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Sunday, September 30, 2018 pm                                    Songs - Index

 

SERMONS FROM SONGS
Why Keep Jesus Waiting?
#624, Sacred Selections

 Tonight, we examine another song we occasionally sing.  This is an invitation song designed to encourage us to respond now, while we have opportunity, should that be our need.

This song we written and composed by Christopher Columbus Cline (1848-1920) in 1882.  Cline was a member of the church of Christ, born in Ohio.  He received education at the University of Kentucky and the College of the Bible (both in Lexington, KY).  He was an educator and gospel preacher.  He was also a song writer and producer of hymnals. 

Of the many hymns he wrote, this is by the his most well-known.  It is designed to encourage someone who is considering obeying the gospel, OR letting the Lord BACK IN after having left Him.  It is a true invitation song.

Invitations are found throughout the NT.  Including Peter on Pentecost.  We read that with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ (Acts 2:40).  Ananias, when he met with Paul told him, And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ (Acts 22:16)

 I.                     Vs. 1 – Why Keep Jesus Waiting in the Cold?

a.       Why keep Jesus waiting?
The Basis of this is that Jesus has given us an invitation – Matthew 11:28-30, we have His invitation. 
John 7:37 records, On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” 
Revelation 22:17 – the Spirit and the bride say “Come”
Yet there are many who keep Jesus waiting -
1) Some are just not ready yet – don’t fully understand
2) Some have something they want to do first or they are not ready to give up something they know they will have to give
3) Some have not been properly taught
4) Some don’t know if they can keep the commitment – unreasonable expectations
Many reasons, but there is danger in delay.  Which is the point of this song.

b.       Waiting in the cold
The cold is often associated with rejecting the light of Jesus (which gives us warmth).  Cold is associated with the lost condition.  It is rejection and uncaring.
In this is a heart that is not yet open – it is the hardened heart that is cold (Matthew 13:19)

c.        He will bear you gently to His fold – John 10:11 – Jesus described Himself as “the good Shepherd”, the leader of His flock.  He is a loving and gentle Shepherd – willing to give His life for His sheep.
On another occasion, Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep – Luke 15:1-7.  This demonstrates how much He cares about His flock.
Back to John 10:9, Jesus is also the DOOR to the sheep.  He is the entrance and ready to welcome His sheep.  Let Him be your shepherd!

d.       See Him soul, and open – each verse concludes with a call to open that door.  Here, we find the call to look for and find Him. 
On another occasion, Jesus spoke of Himself as the “light of the world” and contrasted His available light with the blindness of those who refused to hear Him – recall Matthew 13:13-15 which quoted Isaiah 6:9 noting those who did not receive parables refused to see and perceive.

II.                   Vs. 2 – Why Keep Jesus softly knocking?

a.       Why keep Jesus waiting at the door? Singing is often repetitious and that is because it is based upon a theme.  Repetition is a good way to teach.  Here the pleading of this song is emphasized and continually in our minds with EACH phrase we sing – Jesus is waiting! How long does He have to wait?
He is waiting at the door – which means He is just outside.  He is RIGHT THERE.  Sometimes, there are those who are right “on the edge” of obeying the gospel. 
Acts 17:26-27 – Paul to the Athenians noted that in creation, they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
We are just ONE STEP away.  They know what they need to do, but they have not taken that step yet! 
This song reminds us, He is there and ready and waiting for you to open that door. 

