Wednesdays with Wesley
By Robert Kaylor
Dr. Bob Kaylor is Lead Pastor at Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church in Monument, CO.
Wednesdays with WesleyApr 12, 2023
A Show Update
Host Bob Kaylor offers a brief update on the show and his impending move into a new season of ministry. Wednesdays with Wesley will be back in a few weeks but, in the interim, send your suggestions for future episodes to email@example.com (note the new address). Watch for new episodes coming soon!
The Way to the Kingdom
In this episode we go a little deeper into John Wesley's understanding of the good news by looking at his definition of "true religion" found in Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom of God. It's a religion of the heart that is evidenced in the believer's life in "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." As Wesley puts it, "This is the way; walk ye in it!" Host Bob Kaylor walks us through this important sermon that gets at the essence of the gospel and how it's lived out in the lives of those who will "repent and believe the good news."
Leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform and email the host with your questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor.
John Wesley's Four Spiritual Laws
Many evangelical Christians are aware of The Four Spiritual Laws as a shorthand version of the gospel used in evangelism. While millions of Christians have come to faith through this simple presentation, which has its roots in the Reformed tradition, those in the Methodist tribe might wonder if there is a Wesleyan version of The Four Spiritual Laws that expresses not only the salvation we have in Christ but also a version of the "wonderful plan" for our lives that involves sanctification, restoration in the image of God, and power over sin.
Host Bob Kaylor believes he may have found it in John Wesley's letter to Ebenezer Blackwell on December 20, 1751. Near the end of the letter, Wesley outlines in four statements the gospel that the early Methodist preached and believed:
1. God loves you: therefore love and obey him.
2. Christ died for you: therefore die to sin.
3. Christ has risen: therefore rise in the image of God.
4. Christ lives evermore: therefore live to God till you live with Him in glory.
"This is the scriptural way, the Methodist way, the true way," said Wesley. "God grant that we may never turn therefrom, to the right hand or to the left." What would it mean for 21st century Methodists to adopt this as our "Four Spiritual Laws" for evangelizing the world?
Send your questions and comments to Bob Kaylor at email@example.com and follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor.
The Nature of Enthusiasm
The spontaneous revival at Asbury University has now moved into its second week. What started as a regular Wednesday chapel service has grown into a move of God that is attracting hundreds of people to Wilmore, KY, to experience this outpouring of God’s Spirit. People are coming to experience the power of confession and repentance, healing and reconciliation, testimony and spontaneous praise. There’s no central leader, no direction or agenda, just people gathering together, drawn in and sent out by the Spirit in a way that is so unusual that national news outlets are picking it up.
But while many are rejoicing at this movement of God that began with college students and is spreading to other campuses, others are skeptical and even critical--and, not surprisingly, a lot of that criticism seems to be coming from those who are actually in the church. Some merely chalk up the revival to emotionalism, while others sniff that it’s not immediately following their prescribed social justice agenda. Still others have never been part of such a spontaneous outpouring and question any kind of ecstatic experience. In Wesley's day, movements of the God outside the established church were considered to be a dangerous form of "enthusiasm," or an irrational religious madness.
The reality is, however, that these kinds of revivals and spiritual watershed events are a hallmark of the Wesleyan holiness tradition. Asbury experienced a similar revival back in 1970 that launched a generation of pastors and missionaries. Camp meetings and other gatherings were, and in many places still are, opportunities for the Spirit to bring renewed vision in the midst of prayer, worship, healing, and testimony. Indeed, from the very beginning, Methodism has been a movement of the Holy Spirit and a movement that has always raised questions for those in the institutional church.
In "The Nature of Enthusiasm," written in 1750, John Wesley responds to critics of the movement by redefining what "enthusiasm" actually means and offers a prescription for discerning the work of the Holy Spirit and the will of God. It's a timely sermon for this moment in history and one that both supporters and critics of revival need to consider.
Read Kevin Watson's helpful summary
Send your questions and comments to host Bob Kaylor at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @revbkaylor.
