Summary: A sermon about living in relationship with God.
“The Mind of Christ”
Our little—almost 2-year-old Owen—hasn’t been sleeping well for the past couple of months.
This, of course, means that his parents haven’t been sleeping well either.
We don’t understand why Owen wakes up several times a night crying, wanting to be held and will not fall back to sleep without one of us in his room.
He can’t tell us.
He doesn’t have the vocabulary and we can’t read his mind.
It must be very frustrating for him, not being able to communicate with us exactly what he is going through or feeling.
And the same goes for a lot of us, I would imagine.
We all have things about ourselves that are hard to explain.
Each of us have feelings that are so personal, things which are so private, experiences that are so intimate that no one else knows them except our own individual spirit.
And in our Scripture lesson for this morning, Paul tells us that the same is true of God.
There are deep and intimate things in God which only His Spirit knows; and that Spirit is the only One Who can lead us into an intimate knowledge of God.
A long time ago there was a guy who, more than anything wanted to get to know God and know that God loved him, accepted him and had saved him.
And so he read his Bible.
He studied it hard.
He got to know all the “Thou shall nots…” and the “Thou shalls…”—the whole shabang!!!
He even went off to a really good seminary—one of the best—where he studied about God and the rules of the Church.
And then, he himself became a priest.
And he found a group of like-minded folks, who wanted to please God.
They got together and formed what would soon be called “The Holiness Club.”
And “The Holiness Club” worked really hard trying to following all the rules in the Bible correctly.
They figured that if they just tried hard enough they could be perfect and acceptable to God.
But this was a frustrating thing to try and do, because try as they might, they were just human beings with temptations, flaws, sinful inclinations and so forth just like everyone else in the world.
They did a lot of things.
And their intentions were good.
But ultimately they were left feeling defeated and alienated from the God they were trying to emulate.
Eventually, the young priest who had set out to make himself the perfect Christian decided to give up.
He realized that he couldn’t achieve his goal.
And oh, was he depressed.
And oh, did he feel like a failure.
He had really hit rock bottom.
He felt that he would never, ever be able to measure up to the high standards of God as written out in so many pages of the Bible.
One night a friend of his invited him to go to a special Bible study.
And he didn’t want to go.
He’d been to enough Bible studies to last a lifetime, thank you very much, and see where they had gotten him?
But his friend was persistent.
So, reluctantly, he went.
And this Bible study, well, it wasn’t an incredibly academic affair.
It wasn’t like his seminary classes.
There was no highly educated scholar up front using high and lofty words.
Instead, someone was simply reading something that someone else had written.
It was something that a man named Martin Luther had penned some 200 years earlier.
But as the down and out priest listened to these simple and straight forward words—something started to stir deep in his soul.
And an enlightenment started to come upon him.
His heart started to beat faster, and he felt perspiration begin to form on his skin.
And then something amazing happened.
This man who had been reading the Bible and trying to follow what it said for so long experienced something he had never experienced before.
And the best way he had to describe it is this, he said that he felt his heart become “strangely warmed,” and for the first time in his life he did believe that Jesus Christ had died for his sins—even his—and had forgiven him and saved him from the law of sin and death.
He then, spent the rest of his life growing in his new relationship with God through faith in Christ and sharing it with others.
This man’s name was John Wesley.
He went on to lead the biggest Christian revival the world has, perhaps, ever known.
The Methodist Church is a direct result of God’s actions in his life.
As are many, many other churches—arguably the majority of protestant churches in the United States and the rest of the Western world.
John Wesley didn’t learn about God’s great salvation and love in school.