In this post, we’re looking at the second in our series on Methodism.
So far, we talked about four hallmarks that made Methodism a movement.
- Methodists grew in faith.
- Methodists increased and abounded in love.
- Methodists turned anything into something that would work for the movement.
- Methodists lived with the end in mind. Read more.
Click the link below to listen to the full audio sermon.
What we’ll learn from Methodism in this post will help us with how to establish a thriving community.Drawing on John Wesley and early Methodists, we will discover three things.
A thriving community has three pillars: grace, faith and love
One key characteristic of Methodism is the concept of God’s grace. The Methodists believed that we receive God’s grace in three different ways.
First, God’s grace, which is always there available for all of us. It’s what God has done for us in spite of who we are.
To experience God’s prevenient grace, we need faith in Jesus Christ. Believing in Jesus means choosing to invite Jesus into our lives as our personal Lord and Savior.
The act of receiving Jesus Christ allows us to experience justification. And, this is God’s justifying grace. What Paul says, in Romans 8: 1, “there is no condemnation for those who in Christ,” that’s our justification.
The guilt and condemnation that come with sin go away once we invite Jesus Christ into our lives. What follows this step (justification) is sanctification. It’s the time we begin a new journey in faith.
God’s grace sanctifies us along the way. Keep in mind that sanctification does not happen by itself. It requires you to partner with God through a change of behavior and character. You get to embrace a new lifestyle.
It’s salvation you’ve receive, and on which you work everyday. Wesley started societies, bands and classes to help the Methodists with all that.
A thriving community has one message that all members shared together
It’s important to point out also that the Methodists had a clear message. Wesley made sure of that.
He encouraged preachers “to preach a message that would beget faith in people.” Those who believed in the message, the Methodists would receive them at a society.
Of course, every new Methodist was to belong to a class. In the U.S., later, a new member was first on a probationary status before becoming a full class member.
The Methodist message was about God’s grace one can experience only by faith in Jesus Christ. It was also a message that called every Methodist into actions to help others.
The message Methodists shared with others was very personal. They did it just as did Wesley. It was about a personal assurance of salvation.
A thriving community focuses on faithful discipleship and mutual accountability
What made the Methodists thrive during Wesley’s days was how they organized themselves. They did so because they were all about faithful discipleship and mutual accountability.
Wesley did not articulate that way though. He referred to all that as “moving toward perfection,” “working their own salvation,” etc.
Using our common language, we would say that they were about how to be a faithful disciple. They were also about how to hold each other accountable.
Methodism is an expression of what it means to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.
The question to ask yourself could be: “Do I have the assurance of my salvation?” Another one could be: “Do I work on my own salvation?” And “How do I do it?”
You can also talk to someone in your Church and ask them to become your prayer partner. Have someone whom you know is praying for you daily.
A thriving community is that, which focuses on faithful discipleship and mutual accountability.