Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The week following my "Strange Heartwarming"

Friday, May 26. My soul continued in peace, but yet in heaviness, because of manifold temptations. I asked Mr. Töltschig the Moravian what to do. He said, You must not fight with them as you did before, but flee from them the moment they appear, and take shelter in the wounds of Jesus. The same I learned also from the afternoon anthem, which was, ‘My soul truly waiteth still upon God; for of him cometh my salvation. He verily is my strength and my salvation; he is my defence, so that I shall not greatly fall. [. . .] O put your trust in him always, ye people; pour out your hearts before him, for God is our hope.’

Sat. 27. Believing one reason of my want of joy was want of time for prayer, I resolved to do no business till I went to church in the morning, but to continue pouring out my heart before him. And this day my spirit was enlarged; so that though I was now also assaulted by many temptations, I was more than conqueror, gaining more power thereby to trust and to rejoice in God my Saviour.

Sun. 28. I waked in peace, but not in joy. In the same even quiet state I was till the evening, when I was roughly attacked in a large company as an enthusiast, a seducer, and a setter-forth of new doctrines. By the blessing of God I was not moved to anger, but after a calm and short reply went away, though not with so tender a concern as was due to those who were seeking death in the error of their life.
This day I preached in the morning at St. George’s, Bloomsbury, on ‘This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith’, and in the afternoon at the chapel in Long Acre, on God’s justifying the ungodly—the last time (I understand) I am to preach at either. ‘Not as I will, but as thou wilt’!

Mon. 29. I set out for Dummer with Mr. Wolf, one of the first-fruits of Peter Böhler’s ministry in England. I was much strengthened by the grace of God in him: yet was his state so far above mine that I was often tempted to doubt whether we had one faith. But, without much reasoning about it, I held here: ‘Though his be strong and mine weak, yet that God hath given some degree of faith even to me I know by its fruits. For I have constant peace, not one uneasy thought. And I have freedom from sin, not one unholy desire.’
Yet on Wednesday did I grieve the Spirit of God, not only by not ‘watching unto prayer’, but likewise by speaking with sharpness instead of tender love, of one that was not sound in the faith. Immediately God hid his face and I was troubled; and in this heaviness I continued till the next morning, June 1, when it pleased God, while I was exhorting another, to give comfort to my soul, and (after I had spent some time in prayer) to direct me to those gracious words, ‘Having therefore boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, . . . let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.[. . .] Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering (for he is faithful that promised), and let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works.’

The Days following my "Strange heartwarming" 1

Thursday, May 25. The moment I awaked, ‘Jesus, Master,’ was in my heart and in my mouth; and I found all my strength lay in keeping my eye fixed upon him, and my soul waiting on him continually. Being again in St. Paul’s in the afternoon, I could taste the good word of God in the anthem, which began, ‘My song shall be always of the loving-kindness of the Lord: with my mouth will I ever be showing forth thy truth from one generation to another.’ Yet the enemy injected a fear, ‘If thou dost believe, why is there not a more sensible change?’ I answered (yet not I), ‘That I know not. But this I know, I have now peace with God, and I sin not today, and Jesus my Master has forbid me to take thought for the morrow.’
‘But is not any sort of fear’, continued the tempter, ‘a proof that thou dost not believe?’ I desired my Master to answer for me, and opened his book upon those words of St. Paul, ‘Without were fightings, within were fears.’Then inferred I, well may fears be within me; but I must go on, and tread them under my feet.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ten Commandments: Intro and First Two

Ten Commandments

Introduction:  Recognize and Worship One God

Today we begin a preaching series on The Ten Commandments. This is the introduction and it also looks at the first two:

You shall have other gods before me; You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

The 2 commands can be expressed positively in the following way:
        Recognize one true God  and
        Worship only God.

The letter of the law is often negative, but the spirit of the law is always positive. The Pharisees, the teachers of the law and the Sadducees at the time Jesus focused only on the letter of the Law, on the negative, on the ‘You must not’ ‘You may not’ ‘You should not’ and in so doing, they made the Law, in Jesus words, a burden which loaded people down.

So, for example, they would look at the story of Adam and Eve and say ‘You must not eat from the tree’ whereas the spirit behind the first command given in Scripture was ‘You may eat from that tree and that one, and that one, and that one and that one, and that one…’...... do you get the message?

The letter of the Law brings darkness, heaviness and judgement, the spirit of the Law brings light, lightness, and freedom.

The same law can bring 2 opposite emotions and these emotions determine how we respond to that law.
For example: The law says: 120km/h. I either respond with: ‘Yay, I’m free to go up to 120km/h’ or ‘Dammit… I cannot go over 120km/h’.

The one response is gracious, the other is legalistic.

The one sets free, the other imprisons.

‘Be back by midnight’… “Yay I can stay out till midnight” or “Aaaarg – I must be back by midnight”

So how do you respond to laws, to rules, to regulations – do you feel set free by them or imprisoned by them. (Perhaps I should stress we are talking about just laws. Unjust laws, for example, “If your skin is this colour you may only go to that school or live in that area”......unjust laws set no one free and imprison everybody.)

So how do you respond to just/fair rules, laws, regulations – graciously or legalistically.

Now, our focus is the Ten Commandments. Let’s see what it means to see them positively.
Perhaps we can start by calling them:

Ten Ways to Live An Abundant Life
1.      Recognize one true God called the LORD
2.      Only worship this God
3.      Honour His name
4.      Honour His Sabbath
5.      Honour your parents
6.      Honour human life
7.      Honour marriage
8.      Respect personal property
9.      Speak the truth
10.   Control your desires

Friends, live this way and you will be free. Live this way and you will experience abundant life. Live this way and you will find yourself saying things like: ‘Wow, my cup runneth over’.

