The Songs We Sing

Sunday, March 29, 2009 pm        The Songs We Sing


Tonight, I want to examine one of our hymns.  It has been at least a couple of years since I have done this.   It is my plans that in months with 5 Sundays, to preach a lesson from the message of one of our hymns.   I consider this a worthy exercise as we consider the familiar passages of Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16, & 1 Cor. 14:15. 

As a congregation, we are blessed with immense talent when it comes to singing.  While the melody is not the most important aspect of singing, it certainly enhances the message as it helps us remember what is being taught.  However, we have to be careful to not get so caught up in melodies that we don’t think about the words.  It is with that in mind that I wish to resume these lessons.

Tonight, we want to study an invitation song, I am Resolved.  This song was authored by Palmer Hartsough (1844-1932), in 1896.  He wrote several hymns, and was good friends with James H. Fillmore (1849-1936).  He also wrote the original version of “Are you Sowing the Seed” in 1888, though the version we have now was a rework by Fillmore sometime before 1930.

 I.                    Vs. 1 – I am resolved no longer to linger

A.        This is a song about resolution.   The idea of resolve is very scriptural and it is something we need to consider from time to time, not just at the beginning of the year.  The word means, “adj. firm in purpose or intent” and “to come to a definite decision about, determine” and “make up one’s mind
(resolved, unabridged, Random House Inc. 2009)
Much like that of Jesus going to the cross – 1 Peter 2:21-23 – who committed Himself
Much like Paul as recorded in Philippians 3:12-15 who pressed toward the goal of heaven.

B.       No longer to linger. 
The verb linger means, “ remain or stay in a place longer than usual or expected” and “4. to be tardy in action, delay.” (ibid)   You cannot put off your obedience any longer.  There is too much at stake. 
Consider some who lingered:
  Felix trembled at the teaching of Paul – Acts 24:25
  Peter lingered by the fire of the enemy – Luke 22:55-56
  Lot’s family lingered in Sodom and his wife lingered & looked back, Gen. 19:26 and became a pillar of salt.
  Brethren, don’t linger around sin – whether it be delaying putting off what is wrong 0R going to places where sin is so prevalent – don’t do it.

C.       Charmed by the world’s delights. 
Sin is often portrayed in a pretty package.  Worldly promoters know exactly what they are doing. 
There is a commercial on television which shows the grim reaper getting in a car and going to work.  When she arrives at the venue, she shed her robe and underneath is a beautiful woman immodestly dressed.  What is she doing? Giving away cigarette samples.  How often does the world package its sins in attractive packages?  Lust, greed & sensual gratifications are often portrayed with the bright lights and “the good life” as a beer commercial likes to tell you.  Don’t be charmed by them.
1 John 2:15-16 reminds us of the lust of the flesh, eyes & pride of life.

D.       Things that are higher & nobler have allured my sight.
Instead, seek higher ground.  The idea of allure is that of attraction.  It is a synonym of charmed.  It is not wrong to be attracted to something, the question is WHAT is alluring you?
Certainly the things above are of greater worth – Matt. 6:19-21, Col. 3:2 (set your mind on things above),
Phil. 3:14 speaks of the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus”, KJV – “high calling”
James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift is from above.

E.        NOTE: If you are to follow Christ it begins with a willingness to give up whatever stands in your way.  IT is the making up of one’s mind to change paths.  That is what TRUE repentance is about.  And it is a MUST if one is to find salvation.

  II.                  Vs. 2 – I am resolved to go to the Savior

A.      NOTE: This establishes the direction. We turn TO Him to save us.  It is not enough to quit the ways of the world.  We need to turn TOWARD something.

B.       To go to the Savior- this is obviously a description of Christ.  Consider the title used here – He is our Savior.  The one who will SAVE us from the sins of this world and our lost condition. 
1 John 4:14 says, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.”
Acts 4:12 reminds us that there is NOT salvation in any other name than in Jesus.

C.       Leaving my sin and strife – you cannot serve sin and Christ at the same time!  Matthew 6:24 reminds us that they are NOT compatible. The allures of vs. 1 must be shed if Jesus is to save us!

