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Wesleyan Essentials Of Christian Faith

*Adopted by the World Methodist Council

 THE PEOPLE CALLED METHODISTS

The “people called Methodists” form a family of churches within the World Methodist Council…

•   We claim and cherish our true place in the one holy, catholic and apostolic church.

•   Our origins lie in the work of John and Charles Wesley in 18th century England which quickly spread to every comer of the world.

•   The purpose of this work and ministry was, and is, to renew the Church and spread scriptural holiness which includes social righteousness throughout the whole earth, to the glory of the one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

•   We confess that often we have failed to live up to this high calling, and we repent of the times when our witness has distorted the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Trusting in the grace of God, we engage ourselves anew in God’s service.

 

OUR BELIEFS

We affirm a vision of the Christian faith, truly evangelical, catholic and reformed,  rooted in grace and active in the world.

•   Methodists affirm the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the primary rule of faith and practice and the center of theological reflection.

•   Methodists profess the ancient ecumenical creeds, the Apostles’ and Nicene Creed.

•   Methodists seek to confess, to interpret and to live the apostolic faith, the faith once delivered to the saints.  Methodists acknowledge that scriptural reflection is influenced by the processes of reason, tradition and experience, while aware that Scripture is the primary source and criteria of Christian doctrine.

•   Methodists rejoice in the loving purpose of God in creation, redemption and consummation offered through grace to the whole world.

•   Methodists believe in the centrality of grace; prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying.

•   Methodists believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the sufficiency of His atoning work for all humankind.  Methodists believe that we “are the friends of all

and the enemies of none.”

 

OUR WORSHIP

We worship and give allegiance to the Triune God.

•   In worship, we respond in gratitude and praise for God’s mighty acts in creation, in history, in our communities, and in our personal lives.

•   In worship, we confess our sin against God and one another and receive God’s gracious forgiveness.

•   In prayer, we wait in God’s presence, offer the searchings and longings of our own hearts, for ourselves and in intercession for others, and open ourselves to God’s Spirit to comfort, lead, and guide.

•   In the celebration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, we participate in the mystery of God’s presence, redemption and reconciliation.

•   In reading, proclaiming and receiving the Gospel, we affirm God’s creating and saving power.

•   From worship we go into the world to love and serve others and to be instruments of justice and peace in the establishment of God’s reign on earth.

•   The language and form of worship emerge from the community through obedience to Jesus Christ and the creative power of the Holy Spirit.

•   We inherit the treasury of the Wesley’s hymns, with a hymnody now enriched from many other sources.

 

OUR WITNESS

•   We proclaim Jesus Christ to the world through word, deed and sign.

•   We seek the realization of God’s will for the salvation of humankind.

•   We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be signs of Christ’s presence in our communities and in the world through our preaching, teaching, and in deeds of justice, peace, mercy, and healing as the outworking of faith.

•   We witness to God’s reign among us now, as proclaimed by Jesus, and look forward to the full realization of the coming Kingdom when every form of evil will be destroyed.

•   We seek to understand and respond to the contexts and situations in which we live, so that our witness will have integrity.

 

OUR SERVICE

We serve the world in the name of God, believing that our commitment comes to life in our actions, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

•   As followers of Jesus of Nazareth, who came to serve rather than be served, we go into the world as people of God in Christ Jesus, to serve people, regardless of their economic and social status, race, gender, age, physical and mental ability, sexuality, religion or cultural origin.

•   Being “filled with the energy of love”, we anchor our service and our life and work in love for our neighbors, including those we perceive as our enemies.

•   Since all forms of Christian service are influenced by a given context of community and culture, we seek to express our love in appropriate ways.

•   The life of holiness holds together conversion and justice, works of piety and works of mercy.

•   Empowered by God, authentic Christian service is based on Scripture, tested in community, affirms life and seeks the shalom of God’s reign.

•   Recalling the story of the Samaritan (Luke 10:25), we express and claim compassion for all people and accept the call in Christ to “suffer with” the least of these in humility and love.

 

OUR COMMON LIFE

We share a commitment to Jesus Christ that manifests itself in a common heart and life, binding believers together in a common fellowship and anticipating solidarity within the human family.

•   Having experienced the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a liberating power from all oppression, we stand in solidarity with all people who seek freedom, peace and justice.

•   Knowing that the love we share in Christ is stronger than our conflicts, broader than our opinions, and deeper than the wounds we inflict on one another, we commit ourselves to participation in our congregations, denominations and the whole Christian family for the purpose of nurture, outreach and witness.

•   Remembering our Gospel commitment to “love our neighbors”, we will, through dialogue and partnerships for service to the world, endeavor to establish relationships with believers of other religious traditions.

 Adopted by the World Methodist Council
Rio de Janeiro
, August 13, 1996.

4 Great Emphases Of Methodist Christianity

 A.   GOD’S LOVE INCLUDES EVERYONE! (Universal Atonement)

 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise…not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9)

 “In this new life one’s nationality or race or education or social position is unimportant; such things mean nothing. Whether a person has Christ is what matters, and He is equally available to all.” (Colossians 3:11 NLT)

 This is the most wonderful truth in the world – God loves each of us, whoever we are, whatever our lot in life! Everyone of us can say, “I am loved by the Creator God.”

