“The Wednesday Word” Devotional & Podcast

We thought it would be a great idea to have a mid-week recap & refresh of Pastor David’s Sunday sermon. Let’s make sure that we are learning all we can from them!

Pastor David’s Wednesday devotional will be related to the Sunday sermon in some way. It could be an expansion on a theme, a different twist, or some kind of content related to Sunday’s sermon. Various staff members and parishioners will gather to discuss the devotional and how it relates to our lives and maybe give some practical application of the word.

You can listen to the audio version in your car, while doing housework, during your workout, or whenever is most convenient for you. We want you to be able to access it at any time that is the right time for you to have a few minutes to read and reflect on it.

Devotional Text

Romans 5:1-8
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Outwardly, John Wesley seemed to have it all together. He lived a very disciplined life, seeking to do God’s will in everything he did. However, inwardly it was a different story. John Wesley struggled with his faith, and more specifically with believing that God loved him. So, his outward efforts were just attempts to try and earn God’s favor, to earn salvation. In his journal, Wesley wrote I have a fair summer religion. I can talk well … But in a storm I think, ‘What if the gospel be not true? Wesley was not questioning whether the gospel was true, he was questioning whether it was true for him—whether he truly did have God’s favor. After Wesley’s failure in Georgia his crisis of faith came to a head, and he realized he could never be holy—not by his own doing. Only God is holy. Wesley had been relying on his own efforts to be holy rather than on God’s grace. And there is a huge difference between trying to earn love and simply responding to love.

How would you describe the difference between trying to earn love and responding to love? When trying to earn love, when do you know if you have done enough?

John Wesley’s failures meant he could no longer rely upon his attempts to live a holy life. Broken and fragile, Wesley returned home to England. Then, one evening, he attended a meeting with other Christians. Wesley described what happened at the meeting in this way: 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.

When did this truth (that you are accepted by God, loved by God, and you didn’t have to earn favor) first warm your heart?

I remember answering an alter call in my home church at age 16. It was that moment when I claimed the faith I had been raised in as my own. And, at that moment, I felt love in my heart—I experienced God’s grace. Of course, that is not the only time I have experienced grace. There have been many, many times when I have had my heart strangely warmed—when I was overcome with grace. I remember a time during Seminary when I was assisting the pastor of the church I attended with leading worship. In that church, the pastor and worship leaders processed into the sanctuary as the congregation sang the opening song. On that particular Sunday, we sang “Praise to the Lord Almighty.” As we sang the final words to the hymn “Let the Amen sound from the people again,” I was suddenly overcome with grace, unable to hold back the tears. Another time, while listening to Rev. Sharon Ragland preach, I was overcome with an awareness of the Holy Spirit present with me in that moment—I was overcome with grace.

Have there been times in your life when you have been overcome with grace?

As John Wesley accepted that God saves us by grace, and grace alone, he was able to stop hoping to be saved. He knew he had been saved. He recorded the change this way: An assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death. In I John 5:13 in the Message Bible we hear what Wesley meant by assurance: My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life.

Are you confident in God’s grace and God’s promise of eternal life?

Did you notice that eternal life is written in present rather than future tense? The verse does not say “one day you will have eternal life,” it says, “you have eternal life.” For Christians, eternal life with Christ has already begun, and nothing can take it away from us! As you face this day, with its joys and concerns, blessings, and hardships, how does the reality that you already have eternal life impact the way you live?

God bless you, and I will see you in church!
Pastor Dave

Podcast & Sermon Video Links

Audio Podcast

“A Crisis of Faith” Sermon Video