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Sunday, July 31, 2016 pm                                                Songs Index

“Looking to Thee”
 #434, Sacred Selections

 

Tonight, the 5th Sunday of this month we examine another song we sing from time to time.  I chose this song because of the troubling times we are in.  In our songs we teach and admonish one another (Ephesians 5:19, 1 Cor. 14:15).  Often times when facing discouragement and uncertainty around us, we need to remind ourselves with God’s word that He is still in control and all things will work together for good according to HIS purpose (Romans 8:28).

Background, the song was written by prolific song writer James Rowe (1865-1933).  He wrote many of the hymns we sing from time to time, including, “After the Shadows”, “Home of the Soul”, “Love Lifted Me”, “I’m Redeemed”, “Wonderful Jesus”, “Ring Out the Message”.

 I.                     Vs. 1 – Looking to Thee because of what has been accomplished

a.       Looking to Jesus is the theme of this song.  The point is that in all things we deal with in this life we need to be looking to Him.  Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us we are in a race.  Our Lord has finished the course and as we run this race with endurance, we are looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
Hebrews 2:9 tells us that we see Jesus, crowned with glory and honor through the suffering of death.

b.       Day to day - Daily we need to be looking to Him – one of the challenges we face in our busy society is a failure to regularly look to Him.  We are distracted by so many things.   Let us resolve that daily we will look to Him – read something about Him (in His word) and say something to Him (in prayer) every day. 

c.        Trusting thy grace along the way – grace is God’s part in our salvation.  It is His grace that provided our salvation (Ephesians 2:4-9, Romans 3:24).  And His grace sustains us.  2 Timothy 2:1, Paul told Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 4:16, we can through Him come boldly to the throne of grace so that we may find grace in time of need. 
This grace is the object of our trust throughout this life - 1 Timothy 4:10
, “For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
2 Corinthians 1:9-10, we trust not in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead and delivers us.

d.       Knowing that thou will safely keep all that is Thine – John 10:28-29, Jesus noted that none could snatch those that belong to Him out of His hand.  The reason for this is as the Lord said of the ruler of this world (Satan), “he has nothing in Me.” (John 14:30) 
1 John 5:4 notes that our faith is the victory that overcomes the world.   Our God leads us “in triumph in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:14)

e.       Sure of thy soul redeeming love, sure of a crown of life above – we have hope! 
We know that Jesus loves us and gave Himself for us to redeem us – Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 1:18-19
Because of His sacrifice, AS WE LIVE OUR LIVES LOOKING TO HIM (cf. 1 John 1:6-7 – we are walking in the light), we can have assurance of a crown of life above.  As Paul did – 2 Timothy 4:8. 
James 1:12 speaks of how blessed one is who endures (overcomes) temptations that he may receive the crown of life.

f.         Singing thy praise, I press along – is anyone joyful – let him sing (James 5:13).  As we consider the blessings and hope found in Him, it ought to bring us joy.  When we are joyful, it causes song in our hearts.  Even as we face troubles and persecutions, realizing this we can sing (cf. Acts 16:25).
Colossians 3:16 says we sing with grace in our hearts to the Lord.

g.       Savior divine – Why, because I think of my divine savior.  The idea of divine is that which relates to being God.  Jesus is divine – John 1:1. That is the strength of our hope.

 II.                   Vs. 2 - Looking to Thee in whatever our struggles may be

a.       Looking to Thee for all I need – yes we need physical sustenance in this life, but as we notice our overall purpose, we turn to Him.  He is able to provide for us (Matthew 6:33).  2 Peter 1:3-4 – we have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness.
We can do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13).

b.       Finding in thee a friend in deed – we are again reminded of how Jesus is our friend (not a mere acquaintance) – John 15:13-15 – Jesus gave His life for His friends.  We ARE His friends.
And He is there, even when others forsake us – 2 Timothy 4:16-17

c.        All of the burdens of the day meekly I bear – we can turn to Him with our burdens – 1 Peter 5:7. 
Yet, even in this we need to meekly endure.  Our part is to endure – Heb. 12:1 – we are running this race with endurance.   Hebrews 10:36 – we need endurance to receive the promise.
James 5:11 says it well, “Indeed we count them blessed who endure…”

d.       Neither the foe nor storm I fear – Romans 8:18, 35-39 – NOTHING can separate us from His love.

