Christ, the Desire of All Nations
If Jesus Christ be the desire of all nations, how incomparably happy then must that nation be, that enjoys Christ in the power and purity of his Gospel! If Christ under a veil made Canaan a glorious land, [as it is called in] Dan. 11:41, what a glorious place must that nation be that beholds him with open face in the bright sun-shine of the Gospel!
– Christ the Desire of All Nations, a sermon by John Flavel
This sermon, Christ the Desire of All Nations, by John Flavel, is an excellent sermon to read this advent season. It has many English, 17th century references, but the exposition is applicable for today. Here are five examinations for the reader’s heart to see whether Christ is its desire:
1. Are your desires passionate and earnest? Does Christ have the supreme place in your desires? Do you esteem all things to be but dross and dung in comparison to the excellencies of Jesus Christ your Lord?
2. Are your desires after Christ universal; that is to say, is every thing in Christ desirable in your eyes? The hypocrite, like the harlot, is for a divided Christ; they would be called by his name, but depend upon themselves, Isa. 4:1. If his holiness and government, his cross and sufferings are desirable for his own sake: such universal desires are right desires.
3. Are your desires after Christ permanent desires, or only a sudden motion or impulse which later fades away? If your desires after Christ abide upon your hearts, if your longings be after him at all times, though not in the same height and degree, then your desires are right desires. Christ always dwells in the desires of his people; they can feel him in their desires, when they cannot discern him in their love or delight.
4. Will your desires after Christ admit no satisfaction, nor find rest anywhere but in the enjoyment of Christ? The devil can satisfy others with the riches and pleasure of this world, as children are quieted with rattles; but if nothing but Christ can rest and accomplish your desires, surely such restless desires are right desires.
5. Do your desires after Christ spring from a deep sense of your need and want of Christ? Has conviction opened your eyes to see your misery, to feel your burdens, and to make you aware that your remedy lies only in the Lord Jesus? Then your desires are right desires.