Good Christian Men Rejoice

Bible Book: 1 Peter  1 : 1-12
Subject: Lord's Supper; Communion; Joy

“Good Christian Men, Rejoice” was originally a medieval Latin carol, later translated into English by Rev. John Mason Neale (1818-1866) in Carols for Christmastide (London: Novello, 1853). Each stanza begins, “Good Christian men, rejoice, With heart, and soul, and voice.” You could say we are celebrating Christmas in July. Actually, today we are doing something greater than that, we are obeying a biblical command to commemorate the Lord’s Supper.

From the first twelve verses of our text we read,

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into
(1 Peter 1:1-12).

Each of our points from 1 Peter chapter 1 will begin with “Good Christian men, rejoice”

I. Good Christian men, rejoice in the precious blood of Jesus Christ!

Peter writes about the “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2). In addition, we read in 1 Peter 1:18-19,

. . . 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

The writer to the Hebrews explains in Hebrews 9:16-22,

16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” 21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

Moses records the account of the Passover in Exodus 12. God instructed the Israelites to kill a lamb and to sprinkle its blood on the doorposts and the lintel of their house. Matthew recounts that Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples (Matthew 26:17-25). At that time He instituted the Lord’s Supper, as we read in Matthew 26:26-30,

26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives

II. Good Christian men, rejoice in the victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Peter writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). In addition, we read in 1 Peter 1:20-21, “20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

Peter writes about “a living hope”. In fact, George Williams (1850-1929) observes, “The word ‘living’ characterizes Peter’s epistles as ‘faith’ and ‘love’, Paul and John’s respectively.”[1]

Paul the Apostle shares the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in 1 Corinthians 15. In fact, some Bible commentators refer to it as “The Resurrection Chapter”. Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ was are hopelessly lost. William MacDonald (1917-2007) explains, “The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the righteous basis of our salvation, as well as the foundation of our living hope.”[2] Dr. H. P. Liddon (1829-1890) writes,

Christianity provides a future: A converted Japanese artist said recently to a missionary, “I suppose the reason why English artists put so much perspective into their drawings is because Christianity has given them a future; and the reason why Oriental artists fail to do so, is because Buddha and Confucius do not raise their eyes above the present.”[3]

III. Good Christian men, rejoice in the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ!

Peter further writes, “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). The word translated “revelation” can be translated “appearing”. In addition, we read in 1 Peter 1:13-17,

13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear.

We read about “the three appearings” of Jesus Christ in Hebrews 9:24-28,

24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Dr. Michael A. Guido (1915-2009) explains in “His Three Appearings”, “Since the Lord Jesus Christ appeared on earth to save us from the penalty of sin, and since He now appears in heaven to save us from the power of sin, He will appear in the clouds to save us from the presence of sin.”[4]

Dr. Henry M. Morris (1918-2006) shares the following in “The Three Appearings of Christ”, “These three appearings are all set forth in one fascinating passage of Scripture, Hebrews 9:24-28, where three different Greek words are used in reference to the three appearings.” In Hebrews 9:26, “The Greek word is phaneroo, meaning, ‘become apparent after being hidden.’” In Hebrews 9:24, “The Greek word here is emphanizo, which means, ‘manifest or declare openly.’” Finally, in Hebrews 9:28, “The Greek in this case is optomai, meaning, ‘gaze at face-to-face.’”[5]

One of His “appearings” was in the past, while another is in the present, and yet another is in the future. Paul the Apostle writes about the third appearing in Colossians 3:4, “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

Dr. William Eugene Blackstone (1841-1935) was a remarkable man, who wrote the Blackstone Memorial of 1891[6], calling for assistance in the re-establishment of the nation of Israel.[7] Please note this document predates the Balfour Declaration (1917).

In 1878, Blackstone also wrote a book titled Jesus is Coming that sold millions of copies over a 50 year period. They translated it into 48 languages. He received glowing endorsements like these:

Dr. R. A. Torrey (1856-1928), former dean of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles and President of Moody Bible Institute, recorded:

The book, Jesus Is Coming by W.E.B., was the first book that made the coming of Christ a living reality. I had already become convinced that our Lord’s coming would be before the millennium, having reached that conclusion, having studied the works of the Danish theologian, Martenson, but it was merely a theological conception until I read the book Jesus Is Coming. It was this that first brought me to definite convictions and made the doctrine not only clear, but very precious. It is one of the books that has had a decidedly formulative influence on my life and teaching. I always recommend it to those who are beginning the study of the subject.[8]

Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman (1859-1918), noted Presbyterian minister, wrote:

A number of years ago I had placed in my hands the little book, Jesus Is Coming by W.E.B. Prior to that time I had no defined method of Bible study, and I confess it would seem that I had very little passion for Bible reading and the winning of souls. This book completely revolutionized my thinking, gave me a conception of Christ and a new understanding of what it meant to work for Him.[9]

Dr. William E. Blackstone shares the following about “The Three Appearings” in his book titled Jesus is Coming,

The grandest fact in history is that Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, has been in this world. And the most important fact of the present is that He is now in Heaven making intercession for us [we who are believers in the Lord Jesus and are trusting Him for our salvation] (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1).

And the greatest prophesied event of the future is, that He is coming again.
These three appearings are beautifully set forth in the 9th of Hebrews (Heb. 9:24, 26, 28).
His appearing upon earth “to put away by the sacrifice of Himself.” Verse 26.
His entering “into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Verse 24.
“And unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Verse 28.
While He was here upon earth He said: “It is expedient for you that I go away” (John 16:7) and He went away (Acts 1:9). He said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” But

He Promised,

“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2-3. He gave us this promise as our hope and comfort while He is away.

He said: “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33), “ye shall weep and lament, and … be sorrowful but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice.” Verses 20, 22.

Nothing can be more comforting to the Church, the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:25-32), then this precious promise which our absent Lord has left us, that He will come and receive us unto Himself, and that we shall be with Him, to behold His glory (John 17:24).

He has given us

The Lord’s Supper,

that we should take the bread and the cup in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:19), and to show His death, till He come (1 Cor. 11:26). We have this simple and loving memorial for a continual sign of this promise during all the earthly pilgrimage of the Church (Heb. 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11), and through it we look forward from the cross to His coming, when He will drink it anew with us, in His Father’s kingdom (Matt. 26:29), at the marriage feast of the Lamb (Matt. 22:2; Rev. 19:9; also Luke 14:16-24).

It is a constant reminder of His promise, pointing our eye of faith to His coming again. “He is faithful that promised” (Heb. 10:22-25) and we are exhorted to have confidence and patience, that we may “receive the promise,” “for yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Heb. 10:35-37.

One has truly said that the coming of Christ is

The Very Pole Star of the Church,

And the apostle Paul calls it “That blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). Jesus and the apostles and the prophets have given great prominence in the Scriptures to this inspiring theme. THE EARLY FATHERS and the Christian Church, for the first two centuries of our era, found in it their chief source of hope and comfort. The belief that Jesus was coming in glory to reign with His saints on the earth, during the Millennium, was almost universal with them.

But in the third century there arose a school of interpreters, headed by Origen, who so “spiritualized” the Scriptures that they ceased to believe in any literal Millennium whatsoever. Their system of interpretation has been severely condemned by Martin Luther, Dr. Adam Clarke and other commentators.

When Constantine was converted and the Roman empire became, nominally, Christian, it appeared to many that the Millennium had come, and that they had the kingdom on earth. The Church, hand in hand with the world, plunged into the dark ages, until awakened by the great reformers of the sixteenth century, who again began to proclaim the comforting hope and blessed promise of the coming of Christ; and since that time the subject so long neglected has been studied and preached with increasing interest. Indeed, in the last two centuries, it seems to have risen (with the doctrine of salvation by simple faith in a crucified Savior) into somewhat the same prominence which it occupied in the early Church. God be praised for it.[10]

The author of the highly regarded Notes on the Pentateuch, Charles Henry Mackintosh (1820-1896), known simply as C. H. M., writes,

Christ is coming. Are we ready? Are we looking for Him? Do we miss Him? Do we mourn His absence? It is impossible that we can be in the true attitude of waiting for Him if we do not feel His absence. He is coming. He may be here to night. Ere another sun arises the voice of the archangel and the blast of the trumpet may be heard in the air. And what then? Why then the sleeping saints-all who have departed in the faith of Christ-all the redeemed of the Lord whose ashes repose in the graveyards and cemeteries around us or in the mighty depths of the ocean-all these shall rise. The living saints shall be changed in a moment, and all shall ascend up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Cor. 15: 51-54; 1 Thess. 4: 13-1 Thess. 5: 11).

