In 1736 a group missionaries set sail from Europe to bring the Gospel to Native Americans in the New World. The group was led by a Moravian Pastor named Gottleib Spangenberg. The Moravians were a group who had been a part of the Lutheran church in Germany. They were heavily committed to world missions and encouraged believers to nurture a strong, personal and intimate relationship with Jesus and other believers within their group. In a sense, they were the inventors of small groups. A young Anglican priest, by the name of John Wesley was among this group of Moravians sailing to the New World with the Good News of the gospel. He had been invited to bring the Gospel to Savannah by the governor of Georgia. Wesley had about as fine of a pedigree as an Anglican priest could have. Raised in a strong Christian family, the son of a very successful Anglican priest, (Samuel Wesley), homeschooled along with his nine brothers and sisters by his mother Susannah, a devout and pious woman- you don’t get a better Christian upbringing than the one John Wesley had.
So John was on his way across the Atlantic ocean with this group of Moravian Lutherans when they were overtaken by a great storm. The ship was in dire straits. The main mast had split and it looked certain that they were going to sink in the middle of the great storm. Panic was looming in the air. Wesley was certain that they were all going to die. And he was terrified. He also happened to be the chaplain of the vessel and it dawned on him at that point that he was much more concerned about his own safety than he was about the spiritual health of those around him on the ship. It was then that the Moravian Lutherans began singing.
They sang hymns and spiritual songs and if it wasn’t for their singing-panic would have overwhelmed the ship. The group of travelers survived the terrifying ordeal and the ship was saved but Wesley could not get that experience out of his mind. The Moravians had told him that they could behave so bravely in the face of doom because they had no fear of death. John Wesley began to doubt the depths of his own faith…….He was fascinated by the faith of the Moravians and asked for advice and counsel from their Pastor when they arrived safely in Georgia.
The German pastor asked Wesley a few questions: “Have you witness within yourself? Does the Spirit of God bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God?” ……….”I was surprised and knew not what to answer,” wrote Wesley. “Do you know Jesus Christ?”, asked Pastor Gottlieb. Wesley paused…”I know He is the Savior of the World.”, “True, replied Gottleib, “but do you know He has saved YOU?”…….. “I hope He has died to save me”, replied Wesley and then Gottleib added “DO YOU KNOW YOURSELF?”
These questions and experiences pushed John Wesley into a profound exploration of his faith and a quest which led him into a dynamic and vital relationship with the Holy Spirit of God……….
Do you have witness within yourself?
Does the Spirit of God bear witness with your Spirit that you are a child of God?
Do you know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World?
Do you know that He has saved YOU? Do You know Yourself?
What does a Spirit Led Life look like? Let’s take a look at that together over the next few posts………..