There’s a progression I wanted to follow in our first three hymns this week: our source, our responsibility, and our response.
We’ll open the service by singing of our Redeemer, the source of our faith and the reason for our obedience. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect (I Peter 1:18-19).
Sing, O sing of my Redeemer, with His blood He purchased me.
On the cross He sealed my pardon, paid the debt and made me free.
–I Will Sing of My Redeemer
Our debt is paid and we are free! So what follows? What’s our responsibility? We owe Him our very lives. Our almighty, all-wise God loved us even in our sin and paid our debt through His Son. We must surrender ourselves, forsake the world, and follow Him. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” (I Peter 1:14-16).
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows and the joy He bestows
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
–Trust and Obey
And we’ll follow that with our response as we make this responsibility our own. I love for us to sing this song together as a church body:
Let it be said of us that the Lord was our passion,
That with gladness we bore every cross we were given;
That we fought the good fight, that we finished the course
Knowing within us the power of the risen Lord.
Let it be said of us: we were marked by forgiveness,
We were known by our love and delighted in meekness;
We were ruled by His peace heeding unity’s call,
Joined as one body that Christ would be seen by all.
Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song;
By mercy made holy, by the Spirit made strong.
Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song
Till the likeness of Jesus be through us made known.
Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song.
–Let It Be Said of Us
“Till the likeness of Jesus be through us made known.” Just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” This is echoed again in our last song, with a phrase that strikes me every time we sing it: “Test our thoughts and our attitudes in the radiance of Your purity.”
Teach us, Lord, full obedience, holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes in the radiance of Your purity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built and the earth is filled with Your glory.
–Speak, O Lord
Our song in the middle of the service will be Never Once. The band will be accompanying this one and we’ve had it planned for several weeks, but it’s taken on even more significance lately in the light of situations that members of our congregation are facing and following last week’s service of prayer and faith in the one who makes all things possible.
Standing on this mountaintop, looking just how far we’ve come,
Knowing that for every step You were with us.
Kneeling on this battleground, seeing just how much You’ve done,
Knowing every victory was Your power in us.
Scars and struggles on the way, but with joy our hearts can say,
Yes, our hearts can say:
Never once did we ever walk alone.
Never once did You leave us on our own.
You are faithful, God, You are faithful.
Never once did we ever walk alone. Whatever you’re facing right now, whatever scars you bear, whatever struggles you’ve come through, you’re not alone. Our God is faithful!
The choir sang this song several weeks ago, and I’ve been looking forward to sharing it as a congregation. If you want to re-familiarize yourself with the song, here it is sung by Matt Redman:
And as we seek to serve our faithful God in true obedience and submission, the choir will be singing Lead Me to the Cross.
Savior, I come, quiet my soul;
Remember redemption’s hill where Your blood was spilled for my ransom.
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as loss.
Lead me to the cross where Your love poured out.
Bring me to my knees, Lord, I lay me down.
Rid me of myself, I belong to You.
Oh, lead me, lead me to the cross.
Let It Be Said of Us: words and music by Steve Fry. Copyright 1996 Maranatha! Music/Word Music, LLC. Speak, O Lord: words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. Copyright 2006 Thankyou Music (PRS). Never Once: words and music by Matt Redman, Jason Ingram and Tim Wanstall. Copyright 2011 Thankyou Music (PRS)/worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music/Said And Done Music/Chrysalis Music/Sony ATV Timber Pub/West Main Music/Windsor Hill Music. Lead Me to the Cross: words and music by Brooke Fraser. Copyright 2006 Hillsong Publishing.