The Law Established Through Faith, Discourse II
In Discourse I, John Wesley described the way in which people (and especially preachers) void the moral law of God by an overemphasis on faith alone. In Discourse II, he offers three ways to properly establish the law through faith: through preaching a fully biblical doctrine, through seeing faith as a means toward holiness, and through living out that law of love in our hearts and lives. The Wesleyan way sees faith and law working together to produce Christ-like character expressed in holy love of God and neighbor.
Read Dr. Kevin Watson's helpful summary
Send your questions and comments to host Bob Kaylor at email@example.com and follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor. Leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform!
The Law Established Through Faith, Discourse I
“Consider this well--that to preach Christ is to preach all things that Christ hath spoken; all his promises; all his threatenings and commands; all that is written in his book; and then you will know how to preach Christ, without making void the law.” Bringing law and grace, law and faith, into balance is one of the strengths of Wesleyan theology, paying attention to the critical role that both play in the Bible and in the life of the disciple of Jesus. Law without grace is legalism, while grace without law is antinomianism. In this first of two Discourses, John Wesley explores the ways that Christians tend to "void" the law by faith, rather than seeing obedience to the moral law as an essential outcome of faith and the path to holiness. Host Bob Kaylor takes a deep dive into this sermon and explains why it's an essential teaching for Christians in a culture of expressive individualism.
Read Kevin Watson's helpful outline and summary
Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor. Please take a few minutes to write a review on your favorite podcast platform!
"The devices whereby the subtle 'god of this world' labors to destroy the children of God, or at least torment whom he cannot destroy, to perplex and hinder them in running the race which is set before them, are numberless as the stars of heaven or the sand upon the seashore." In this sermon, John Wesley looks at some of the particular devices of Satan that would hinder Christians from "going on to perfection." It's a helpful reminder that when it comes to the spiritual life we should focus more on what God has given us than on what we still lack.
Read Satan's Devices
Send your questions and comments to host Bob Kaylor at email@example.com. Follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor.
A Caution Against Bigotry
John Wesley's understanding of prevenient grace allowed him to acknowledge the good that God can accomplish through a variety of people, even those outside of the church. In this sermon he cautions against the kind of spiritual pride that would limit the power of God to only working within our own tribe or even our own religion. When sinners turn to God in repentance, no matter how or through whom it happens, it's something to be celebrated. Host Bob Kaylor takes a look at this important sermon which speaks to the ways that contemporary Christians, and especially Methodists in the midst of deep disagreements, ought to acknowledge God's power working through others in ways we might not expect.
Read Kevin Watson's helpful summary
Email your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Bob Kaylor on Twitter @revbkaylor. We encourage you to write a positive review on your favorite podcast platform and share the podcast with others.
In this episode, host Bob Kaylor looks at one of John Wesley's most misquoted sermons, "Catholic Spirit." Rather than a sermon about theological pluralism, as many have perceived it, Wesley is making the case that Christians who are united around a core of "the faith once delivered to the saints" can hold different opinions while still loving one another. It's an important sermon to read and understand in context, especially in a time in which Methodism itself is in conflict over doctrinal and practical issues.
Read Catholic Spirit
Read Kevin Watson's summary of the sermon
Send your questions and comments to email@example.com and follow Bob Kaylor on Twitter @revbkaylor
"The 'denying' ourselves and the 'taking up our cross,' in the fullness of the expression, is not a thing of small concern. It is not expedient only, as are some of the circumstantials of religion; but it is absolutely, indispensably necessary, either to our becoming or continuing his disciples." In this sermon, John Wesley takes up these commands of Jesus and expresses the truth that whenever a person is not living fully as a disciple of Jesus it is always due to a lack of following these commands of Jesus. Host Bob Kaylor takes a deep dive into this important sermon and offers some thoughts on how it counters the expressive individualism that characterizes Western culture and, in many ways, the culture of the Church itself.
Bob quotes from Christopher Watkin's book Biblical Critical Theory: How the Bible's Unfolding Story Makes Sense of Modern Life and Culture.
Send your comments, questions, and suggestions to Bob Kaylor at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @revbkaylor. Leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform.
