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Wednesday, October 24, 2012
"A Great Awakening"
"Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all that believe: for there is no difference." Romans 3:22
I sat down to help Julianna with her history homework, and I learned something I had not known before. The fourth grade class is currently learning about the founding of the colonies in the early 1700's; and since early American history is my favorite period of U.S. history, I'm always eager to help. JuJu and I searched the chapter together to find the answer to the question: "Why was the first missionary trip of John Wesley to the colonies unsuccessful?" The answer surprised me.
John Wesley was the fifteenth of the nineteen children born to Samuel and Susanna Wesley on June 28, 1703, at Epworth in England. Samuel Wesley was an Anglican minister and feared God greatly. He and Susanna reared their children up in the Holy Scriptures. John eventually went to study at Oxford University. While at Oxford, Charles Wesley, John's younger brother, started a group called the "Holy Club" which regularly studied the Scriptures, fasted and prayed, and shared the Gospel of Christ. Both John and Charles headed this group in their methodical ways and soon became known as "Methodists."
After the death of their father, John and Charles sailed to the new colony of Georgia to minister to the Native Americans there. The work, however, was not successful, and due to the Wesley's strict attitude, many were offended. After one person was refused communion by John Wesley, they were under much pressure to leave. Arriving back in England, John attempted to preach in the Anglican church but he failed miserably every time. He became very discouraged and in deep dejection he recalled what a group of Moravians back in the colonies had told him, and picked up the book of Romans and began to read. Soon his heart burned within him, and he knew the Moravian brethren had been right when they told him that his great need was to know Jesus Christ personally. From that moment, he knew he had been converted, and his preaching instantly changed so much that the Church of England refused to let him preach in their churches. Soon many were flocking to hear him preach in the fields and open air. He even preached from his father's tombstone. His next voyage to the colonies brought him in contact with George Whitefield, and John played a big role in what became known as the Great Awakening.
We can learn from John Wesley's experience these valuable truths:
You can be reared in a Godly home and be without Christ.
You can strive to live righteous and yet be lost.
You can confess that Jesus is the Saviour of the world and He not be your Saviour.
John Wesley became aware of his need during a violent storm at sea in October of 1735, when afterwards he asked a Moravian pastor why the Moravian women and children were not afraid during the storm, and the pastor asked him, "Have you the witness within yourself? Do you know Jesus Christ?" John's answer revealed that he knew all about Jesus and His righteousness, but he didn't know Him personally until that fateful day when he read Romans 3:22.
What about you? Maybe there needs to be a “great awakening” in your heart that you need to know Jesus personally. Paul said, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" II Corinthians 13:5.
Study Verses: John 1:12; 3:5; Romans 5:1, 2; Colossians 1:27