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Sunday, October 22, 2006 pm            Return to Songs

“Oh Why Not Tonight?”  #629

                 Tonight, we want to examine the message of another song.  We have noted in times past the importance of studies such as this – as we sing, we are teaching and admonishing one another (Colossians 3:16) and speaking to one another (Eph. 5:19).  1 Corinthians 14:15 notes that in our singing there must be both spirit and understanding.  Thus it is fitting that we examine the songs we sing together.

                Tonight, we want to notice an invitation song that we occasionally sing – “Oh Why Not Tonight?”  This song is an OLD favorite that first appeared in 1842 under the heading, “The Accepted Time.”  It was written by Elizabeth Reed who was born in England in 1794.  The current tune we use was probably the work of Calvin Bushey who was a composer and singling school teacher in Ohio during the latter part of the 19th century.  This song first appeared with the tune we have somewhere around 1886.

I.                     Verse 1 – O, Do not let the word depart

a.        Why do we offer the invitation at each service?   Because of the importance and urgency of one obeying the gospel.  The fact is that only those who are saved will have the hope of a home in heaven.  We don’t want to EVER close a service without giving those present the opportunity to make their lives right.  AS I say this, there are many churches where the invitation (at least as we assemble to worship) is no longer considered that important. 
The invitation is a fact we find throughout scripture
Matthew 11:28-30 – Jesus offered the invitation admonishing all to “Come to Me…”
Revelation 22:17 brings the message of God to a conclusion saying, “And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”  But there are many who refuse to come and let the opportunity slip away.

b.       O, do not let the word depart.” This verse appeals to the urgency of the matter.  We are called upon to not let the word depart from our lives.  Speaking to the church at Laodicea, the angel of the Lord said, “Behold I stand and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.”  Revelation 3:20.
We sing another song sometimes which says, “Why keep Jesus waiting?”  It too reminds us of the limited opportunities we have to change.

c.        And close thine eyes against the light.” Don’t close your eyes.  In scripture this is often a sign of rebellion.  It indicates a willful refusal TO SEE one’s present condition.  In Matthew 13:14-15, Jesus quotes Isaiah 6:9-10.

d.       Poor sinner, harden not your heart.” The Bible speaks of the hardened heart. 
Perhaps the best example of the hardened heart is Pharaoh, who in refusing the let the children of Israel go kept hardening his heart after many of the plagues.
Luke 8:11-12 describes the hardened heart as the wayside of a field where the seed of the word of God cannot penetrate.  Because the soil is not prepared the seed remains on top and Satan comes along and snatches the seed before anything can be done to it.
Hebrews 3:15 quotes Psalm 95:7-8 which calls upon us to NOT harden our hearts, but rather to “hear His voice.”

 

II.                   Verse 2 – Tomorrow’s sun may never rise

a.        One reason we preach urgency is because we do not know how much time we have left.  It is very possible that for some here (or even all of us) this will be our last opportunity to do right.  This verse aptly begins by noting that “tomorrow’s sun may never rise.”
WE are warned in scripture that we will all die – Hebrews 9:27.
James 4:13-14 notes that our life is but a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

b.       To bless thy long deluded sight.” The one who thinks he has all the time in the world has a deluded sight.  Like the rich fool of Luke 12 who left God out of his plans tonight could be that time when we are called to stand before God in judgment.

c.        This is the time o then be wise.” The verse speaks of the wise man realizing that NOW is the time.
Matthew 7:24 speaks of the wise man who builds his house on a solid foundation.  He is prepared and in that he finds his wisdom.
2 Corinthians 6:2 notes that NOW is the day of salvation.

III.                 Verse 3 – Our Lord in pity lingers still

a.        In this verse we see the pity of the Lord.  Considering the corrupt condition of this world one might ask why the Lord continues to put up with it.  The answer is His pity.
He lingers or delays His coming for a specific reason. 
Psalm 86:15 says, “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.”
Isaiah 30:18 says, “Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.”
2 Peter 3:9 notes that reason – He is not willing that any should perish.
Again in 2 Peter 3:15 we read, “and consider that the longsuffering of the Lord is salvation…”

b.       And wilt thou thus His love requite?
The word “requite” means “to make repayment or return for (service, benefits, etc.).   (Dictionary.com)
Our song asks the question, “Concerning the love He has shown for us by waiting to return and putting up with all that we have done, will we REPAY that love by turning to Him and serving Him.
1 John 4:19 says, “We love Him because He first loved us.”  Do we?

c.        Renounce at once thy stubborn will.”  There are many who know what they need to do, but they are letting something stand in their way.  Perhaps they don’t want to give up sinful behaviors or some ungodly relationship.  Maybe they realize what they need to do and are not willing to make the commitment they know they need. 
But such an attitude will not change other factors such as those already mentioned (death, judgment, etc.).

IV.                Verse 4 – Our blessed Lord refuses none

a.        This verse notes a fact that many must come to grips with.  No matter who you are or what you have done, you CAN be saved.  God will forgive even the vilest of sinners, if we will simply obey Him.

b.       Our blessed Lord refuses none.”  Jesus said in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”
AS you examine the life of Jesus you find Him forgiving adulterers, tax collectors, the poor, outcasts of society, zealots as well as many who would have been considered honorable by society.  On the cross, He forgave and accepted a thief (Luke 23:43).
Remember Paul’s former conduct as a murderer, a blasphemer, a persecutor and insolent, yet he obtained mercy from God (1 Tim. 1:13).  As he said in another place, “by the grace of God, I am what I am.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)

c.        Who would to Him their souls unite.” BUT this verse also understands the importance of unity with Christ in receiving salvation.  Galatians 3:27 says that we are baptized INTO Christ and thus we put ON Christ.

d.       Believe, obey, the work is done  - a phrase calling upon us to do our part.  Hebrews 5:8-9 notes that He has become the author of eternal salvation to “all who obey Him.”

V.                   Another verse – (not included in Sacred Selection) – the world has nothing left to give.
In books with 5 verses (Songs of the Church, Praise the Lord, etc.), this is the 4th verse and it reads,
The world has nothing left to give; It has no new, no pure delight.  O try the life which Christians live: Be saved: O tonight.”  That too poses another valuable lesson that contrasts the “riches of this world” with the blessings that await us in eternity.  WE will conclude with this simple mention of this verse.

 

Conclusion:  At the end of each verse – we are told, “Be saved, O tonight.”  And then in the chorus we are asked repeatedly, “Why not tonight?”  If you are NOT prepared to meet God, then these words ought to weigh heavily upon your soul.  You can leave here having once again turned down an opportunity to make your life right with God and your Lord, but IF for some reason this turns out to be your last opportunity – what excuse will you offer as you face your eternal judge?  Are you willing to take that chance?  If not, obey Him TONIGHT as we stand and sing.