The Fount
Sunday Worship | November 22, 2020 | Thanksgiving Sunday
Join us Sunday as we worship the Lord in-person, outside in the gazebo area on the campus of The Fount at 9:00 AM, and online on Facebook Live (see link below) at 10:30 AM (PDT). Pastor Glen will conclude a series of messages on basic Christian doctrines (teachings), called "Doctrine Matters."
Locations & Times
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  • The Fount
    18225 Bushard St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708, USA
    Sunday 10:30 AM

The Fount Facebook page

Go to our Facebook page to watch and engage in worship LIVE at 10:30 AM (PDST).

https://www.facebook.com/TheFount.Church/live/
"Doctrine Matters: Grace"
Titus 2:11-14
Pastor Glen Haworth
Series Recap
Doctrine Matters
Because it HASN’T mattered much in recent decades
At least you wouldn’t think so
Given how little attention doctrine has been given by the Church
The Church has neglected the teaching of its essential doctrines
And so the people have grown complacent about doctrine
It has even gotten a bad name
As though “doctrine” is an oppressive thing
Rather, we think “we should be free” to believe whatever seems good to us!
“Seems” is another way of saying “feels”, and as we know, being guided by our feelings is not usually the best way to discern Truth!
In fact, often enough, our feelings will guide us in exactly the wrong direction!
And so the Church has abdicated its responsibility to teach the people of God the Truth
As articulated by the ancient Church
It has left believers adrift
Not really knowing what they believe
Beyond simple platitudes
So this series is meant to help us regain our historic doctrines
At least, some of them!
In this series we have talked about:
Trinity
Jesus
Resurrection
Holy Spirit
Scripture
Free Will
Sacraments
And today…

Grace
Grace is defined as “unmerited favor”
In other words, we don’t earn it, we don’t deserve it
But it is given to us nevertheless
This favor of God, this kindness, this love.
The Greek word is charis
It means grace
And the same root forms charisma
which means gift
And Charismatic, which refers to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
And eucharistos means grateful, thankful
Appropriate for today, Thanksgiving Sunday!
From which we derive Eucharist
Referring to Holy Communion
So grace is God’s unmerited favor to us
The expression of His love for us
Even though we don’t deserve it!
That’s grace!
Totally unmerited favor
Grace is a major theme in our Wesleyan heritage
John Wesley preached on grace a lot!
It came from his own experience of having God forgive him of his sins.
In Wesley’s famous journal entry about his “Aldersgate heart-warming experience”, he wrote:

"while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."

Wesley saw the grace of God at work in his own life
And so grace became a major theme of his preaching
It certainly wasn’t unique to Wesley, because grace is a major theme throughout the whole Bible
But Wesley preached grace, perhaps, more so than most other preachers of his day
John Wesley’s Three Graces
Prevenient
In the message on the doctrine of Free Will, I spoke of Wesley’s emphasis of prevenient, or preceding grace.
It’s the grace of God that precedes any acts or changes in our lives
Precedes any awakening of faith in ourselves
It enables us to choose God’s will, and to turn away (repent) from our sins and turn toward God.
Prevenient Grace is that grace of God that comes before salvation
Even before any sense of faith in our lives
It “unlocks” the door that we could not otherwise go through on our own
Prevenient Grace is given to everyone
It remains up to us to take the step toward God that He has enabled us to take by Prevenient Grace.
Justifying
This is the grace of God that bestows salvation on us.
We don’t earn this, either; we can’t do enough good works to be awarded Justifying Grace
All the work has been done by God in Jesus Christ
We receive Justifying Grace when we truly affirm the Lordship of Jesus Christ for ourselves
And receive Him as our Savior
We need a Savior!
And God provides that Savior for us, and for any who would receive Him.
Our official doctrine puts it this way
From The Confession of Faith of the Evangelical United Brethren Church:

We believe we are never accounted righteous before God through our works or merit, but that penitent sinners are justified or accounted righteous before God only by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe regeneration is the renewal of man in righteousness through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, whereby we are made partakers of the divine nature and experience newness of life. By this new birth the believer becomes reconciled to God and is enabled to serve him with the will and the affections.
We believe, although we have experienced regeneration, it is possible to depart from grace and fall into sin; and we may even then, by the grace of God, be renewed in righteousness.

