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A Lesson from John Wesley

The spiritual condition of England, right before the great 18th century awakening, was worse than what we are facing in America today. Interestingly, the social commentators of that day are quoted as laying the blame at the feet of “passionlessness in the pulpit.”

Historian, A. Skevington Wood, describes the results of the spiritual decline. Wood writes that John Wesley did not waste his time decrying the social sins of his day; rather, Wesley thundered against them, calling the nation to repentance.

The result, under the unique anointing of the Spirit in that day, was a revival that swept across the land, completely changing the social fabric of the nation.

There are two challenges that we face, as we long to see a similar revival of righteousness sweep across our land today.

The first is to overcome the doctrine of tolerance in which nothing is sin.

The second is the Christian reaction to the nation’s growing sin problem.

When God was using Nehemiah, Ezra and others as instruments of revival and rebuilding in Israel, after the Babylonian exile, Ezra stands in the City of God, grieved over the sins of the people.

He doesn’t decry the sins.

He accepts them as his own.

He tears his robe, pulls clumps of hair out of his head and beard, falls on his knees and, spreading his hands out to the Lord, prays,

“O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens…” (Ezra 9:6)

Ezra clearly identifies with, and comes under, the burden of the sins of the people of God.

I am afraid that the influence of conservative news and talk radio outlets have turned us into a people who do decry the sins of the land…and many times with a nasty, self-righteous spirit.

We need a spirit of repentance.

We need the spirit of Ezra in the church today praying, “Our sins have risen higher than our heads…”

Perhaps God will then see a broken and contrite heart in us, revive His church, and heal our land.