The Wesley Covenant Service
Wednesdays with Wesley is back from hiatus with an episode on the Wesley Covenant Service, which some Methodist churches use on the first Sunday of the New Year. Host Bob Kaylor offers a brief history of the service and then takes a look at the elements of the liturgy that renew our covenant with God and counter our culture's rugged individualism with a promise of surrender to God's will.
You can access the United Methodist version of the Wesley Covenant Service here for your church or for your own use.
Email the show at email@example.com and follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor.
On the Resurrection of the Dead
As we near Holy Week and Easter, this sermon from John Wesley gives us a solid foundation not only for understanding the resurrection of Jesus but also for leaning into the promise of our own resurrection. Using Paul's treatise on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 and borrowing from an earlier work by Benjamin Calamy, Wesley addresses the question that Paul raises: "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" (1 Corinthians 15:35 NRSV). Understanding the resurrection from a biblical perspective challenges the Platonist and disembodied ways in which many Christians have perceived it and invites us to live out the implications of a new embodied life in the present as well as the future.
Read Sermon 137: On the Resurrection of the Dead
Get a copy of N.T. Wright's book Surprised by Hope
Send your questions and comments to Bob Kaylor at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @revbkaylor
As the United Methodist Church goes through a painful separation, John Wesley's sermon "On Schism" is instructive. Bob Kaylor looks at Wesley's definition of schism, what the criteria for separation should be, and how to avoid the "evil tempers" that always accompany divisions in the body of Christ.
Read On Schism
Email your questions and comments to email@example.com. Follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor and leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform.
Thoughts Upon Methodism
In 1786, near the end of his life, John Wesley wrote "Thoughts Upon Methodism" as both a historic look back at the origins of the Methodist movement and a cautionary look ahead to its future. This short piece, which appeared in The Arminian Magazine in 1787, is best known for its opening quote:
"I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid, lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case, unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out."
But what did Wesley mean by "doctrine, spirit, and discipline?" What was the biggest obstacle to the movement's goal of cultivating "holiness of heart and life" in its people? In this episode, host Bob Kaylor breaks down Wesley's views and offers some of his own on how a "mainline" Methodism needs to recapture its roots in order to be viable for the present and future.
Read Thoughts Upon Methodism (beginning at page 134 of the pdf)
Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Bob Kaylor on Twitter @revbkaylor.
The Holy Spirit in Methodism: A Conversation with Madeline Henners
In this special episode, Bob chats with Madeline Henners about her essay on the role of the Holy Spirit in Wesleyan Christianity in the new book The Next Methodism: Theological, Social, and Missional Foundations for Global Methodism. Madeline suggests that while most Methodists see Wesley's Aldersgate experience as the catalyst of the movement, the real "Methodist Pentecost" happened on January 1, 1739, at Fetter Lane. Madeline discusses the reasons why mainline Methodism seems to have neglected the power of the Holy Spirit and offers some suggestions about how we might reengage the Spirit's power.
Get your copy of The Next Methodism.
Contact Madeline at email@example.com
Contact the show at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor.
One of the byproducts of the pandemic and its times of isolation has been our tendency to get lost in our own thoughts. Many people have reported having difficulty in focusing, being more anxious than usual, spending too much time on their devices, or struggling with their relationship with God. A lot of our problems stem from what Adam Grant calls "languishing," or "a state of stagnation and emptiness" that feels as though we are muddling through our days and "looking at life through a foggy windshield." John Wesley's sermon on "Wandering Thoughts" is thus a helpful guide for our times and an encouragement to refocus our thought life on what really matters. Written long before the days of cell phones, screens, and notifications, Wesley offers some wisdom for sorting out which thought patterns lead to sin from those distractions that are merely part of being human. Learning to mitigate those distractions and "take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5) is key to living a sanctified life.
