In contrast to last week, this week I knew right away a song I wanted to use: Before the Throne of God Above. While this hymn’s text is partly taken from Hebrews 4:14-16, other parts are from Sunday’s passage in Colossians.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1-2).
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea;
A great High Priest whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:3-4).
Behold Him there, the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace.
One with Himself I cannot die;
My soul is purchased by His blood.
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God!
Before the Throne of God Above: words and music by Vikki Cook and Charitie Lees Bancroft. Copyright 1997 Sovereign Grace Worship (admin. in the US & Canada by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music). CCLI #3163058.
This will be the first time we’ve sung this hymn in worship, although I have played it for the offertory or communion several times. Here’s a version on Youtube if you’d like to check it out:
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Then in the next section of the passage, we see our response to our new life. We are to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature: immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed. These are the
way we used to live, but we are to abandon these. Put them to death. We have taken off our old selves and have put on the new.
Knowing You is a song about this contrast, forsaking things of the world in light of Christ, our all in all.
All I once held dear, built my life upon,
All this world reveres and wars to own;
All I once thought gain I have counted loss;
Spent and worthless now compared to this:
Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You;
There is no greater thing.
You’re my all, You’re the best,
You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love You, Lord.
Now my heart’s desire is to know You more,
To be found in You and known as Yours;
To possess by faith what I could not earn,
All surpassing gift of righteousness.
Knowing You: Words and music by Graham Kendrick. Copyright 1994 Make Way Music. CCLI #3163058.
Be Thou My Vision also speaks of setting our minds on things above and forsaking the world:
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art:
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Riches I heed not, or man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.
We’re starting the service by observing baptism. What better way to open a service focusing on our new lives! Our first hymn will be Jesus, Our Lord and King, speaking of dying to sin and rising to our new life in Christ:
Jesus, our Lord and King, to You our praises rise;
To You our bodies we present, a living sacrifice.
As dead indeed to sin, we rise to walk anew,
Henceforth, as not our own, but Yours, we follow only You.
Baptized into Your death, with You again we rise,
To newness of a life of faith, to new and endless joys.
Congratulations to Katelyn and Steven on their baptism! Let’s lift them up in prayer as they continue to follow the Lord’s leading in their lives.