INSTITUTE FOR CHRISTIAN WORSHIP LECTURES
Free audio lectures at www.sbts.edu/icw
(click on previous lectures)
Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is taken from a Christmas sermon by the eighteenth-century English evangelist, George Whitefield. In this excerpt, the famed preacher mentions the excitement generated by the yearly birthday celebration of his temporal king, George III. Here are several paragraphs from this message on the significance of Christ's birth.
It was love, mere love; it was free love that brought the Lord Jesus Christ into our world. What, shall we not remember the birth of our Jesus? Shall we yearly celebrate the birth of our temporal king, and shall that of the King of kings be quite forgotten? Shall that only, which ought to be had chiefly in remembrance, be quite forgotten? God forbid! No, my dear brethren, let us celebrate and keep this festival of our church with joy in our hearts: let the birth of a Redeemer, which redeemed us from sin, from wrath, from death, from hell, be always remembered; may this Savior's love never be forgotten! But may we sing forth all his love and glory as long as life shall last here, and through an endless eternity in the world above! May we chant forth the wonders of redeeming love and the riches of free grace, amidst angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, without intermission, forever and ever! And as, my brethren, the time for keeping this festival is approaching, let us consider our duty in the true observation thereof, of the right way for the glory of God, and the good of immortal souls, to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ; an event which ought to be had in eternal remembrance.
What can we do to employ our time to a more noble purpose than reading of what our dear Redeemer has done and suffered; to read that the King of kings and the Lord lords came from his throne and took upon him the form of the meanest of his servants; and what great things he underwent. This, this is a history worth reading, this is worth employing our time about; and surely, when we read of the sufferings of our Savior, it should excite us to prayer, that we might have an interest in the Lord Jesus Christ, that the blood which he spilt upon Mount Calvary, and his death and crucifixion, might make an atonement for our sins, that we might be made holy; that we might be enabled to put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, even the Lord Jesus Christ; that we may throw away the heavy yoke of sin, and put on the yoke of the Lord Jesus Christ. . . .
And instead of running into excess, let that money, which you might expend to pamper your own bodies, be given to feed the poor; now, my brethren, is the season in which they commonly require relief; and sure you cannot act more agreeable, either to the season, to the time, or for the glory of God, than in relieving his poor distressed servants. Consider, Christ was always willing to relieve the distressed; it is his command also; and can you better commemorate the birth of your king, your Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, than in obeying one of his commands?
Let me now conclude, my dear brethren, with a few words of exhortation, beseeching you to think of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Did Jesus come into the world to save us from death, and shall we spend no part of our time in conversing about our dear Jesus; shall we pay no regard to the birth of him who came to redeem us from the worst of slavery, from that of sin, and the devil; and shall this Jesus not only be born on our account, but likewise die in our stead, and yet shall we be unmindful of Him? . . .
O my dear brethren, be found in the ways of God; let us not disturb our dear Redeemer by any irregular proceedings; and let me beseech you to strive to love, fear, honor, and obey him, more than ever you have done yet; let not the devil engross your time, and that dear Savior who came into the world on your accounts have so little. O be not so ungrateful to him who has been so kind to you! What could the Lord Jesus Christ have done for you more than he has? Then do not abuse his mercy, but let your time be spent in thinking and talking of the love of Jesus who was incarnate for us, who was born of a woman, and made under the law, to redeem us from the wrath to come.
—George Whitefield (1714-1770), from Sermon 16, "The Observation of the Birth of Christ, the Duty of All Christians; Or the True Way of Keeping Christmas," (www.ccel.org/ccel/whitefield/sermons.txt). Excerpted in COME, THOU LONG-EXPECTED JESUS: EXPERIENCING THE PEACE AND PROMISE OF CHRISTMAS, edited by Nancy Guthrie. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008, pp. 11-15. ISBN 978-1-4335-0180-7. (Highly recommended. Other authors represented in this Christmas volume are Martin Luther, Martyn Loyd-Jones, Jonathan Edwards, Saint Augustine, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, as well as many modern pastor-scholars.)
[Did you know that George Whitefield was an acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin? In his autobiography, Franklin wrote about his experience hearing Whitefield preach: www.pioneernet.net/rbrannan/whitefield/bfongw.htm. This is very interesting.]
[Finally, I have been reading this wonderful hymn, "Exult, O Morning Stars Aflame!" every day in preparation for Christmas: www.wqotw.org/quote.php?date=2002-12-24 ]
MORE WORSHIP QUOTES FOR ADVENT & CHRISTMAS
www.wqotw.org/quote.php?date=2005-12-06 (“O Come, O Come, Immanuel”)
www.wqotw.org/quote.php?date=2000-12-26 ("Thou Who Wast Rich")
www.wqotw.org/quote.php?date=1995-12-20 (C. S. Lewis)
www.wqotw.org/quote.php?date=2004-12-21 (Ambrose and Luther)
www.wqotw.org/quote.php?date=2005-12-20 (Dutch Carol)
www.wqotw.org/quote.php?date=1996-12-24 (Ulrich Shaffer)
www.wqotw.org/quote.php?date=2006-12-12 ("The Gift of Gifts")
www.wqotw.org/quote.php?date=2004-12-07 ("Of the Father's Love Begotten")
www.wqotw.org/quote.php?date=2006-12-26 (Augustine and Lewis)
www.wqotw.org/quote.php?date=2007-12-18 (Thomas à Kempis)
www.wqotw.org/quote.php?date=2007-12-25 (Clarkson, Communion Hymn)
"Let every heart prepare Him room."
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
WORSHIP QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
To subscribe, unsubscribe, or view a complete
index of worship quotes, please visit