Read Wandering Thoughts
Check out Cal Newport's book Digital Minimalism
Send your questions and comments to host Bob Kaylor at email@example.com and follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor
John Wesley's bestselling book was not a work of theology, but a book of medical remedies titled Primitive Physick, or an easy and natural Method of Curing Most Diseases. In a time when medical care by doctors was primarily the privilege of the wealthy, Wesley offered medical advice and free pills and elixirs to the poor as a way of upholding the Methodist General Rule of doing all the good you can to the souls and bodies of people. While Wesley's remedies may seem quaint and misguided by modern medical standards, they do reveal the heart of the Methodist movement as being concerned for the salvation of the whole person. In this episode, host Bob Kaylor offers a glimpse into this fascinating (and quirky) work of Wesley.
Grab a copy of Primitive Physick.
Read Samuel Rogal's interesting article in The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine.
Send your questions and comments to the host at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Bob Kaylor on Twitter @revbkaylor.
Heaviness Through Manifold Temptations
In this sequel to "The Wilderness State," John Wesley describes the "heaviness" that all Christians experience through various trials that come their way; and yet this "heaviness" is not the same as the "darkness" he described in the previous sermon. While "the wilderness state" can lead to a loss of faith, a period of "heaviness" can lead to an increase of faith, hope, love, and holiness. While God doesn't visit these trials on us, says Wesley, God does allow them as a way of purifying our faith, confirming our hope, and perfecting us in love.
Note: "Wednesdays with Wesley" will be taking a hiatus for the holidays. We'll be back in January 2022 with a look at more of Wesley's sermons and writings. Happy Advent and Christmas to all!
The Wilderness State
One of the troubling trends of recent years has been the "deconstructing" of the Christian faith by some high-profile Christian leaders. Add to that the rise of "ex-vangelicals," the "nones," and the "dones" and it seems like a lot of people are moving away from Christianity. What they're moving toward, however, isn't the absence of faith, but rather faith in a different sort of secular religion where the overarching narrative of Scripture is replaced by the story of the self.
The people of God have always faced the temptation of rival religions and the "greener grass" of getting out from under the "repressive" rules and difficult way of cross-bearing discipleship. Like the Israelites in the wilderness, we've often faced the temptation to go back to Egypt and its delights--forgetting, of course, that Egypt also meant slavery! The big question is, "How do we avoid getting stuck in a spiritual wilderness and avoid the temptation to give in and go back to the self-focused life? That's the question with which John Wesley wrestles in "The Wilderness State."
Read The Wilderness State
Check out Carl Trueman's book The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self.
Send your questions and comments to host Bob Kaylor at email@example.com and follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor.
The Use of Money
In this sermon, John Wesley offers what is arguably one of the greatest (and simplest) messages on financial stewardship in all of Christian history. Wesley doesn't see money itself as evil--on the contrary, when it is used well it can have a tremendous impact for the Kingdom of God. "Gain all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can." It's good advice for every Christian in evaluating his or her use of money!
Read The Use of Money
Send your comments and questions to host Bob Kaylor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor.
The Character of a Methodist
Did you know that "Methodists" were originally named after an insult? John Wesley published this 8-page pamphlet in 1742 as a way of answering critics who had a distorted view of the movement's rigorous and optimistic doctrine and practice. The distinguishing marks of a Methodist, for Wesley, were no different than the distinguishing marks for all real Christians; it's just that Methodists were expected to know them and live them! This is an important piece for 21st century Methodists to use as a measuring stick for the life of faith in individuals and in our churches.
Send your questions and comments to email@example.com and follow Bob Kaylor on Twitter @revbkaylor.
Preaching Wesley's Sermons
One of the questions we often get here at the podcast is, "How would you preach Wesley's sermons in a 21st-century church?" In this episode, Bob Kaylor demonstrates how a sermon like "Christian Perfection" can be used to bring some of Methodism's distinctive doctrines to new generations. Think of it as a throwback to the way that Wesley's original circuit riders used the sermons as a "seminary in a saddlebag" for fueling their preaching in fields and preaching houses across the British Isles and the American frontier.
Read Wesley's sermon "Christian Perfection."
Check out Kevin Watson's outstanding book Perfect Love for a comprehensive explanation of entire sanctification.
Send your questions and comments to the host at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor.
