Read: 2 Timothy 1:6-7
“6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
I’ve often praised the fruit of the Methodist revival in England, and in the American colonies. There’s little doubt that the social reforms made in this time, and the cultivation of healthy faith, was a golden era for God’s church in fulfilling its purpose. The early “Methodists” lived a counter-culture life. They read the scriptures often, prayed faithfully, worshipped regularly, and meet during the week in discipleship groups to support each other and offer accountability. They were so methodical in their faith that some who mocked them calling them “methodists”. That’s right! Our name came from a jeer made by our naysayers. But our spiritual fore bearers heard that insult and responded by embracing it! They agreed; it was true! They were Methodists; no regrets. That’s how we got our name. I love that story!
Revivals don’t last forever, and every generation must learn for themselves the insights, truths, wisdom and importance of faith. Every generation must cultivate its relationship with the Holy Spirit. Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “Our Heavenly Father has no grandchildren”. The truth is that we are all children through our own relationship with God. However, without our own active relationship with the Lord we will not discover our identity as a dearly loved child of God.
John Wesley lived long enough to see the fruit of his efforts. He was asked what he thought of his great legacy of faith and the revival. What he said is haunting. I’ve caught glimpses of what most concerned John Wesley: “I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid, lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case, unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.”
It is crucial to fan the flame of the Holy Spirit in our life to keep a healthy faith. Pentecost is on Sunday and we will give thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Rob Nystrom