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Attend to the Ordinances of God

By on July 23, 2017

Series: Three Simple Rules
Rule 3: Attend to the Ordinances of God

Introduction. The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, gave early Methodists rules to designed to help them develop and maintain a vital faith. Wesley called them the General Rules. Sometimes they’re called the simple rules because they can be summarized in a few simple words. Simply stated, the first rule is: do no harm. The second rule is: do good.

Third Simple Rule. We need more than good intentions to live according to the first two simple rules. We need the Holy Spirit to guide us, empower us, and sustain us. So John Wesley gave us a third rule designed to keep us connected to the Spirit. The third simple rule is: attend to the ordinances of God. Simply put, this means: engage in spiritual practices in order to stay in relationship with God. Spiritual practices, such as prayer, allow God access to our mind and spirit. God then has the opportunity to remind us that we are loved by him. God also has the opportunity to challenge us to be more loving and strengthen us so that we can persevere in the work of loving others.

Biblical References. Once we are filled and fueled by the Spirit, we can live in such a way that we “do no harm” and “do good.” The author of 1 John 4:19 sums it up this way, “We love because God first loved us.” Jesus used a different metaphor to illustrate how staying connected to him allows us to live lovingly, faithfully, obediently. He said, “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

Basic Spiritual Practices

What are some basic spiritual practices that help us stay connected with the Spirit of the Lord?

  1. Holy Communion. Wesley called it the “grand channel” through which the Holy Spirit comes to us.
  2. Worship. Regular worship helps sustains our faith just as regular meals help sustain our body.
  3. Bible Study. Wesley called it searching the scriptures. He wrote, “I want to know one thing, the way to heaven how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach the way …. He hath written it down in a book. 0 give me that book!” I have it. Here is knowledge enough for me.”
  4. Private and family prayer. Regular prayer allows us to hear God’s still small voice which might otherwise be drowned out in our busy lives.
  5. Fasting or abstinence. Fasting refers to not eating food for a period of time. Abstinence refers to abstaining from something such as not using electronics for a period of time. These practices remind us to turn to God and spend time with God.

Challenge: Commit to engaging in one new spiritual practice that will allow the Holy Spirit to fill you and fuel you.

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Contemporary Worship 8:50am - Sunday Study Groups 10:00am - Traditional Worship 11:15am

7050 Village Center Drive, Austin, TX 78731 512.345.1743 info@NWHillsUMC.org