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Summary: While Wesley’s sermon was based on the choices that we make as Christians to sin or not sin, this sermon takes that one step further by saying that the great privilege is being a disciple of Christ. The rest of the Christian faith comes to us as a benefit

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“The Great Privilege to Those That Are Born of God”

John Wesley Sermon Series

(taken from John Wesley on Christian Beliefs, The Standard Sermons in Modern English, Vol. 1, Abingdon Press:2002)

I John 3:11-18, 5:1-5

July 27, 2003

Purpose: While Wesley’s sermon was based on the choices that we make as Christians to sin or not sin, this sermon takes that one step further by saying that the great privilege is being a disciple of Christ. The rest of the Christian faith comes to us as a benefit (through grace.) As a disciple, we still walk in grace (sanctifying) but we are not to stand still and just enjoy the benefits. We have a privilege, and to exercise that privilege we need holiness.

I. Introduction – The difference between privilege and benefit.

The American Heritage Dictionary says that privilege is “a special advantage, immunity,

permission or right…granted to or enjoyed by an individual” or individuals. While a benefit is “something that promotes or enhances well-being” of the whole.

A privilege is special….a benefit promotes the well-being of everyone.

Wesley knew this distinction when he sat down to write this sermon. He said that

Christians were getting confused between the two. While being the grace that God offers

is the potential benefit for everyone, Wesley noticed that people were resting only in that benefit and not moving forward into the “privilege” – the special advantage of that grace-filled offer – which is discipleship.

For Wesley – the offer of grace – what we call justification – provided relative change.

But the life-long relationship found in being a disciple of Christ – the privilege – offers real change.

In coming to Christ, we accept what God does for us.

In living out our discipleship, we experience what God does in us.

One’s a benefit…the other a privilege.

II. So how do we exercise our privilege then as Christians? – We love.

Love one another – I John 3:11 “This is the message we have heard…”

This is the message you have heard from the beginning…we should love one

another.”

( a majority of chapter 4 deals with this message of love (vs. 7ff) )

How do we know???

Show our love in our actions – I John 3:16-18

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we

ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us now love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.”

How do we know???

Why? Because we want to follow his commandments. – I John 5:2-5

“This is how we know…that we love the children of God: by loving God

and carrying out his commands. This is love for God (this is discipleship): to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God

overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

The great privilege is more than a benefit…it is receiving the grace to become free from willful sin.

The great privilege is more than a benefit…it is the distinctive gift of holiness, of discipleship, that God’s gives to his children.

The great privilege is more than a benefit…it is the call to Christians to remain vigilant…to embrace the journey with Christ at our side.

We enjoy the benefits of the benefits of our faith.

But it’s a privilege to be a disciple of Christ, loving God and loving one another.

III. But doesn’t this privilege and benefit thing? Let’s look Wesley’s sermons we’ve

heard in this series…

1 – The Almost Christian vs. the Altogether Christian

The rich man wanted all the benefits, but he didn’t want the privilege of

discipleship

…he followed all the laws, but when it came to selling all that he had in order to

come and love God and one another to follow Christ he didn’t want it. So he turned away.

…Christianity is more than the benefits…it’s the discipleship/the relationship we have with Christ

…almost doesn’t cut it…we need to be the Altogether Christian that by God’s grace loves God, loves one another, and lives a life of discipleship.

benefit – getting closer to God will for lives

privilege – discipleship

2 – Salvation By Faith though Grace

Paul told the church at Ephesians that once we were dead in sin, but now we are

made alive in Christ. Not by what we do, but by what God has graciously done,

and by what we have accepted by faith.

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