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A Calvinist Talks About His Friend, John Wesley

God in his loving sovereignty reaches out to us in our utter helplessness.


If you had been a student at Oxford University in the early part of the eighteenth century, you probably would have been a swinger. The bars and the brothels would have been your habitat rather than the classrooms. You would have had a good time, because there was nothing more to be had than a good time. You would eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

If you had taken time from your debauchery to look up, perchance you would have seen walking across the campus a group of men. You would have turned to your friends and made a snide, somewhat humorous comment that they constituted a "holy club." Everybody would have laughed. The jokes would have flown freely, and then you would have turned back to your drink and your debauchery.

But inside, perhaps you would have said to yourself, There's got to be more to life than what I'm experiencing. And then your mind would wander back to the group of men you had just seen walking across the campus, perhaps on their way to a prison to minister the good news of Jesus Christ, and you would have said—only to yourself—I wish I had what they had.

Heading up that group would have been three men. One's name was George Whitefield. George is a good friend of mine, but he is not the subject for this morning. Another man who would have walked at the head of the crowd was named Charles Wesley, the sweet singer of the evangelical awakening. Charles is a good friend of mine, and I can close my eyes when we sing, "Oh for a Thousand Tongues," and I can see his commitment, his love, and his ability to encourage those who were down and depressed. But he is not the subject for this morning.

The other man who would be walking at the head of this group of men was John Wesley. ...

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Steve Brown is president and radio teacher for "Key Life," professor of preaching at Reformed Theological Seminary, in Orlando, Florida, and author of Approaching God.

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Sermon Outline:


I. Wesley knew he was totally helpless

II. Wesley saw the depth of his depravity

III. Wesley saw the absolute sovereignty of God

IV. Wesley saw that the sovereign God loves his own