Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Day Eight-The Gospel & Hymns of Charles Wesley

We continue to look and listen to the Charles Wesley hymn And Can It Be That I Should Gain. Wesley wrote this as one of the two hymns which followed his conversion in a home next to Aldersgate Street in London. This was three days prior to his brother John's conversion at a Society meeting on Aldersgate Street. The focus of this hymn is the free grace from God who emptied Himself of all but love and became a human and died for Adam's loss race. The original title of the hymn was Free Grace

The music ministry of Stuart Townend is featured in the Worship Video at the end of this Wednesday video.

Experiencing Revival Through a Hymn


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Day Seven-The Gospel & Hymns of Charles Wesley

As we continue looking at the hymn And Can It Be by Charles Wesley we focus today on the freedom found in Christ. In stanza four Charles utilizes several images to describe how freedom comes, one from Scripture and another from a popular romance novel. He uses the prison event with Peter's deliverance and a popular saying from Eloisa to Abelard by Alexander Pope.

      Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
      Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
      Thine eye diffused a quickening ray;
      I woke, the dungeon flamed with light.
      My chains fell off, my heart was free;
      I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

God's eye diffused a life quickening ray and brought new life to an imprisoned spirit bound by sin. The prison dungeon was bright with the flame. The chains were gone and the heart was now free. This is a powerful stanza of freedom!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Day Six-The Gospel & Hymns of Charles Wesley

Today we look at one of Charles Wesley's first hymns written following his conversion at the home of John Bray, a poor mechanic. The hymn was originally named Free Grace but became known as And Can It Be That I Should Gain. The experience which occurred at the Bray home is a direct act of God. As Charles was suffering from pleurisy he heard a voice which said, "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, arise, and believe, and thou shalt be healed of all thy infirmities." Bray's sister was commanded in a dream to speak these words. Charles heard them and got out of bed. Opening his Bible he turned to and read Psalm 40:3 and Isaiah 40:1. Both Scriptures spoke about a new song of praise to God and comforting the people of God. In his journal he wrote, "I have found myself at peace with God, and rejoiced in the hope of love in Christ." He continued to be convicted that it was by faith we are saved (Ephesians 2:8). Out of this experience of the voice, reading the Scripture, and his conviction Charles wrote these first words of the hymn.

      And can it be that I should gain
      An interest in the Savior's blood!
      Died he for me? who caused his pain!
      For me? who him to death pursued?
      Amazing love! How can it be
      That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Day Five-The Gospel & Hymns of Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley was the youngest of eighteen children born to Samuel and Susanna Wesley in 1707. I find it interesting that the original hymn written by him, O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing had eighteen stanzas. Most churches only sing six or seven of these stanzas. The entire eighteen stanzas tell the story of Charles' conversion. I tell this story in the attached video of Day 5 of The Gospel & Hymns of Charles Wesley. Next week beginning April 26th we will visit the hymn And Can It Be That I Should Gain.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Day Four-The Gospel & Hymns of Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley was a poet and wrote more than 6,500 poems that became hymns beginning in the Eighteenth Century. Wesley was a master at using words to describe his own spiritual experiences. His use of oxymorons is very effective in this stanza of O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing.

     Hear him, ye deaf; his praise, ye dumb, Your loosened tongues employ; 

     Ye blind, behold your Savior come; And leap, ye lame, for joy.

A deaf person cannot hear him. A mute person cannot praise. A blind person cannot see the Savior. Someone that is lame cannot leap for joy. Wesley is saying when Jesus speaks new life breaks forth to those who believe. In Christ, the deaf hear, the mute praises, the blind see, and the lame leap! Jesus makes all things new.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Day Three-The Gospel & Hymns of Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley was the eighteenth child born to Samuel and Susanna Wesley in England in 1707. Samuel was a rector in the Church of England and each day Susanna spent personal time with each child. Charles, like his brother John, went to Oxford. It was there that they formed a discipleship group for accountability and nurture. It was nicknamed, The Holy Club. All of the hymns penned by Charles reflected the love of God he learned through his mother.

Today we look at the fifth stanza of O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing which was written in May 1739 to commemorate his conversion. The original hymn had eighteen stanzas. The fifth stanza emphasizes how new life is found in listening to the voice of the Redeemer. The broken-hearted rejoice and the poor believe.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Day Two-The Gospel & Hymns of Charles Wesley

This week is the 48th anniversary of my call into the ministry. I was twenty-three years of age and had returned home from serving in Vietnam two years before. Our Methodist church was having its spring revival and on the last night, I heard the call of God in my spirit. I responded during the singing of the invitational hymn and knelt at the altar. The evangelist knelt across from me and prayed with me. He said that he could see me preaching the Gospel before a very large outdoor crowd. This was a word of prophecy that happened many times during these forty-eight years.

I can relate to the ministry of Charles and John Wesley, the founders of the Methodist movement of the 18th Century. Both were evangelists who preached and sang. Although I am not traveling at this present time I am still sharing the Gospel through social media. Today I share the second day in the video series, The Gospel & Hymns of Charles Wesley

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Gospel & Hymns of Charles Wesley

Today the new video series, The Gospel & Hymns of Charles Wesley, began on YouTube and my Facebook page. Go to Bill Phares on both YouTube and Facebook. Each weekday, Monday through Friday, I will take a fresh, as well as a historic look at the hymns written by Charles Wesley. The theology of Charles and his brother John were clearly a critical foundation for the Methodist movement of the 18th Century in Britain and later in America. This theology was the message both desired to impart in the more than 7,000 hymns written by the Wesley brothers. Both were ordained Anglican clergy and traveled across Britain sharing the Gospel through preaching and hymn-singing. The Methodist movement was instrumental in the spiritual Great Awakening in Britain. There is no doubt that the hymns of Charles Wesley were equally as vital as the preaching in this revival. 

Each day the video will feature a different style of singing and playing Charles Wesley's hymns. Some will be traditional and others contemporary. The use of piano, organ, guitar and other instrumental instruments will be featured.

I will also be posting the day's video here on my blog. I trust that this series will be a blessing in your spiritual journey and that these timeless and treasured hymns of the Church will enrich your faith. I believe the Body of Christ is about to experience renewal and a revival of the beloved hymns of the Church. Their message still rings true in this modern time.