Almost Christian…


Stripped image of John Wesley

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Yesterday I preached from John Wesley‘s sermon he preached in 1741 entitled Almost Christian.  Here is an outline of Mr. Wesley’s sermon that gives the main points of the sermon.

Summary:  The theme for this sermon is the difference between nominal and absolute Christianity.  He draws a distinction between those who exhibit outward godliness yet do not have an inward godliness.  Thus are hypocrites.  Even though Wesley would later waver on his evaluation of “Almost Christian”, his theology on salvation by faith grounded in love is very evident.

Introduction:  There have been many throughout history that have been almost persuaded to become a Christian.  However, it is not enough to be almost, one must go all the way.

  1. The Almost Christian
    1. Even the heathens have a social order of acceptability of what is right.
    2. People without spiritual enlightenment realize there is an obligation to truth and justice
    3. Even those who have no knowledge of the Bible are willing to love and help others.
    4. The “Almost Christian” looks godly on the outside and…
      1. Does nothing forbidden in the Gospels.
      2. Does not swear
      3. Does not “profane” the day of the Lord
      4. Does not commit adultery
      5. Abstains from wine and strife
      6. Works for the profit of many to help some.
      7. Uses the means of grace.
        1. Goes to church humbly
        2. Behave in serious manner and praises God during worship.
        3. Reverent at the Lords Table
    5. Prays to God
    6. Has the outward godliness to escape retribution.  A hypocrite
    7. One must have a true commitment to serve God and do his will.
    8. It is possible to have a true commitment to serve God and zealously do his will and still be an “Almost Christian.”
    9. St. Paul and being “Almost Christian.”
    10. “All this time, I was only an “Almost Christian.”
      1. The Altogether Christian
        1. Has a love for God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength.
        2. Has a love for others as Christ loved.
        3. Has faith, which is the ground of all.
        4. Don’t be deceived.
          1.  Faith that does not produce repentance, love, and good works is not living faith.
    11. The altogether Christian places their faith in the merits and salvation of Jesus Christ.
    12. Those who believe that Christ is sufficient is an altogether Christian
    13. Ask yourself if you are an altogether Christian
  2. Do I have an outward appearance of godliness
  3. Do I do those things only to please God.
  4. Are you an Almost Christian or have you come that far?
  5. Even if you have plans to become an Altogether Christian, unless there is action it is no good.
  6. God is in our presence and unless we have faith in and a love for him, it would be better if we had not been born.
  7. Let’s move forward from being just Almost Christians to Altogether Christians.  It’s possible through Jesus Christ.
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Categories: John Wesley | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Almost Christian…

  1. “The Almost Christian” is one of my favorite of Wesley’s sermons. I find it almost eerily contemporary in its subject matter.

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