This December I had the privilege of reading some of John Calvin’s sermons on the book of Ephesians. I felt as if I was re-converted after every sermon. I loved Calvin’s (correct) emphasis on the utter hopelessness of man and the extreme, deep grace of God in drawing us out of the pit of hell and giving us new life. I was challenged by Calvin’s regular reminders to ask God to make me perceive my sins more, to throw myself once again on the mercy of Christ, to hate my sin more, and to aim more at holiness out of an abiding sense of profound gratitude to a good, majestic God.
John Calvin lived in the 1500’s, mostly in Geneva, Switzerland. He was and is considered as one of the heroes of the Christian faith. He was one the greatest Christian thinkers, theologians and reformers who bought the church back to the Bible when it was immersed in superstition.
The Fist Every (Angelic) Christmas Carol
On Christmas Day I preached on Luke 2:14. The sermon was part of our series called The Fist Ever Christmas Carols. These carols in the Bible were sung hundreds of years before our traditional Christmas carols were ever composed and include Mary’s melody, Zechariah’s hymn, Simeon’s song and of course, the angels’ chorus – all found in Luke’s gospel chapter 1-2. The angel’s chorus is unique because it is the first recorded Christmas carol sung by the angelic host, not by human beings. The words of this fist heavenly carol are very significant:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among/ in those with whom he is pleased.
The angels declared that there is now peace available for, not for everyone, but some; on all those on whom God’s favour rests.
Listen to what John Calvin preached about how we obtain this peace, peace with God:
“If we intend to enjoy this spiritual peace which passes all the good things of this world, let us learn to be at war with ourselves. And how does that come about? It is to know that we are damned and lost and that there is no hope of a remedy for us by which to get out of the pit of destruction again, unless we are recovered (saved) by means of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we are so bereft of all perverse self-reliance upon our own merits and know that we are empty and stark naked, let us come as poor beggars to God. That is what is required for the attainment of true peace…When we have learned thus to make war against our own vices and to apply ourselves to the matter thoroughly without hypocrisy and with reality, then we are on the high way to the peace which our Lord Jesus Christ publishes and preaches to us every day in the gospel.”
Prayer for 2015
Calvin ended his sermon with this prayer, which is my prayer for me and all my readers:
“Now let us cast ourselves down before the majesty of our good God with acknowledgement of our faults, praying him to make us to feel them that we may dislike them more and more and set our whole mind to considering the infinite grace he extends towards us in calling us to him, in order that we may not be so evil, nor so senseless and blind as not to listen when he speaks, but rather that we may obediently through faith yield to the doctrine he sets before us, in which lies all our welfare and salvation; (praying) that the same may pluck us back from all the lewd lusts of the world and from all the evil affections that thrust us aside and turn us away from him, so that we may grow more and more in his fear and love to be fashioned like his image, until we come to his heavenly glory, to which he calls us. That it may please him to grant this grace, not only to us, but also to all peoples.”
May your 2015 be filled with war, so that you may have peace with God.
Here is a good Bible-reading plan.
Here is a prayer app that looks very good.