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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…]


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


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

Copyright © 1975, 2002

by
Percy Gutteridge

New Covenant Language,
Old Covenant Experience

The 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…]


Testimony: Ch. 25 of “New Testament Holiness”


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

 

T

he Rev. John Fletcher once said to Mrs. Hester Ann Rogers, “Come, my sister, we will covenant together to spread the sacred flame, and testify before men and angels ’the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.’” 1 [1 John 1:7]  With flowing tears Mrs. Rogers repled, “In the strength of Jesus I will”; and she did, until she went “sweeping through the gates washed in the blood of the Lamb.” 2 It seems to have been the custom among early Methodists to make humble, prudent, but frank acknowledgement of the work of entire sanctification, when it was wrought in their souls by the power of the Holy Ghost.  We give a few testimonies which come first to hand:—

“The Lord for whom I waited came suddenly to the temple of my heart, and I had an immediate evidence that this was the blessing I had for some time been seeking.” [click to continue…]



This entry is part 21 of 28 in the series New Testament Holiness

Public Domain1

by
Evangelist Thomas Cook

We 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:2 “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…]



This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series God's Ways and Man's Methods

I

f you are expecting something so great and so essential to heaven itself, you ought to have good reasons for your expectation.  And what are these reasons?  Did you ever see any soul get sanctification at death?  Is there any provision in the economy of grace which is only available at death’s door?  These are some plain questions.  But let us look at the matter a little more in detail.

1. Sanctification will be possible at death
if the conditions are complied with.

But because that is so, owing to the mercy of God, is no more a valid reason for delaying the matter, than it is for a sinner to put off till the day of his death his compliance with the terms of salvation, simply because those terms may be complied with at that time. [click to continue…]


“How They Grow”: Part 5


This entry is part 5 of 16 in the series How They Grow

 Growth, Not Mere Self-Assertion

“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” saith the Lord of hosts.
Zechariah 4:6

Which were born [begotten], not of blood, nor of the will of man,
nor of the will of the flesh, but of God.
John 1:33

The branch cannot bear fruit of itself.
John 15:4

“Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

G

rowth in grace must not be confounded with what may be termed the doctrine of “self-assertion of the human spirit.”  In certain prominent philosophical teachings of the day, there is that which would gladly “de-Chris­tian­ize” society; and in much of Auguste Comte’s teachings, 1 there is that which amounts to a deification, or a worship, of the human nature.  At least, to the human spirit is attributed latent forces by which, if allowed to arise and assert themselves, man can evolutionize and redeem himself, and as such needs no Redeemer and Savior. [click to continue…]


Affliction and Growth


This entry is part 12 of 22 in the series Soul-Help Papers

“But the more they afflicted them the more they multiplied and grew.”

Exodus 1:12

T

here is a certain cost to all growth.  It cannot be ours except we pay the price.  He who “will not plow by reason of the cold shall beg in harvest, and have nothing,” said the writer of Proverbs. 1  Pain is a very essential part of our advance.  The “growing pains” of aching limbs in early school days are only prophecies of that which is to be in all later life wherever the soul keeps the upward path.  In those days, my crying before mother was because of aching knees in early boyhood in the old home among the hills; 2 the crying has not ceased, though mother is here no more, the old hills are out of sight, and the pain is no longer so much physical.  I cry yet as I go.  I cannot get on without painful cost.  There is nothing without toil.  “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” 3 [click to continue…]


The Passing of the Frost: An Easter Meditation


W

e are at Eastertide. About this time we reach the spring frost line.  Winter loses his grip and gives up the contest.  The ice goes out of the river and streams.  The sun shines warm.  The fields are lined and seamed with the marks of the plow, and mellowed with the harrow.  The lawns show the tender green of a new carpet.  Already the maples have cast their blooms, and the wide world seems awake.  New life is apparent everywhere.  Things apparently dead for months are breaking the confines of their winter quarters, if not what actually was their graves.  The sealed buds burst the encasement of their winter tombs.  Life, life, echoes from every side.  The clouds go sailing past and the sky seems deep and far away.  We shall soon look for the early flowers blooming along the streams and in sheltered nooks, and later breaking in on the vision from every quarter. [click to continue…]