In 1738, an Englishman named John Wesley entered a church service where someone was preaching from the book of Romans. As he listened to the message of the gospel that night, Wesley wrote that he felt his heart “strangely warmed,” and he knew deep within that Jesus had died to save him from his sins. John Wesley would go on to found Methodism, an approach to living out Christian faith that continues today.
What’s interesting is that Wesley’s experience in that church service is not unique. A similar account is found in the book of Acts. Here Peter proclaimed the gospel message before a large crowd (Acts 2:14). We read in verse 37 that his words “pierced their hearts,” and they asked what they should do in response. Peter told them, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). In a way similar to John Wesley’s experience, this heart-changing moment helped launch the early church.
In today’s world, the message of the gospel can sound strange to some who don’t yet know God. The idea of receiving salvation can seem like a foreign concept.
We can be encouraged, however, for a person’s heart being transformed by the gospel takes place through the work of the Holy Spirit—a work we trace back to that first day of the early church (Acts 2:3-4). It’s something that began and sustains the church—a heart-changing thing that continues to this very day.
As the apostle Paul declared, “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God”(1 Corinthians 1:18). Power that can change our hearts!
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 2 Samuel 13:1-19
Read Acts 16:11-15 and consider what God did within Lydia’s heart.
If you’re a believer in Jesus, how did you receive Him as your Savior? How does the gospel change the hearts of those who hear and believe?