Friday, September 21, 2007

Wesleyans Believe In the Security of Believers

Sermon Highlights from Sept. 16th:
Text: 2 Peter 1:3-11

I rode a bicycle into church when it was time to preach and parked it on the platform. I told the congregation that I would later let them know why.

The question of the security of believers tends to divide the family of God (church) into two camps or opinions.
Calvinist – unconditional security
Arminian – conditional security

John Wesley: “Although a difference in opinions or modes of worship may prevent an entire external union; yet need it prevent our union in affection? Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion?”

Calvinist and Arminians agree on the core truth of the gospel – Jesus Christ is the only means of our salvation and faith must be placed in Him and His death on the cross for eternal life.

Calvinist – focus on the sovereignty of God and election of the saints > predestination > perseverance of the saints

Arminians – focus on the free will of man and the choices people have > conditional salvation upon both saving and continued faith

Wesleyans are in the Arminian camp. Therefore, as Wesleyans:

We believe that God allows all people, including believers; freedom to accept or to reject His grace, believers can have security in Christ as they continue to grow in the knowledge and love of God.

Some Calvinists accuse Wesleyans of being eternally insecure; that we are never sure of our salvation. Perhaps this is because of a difference in defining sin.

SIN – missing of the mark of God’s perfect standard or willfully and deliberately violating a known law? BOTH!
Can we ever meet God’s mark of perfection? NO
Can we break free from willful violations? YES by God’s grace

1 John 3:9-10 > No one who is born of God will continue to sin, … he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God.

Wesleyans who stay focused on sin will be insecure. You gravitate toward what you focus on. So how do we have security?

This is why I rode the bike today. When I ride a bike I don’t worry all the time about falling off. I have learned the two things I need to do in order to successfully ride a bike.
1) Stay focused on where I am going.
2) Keep pedaling. (Balancing will take care of itself.)

These two things are very much like the two things I must do to be secure as a believer.

1) Keep my eyes on Jesus.
The attractions of the world will try to entice me to look aside; like billboards on the road – they want me to take mt eyes off where I am going.

Hebrews 12:2 > Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Colossians 2:6 > Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him.

2) Keep growing through spiritual disciplines.

Colossians 2:7 > Rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught.

Personal Disciplines – Prayer, Fasting, Bible Reading, Meditation, Service, Self Denial, Solitude
Corporate Disciplines – Worship, Study, Fellowship, Sacraments, Preaching, Teaching, Intercession

Read 2 Peter 1:3-11

Every day I have a choice to exercise or not to exercise personal disciplines. Every week I have the choice to exercise or not to exercise corporate disciplines with other believers.

2 Peter 3:17-18 – Be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Three Questions:
Have you gotten on the bike?
Have you put your trust in Jesus?

Are you keeping focused on your destination?
Are you keeping your eyes on Jesus?

Are you pedaling the bike?
Are you maintaining your spiritual disciplines?

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