Christian-Perfection-Sermon-Part-2-SlideChristian perfection as defined by our founder John Wesley; “Anyone having nothing but the love of God and love of neighbor in their hearts.”

Last week I talked about the love of neighbor, who our neighbors are and how we are called to love them. This might have seemed a little challenging, I know it was for me. As I said, we find it much easier sometimes to jump on the bandwagon and demean our neighbors, speak hurtful words about them, and basically not act like Christians.

Well this week we look at the first part of John Wesley’s idea of Christian perfection, the love of God. So how do we love God, how do we show our love for God in our lives, and what do you feel like you are being called to do to show that love of God today?

I think about growing up in my family and what it meant to love my parents. I guess I would usually combine loving them and honoring them in the same boat. I would love them by first of all telling them that I loved them, but also by the things I did. I listened to them, most of the time. I would obey them, most of the time. And I would try to live my life and do the things they would want for me, most of the time.

Our heavenly Father must feel love the same way; the love he must feel when we listen to him and obey his commands. In turn, we show our love for God when we use the gifts he has given to us and we do what he has called us to do. So we can certainly show our love of God by listening, hearing his call on our lives, and then live into that very calling.

We also love God when we love our neighbor. When we do good, seek justice, and look to eliminate oppression. Commands that we hear from Isaiah 1:16-17.

John Wesley talked about a few rules or guidelines to follow in loving God. Do no harm, do good, and attending all of the ordinances of God. Loving our neighbor calls for us to do no harm and to do good. We won’t talk much about that because we touched on this last week.

These three rules come from John Wesley’s general rules for societies. The last rule listed was to attend all of the ordinances of God. What exactly does that mean? We get the whole love your neighbor thing, at least I think we do, but what are these ordinances?

Another term used to describe them is this; “the means of grace.” And by participating in these means of grace, we once again show our love of God. But what are they?

They are things that we do as individuals as well as a community of faith. They include things like reading scripture, prayer, worship, fasting, visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, seeking justice, ending oppression, and participating in the sacraments of Holy Communion and Baptism.

When we participate in any or all of these means of grace, we show our love of God. The means of grace offers us a time to experience God in our everyday lives, to help us to grow closer in our relationship with God, convict us of our sins, and to grow in our love of God and our neighbor. To help us arrive at Christian Perfection.

As we strive for Christian Perfection, and as we have heard about Wesley’s definition of “having nothing but love of God and love of neighbor in our hearts,” I wonder what has spoken to your hearts. How is God calling you to live your life differently? What have you heard over these past two weeks that have encouraged you to change, or maybe encouraged you to stay on a path that you are on?