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Sunday, June 30, 2013 pm            Song Index

Sermons in Song
HIGHER GROUND, #14

Written by John Oatman (1856-1922), a prolific song writer who is said to have written lyrics to more than 5000 gospel songs.   His songs include: Count your Blessings, Last mile of the way, NO, Not one, Sweeter than all, etc.   Its tune  was composed by Charles Gabriel (1856-1932).

This is a song designed to encourage us to keep moving forward toward “higher ground.”  The idea of higher ground is toward heaven.   Psalm 61:2 says, “From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

 I.                     Vs. 1 – I’m pressing on – moving forward

a.        Pressing on - The idea is found throughout scripture.  Phil. 3:12-14. 
2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 5:1 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
1 Cor. 9:24-27, in describing the runner, notes that he is continually running to win – progressing toward the goal.  Vs. 27 is even a warning that not quit.

b.       Upward way –The whole premise of this song is that we are striving to move closer to heaven.    Matt. 7:13-14 – the “upward way” is the way that leads to heaven.
Col. 3:1-2, “set your mind on things above”

c.        New heights I’m gaining every day – continually moving in the right direction. 
Again note Phil. 3:14 – the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
1 Thessalonians 4:1, “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God
Heb. 6:1, “…let us go on to perfection…”
Heb. 12:1-2 – looking to Jesus at the finish line.

d.       Still praying as I onward bound – with prayers.  Prayers demonstrate our trust and reliance upon Him.
Phil. 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

e.       Lord lead me on to higher ground – that is our prayer. 
One observation I will make with this is our need to let Him lead us – Psa. 5:8, “Lead me, O Lord in Your righteousness because of my enemies.  This was a frequent request of the psalmist.
Psa. 25:5, “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation…”
Psa. 23:2-3, “He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

 

 II.                  Vs. 2 – My heart has no desire – it’s not about this world

a.        To stay – where is your treasure? (Matt. 6:19-21)  1 John 2:15-16
We are again reminded that this world is not our home, we just passing through -
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,” (1 Peter 2:11)
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 3:20)
Jas. 4:4 tells us that friendship with the world is enmity with God.

b.       Where doubts arise and fears display – living with a confidence beyond this life.
Heb. 10:23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

c.        Though some may dwell where these abound  - unlike the world, which is filled with fear, doubt and hopelessness. 
Ephesians 2:12 speaks of the former conduct of these brethren being as those who have no hope and without God in the world.

d.       My prayer, my aim is higher ground
1 Tim. 2:8, Paul’s desire that men pray everywhere lifting up holy hands with no doubting.

James 1:6 speaks of our prayers being in faith with no doubting.

 III.                Vs. 3 – I want to live above the world – resisting the devil

a.        Col. 3:2, “Set you mind on things above, NOT on things of the earth.”
Phil. 3:18-19 speak of the walk of those who are in the world who set their mind on earthly things.  But we don’t because we are citizens of heaven.

b.       Tho Satan’s darts at me are hurled – he is trying to derail us –
2 Cor. 2:11 speaks of the devices of Satan.
2 Cor. 11:3 Paul feared Satan in his craftiness deceiving the brethren.
Eph. 6:11-12 describes that battle we are engaged in – the “wiles of the devil”.  We are to use the shield of faith to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” (vs. 16)
THAT is why we are always commanded to be sober and vigilant (1 Pet. 5:8)

c.        For faith has caught the joyful sound
Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.” (1 John 5:4). 
 1 Pet. 1:13, “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;”
Recall how in the Lord’s model prayer, we pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matt. 6:13)
In faith, we rejoice – just as Paul and Silas were in prison singing (Acts 16:25)
Acts 5:41 finds Peter and John and the apostles rejoicing they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name
1 Pet. 4:12-13 “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

d.       The song of saints on higher ground – one of the descriptions of the redeemed, especially among the martyred in Revelation is that they sing a new song – (Rev. 14:3)

 IV.                VS. 4- I want to scale the utmost height – our hope of dwelling on heaven

a.        And catch a gleam of glory bright – that is where the greatest of light is. 
2 Cor. 4:1-6 discusses the light of the glory of Christ.
Rev. 22:5 in describing the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven says, “There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives the light.  And they shall reign forever and ever.
Is it any wonder, Jesus is described as the “light of the world” (John 9:5)
No night in heaven because He is the light. 

b.       But still I’ll pray till heaven I’ve found – until then, I will continue to serve Him.  Phil. 1:21-26.  Rev. 2:10 called for the church at Smyrna to be faithful until death so that they might receive the crown of life.

c.        ‘Lord lead me on to higher ground.’   Why can we pray this?
Because, He has prepared a city for us, just like the great examples of faith in Heb. 11.  Vs. 16 describes the city prepared “for them” and us.
Heb. 13:14 says, “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.”
Jesus told His disciples, “In My Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you” John 14:2-3 1 Pet. 1:3-4

 V.                  Lord lift me up – the Chorus – a continual request to be there for us and lift us up

a.        And let me stand - “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)

b.       By faith on heaven’s table land -+– when I hear the expression “table land” I think of the feast that awaits us (Rev. 19:9).  In more than one parable, Jesus likened salvation to a great supper or feast (Lk. 14:15-17, 24, Matt. 22:1-14, etc.)

c.        A higher plane than I have found – Oh how much better heaven will be than the meagerness this world has to offer us.

d.       Lord plant my feet on higher ground – again, we are reminded that our goal is heaven.  ONE final thought here, “Plant my feet” indicates one firmly rooted.  Do we live our lives with the confidence and hope of heaven?  Can we say as Paul did in 2 Tim. 1:12, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day.”
And 2 Tim. 4:6-8, when our time to depart this earth is here, can we with the same confidence be ready. 

 As has been said on numerous occasions before, IF you miss heaven,  you miss all there is.  This song is designed to encourage us to seek heaven now so that when we stand before Him in judgment He will say, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.” 

If you are not in the body of Christ, let me invite you to make ready now, while you still have opportunity.