Sunday, March 31, 2013 pm                    Song Index

To the Work, #113, Sacred Selections

 Tonight we want to examine the message of another song.  In light of our Gospel Meeting next week, I have chosen to examine a song that calls for us to get to work.  For a successful gospel meeting, much preparation needs to be done.  Let us consider this as we examine this song tonight.

                    There is very little background associated with this song.  It was written by Fanny J. Crosby (who was blind) and put to music by William H. Doane.  The song was written around 1869-1871.  The message is a call to get to work. 

I.                    VS. 1 – We are servants of God

a.        To the work, to the work.  We are reminded throughout this song that as Christians we are to be busy.  1 Cor. 15:58, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
As you study the New Testament it becomes clear on virtually every page that we are to be busy.
Paul commended the brethren in Thessalonica for their “work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…” (1 Thess. 1:3)

b.       We are servants of God – in past lessons we have discussed how we are stewards.   Typically a steward was more than a minimal servant – he was entrusted with great responsibility.   We are not free to do whatever we want.  As servants we are obligated to do what our Master expects of us.
I am reminded of the parable of the talents in Matt. 25:14-30 where servants were given responsibility according to their ability. The master EXPECTED them to be busy!

c.        Let us follow the path that our Master has trod – we are not alone in this work.  Jesus is “the Way” (John 14:6)   He set the example.  1 Pet. 2:21, “follow in His steps.”  1 John 2:6 says, He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk as He walked.” (1 John 2:6)
Acts 10:38 tells us that Jesus “went about doing good.”  He was extremely busy!  He knew His time was limited.

d.       With the balm of His counsel our strength to renew –  Balm means first and foremost an ointment, but as used here it means something that is comforting or soothing. 
The counsel of the Lord can give us comfort and strengthen us as we move forward, especially when the road is rough and the task tiring.  Colossians 1:9-11 speaks us being strengthened with all might. 

e.       Let us do with our might, what our hands find to do – Whatever you do, do it with all your might.  Eccl. 9:10, “Whatever your hands find to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”     Also Col. 3:23

 II.                  Vs. 2 – Let the hungry be fed

a.        Let the hungry be fed – As you examine this verse, it is not talking about general benevolence.  It is not even dealing with food.  The hunger is for the word of God -1 Pet. 2:2 speaks of newborn babes desiring the pure (sincere) milk of the word.
Jesus called Himself, “And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)   Later in that chapter He said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (Jn. 6:63)
Indirectly related would be Matt. 5:6, ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.”

b.       To the fountain of life let the weary be led – Jesus speaking to the Samaritan woman spoke of living waters (John 4:10-11).  Rev. 7:17 says, “for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

c.        In the cross and the banner our glory shall be – it is not in ourselves, but in Him.  Gal. 6:14 Paul said, “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

d.       While we herald the tidings, “Salvation is free!” – we cry out inviting others to come to Him.
The FREE gift of salvation – Rom. 6:23 speaks of eternal life being a gift of God.  Some versions use the expression, “free gift” which seems to be the intent.   Salvation is for all and can be obtained by any (John 3:16).
It is available to all without cost, but it will cost you everything!


 III.                Vs. 3 – There is labor for all

a.        There is labor for all - We ALL have responsibilities to fulfill – In John 4:35 Jesus told His disciples to open their eyes, “and look at the fields, for they are already white unto harvest.” 
Matt. 9:37, “the harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”
Again, consider the parable of the talents where each was given a task according to his ability! 

b.       For the kingdom of darkness and error shall fall – 2 Pet. 3:10 talks about the heavens passing away and the elements melting with fervent heat.    This world is Satan’s domain (1 John 5:19).  But NOT forever - the days of Satan are numbered.  Jesus told His disciples, John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.  God WILL win!  Cf. Rom. 8:37, 1 John 4:4.
We are at war against His forces – Eph. 6:12, 2 Cor. 10:3-5.

c.        And the name of Jehovah exalted shall be, In the loud swelling chorus, “Salvation is free!” -
As we work mightily, God is exalted.  I am again reminded of example and how it glorifies God (Matt. 5:16).   When the battle is over, God will be victorious. 
Rom. 14:10-11 warns each of us that we shall stand in judgment and every knee shall bow.  All will bow.
Furthermore, WHO is a better giver than God? What Satan and the forces of this world offer us pales in comparison to the gift of God.  No wonder, as we stand before God, the chorus will say, “Salvation is free!” 


 IV.                Vs. 4 – A robe and a crown shall our labor reward

a.        This verse addresses our reward for the labor we engage in.  Just as Jesus gave parables about laborers being paid so it will be with us.  NOT a meritorious reward, but reward none-the-less.   In fact His reward is greater than anything we could possibly do in this life. 

b.       In the strength of the Lord – It is in Him (not us) that we find our strength.  Paul said (again) – Phil. 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Eph. 6:10 says, “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”

c.        And a robe and a crown shall our labor reward – simply consider 2 Tim. 4:7-8.  Having finished the fight and race and having kept the faith, he awaits a crown of righteousness. 
As to the robe, it is possibly a reference to Rev. 6:11 which finds the faithful martyrs crying for vengeance.  We are told, “Then a white robe was given to each of them, and it was said to them that they should rest a little longer…”  Rev. 7:14 speaks of their white robes being washed in the blood of the lamb.

d.       When the home of the faithful our dwelling shall be
Obviously a reference to heaven – Colossians 1:5 speaks of “the hope which is laid up for you in heaven.”   1 Pet. 1:3-4 speaks of our incorruptible inheritance reserved in heaven.
One of the blessings of heaven is who will be there – the faithful.  Rev. 14:13 speaks of the dead who die in the Lord from now on.
THINK OF THIS: As we sing this song, who do we want to be WITH us in heaven?  What are we doing about it?

e.       And we shout with the ransomed (those redeemed) “Salvation is Free!” – as another says, “What a day that will be…”


 V.                  The Chorus – Toiling on!

a.        Toiling on… - Repetition, but not vain!  The song is about working and not giving up.

b.       Let us hope, let us watch, and labor till the Master comes.  Our work is in hope (Titus 3:7) and with a watchful eye (Heb. 2:1).  We labor, “till the Master comes” – till the end.


And thus we see another song.  This song calls for us to labor – go to work for His cause.  As we have opportunity, let us labor.  Next week, we will be engaged in a gospel meeting.  Let us go to work to make it as successful it can possibly be.  Can we count on your help?