In 1729, while John Wesley was a student at Oxford, he started a club with his brother Charles, which was mockingly dubbed “The Holy Club” by some of his fellow collegians. The club members rigorously self-examined themselves everyday by asking the following 22 questions:
1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
3. Do I confidentially pass on to others what has been said to me in confidence?
4. Can I be trusted?5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?
6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
7. Did the Bible live in me today?
8. Do I give the Bible time to speak to me every day?
9. Am I enjoying prayer?
10. When did I last speak to someone else of my faith?
11. Do I pray about the money I spend?
12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
13. Do I disobey God in anything?
14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
17. How do I spend my spare time?
18. Am I proud?
19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
20. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
22. Is Christ real to me? Some of the other members of the club were John Gambold, who became a Bishop of the Moravian Church; James Hervey, who became a noted Christian writer; John Clayton, who became a distinguished Anglican churchman; Benjamin Ingham, who became a famous English Evangelist; and George Whitefield who God used mightily in both the 18th century Great Awakening in America and the Evangelical Revival in England.
In a letter to her son John, dated June 8, 1725, Susanna Wesley defined for him what she classified as sin. She wrote "Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off your relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself."
The preceding words definitely give pause for thought and reminds me of what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:7-14:
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Pressing Toward the Goal
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
John Wesley and the other members of his club were on to something. By regularly examining themselves and the motives of their hearts they were able to keep their heart-flames burning red hot for the King of Glory! Interestingly, each of these club members made a tremendous and eternal impact on this world for Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 2:4 tells us that God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
John 8:32 tells us "And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."
And finally John 14:6 tells us "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
First of all, God desires, He wants ALL men to be saved. The Greek word for saved is “sozo” which means to save, heal, cure, preserve, keep safe and sound, rescue from danger or destruction, to deliver. Sozo saves from physical death by healing and from spiritual death by forgiving sin and its effects. In primitive cultures saved is translated simply, “to give new life and to cause to have a new heart.* In John 10:10 Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and life more abundantly.”
So going back to 1 Timothy 2:4, we just saw that God desires all men to be saved which happens when men come to the knowledge of the truth, which is to come to the knowledge of Jesus. Reconciliation with God only comes through Jesus. It was His blood that paid that redeemed mankind back to God and it is His blood that allows us to draw near to God and have relationship with Him. Ephesians 2:13 tells us "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ."
Also, 1 Peter 3:18 tells us “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,”
In order to come to the knowledge of the truth and be reconciled to God, there must be a measure of faith, of believing that Jesus is who He said is and did what He came to do.
So, basically God reconciled all men to Himself through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son. Legally all men (not gender specific, mankind) – believing and unbelieving men are reconciled to God; however, only believing men (again not gender specific) experience the benefits of reconciliation, which are the effects of forgiveness of sin and fellowship and friendship with God – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
One last verse to consider is 1 Corinthians 1:21: “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
Saving faith is believing faith which is reconciling faith.
*Spirit-Filled Life Bible, page 1525 Word Wealth – Saved. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishing 1991.
One of the ways we encounter God is by hearing, and receiving and loving and obeying His Word - which is truth (John 17:17). There is no variableness or shadow of turning with God (James 1:17) or with His Word, because God and His Word are one (John 1:1, 10:30), just as we are one with our words.
The truth or reality of God's Word may not be reflected in every situation of our lives, but IT IS the truth and IT IS the highest form of reality. So how do we make God's reality our reality? By hearing it and receiving it and loving it and obeying it.
Do something with me. Go get your Bible and hold it up in the air and say this out loud:
This is my Bible. It is the Word of God, which is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. It is not man’s opinion. It is not man’s tradition. It is not subject to debate. God said it. That settles it.
I am what it says I am. I am not defined by what I struggle with, my circumstances, or by what others think or say about me. I am only defined by what God says about me in His Holy Word.
I can do what His Word says I can do. I can have what His Word says I can have. This is God’s Word and He’s speaking directly to me.
Jesus, I believe in Your love for me. I trust You completely and absolutely. Now please use my life for Your glory.
In Jesus name. Amen!
Now go be who you were called to be!
contemplation: a calm, lengthy, intent consideration
verb,mused, mus·ing. –verb (used without object)
1. to think or meditate in silence, as on some subject.
2. Archaic. to gaze meditatively or wonderingly.
–verb (used with object)
1. to meditate on.
2. to comment thoughtfully or ruminate upon.
1.cogitate, ruminate, think; dream, ponder, contemplate, deliberate.
I've been studying the book of Revelation, chapters 1-3 and looking for the different ways Jesus is described. I found 30 different descriptions of Him:
1. Jesus, You are the One who is. (Rev 1:4,8)
2. Jesus, You are the One who was. (Rev 1:4,8)
3. Jesus, You are the One who is to come. (Rev 1:4,8)
4. Jesus, You are the faithful witness. (Rev 1:5)
5. Jesus, You are the first born from the dead. (Rev 1:5)
6. Jesus, You are the Ruler over the kings of the earth. (Rev 1:5)
7. Jesus, You are the One Who loved us. (Rev 1:5)
8. Jesus, You are the One who washed us from our sins in Your own blood. (Rev 1:5)
9. Jesus, You have made us a kingdom of priests to Your God and Father forever. (Rev 1:6)
10. Jesus, You are Alpha, the beginning. (Rev 1:8)
11. Jesus, You are Omega, the end. (Rev 1:8)
12. Jesus, You are the Almighty. (Rev 1:8)
13. Jesus, You are One like the Son of Man, standing in the midst of the seven golden lampstands, standing in the midst of the seven churches. (Rev 1:13)
14. Jesus, You are clothed with a garment down to Your feet. (Rev 1:13)
15. Jesus, there is a golden band girded about Your chest. (Rev 1:13)
16. Jesus, Your head and hair are white like wool, as white as snow. (Rev 1:14)
17. Jesus, Your eyes are like a flame of fire. (Rev 1:14, 2:18)
18. Jesus, Your feet are like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace. (Rev 1:15, 2:18)
19. Jesus, Your voice is the sound of many waters. (Rev 1:15)
20. Jesus, in Your right hand are seven stars, which are the angels of the seven churches. (Rev 1:15)
21. Jesus, out of your mouth comes a sharp two-edged sword. (Rev 1:16)
22. Jesus, Your countenance is like the sun shining in its strength. (Rev 1:16)
23. Jesus, You are the One who lives, even though You were dead, You came to life and You live forevermore. (Rev 1:18)
24. Jesus, You are the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire and feet like fine brass. (Rev 2:18)
25. Jesus, You always give people time to repent. (Rev 2:21)
26. Jesus, You are the One who searches the hearts and the minds of the peoples of the earth, and You will give to each one according to their works. (Rev 2:23)
27. Jesus, You are holy. (Rev 3:7)
28. Jesus, You are true. (Rev 3:7)
29. Jesus, You are the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness. (Rev 3:14)
30. Jesus, you are the Beginning of the Creation of God. (Rev 3:14)