Sermon Eighteen How holiness brings persecution

john                                                     audio clip


God wants our whole heart, not just a sliver. Don’t keep anything back from him, because he knows it anyway. He knows every nook and cranny. The small bit where you hold bitterness against someone in the congregation. The shard you hold for that slight made against you in a public meeting. That grain you hold because your friend didn’t see you yesterday.


We have to let every slight, every slander, every word spoken against us, we have to let them go. To hold on to them will destroy our relationship with God. We need to stay in relationship with him, and to do that we must keep our hearts soft.

There may be people we don’t like, we should go be with them. Be full of love towards them. Love them like you love yourself. And in time we learn to like them. Because we are all in the same race, we will all finish together, the race with the ultimate goal.

When our heart is soft and pure, we meet with the Living God, Wesley says we meet him in Communion, in bible study, in worship, in preaching. But we meet him in more places than that. We meet him in the face of the enemy who we help, we meet him when we light the fire of the elderly neighbour, we meet him when we go searching for a missing child, we meet him whilst we unblock drains and get soaked in the rain and walking in the woods and in the smile of a child and the hug of a friend and in unexpected places and in familiar surroundings we meet with God because he never leaves us if we are doing what he requires.

God is everywhere and we as believers need to see him in our every day lives. The closer we draw to him the more we see and hear him. Wesley, the academic, could never find the words to describe his transformation effectively. I, a wordsmith, know I will never be able to get across on paper or from the pulpit or from a one to one conversation words to describe the transformation that God did in me. I pray that it will be seen in the way I live my life.

Inward holiness produces good works, we become peacemakers not warmakers, we become socially responsible and spiritually responsible, and we become persecuted.

We are not persecuted in this country, we are included in the community when we allow ourselves to be included. Being set aside does not mean not being in the world. We are to be there as witness to our glorious King. How can the world see us as different if we don’t go out into the world. Our mission field is our community, our neighbours and friends, our enemies. We might get ridiculed if we are out on the street evangelising or laughed at by friends, we are to let go of these things because our hearts must remain soft to be in communion with the Lord.

Pray for those who ill treat you, Wesley says:

Watch and pray and believe and love