is justified.
2. Repentance is also necessary, but… not necessary in the same sense with faith, nor in the same degree.
a. Not in the same degree; for those fruits are only necessary conditionally; if there be time and opportunity for them.
b. Not in the same sense; for repentance and its fruits are only remotely necessary; necessary in order to faith; whereas faith is immediately necessary to justification.
3. We are sanctified, as well as justified by faith.
4. There is a repentance [following] justification as well.
a. The repentance [after] justification… implies no guilt, no sense of condemnation, no consciousness of the wrath of God.
i. It is a conviction, wrought by the Holy Ghost, of the sin which still remains in our heart;
ii. It is a conviction of the tendency of our heart to self-will, or idolatry; and above all, to unbelief;
b. Repentance & good works: What good works are necessary to sanctification?
i. All works of piety; such as public prayer, family prayer…; receiving [communion]; searching the Scriptures, by hearing, [etc] fasting or abstinence…
ii. All works of mercy; whether they relate to the bodies or souls of men; such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, entertaining the stranger…
c. This is the repentance, and these the "fruits meet for repentance," which are necessary to full sanctification… the way wherein God hath appointed His children to wait...
d. The idea that “that all sin is destroyed… the moment a man is justified” is a barrier to sanctification, by “totally preventing that repentance...”
5. "But what is that faith whereby we are sanctified, --saved from sin, and perfected in love" It is a divine evidence and conviction,
a. first, that God hath promised it in the holy Scripture.
b. secondly, that what God hath promised He is able to perform.
c. thirdly, that He is able and willing to do it now.
d. fourthly, -- a divine evidence and conviction that He doeth it.
e. In that hour it is done.
Conclusion: When may we expect salvation?
Thou therefore look for it every moment! Look for it in the way above described; in all those good works whereunto thou art "created anew in Christ Jesus." There in then no danger: you can be no worse… for that expectation. … it will come, and will not tarry. Look for it then every day, every hour, every moment! Why not this hour, this moment? Certainly you may look for it now, if you believe it is by faith…It is of importance to observe, that there is an inseparable connexion between these three points, --expect it by faith; expect it as you are; and expect it now!
Now that we've heard Wesley's own words, let's explore further:
What is the Wesleyan Way of Salvation?
The Wesleyan way of salvation is a theological approach that emphasizes the importance of personal faith, holiness, and personal ministry to the poor. This was all lived out in the context of a strong view of community. Developed by John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, this tradition has had a significant impact on Christianity around the world. In this beginner's guide, we'll explore the key beliefs and practices of the Wesleyan way of salvation.
The Wesleyan view of original sin and prevenient grace.
The Wesleyan view of original sin is actually very similar to other Christian traditions, including Calvinism. However, instead of emphasizing ONLY the inability of the individual to bring themselves to God, it emphasizes the idea of prevenient grace (what Wesley called "preventing grace." Prevenient grace is "grace that goes before grace."
According to Wesley, all humans are born with a tendency towards sin, but God's grace is present in their lives from the beginning (see Titus 2:11), drawing them towards salvation. This prevenient grace enables individuals to respond to God's call and choose to follow him. It is through this grace that individuals are able to overcome their sinful nature, believe in Christ for justification, and begin the restoring of the image of God (sanctification).
The role of faith and works in salvation.
The Wesleyan way of salvation emphasizes the importance of both faith and works in the process of salvation. While faith in Jesus Christ is essential for salvation, Wesley believed that true faith would always be accompanied by good works. This emphasis on the connection between faith and works is often referred to as the doctrine of "faith working through love." (see Galatians 5:6) Wesley believed that good works were not a means of earning salvation, but rather a natural outgrowth of a genuine faith in Christ.
The concept of sanctification and Christian perfection.
One of the key beliefs in the Wesleyan way of salvation is the concept of sanctification, which refers to the project (both crisis and process) of becoming more like Christ.
Wesley believed that this process was ongoing throughout salvation, was the work of the Holy Spirit, empowering the individual's own efforts to live a holy life.
This emphasis on sanctification is closely tied to the idea of Christian perfection, which Wesley defined as "the love of God and our neighbor, ruling our tempers, words, and actions." While Wesley did not believe that anyone could achieve utter perfection in this life, he believed that it was a goal to strive for and taught that a believer can be made "perfect in love," even if they were not yet perfect in knowledge or all behavior.
Check out Pursuing Holiness for more on the Wesleyan view of entire sanctification.
The importance of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life.
In the Wesleyan way of salvation, the Holy Spirit plays a crucial role. Wesley believed that the Holy Spirit was the source of all true spiritual growth and that it was through the Spirit's work that believers were able to become more like Christ, restoring the fullness of the Imago Dei.
This emphasis on the Holy Spirit's work is reflected in Wesleyan worship and theology, which often includes practices like prayer, fasting, public worship, receiving the Eucharist (communion), and the reading of Scripture as ways of opening oneself up to the Spirit's guidance and power. We'll discuss this more below under "Means of Grace."
Christian Community as a key part of salvation.
The Wesleyan way of salvation is not at all a "solitary" way. Wesley emphasized the need for believers to meet regularly in small groups to pray, study the Bible, and support one another in their faith journeys. Wesley believed that Christian community was essential for accountability, encouragement, and spiritual growth, and he encouraged his followers to participate in small groups as a way to deepen their relationship with God and with one another. Today, the small group model remains a key feature of many Methodist churches and other Christian communities.
The value of the "means of grace."
According to Wesley, the means of grace were the practices and activities through which God's grace was made available to believers. These means included prayer, Bible reading, attending church, participating in the sacraments, and performing acts of mercy and service to others. Wesley believed that these practices were not only ways to receive God's grace but also ways to grow in faith and become more like Christ. He emphasized the importance of regular engagement with the means of grace as a way to deepen one's relationship with God.
Ultimately, the goal of the Wesleyan way of salvation is to help believers experience the fullness of God's love and grace through the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
MORE ON JOHN AND CHARLES WESLEY
For an overview of John Wesley's impact, visit this blog post on "Who Was John Wesley?"
Here's an examination of John Wesley's most famous sermons.
For a modern expression of what it means to be entirely sanctified as Wesley taught, visit Pursuing Holiness.