One of the most influential Christians who exhibited “Grace Living” and touches lives as powerfully today as he did in the late 1700 and early 1800’s is John Newton, the writer of “Amazing Grace.” His own evaluation of himself was, “a wretch who was once lost but then was found, saved by amazing grace.”
God’s grace began in Newton’s life through his mother, who died when John was a child, but not before she had given him some Christian training. Like most young people he gave up his mother’s Christian teaching and surrendered to a life of bondage that led him to be abused, become a servant on a slave ship and eventually the captain of his own ship that also carried slaves.
While living a life that had given up Christian convictions, God allowed him to experience His grace once more, no doubt because of the prayers of his mother.
While steering his ship through a violent storm, John Newton experienced what he called his “great deliverance.” He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, “I prayed, ‘Lord, have mercy upon us.’” God answered that prayer and as he sat in his cabin John became convinced it was God’s grace that got them through. For the rest of his life he observed May 10, 1748 as the day of his conversion, a day of humiliation in which he subjected his will to God’s directions.
During his days as a sailor he had begun to educate himself, teaching himself Latin, among other subjects. After serious health problems he quit sailing and finally ended up where he could become a disciple of Christ through teachings of George Whitefield, evangelistic preacher and leader of the Calvinistic Methodist Church. He also became influenced by the Biblical teachings of John Wesley. The “Grace Living” of these two great men of God inspired John Newton to learn Greek and Hebrew.
After persistence, John became an ordained preacher of the Word of God. Many were influenced by his teaching and writings about the Word of God, by his speaking in the local church and holding meetings in other places. He started weekly prayer meetings and became the author of over 280 Hymns. Hymns that speak for the Word of God through songs like, “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds,” “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” and one of his favorites, “Amazing Grace.”
John preached until the last year of his...Continue reading this sermon illustration (Free with PRO)
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