Pastor’s Ponderings: Faith in the Face of Opposition

Posted by on Aug 22, 2015 in Pastors Ponderings | 0 comments

Pastor’s Ponderings: Faith in the Face of Opposition

The following “Pastor’s Ponderings” devotional was submitted by Pastor Jim on August 22, 2015. Our sermon for August 23 is entitled “The Life and Music of Charles Wesley“… this devotional gives a preview into that theme…

Joshua 1:9

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

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Matthew 28:19-20

(Jesus said), “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

John Wesley

John Wesley

John and Charles Wesley, along with many of the early Methodist preachers, suffered extreme persecution. They were verbally ridiculed and physically attacked. It was common for many of the early Methodist’s to experience attacks from angry mobs, experience stoning, they were drug through the streets of England by their hair, and even badly beaten. Yet this did not discourage them from faithfully serving God and spreading the Gospel message through their community.

Charles_Wesley_Wikipedia600w

Charles Wesley

John Simon in his book, “The Revival of Religion in the Eighteenth Century” writes,

the Methodist preachers went again and again, to the places where they had been driven by violence, until their persistence wore down the antagonism of their assailants. Then, out of the once furious crowd, men and women were gathered whose hearts the Lord had touched.

Through their persistence, God showed that “all things work together for good for those who love God and are all called to His purposes” (Romans 8:28).

The poem below was written by Charles Wesley after several such violent attacks. Please note the faith of Wesley, the determination to get the message of the Gospel out to the community, and the praise offered to Almighty God.

Charles Wesley writes:

“Thee, Father, I praise, Almighty in grace, Your power be acknowledged, your mercy adored!

In dangers and snares Thou number’st my hairs, Your wings are outspread, My soul to defend, and to cover my head.

When destruction was nigh, I was under Thine eye;

When the ruin came down, Unconscious of harm, and unhurt, I went on:

Without your decree no evil could be, And, restrain’d by your will, Death himself had no power, or commission, to kill.

Reserved by the love of my Savior above, Your servant I am, Your kingdom to spread, and to hallow your name:

Thee in Jesus to know, And publish below Your unspeakable grace, Which abolishes death, and redeems our whole race.

For this at your feet expecting I sit, till your counsel Thou show,

And discover the work Thou wouldst have me to do: Whosoever it be, let me do it to Thee, And your blessing receive, And an heir of your kingdom eternally live.”

WOW! What confidence expressed by Wesley reminding all that “God never leaves us or forsakes us” (Hebrews 13:5c). What faith in God he demonstrated while displaying a solid love and firm commitment to getting the message of God’s love out to the world. That is what Methodism, that’s what being a Christian, is all about.

Shalom,

Pastor Jim

 

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