Tuesday, April 29, 2014

WESLEY SERMONS #7

In this series, 60 of Wesley's sermons will be summarized into about 250 words. I'm using the work of Collins/Vickers as my source (for transcripts and order), but the summaries are mine (so any misrepresentations of Wesley may be attributed to me). 



ON WORKING OUT OUR OWN SALVATION

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13)

Let us begin by discussing the work of God (after all, that is where salvation begins!). God is the source of both our good desires and behaviors. This fact removes any sense of merit or room for pride in people. God provides the power, so God gets all the glory!

Clearly, however, we are to work as well. We need to pray, fast, search the Scriptures, partake in the Lord’s Supper, Fellowship together with God’s family, serve the needy, deny ourselves, etc. In other words, we need to willingly embrace every means of drawing near to God.

But there is a tension between these two points that some call a contradiction. Does God do the work of salvation or do we? Let’s clarify…

God’s work enables us to work. Without God working first, it is impossible for us to do anything good. And God has indeed worked in the life of every human being (through, at least, prevenient grace). We, therefore, have no excuse but to follow-up on His work with our own.

But even this subsequent work, which we must do, is powered by God. We do it by the Spirit. The Scriptures clearly teach that God begins the process of salvation independently, but refuses to finish in like manner.
 

3 comments:

Miss W said...

Here is where I disagree with Wesley, because I believe that our works are not necessary to complete our salvation, but are born out of our finished salvation. I believe in the preservation of the saints as Calvin teaches, but in no way do I accept Calvin's limited atonement. So I am neither Calvinist nor Arminian. :)

matthew said...

You MIGHT not disagree with Wesley as much as you think (I'm genuinely not sure) Regan...

Wesley did not think that our works 'complete our salvation' in the sense that you are most likely thinking. Our works play no part in earning salvation.

Instead, Wesley was emphasizing that good works are what we do in response to truly being saved. He was arguing against the idea that someone could be genuinely saved and not go on to good works. He was calling out those for whom salvation was not a life-changing reality.

Additionally, I don't think Wesley felt it common at all that a true saint would backslide to the point of rejecting their salvation. I think his answer to the backsliding issue would have been the same answer most Calvinists give (They were never really Christians in the first place).

But you are right that he didn't fully endorse the perseverance of the saints doctrine. I think you're hybrid model is probably the most common approach.

Steve Finnell said...

DID THE 1ST CENTURY CHURCH HAVE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES?

The prevailing thought of many is that since the Bible was not canonized until sometime between 300 and 400 A.D. that the church of Christ did not have New Covenant Scriptures as their guide for faith and practice. That is simply factually incorrect.

The Lord's church of the first 400 years did not rely on the man-made traditions of men for New Testament guidance.

Jesus gave the terms for pardon 33 A.D. after His death and resurrecting. (Mark 16:16) All the words of Jesus were Scripture.Jesus did not have to wait for canonization of the New Testament in order for His word to be authorized.

The terms for pardon were repeated by the apostle Peter 33 A.D. on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:22-42) The teachings of the apostles were Scripture. The words of the apostles were Scripture before they were canonized.

The apostle Peter said the apostle Paul's words were Scripture. (2 Peter 3:15-16...just as also our beloved brother Paul , according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand,which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures...

The apostle Paul's letters and words were Scriptures when he wrote and spoke them. Paul did not have to wait for canonization to authorize his doctrine.

John 14:25-26 'These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to you remembrance all that I said to you.

The words and writings of the apostles were Scripture and they did not have to wait for canonization to be deemed authoritative. The apostle did not use man-made creed books of the church or man-made oral traditions to teach the gospel of the New Covenant.

Did the early church have written New testament Scriptures? Yes, and they were shared among the different congregations. (Colossians 4:16 When the letter is read among you, have it read in the church of the Laodiceans and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodica.) Paul's letters were Scripture and they were read in different churches.

They were New Testament Scriptures long before they were canonized.

WRITTEN

Matthew A.D. 70
Mark A.D. 55
Luke between A.D. 59 and 63
John A.D. 85
Acts A.D. 63
Romans A.D. 57
1 Corinthians A.D. 55
2 Corinthians A.D. 55
Galatians A.D. 50
Ephesians A.D. 60
Philippians A.D. 61
Colossians A. D. 60
1 Thessalonians A.D. 51
2 Thessalonians A.D. 51 or 52
1 Timothy A.D. 64
2 Timothy A.D. 66
Titus A.D. 64
Philemon A.D. 64
Hebrews A.D. 70
James A.D. 50
1 Peter A.D. 64
2 Peter A.D. 66
1 John A.D. 90
2 John A.d. 90
3 John A.D. 90
Jude A.D. 65
Revelation A.D. 95

All 27 books of the New Testament were Scripture when they were written. They did not have wait until they were canonized before they became God's word to mankind.

Jesus told the eleven disciples make disciples and teach them all that He commanded. (Matthew 28:16-19) That was A.D. 33, They were teaching New Covenant Scripture from A.D. 33 forward. The apostles did not wait to preach the gospel until canonization occurred 300 to 400 years later.

THE WORDS OF JESUS AND THE APOSTLES WERE SCRIPTURE WHEN THEY WERE SPOKEN AND WRITTEN. THEY DID NOT HAVE TO WAIT FOR CANONIZATION TO BE THE AUTHORIZED WORD OF GOD.

MAN-MADE CREED BOOKS AND MAN-MADE ORAL TRADITION WAS AND IS NOT SCRIPTURE.

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