e.       Savior divine for thou are near – He is near – James 4:8, if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. 

f.         Ready my cares and troubles all freely to share – I am with you always - Matthew 28:20, 11:28-30

 III.                 Vs. 3 – Looking to Thee in anticipation of our eternal reward

a.       After a while in heaven bright – our time here is but a vapor (James 4:14), a passing shadow, a fleeting moment.  During our time here we do face all sorts of the stuff we noted in vs. 2.  But in the end, when this life is over – in heaven there will be rest and brightness.  We will determine that it truly was worth it.  2 Corinthians 5:1-8 describes how in this earthly tent we groan for something much better
Heaven is our eternal reward – a reward for enduring throughout this life.   Hebrews 11:6 tells us that God is the rewarder of all those who diligently seek Him.  Abraham, as an example, lived by faith and waited for the city of God (Heb. 11:10).  He and others died knowing there was something better on the other side – Heb. 11:13-16.
Colossians 3:23-24 calls for us to do whatever we do heartily, knowing that from the Lord we will receive our reward – which is heaven. 

b.       Where there is neither sin nor night – Revelation 21:4 – in that place there will be no tears, sorrow, death, crying, pain, etc.   Rev. 21:27 – nothing that defiles will enter its gates.  Rev. 22:3-5 – there will be no curse, and no night there either.

c.        I shall behold Thee face to face, Jesus my own – Revelation 22:3-4 – we will see His face there.    Finally, after this life, we will spend our eternity with our Lord and our Creator.   Consider His promise in John 14:1-3 – He has gone to prepare a place for us.

d.       Then with the saved (loved) ones gone before  – we will NOT be there alone!  While most will fail to enter (Matthew 7:13-14), the godly will be there.  Hebrews 12:22-23 – we are surrounded by an innumerable company of angels, and the general assembly and church of the firstborn (Jesus) who are registered in heaven. 

e.       I shall with rapture, more and more, Praise Thee forever, near the bright beautiful shore (Jordan) – The word rapture is not found in the Bible.  For many it is part of the false doctrine of premillenialism which deals with our Lord’s return.  However, the word in English actually means, an utterance or expression of ecstatic delight or joy.  The idea is someone whose joy is so great it is almost overwhelming.  Many of our songs have this in mind when they use this word.  This was its original meaning. 
In heaven, the tremendous beauty to be found there and all its wonders will cause us to be in awe and there we will praise our heavenly Father and our Lord and His Spirit for all of eternity.  1 Thessalonians 4:17.   Praising Him – Revelation 7:11-12, 4:8, etc. 

 IV.                 Chorus – Looking to Thee

a.       The point of this song – no matter what we face in this life, let us resolve to continue to look to Him. 

b.       Trusting thy grace – we addressed this in verse 1.

c.        I am as happy as a true soldier can be – devoted soldiers gladly sacrifice for the cause they are fighting for.  We are soldiers in the army of God.  We seek to please Him in this – 2 Timothy 2:4.

d.       Nearing my own heavenly place – we are looking to that day when we too shall be with the godly who have gone before – Hebrews 11:39-40 – the great examples of scripture endured and died so that God can provide something better for them and US.
As I sing this expression, I cannot help but think of my personal hope and place there.  So many Bible passages speak of our personal reward – Matthew 25:21, 46, 2 Tim. 4:8. 

e.       Trusting Thy love I press along, looking to Thee – our final observation is that with our trust in Him we keep going.  As Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14 – we press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

 

As we began examining this song we noted that we are living in troubling times.  Like so many songs, we find encouragement and hope as we think about things above.  This can help us as we strive to shine as lights in this crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15).   May we as we sing this song, and others, resolve to set our mind on things above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:2-1).  Think about it.