The following is from John Wesley’s sermon, “The Way to the Kingdom.” The wording has been slightly updated from the original, based on the adaptation found in Renew My Heart (Barbour Books, 2011).
A link to the full text of the original sermon is included in the links below.
|The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. (Mark 1:15)|
What is the way to the kingdom of heaven? First, know yourself to be a sinner.
Know that you are corrupted in every power, every faculty of your soul. Your understanding is darkened, and you cannot discern God or the things of God. Your will is perverse and distorted. Your affections are alienated from God; your passions are either undue in degree or placed on undue objects.
What can you do to appease the wrath of God, to atone for your sins? Alas, you can do nothing. Nothing you do will in any way make amends to God for one evil work, word, or thought.
Even if you could from now on do all things well and perform perfect, uninterrupted obedience, it would not atone for what is past. Not increasing your debt would not discharge it.
To be deeply sensible of how helpless you are — as well as how guilty and how sinful — is the forerunner of the kingdom of God. Now, repent and believe the gospel.
The gospel is good tidings, good news for guilty, helpless sinners. The gospel is:
Believe this, and the kingdom of God is yours. By faith, you attain the promise. He pardons and frees from guilt all who truly repent and genuinely believe His holy gospel. As soon as God speaks to your heart: “Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven,” His kingdom comes. You have righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Only beware that you do not deceive your soul with regard to the nature of this faith. It is not bare assent to the Bible or the articles of any creed.
It is a confidence in the pardoning mercy of God through Christ Jesus, who loved you and gave Himself for you, and a sure trust that you are now reconciled to God by the blood of the cross.
Do you have a sure trust in the mercy of God through Christ Jesus, a confidence in the pardoning God? Are you convinced that “I, even I, am now reconciled to God by the blood of His cross?” Do you thus believe?
Then the peace of God is in your heart, and sorrow and sighing flee away. You are no longer in doubt of the love of God. It is as clear as the noonday sun. Your heart cries out about the loving-kindness of the Lord.
You are no longer afraid of hell or death or him who once had the power of death — the devil; no, nor painfully afraid of God Himself — but you have a tender concern not to offend Him.
When you thus believe, your soul magnifies the Lord, and your spirit rejoices in God your Savior. You rejoice that you have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. You rejoice in the Spirit of adoption, the Holy Spirit, who cries within your heart Abba Father! You rejoice in a hope full of immortality and in reaching forward to the “mark for the prize of your high calling.”
Adapted from Renew My Heart,
published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.
|•||A word from Mr. Wesley: ‘Salvation by faith’|
|•||A word from Mr. Wesley: ‘The first doctrine’|
|•||Podcast: John Wesley on ‘The New Birth’|
|•||Podcast: Donald English — Aldersgate Day address, 1988|
|•||Podcast: Bishop Gerald Kennedy on ‘The Marks of a Methodist’|
|•||Podcast: Billy Abraham on ‘Connecting Doctrine and Evangelism’|
|•||The Way to the Kingdom (full text) | The Rev. John Wesley (from The Sermons of John Wesley, 1872 Edition — Thomas Jackson, editor)|