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Jesus’ First Sermon


Copyright © 2018

by Jim Kerwin

a scroll of the Hebrew scripturesWhat is “the acceptable year of the Lord”?1

Every time there is a “first” in the Scriptures, it is good to take note of it, because often the Holy Spirit is laying down a special foundation, or principle, or doctrine. I believe this is true in the case of Jesus’ first recorded sermon, which we will look at today. You will find His message in Luke chapter 4. You can turn there (I’ll give you the verses in a minute) while I introduce the subject.

Part of what I teach leaders when I come to Latin America is the importance of context when they are reading and studying and teaching and preaching God’s word. The two most important points are these:

  1. Every time we come to the Scriptures, as we are reading we must ask ourselves, “What is the context of this verse, this passage, this chapter, this book? What is the context within the text, and what are the historical, cultural, and original language contexts? What do I need to know to fully understand the passage like the first readers did?
  2. The greatest context is that of the entire Bible, which is why I encourage all Christian leaders – indeed, all Christians – to read through the Bible cover to cover at least once every year.

As you turn with me to Luke 4:14, let’s think about the context of our passage. In the previous chapter, Luke 3, Jesus was water-baptized by John; immediately the Spirit of the Lord [click to continue…]


A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (Part 5)


This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

by John Wesley

Part V:
Advice to the Sanctified

Section 25 (continued)

Question 29: Can those who are perfect grow in grace?

Answer: Undoubtedly they can; and that not only while they are in the body, but to all eternity.

Question 30: Can they fall from it?

Answer: I am well assured they can: matter of fact puts this beyond dispute. Formerly we thought, that one saved from sin could not fall; now we know the contrary. We are surrounded with instances of those who lately experienced all that I mean by perfection. They had both the fruit of the Spirit, and the witness; but they have now lost both. Neither does anyone stand by virtue of anything that is implied in the nature of the state. There is no such height or strength of holiness as it is impossible to fall from. If there be any that cannot fall, this wholly depends on the promise of God.

Question 31: Can those who fall from this state recover it? [click to continue…]


Earth’s Most Powerful Preacher


Copyright © 20111

by
Percy Gutteridge

Psalm 19

  1. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.
  2. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge.
  3. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
  4. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
  5. Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race.
  6. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hidden from the heat thereof.
  7. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
  8. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
  9. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
  10. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
  11. Moreover by them is your servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
  12. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.
  13. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
  14. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Who Is Earth’s Most Powerful Preacher?

Silouhette of a preacherWho is earth's most powerful preacher?2

Let’s consider the question, “Who is the most powerful preacher that God has ordained on earth?” And understand that I’m not talking about a human being. I am not going to pick out one of today’s famous evangelists or ministers and say, “This one is the most powerful preacher,” because none of them has the worldwide audience or impact of God’s sovereign choice. So then, let’s refine the question and ask, “What is the most powerful preacher that God has ordained on earth?” as we examine potential candidates.

The Sun?

How about the sun? Is the sun earth’s most powerful preacher? Our Scripture passage says that the sun is really a preacher; it comes out of its chamber as a bridegroom. It comes up in the morning and goes down at night, going right over the whole circuit of heaven, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. It preaches of light, it preaches of energy, it preaches of power, it preaches of judgment, it preaches even of love. It preaches also of life, because there would be no life without the sun. The sun preaches to us about so many things.

But men don’t take any notice. In fact, some foolish people [click to continue…]


A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (Part 1)


This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

by John Wesley

Part I:
Historical Background
of the Teaching

Section 1

What I purpose in the following pages is, to give a plain and distinct account of the steps by which I was led, during a course of many years, to embrace the doctrine of Christian Perfection.  This I owe to the serious part of mankind; those who desire to know all the truth as it is in Jesus.  And these only are concerned in questions of this kind.  To these I would nakedly declare the thing as it is, endeavouring all along to show, from one period to another, both what I thought, and why [click to continue…]


A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (Part 2)


This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

by John Wesley

Part II:
The Teaching Explained

Section 17

On Monday, June 25, 1744 our first conference began, six clergymen and all our preachers being present.  The next morning we seriously considered the doctrine of sanctification, or perfection.  The questions asked concerning it, and the substance of the answers given, were as follows:—

Question: What is it to be sanctified?

