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April 8

16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
John 3:16-17

When John Wesley (1703-1791) was a young man, he left England at the request of the British Governor Oglethorpe to serve as a minister in the newly formed Savannah parish in the colony of Georgia. During Wesley’s four month voyage to Georgia, his ship bucked an onslaught of violent Atlantic storms. At one point these storms snapped the main mast, and water poured over the deck of the ship.

Wesley was terrified by the upheaval, but watched as the Moravian Christians on board calmly sang hymns and prayed. While Wesley feared for his very life, he witnessed the Moravians strangely at peace, and felt something sorely missing in his life.

Soon after Wesley’s arrival in Georgia he met and became friends with another Moravian, August Spanenberg, a pastor. In Wesley’s diary he records a conversation he had with Spanenberg that greatly influenced him. “My brother,” Spanenberg began, “do you know Jesus Christ?” To which Wesley answered, “I know that Jesus is Savior of the world.” Spanenberg replied, “True, but do you know that He has saved you?” Wesley records in his diary that all he knew to say was, “I hope He died to save me.” “I hope,” Wesley said, “I hope.” Then in his diary Wesley added the words, “But I fear they were vain words.”

Wesley did not understand Spanenberg’s words until three years later, May 24, 1738, when in a Bible study with some Moravian Christians back in England, Wesley came to believe that the Savior of the world was also his Savior. Then on that night Wesley wrote in his journal: “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for my 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.” And thus the great Wesleyan movement was born that so changed England and much of the world, and the Methodist Church was begun.

Think of it! A young, religious and zealous Wesley had travelled across the seas to tell them the Good News that Jesus was the Savior of the world, but he had not yet believed the Good News for himself! Don’t let the Good News get past you! Won’t you believe the Good News for you today?


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