b.       Oft He knocketh sofltly – opportunities, gently – a knock is audible.  You hear the invitation – Mark 16:16, Matthew 28:11, etc.  Sometimes it is a powerful pounding – a strong rebuke.  But at other times, it is a soft, gentle reminder that something needs to be done! 
1 Kings 19:11-12 records an occasion with Elijah speaking to the LORD after he wants to quit.  He is told to go outside and stand on a mountain.  He witnesses a strong wind that tore into the mountain, an earthquake and then a fire.  In each of these, the LORD was not there.  Then he hears a “still, small voice” which was the LORD.  Jesus is “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29)
In studying the life of Jesus, I am convinced this is how He PREFERS to come to you.
This is often how the Lord works – “softly and tenderly”

c.        Hear Him soul, and open – how many want to put off responding just a little while longer?
In the same passages that spoke of closed eyes refusing to see, we read of those stopping their ears and refusing to hear. 
Many hear Him but put it off.  Like Felix procrastinated – Acts 24:25; Herod Agrippa was “almost persuaded” Acts 26:28. Sadly, we do not read of either of them ever obeying the gospel.
The Lord is knocking, ever so softly, will we open and let Him in?

 III.                 Vs. 3 – Why Keep Jesus pleading?

a.       Why keep Jesus pleading at the door? 
The idea of pleading means this is serious.  There is danger and ONLY He can protect you from it.
2 Corinthians 5:20 – Paul spoke of how they were ambassadors for Christ who was pleading though them, “We implore you, be reconciled to God.”   The word means to beg.
2 Corinthians 6:1, we plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
The gospels record many occasions where Jesus was pleading with people to listen.  Expressions like, “cried out”  - John 7:37, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”  John 12:44, Jesus cried out, “He who believes in Me, believes not in me but Him who sent me.”

b.       He would be your Savior – Only He can save you.  Acts 4:12 – there is no other name under heaven…
John 6:35 – Jesus is the “bread of life.  He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

c.        Ever, ever more
1) There will be no need for any more Saviors – He is it!  John 14:6 – He is the ONLY way to the Father!  1 John 5:11-12 – God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
2) It is eternal life - we shall always be with Him – 1 Thessalonians 4:17 speaks of His return. 
Matthew 25:46 speaks of going into everlasting life

d.       Love Him, soul and open – our surrender is a matter of the heart.
We need enough of an understanding that we appreciate who He is and what He has done for us.  John 3:16 summarizes this.  We need to understand His love and reciprocate – we love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19). 
Until we appreciate that sacrifice and its significance, we are not ready to become Christians. 

 IV.                 Vs. 4 – Why delay the knocking of Jesus?

a.       Why keep Jesus waiting, knocking at the door
This song has made reference to Jesus knocking at a door.  It is probably based upon Revelation 3:20 – Written to the lukewarm church at Laodicea, the Lord wants them to be “healed” of their blindness.  We read, Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
He IS knocking – we can hear Him gently, knocking on the door of our hearts, wanting to come in and take his rightful place in our lives. 

b.       Soon He’ll cease His pleading – there is a time limit.  As long as there is life, we can change.  AND as long as we have an open heart, He will keep knocking. But it will not last forever.
Whether it be death, His return for judgment, OR our hardened hearts that absolute reject Him, He will stop knocking.  And that has eternal consequences as the next phrase notes:

c.        Yes, forever more – our last verse, concluded noted that He would be your savior ever more – a reference to eternal life.  Here, the ultimate warning – WHEN He stops knocking – AND HE WILL! Whether it be the end of your life, or His return – once you cross that barrier, your fate is sealed and there is NO return – Hebrews 9:27.  Matthew 25:46, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 which speaks of the vengeance against those who do not obey the gospel, and rest of heaven for His followers

d.       Come poor soul, obey Him – all that remains is a realization that you DO need Him – Matthew 5:3 – be poor in spirit and come to Him.  Obey Him!  Hebrews 5:9 – He is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.   What about you, are you willing to obey Him?

 

Conclusion: Open, I implore.  Each verse concludes by repeating the call to open to Him.  THIS is what we need to do.  If we have shut Him out, we need to quit that and open our hearts to receive Him.   One might wonder if Jesus is speaking (a fitting conclusion to each verse – again Revelation 3:20), OR are we speaking to one another (Ephesians 5:19)?  Both are true.  Regardless, we see the urgency of the request and the call for us to respond.  What about you, are you in need of obeying the gospel? If so, Why keep Jesus waiting?  Respond, as we sing this song.