John Wesley Sermon - Scriptural Christianity (Condensed Sermons)
This is the 2nd in a series of John Wesley sermons that are condensed outlines.
John Wesley's Sermon - Scriptural Christianity Detailed Outline
Whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. Ezek. 33:4.
"And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." Acts 4:31
What is the purpose of being filled with the Holy Spirit?
INTRO: This message will examine the results of being filled with the Spirit, not the “extraordinary gifts of the Spirit” but “his ordinary fruits, which we are assured will remain throughout all ages.” This is the essence of the meaning of Christianity, “not as it implies a set of opinions, a system of doctrines, but as it refers to men's hearts and lives.”
Three ways in which we’ll consider what Scriptural Christianity is:
I. Christian character in the heart - “First, let us consider Christianity in its rise, as beginning to exist in individuals.”
1. A Scriptural Christian was truly converted. “who heard the Apostle Peter … instantly:”
a. received the Spirit of adoption, whereby he now cried, "Abba, Father" (Rom. 8:15).
b. he could call Jesus Lord, by the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 12:3),
c. the Spirit itself bearing witness with his spirit (Rom. 8:16).
d. he could truly say, "I live not, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. 2:20).
2. A Scriptural Christian became so by faith. “[This is] the very essence of his faith, a divine evidence or conviction of the love of God …to him a sinner, now accepted in the Beloved.” This brought to him:
a. Peace with God. "being justified by faith, he had peace with God" (Rom. 5:1)
i. This peace was beyond “all understanding”
ii. No fear of death… he desired to "depart, and to be with Christ" (Phil. 1:23);
b. Joy in God. "He rejoiced in him with joy unspeakable,"
c. Love of God and for God. "The love of God was also shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost which was given unto him" (Rom. 5:5).
i. And that filial love of God was continually increased by the witness (1 John 5:10) of God's pardoning love to him;
ii. So that God was the. desire of his eyes, and the joy of his heart; his portion in time and in eternity.
d. Love of brother.
i. Including “those whom he had never seen in the flesh, or those of whom he knew nothing more than that they were "the offspring of God," for whose souls his Son had died;
ii. even including the "evil" and "unthankful," and …all his enemies,
e. Humility of spirit. “…he was lowly of heart, little, mean, and vile in his own eyes. he neither sought nor received the praise of men, but that which cometh of God only.”
f. Desire of the Means of Grace. “And as he was deeply sensible …of the need he had to be watered of God every moment; so he continued daily in all the ordinances of God, the stated channels of his grace to man”
g. Works of Mercy - As he had opportunity therefore, if he could do no good of a higher kind, he fed the hungry, clothed the naked, helped the fatherless or stranger, visited and assisted them that were sick or in prison.
3. This was the nature of individual Christians in the ancient days. (Acts 2:42ff)
II. Christian witness in the culture. “Let us consider Christianity, as spreading from one to another.”
1. It was God’s will to spread the Gospel through Christians. “this our Lord had declared to his new disciples, "Ye are the salt of the earth,"
2. Christians cannot be “unconcerned at the sight, at the misery of those for whom their Lord died”
3. So the Christians of old did [bear witness to all men].
4. Their preaching succeeded. “And their labour was not in vain in the Lord. his word ran and was glorified. It grew mightily and prevailed.”
a. It succeeded so much that persecution followed.
b. Yet the Christians’ “sufferings spake to all the world.”
III. Christian Triumph in the world. “Can Satan cause the truth of God to fail…? If not, the time will come when Christianity will …cover the earth.”
1. It was foretold by the prophets. “Of this the Prophets of old inquired and searched diligently ( quotes Isa. 2:1-4, 11:6-9, 10-12)
2. It was predicted by Paul. (Rom. 11:1, 11, 25, 26.)
3. It includes marvelous prophecies
IV. Practical application. “I should close… with a plain, practical application.”
1. What about our world? “Where does this Christianity now exist? Where, I pray, do the Christians live? Which is the country, the inhabitants whereof are all thus filled with the Holy Ghost … Why then, let us confess we have never yet seen a Christian country upon earth.”
2. What about us? “Are we, considered as a community of men, so "filled with the Holy Ghost," as to enjoy in our hearts, and show forth in our lives, the genuine fruits of the Spirit?
3. What about you, leaders?
a. Consider yourself in light of the Word. “I appeal to your own conscience, guided by the Word of God. he therefore that is not condemned by his own heart, let him go free… are you "filled with the Holy Ghost"
b. Consider your sins. “have not pride and haughtiness of spirit, impatience and peevishness, sloth and indolence, gluttony and sensuality, and even a proverbial uselessness, been [attributed] to us, not always by our enemies, nor wholly without ground?”
c. Consider your calling. “Many of us are more immediately consecrated to God, called to minister in holy things.”
4. What about you, students?
a. Are you not triflers? “May it not be one of the consequences of this, that so many of you are a generation of triflers; triflers with God, with one another, and with your own souls?
b. Are you not lax in devotional practices? For, how few of you spend, from one week to another, a single hour in private prayer!
c. Are you not rarely thinking of God? How few have any thought of God in the general tenor of your conversation!...
d. Are you not barely able to deal with serious conversation about things of God? “Would you not take it for granted, if one began [to talk of the Holy Spirit]…that it was enthusiasm or hypocrisy? What religion are you of?”
5. How Scriptural Christianity be restored? “what possibility… is there that Christianity, scriptural Christianity, should be again the religion of this place? that all orders of men among us should speak and live as men "filled with the Holy Ghost"
a. By those who are in authority?
b. By young, unknown, inconsiderable men? “I know not whether ye yourselves [would allow] it. Would not some of you cry out, "Young man, in so doing thou reproachest us"?
c. By God’s final messengers? –"the famine, the pestilence (the last messengers of God to a guilty land), or the sword…”
CONCLUSION: No, God must do it! “Lord, save, or we perish! Take us out of the mire, that we sink not! O help us against these enemies! for vain is the help of man. Unto thee all things are possible. According to the greatness of thy power, preserve thou those that are appointed to die; and preserve us in the manner that seemeth to thee good; not as we will, but as thou wilt!”