Summary: Our battle is to win the world not with weapons that take life but with the gift of eternal life that comes through knowing Christ.
Scripture is singing in our hymns
The opening hymn today For the Beauty of the Earth speaks to the awe inspiring beauty that we live in. Truly the earth’s beauty is just that – awe inspiring. I know that I can watch countless television shows that focus on the beauty and majesty of our earth and still hunger for more. There seems to be no end to the complexity and diversity that is all around us.
Despite this fact there are people who still deny that it was created by God.
20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
We can see design and planning and thought as well as purpose and function in how the earth is put together but others it seems have a different opinion. They would suggest that it is all random or happenstance or the result of an evolutionary process.
Romans 1:20 however suggest that all these things should be self evident to everyone. By looking at nature we can look at the invisible qualities of God – that would include creation since God created all things including mankind.
It should also include His eternal power. Scientists conclude the universe began with a big bang. I suggest that big bang was the first syllable that left the lips of God as He spoke the universe into existence.
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day.
God created all this beauty all around us so that we could clearly see and understand that this was accomplished by His power not by happenstance or evolution but by Gods power so that men are without excuse.
This should lead us to a logical conclusion that God alone possess a Divine nature.
Divine means – Supernatural – Heavenly – Celestial – Great – Lovely etc
All these things as well as the joy of our human existence and relationship with God and with our loved ones including those who are now in Gods Heaven are communicated in the hymn.
Now to our second hymn: Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. What spiritual truths does this hymn convey and what should we take away from it when we sing it?
The hymn was composed by two men who happened to be Presbyterians Elisha Hoffman who became a Minister and Anthony Showalter who was a composer of gospel music and a teacher and publisher.
To lean in the arms of Jesus is to know fellowship with Him and to know joy. It is not just any fellowship or any joy. We can know a complete fellowship with Christ when we rest in Him.
Psalm 62:5 NIV - Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
Matthew 11:29 NIV - Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
In John’s gospel Jesus said….
John 15:9-11 NIV
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
Friends we can find complete joy and peace and know the sweetness of walking this Pilgrims Way when we Lean on the Everlasting Arms of Jesus. We can face life’s hard days with a smile of hope and assurance when we trust in the embrace of Jesus.
In closing we come to our final hymn which is put to us as a question Who is on the Lords side?
This hymn has an almost military sound like a call to arms. You may be surprised to learn that it was written by a lady named Frances Ridley Havergal who was the daughter of a clergyman. She was ill most of her life but that did not stop her from writing numerous hymns including Who is on the Lords side. Havergal College in Toronto is named after her.
She puts the question to all of us – who is on the Lords side then she goes on to explain what taking sides with Jesus involves.