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Receiving the Promise
based on Matthew 28:16-20
John was interested in a woman named Sophie, but failed to be devoted enough. She married another, so jealous Wesley refused to give her Holy Communion. Formal charges were filed against him. He fled back to England, much like the two disciples ran back home to Emmaus, after Jesus died. John left America extremely disappointed, again like the disciples fleeing to Emmaus. He wrote, "I went to America to convert Indians; but oh, who shall convert me?" Despite education and serving God, Wesley had no peace with God in his heart.
He sailed with Moravians, a group of devoted Christians. During a severe storm at sea, the Moravians sang and praised God, despite the storm. He saw they were at peace. Instead, Wesley wrote about his terror and fear of death. He wasn't sure about the state of his soul. The bravery and confidence of the Moravians convinced Wesley they had something he didn't have. They knew they were secure and safe with God, while Wesley merely hoped he was saved. The Moravians asked him, "Do you know you are a child of God? Does the Spirit of God bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God?" No one ever asked Wesley that before. He did the right religious acts, so everyone assumed he was a Christian. Wesley didn't answer, so the Moravian continued, "Do you know Jesus Christ?" John hesitated painfully, then answered, "I know He is the Savior of the world." "True," replied the Moravian, "but do you know He has saved YOU?" Wesley, still confused, could only say "I hope He died to save me." It wasn't enough to satisfy Wesleys heart, and he knew it.
He was told by a Moravian leader to, "Preach the faith until you have it!" He resumed his religious duties in London, still searching for real faith and an assurance of his salvation. May 24, 1738 he attended a religious meeting on Aldersgate Street. While listening to Martin Luther's Preface to his Commentary on the Book of Romans, he was converted to being a true believer. Wesley said he "felt my heart strangely warmed." He felt sure he now really did trust Christ. Wesley knew he was truly a believer. In the case of the disciples who had just returned to Emmaus, despite the late hour, when they saw Jesus, they ran out of their home and went straight to Jerusalem. The fire of Jesus Christ burned within them, and they went to find the other followers, to report what they had found.
As far as John Wesley, his heart also burned with evangelistic zeal. He wrote, "It pleased God to kindle a fire, which I trust shall never be extinguished." A new life began for Wesley. To quote Gulik, "Wesley had every outward appearance of being a marvelous Christian, yet his heart wasn't converted - and he knew it. He belonged to the "Holy Club" in college. He trained to be a pastor. He was a missionary. But he wasn't really saved. In the same way, you may be doing all the right things, but in your heart of hearts, you know that you don't have peace with God. You know Jesus died for the sins of the world, but you really aren't convinced He died for your sins. If that's your case, I hope God will convince your heart to take a final step of faith, to receive salvation personally, and to initiate a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Don't be one of those people who know all about Jesus and His promise of salvation, but never really receive the promise for themselves."
Frank Schaefer, for JavaCasa Resources and the Desperate Preacher's Site, 1999