On Working Out Our Own Salvation
What does it mean to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling?" (Philippians 2:12-13). John Wesley's view is that God saving grace works in us for a purpose--to enable us to work for God's glory as people made in God's image. As Wesley puts it, "First, God works; therefore you can work. Secondly, God works; therefore, you must work." This sermon dives deep into this important biblical text and reveals that Methodists do not have a passive, lethargic, or idle understanding of saving grace. Instead, Methodists have a synergistic vision of salvation that requires both God's grace and human cooperation.
Contact the host with your questions at email@example.com and follow Bob Kaylor on Twitter @revbkaylor.
On Sin In Believers
Does the Wesleyan doctrine of "Christian perfection" mean that believers no longer have to deal with sin? John Wesley uses this sermon to clarify some points about the nature of sin in believers--that sin may remain, but it need not reign. Mediating between the view of a hopeless continuation of sin in the totally depraved on the one hand and the idealistic idea of sinless perfection on the other, Wesley offers a third way that he argues from Scripture, experience, tradition, and reason--a way in which the believer can embrace the power God gives us to overcome sin while still recognizing its presence.
Email your questions and comments to host Bob Kaylor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor.
The Cure of Evil-Speaking
In a culture where "hot takes" and "burns" on social media are the norm and where people seek more "likes" for their open criticism and condemnation of others, Wesley's wisdom on how Christians should deal with conflict is essential. Based on Jesus' teaching in Matthew 18:15-17, Wesley offers a practical approach to dealing with conflict and addresses how we should speak and act toward others who may have done us wrong or who are doing wrong. It doesn't involve speaking about them to another, but speaking directly with them and seeking every opportunity for repentance, reconciliation, and restoration. This sermon is a critical one for 21st century Methodists who are navigating a culture that is now known for its "evil-speaking." We can be different and lead others to the restoring love of Christ!
Send your comments and questions to host Bob Kaylor at email@example.com. Follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor.
Note that we will be back with a new episode on October 6, 2021.
The Duty of Constant Communion
John Wesley believed that "it is the duty of every Christian to receive the Lord's Supper as often as he can." Why? Wesley answers, in effect, "Because Jesus says so!" In this episode, Bob Kaylor looks at this important sermon and, along with Wesley, offers a challenge (as well as a bit of a rant) focused on the reasons those in the Methodist tradition should re-engage the practice of weekly communion in our worship services. It is a key means of grace through which "we may be assisted to attain those blessings which he hath prepared for us; that we may obtain holiness on earth and everlasting glory in heaven."
Email your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Bob Kaylor on Twitter @revbkaylor.
The Great Assize
What did John Wesley believe about eschatology and the end times? The answer is hard to pin down because he doesn't write much about it. His concern was less about the timing and manner of Christ's return than it was about how we should live in light of his coming and the final judgment. Joining the early Methodist societies required each person to have "a desire to flee from the wrath to come," thus God's judgment was as important to Wesley as God's love, which are two sides of the same coin. In "The Great Assize," Wesley sketches out his thoughts on God's judgment and Christ's return and about living in such a way that we "rejoice" when that day comes.
Read The Great Assize
Send your questions and comments to host Bob Kaylor (email@example.com) and follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor.
Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount: Discourse, the Thirteenth
In this last Discourse, Wesley once again circles back to the Beatitudes as the "sum of all true religion" and the character of the one who builds his or her spiritual house on the "rock," obeying the teaching of Jesus by walking the narrow way. Many will say "Lord, Lord!" and show their credentials in good works, Bible study, church attendance, and even following the General Rules, and yet without the inward transformation that leads to holiness of heart and life they will not find their way into the Kingdom. This is a hard teaching but an essential one for followers of Christ to understand and embrace; especially those of us in the Methodist tradition.
Read the early Christian document The Didache.
Send your questions and comments to host Bob Kaylor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Bob on Twitter and Instagram @revbkaylor.
Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount: Discourse, the Twelfth
In Discourse 12, John Wesley looks at Matthew 7:15-20 and Jesus' teaching on recognizing false prophets. If the "ill example" of the crowd is a way of leading some people on the broad highway to hell, the "ill advice" of false prophets speaking a different version of the gospel and the way of Christ is a way of convincing the rest. Wesley identifies the properties of false prophets and then speaks to them directly, inviting all of us to consider the ways in which we have dabbled on the wide road that leads to destruction and calling us back to the narrow path of discipleship.
Leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform and share the show with others! Contact host Bob Kaylor at email@example.com and follow Bob on Twitter and Instagram @revbkaylor.
Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount: Discourse, the Eleventh
"No stop sign, speed limit; nobody gonna slow me down!" It's hard to read Matthew 7:13-14 and not think of AC/DC shrieking happily about being on the "Highway to Hell;" but as both Jesus and John Wesley warn, that road leads to a literal and figurative dead end. In this Discourse, Wesley contrasts the "inseparable properties" of the wide way that leads to destruction and the narrow way that leads to life. It's an essential part of the Sermon on the Mount and one that challenges us to ask ourselves, "What road am I on?"
Send your questions and comments to host Bob Kaylor at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @revbkaylor. Leave a review on Apple Podcasts and share this journey through Wesley's sermons with others!
Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount: Discourse, the Tenth
In Discourse 10 on the Sermon on the Mount, John Wesley looks at some of the "hindrances to holiness" that prevent us from living the kind of "real Christianity" outlined by Jesus thus far. One of the most glaring obstacles to holiness is our tendency to judge others in ways that we ourselves would not want to be judged. Wesley says that Jesus' teaching on judging others in Matthew 7:1-12 is a "plain and equitable rule whereby God permits you to determine for yourselves in what manner he shall deal with you in the judgment of the great day.” Wesley links Jesus' teaching on profaning the holy, asking in prayer, and living the "Golden Rule" to this important statement about judgment. It's a lesson that's especially relevant for Christians today in a culture where social media tends to lead us to snap judgments of others.
Contact host Bob Kaylor at email@example.com and follow Bob on Twitter and Instagram @revbkaylor.
Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount: Discourse, the Ninth
It's been said that the only things that ever stay in the middle of the road for long are yellow lines and roadkill. That's true when it comes to serving God or serving "mammon" or money and possessions. As Bob Dylan sang back in the '80s, "You're gonna have to serve somebody," or as Jesus put it, "No one can serve two masters" (Matthew 6:24). In this important Discourse on the important topics of wealth and worry, John Wesley offers some clear teaching on the contrast between serving the one true God and the materialistic gods of this world, and an invitation to stop living in the past or the future and trust God's provision for the present.
Follow host Bob Kaylor on Twitter and Instagram @revbkaylor and send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Like the podcast? Leave us a review and share it on your social networks!
Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount: Discourse, the Eighth
What does it mean to "lay up treasure on earth" versus having treasure in heaven? In this Discourse, John Wesley looks at the relationship of real Christianity to money and possessions and challenges his readers to consider how their use of these things reflects the glory of God. Having a "single eye" to pleasing God is essential for the Christian life, whether it's in our giving, our prayers, our spiritual practices, or in our bank accounts and homes.
Send your questions and comments to email@example.com. Follow Bob Kaylor on Twitter and Instagram @revbkaylor. Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts!
Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount: Discourse, the Seventh
In this shorter Discourse, Wesley looks at Jesus' teaching on fasting in Matthew 6:16-18. This important and yet often neglected means of grace is one that every Christian should practice individually and that Christian communities should engage in corporately especially in times of trial or preparation. The self-denial we practice in fasting also trains us for the kind of self-denial we need in response to temptation and sin.
Send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow host Bob Kaylor on Twitter and Instagram @revbkaylor.
Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount: Discourse, the Sixth
"Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven." (Matthew 6:1). In a world where people are always seeking attention and virtue signaling their goodness on social media, the instructions of Jesus in Matthew 6:1-15 are vital teaching for living out "real Christianity." Here in his sixth Discourse on the Sermon the Mount, John Wesley expounds on Jesus' teaching and his model for prayer, calling us to conform our lives to the will of God and giving God all the glory. Host Bob Kaylor digs deep into this Discourse and offers some contemporary examples of how we can conduct works of mercy and piety in a way that lifts up the Kingdom.
