Burning Hearts

We’re talking about the Holy Spirit. Two weeks ago (Pentecost Sunday) we looked at Acts 2, and specifically, the symbol of fire.

Luke 24.13-35

We want to continue to look at the work of the Holy Spirit in the life
of the Church, and will do so today by also taking a look at the John
Wesley. May 24, 1738 (anniversary date, last Tuesday) marked a pivotal
point in the life of John Wesley.

Excerpt from Wesley’s May 24, 1738, Journal Entry

In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a society in
Aldersgate Street, where one was reading 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

Wesley had spent years in spiritual inquiry. He participated in the
Holy Club at Oxford, fasted until 3pm Wednesdays and Fridays,
celebrated holy communion at least once each week, studied and
discussed the Greek New Testament and the classics each evening in a
member’s room, and the next year visited prisoners and the sick, they
systematically brought their lives under strict review.

He and Charles went to Georgia as Missionaries where they failed
miserably. Boat ride back in the storm, while fearful, he observed the
peace of the Moravians. Became acquainted with Peter Bohler and they
continued a relationship where they shared in deep theological

1. A personal salvation experience — "I felt my heart strangely warmed."

2. Saving faith through Jesus Christ — "I felt I did trust in Christ,
Christ alone for salvation." Not in works, not in doing good, not in
earning God’s acceptance.

3. Assurance of salvation — "and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins."

Wesley’s immediate response to his "heart-warming experience" was
intercession. "I began to pray with all my might for those who had
despitefully used me and persecuted me."

Wesley also testified. "I then testified openly to all there what I now first felt in my heart."

Luke, after Emmaus the disciples immediately returned to Jerusalem to
tell the others what had happened and how they had recognized Jesus. At
Pentecost, in Acts 2, the first response was to tell others of Christ,
of the new life he offers us through his life, death, and resurrection.

Wesley also battled spiritual doubt. "But it was not long before the
enemy suggested, ‘This cannot be faith, for where is thy joy?’ Then was
I taught that ‘peace and victory over sin are essential to faith in
the Captain of our salvation…"

The active work and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is evident in the fruit of our lives.

We cannot live by feelings/emotions. The presence of the Holy Spirit is
more than feelings. The senses (sight, hearing, touching, smelling,
tasting) are important, but God is greater than our human senses. There
is a sixth sense, a spiritual sense.

Discernment. Assurance. Relationships: Love: don’t feel in-love, are
you in love? If don’t feel God’s presence, does that mean he is not
with us? Remember, God said, "Never will I leave you; never will I
forsake you" (Deuteronomy  31:6).

Steven Curtis Chapman asks some great questions in a song, which are good for us today …


  • What about the change?

  • What about the difference?

  • What about a life that’s showing I’m undergoing the change?

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