The Means of LOVE
John Wesley liked to talk about—and immerse people in—the “Means of Grace,” those biblically annunciated and God-ordained experiences where God’s presence and human need intersect. In the various means of grace—which can just as easily be called the means of love—we humans literally feel and taste and see and hear and experience the Lord and His love!
But make no mistake—the means of love-grace—precisely because they involve the real presence of God—can be offensive to the flesh and are often discarded or minimalized from church worship services for the sake of time, comfort, or convenience.
Because the Lord has made His desire for us as a congregation to drink deeply of His presence, we include as many means of love-grace in our Sunday service as possible. Here they are listed in the order we usually observe them…
Baptism – Whenever we are given the opportunity, we celebrate this great means of love-grace—experiencing together with the person(s) baptized in water the fullness of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
Musical Worship – as in a flow of worship empowered by the Spirit—as opposed to just singing—in which people remove their focus from themselves and focus squarely on the Lord.
Tithing – returning to God what is already His as an act of obedience and generosity. This means of grace breaks both the strongholds of poverty and of the love of money.
The Lord’s Supper – in which we join supernaturally with all the saints—past, present, and future—at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, and taste and see how good God is!
The Exhortation – in which we hear the Lord speak a short but directed word to us with the expectation that we will respond to His call and directions.
Prayer – Allow us to respond to the exhortation, and call each of us to step into intercession and adoration prayer with a small group of fellow believers. Knowing how to pray in authority is not optional for Christians, and this means of grace equips us to do just that.
The Sermon – A longer presentation of the Word of God designed and anointed by God to open our ears to hear Him and to respond to Jesus, the Word Himself in life-changing ways.
The Altar Call – A final opportunity to respond to ALL the means of love-grace that the Lord Himself has presented to us! Here we find, peace, healing, hope, joy, and freedom!
In EVERY means of love/grace, we behold the presence of the Lord—and therefore, we are transformed from “glory to glory!”
While the sermon is primarily passive in nature—as we listen to the Word and allow Him to touch us—most means of love-grace require active participation—as in us entering in, singing, humbling ourselves, eating and drinking, praying out loud, and choosing to move from where we are to where He is…
LOVE drives the Lord to be in our presence, and His love transforms us until we want to be in His! While we could make the service shorter—and less confrontational to our fallen human flesh—by removing many or most of these means of grace, we would be doing ourselves a great disservice—and frankly, we would be stiff-necked and calloused toward the Lord and the LOVE He wants us to EXPERIENCE! So, let’s enjoy together all of His Means of Love-Grace!!!