Rate and review Wednesdays with Wesley on your favorite podcast platform! Follow Bob on Twitter @revbkaylor and send your questions and comments to email@example.com.
Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount: Discourse, the Fifth
"Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets," said Jesus. "I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them." Many Christians have tried to separate Jesus from the Law and the Old Testament from the New Testament to create a less rigorous brand of faith. Jesus, however, states that obedience to the Law and teaching of the Law in its fullness is vital for life in the Kingdom. John Wesley breaks down this passage from Matthew 5:17-20 line by line and challenges modern brands of faith that would go soft on sin and light on obedience. Join host Bob Kaylor as he works through this important Discourse in the Sermon on the Mount series.
Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Bob on Twitter and Instagram @revbkaylor.
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Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount: Discourse, the Fourth
What does it mean for Christians to be salt and light? In this discourse, Wesley makes clear that Jesus is not promoting a solitary, individualized form of faith but the kind of religion that is impossible to conceal. In a culture where rugged individualism and privacy are expected, especially when it comes to religion, this sermon challenges us to recognize that "real Christianity" is a faith that cannot be kept to ourselves.
Email your questions and comments to email@example.com and follow host Bob Kaylor on Twitter and Instragram @revbkaylor.
Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount: Discourse, the Third
The third discourse completes Wesley's discussion of the Beatitudes, describing the "pure in heart" who are also peacemakers, doing good to all. That purity of heart does not come without a cost, however, as the world inevitably persecutes those who are seeking the righteousness that comes from God alone. Host Bob Kaylor takes a detailed look at this sermon and its implications for the life of holiness.
Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Bob on Twitter and Instagram @revbkaylor. Leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform and tell others about the show!
Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount: Discourse, the Second
In this second installment of Wesley's discourses on the Sermon on the Mount, we look at the Beatitudes concerning meekness, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and mercy. Wesley sees these three marks of the Christian life as critical for implanting in us an appetite to be like and to love like Jesus.
Leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform and tell others about the show! Contact Bob with your questions and comments at email@example.com. Follow on Instagram and Twitter @revbkaylor.
Upon Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount: Discourse, the First
John Wesley called the Sermon on the Mount "the way to heaven, the true way to life everlasting, the royal way that leads to the Kingdom." The 13 Discourses on the Sermon take up nearly a third of Wesley's original 44 Standard Sermons and outline the practical reality of what it means to be people who are pursuing holiness of heart and life. Indeed, Wesley sees the Sermon as containing the core of "real Christianity" and the core of Christian practice.
In this episode, Bob Kaylor offers a look at Wesley's first Discourse, which is an introduction to the Sermon on the Mount as well as a treatise on the two foundational Beatitudes that are the initial steps on the way toward the kingdom: poverty of spirit and mourning. Learn how these are the basis of "the sum of all true religion" for Methodist Christians.
Contact Bob with your questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @revbkaylor and on Instagram at @revbkaylor. Leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform and tell others about the podcast!
The Scripture Way of Salvation
Methodist theologian Albert Outler called The Scripture Way of Salvation “the most successful summary of the Wesleyan vision of the [order of salvation] in the entire sermon corpus.” Here we see Wesley outlining the movement of prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace in the life of the believer and salvation as "a present thing, a blessing which, through the free mercy of God, ye are now in possession of.” In this episode, host Bob Kaylor looks at the importance of entire sanctification and the optimistic view that we can expect it and expect it now.
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"There is scarce any expression in Holy Writ which has given more offense than this...And whosoever 'preaches perfection,' [and] asserts that it is attainable in this life, run great hazard of being accounted by them worse than a heathen or a publican." These opening lines to John Wesley's sermon indicate that Christian Perfection is a widely misunderstood doctrine, even though it is at the heart of the Scriptures. Understanding what this term means is essential to understanding the key emphasis in Methodism. In this episode, Bob Kaylor unpacks Wesley's explanation of "perfection" and how it is audaciously optimistic about what the grace of God can do in the life of the believer.