 With Charles Wesley, we sing:

“Come, sinners to the gospel feast; Let every soul be Jesus’ guest.

Ye need not one be left behind, For God hath bidden all humankind.”

God’s love does include everyone, but everyone does not experience this love. The next emphasis tells what God has done that we might all know for ourselves love so tremendous!

B.   THOUGH TRAGICALLY SEPARATED FROM GOD BY SIN, WE CAN BE SAVED THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST! (Salvation Faith)

“….and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

4 Steps to Salvation from Sin:

1. We must admit that we have sinned.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceived ourselves…” (1 John 1:18)

“To Him therefore that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)

2. We must realize that we cannot save ourselves.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8,9)

3. We must acknowledge Jesus Christ as the only Saviour.

“Jesus said unto him, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but through me.” (John 14:6)

4. We must receive Christ by faith as our personal Saviour.

“But as many as received Him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe in his name.” (John 1:12)

Receiving Christ is more than giving mental assent to the truth of Christ, or merely having an emotional experience. To receive Christ means turning from sin to Christ, and relying upon Him to forgive our sins, to live in our lives, and to help us to become what we ought to be.

C.   GOD’S SPIRIT BRINGS ASSURANCE THAT WE BELONG TO HIM! (Witness of the Spirit)

“The Spirit itself bears witness with our Spirit, that we are children of God.” (Romans 8:16)

The “Witness of The Spirit” is more than an emotion that we feel, or a voice that we hear. It is an inner confidence that God is faithful, and that He does indeed keep his promise with us! This inward confidence is confirmed by outward change – i.e. a new style of life. As John said: “We know that we have passed from death to life…because we love the brethren…” (1 John 3:14)

John Wesley, founder of Methodism, received this witness at a meeting on Aldersgate Street, London, as he listened to one reading Luther’s Preface to the Book of Romans: “…about a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart, through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation: and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” (Wesley’s Journal, May 24, 1738)

For some, this confidence dawns gradually. For others, it is a sudden discovery at the moment of faith.

Each of us can be assured of our acceptance with God!

D.   A LIFE DOMINATED BY PERFECT LOVE IS THE GOAL OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE (Perfect Love)

Jesus said: “…you are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

1. What kind of perfection does Jesus command of us?

Matthew 5:43-48 indicates a “perfection in love.” Jesus spoke of such love when He said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind.” That is the greatest commandment. It comes first. The second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

To live in “perfect love” is to seek God’s will in every situation, and to desire the best for every individual. It is not a physical attraction, nor a mere friendly feeling. It is unending goodwill, even to the most unlovable. As Edwin Markham wrote:

“He drew a circle that shut me out.

Heretic rebel, a thing to flout.

But Love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle that took him in!”

2. How can we live a life of perfect love?

Paul says, “…the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  (Romans 5:5)

Surrender to the Holy Spirit brings purity of motive, singleness of purpose, and liberation for a life of love toward God and humankind. The Holy Spirit enables us to express love in all our relationships.

Perfect love is both an experience in the heart and a way of life in the world.

The Holy Spirit desires to perfect God’s love in us and through us!

THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS HELP PERSONALISE THESE FOUR EMPHASES
1. Do I need to receive Christ as my Saviour and Lord?
2. Do I need assurance that Christ has accepted me and pardoned me from my sin?
3. Assured that Christ is my Saviour, do I need to surrender to the Holy Spirit’s control, so as to live in the power of His love?

FOLLOWING ARE SUGGESTED PRAYERS TO BE USED ACCORDING TO THE NEED REPRESENTED ABOVE. REMEMBER, GOD IS ANXIOUS TO ANSWER EVERY SINGLE PRAYER. YOUR ATTITUDE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE WORDS YOU USE.

To Receive Christ:
“Lord God, I confess that I have sinned. I acknowledge Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation and receive him into my life as Saviour and Lord. As evidence of my faith in Your faithfulness, I thank You now.”

To Receive Assurance:
“Lord God, I trust Jesus Christ as my Saviour and Lord. On the authority of Your promises in scripture I claim the assurance that You have pardoned and accepted me. As evidence of my faith in Your faithfulness, I thank You now.”

To Receive the Spirit’s Control:
“Lord God, I want Your love to dominate my life and to be expressed in all my actions. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Empower me to do Your will daily. As evidence of my faith that what I have asked You have done, I thank You now.”

WHICH PRAYER WOULD YOU SAY BEST EXPRESS

YOUR OWN NEED? PRAY THIS PRAYER.

 SOME HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS

  1. Read this article again, especially the scriptures which apply to your situation.
  2. Remember that it is your faith (commitment and trust) which connects you with God’s promises, not your feelings.
  3. Read your Bible daily. Let God talk to you.
  4. Pray daily. You talk to God.
  5. Witness to others. You talk for God.
  6. Participate in group worship, study, and service to others, at least once a week.