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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…]

The Holy Spirit as Fire

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series The Holy Spirit
  1. In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
  2. And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
  3. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
  4. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
  5. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
  6. And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
  7. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
  8. Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
  9. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
  10. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
  11. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
  12. Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Matthew 3:1-12 kjv

W

e have considered God’s great type in the Old Testament and in the New, the Holy Spirit as oil.  Now I want to share with you about the Holy Spirit in another of God’s great types, that of fire.  As we’ve read in the passage above, the Lord Jesus is the One who baptizes with the Holy Ghost and fire. [click to continue…]

This entry is part 16 of 28 in the series New Testament Holiness

T

he Scriptural terms “holiness,” “perfect love,” “perfection,” may be used synonymously, because they all point to the same state of grace.  John Fletcher says: “We frequently use, as St. John, the phrase ‘perfect love’ instead of perfection; understanding by it the pure love of God shed abroad in the hearts of established believers by the Holy Ghost, which is abundantly given unto them under the fulness of the Christian dispensation.“ 1  But while these terms may be used indiscriminately in speaking of full salvation, each one indicates some essential characteristic and emphasises some different aspect of the truth.  Perfect love is expressive of the spirit and temper, or the moral atmosphere in which the entirely sanctified Christian lives.  Perfection signifies that spiritual completeness or wholeness into which the soul enters when the last inward foe is conquered, and the last distracting force is harmonised with the mighty love of Christ, every crevice of the nature filled with love, and every energy employed in the delightful service of our adorable Saviour.  This implies not only complete deliverance from all spiritual pollution, but the possession of the unmixed graces of faith, humility, resignation, patience, meekness, self-denial, and all other graces of the Spirit. [click to continue…]

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series God's Ways and Man's Methods

T

his is the theory of holiness by Imputation without Impartation.  The unvarnished statement runs thus, “As a saint, he is now ‘not in the flesh,’ though the flesh is in him; but he is in the Spirit, and is responsible for the uprisings and sins of the old man.” 1  At a glance it is evident that this at once denies the removal of the carnal mind, which is the very question at issue.  It is a bold denial of the experience of entire sanctification, and yet at the same time positive claiming of it.  But this is not all of the statement.  It further declares,

He is henceforth pardoned as a son, according to the value of the blood presented before God for him; the person, the individual, now becomes a Christian, the man possessed of these two natures, who should be walking “in the Spirit,” though ever and anon he is made to stumble through the power of the “flesh.”  Thus the saint does not advance in sanctification, by a change being effected in the character of either nature, but in the gradual development of “the new man” by means of the in-working of the Holy Ghost, and in the daily mortification of the members which are upon the earth.  The man is thus gradually sanctified and made more like Christ. Grace and Truth p. 187.

[click to continue…]

“How They Grow”: Part 3

This entry is part 3 of 16 in the series How They Grow

The Growth Method Has No Witnesses

A

nother reason why we say this grace of sanctification is not reached by “growth” is because it cannot be proved by witnesses.  The people who have this grace and who confess it are not ones who have come into possession of the experience by the method of gradualism.  To the contrary, their universal testimony is that they did not come into it gradually or by growth, but that the work was instantaneous, and by grace, through consecration and faith.  But people who believe in getting there by growth are always on a belated train. [click to continue…]

Departing Ravens and Drying Brooks

This entry is part 10 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers

When the gloomy shadows
Gather ’round your way,
And the clouds of sorrow
Hide the sun’s bright ray,
Keep your faith unshaken,
Tho’ all ills combine;
When the days are darkest,
That’s the time to shine. 1

P

oor Elijah!  The hot sun lay on all the plain burning with an oven-like heat.  The grass was withered and dust covered.  The fig-tree had cast her fruit.  Animals and men hunted the springs for a few drops of water.  The children cried piteously.  The little lambs lay dead on the hills.  The prophet’s retreat by the Cherith brook became besieged with thirsty men and furious animals, fighting for its fast-failing waters.  The prophet’s refuge was being taken away.  The famine was everywhere.  That morning the ravens came no more with the miraculous supply of bread for the man of God.  He went for a drink and lo! the waters had ceased to flow.  In despairing mood he knelt at his accustomed place of prayer and looked to the hills.  The early twilight diffused the cloudless sky, and all nature seemed again to be holding a prayer meeting in which petition was voiced in one word, “Rain, Rain, Rain.”  As the rim of the red sun shone first over the east Jordanic hills, the mulberry trees above his head changed their usual “going” as they murmured their petition, and a voice clearly said, “Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there; behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.” 2 [click to continue…]

The Holy Way: Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series The Holy Way

How May I Enter In?

'The Holy Way' is now available as an e-book from Amazon.com, BN.com, and Kobo.com.

The Holy Way is now available as an e-book in the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo formats.

Every seeker after heart purity comes to a place where he asks, “How may I enter in?”  While no one can go through for another, nor step through the same line of circumstances, yet in outline the essential things to be done are the same, so that the way may be told theoretically with such definiteness that the inquirer may be directed safely and surely.  We wish to point out the steps briefly, so that burdened, anxious souls may find their way, mistaken souls may be corrected, and those who are seeking light on the doctrine may find it.  In the limited space we have there will not be room for much elaboration or discussion. [click to continue…]

The Nature of Faith: Ch. 3 of ‘Faith Is Substance’

This entry is part 5 of 12 in the series Faith Is Substance

New Covenant Language, Old Covenant Experience

T

he true weakness of the evangelical fundamentalism of today is that it exercises New Covenant speech from an Old Covenant experience.  This is a recurring problem in the Church, and it is only solved for many when the Holy Spirit comes into the midst of His people in revival power, and reigns sovereignly as Lord. There is too much mechanical Christianity.

A fundamentalist in this sense is one who believes that a person is born of God, is in Christ, and is a spiritual man indwelt by the Holy Spirit because he believes in the infallibility of the Scriptures and accepts all of the fundamental truths taught therein.  But the true son of God has not been made so by the Bible.  The Bible cannot give life, but only point the way to life.  The Lord Jesus Christ alone is the Life, and He alone can give it.  He gave this life to many thousands in the early days of the Church, before ever the New Testament was written, and when the great majority of the Church, being of the poorest class, were unable to read the Scriptures of the Old Testament either in the Hebrew or the Greek. [click to continue…]

The Holy Spirit as Oil

This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series The Holy Spirit
  1. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
  2. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
  3. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
  4. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
  5. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
  6. And at midnight there was a cry made, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”
  7. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
  8. And the foolish said unto the wise, “Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.”
  9. But the wise answered, saying, “Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.”
  10. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
  11. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, “Lord, Lord, open to us.”
  12. But he answered and said, “Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”
  13. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Matthew 25:1-13 kjv

I

want to share about the Holy Spirit, but not in a technical, theological, ecclesiastical way.  I’d very much rather take it in the way the Bible teaches, looking back to see how the Lord has spoken to us in the Scriptures.  You see, God has made a very simple way of teaching us in the Bible.  He has given us various types.  And God’s great scheme and idea is that we should learn the greatness of our God; that we should learn the purposes of our God; that we should learn the ways of our God; and especially that we should learn the offices of the Persons of the Trinity.  For the Persons of the Trinity share their sovereign work; and in Their sovereign will They each have a portion, each Their own works. [click to continue…]