Answer: To be renewed in the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness [Ephesians 4:24].

Question: What is implied in being a perfect Christian?

Answer: The loving God with all our heart, and mind, and soul (Deut. vi. 5). [click to continue…]


A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (Part 3)


This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

by John Wesley

Part III:
Tares Among the Wheat Contrasted
with the Wonderful Testimony of Jane Cooper

Section 20

In the year 1762 there was a great increase of the work of God in London.  Many, who had hitherto cared for none of these things, were deeply convinced of their lost estate; many found redemption in the blood of Christ; not a few backsliders were healed; and a considerable number of persons believed that God had saved them from all sin.  Easily foreseeing that Satan would be endeavouring to sow tares among the wheat [Matthew 13:24-30], I took much pains to apprise them of the danger, particularly with regard to pride and enthusiasm.  And while I stayed in town, I had reason to hope they continued both humble and sober-minded.  But almost as soon as I was gone, enthusiasm broke in.  Two or three began to take their own imaginations for impressions from God, and thence to suppose that they should never die; and these, labouring to bring others into the same opinion, occasioned much noise and confusion.  Soon after, the same persons, with a few more, ran into other extravagances,—fancying they could not be tempted; that they should feel no more pain; and that they had the gift of prophecy, and of discerning of spirits. [click to continue…]


A Plain Account of Christian Perfection (Part 4)


This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

by John Wesley

Part IV:
“Farther Thoughts on Christian Perfection”

Section 25

The next year [1763], the number of those who believed they were saved from sin still increasing, I judged it needful to publish, chiefly for their use, Farther Thoughts on Christian Perfection:

Question 1: How is “Christ the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth”? (Rom. x. 4)

Answer: In order to understand this, you must understand what law is here spoken of; and this, I apprehend, is:— [click to continue…]



This entry is part 11 of 28 in the series New Testament Holiness

Public Domain1

by
Evangelist Thomas Cook

In previous chapters we have described holiness as that state of grace in which all sin is excluded from the heart, but there is always a positive as well as a negative aspect of spiritual life. This is true both of the new birth and entire sanctification. In conversion the negative aspect is pardon; the positive is regeneration, the impartation of the life of God to the soul. There are no degrees of pardon: it is full, perfect, and complete; but on the positive side perpetual increase is in order: there is “life,” and “more abundant life.” In like manner, while the negative aspect of holiness is the purging of the heart from all that is carnal—and this a full, complete, and entire work, without degrees and gradualism—there is also a positive aspect of holiness which is never separate from the negative; the one always implies the other. The positive blessing is the complete filling of the soul with the life of God. Justification is our coming to Christ; sanctification is Christ coming to us. Entire sanctification is to be entirely possessed by Christ—so filled with His life that sin and Satan are cast out. We must not simply possess life, but the life must possess us. Sin flies before the Divine presence as darkness flies before the light. All would be darkness but for the presence of the light; and all would be sin within us but for the presence of the life.

[click to continue…]



This entry is part 6 of 12 in the series Faith Is Substance

Copyright © 1975, 2002

by
Percy Gutteridge

Living By Faith

William Tyndale, English Bible Translator and Martyr

Faith must be active, that is, a working faith, else it is not true faith. James says concerning Abraham, “Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” (James 2:22) The inspired word is clear, plain, and unalterable: “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20); that is, without works, true faith is non-existent. This does not mean that the child of God is always working miracles. It means that the conduct of his life demonstrates that he lives by faith. William Tyndale, forever renowned as the one who, overcoming all opposition, translated the New Testament and had it distributed in England, and who was martyred for his faith (being strangled and burned at Vilvorde near Antwerp in 1536), thus explains faith: [click to continue…]