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The Circumcision of the Heart
John Wesley believed that the doctrine of entire sanctification is the "grand depositum which God has lodged with the people called Methodists, and for the sake of propagating this chiefly He appeared to have raised us up." Christian perfection, entire sanctification, holiness of heart and life--all these are ways of describing the end goal of the Christian life. In this early sermon of Wesley's, written in 1733 and revised later for publication, John Wesley describes entire sanctification as a "circumcision of the heart" that marks us as people who have "a mind and spirit renewed after the image of himself who created it." Understanding and aiming toward this core doctrine is essential for authentic Methodism.
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The Means of Grace
How does the grace of God come to us? The ways are limitless, of course, but John Wesley argues that there are some "ordinary means" or what we might call "holy habits" through which the grace of God becomes activated in us through the power of the Spirit increasing our capacity to love God and our neighbors. In this sermon, Wesley looks at three of these "instituted" means of grace--those specifically instituted or commanded by Christ. Prayer, searching the Scriptures, and the Lord's Supper are means of grace that convey to us "Christ and all his benefits." Join Bob Kaylor as he looks at these means of grace and as he makes an appeal for pastors and churches to consider making the Lord's Supper a central means of grace in every worship service.
Read The Means of Grace
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On August 24, 1744, John Wesley ascended the pulpit at St. Mary's Church in Oxford and delivered a pointed sermon to the faculty and students on the nature of "scriptural Christianity." Wesley pulled no punches and knew that this would be the last sermon he would ever deliver in that place. In his Journal that day he wrote, "I preached for the last time before the University of Oxford. I am now clear of the blood of these men. I have fully delivered my soul."
"Scriptural Christianity" is the sermon that marked the final transition of Wesley from Oxford don to itinerant field preacher and movement organizer. It's a sermon focused on the "ordinary" gifts of the Holy Spirit given to all Christians and calls its hearers to evaluate whether or not they are living lives of true holiness. It's a sermon that could just as easily been delivered to clergy and leaders in the church today, asking the question, "Where is this scriptural Christianity to be found?" It's a sermon that really cuts to the heart and calls for all Christians, particularly those in the Methodist tribe, to consider the state of their own lives and that of their churches and communities.
Join host Bob Kaylor for a deep dive into this important and convicting sermon.
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The Marks of the New Birth
What does it mean to be "born again?" How do Wesleyans understand the new birth? These are key questions for John Wesley who believed that being "born again" wasn't merely a state of being "saved" but was really the beginning of a new life marked by faith (including power over sin), hope, and holy love. Join host Bob Kaylor as he looks at these three "Marks of the New Birth" and their implications for understanding the Wesleyan way.
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Salvation by Faith
In this sermon, which was written shortly after his Aldersgate experience, John Wesley expounds on the core doctrine of the Reformation: salvation by grace through faith. For Wesley, however, that salvation is about more than just a ticket to heaven--it's the activation of God's grace and the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, transforming him or her from the inside out, moving them toward sanctification, and giving him or her power over sin. Join host Bob Kaylor for a look at this important sermon and the distinctive Wesleyan accent it gives to the teaching of the Reformation.
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The Almost Christian
In this sermon, Wesley describes the difference between the "almost" and "altogether" Christian. The answer may surprise you. Join host Bob Kaylor for a deep dive into this important sermon and take some time to engage in the self-examination in which Wesley challenges his readers to engage. Are you "almost" or "altogether?"
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The Spirit of Bondage and Adoption
Join host Bob Kaylor for a look at John Wesley's sermon "The Spirit of Bondage and Adoption" and its invitation to self-examination. Are you in the natural, legal, or evangelical state when it comes to your relationship with God? See also Charles Wesley's sermon "Awake, Thou That Sleepest" for a similar theme on spiritual awakening.
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Wesley wrote this sermon in 1739 in response to the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. In this episode, Bob and Jason take a look at Wesley's critique and offer some contrasts with the Wesleyan idea of prevenient grace. Discover how Wesley's vision of God's grace is both "free in all" and "free for all."
To read Free Grace, click here.
Contact the show by emailing Bob at email@example.com.