The Excellency of Christ: Quotes from John Flavel

Got back yesterday from the Straight Up conference at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago, IL. I was there with CJ Mahaney, who spoke on “A Divine Perspective” from 1 Cor. 1:1-9. I’ve probably heard that message 5-6 times and never tire of being challenged to notice more of what God is doing in those around me, as Paul did with the Corinthian church.

I had the privilege of leading worship and teaching a seminar on The Task of the Worship Leader. It was great meeting some folks who read this blog, and I had the opportunity to reconnect with my friends Andi Rozier, Matt Stowell, and Matthew Westerholm, who came to WorshipGod06 and WorshipGod08. Very encouraging time.

While I was on the trip I finished a book I started two months ago, right after WorshipGod08. It’s called The Fountain of Life, written in 1671 by John Flavel. The subtitle is “Presenting Christ in His Essential and Mediatorial Glory.” Basically it’s 500+ pages of meditations on the person and work of Christ. There were days I simply forced myself to continue reading because, as you might know, some of the Puritans could write in a style that was fairly thorough and dense. But along the way I found some choice quotes. Here are a few that affected me. For some, I’ve added comments in brackets to show their relevance to worship leaders.

The centrality of the cross

No doctrine is more excellent, or necessary to be preached and studied [and sung about], than Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (The Excellency of the Subject,13)

Experiencing the power of Christ in trials

Take away the knowledge of Christ, and Christians would be the most sad and melancholy beings in the world: again, let Christ but manifest himself, and dart the beams of his light into their souls, it will make them kiss the stake, sing in the flames, and shout in the pangs of death, as men that divide the spoil. (The Excellency of the Subject, 14)

The focus of our leading

He is the best preacher [or worship leader], that can in the most lively and powerful manner display Jesus Christ before the people, evidently setting him forth as crucified among them; and that is the best sermon [time of leading worship] which is most full of  Christ, not of rhetorical art [musical creativity]. (The Excellency of the Subject, 18)

The ones God prefers

Do you covet to be in the heart, in the favor and delight of God? Get an interest in Jesus Christ, and you shall presently be there. In heaven, persons are preferred according to their interest in the Beloved. (29)

When I don’t have as many gifts as someone else

Though you cannot make the gospel effectual, yet the Spirit of God can make the means you are capable of using effectual. And it is certain that your inability to do what is above your power, in no way excuses you from doing what is within your power. (Second Branch of Christ’s Prophetical Office, 121)

What the cross made possible

Out of this fountain [the cross] flow all the blessings that believers either have or hope for. Had it not been for this, there had been no such thing as justification, adoption, salvation, peace with God and hope of glory, pardon of sin, and divine acceptance: these and all our best mercies had never been. (Excellency of Our High Priest’s Oblation, Pt 1, 141)

Labor to be affected by the cross

Hath Christ offered up himself a sacrifice to God for us? Then let us improve, in every condition, this sacrifice, and labor to get our hearts duly affected with such a sight of it as faith can give. (Excellency of Our High Priest’s Oblation, Pt 1, 149)

The necessity of faith to please God

One act of faith in the Lord Jesus pleases God more than all thy strivings to meet the claims of his law, through thy whole life, can do. (The Satisfaction of Christ, Pt 1, 172)

I’ll post a few more tomorrow.

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5 Responses to The Excellency of Christ: Quotes from John Flavel

  1. Joshua October 8, 2008 at 6:54 PM #

    Hearing great things from the Conference, our staff really enjoyed your leading and the words you shared between the songs.
    Looking forward to connecting one day.
    Have a great week!

  2. Joe Haverlock October 8, 2008 at 8:03 PM #

    Bob, It was great to meet you at Straight Up this week. I appreciate the conversation we had after the session about leading others to the cross and not ourselves when we lead. Thanks for the way you did that Tuesday morning. I hope that you we will see you again in the future.
    Also, I love the quote above on Laboring to be Affected by the Cross. As a worship leader, I want to have endurance in laboring, by faith, to see this sacrifice and its effects on my condition more clearly. I believe this will fuel my personal and corporate worship.

  3. Bob Kauflin October 8, 2008 at 10:30 PM #


    Sorry you couldn’t make the conference. Great to meet some of the guys from your church.

  4. Bob Kauflin October 8, 2008 at 10:32 PM #


    Great meeting you as well. You’re absolutely right that the more you’re affected by who Jesus is and what he accomplished through the cross, the more it will fuel your passion for his glory.

  5. Amber October 9, 2008 at 12:02 AM #

    Hey Bob,
    Not anything close to being a worship leader, but I was so encourage by your message in various ways @ Straight Up.
    Thank you for serving us!

    “emotional fire=doctrinal fuel”<—-AWESOME!

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