In this series, 60 of Wesley's sermons will be summarized into about 250 words. I'm using the work of Collins/Vickers as my source (for transcripts and order), but the summaries are mine (so any misrepresentations of Wesley may be attributed to me).
THE MEANS OF GRACE
The early church recognized certain channels through which the grace of God enters the souls of men and women, but since that time the pendulum has swung in both directions in regards to these ‘means of grace.’
One way the pendulum swings treats the means of grace as powerful in and of themselves (thus turning the ‘means’ into the ‘end’). People replaced heart religion (love) with surface level religion (ritual observance).
Eventually, the pendulum swung the other way. In confronting ritual based religion, some declared that the recognized ‘means of grace’ were of no value at all!
We must find balance in this! These means by which God’s grace flows are, of course, not powerful in themselves. But they chosen by God! The ‘means of grace’ are ordinary channels of God’s grace. The chief of these are prayer (private and corporate), scripture (reading, hearing, meditating), and the Lord’s Supper.
But a big question remains: Should I partake of these means before I have an assurance of salvation… or should I wait? And the answer is… wait for assurance BY these means! Talk to God until God talks to you! Search the Scriptures until you are found! Eat and drink until your soul is satisfied that you are in Christ!
God has directed us to wait in these ways.