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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

Earth's Most Powerful Preacher

Bible Teaching by
Percy Gutteridge
Copyright © 20131

Who Is Earth’s Most Powerful Preacher?

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.
Cover of Percy Gutteridge's message 'Earth's Most Powerful Preacher

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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 12 of 12 in the series Faith Is Substance

F

aith is the substance that cements us to all the promises of God, the sweet bond of union that assures to us our abiding in the love of the Father.  Faith leads us on to eventual triumph.  “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? …For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39). God has appointed the way whereby we may obtain all of His promises: it is the way of faith.  The Lord Jesus once said to a man of a doubting heart, “Believe! All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). [click to continue…]

This entry is part 8 of 28 in the series New Testament Holiness

I

t is a mistake to suppose that there is any state of grace this side of heaven which puts a Christian where he is exempt from temptation.  So long as a soul is on probation, it will be tested by solicitations to sin.

…temptation cannot be inconsistent with holiness, because Jesus was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” [click to continue…]

This entry is part 24 of 28 in the series New Testament Holiness

“The history of the Church proves that just in degree as she has come to have the human she has ceased to have faith in the supernatural.”

W

e do not disparage other kinds of power, but for spiritual work spiritual power is the first and indispensable qualification.  Christianity invites and consecrates every gift of God, and every grace and art of which man is capable.  Nowhere does human ability find such sublime inspiration and such lofty exercise as in the service of God.  All natural gifts are good, when lost in the great purpose of the Gospel, but they are perilous if depended upon instead of the Holy Ghost.  The more gifts the better, if all are subsidised and sanctified by the Spirit of God; but, apart from absolute reliance upon Him, gifts may become a peril and a snare.  Said the late Mrs. Booth: 1 “The history of the Church proves that just in degree as she has come to have the human she has ceased to have faith in the supernatural.”  Paul writes: “Our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Ghost” [1 Thessalonians 1:5].  And again he says: “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and in power” [1 Corinthians 2:4].  If numbers and prestige decline, it is vain to resort to external aids and appliances.  The work is spiritual, and only spiritual power can accomplish it. [click to continue…]

“How They Grow”: Part 10

This entry is part 10 of 16 in the series How They Grow

Living by Dying Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone,·but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.

John 12:24

That which you sow is not quickened except it dies.

1 Corinthians 15:36

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.

Colossians 3:5

If you mortify the deeds of the body you shall live.

Romans 8:13

If we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.

2 Timothy 2:11

If your eye offends you, pluck it out and cast it from you.

Matthew 5:29

To have life through death seems like a strange paradox.  Thinking of making spiritual advance by what reasonably appears to be extinguishment of the very life we want enlarged is a way we would never choose of ourselves.  And yet there is a real sense in which “to die is gain,” (Philippians 1:21) in the line of spiritual progress. [click to continue…]

Tarshish Ships

This entry is part 2 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers

He gave them their request; but sent leanness unto their souls.
Psalm 106:15

And he found a ship going to Tarshish.
Jonah 1:3

T

he Lord evidently permitted these uncertain, backsliding Israelites to do certain things He did not endorse.  When we will go our way and will not go His way, the Lord often makes our wrath, or disobedience, to praise Him, 1 by making our own way result in such defeat and disaster that it brings us to see where we are.  Leanness or defeat of soul is the medicine that we find brings us to see where we are and what we are. [click to continue…]

The Most High and the Elohim

The Most High and the Elohim

by Percy Gutteridge
Copyright © 20121

  1. There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed2 evil.
  2. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.
  3. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
  4. And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
  5. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus did Job continually.
  6. Job 1:1-5 KJV

All People

Job is a very remarkable book, one of the most remarkable books in the Bible, containing an amazing amount of wisdom. But please understand that the Book of Job is not about an Israelite, for Job didn’t belong to the tribes of Israel. It tells you that Job “was the greatest of all the men of the east” (Job 1:3). “Ah,” you say, “but don’t you realize that Israel is in the east?” Yes, but you must realize that if one is writing in Israel, Israel would not be in the east—Arabia would be in the east. This Bible is written from the geographical point of view of someone living in Israel. When the Bible speaks about east and west, you must mentally reorient yourself as though you are living in Israel in order to get your bearings properly. In that mindset you properly interpret “west” and “east” as being relative to Israel. [click to continue…]

This entry is part 9 of 28 in the series New Testament Holiness

A

s explained in our last chapter, holiness does not bring exemption from temptation.  It follows, therefore, that it is always possible for the entirely cleansed soul to sin.  Holiness secures the safest possible condition on earth, but absolute security does not belong to this world.

Some assert that the doctrine of entire extirpation of sin from the heart puts the soul beyond real temptation.  “There can be no real temptation,” they say, “to a soul which has nothing in its nature responsive to the solicitations of sin.”  But such an assumption is much too broad.  It renders angels in probation, Adam in Eden, and our Lord Himself, incapable of real temptation.  But the fact that some angels fell, that Adam sinned, and that Jesus Christ “was in all points tempted as we are” [Hebrews 4:15], should be sufficient proof that holy souls are capable of temptation. [click to continue…]

This entry is part 22 of 28 in the series New Testament Holiness

An ancient writer wisely said,

There have been from the beginning two orders of Christians.  The majority of the one order live a harmless life, doing many good works, abstaining from gross evils, and attending the ordinances of God, but waging no downright earnest warfare against the world, nor making any strenuous efforts for the promotion of Christ’s Kingdom.  These aim at no special spiritual excellence, but are content with the average attainments of their neighbours.  The other class of Christians not only abstain from every form of vice, but they are zealous of every kind of good works. They attend all the ordinances of God.  They use all diligence to attain the whole mind that was in Christ, and to walk in the very footsteps of their beloved Master.  They unhesitatingly trample on every pleasure which disqualifies for the highest usefulness.  They deny themselves not only indulgences expressly forbidden, but also those which by experience they have found to diminish their enjoyment of God.  They take up their cross daily.  At the morning’s dawn they pray, “Glorify Thyself in me this day, O blessed Jesus.”  It is more than their meat and drink to do their Heavenly Father’s will.  They are not Quietists, ever lingering in secret places, delighting in the ecstasies of enraptured devotion; they go forth from the closet, as Moses came down from the mount of God, with faces radiant with the Divine glory, and visiting the degraded and the outcasts they prove by their lives the divineness of the Gospel. [click to continue…]