This entry is part 26 of 28 in the series New Testament Holiness

T

here is no step in the Christian life that God and man do not take together.  From the beginning to end in the work of salvation there must be both Divine and human action.  The words preserve and persevere are so much alike that the one can be spelt from the other.  If we are to be preserved we must persevere.  It is true that salvation in one sense is all of God, but it is also true that the gifts and graces of the Spirit are only ours when certain conditions are complied with.  Peter declares that in Christian life “we are kept by the power of God” [1 Peter 1:5], but St. James teaches that the godly man must “keep himself unspotted from the world” [James 1:27].  The Bible does not contradict itself.  To careful readers it explains itself, and the explanation is, that while grace is altogether the gift of God we ourselves have an important part to play.  We are to “work out” the salvation which God works within [Philippians 2:12].  [click to continue…]


The Holy Spirit as Dew


This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series The Holy Spirit

Copyright © 2010 1

by
Percy Gutteridge

  1. O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.
  2. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord : say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the fruit of our lips.
  3. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.
  4. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.
  5. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
  6. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.
  7. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.
  8. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found.
  9. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.
  10. Hosea 14:1-9 KJV

We have considered several subjects having to do with that most blessed and glorious Person, the Holy Spirit, who indwells God’s children.  We have looked at the Holy Spirit as oil, and as fire.  Now we want to understand that wonderful figure of the Holy Spirit as dew.

[click to continue…]



This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series God's Ways and Man's Methods

A

great many people have denominational holiness.  They believe in it because it is “a doctrine of their church.”  Doctrinally, or in a theoretical way, they advocate it and may be said to favor it.  Practically, there is usually a great gap between this class and those who believe in it as an experience, and who hold special meetings for its promotion.

We have taught and do still that holiness is not denominational; that is, it is not the birthright or special heritage of any one denomination.  No church has any more right to be holy than another.  No one has been singled out by heaven’s order to be holier than the rest; no one has a right to claim it as their special doctrine to the setting aside of any other church order.  In this sense holiness is as undenominational as sunlight, or air, or water, or free grace.  For us Presbyterians to preach that it is our duty to be holy is right and our bounden duty.  But it is equally so for our Methodist brethren, or any other properly constituted church order.  Yet we have always thought it in bad taste to go over to some of our sister churches, whose people are not in the experience of holiness, and say to them, “You ought to be holy; it is a Presbyterian doctrine.”  We do not think this the right way to preach holiness to the people at large as we find them in our conventions and camp-meetings.  As we come in contact with their prejudices, they justly come to think that we seek to make Presbyterians out of them. [click to continue…]


“How They Grow”: Part 7


This entry is part 7 of 16 in the series How They Grow

An Unexpected Source of Hindrance “If the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched and would not have suffered his house to have been broken up.” Matthew 24:43

So the Master taught.  There is a long list of things that are of such nature that they cannot be prepared for or provided against, for the reason that we do not know of their approach.  It is the same way with things that we do not understand or see into.

“If we had known!”  How much lies behind these words?  In so many things we are called to go out like Abraham, “not knowing.”  How many places in life I see now, as I look back, that I started out “not knowing,” and yet thinking I did.  There have been many times when I have been brought into incomprehensible places, but not, as I now see, for the sake of these places themselves so much, nor for the sake of being puzzled as to what was to come in the future.  This experience is a common feature of all our trials, or testing times.  We had never gone that way before, and of course could not understand it.  Because we do not understand the trial, it seems all the harder.  We cannot have the experience of a journey till we make the journey, however.  The mission of trial and suffering necessarily appears hidden, its “peaceable fruits of righteousness” only being discoverable after it has passed.  It is this “not knowing” element that hinders us, perhaps, from discovering a very important law of God’s administration in things spiritual.  It is this: [click to continue…]


As to Vision


This entry is part 13 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers

“The earth is full of heaven,
And every common bush afire with God.” 1

“True spirituality is to see the divinity in common things.”
—Drummond— 2

P

ower to look, not at, but through, the things that are seen, is the “vision sight.”  Have you found days when your soul seemed to have power to transform almost everything about you, and the commonplace was shown in a new light, and the ordinary was all transfigured?  Well, have you ever been able to explain how this was?  Have you found any way to bring about and retain this vision condition of the soul? [click to continue…]