Burning Heart

The heart of John Wesley was strangely warmed at Aldersgate. Read 2 Peter 1:4. John Wesley was a pastor without faith.  He had been an expert on religion and ritual.  When he was faced with a near death experience on the open sea he feared for his life.  A group of Moravians sang hymns and prayed.  He was faced with the contrast of the Moravian faith and his own lack of faith.  Moravian pastor, Peter Böhler, was teaching Wesley about Moravian spirituality, which included the belief that Christians have an assurance of faith experienced as love, peace, and joy. Those emotions were in short supply for both John and his brother Charles.  John poured through the Bible for evidence of Böhler’s claims.  John came across 2 Peter 1:4 about God’s promises and other passages about faith.  Charles was first to have an encounter with the Holy Spirit that gave him the faith that John knew he lacked.  John Wesley was really struggling. Three days after Charles’ conversion experience, John records in his journal what happened to him on May 24, 1738:

 

“In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading [Martin] Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, 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.”

 

John Wesley would later organize what became the “Methodist” movement.  Wesley Chapel is named after John Wesley.  It is not enough to just go through the motions of religion.  We must put our faith in Jesus Christ.  When we do, God gives us a passion, a burning heart, that rejoices with the assurance of being saved from our sins and having hope for eternal life.
 
Dear God, give me a burning heart.  Give me a faith and an assurance that you are the resurrection and the life.  Send your Holy Spirit to fill me and lead me.  Amen.
 
Pastor Tony Alsott

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