D.      He is the TRUE One, He is the JUST One
Consider the words of Jesus Himself in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me”.
There are many so-called paths to salvation being offered in the world today, but as was true more than a century ago when this was written, AND as was true nearly 2000 years ago – Jesus is STILL the ONLY true way to heaven.  All other paths lead to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14)

E.       He hath the words of lifeJohn 8:31-32 where Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 
Also John 12:48, His words will judge us.  This comes in a book that begins by describing Him as, “the Word” (John 1:1-2, 14)

 III.                Vs. 3 – I am resolved to follow the Savior

A.       NOTE: This establishes the path we will take in our lives.  If anyone is in Christ, he is a New Creation – 2 Cor. 5:17.    It is about a changed life! 1 Cor. 6:9 says, “such were some of you”

B.       Follow the Savior.  Sure, Jesus is our Savior.  But once we have found salvation through Him (His blood), that is just the beginning.  We must now begin to FOLLOW Him. 
 Jesus Himself said often, “Follow Me” (Matt. 4:19),
Again in Matt. 16:24, “take up his cross, and follow Me”
Again in Matt. 19:21, to the rich, young ruler, “come follow Me.”  
IN fact, on at least 11 different occasions, we find Jesus saying, “Follow Me.”

C.       Faithful and true each day.  Heed what He sayeth – LISTEN to Him.  NOT just hearing the words, but HEED them.  This means to pay attention to them.
Do what He willeth – again, it is not enough to hear.  WE have to also obey Him.

D.       He is the living way.  Again, John 14:6 says, “I am the life.”  The term “living way” is found only once in scripture:  Hebrews 10:20 which speaks of Jesus entering the Holy Place of heaven itself with His blood, “by a new and living way…”  But that Jesus is the way of life is taught frequently.

 IV.                Vs. 4 – I am resolved to enter the kingdom

A.       Note: This is our ultimate goal.  Heaven itself.  Our lives of sacrifice are NOT without reward.  We do it all for the ultimate goal.

B.       To enter the kingdom.  We know that the term kingdom has reference to the church, the body of all who are saved at any given time (I believe both in heaven and on earth).  Heb. 12:28 speaks of the kingdom we are receiving.  It cannot be shaken and therefore we serve good, “acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Here the author of this song shows a determination to go to heaven when this life is over.

C.       Leaving the paths of sin.  Because the author was a Baptist, I am not exactly sure how he meant this saying, (since most Baptists teach “once saved, always saved”), but to me it is a determination to stay on the straight and narrow path that leads to life and to avoid the broad way that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14).  There is a realization that to make it to heaven you HAVE TO stay on the right path and avoid the wrong path.

D.       Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me, still will I enter in. 
There is a determination to not let ANYTHING get in his way.  In this life, the more determined we become to follow the straight and narrow path; I am convinced the more resistance we are going to face.  Friends will try to draw us away.  Our enemies will certainly do all they can to hinder us (darkness hates the light).
BUT, I am going to make it there!

E.        NOTE: If you miss heaven, you have missed all there is.

 V.                  Vs. 5 – I am resolved and who will go with me

A.       NOTE: An invitation to our friends, family or whoever will listen.  We ought to desire to make it to heaven more than anything else, BUT we also ought to want to take as many with us as possible.

B.       Come friends without delay.  As Paul said in 2 Cor. 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”  The promise of heaven is too good to keep to yourself, and so is the terror of eternal destruction.  IT is something that if we truly understand it we will not try to put it off.

C.       Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit - we do not teach the doctrines of men, but those which are a product of the Holy Spirit Himself.  Just as Philip began at that passage the Eunuch was studying he preached Christ to him (Ac. 8:35).

D.       We’ll walk the heavenly way – again, a reminder that we don’t want to be there alone.   Heaven is a place where we will NOT be alone.  Think of all who will be there!

 VI.                Chorus – I will hasten to Him

A.       I will hasten – this decision is not something to be put off.  The idea of hastening is that we are quick to respond.   There are things that can happen which make life very uncertain.  There is death, the Lord’s return, or even lost opportunities (the more you put off doing right, the more difficult it becomes the next time).

B.       Hasten glad and free – this is something we ought to gladly and freely do.  Even though we want you to obey the gospel more than anything, YOU have to make up your mind to do it on your own.  Anything else is less than sincere.

C.       Jesus, greatest, highest.  The conclusion of this chorus notes that our Lord is above us.  He is greater than we are and His ways are higher than ours. 

 As the Chorus concludes we read these final words, “I will come to Thee.”   Salvation is about you making up your mind to do what He wants you to do.  We have seen it is not about being coerced into obedience.  It is about surrender and sacrifice.  You giving yourself to your Lord for the rest of your life.  And if you want heaven, that is what is expected.

One final thought, as I see the expression, “I will come to Thee”, I am reminded that the way has already been set.  IT is NOT about bringing the Lord down to our level (as so many do today), rather it is about us coming to Him.  As Peter said as we desire the pure milk of the word so that we can grow thereby we read, “If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.  Coming to Him as to a living stone,…”  (1 Peter 2:3)

What about you?  This song is a song of encouragement and invitation.  If you are not right with God – resolve to no longer linger and come to Him today.  RIGHT NOW!