But what of the unconverted-the unbelieving-the unrepentant-the unprepared? What of all such? Ah! this is a question of awful solemnity. It makes the heart sink to reflect upon the case of those who are still in their sins-of those who have turned a deaf ear to all the entreaties and all the warnings which God in His long-suffering mercy has sent to them from week to week and year to year-of those who have sat under the sound of the gospel from their earliest days, and who have become, as we say, gospel-hardened. How dreadful will be the condition of all such when the Lord comes to receive His own! They shall be left behind to fall under the deep and dark delusion which God will assuredly send upon all who have heard and rejected the gospel. And what then? What is to follow this deep and dark delusion? The deeper and darker damnation of the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.

Oh! shall we not sound a note of alarm in the ears of our fellow-sinners? Shall we not more earnestly and solemnly warn them to flee from the wrath to come? Shall we not seek by word and deed-by the double testimony of the lips and the life-to set before them the weighty fact that “the Lord is at hand”? May we feel it more deeply, and then we shall exhibit it more faithfully. There is immense moral power in the truth of the Lord’s coming if it be really held in the heart and not merely in the head. If Christians only lived in the habitual expectation of the advent it would tell amazingly upon the unconverted around them. May the Holy Ghost revive in the hearts of all God’s people the blessed hope of their Lord’s return, that they may be as men that wait for their Lord, that when He cometh and knocketh they may open unto Him immediately![11]


Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart, and soul, and voice;
Give ye heed to what we say:
News! News!
Jesus Christ was born to-day:
Ox and ass before Him bow,
And He is in the manger now.
Christ is born today! Christ is born today.
Good Christian men, rejoice,
With heart, and soul, and voice;
Now ye hear of endless bliss:
Joy! Joy!
Jesus Christ was born for this!
He hath ope’d the heav’nly door,
And man is blessed evermore.
Christ was born for this! Christ was born for this!
Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart, and soul, and voice;
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Peace! Peace!
Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one, and calls you all,
To gain His everlasting hall:
Christ was born to save! Christ was born to save![12]

Dr. R. Kent Hughes warns in The Gift of Christmas,

It is not enough to hear about Jesus. It is not enough to come peek in the manger and say, “Oh, how nice. What a lovely scene. It gives me such good feelings.” The truth is, even if Christ were born in Bethlehem a thousand times and not in you, you would be eternally lost.

The Christ who was born into the world must be born in you. Christmas sentiment without the living Christ is a yellow brick road to darkness. That is the terrifying thing about all the Christmas glitz—that Christmas can be buried by materialism and sentiment, and people will not even know it or care.

He really did come into the world; and because of this, he really can come into your heart. This Christmas [and every other day], let us lay our lives before him and receive the gift.[13]

With Jesus Christ’s precious blood, victorious resurrection, and glorious appearing in mind; Good Christian men, rejoice!

[1] George Williams, The Student’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1960), 998.

[2] William MacDonald, The Believer’s Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 2251.

[3] Joseph Samuel Exell, 1 Peter, The Biblical Illustrator (London: James Nisbet, 1887), 16.

[4] Michael Guido, “His Three Appearings” (Metter, GA: Guido Evangelistic Association, 1999)

[5]Henry M. Morris, “The Three Appearings,” Sermon Notes, Hebrews 9:24-28.

[6] Wikisource, “Blackstone Memorial” [Online encyclopedia]; available from; accessed on 07 July 2011.

[7] Elesha Coffman, “Zion Haste,” ChristianityToday [Online magazine]; available from; accessed on 07 July 2011.

[8] Jesus is Coming – by William E. Blackstone, Comment by R. A. Torrey [Online book]; available from,%20Tracts%20&%20Preaching/Printed%20Books/JIC/jic-chap_04.htm ; accessed on 07 July 2011.

[9] Jesus is Coming – by William E. Blackstone, Comment by J. Wilbur Chapman [Online book]; available from,%20Tracts%20&%20Preaching/Printed%20Books/JIC/jic-chap_04.htm ; accessed on 07 July 2011.

[10] William E. Blackstone, Jesus is Coming , 3rd. rev. (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1908), [Online book]; available from,%20Tracts%20&%20Preaching/Printed%20Books/JIC/jic-chap_04.htm; accessed on 07 July 2011.

[11] Charles Henry Mackintosh, “The Three Appearings,” Sermon Notes, Hebrews 9:24-28.

[12] “Good Christian Men, Rejoice” attributed to Heinrich Suso (ca. 1295-1366) translated by John Mason Neale published in Carols for Christmas-tide (London: Novello, 1853), Carol # 6.

[13] R. Kent Hughes, The Gift of Christmas (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2003), 52.