This last part is a little controversial
As Wesleyans, we believe that it is possible to lose our salvation.
That we can, as it were, put our hands to the plow and then look back (Luke 9:62)
It is part of believing in Free Will
We can freely change our mind and decide to stop following Jesus
And at that point, the grace of God is withdrawn from our lives
Calvinists do not believe we can lose our salvation, but then they don’t believe that we have free will, either!
But if our will is truly free, we are free, once we receive Christ as Lord and Savior, to disavow our faith and thus lose our salvation.
And I’m sure that few things grieve the heart of God more!
Our Christian faith does not stop at Justifying Grace.
Sometimes we act as though it does!
That once we say “the prayer” and “walk down the aisle”, we’ve reached the goal!
But Wesley would insist that the Christian faith is about more than salvation.
He would insist, and we believe, that the Christian faith is about salvation AND sanctification.
Sanctifying
This third grace is what this life is about.
Becoming like Jesus
Becoming righteous with His righteousness
Becoming holy is what sanctification means
And holy means being different, set apart from the ordinary, normal
Sanctification is becoming peculiar!
And taking a look at what is “normal” in our world today, I think I want to be peculiar!
Sanctifying Grace is God’s power, God’s gift, working in us to make us holy, righteous.
So that we become what He already sees in us: Jesus
Sanctifying Grace moves us toward the goal, in steps that are unique to each of us.
Ridding our lives of sin
Cleansing us of the imperfections that plague followers of Jesus
What the writer of the Book of Hebrews is talking about…
And Wesley believed that we can be made perfect in this life!
He believed, and we also believe, that God can entirely sanctify us.
This idea of “entire sanctification” is unique to Wesley, at least in emphasis.
As Wesleyans, we not only believe in sanctification, but we also believe that, in theory, we can be made entirely sanctified in this life!
As Paul suggests in 1 Thessalonians 5:23
As our official doctrine puts it (Confession of Faith of EUB):

We believe sanctification is the work of God’s grace through the Word and the Spirit, by which those who have been born again are cleansed from sin in their thoughts, words and acts, and are enabled to live in accordance with God’s will, and to strive for holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Entire sanctification is a state of perfect love, righteousness and true holiness which every regenerate believe may obtain by being delivered from the power of sin, by loving God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength, and by loving one’s neighbor as one’s self. Through faith in Jesus Christ this gracious gift may be received in this life both gradually and instantaneously and should be sought earnestly by every child of God.
We believe this experience does not deliver us from the infirmities, ignorance, and mistakes common to man, nor from the possibilities of further sin. The Christian must continue on guard against spiritual pride and seek to gain victory over every temptation to sin. He must respond wholly to the will of God so that sin will lose its power over him, and the world, the flesh, and the devil are put under his feet. Thus he rules over these enemies with watchfulness through the power of the Holy Spirit.

So the Christian’s responsibility in all of this is to cooperate with the Spirit in His work to make us holy, sanctified.
It means we need to practice spiritual disciplines
To train our souls/spirits to yield to the Lord
To make ourselves available to God’s Spirit, and participate in the sanctification process
You can see all three of these graces in our Titus passage:
Wesley’s House of Religion

In his “Principles of a Methodist Further Explained,” John Wesley made the following bold declaration: “Our main doctrines, which include all the rest, are three -- that of repentance, of faith, and of holiness. The first of these we account, as it were, the porch of religion; the next, the door; the third, religion itself.” (Wesley’s Works, vol. VIII, 1972 ed., Zondervan Publishing Co., 472)

So this “house of religion” image relates to Methodist doctrine, and to grace
Wesley outlines the stages of faith development this way:
Porch (Repentance, Prevenient Grace)
Everyone has access to the “porch” because of Prevenient Grace
Prevenient Grace is like the stairs that lead up to the porch, that would be inaccessible without them.
But we still have to walk up the stairs!
In order to reach the porch, which Wesley likened to repentance.
Door (Salvation, Justifying Grace)
Beyond the porch is the door
To walk through the door, one must trust in the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross
This is Justifying Grace
One cannot be saved unless Justifying Grace is applied to one’s life
It is the grace of God for salvation.
House (Faith/Life, Sanctifying Grace)
The house itself, the Christian life itself, is the process of sanctification.
Sanctifying Grace applies as one works in concert with the Bible and the Holy Spirit to perfect one’s life in the love of God and neighbor.
This isn’t salvation, it is sanctification, the becoming holy, as God is holy.
For Wesley, being holy and being perfect are the same thing.
The Wesleyan doctrine of Christian Perfection (another sermon!)
Is essentially being perfected in love (of God and neighbor)
Sanctification
Thanksgiving
It is appropriate that we are talking about grace today
Charis, the Greek word translated grace
Also means gratitude, thanksgiving
And today, I am thankful for God’s grace!
Without it, I would be toast!
How about you?
So on this Thanksgiving Sunday, let us be especially thankful for the grace of God, that though we do not deserve it, and we cannot earn it, God is gracious and loving to give us His unmerited favor in Jesus Christ!

Advent Series
Next week we begin the season of Advent
When we remember the first advent (coming) of Jesus
And we anticipate His second coming
When He will return to bring justice and the kingdom of God in all its fulness.
We’ll be doing a series that will coincide with the Daily Devotions from Seedbed
Called “The Christian New Year”
You can purchase an Advent devotional book at Seedbed.com, or subscribe to the daily emails, or just tune in on Facebook Live as I share the devotional each day at 9:00 AM (PT).
And then on Monday evenings, we will have a discussion, watch a short video, and otherwise process the readings from the week.
That starts on Monday, November 30th, at 7pm on Zoom
The readings start on Tuesday, December 1st
The sermon series begins next Sunday, November 29th
“A New Year of Awakening” (Romans. 13:11-12)
“A New Year of Anticipation” (Revelation 21:1-4)
“A New Year of Priority” (Matthew 1:18-25)
“A New Year of Faith” (Luke 1:26-38)
Call the church office for more information, or just read about it on our website!

The Fount website

http://thefount.church

Listen to sermons at The Fount.

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The Fount's YouTube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/c/TheFount