Sunday, July 23, 2017 pm                                                    Songs Index


Wonderful Words of Life
#13, Sacred Selections


Tonight we want to examine another song that we sing from time to time.  We do this quarterly as way to remind us that our songs are one way that we teach and admonish one another. 

This is one of many songs written by Philip P. Bliss (1838-1876).  He was a very prolific song writer, having written hundreds of hymns.  He was born in 1838 in Pennsylvania and died in a train accident on December 29, 1876 at the age of 38.   He was talented and for many of his songs wrote both the tune and words.  Several of the songs we sing are attributed to him including: Almost Persuaded; Hallelujah, What a Savior; Jesus Loves Even Me, Hold the Fort; Let the Lower Lights Be Burning, The Light of the World is Jesus, Whosoever Will, etc.  He also put to music the songs, “I Gave My Life for Thee” and “It is Well with My Soul.”

This song was published in 1874, just 2 years before his death.  It was published for the first issue of a religious paper entitled, “Words of Life” in New York City.    While we do not have any more background to the actual hymn, it was descriptive of Bliss’s life work in writing, composing and singing songs. 

This song is only 3 verses and reminds us of how each of us can use the wonder word of God.

 I.                     Wonderful Words of Life (Chorus and throughout the song)

a.       Truly the word of God is wonderful – meaning, “full of wonder”. We ought to be reminded that God’s word is to be held in awe (reverence).  Psalm 119:129, Your testimonies are wonderful; Therefore my soul keeps them.   
Romans 11:33, while not using the word describes this same idea, Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!  This song continually reminds us of just how wonderful His words are. 
Especially when you consider what they can accomplish – Romans 1:16, Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, etc.

b.       They are beautiful words – the word means proper or pleasant.  When we think of beauty, we see that which is pleasing to the senses. Certainly that ought to describe God’s word to us. 
David said Psalm119:97, “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
Psalm 1:1 speaks of the one who walks in God’s way and meditates upon his law day and night.  This would describe someone that cherishes His words for their beauty.
Psalm 147:1, Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful. This reminds us that when we are PROPERLY praising God (in word) it is beautiful to Him (cf. Hebrews 13:15-16). 
Romans 10:15 reminds us how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace (taken from Isaiah 52:7).  We note it is not the outward appearance of one’s feet, but what he is doing – preaching the beautiful words of life.

c.        They are words of life – the word of God gives us hope and life. 
It is through His word that we learn what we must do to receive life. 
Jesus in John 5:39-40 noted that they searched the scriptures, “for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.  But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
in John 6:63 said, It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
John 6:68, after a discouraging time in the life of Jesus, with many of His disciples leaving Him, he asks His apostles if they want to leave also.   Peter replies, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Philippians 2:16 describes us, as we shine as lights in this crooked and perverse generation, we are holding fast the word of life

d.       Let us keep these thoughts in mind as we sing through this hymn.

 II.                   Verse 1 – They are wonderful to me

a.       As Christians, considering the above verses and thoughts, we ought to treasure His words. 
Matthew 13:45-46 – Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven as a merchant who finds “the pearl of great price” and sells all to obtain it.  That is what we as Christians ought to do with God’s word.
Solomon said, “Buy the truth and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.” (Proverbs 23:23)

b.       Sing them over again to me – we need to be continually studying God’s word.  We cannot read it once or twice and know it all.  It calls for diligent study (2 Timothy 2:15).
Many principles in scripture are repeated over and over.  Similarly, we need to do that!  (cf.  Romans 15:15, Philippians 3:1 – Paul reminded them for their safety; 2 Peter 1:12-13, 3:1-2 – Peter wrote to remind them).
As we sing, we sing songs over and over.  Rather than letting them become “vain repetition”, let us carefully determine that we are going to focus on the message and let it REMIND us of what we are and what we need to be doing.

c.        Let me more of their beauty see – the more you study, the deeper your comprehension of His word becomes.  The more beautiful it is!  Think of the mature Christian who is able to “rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15); who is able with God’s word to digest the meat (Heb. 5:14).  
His love is abounding more and more in knowledge and all discernment (Philippians 1:9)

d.       Words of life and beauty, teach me faith and duty understanding His word ought to increase our faith in Him – Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing the word of God. Earlier in vs. 8, Paul described as “the word of faith which we preach
Romans 1:16-17 – in God’s word, His righteousness is revealed “from faith to faith”.
It will also move us to not just learn His will, but to obey it the idea of duty is a moral or legal obligation.  Something we are expected to do.  Isn’t that why we study the word of God?
Titus 2:11-12 – God’s grace has appeared teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly.
Matthew 7:24-27 – Jesus concluded the sermon on the mount with the parable of two builders.  The one who DOES what he learns is building upon a solid foundation and will stand.

