The CCEL Times 7.12 (December 3, 2012)
In This Issue:
From the Director
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
In this season of Advent we await Jesus' visit. Jesus visited us all in his incarnation. Has he also visited you personally? In a communion meditation, C.H. Spurgeon writes of mysterious visits:
It is a theme for wonder that the glorious God should visit sinful man. "What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?" A divine visit is a joy to be treasured whenever we are favoured with it. David speaks of it with great solemnity. The Psalmist was not content barely to speak of it; but he wrote it down in plain terms, that it might be known throughout all generations: "Thou hast visited me in the night." Beloved, if God has ever visited you, you also will marvel at it, will carry it in your memory, will speak of it to your friends, and will record it in your diary as one of the notable events of your life. Above all, you will speak of it to God Himself, and say with adoring gratitude, "Thou hast visited me in the night."
I can't say I've had a visit such as Spurgeon describes, but Advent can carry with it that sort of hope and expectation. Come, thou long-expected Jesus!
Read more of Spurgeon's communion meditations in the collection Till He Come.
"Spirit at Work: Guarantor"
"The gospel's favorite tense is future. Everything in it calls believers to stand on tiptoe and to await, eagerly, confidently, and with joy-filled longing, the day when their Lord returns to earth" writes Dale Cooper. As we anticipate Christmas we also need to be aware of God's presence in our lives. As this article points out, "Christian hope requires continual refreshing, regular cultivating. Where better to do this than in the assembly of the saints, who gather on Sunday for worship?" May we all be refreshed knowing God's presence as we anticipate with joy-filled longing both Christmas and the return of our Savior.
Read this article at The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
What We're Reading
The early converts of the New Testament were instructed by the apostles to wait vigilantly for the second coming of Christ. Sadly, many of today's Christians have abandoned the task of preparing for Christ's return. In this book, Pink searches the Old and New Testament for information regarding Jesus' second coming. First, he looks at several examples of Biblical prophecies which foretell Christ's second coming. Then, he discusses the necessity of Jesus' return and explores signs leading up to His arrival. Pink closely examines Christ's first coming to gain a better understanding of the glory and power that will manifest itself in Christ's second coming. Finally, Pink discusses the events that will occur in the church and the world as a result of this momentous occasion. Redeemer's Return is designed mainly for those who are beginners in the study of prophetic and dispensational truth.
-The Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Featured Hymn"Come, Thou long expected Jesus"
It is this sigh of longing that we express when we sing the words of Charles Wesley's beautiful Advent hymn, "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus." For though we know that Christ goes with us and before us every day, we long for the day when we are with Him in all of the fullness and glory He will bring. We long for the day when we are with Him in a New Heaven and New Earth, when all things are made new. And just as a four-year-old crawls into his father's arms after an extended absence, so too we long for the day when we will be at rest in Christ, enfolded in the embrace of our Savior.
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John Wesley's Sermons on Several Occasions
"The Heavenly Treasure in Earthen Vessels" 2 Cor. 4:7
Wesley's sermon exams heavenly treasure. The sermon discusses how this treasure is tainted with sin, and how Christ has opened the way for us to receive this treasure in Heaven as it was intended -- free of sin. Wesley ends the sermon with these words, "The heavenly treasure now we have / In a vile house of clay! / Yet He shall to the utmost save, / And keep it to that day."
This sermon is found in Sermons on Several Occasions, a collection of 141 sermons compiled into five series. One authority describes the first of these five series with this description: "In his first series, John Wesley presents what the Bible says concerning the way to heaven." As we think about the return of Christ at this time of the year, these sermons provide appropriate messages for reflection.Read this meditation at CCEL
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Have a blessed Christmas!