Three Simple Rules: #3 Attend to All the Ordinances of God

Over the last two weeks we have considered the first two of John Wesley’s Three Simple Rules.
The first challenges us to do no harm and to avoid evil, and in Wesley’s words, “especially that which is
most generally practiced.” In other words, those social and cultural things we do without even thinking
about the biblical implications or the way in which we have been called to live differently than the world.
The second simple rule is “do good.” It is not enough to avoid harming others and doing any evil, we
must actively go out and be agents of good in this world “as far as possible” to all persons, not just those
we like. Both of these rules impact our relationships with others. The third rule deals with our relationship
with God. Good persons of any faith or no faith at all can adhere to the first two rules. It is the third rule
which sets us apart and makes all the difference in the world and all the difference for the world.
“Thirdly: By attending upon all the ordinances of God; such are: The public worship of God. The
ministry of the Word, either read or expounded. The Supper of the Lord. Family and private prayer.
Searching the Scriptures. Fasting or abstinence.”
These practices draw us into the presence of the living God, bringing us to a state of
attentiveness and openness to all that God has for us, His grace, love, mercy, compassion, and wisdom.
As Christians we are called to live lives of constant transformation, of being in a process of sanctification
in which we are constantly growing closer to the image of Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote, “And all of us,
with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed
into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit” (NRS, 2
Cor 3:18). When we practice the ordinances of God, we allow God to do that sanctifying work in our
lives, to take us from one glory to another.
This list is not meant to be exclusive. In Wesley’s Sermon No. 39 he also speaks of the
ordinances of God and describes the life of a Christian (please excuse the archaic “he” language to refer
to any Christian), “There he partakes of all the ordinances of God. There he receives the supper of the
Lord. There he pours out his soul in public prayer, and joins in public praise and thanksgiving. There he
rejoices to hear the word of reconciliation, the gospel of the grace of God. With these his nearest, his
best-beloved brethren, on solemn occasions, he seeks God by fasting. These particularly he watches
over in love, as they do over his soul; admonishing, exhorting, comforting, reproving, and every way
building up each other in the faith. These he regards as his own household; and therefore, according to
the ability God has given him, naturally cares for them, and provides that they may have all the things that
are needful for life and godliness.” Consider the list of the Ten Timeless Practices along with those
above. The last two sentences of the quote are examples of what is called “Christian conferencing” or
spending meaningful time together with other Christians for support and encouragement.
As much as possible we are to attend to all the ordinances of God, not just the ones we prefer or
find appealing. When we follow this exhortation, we permit God to work in all aspects of our lives, not just
the convenient ones.
The ordinances of God lead us back to doing no harm and avoiding evil and doing good, but as
vessels of His love, mercy, and compassion and girded by His power and wisdom. The ordinances of
God are the path of transformation and renewal in our own lives, in our families, in our church, in our
community, and in our world. Thanks be to God.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Scot

Speak Your Mind

Log in here!
AWSOM Powered