Sermon 11~~~Discourse II {The witness of the spirit }

This is a solid piece of scripturally and doctrinally sound argument. Wesley is arguing against basically two opinions, that living in the Spirit is an experiential thing alone without scripture, reason or tradition and conversely that the Spirit does not dwell within at all.
The problem we are faced with, as believers who have been baptised by the Holy Spirit is that it is so personal and individual and exactly what we need as individuals that to describe it to someone would be nigh on impossible but also unbelievable and not helpful.
The only evidence that can be seen from the outside looking in is the fruit of Spirit, those special gifts from God. But there are those who puff themselves up because they believe they have been given a spiritual gift from God of prophecy or interpretation, for example. Not that they don’t have one of those gifts but that they then neglect the fruit. And not everyone who has been blessed with a gift of the Spirit so neglects the fruit.
Wesley listens to the argument: “The greatest contenders for it are some of the proudest and most uncharitable of men.” and like Wesley I concur that those people we are going hear, they are going to thrust themselves forward into the limelight but for everyone like this there are hundreds and thousands that Wesley describes as:

“firmest contenders for it are eminently meek and lowly in heart; and, indeed, in all other respects also, True followers of their lamb-like Lord.”

Meekness & Humility in a person is so much more attractive than pushy, in your face, “look at me and what I can do”
Interestingly Wesley talks of the fruit being evidenced in a person’s life preveniently. By the grace of God, to encourage us to move forward into true discipleship and believing we are introduced to one or two of the fruit of the Spirit. This is amazing and explains to my rational mind many of the things that happened to me and others before we were baptised by the Holy Spirit.
He ends by encouraging and challenging his readers to keep in the book of God, the Bible, keep in relationship with the Lord, remember the time when we cried out “Abba Father,” remember the peace that settled on us that passeth all understanding, the expelling of doubt and fear which are not of God.
Romans 8:16

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

Sermon 12 ~~~The Witness of our own Spirit

Wesley discusses our conscience or spirit now, he begins by quoting 2 Corinthians 1:12 and then explains his understanding of conscience, that inward perception that makes us dwell on our actions or past actions.

“This is our rejoicing, the testimony of out conscience, that in simplicity and godly
sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation
in the world.”

2 Cor. 1:12
His entire discussion is based around that phrase “we have had our conversation in the world.” We are set aside to live differently to the world, we are not to follow the ways of the world but to show a different way, the Way of the Cross.  Our conscience is no longer lined up with the world but with God.

But it does cause a tension: when in the past we might have acted one way, and God’s way is different. Our conscience knows what we should do (as it is lined up with God’s) but also has that ‘history.’ For example I am struggling in a particular area of my life because my old self would do one thing and that is where my family is at and I want to strike out a new way, but this may cause financial ruin. It is still in that tension and struggling stage with lots of prayer and reflection.

I am not entirely sure which of the possible scenarios is the right thing to do, I don’t know if I am being especially ‘Pharisee’ about it, giving a 1/10th of my herbs or whether it really is the right thing to do. But I don’t know how to explain it: my family thinks I am nuts so won’t the authorities too?

We show the world “The Way” by godly sincerity and “simplicity.” We are not to make things complicated, if we simply live in the Truth then we live by a simple rule. Easy innit!