Monday 13 December 2021
Are you someone who is simply an Almost Christian Or an Altogether Christian?
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”. Paul replied, “Short time or long – I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
The Second part of this sermon Almost Christian, outlines to us what it is to be an Altogether Christian. It is no secret that John Wesley labored for years in striving to earn and merit salvation by every sort of religious devotion and good works. It brought him to a place of futility and utter despair. In other words, he was an almost Christian for many years before he understood what it is to become an altogether Christian.
So what more is needed in order to become an altogether Christian?
A) You must be in love with God. The first commandment is “love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all my mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). This love fills the heart, fills the emotions, fills the soul, fills the whole of one’s personality. If you love the Lord your God in this way, you are continually rejoicing in God your Saviour (Luke 1:47). Your delight is in the Lord who has now become everything to you, and you thank him for everything. Whoever is in love with God in this way is forever saying to him, “What else have I in heaven but you? Since I have you, what else could I want on earth?” (Ps 73:25) You are dead to the way of the world and of the flesh. You are dead to pride of every kind, for love has no place for pride.
B) You must love your neighbour: Jesus said, Love your neighbour as you love yourself. (Mark 12:31). If anyone asks “who is my neighbour?” we reply “everyone”. Friends and enemies alike, even the enemies of God, we must love them as much as Jesus loves us.
C) We must have true faith. There are different kinds of faith. True Christian faith is not only to believe in the truth of the bile and the creeds, but also to trust that we shall be saved from damnation by Jesus. When you believe that your sins have been forgiven and that you have been reconciled to God through the merits of Jesus, then you will find a new love in your heart. You will be ready to obey God’s commandment mentioned above (A) and (B) above. This is the faith which purifies the heart from all sin and fills it instead with undying love towards God and those around you. A love which does the work of God, rejoicing in every opportunity of helping others, a love which joyfully endures the reproach of being a Christian, and bears whatever trials God allows the forces of evil to inflict upon us. Whoever has faith, working by love, is not only almost, but is altogether a Christian
During this advent period, let’s invite this Jesus Christ into your heart. Awake from your sleep and call upon him. Do not let the busyness of the season to stop you from calling upon him. Cry to God, day and night, until you know that you can trust him and can say “My Lord and my God! (John 20:28). Keep on praying and do not give up until you can look up to heaven and declare truthfully, “ Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” (John 21:17)