 III.                 Verse 2 – They are wonderful to all

a.       Christ, the blessed one gives to all – Jesus came for the salvation of all mankind.   Romans 5:6-8 – He died for us (all of us).  John 3:16 – it is available to whoever believes in Him.
Again note John 6:63 – He said the word He speaks are spirit and life.

b.       Sinner list to the loving call – the archaic meaning of list includes – listen and choose.  Both of these could apply to what is said here.
Listen to (heed) the call of our Savior, AND choose His call.  Matthew 11:28-30 – He invites all to come and receive rest.  Revelation 22:17 – the Spirit and Bride say “Come!”  Let him who hears says, “Come!”.  Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. 

The words of life must be accepted.  That means obeying the gospel.
This begins with hearing the word – Romans 10:17.  But, as we have continually noted, this faith is an inclusive word that believes God and responds to Him. 
With our belief we must repent (Acts 2:38, 3:19), confess Him (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized (Acts 2:38, Romans 6:3-4, Galatians 3:27, etc.)

c.        All so freely given – Titus 2:11 tells us that the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  We have addressed the subject of grace extensively - Ephesians 2:4-9.  We CANNOT ever earn our salvation.  It is the free gift of God.  HOWEVER, we must accept it (receive it) – which means do what He bids us do to be saved.
God’s requirements, while high, are based upon what you CAN do.  We can all obey the gospel!  It doesn’t take a million dollars or some other task that is impossible for some to achieve. 
In humble submission, we surrender to Him and accept His gift of salvation. 

d.       Wooing us to heaven – the eternal reward that awaits.  Titus 3:4-7 speaks of having been justified by His grace we become heirs of eternal life.  Titus 2:11-14 points the grace that leads to salvation to looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of Jesus.
There is a reward to obeying the gospel.  Eternal life awaits those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor and immorality. (Romans 2:7)

 IV.                 Verse 3 – I must share these wonderful words

a.       Sweetly echo the gospel call – we must tell it to others.  Mark 16:15-16, Matthew 28:19-20. 
Do you view the words of God wonderful enough that you want to share them with others?
Think of Paul who was willing to become “all things to all men” that he might by all means save some (1 Corinthians 9:22).  Consider Acts 17:22-23 – Paul wants to introduce “the unknown God” to them.

b.       Offer pardon and peace to all – ALL need salvation.  Do not pick and choose who YOU think is worthy.  2 Corinthians 5:10-11 notes that we will all stand before Him in judgment.  Therefore, we ought to persuade men.  Vs. 14-15 – we are reminded again that Jesus died for all, and THAT ought to compel us to reach out to others. 
What are we doing to make the gospel attractive to others?  What are we doing to REACH others?

c.        Jesus, only Savior – He is the ONLY way. John 14:6. We live in times where many think there are many ways to heaven.  But we know better.   Acts 4:12 tells us there is no other name but Jesus by which we must be saved. 
Our task is to let this be known. 

d.       Sanctify forever
Hebrews 10:10 notes that we have been sanctified by the offering of Christ “once for all” (NKJV).  There will NOT be another way introduced later. 
2 Thess. 2:13-14 – we thank God because of what He has done to give us a way to be saved and sanctified us.  The word sanctify means to set apart or consecrated to Him. 
Hebrews 13:12, Jesus suffered “outside the gate” that He might sanctify the people with His own blood.  Contextually, Jesus died outside the walls of Jerusalem to set us apart to God. 
Christians belong to God and we need live like it.  Let us make sure as we teach others that they understand this. 
John 17:17 – when Jesus prayed, He prayed, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

     Truly the words of life found in God’s word are wonderful and beautiful words.  How wonderful are they to you?  Think about it!