Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene 400 Stillmeadow Lane York, PA 717.764.4888
God's Big Idea
Session #10 - Our Magnificent Obsession
Sunday November 21st
I John 4
For those of you who may be visiting today or if you just started attending, I have an important announcement to make: we (Stillmeadow Nazarenes) are Wesleyan! Here’s what I mean by that.
When it comes to the church’s doctrines . . . when it comes to our church’s articles of faith . . . when it comes to how we set about conducting ourselves in the world, we recognize the Bible as being our final authority. Nazarenes are committed to a unilateral source of authority. John Wesley consistently identified the Bible as the most basic authority for determining Christian belief and practice. Indeed, at times, he declared it the sole or only authority. In fact, Wesley referred to himself as a man of one book.
And Wesley came to understand that when it was time to interpret the Bible and apply this ancient text to our contemporary lives, we can draw help from three basic sources: reason, experience and tradition. As Wesleyan’s we embrace a unilateral rule of Scripture within a trilateral hermeneutic of reason, tradition and experience. How we view scripture is an important aspect of what it means to be Wesleyan.
Some of you may be asking: Pastor Bud can you tell me a little more about Wesley? And what does all of this have to do with God’s Big Idea: loving God . . . loving others?
Wesley was born June 28,1703. He was an Anglican preacher, theologian and social activist. He viewed the whole world as his parish. He was the founder of the Methodist movement. The central theme of his preaching and writing was holiness of heart and life. His was a remarkable life.
And to this day, we Nazarene’s look to him as a kind of theological mentor . . . a hero . . . an example of how to pursue and live a holy life. And here’s Wesley and here’s how Wesley and his series connect:
Wesley was once asked: What do you mean by holiness? He answered: “holiness is nothing more and nothing less than loving God with all the heart, soul mind and strength and loving one’s neighbor as oneself.”
Okay, one more quote from Mr. Wesley . . . one of his strongest passages on the subject of love:
“It were well you should be thoroughly sensible of this, “The heaven of heavens is love.” There is nothing higher in religion: there is, in effect, nothing else; if you look for anything more than love, you are looking wide of the mark, you are getting out of the royal way, and when you are asking others, “Have you received this or that blessing?” If you mean anything but more love, you mean wrong; you are leading them out of the way, and putting them upon a false scent. Settle it then in your heart, that from the moment God has saved you from all sin, you are to aim at nothing more, but more of that love described in the thirteenth of the Corinthians. You can go no higher than this, till you are carried into Abraham’s bosom” (Works, XI, “Plain Account,” p.430)
I think it would be fair to say that God’s Big Idea . . . love God, love others was for John Wesley. “A Magnificent Obsession.”
Maybe you’ve not thought of the word obsession in a positive way before. I can understand that because of how we use the word most of the time. In fact, here’s the definition: an obsession is an unwelcome, uncontrollable, persistent idea that a person cannot help thinking about even though it creates significant distress. Obsessive ideas seem alien to those who have them: (expand)
I. Obsessed With Loving God
1. Let’s turn to I Jo
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