The law was never given as a way of salvation for either Jews or Gentiles. As you can see from the cover of your leaflet, no one is ever put right with God by keeping laws. We are not saved by keeping commands.

We are saved by faith in the cleansing blood of Jesus.

The law reveals Gods righteousness.
The law demands righteousness.
But the law can’t give righteousness.
Keeping laws doesn’t make us righteous. FAITH makes us righteous.

The law is a mirror that reveals where we are dirty, but we can’t wash our face in the mirror. Only the blood of Jesus can cleanse us from sin.

Am I saying we don’t have to keep the laws of God. God forbid – Jesus said not one little dot or comma of the law is done away with until heaven and earth disappear.

Just don’t believe that you can earn any brownie points with God by keeping His laws. His law is not to be followed so that individuals can show their worth before God, and certainly not so that we can earn or secure our salvation. No… the law is to be followed so that Gods people can show the world the kind of God we worship.

The first commandment is God inviting us to trust Him rather than anything else or anyone else.
The second is saying that when we trust in something or someone else more than we trust in God, then we have an idol. If you trust in your spouse or parent of your minister to care for you more than you trust in your God to care for you, then you have an idol.

God might certainly reveal that His agent for protecting you or providing for you is your spouse, or parent, or care giver, but the one you look to and ultimately put your faith in, must only be God.

If you don’t sleep well at night unless you have a gun next to you, or a panic button, you have an idol. Sleep well because you have a God who watches over you.

God says in that command, I am a jealous God and if anything or anyone gets more attention or trust in your life than me… ooooh…. just don’t go down that road…. For your good, not because I am unreasonable and demanding, not because I have a whole lot of laws and rules to keep you in check, but rather because I have a whole lot of laws and rules which set you free.

And as Paul will say +- 1400 years after the law was given on Sinai, if God the Spirit sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Are you free?

Feel free to leave this place recognizing the one true God called the Lord.
Feel free to leave this place and to trust in Him, before anything or anyone else.

Be Free!

Ten Commandments Study Notes

Ten Commandments Series
6 May 2012
Introduction and the first two commandments
For no one is put right in God's sight by doing what the Law requires; what the Law
 does is to make us know that we have sinned. Rom 3:20 


‘I no longer have a righteousness of my own, the kind that is gained by obeying the Law. I now have the righteousness that is given through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God and is based on faith.’ Phil 3:9
If you love others, you will never do
 them wrong; to love, then, is to obey
 the whole Law. Rom 13:10

"Do for others what you want them to do for you: this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the teachings of the 
prophets. Mat 7:12 

"Do not think that I have come to do away with the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets. I have not come to do away with them, but to make their teachings come true. Remember that as long as heaven and earth last, not the least point nor the smallest detail of the Law will be done away with---not until the end of all things. Mat 5:17-18
Those of you who try to be put right with God 
by obeying the Law have cut yourselves off 
from Christ. You are outside God's grace. Gal 5:4


‘For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews
and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies. He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace.’ Eph 2:14-15

Study Notes
Can you turn each of The Ten Commandments into a positive and liberating command?

What is the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law?

What is the difference between a gracious and a legalistic response to a rule, law or regulation?

Are you gracious or legalistic? ___________________________________________

For Reflection
·       Our gracious God has given us hundreds of laws and He commands obedience.
o   The law demands righteousness
o   The law cannot give righteousness
o   The law reveals Gods righteousness
·       Do I have any idols?
·       Am I free?

John Wesley and May 1738 (3)

Thur. 4. Peter Böhler left London in order to embark for Carolina. O what a work hath God begun since his coming into England! Such an one as shall never come to an end till heaven and earth pass away.

Friday and Saturday I was at Blendon. They now ‘believed our report’. O may ‘the arm of the Lord’ be speedily ‘revealed’ unto them!

John Wesley and May 1738 (2)

Wed. 3. My brother had a long and particular conversation with Peter Böhler. And it now pleased God to open his eyes, so that he also saw clearly what was the nature of that one, true, living faith, whereby alone ‘through grace we are saved’.

John Wesley and May 1738 (1)

Monday, May 1. The return of my brother’s illness obliged me again to hasten to London. In the evening I found him at James Hutton’s, better as to his health than I expected, but strongly averse from what he called ‘the new faith’.
This evening our little society began, which afterwards met in Fetter Lane. Our fundamental rules were as follows:
In obedience to the command of God by St. James, and by the advice of Peter Böhler, it was agreed by us—
1. That we will meet together once a week to ‘confess our faults one to another, and pray for one another that we may be healed’.
2. That the persons so meeting be divided into several ‘bands’, or little companies, none of them consisting of fewer than five or more than ten persons.
3. That everyone in order speak as freely, plainly, and concisely as he can, the real state of his heart, with his several temptations and deliverances, since the last time of meeting.
4. That all the bands have a conference at eight every Wednesday evening, begun and ended with singing and prayer.
5. That any who desire to be admitted into this society be asked, What are your reasons for desiring this? Will you be entirely open, using no kind of reserve? Have you any objection to any of our orders? (which may then be read).
6. That when any new member is proposed everyone present speak clearly and freely whatever objection he has to him.
7. That those against whom no reasonable objection appears be, in order for their trial, formed into one or more distinct bands, and some person agreed on to assist them.
8. That after two months’ trial, if no objection then appear, they be admitted into the society.
9. That every fourth Saturday be observed as a day of general intercession.
10. That on the Sunday sennight following be a general love-feast, from seven till ten in the evening.
11. That no particular member be allowed to act in anything contrary to any order of the society; and that if any persons, after being thrice admonished, do not conform thereto, they be not any longer esteemed as members.